Six Dead, 24 Injured As Two Bombs Hit Afghan School

Medical staff move a wounded youth on a stretcher inside a hospital in Kabul on April 19, 2022, in Kabul on April 19, 2022, after two bomb blasts rocked a boys’ school in a Shiite Hazara neighbourhood killing at least 6 people. Wakil Kohsar / AFP

 

At least six people were killed and 24 wounded on Tuesday by two bomb blasts that struck a boys’ school in a Shiite Hazara neighbourhood of the Afghan capital, police and hospital staff said.

The number of attacks in Afghanistan has significantly declined since the Taliban ousted the US-backed government in August, but the jihadist Islamic State group has claimed several since then.

Several bodies were strewn outside the gate of the school in the densely populated Shiite Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood in Kabul, alongside patches of blood, burnt books and school bags, according to images posted on social media.

“We were leaving school and had just stepped out from the rear gate when the explosion occurred,” Ali Jan, a student who was wounded in the first blast, told AFP at a hospital.

The second blast took place as rescuers arrived to ferry victims from the first explosion to hospitals.

“Some of our friends have lost hands, while some were covered in blood,” said Saeed Rahmatullah Haidari, a student at the school.

“There were pieces of broken glass and pools of blood… my whole body was shaking.”

Outside a hospital treating the wounded, Taliban fighters beat back the families of students who had gathered, slapping or pushing some of them as they searched for information.

Women cried out as they scanned through pictures of victims posted on nearby walls by medics.

Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran told AFP that the attack outside the Abdul Rahim Shahid school was caused by two improvised explosive devices, killing six people.

A grenade was also thrown at a nearby English language centre in the same area, wounding one person, he later said.

Two hospitals said they were treating 24 wounded patients.

 ‘Reprehensible attacks’

Amnesty International condemned Tuesday’s ‘reprehensible attacks’ against the Hazara community.

“It also shows that the Taliban, as the de-facto authorities, are failing to protect civilians, especially those from ethnic and religious minority groups, from harm,” Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner Samira Hamidi said in a statement.

The European Union’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Tomas Niklasson, said those behind the “heinous” attacks must be held accountable.

The Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood is mainly home to the Hazara community and has been previously targeted by the Islamic State group — a rival of the Taliban, also a hardline Sunni Islamist movement.

The Hazara community, which makes up between 10 and 20 per cent of the country’s 38 million people, has long been the target of mass-casualty attacks, some blamed on the Taliban during their 20-year insurgency.

Since seizing power the Taliban have regularly carried out raids on suspected IS hideouts, mainly in the eastern Nangarhar province.

Taliban officials insist their forces have defeated IS, but analysts say the jihadist group is a key security challenge.

It has claimed some of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan in recent years.

In May last year at least 85 people — mainly girl students — were killed and about 300 wounded when three bombs exploded near their school in Dasht-e-Barchi.

No group claimed responsibility, but in October 2020 IS claimed a suicide attack on an educational centre in the same area that killed 24, including students.

In May 2020, the group was blamed for a bloody gun attack on a maternity ward of a hospital in the neighbourhood that killed 25 people, including new mothers.

AFP

Six Dead As Scaffolding Collapses At Iraq Pilgrimage Site

Iraqi Flag

 

Six people were killed as scaffolding collapsed at a Shiite Muslim mausoleum near the central Iraqi town of Hilla on Thursday, officials said.

The accident struck at the shrine of Imam Hamza, connected to the family of the Prophet Mohammed.

“Scaffolding being used for renovation work collapsed inside the mausoleum, killing six men aged between 20 and 35,” an official of the pilgrimage site said, asking not to be named.

Medical and security sources confirmed the toll, with the latter adding that a woman and three-year-old child were injured.

READ ALSO: 11 Killed In Philippines Truck Crash

A security source, also on condition of anonymity, said an investigation had been opened and that the accident was suspected to have been “the result of negligence on the part of people in charge of installing the renovation structures”.

Corruption and lack of finances in both Iraq’s private and public sectors often lead to the use of poorly equipped and under-qualified maintenance crews in buildings and on infrastructure used by the general public, with safety procedures flouted.

AFP

At Least 16 Dead In Afghan Mosque Blasts – Hospital

Afghan men carry the dead body of a victim to an ambulance after a bomb attack at a mosque in Kunduz on October 8, 2021. AFP

 

At least 16 people were killed and 32 wounded when explosions hit a Shiite mosque in the Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday, a hospital spokesman told AFP.

“Sixteen dead bodies and 32 wounded were taken to the Mirwais Hospital,” a spokesman for the southern city’s central hospital said.

The cause of the blasts was not immediately identified, but it came exactly a week after a suicide bomb attack on Shiite worshippers in the northern city of Kunduz, that was claimed by the Islamic State group.

