Egypt. 36 prisoners killed in attempted jailbreak
The bloodbath in Egypt continued yesterday Sunday August 18th 2013 when 36 Islamist prisoners were killed during what the authorities described as an attempted jailbreak. The killings were the latest in five days of bloodshed sparked by police and military operations to clear Islamists from protest camps in Cairo.
Though the Egyptian interior ministry issued a statement saying the prisoners had taken an officer hostage and died after suffocating on tear gas, the Muslim Brotherhood claim the incident was ‘cold-blooded killing’.
Press reports say the prisoners were being transferred to the Abu Zaabal prison outside Cairo when the incident happened.
On Sunday night, Egypt’s army said there would be no “let-up in its violent confrontation with the Muslim Brotherhood”
The army and police have sent reinforcements to the Abu Zaabal prison, the scene of Sunday’s deadly jailbreak attempt
A source told Reuters the men died from asphyxiation in the back of a crammed police van.
The Islamists said they cancelled “several marches” on Sunday, but but ordered others to go ahead.
In a related development, at least 24 security forces recruits were killed and three wounded early today (Monday) when suspected militants fired rocket-propelled grenades at two buses carrying the soldiers to Arish in North Sinai, security sources told Associated press.
The buses were attacked on the International Rafah/Arish road while carrying the recruits on their way to vacation. Three injured soldiers whose condition is described as injured, were transferred to the Arish Military Hospital for treatment.
Malawi. Western nations urged to lift Zimbabwean sanctions
The chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has called on Western nations to review the illegal sanctions they imposed on Zimbabwe after the country held “free, fair and credible harmonized elections” on July 31 2013.
Malawian president and SADC chairperson Mrs. Joyce Banda said Zimbabweans voted in general elections using the organization’s approved principles and guidelines for holding democratic elections and Zanu-PF won fair and square.
“I want the West to review its position on the sanctions in Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans deserve better and have suffered enough” President Banda said.
She made the call while closing the SADC Summit meeting held in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital over the weekend.
In 2003, US president George W. Bush imposed travel bans and other sanctions against top level Zimbabwean officials including President Mugabe. Zanu-PF won a two-thirds majority in last month’s general elections
DR Congo. Child-soldiers released by Armed group in DR Congo
Eighty two child soldiers, ranging in ages between 8 and 17, have been released by the Mayi Mayi Bakata Katanga armed group in DR Congo. The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country welcomed the release. .
The children – 69 boys and 13 girls were reportedly recruited during the past six months by elements of Mayi Mayi Bakata Katanga, according to a news release issued by the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC (MONUSCO).
They were identified and separated through concerted efforts by child protection agencies working together in Kibwela, Moba Territory, and Kayumba, Manono Territory – all in Katanga province. About half of the children were immediately reunited with their families, while the others are receiving interim care pending re-unification with their families.
Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of MONUSCO said “we are extremely concerned by continued reports of active recruitment by Mayi Mayi Bakata Katanga and other armed groups in eastern DRC,”
“Children face unacceptable risks when they are recruited for military purposes,” he noted. “The recruitment of children, particularly those under 15 years of age, could constitute a war crime and those responsible must be held to account.”
Somalai. Rape, Gender-Based Violence rampant in Somalia
A new UN report says rape and sexual abuse is widespread throughout Somalia, though cases remain seriously under-reported. The report notes that during the first half of the year, from January to June, some 800 cases of sexual and gender-based violence were reported in the capital, Mogadishu.
Sexual and gender-based violence has been pervasive in Somalia for many years and appears to be skyrocketing. According to Jens Laerke, spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, internally displaced women and girls are those mostly affected.
“Rape continues to be perpetrated by unknown armed men and men wearing military uniform. Sexual and gender-based violence also includes domestic violence, harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation, and early and forced marriage. The majority of the survivors of this are women aged 18 and above,” Laerke said.
The United Nations estimates the number of internally displaced people in Somalia at 1.1 million. Last year, the U.N. recorded at least 1,700 rapes in 500 camps in the capital Mogadishu. Human rights groups say many cases of rape go unreported because women fear being stigmatized and victims of reprisals.
Early this year, a woman was arrested for claiming security forces had raped her. She and the journalist who broke the story were imprisoned for one year. They were released two months later following international condemnation about their detention.
Presently, investigations are under way into the alleged gang rape by African Union troops of a Somali woman in Mogadishu.
The United Nations reports humanitarian agencies on the ground provide survivors of sexual abuse with medical assistance, psychosocial support, and legal counseling.