Clashes Between Herders, Farmers Kill 11 In Chad

Chad

 

Eleven people were killed in fighting between nomadic herders and sedentary farmers in a dispute over trampled crops in southern Chad, the local governor said Wednesday.

The violence broke out in the district of Koumogo on Monday, causing the death of three herders and eight farmers, the governor of Moyen-Chari province, Abbadi Sahir, told AFP by phone.

Clashes between settled farmers and the nomadic Arab herders are a worsening problem in the arid Sahel, where tensions over access to land are frequent.

READ ALSO: Death Toll From Capsized Cameroon Ferry Rises To 17

The death toll and details of the confrontation were confirmed by a local tribal chief, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.

According to the chief, a herder was killed after cattle trampled some crops. In retaliation, herders used firearms to attack a farmers’ camp, he said.

Police have been deployed at the camp and the governor said he was in negotiations with both sides to calm tensions.

President Idriss Deby this month declared a state of emergency and deployed troops to two eastern provinces, Sila and Ouaddai, where 50 people have died since August 9 in the fighting.

Cattle Rustlers Kill 12 In Kenya

 

At least 12 people, including three children, were killed in two attacks in northern Kenya at the weekend by cattle rustlers suspected to be from the Borana ethnic group, Kenyan police said Sunday.

The attacks on two villages in Kenya’s Marsabit County near the border with Ethiopia were on cattle breeders from the Gabra ethnic group, long-time rivals of the Borana, police said in a statement.

“Five male Gabra adults were killed and three others were seriously injured” in one small village on Saturday evening, police said.

The attackers, who took around 500 head of cattle, were “suspected Ethiopian Borana cattle rustlers”, the police said.

In the other attack, on a nearby village, four Gabra adults and three children between the ages of 13 and 15, including one girl, were killed, with four people injured.

The thieves took around 1,000 goats in the second attack, in which one of the raiders was killed.

Kenyan police units are “pursuing the criminals and holding ground to prevent further attacks and killings,” the statement said.

Kenya started conducting its first national census since 2009 on Saturday, and the authorities said the exercise would continue in Marsabit.

The theft of livestock — and deadly attacks to carry out the crime — are common between cattle herding communities in northern Kenya.

At Least 4,000 Detained In Kashmir Since Autonomy Stripped

 

Thousands of people have been detained in Indian Kashmir over fears of unrest since New Delhi stripped the restive region of its autonomy two weeks ago, government sources told AFP.

A magistrate speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity said at least 4,000 people were arrested and held under the Public Safety Act (PSA), a controversial law that allows authorities to imprison someone for up to two years without charge or trial.

READ ALSO: UN Security Council To Discuss Kashmir On Friday

“Most of them were flown out of Kashmir because prisons here have run out of capacity,” the magistrate said, adding that he had used a satellite phone allocated to him to collate the figures from colleagues across the Himalayan territory amid a communications blackout imposed by authorities.

Trump Says Xi Can ‘Quickly, Humanely Solve’ Hong Kong Standoff

(FILES)(COMBO) This combination of file pictures shows US President Donald Trump and China’s leader Xi Jinping. Ed Jones, Paul J. RICHARDS / AFP

 

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said Xi Jinping can “humanely” resolve the violent standoff with protesters in Hong Kong and appeared to suggest meeting the Chinese leader.

“I have ZERO doubt that if President Xi wants to quickly and humanely solve the Hong Kong problem, he can do it,” Trump tweeted from vacation at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

“Personal meeting?” he added in what appeared to be an idea for offering his own help to Xi directly.

Protesters have staged 10 weeks of relentless protests to demand greater freedoms in Hong Kong, including rallies that paralyzed the semi-autonomous city’s airport, one of the world’s busiest travel hubs.

The United States has said it is “deeply concerned” over Chinese security force movements on the border with Hong Kong and urged Beijing to honor the territory’s autonomy.

Under a 1997 deal that saw Hong Kong return to China from British colonial rule, the city is meant to have far greater liberties than those allowed on the mainland.

AFP

17 ‘Terrorists’ Killed In Egypt Operation Linked To Car Blast

 

Egyptian security forces killed 17 “terrorists” on Thursday during an operation against suspects in last weekend’s deadly car blast in Cairo that claimed some 20 lives.

The interior ministry said the 17 killed belonged to the Hasm group, an armed affiliate of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi has called the collision between several vehicles in Cairo a “terrorist act” as one of the cars was loaded with explosives.

The collision happened just before midnight Sunday, when a speeding car packed with explosives drove against the traffic and crashed into three other vehicles outside the National Cancer Institute in the Egyptian capital.

