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Posts Tagged ‘Deadly’

Deadly border ambush clouds south Sudan vote

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:07 am

JUBA, Sudan (AFP) – A deadly ambush targeting south Sudanese returning from the north for a week-long independence vote clouded the mood of enthusiasm across the south that saw polling hours extended from Tuesday.

Misseriya Arab tribesmen killed 10 south Sudanese civilians and wounded 18 near the border as they were returning from the north, southern internal affairs minister Gier Chuang said on Tuesday.

“A convoy of returnees coming from the north to the south were ambushed yesterday (Monday) at about 5:00 pm (1400 GMT) by armed Misseriya. Ten were killed and 18 were wounded,” Chuang told a news conference in the southern regional capital Juba.

The landmark independence referendum, which again saw a big turnout on its third day, has prompted tens of thousands of southerners to return from the north.

AFP file – A pedestrian walks on an unpaved road in Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan.

Chuang called for the Khartoum government to be held to account for the attack by the Arab nomad tribe, which was a key auxiliary militia of the northern army during the 1983-2005 civil war and is involved in a continuing conflict with pro-southern Dinka in the disputed border district of Abyei.

“The Misseriya belong to a state and that state has to be held accountable,” he said.

Misseriya chief Hamid al-Ansari denied the tribe had been involved in any ambush of returning southerners but northern police confirmed they had received reports of an attack.

“How could we have carried out such actions when the United Nations is on the ground between us and the Dinka?” Ansari told AFP.

“On top that, for several days now people returning to the south have been a taking a different route far away from us.”

Sudanese police spokesman Ahmed Tahami said: “We have received reports that a convoy of people returning to Bahr al-Ghazal (in the south) was attacked but we have no other details.”

Misseriya tribesmen have stopped southerners returning to the south through their areas several times in the past as part of their conflict with the Ngok Dinka over Abyei.

There has been an upsurge of violence in the district in recent days in which the two sides reported losses totalling at least 33 dead since Friday.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday condemned the latest violence, and the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said it had intensified its patrolling activities in Abyei and was on standby to reinforce its peacekeeping presence if needed.

Ban “condemns the reported loss of life and calls upon the National Congress Party and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement leadership to maintain calm and ensure that this issue is resolved through peaceful dialogue,” his spokesman said, refering to the ruling parties in Khartoum and Juba.

The head of UNMIS, Haile Menkerios, was in Abyei on Tuesday for consultations with local leaders, a UN spokesman said, while Western governments continued to voice their concerns over the situation there.

“We are monitoring the situation on the ground very closely and urge the people of Abyei and their leaders to exercise restraint,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement.

Tensions in the district have been rising with the launch of the independence vote in the south. Abyei had been due to hold a simultaneous plebiscite on its own future, but it has been indefinitely postponed amid deadlock over who should be eligible to vote.

The Misseriya, who migrate to Abyei each dry season to find water and pasture for their livestock, insist they should have the same right to vote as the Dinka, settled farmers who live in the district all year.

In the south, referendum organisers said the huge turnout seen on Sunday and Monday had been repeated across the region and that polling hours were being extended by an hour for the remaining five days of voting.

The huge crowds still queueing to cast their ballots at the end of the original 8:00 am to 5:00 pm voting hours had left many polling stations struggling to cope over the first two days.

The referendum commission’s number two Chan Reec said figures were only available from less than half of polling stations but that at those centres alone, nearly a million of the 3.75 million people registered in the south had already voted.

The prospect of secession by the south had sparked fears of a wider break-up of Sudan, which has experienced other rebellions in the war-torn western region of Darfur and also in the east, where a 12-year uprising ended with a still-fragile peace agreement in 2006.

