Showing posts from January 17, 2016

LRA rebel leader accused of ordering cannibalism

International prosecutors at The Hague have accused former Ugandan rebel Dominic Ongwen of ordering his men to kill, cook and eat civilians. He is the first member of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) to appear before the International Criminal Court. Mr Ongwen has been accused of 70 war crimes and crimes against humanity. His defence is likely to use his past as a former child soldier and kidnap victim as part of a plea for leniency. Prosecutors used Thursday’s confirmation-of-charges hearing to try to convince judges there is enough evidence for Mr Ongwen to stand trial. They said Mr Ongwen had used schoolgirls as sex slaves, conscripted child soldiers and, in at least one instance, ordered his men to kill, cook and eat civilians The prosecution is focusing on attacks on four displaced camps housing civilians driven out by the LRA’s violence. Source:

Here’s how terrorists recruit Africa’s children

In the aftermath of the attack on a hotel in Burkina Faso on Friday, just as in the attack on a luxury hotel in Mali in November, photographs of the killers showed some of them to be boys in their early teens.  After the Nov. 20, 2015, attack in Bamako, the Malian capital, which Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its offshoot al-Mourabitoun said they carried out, an image on Mali state television showed two young men alleged to be the “authors” of the incident that killed at least 22 people, mostly foreign nationals.  Then, last Friday, the same AQIM group unleashed another batch of young militants on Burkina Faso’s popular Splendid Hotel and a neighboring cafe in the capital, Ouagadougou, killing 30 people including eight Burkinabes, six Canadians, three Ukrainians, three French and an American. On Monday, the jihadists published photographs of three adolescent men said to have carried out the Ouagadougou attacks. They wore military uniforms, held Kalashnikovs, and were g

Exclusive: Saudi-Iranian proxy war over Syria spreads to Davos

Senior Saudi and Iranian figures clashed behind closed doors at a private meeting convened by the World Economic Forum in Davos this week to try to promote peace in Syria, participants said. The barbed exchange between Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at an invitation-only meeting on Wednesday underlined the hostility between the two Gulf rivals, who are waging proxy wars in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. Riyadh broke off diplomatic relations and cut off trade and transport ties with Tehran two weeks ago after protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Iran. The protests erupted following the Saudi execution of a leading Shi'ite cleric that outraged predominantly Shi'ite Iranians. The standoff highlights some of the reasons U.S.-Russian-backed peace talks on Syria may not open as planned in Geneva next week. There is no agreement on who should represent opponents of the Syrian government, and Riyadh-backed rebels are demanding that Russia first

A day after terror attack, Somalis take to Twitter to reclaim their beloved beach

There was one place Somalis could escape during the recent decades of terrorism, clan warfare and chaos: Liido Beach in the capital, Mogadishu, with its pure white sands and deep blue sea. This week the beach became part of the chaos as gunmen opened fire on an oceanfront restaurant as a car bomb exploded near the entrance. The Islamic militant group  Shabab  is thought to be responsible for the assault, which killed 25 people. As if raising a defiant flag, Somalis soon took to Twitter to reclaim the city’s favorite leisure spot from the terrorists. Early Friday, less than day after the attack, the hashtag #TweetLiidoPictures appeared. “This is home, where we belong,” wrote one man, Mukhtar Nuur, who describes himself as a filmmaker. View image on Twitter  Follow Mukhtar Nuur   @MukhtarNuur This is home, where we belong # TweetLiidoPictures # Mogadishu # Somalia 4:04 PM - 22 Jan 2016  ·  Somalia, Somalia View image on Twitter  Follow Muk

Terrorism remains major threat in West Africa despite electoral progress – senior UN official

14 January 2016 – While peaceful and credible elections were held in several countries in West Africa in the past six months, violent extremism continues to pose a serious threat throughout the area, the top United Nations official for the region warned today. “Violent extremism and terrorist activities remain a major threat to security and development in West Africa, further aggravating the region's humanitarian challenges,” Mohamed Ibn Chambas,  Secretary-General  Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative and Head of the UN Office for West Africa ( UNOWA ), told the Security Council. “While some progress has been made in the fight against Boko Haram, the terrorist group continues its indiscriminate attacks against civilians not only in Nigeria, but also in Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. Boko Haram continues to adapt its tactics, and is increasingly resorting to using young boys and girls for suicide attacks.” He noted that countries in the region have intensified their effo