An eyewitness told AFP he heard three explosions, one at the main door of the mosque, another at a southern area, and a third where worshippers wash themselves.

Court Awards N15m Against Police Over Killing Of IMN Members

A file photo of policemen dispersing Shiite members during a protest in Abuja on July 22, 2019. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

The Abuja Division of the Federal High court has slammed a fine of N15 million on the Nigeria Police Force for the killing of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

The IMN members were killed during the protests which turned violent in July 2019 in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, who awarded the cost against the police on Monday, also ordered the immediate release of the corpses of three members of the Shiite group deposited at the morgue of the National Hospital.

In his judgment, the judge held that the action of the police was both illegal and unlawful as it contravened the provisions of Section 31(1) of the Constitution which bordered on the fundamental rights of the victims.

Lawyers to the police were unavailable throughout the hearing of the suit to counter the submissions of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria with regards to the accounts of what transpired during the protest held on July 22, 2019.

On account of this, Justice Taiwo held that the submission in law that was not countered by another party would, therefore, be admitted as correct.

However, the police lawyer who showed up for the judgment, Simon Lough, claimed that the court had been misled.

On the other hand, the counsel to the applicants, Bala Dakum, commended the judgement, saying justice had been served.

El-Zakzaky, Wife Unfit To Stand Trial, Court Rules

Court To Rule On El-Zakzaky's Bail Application August 5
A file photo of Mr Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

 

 

The Kaduna State High Court has again adjourned the trial of the embattled leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat.

Justice Gideon Kurada adjourned the trial of the couple until April 23 and 24 during their arraignment in court on Monday.

Both defendants were expected to take their plea at the resumed hearing of their case, but could not do so due to their poor health condition.

READ ALSO: Court Dismisses Non-Declaration Of Assets Case Against Ekweremadu

In his ruling, Justice Kurada held that the defendants were not medically fit to stand trial hence their trial could not go on as planned.

He, therefore, ordered the management of the Nigerian Correctional Service to fully comply with an earlier directive on February 6, that the IMN leader and his wife should be properly attended to by their personal physicians under close supervision by the facility management.

 

El-Zakzaky and his wife are facing eight counts over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disruption of public peace, and criminal conspiracy among others.

The charges were filed against them by the Kaduna State government.

The defendants were brought to the court amid heavy security presence while security operatives cordoned off all major roads leading to the court complex and the court premises.

This comes about three weeks after the last hearing of the suit following the adjournment of the case for eight months.

On February 6, Justice Kurada had amended the charges against the defendants to enable the trial of the IMN leader and his wife commence without delay.

He also ordered that the defendants should be allowed to be seen by their private doctors at the Nigerian Correctional Service facility in the Kaduna State capital, with close supervision of the facility management.

The IMN leader and his wife have been in detention since their arrest in December 2015 following a bloody clash between the Shiites and soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna State.

Kaduna Govt To Appeal Acquittal Of 91 IMN Members

Some IMN members alight from two trucks after they were discharged and acquitted by a Kaduna State High Court on February 21, 2020.

 

 

The Kaduna State government says it will challenge the court judgement which discharged and acquitted 91 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

The Director of Public Prosecution in the State, Daris Bayero, disclosed this to Channels Television in reaction to the judgement of the Kaduna State High Court delivered on Friday.

He said, “Now we have read the ruling; My Lord has discharged them (the IMN members) after a no-case submission.

“She discharged them and acquitted them and said we did not present any legally admissible evidence before the court.”

“Now, we have looked at the judgment and listened to the judgment because I was in court when the judgment was delivered.

“The judgment is erroneous on point of law because 31 witnesses were called, including senior military officers that were at the scene of the incident when it happened and they came to testify and gave a vivid account of what happened to them on that day,” Bayero added.

Justice Hajaratu Gwada had acquitted the defendants, who were arrested during a clash with soldiers in Zaria in December 2015, of the charges filed against them by the state government.

They were arraigned on five counts of criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, culpable homicide, disturbance of public peace, and causing grievous hurt.

During their trial, the defence counsel had filed a no-case submission before the court on the grounds that his clients were innocent, stressing that the government had failed to prove its allegations.

Justice Gwada, thereafter, struck out all the charges filed against the IMN members, saying the prosecutor could not prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.

But Bayero alleged that the judge erred in her ruling, adding that the prosecution presented over 105 exhibits that were cleared and legally admitted by the court.

He insisted that the way forward was to test the ruling at the appellate court with the hope that justice would be served.

The government prosecutor decried that the trial of the defendants began in 2016 and senior military and police officers, as well as senior pathologists, gave their testimonies before the court.

He was unhappy that the court said they have not presented any legally admissible evidence to prove their allegations against the IMN members.

