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Car bombs kill at least 22 in Mogadishu
14 October 2017, 7:04 PM

Two car bombs in separate parts of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu killed at least 22 people on Saturday and injured several others, police said.

The first explosion – in the city’s K5 Junction area which is lined with government offices, hotels, and restaurants -destroyed several buildings and set dozens of vehicles on fire.

“We know that at least 20 civilians are dead while dozens of others are wounded,” said Abdullahi Nur, a police officer who was in the area.

“The death toll will surely rise. We are still busy transporting casualties,” he said, adding that there were bodies under the rubble.
About two hours later, a second blast took place in the city’s Madina district.

“It was a car bomb. Two civilians were killed, ” SiyadFarah, a police major, told Reuters, adding that a suspect had been caught on suspicion of planting explosives.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although the Islamist al Shabaab group has carried out regular attacks. The al Qaeda-allied group is waging an insurgency to topple the weak U.N.-backed government and its African Union allies and impose its own strict interpretation of Islam.

They frequently launch gun, grenade and bomb attacks in Mogadishu and other regions controlled by the federal government, though in recent years the militants have lost most territory under their control to African Union peacekeepers and government troops.

Saturday 14 October 2017 19:04

REUTERS

Nigeria jails 45 Boko Haram suspects in mass trial held in secret
14 October 2017, 11:02 AM

Nigeria has convicted and jailed 45 Boko Haram suspects, the government said on Friday, the first sentences it has handed down in a set of mass trials that have drawn criticism for being held behind closed doors.

The trials are the biggest to date in the eight-year-old militant Islamist insurgency, which has left at least 20 000 people dead and driven 2 million from their homes in north eastern Nigeria.

Those convicted were sentenced to between three and 31 years in jail, Lai Mohammed, the information minister said in a statement. He did not specify what they had been convicted of.

Of the rest of the 575 suspects arraigned in the first trial the court “discharged 468 suspects who had no case to answer,”threw out 34 cases, and remanded 28 for trial in Abuja or Minna,he said.

“The court ordered that the 468 discharged persons should undergo deradicalisation and rehabilitation programmes before they are handed over to their respective state governments,” it said.

The other trials have been adjourned until January. In all, about 1 670 suspects are due to appear in court, many of whom have been held for years in pre-detention in alleged violation of their rights.

The proceedings that began on Monday were cautiously welcomed by rights groups and experts. But both they and the United Nations have criticised the trials for handling too many cases at once, and all behind closed doors with no media or public observers allowed.

“We have serious concerns that the conduct of the proceedings may deny the defendants the right to a fair trial and an effective defence,” said a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesperson on Friday.

“The lack of transparency regarding these trials is worrying, and we note that Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission is not allowed to attend and monitor proceedings,” he said.

Amnesty International also complained about the trials being held without scrutiny but said on Wednesday: “These trials should provide a much-needed opportunity to deliver justice for the many victims of human rights abuses and crimes allegedly committed by Boko Haram members.

Saturday 14 October 2017 11:02

REUTERS

Nigeria jails 45 Boko Haram suspects in mass trial held in secret
14 October 2017, 11:02 AM

Nigeria has convicted and jailed 45 Boko Haram suspects, the government said on Friday, the first sentences it has handed down in a set of mass trials that have drawn criticism for being held behind closed doors.

The trials are the biggest to date in the eight-year-old militant Islamist insurgency, which has left at least 20 000 people dead and driven 2 million from their homes in north eastern Nigeria.

Those convicted were sentenced to between three and 31 years in jail, Lai Mohammed, the information minister said in a statement. He did not specify what they had been convicted of.

Of the rest of the 575 suspects arraigned in the first trial the court “discharged 468 suspects who had no case to answer,”threw out 34 cases, and remanded 28 for trial in Abuja or Minna,he said.

“The court ordered that the 468 discharged persons should undergo deradicalisation and rehabilitation programmes before they are handed over to their respective state governments,” it said.

The other trials have been adjourned until January. In all, about 1 670 suspects are due to appear in court, many of whom have been held for years in pre-detention in alleged violation of their rights.