Source: SGGP

Revellers in shock after deadly Cambodian stampede

In Uncategorized on November 23, 2010 at 2:03 am

Deadly Indonesian volcano eases off: government

In Uncategorized on November 14, 2010 at 9:54 am

Deadly clashes as Morocco storms Western Sahara camp

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2010 at 6:51 am

Panicked Indonesians flee deadly volcano

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2010 at 7:50 am

Militants stage deadly raid on Chechen parliament

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2010 at 4:08 am

GROZNY, Russia (AFP) – Militants Tuesday stormed parliament in Russia’s conflict-torn region of Chechnya, holding deputies and gunning down three people, before being killed in a bloody standoff with security forces.

The group of up to four militants broke into the parliament building in the Chechen capital Grozny early in the morning, sparking fears of a major hostage crisis before security forces moved in.

(AFP) Chechen special forces stand outside the parliament building in Grozny.

The dramatic raid was a major blow to Kremlin claims that stability has returned to Chechnya, after two wars since the collapse of the Soviet Union and years of Islamist and separatist-inspired unrest.

Officials said that all the militants were killed after an hour-long standoff, with two of the rebels shot dead by the security forces and two killing themselves by detonating suicide charges.

Shaken deputies wearing bullet-proof vests were led out to safety by the security forces while headscarved women who work into the parliament were guided into an armoured personnel carrier.

“We heard shots in the courtyard and we knew they were trying to take us hostage. We managed to take refuge on the third floor where we stayed until the end of the operation,” spokesman for the Chechen parliament, Zelim Yakhikhanov, told AFP.

Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov said in a statement that Chechen security forces staged an intense 20-minute operation to kill the militants and free the parliament deputies and employees from the building.

“All deputies are alive and were taken from the territory of the parliament building to safety,” Kadyrov said.

Three people — two police working as security at the parliament and one civilian employee — were killed in the raid, the investigative committee of prosecutors said, adding 17 people were wounded.

“Two of the rebels blew themselves up while two were surrounded on the upper floor and measures were undertaken to neutralize them,” the National Anti-Terror Committee said according to the ITAR-TASS news agency.

The militants drove up to the building in a car and managed to break through the security cordon onto the parliament grounds by following a car driven by a deputy, ITAR-TASS said.

Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev — by coincidence on a trip to Grozny — said the operation by the security forces to free the deputies was a success and claimed Chechnya was “stable and safe”.

“As always, they (the militants) failed. They were intercepted by interior ministry troops,” he said at a televised meeting at the local interior ministry.

President Dmitry Medvedev was attending a summit in France and a Kremlin official said he had been kept informed in a telephone conversation with the head of the FSB security service Alexander Bortnikov, Nurgaliyev and Kadyrov.

The US State Department condemned the attacks, and expressed solidarity in Russia’s fight against extremists.

“We’re concerned about continued violence … in Russia’s North Caucasus, which contributes to instability and personal insecurity in the region,” a spokesman said.

The EU’s diplomacy chief Catherine Ashton said she was “appalled” by the attack and pledged to strengthen cooperation with Russia to fight international terror.

The Kremlin has been fighting separatist insurgents in the Northern Caucasus since after the collapse of the Soviet Union and waged a war in 1994-1996 against separatist rebels in Chechnya.

However, after a second war broke out in Chechnya in 1999, the rebellion’s inspiration moved towards Islam with the aim of imposing an Islamic state in the region.

Russia in April 2009 ended a decade-long “counter-terror” operation in Chechnya, a move seen by some analysts as premature.

Chechnya has in the past years seen a relative improvement in security under its strongman leader, Kadyrov, although attacks remain common.

Russia remains on high alert for militant attacks after the double bombings carried out by two female suicide bombers on the Moscow metro on March 29 killed 40 and wounded more than 100.

Over 330 people were killed in Russia’s most shocking hostage tragedy in 2004 when Chechen militants stormed a school in the town of Beslan in the Northern Caucasus region of North Ossetia.

Source: SGGP

Deadly cold snap hits Argentina, Uruguay, Chile

In Uncategorized on July 21, 2010 at 3:21 pm

An intense cold front is rearing its head across South America, killing dozens, closing down highways, and killing cattle across the Andes.