READ ALSO: Trump Says US ‘Not Ready’ To Make Trade Deal With China

According to the health ministry, at least 20 people were killed in the collision.

The Hasm group was “behind the preparations of the vehicle” that caused the explosion, the interior ministry said in a statement.

It added that it had identified the suicide driver of the vehicle as a member of Hasm.

Security forces were able to “locate members of a Hasm cell” and killed 17 of them, including the brother of the suicide car bomber, during operations in Cairo and in Faiyum, south of the capital, the ministry said.

It was not immediatedly clear if the Hasm cell and the 17 people were directly involved in Sunday’s deadly collision.

Since 2016 the Hasm group has claimed responsibility for several attacks against police, officials and judges in Cairo.

School Students Shot Dead At Sudan Rally Ahead Of Talks

Tires are set ablaze by Sudanese protesters during a rally in the capital Khartoum to condemn the “massacre” of five demonstrators including four high school students at a rally in the cantral town of Al-Obeida on July 29, 2019. Credit: ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP

 

Four Sudanese school students were among five demonstrators shot dead Monday during a rally against shortages of bread and fuel, a day before protest leaders and ruling generals are set to hold new talks on the country’s transition.

Authorities announced a night-time curfew in four towns following the deaths in the central town of Al-Obeid, as a key protest group called for nationwide rallies against the “massacre”.

The ruling military council and protest leaders earlier this month inked a power-sharing deal providing for a joint civilian-military administration which in turn would install civilian rule.

That is the main demand of a nationwide protest movement that led to the April ouster of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir and has since demanded that the generals who took his place cede power to civilians.

But on the eve of Tuesday’s talks aimed at resolving outstanding issues over the transition, five protesters were killed in Al-Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan state, said a doctors’ committee linked to the protest movement.

“Five martyrs succumbed to direct wounds from sniper bullets during a peaceful rally in Al-Obeid,” the committee said in a statement.

Prominent protest leader Babikir Faisal told AFP that the dead included “four high school students”.

Al-Obeid residents and a local journalist also confirmed that the dead included high schoolers.

A key protest group, the Sudanese Professionals Association, said “live ammunition” had been used against a “rally of school students”.

In a post on its Facebook page, it urged “all citizens and medics” to head to hospitals treating the wounded.

In a separate statement, it called for nationwide protests against the “massacre,” demanding that “the perpetrators be brought to justice”.

Hundreds of protesters later rallied in Khartoum’s two districts of Bahri and Burri, but they were swiftly confronted by riot police who fired tear gas, witnesses said.

The office of North Kordofan’s governor announced an overnight curfew in four towns including Al-Obeid, starting Monday and continuing indefinitely.

It added that all schools in the province had been told to suspend classes.

Calls to suspend talks

Residents of Al-Obeid said the rally had been over a shortage of bread and fuel in the town.

It was a sudden tripling of bread prices that initially triggered December protests against Bashir, which later turned into a nationwide movement against his three-decade rule.

“For the past few days there has been a shortage of fuel and bread,” an Al-Obeid resident told AFP by telephone.

“School children were affected as there is no transport to help them reach their schools. Today, they staged a rally and when it reached downtown there were shots fired.”

The town had not previously witnessed major rallies against Bashir even as provinces, cities and towns were swept up by the campaign against his rule.

Monday’s deaths sparked calls for talks set for Tuesday to be suspended.

“We cannot sit at the negotiating table with those allowing the killing of revolutionaries,” Siddig Youssef, a prominent protest leader, said in a statement.

Tuesday’s talks were set to cover issues including the powers of the joint civilian-military ruling body, the deployment of security forces and immunity for generals over protest-related violence, according to protest leaders.

The power-sharing deal agreed on July 17 provided for the establishment of a new governing body of six civilians and five generals.

It was then to oversee the formation of a transitional civilian government and parliament to govern for 39 months, followed by elections.

Impartial probe

Khartoum has seen angry demonstrations since Saturday, when investigators announced the results of a probe showing into a deadly crackdown on a protest camp.

Shortly before dawn on June 3, gunmen in military fatigues raided the site of a weeks-long sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum, shooting and beating protesters.

Doctors linked to the protest movement say the raid left 127 people dead and scores wounded.

But the joint investigation by prosecutors and the ruling military council that took power following Bashir’s ouster found that just 17 people were killed on June 3, with a total of 87 dying between that day and June 10.

The probe identified eight officers involved in the violent crackdown on the protest camp, including three from the feared Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group.

But protest leaders have rejected the findings, saying the inquiry exonerated the military council and gave a far lower death toll than their own figures.