The proceedings that began on Monday were cautiously welcomed by rights groups and experts. But both they and the United Nations have criticised the trials for handling too many cases at once, and all behind closed doors with no media or public observers allowed.

“We have serious concerns that the conduct of the proceedings may deny the defendants the right to a fair trial and an effective defence,” said a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesperson on Friday.

“The lack of transparency regarding these trials is worrying, and we note that Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission is not allowed to attend and monitor proceedings,” he said.

Amnesty International also complained about the trials being held without scrutiny but said on Wednesday: “These trials should provide a much-needed opportunity to deliver justice for the many victims of human rights abuses and crimes allegedly committed by Boko Haram members.

– By REUTERS

One of Liberia’s main parties calls for halt to election results
12 October 2017, 7:35 AM

One of Liberia’s leading political parties called for a halt in announcing the result of Tuesday’s presidential election, citing irregularities in the vote.

The Liberty Party, whose candidate Charles Brumskine was considered a front-runner to take over from Nobel Peace Prizewinner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, said it would consider taking legal action if the National Elections Commission (NEC) did not act on its demands.

The NEC was originally expected to release preliminary results on Thursday.

“The Liberty Party is deeply troubled by the discovery of numerous incidents of irregularities and fraud that occurred during the elections,” Liberty Party national chairman Benjamin Sanvee said in a statement.

“We are calling on NEC to immediately halt further announcements of election results. If NEC does not cooperate with our request, we will take the appropriate legal action,” he said.
He did not give specific evidence of voter fraud and it was unclear what kind of activity could have altered Tuesday’s vote.

An NEC spokesperson told Reuters that it was unaware of the Liberty Party’s complaint and did not say whether the commission believed illegal acts occurred.

On election day, materials including ballot boxes arrived late in some locations and some people struggled to find their names on voter rolls, witnesses said, but there was so far no evidence that this was linked to illicit activity.

Any irregularities would taint the results of an election expected to mark the first democratic transfer of power in over seven decades in a country haunted by a civil war that ended nearly 15 years ago.

Liberia, Africa’s oldest modern republic, was founded by freed US slaves in 1847 but its last democratic power transfer dates back to 1943.

Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female president,won a surprise victory in 2005 following a post-war transition.She was re-elected in 2011 but is barred from seeking another term.

Thursday 12 October 2017 07:35

REUTERS

One of Liberia’s main parties calls for halt to election results
12 October 2017, 7:35 AM

One of Liberia’s leading political parties called for a halt in announcing the result of Tuesday’s presidential election, citing irregularities in the vote.

The Liberty Party, whose candidate Charles Brumskine was considered a front-runner to take over from Nobel Peace Prizewinner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, said it would consider taking legal action if the National Elections Commission (NEC) did not act on its demands.

The NEC was originally expected to release preliminary results on Thursday.

“The Liberty Party is deeply troubled by the discovery of numerous incidents of irregularities and fraud that occurred during the elections,” Liberty Party national chairman Benjamin Sanvee said in a statement.

“We are calling on NEC to immediately halt further announcements of election results. If NEC does not cooperate with our request, we will take the appropriate legal action,” he said.
He did not give specific evidence of voter fraud and it was unclear what kind of activity could have altered Tuesday’s vote.

An NEC spokesperson told Reuters that it was unaware of the Liberty Party’s complaint and did not say whether the commission believed illegal acts occurred.

On election day, materials including ballot boxes arrived late in some locations and some people struggled to find their names on voter rolls, witnesses said, but there was so far no evidence that this was linked to illicit activity.

Any irregularities would taint the results of an election expected to mark the first democratic transfer of power in over seven decades in a country haunted by a civil war that ended nearly 15 years ago.

Liberia, Africa’s oldest modern republic, was founded by freed US slaves in 1847 but its last democratic power transfer dates back to 1943.

Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female president,won a surprise victory in 2005 following a post-war transition.She was re-elected in 2011 but is barred from seeking another term.

– By REUTERS

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