At least 26 people have died in Argentina, from a combination of exposure to harsh climates, poisoning from carbon monoxide inhalation, and other factors, according to the Associated Press.

The front, which set in Saturday, has remained over much of the countries in the Southern Hemisphere, which are in the height of winter now.

As authorities respond to shelter for thousands in need, the cold snap could wreak havoc on farmers for months to come. Argentina is just coming out of one of its worst droughts in five decades, which saw cows dying and grassland shriveled last year. In neighboring Paraguay, authorities say approximately 1,000 cattle have frozen to death.

Ten people have died in Paraguay, while in Uruguay, some two deaths have been reported due to low temperatures as of Tuesday. The Andina news agency reports that pregnant alpacas in Peru have been losing their babies.

As one reader noted on the CNN website: “I think many people are failing to realize that in some parts of these countries there is no infrastructure to handle these temperatures. While it may seem like a mild winter to some of us in the US, these places do not have similar well-heated homes. Some of them live in basic shacks.”

In Bolivia, school was cancelled through at least Wednesday, as the nation faced 18 deaths due to low temperatures. In the eastern city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, an opposition stronghold in this normally tropical region, the temperature, at 37 F, was the lowest reported in nearly three decades. Elsewhere in the country it dropped below freezing.

In Chile, the Associated Press reports that the capital, Santiago, has turned a sports stadium into a shelter after one reported death linked to exposure.

And further south, in the Aysen region (Summer Photo Essay), heavy snow has cut off access to many small towns that dot this sparsely-populated province. Weather forecasters say that this cold front could persist through tonight, and into tomorrow.

Source: SGGP

Blame-game over deadly India train crash

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2010 at 11:23 am

KOLKATA, India, July 20, 2010 (AFP) – A probe into a rail crash in eastern India that claimed more than 60 lives focused Tuesday on why a packed express train hurtled at high speed into a station where it was scheduled to halt.

The express roared into Sainthia station in West Bengal state at 90 kilometers an hour (60 miles an hour) early Monday and slammed with enormous force into the rear of a stationary train waiting to leave the platform.

An Indian man weeps as he identifies a body outside the city hospital in Suri, some 200 km north of Kolkata, on July 19, 2010, following the railway accident. AFP

More than 160 people were injured and two of them died overnight, raising the overall death toll to 63.

Speculation and looming state elections in West Bengal produced a host of theories in the immediate wake of the crash, as the potential for blame was shifted between politicians and railway officials.

Indian Railway Board Chairman Vivek Sahay suggested that human error was the most likely cause, saying the express driver had ignored a stop signal and then failed to reduce speed as he approached the station.

“Why was the train travelling so fast? The driver didn’t even touch the brakes or the emergency brakes,” Sahay told reporters.

With the express hurtling towards them, officials at Sainthia station issued frantic warnings over the public address system, telling those on the platform to run for safety.

Retired train drivers interviewed by several Indian newspapers questioned Sahay’s version of events, saying the fact that neither the driver nor his assistant attempted to apply the brakes suggested a signal failure or other technical malfunction.

Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee had initially raised the possibility of sabotage, a move her opponents said was aimed at deflecting criticism for a recent spate of train accidents on her watch.

Banerjee has come under pressure for neglecting her ministerial duties in order to concentrate on the May 2011 polls in her home state of West Bengal where she is aiming to end more than three decades of Marxist rule.

“Shunt Her Out” was the front page verdict of the Mail Today newspaper, while an editorial in The Hindu said Banerjee was “clearly not up to the job of ensuring safety on the tracks”.

West Bengal Civil Defence Minister Srikumar Mukherjee, an arch rival of Banerjee’s, ridiculed her hints at possible sabotage.

“The tragic accident took place because of negligence on the part of the railway administration,” Mukherjee said.

Source: SGGP

Turkey flies activists home after deadly Israeli raid

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2010 at 10:14 am

Hundreds of activists from the Gaza-bound aid flotilla seized by Israeli commandos arrived in Turkey Thursday, as Israel’s prime minister denounced some of them as “violent supporters of terrorism.”