The investigation “was commissioned by the military council, this is challenging its integrity as the military council itself is accused in this case,” said the Sudanese Professionals Association.

Demonstrators have called for an independent investigation into the raid.

The country’s ruling generals have insisted they did not order the dispersal of the sit-in.

AFP

10 Years Into Jihadist Rebellion, No Reprieve For Nigeria’s Displaced

 

Maiduguri resident Ahmed Muhammed wanders through the rubble left behind as he recalls the outbreak of fighting in his city a decade ago that launched the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.

“We heard shooting — badadadadadada — here, there, everywhere around us,” the 44-year-old railway worker told AFP.

“We thought the end of the universe had come.”

In late July 2009, tensions between the hardline Islamist sect and authorities in northeast Nigeria boiled over as the group launched a wave of attacks and security forces fought back ruthlessly.

The epicentre of the violence was the compound of the group’s founder Muhammad Yusuf.

After several days of fighting, Yusuf and hundreds of Boko Haram members were dead and a conflict had been unleashed that would devastate the region.

The mosque and the homes that once stood there are now just a pile of debris — an unmarked monument to the suffering of the past 10 years.

In the decade since the uprising began, some two million people have been uprooted from their homes and 27,000 killed as the bloodshed has spilt into neighbouring countries.

Boko Haram has turned vast swathes of territory into a no man’s land and forced its way into international headlines by abducting hundreds of schoolgirls.

While the Nigerian army has pushed the fighters from major towns, the jihadists have splintered into factions and spawned an offshoot aligned to the Islamic State group that has unleashed its own campaign of violence.

‘No option’

Waves of the conflict crashed over Hadiza Bukar’s village near Baga close to the shores of Lake Chad in 2015 when Boko Haram fighters stormed through the area.

Bukar fled with her newborn twin sons, leaving behind her husband and two other children.

She has not heard from them since.

What remains of the family is now among the roughly quarter-of-a-million people displaced and struggling to survive in and around Maiduguri, capital of Borno State.

Studded across the city are government-approved camps and informal settlements of corrugated iron, sticks and shreds of tarpaulin.

READ ALSO: 65 Killed In Boko Haram Funeral Attack

The only place Bukar found to live is at the ground zero of the insurgency that tore her life apart. Her makeshift home stands on the edge of the ruins of Yusuf’s former compound.

When the downpours come in the rainy season the place turns into a quagmire.

“Many people told us stories about what happened here. They warned us there was a history,” she said, of the bloodshed in 2009. “But we had no option. We have nowhere to go. We decided to stay.”

Across town in another district Idrissa Isah, 45, scrapes by as best he can.

Isah used to send cows to Nigeria’s economic hub Lagos, but now all he has is a small patch of earth near his shack that a local landowner lets him till.

The little he grows helps supplement sporadic handouts from international aid groups and feed his family. He says he has had no government support.

Isah is desperate to return to his village of Makulbe about 30 kilometres (20 miles) from Maiduguri, but the risk is too high.

“If I could go back I would — I would have a big, big farm,” he said.

“There is no way I can.”

Attempted return

Finding a way home for the displaced is seen as key to solving the humanitarian crisis in northeast Nigeria.

After forcing the jihadists back to remote hideouts, the government insists the security situation is stabilising.

But attacks persist outside heavily fortified towns.

Over just a few days in July, five soldiers were killed and six aid workers kidnapped.

On Thursday, a Boko Haram raid killed at least two people in a displaced camp near Maiduguri.

So far this year, 130,000 people have been displaced in northeast Nigeria, the International Organization for Migration says.

Ibrahim Bukar, 48, is comparatively lucky.

The local government accountant still receives his official salary of about $80 (75 euros) a month even though he has not worked in his hometown Bama, 65 km from Maiduguri, since it was devastated by fighting more than four years ago.

But the wage does not cover rent and he squats with his wife and four children in the one-room servants’ quarters of an acquaintance’s house.

Last October, after more than four years away, he decided to go home.

“There was nothing,” he said.

“No food, no potable water, no health services, no teachers — don’t even talk of electricity.”

Beyond the town, he said, you cannot travel safely for more than a kilometre. After three months, Bukar gave up and headed back to Maiduguri.

Camps still filling

The displaced camps are still filling up.

A sprawling site around the city’s main stadium opened in March and has already reached its capacity with over 12,000 people.

Fatima Mohammed, 38, moved into a tarpaulin shelter three weeks ago with her husband and two children.

She arrived from an overcrowded camp not far away, having been displaced several times since being forced from her village five years ago.

She has no idea if, or when, she will see home again.

“All depends on god — if there is peace I will go back immediately,” she said.

“But if there is no peace then there is no way I can return.”

