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Showing posts from April 14, 2014

Ukraine's deadline for pro-Russian rebels to surrender passes

An ultimatum issued by Ukraine's acting president for pro-Russian protesters in control of government buildings in the east of the country to lay down their arms or face an "anti-terrorist" operation passed on Monday with no sign of movement on either side.

The deadline – 9am local time (0700 GMT) – passed after the UN security council met in an emergency session in New York, where Russia called Ukraine's threat to mobilise armed forces a "criminal order".

Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, said on Monday that the operation would soon begin. In a nationally televised address on Sunday night, he promised amnesty to those who had not fired at security forces if they laid down their arms and vacated seized government buildings.

The statement came after pro-Russian protesters seized more government buildings in several cities in the Donetsk region on Sunday, actions for which locals have claimed credit. Kiev and Washington have blamed Russia for …

Egyptian police 'using rape as a weapon' against dissident groups

Two male political dissidents claim they were raped in Egyptian police custody in separate assaults that campaigners suspect are indicative of a wider strategy as the brutal crackdown on opposition continues.

Plainclothes officers allegedly assaulted Omar el-Shouekh, 19, inside an east Cairo police station on 24 March, minutes after he was arrested following a student protest. In written testimony provided to the Observerby his lawyer, Shouekh also alleged that he was beaten and given electric shocks.

A second man, Fadi Samir, said he was sexually assaulted in similar fashion in a different police station on 8 January. Samir also alleged that throughout his subsequent 42-day detention, he was frequently beaten and at one point groped by a policeman while at a urinal. Like many detainees, Samir alleged that prosecutors interrogated him on police property rather than neutral territory – failing to maintain an adequate separation of powers between Egypt's judicial system and the police…

Nigerian Militants Kill 217 People in Borno, Senator Says

Attacks by suspected Nigerian Islamic insurgent group Boko Haram killed 217 people in the country’s northeastern Borno state yesterday, a senator representing the region said.

Five villages were targeted in early morning raids by militants, Borno Central Senator Ahmed Zanna said by phone today. Sixty people were killed in Kala Balge, seven teachers died at a college in Dikwa and there were 150 deaths in three other villages in the state, he said.

With less than a year before elections, Nigerian security forces are battling to quell violence and lawlessness across large parts of the country, Africa’s biggest economy and its top oil producer. In northeastern Nigeria, the army has been fighting Boko Haram for four years in a conflict the Brussels-based International Crisis Group said this month killed more than 4,000 people and forced almost 500,000 to flee their homes.

Major-General Chris Olukolade, a spokesman for the military, didn’t answer a call to his mobile phone or immediately respo…