“Accordingly, I have been directed to file a notice and grounds of appeal as soon as we obtain the full reading of the court before the court of appeal. That is the position we are in now.

“We are not happy with the part where My Lord said that we have not presented any legally admissible evidence before the court. That is the part that hurts us the most,” the government official said.

He insisted, “We must test that! It is only the Court of Appeal that will say otherwise. We are trying to obtain the record and then we would appeal against the judgment definitely.”

Kaduna Court Frees 91 Shiite Members After Four Years In Detention

Some IMN members alight from two trucks after they were discharged and acquitted by a Kaduna State High Court on February 21, 2020.

 

 

A Kaduna State High Court has discharged and acquitted 91 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

The presiding judge, Justice Hajaratu Gwada, acquitted the defendants of the charges filed against them by the state government in her judgement delivered on Friday.

The freed members of the Shiite group were arrested during a clash with soldiers in Zaria in December 2015.

They were arraigned on five counts of criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, culpable homicide, disturbance of public peace, and causing grievous hurt.

During their trial, the defence counsel had filed a no-case submission before the court on the grounds that his clients were innocent.

He also stressed that the state government had failed to prove its allegations against them beyond a reasonable doubt.

Giving her judgement, Justice Gwada struck out all the charges filed against the IMN members and acquitted them.

She held that the decision was as a result of the prosecutor to prove the allegations levelled against the defendants beyond a reasonable doubt.

In its reaction, the state government rejected the judgement which it described as ‘erroneous‘.

The State Director of Public Prosecution, Daris Bayero, told Channels Television that the state would appeal the judgement at a higher court until justice was served on the defendants.

On his part, the counsel to the IMN, Maxwell Kyon, commended the judgment while briefing reporters.

Kyon described the ruling as the “prevailing of truth over injustice” and criticised the state government for detaining the IMN members for over four years without any cogent reason.

He decried that some of the defendants lost their children and wives, while others missed their admission into tertiary institutions while in prison.

Alleged Homicide: Court Remands 60 Shiite Members In Correctional Facilities

A file photo of policemen dispersing Shiite members during a protest in Abuja on July 22, 2019. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), sitting in the Apo area of Abuja has remanded 60 members of the proscribed Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), otherwise called the Shiite group to Kuje prison in Abuja and Suleja prison in Niger State on remand.

The 60 proscribed IMN members were arrested during the July 22 bloody protest at the Federal Secretariat area of Abuja, which led to the death of a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Usman Umar, and Precious Owolabi, a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member with Channels Television.

They were arraigned before the court on November 27 by the FCT Command of the Nigeria Police.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest Traditional Ruler Accused Of Raping Boy, Family Demands Justice

The suspects were arraigned on charges bordering on homicide, disturbances of public peace, and destruction of government properties.

They had, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them by the police.

On resumption of the case on Tuesday, counsel for the defendants, Mr Bala Dakum, informed the court that he had filed a bail application on behalf of the Shiite members.

When the court drew his attention to filing only one bail application for the 60 defendants, which was brought by way of summon, Dakum said he would withdraw it.

He subsequently did in order to file separate applications for the defendants.

Justice Sulaiman Belgore then struck out the application, having been withdrawn by the defence counsel with no objection from the prosecution.

As a result, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Simon Lough, requested that the defendants should be remanded in Kuje and Suleja correctional facilities.

Lough, who is a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), asked that 54 male defendants be remanded at the correctional facility in Kuje, while the remaining six defendants who are females be sent to the Suleja correctional on remand.

He also applied that trial of the defendants be held where they are remanded for convenience, adding that the trial should be given an accelerated hearing considering their number.

The prosecution’s oral applications for the remand of the defendants and trial being held where they are being remanded were not opposed by their counsel.

Ruling on the applications, Justice Belgore held that having not been opposed by the counsel for the defendants, the court was minded to remand the defendants at the correctional facilities.

“The defendants be remanded at the correctional facilities. They are to be remanded at Kuje and Suleja correctional yards. Trial to be held in Kuje correctional yard,” he ruled.

The judge then adjourned until February 5, 2020, for the commencement of trial which he ordered to be on a daily basis.

Iraqi Protesters Set Fire To Iran’s Najaf Consulate

Iraqi demonstrators gather as flames start consuming Iran’s consulate in the southern Iraqi Shiite holy city of Najaf on November 27, 2019, two months into the country’s most serious social crisis in decades. Haidar HAMDANI / AFP

 

Protesters set fire Wednesday night to Iran’s consulate in the southern Iraqi Shiite holy city of Najaf, two months into the country’s most serious social crisis in decades, AFP journalists said.

Since October 1, protesters in Iraq — a majority Shiite country, like its neighbour Iran — have been calling for the fall of a central government they see as both irretrievably corrupt and beholden to Tehran.