AFP

65 Killed In Boko Haram Funeral Attack

Tragic scenes from the attack on a funeral by Boko Haram terrorists. Credit: AFP

 

An attack this weekend by Boko Haram fighters on a funeral in Maiduguri, Borno State, has left 65 people dead, almost triple the initial toll, a local official said Sunday.

Dozens more bodies were discovered following the assault Saturday by gunmen on a village close to the regional capital Maiduguri.

“It is 65 people dead and 10 injured,” local government chairman Muhammed Bulama said.

Bulama said more than 20 people died in the initial attack on a funeral gathering. Dozens more were killed as they tried to chase after the jihadists.

The leader of a local anti-Boko Haram militia confirmed the death toll, while giving a slightly different account of the attack.

Bunu Bukar Mustapha told newsmen that 23 people were killed as they returned from the funeral and “the remaining 42 were killed when they pursued the terrorists”.

READ ALSO: Two Feared Killed In Fresh Boko Haram Attack On Borno IDP Camp

At the scene houses which had been burnt in the attack could be seen. Relatives collected the bodies of those slain for burial.

Bulama said he thought the latest attack was in retaliation for the killing two weeks ago of 11 Boko Haram fighters by local residents when the jihadists approached their village. The residents also captured 10 automatic rifles.

Boko Haram fighters have repeatedly attacked the surrounding Nganzai district.

In September last year, the group killed eight people and stole livestock in two villages in the area after residents tried to stop them from taking their animals.

Boko Haram has waged a decade-long campaign of violence in northeast Nigeria that has killed around 27,000 people and displaced more than two million.

There are persistent attacks despite repeated claims from the Nigerian government that it has broken the insurgency.

The jihadists have splintered between the Boko Haram faction loyal to historic leader Abubakar Shekau and an affiliate of the Islamic State group.

Shekau’s group tends to hit softer targets including civilians, while the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) has since last year ratcheted up its campaign against the Nigerian military.

In June, 30 people were killed by a triple suicide bombing targeting football fans in Konduga, 38 kilometres (24 miles) from Maiduguri. The attack had the hallmarks of Shekau’s faction.

Late Thursday, the group attacked a camp for displaced people outside the state capital, killing two residents and looting food supplies after burning a nearby military base.

Communities have increasingly turned to self-defence groups to protect themselves against the jihadist attacks.

Vigilantes and local hunters have taken up arms to safeguard local residents amid widespread complaints that the military does not do enough to defend them.

Buhari Condemns Killing Of Many Villagers By ‘Mass Murderers’ In Sokoto

The President Needs To Rejig His Kitchen Cabinet – Oyebode
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday “strongly” condemned recent attacks by cattle raiders on three villages in Sokoto that officials said killed dozens.

He offered commiserations to the survivors and vowed a firm response to “these brutal and remorseless enemies of humanity”.

“These frequent and large scale killings of poor villagers by gangs of mass murderers must be met with the fiercest force the government can mobilise,” presidential assistant Garba Shehu quoted Buhari as saying.

On Wednesday, armed men on motorcycles raided three villages in the district of Goronyo in the Nigerian state of Sokoto, district chief Zakari Chinaka told newsmen.

READ ALSO: Bandits Kill Over 20 In Sokoto

“The bandits opened fire on the villages and set shops and grain stores ablaze. They took away all the cattle in the villages,” he said.

“They operated for two hours unchallenged (by any security forces) because of the difficulty of the terrain which makes it hard to access,” said the chief.

Alu Ibrahim, a resident of the village of Kamitau, where 23 people died, said villagers had pursued the bandits in a bid to recover their stolen cattle — key to survival in the poor, remote region.

“The bandits turned their guns on them and killed many. This was the reason for the high death toll from Kamitau,” said Ibrahim.

Criminal gangs of cattle rustlers have increasingly targeted rural communities in Sokoto state.

Last month, motorcycle-riding bandits killed 43 people in two days of attacks on five villages in Rabah and Isa districts, according police and locals.

Rural communities in the north of Nigeria have for years been terrorised by gangs who raid villages, stealing cattle, kidnapping for ransom and burning homes after looting food supplies.

Villagers have taken up arms to defend themselves, but these vigilantes are now accused of extra-judicial killings of suspected bandits.

The bandit gangs are one of a string of security challenges facing Nigeria, including attacks from a Islamic State-backed Boko Haram faction and renewed clashes between livestock herders and farmers.

This has left the military overstretched and Buhari criticised for failing to protect lives and property, despite promises to boost security.