A crowd of about a thousand people, some chanting anti-Israeli slogans, welcomed the three planes carrying 488 activists at Istanbul airport as they arrived in the small hours of the morning.

The planes were also carrying the bodies of nine activists killed when Israeli commandos took control of the six aid vessels in Monday’s pre-dawn operation, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told journalists at the airport.

Israel has identified four of the dead as Turkish nationals, but there has been no word yet as to the identity or nationality of the others.

An unidentified Turkish activist, who was expelled from Israel, is taken to a hospital in Ankara after arriving from Israel.

One of the new arrivals, a Turkish national of about 50 who refused to give his name, told cameras at the airport that he had been astonished at the brutality of the Israeli commandos who boarded the Mavi Marmara.

The Turkish vessel was the largest of the six vessels in the aid convoy and it was here that the deadly clashes took place.

Earlier Wednesday, Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag was on hand at a military base near Ankara to receive two seriously wounded activists, one Turkish and one an Irish national, as they flew in from Israel.

In Israel however, Netanyahu hit back at the international condemnation of the operation.

Since the activists had refused offers from both Israel and Egypt to deliver the aid to Gaza once it had been inspected, they had been left with no choice but to board the vessels, said the prime minister.

Israel’s forces had met violent resistance only on the Mavi Marmara, he added. “They were stabbed, they were clubbed, they were fired upon…

“This was not a love boat. This was a hate boat. These weren’t pacifists. These weren’t peace activists. These were violent supporters of terrorism.”

Organisers of the so-called “Freedom Flotilla” have denied the Israeli account, saying the soldiers had started firing as soon as they landed.

And they say Irish and Malaysian activists are on another aid ship heading towards Gaza despite the potential for more violence.

The Rachel Corrie, carrying building supplies, is in the Mediterranean, and organisers say it will be several days before it arrives in Gaza.

Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin urged Israel to let them through.

“It is imperative that there should be no further confrontation or bloodshed arising from what has been all along a purely humanitarian mission by those involved in the Gaza flotilla,” he said.

Israel rushed to deport the activists after Turkey, in talks with the United States, warned of fresh measures against the Jewish state.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters he had asked US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to intervene during their meeting in Washington Tuesday.

“No one has the right to prosecute people kidnapped in international waters,” he said.

Turkey has already recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv and scrapped plans for joint military exercises.

Netanyahu, in his statement, argued that if aid convoys were allowed into Gaza, which is controlled by the Islamist Hamas movement, they would become a conduit for rockets and other weapons to be used against Israel.

“Israel regrets the loss of life,” he said.

“But we will never apologize for defending ourselves. Israel has every right to prevent deadly weapons from entering into hostile territory.”

UN chief Ban Ki-moon nevertheless renewed his call for Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip, describing it as “counter-productive, unsustainable and wrong.”

The UN secretary-general also said that Israel should provide a “full and detailed account” of the commando raid.

Arab League foreign ministers meanwhile, decided to force the issue.

At a five-hour emergency meeting in Cairo late Wednesday League members decided to “break and to defy the Israeli blockade by every means,” Secretary General Amr Mussa told reporters.

The ministers welcomed Egypt’s decision Wednesday to open its Rafah crossing into the Gaza Strip Wednesday, to allow travel and the delivery of humanitarian aid. It is the only access point to Gaza not controlled by Israel.

Israeli officials said 682 people from 42 countries, with Turks the most numerous, were on board the six ships that tried to break the blockade of Gaza, which is ruled by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.

Of that total, 527 had flown out to Greece and Turkey overnight, said a foreign ministry spokesman late Wednesday.

Seven activists wounded in Monday’s clashes were still being treated in an Israeli hospital, he added.

Three others — an Irishman and two women from Australia and Italy — remained in Israel “for technical reasons,” he added, without elaborating.

Others were deported earlier.