El-Zakzaky, Wife Arrive In Nigeria

 

Leader of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat, have returned to Nigeria from India.

The couple returned to the country on Friday afternoon, four days after they travelled to the Asian country for treatment.

Channels Television crew were at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport as early as 6am to cover the arrival of the El-Zakzakys.


Trip To Delhi


El-Zakzaky and his wife left Nigeria on Monday for India following a ruling of the Kaduna State High Court which granted them permission to be treated in the country.

On their arrival at the hospital where treatment was expected to commence, the trip turned controversial.

The IMN accused the Nigerian government of treating their leader like a criminal and denying him access to the doctor with whom they had an arrangement.

They also claimed that El-Zakzaky was denied free movement and was monitored by heavy security surveillance in India.


‘We Were Brought To Another Detention’, El-Zakzaky Speaks On Situation In Indian Hospital [Full Transcript]
FG Accuses El-Zakzaky Of ‘Unruly Behaviour’, Apologises To India
The Problem El-Zakzaky Encountered In Delhi Has Been Resolved – IMN Spokesman


Treatment Turned Controversy


El-Zakzaky had also narrated his ordeal in the foreign country, saying the condition in India was worse than that of Nigeria.

“We saw that we were practically brought to another detention facility which is even stricter than the one we were in back in Nigeria. They came here with police armed with guns and a lot of staff from the Nigerian embassy. And we also noticed we were brought into another detention that we only came based on trust.

“Even in Nigeria, they agreed where we were detained that we would be treated only by the doctors we choose and are comfortable with allowing to treat us. But here we understand that the doctors that advised us to come here are blocked from having any say in our case,” the IMN leader had said.

The Nigerian Government, in its response, denied the allegations by the IMN and its leader.

Instead, the government accused the Shiite leader of becoming unruly at the hospital in New Delhi and apologised to the Indian authorities.

It insisted that the allegations were “foul cry”, saying claims that El-Zakzaky was held in circumstances worse than he was in Nigeria should be disregarded.

The government said the IMN leader was allowed to embark on the trip with state officials in line with the court order and his choice to be accompanied by his aides and personal doctors were not opposed.

It added that the IMN leader chose the hospital where he was admitted in India, but he began to display “ulterior motives” against laid down procedures.


Return After Stalemate


After the exchange of blames from both sides, spokesperson for the IMN, Ibrahim Musa, told Channels Television that the controversy El-Zakzaky’s treatment in India had been resolved.

Barely a day after the interview, Musa said the IMN leader and his wife have embarked on a trip back to Nigeria.

He explained that the decision was as a result of lack of a breakthrough in the impasse that ensued regarding El-Zakzaky’s treatment in India.

“It is clear to us that the Nigerian government interference and the scuttling of the whole process rather than supervision as ordered by the court are the direct cause of the impasse,” he said.

El-Zakzaky and his wife are facing an eight-count of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disturbance of public peace at the Kaduna State High Court.

The charges were filed against them by the Kaduna State Government and the duo were first arraigned in May 2018.

Following their return to the country from India, it is unclear what the next line of action would be.

Killings: The Presidency Feels Very Very Sad – Adesina

 

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has said that the Presidency is saddened by the spate of killings in the country.

He said this on Tuesday while reacting to the Shiite/police clash in the nation’s capital, Abuja, which resulted in the killing of a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Usman Umar, a corp member who was serving with Channels TV and some Shiite members.

When asked “how does the presidency feel?” during an interview on the station’s breakfast show Sunrise Daily, he said: “very very sad”, noting that that primary responsibility of government should be to secure lives of citizens.

“This is our country, we are all citizens, lives should not be taken just anyhow. The primary responsibility of government is to protect lives and property. The Constitution vests the protection of lives and property in the government so when it fails, as we have seen it fail in recent times and particularly yesterday, government will feel it, because it’s not good for anybody”.


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Mr Adesina, however, assured Nigerians that regardless of the current security situation, a lot is being done to secure Nigerians and all hands should be on deck.

“A lot is being done but when some people make it seem as if nothing is being done, they are exacerbating the matter.

“Government is doing a lot and these times call for concerted efforts from all Nigerian to beat this insecurity,” he said.

 

Corps Member Serving With Channels TV Dies In Shiite, Police Clash

Corps Member Serving With Channels TV Dies In Shiite, Police Clash

 

A member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) serving with Channels Television, Precious Owolabi, is dead.

The 23-year-old died of a gunshot wound he sustained while covering the clash between the police and the Shiite protesters on Monday in Abuja.

The management and staff of Channels Television are greatly saddened by the untimely and unfortunate death of such a promising journalist.

They pray that God will grant his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss, and avail his soul eternal rest.


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