One Dead, 14 Wounded In Clash Near DR Congo Gorilla Sanctuary

 

 

One person was killed and 14 were injured in clashes near a gorilla sanctuary in DR Congo where there has been mounting friction between park guards and local Pygmies, sources said Friday.

The violence occurred near the Kahuzi Biega National Park, a UNESCO heritage site in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that is a haven for the world’s largest gorilla species.

“A conservation patrol which was pursuing two poachers was ambushed on Wednesday by Pygmies armed with machetes and bows and arrows,” park spokesman Hubert Mulongoy said.

“Thirteen park wardens were wounded in the clash, three of them seriously,” he said. “One of the seriously injured had his fingers severed by a machete.”

Separately, Ntavuna Cizungu, a representative of a Pygmy community that lives on the edge of the park, told AFP that a Pygmy named lwaboshi Simba was shot dead during the confrontation “and died immediately.”

Another Pygmy was injured, he said.

Mulongoy said there had been a “resurgence of tension in the past few days between indigenous people and the park.”

In April, a warden was killed in a clash, the park said, denying that this episode was associated with the death of a Pygmy the previous day.

The Pygmies are angry about being denied access to Kahuzi Biega.

The park says they illegally entered the sanctuary between August and October last year, and have been carrying out acts of “deforestation” since then.

The park wardens are chiefly recruited among former soldiers and police and include a number of Pygmies.

Kahuzi Biega, named after two extinct volcanoes, is the only place in the world where visitors can see eastern lowland gorillas in the wild, the park says on its website.

The 6,000-square-kilometre (2,300-square-mile) haven, created in 1970, is a magnet for well-heeled tourists, providing an important source of revenue for the DRC.

AFP

Sudan Paramilitaries ‘Torture’ Civilian To Death

 

 

Paramilitary men beat and tortured to death a civilian in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region, a doctors committee linked to the country’s protest movement said Tuesday.

The civilian died on Monday in El-Daen, in East Darfur state, after members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) clashed with youths accused of stealing mobile phones, the committee said on its Facebook page.

“Members from Al-Janjaweed (RSF) militia beat and tortured a number of youths… on allegations that the youths had stolen a mobile phone,” it said.

“One youth passed away due to torture by Al-Janjaweed,” it said, referring to the RSF which has its origins in the militia that fought ethnic African rebels in Darfur during a civil war that broke out in 2003.

Witnesses AFP contacted by telephone backed up the claims of the doctors committee.

Two witnesses said an RSF unit had arrested five youths — accusing them of stealing mobile phones from their base — and took them outside town, where they tortured them, before throwing them into the street. One of the victims allegedly died, they said.

After the victim was buried, town residents converged on the RSF base and torched it, while other RSF personnel arrested the unit responsible, the two witnesses said.

The RSF spokesman was unavailable for comment.

The doctors’ committee alleged a total of six civilians have died over the past three days at the hands of the RSF, including four members of a family run over by a vehicle driven by a paramilitary unit in Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum.

The sixth person was killed by gunfire in El-Souki, in the southeastern state of Sinnar, as residents protested against the RSF, demanding they leave town, according to the doctors committee and witnesses.

“The continuation of the barbarity and tampering with civilians’ safety daily by Janjaweed (RSF) militias, coupled with not holding them accountable under any law or code of ethics, prove that the Transitional Military Council protects these militias,” the committee said.

On Monday, scores of protesters demonstrated in parts of the capital, including at night, against the killing of the civilian in El-Souki.

Protesters and rights groups also accuse RSF personnel of carrying out a brutal raid on a protest camp outside military headquarters in Khartoum on June 3 that left dozens dead and hundreds wounded.

RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy chief of Sudan’s ruling military council, has portrayed the allegations as part of an attempt to distort the image of his paramilitary force.

At Least Five Dead In Baghdad Suicide Blasts

 

At least five people were killed in twin suicide blasts near a Shiite mosque in southwest Baghdad on Monday, Iraqi security and medical sources said.

Doctors at the capital’s Al-Yarmuk hospital gave a casualty toll of five dead and 14 wounded.

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up near Abu al-Fadhel al-Abbas mosque in the Al-Turath district, a police officer told AFP, on condition of anonymity.

There was no immediate claim of responsiblity.

READ ALSO: Ten Dead After Bangladesh Train Strikes Wedding Party

Eight people were killed in a suicide bombing at a market in eastern Baghdad on May 9, while two others died in a similar attack in late June, both also targeting Shiites.

Iraq in 2017 declared victory over Islamic State group jihadists after a gruelling months-long campaign to dismantle their self-declared “caliphate”.

But sleeper cells of the Sunni extremist group have remained active, attacking civilians and security forces across the Shiite-majority country.

AFP