In Greece meanwhile, a plane carrying 31 Greek activists from the aid convoy, together with three French nationals and an American, flew into Athens airport in the early hours of Thursday, the foreign ministry said.

Source: SGGP

Israel faces storm over deadly raid on Gaza aid ships

In Uncategorized on June 1, 2010 at 7:45 am

ASHDOD, Israel (AFP) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew home to Israel Tuesday, cancelling a visit to Washington as an international outcry grew over its deadly commando raid on Gaza aid ships.

Israel has said nine activitists died in the pre-dawn assault in international waters and Netanyahu expressed regret at the loss of life.

But he insisted that the Israeli commandos had “defended themselves from a lynching” at the hands of the activists as they rappelled down from helicopters onto the ships.

Police drag a protestor during a pro-Palestine demonstration outside the Israeli embassy in Athens on May 31, 2010. AFP photo

The Israeli leader was speaking from Canada ahead of what would have been talks at the White House to improve badly strained relations with the US.

US President Barack Obama expressed “deep regret” over the activists’ deaths and stressed “the importance of learning all the facts and circumstances around this morning’s tragic events as soon as possible.”

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak telephoned Secretary of State Hillary Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisor James Jones, his office said.

Israeli officials meanwhile scrambled to contain the fallout from the bloody ending to the high-profile aid mission.

Most of the dead were Turkish and their deaths plunged into crisis the Jewish state’s already fragile relations with Ankara — a government that was once its closest Muslim ally.

Turkey recalled its ambassador and there were angry anti-Israeli protests in several Turkish cities.

As Israel pointed the finger of blame at passengers for initiating the violence, activists from the ships countered with their own descriptions of how events unfolded in the raid which took place at around 5:00 am (0200 GMT).

Live footage shot by activists on the Turkish passenger boat, which was carrying more than 600 people, showed black-clad Israeli commandos clashing with activists and several wounded people lying on the deck of the ship.

Activists from the Free Gaza movement on board the Mavi Marmara charged that Israeli troops “fired directly into the crowd of civilians asleep.”

But Israeli military officials and commandos involved in the operation said they had only responded with force after being attacked with knives, clubs and even live fire.

One of the commandos told reporters he was pounced on as soon as he reached the deck. “They beat us up with metal sticks and knives,” he said. “There was live fire at some point against us.”

A senior military official said seven soldiers were wounded, two of them seriously, and said the navy had been gearing to deal with the passengers as “peace activists, not to fight.”

“This was not spontaneous. It was planned,” he said, displaying a box he said had been recovered from the boat containing switchblades, slingshots, big metal balls and metal bats.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan took strong issue with the Israeli account insisting that there had been no one aboard the vessels “other than civilian volunteers.”

The UN Security Council met in emergency session and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told delegates that Israel had “lost all legitimacy” through the deadly raid.

“It is murder committed by a state. It has no justification whatsoever,” Davutoglu said.

Britain France, Russia and China, all veto-wielding permanent council members, called for Israeli blockade of Gaza to be lifted — in line with Security Council Resolution 1860 — and for an independent inquiry.

Israel issued a travel advisory warning its citizens against travelling to Turkey, but officials said there were no plans to recall its envoy.

Ambassadors from the 27 European Union countries condemned Israel’s resort to violence against the aid flotilla and demanded an impartial inquiry.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas slammed the navy raid as “a massacre” and announced a three-day mourning period.

And Ismail Haniya, prime minister in the Gaza administration of the Islamist Hamas movement, called on the Western-backed Palestinian leadership “to halt negotiations, direct or indirect, with Israel because of this crime.”

Israeli forces took the six ships in the aid flotilla to the port of Ashdod.

A spokeswoman for Israeli immigration police told AFP Monday that more than 80 activists had been arrested and more would be detained through the night.

The ships, carrying more than 700 passengers, were on a mission to deliver some 10,000 tonnes of supplies to Gaza, which has been under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007 when Hamas seized control of the territory.

Israel had warned that it would intercept the ships.

Source: SGGP