Blasts and street violence continue in Mali’s largest northern city after Islamist insurgent guerrilla raids. France has responded with an air strike, according to AFP. The violence throws into question claims of stability after the city’s recapture. A large explosion hit Gao early on Monday morning, near a city checkpoint which has also been the subject of two previous attacks over the past three days, reported AFP. A French helicopter bombed the area following the blast, said the agency, citing witnesses at the scene.
The police station, which had been the setting of Sunday’s gunfire, was destroyed and body parts were left lying in the debris, according to an AFP reporter. The broad-scale guerilla assault began on Sunday, less than 10 days after French President Francois Hollande flew out to Mali to declare the apparent success of the campaign.
Protesters have raided a police station in Tunis, witnesses say, after clashes where police fired tear gas. There have been large scale demonstrations in the country after the assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaid on Wednesday. Clashes erupted Thursday between police and anti-government protesters who were marching in Tunis, the capital, to protest the assassination of prominent opposition leader Chokri Belaid. Protesters approached the interior ministry on Habib Bourguiba Avenue, which was at the center of the 2011 revolution, which toppled ex-dictator Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.
Around 300 protesters marched down the avenue chanting, “The people want the fall of the regime”.
Police were deployed in force amid fears that the murder of Belaid could reignite nationwide violence, but other than firing teargas police did not react. Earlier on Thursday afternoon in the central town of Gafsa, anti-Islam protestors threw petrol bombs at police… Continue reading
Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid has been shot dead outside his home, prompting thousands of Tunisians to protest in the capital and across the country, torching ruling party offices in several towns and chanting “the government should fall.”
In Tunis thousands of people flooded the central Habib Bourguiba Avenue, close to the tree-lined boulevard, where violent anti-government protests were raging two years ago, when the so-called Arab Sprig was ignited. Flocking to the Interior Ministry office, protesters were chanting “The people want the fall of the regime!”
Security forces cordoned off the area. As an ambulance carrying Belaid’s body was driven in front of the ministry, hundreds of mourners crowded around the vehicle. Calls for a second revolution were heard from the crowd. The protesters were chanting “We are all Chokri,” “O Chokri, O martyr, we will follow your path,” and “Terrorism, bullets,… Continue reading
Meanwhile, on Monday police fired tear gas at demonstrators in the Nile Delta city of Tanta after the funeral of an activist who died in police custody. The activist, Mohammed al-Guindi, 28, was picked up by police in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square on January 25, during a demonstration commemorating the second anniversary of the country’s uprising. He was later taken unconscious to a hospital and died of his injuries on Monday. Doctors at the hospital… Continue reading
US senators have requested the legal justification for the killings of US citizens suspected of terrorism by the Obama administration. Meanwhile a ‘chilling’ leaked memo showed that the government sees little need for constraint on the issue.
A group of 11 senators on Monday wrote a letter to President Barack Obama, asking him to release all Justice Department memos on the practice of targeting US citizens suspected of being terrorist leaders with lethal force, particularly drone airstrikes. The request comes as the administration seeks Senate approval for John Brennan, Obama’s nomination for CIA chief.
“As the Senate considers a number of nominees for senior national security positions, we ask that you ensure that Congress is provided with the secret legal opinions outlining your authority to authorize the killing of Americans in the course of counterterrorism operations,” the letter’s opening paragraph reads.
Brennan, who is deputy national security advisor to the president, is to face questioning from the Senate Intelligence Committee on February 7. As the Obama administration carries on many of the Bush-era policies that exist in something of a legal gray area, lawmakers want to be sure they have all the information possible in order to “avoid an unnecessary confrontation that could affect the Senate’s consideration of nominees for national security positions.” Continue reading
French President Francois Hollande is triumphant about his operation in Mali, but stories are emerging which show a different side of the war. Journalist Gonzalo Wancho tells RT that for every two rebels killed in airstrikes, a dozen civilians died.
“We’re learning what happened in battle day by day. In the town of Konna, we heard stories from the fog of war. [Rebels] fled to the north when French troops showed up. It’s reported that the cost of that victory was high. While French planes killed only two rebels, the number of civilian casualties were an estimated 14,” journalist Gonzalo Wancha told RT.
It comes just days after French President Francois Hollande declared “victory” in northern Malian cities. But the victory also had its price:
“I wasn’t home when the bombing began. I started praying when I learned my house was under attack. They ruined everything I had – my family and my livelihood. [My children were 11, 10, and 6]. They all died,” Idrís Meiga, a farmer from Konna, told RT.
Meiga’s story is not unique. In fact, it is becoming all too common to hear of similar tragedies in northern Mali. Continue reading
The military aircraft are part of a group of twenty F-16 warplanes that are planned to be dispatched to Egypt this year with four of them already arrived in January and the rest due later in 2013.
The delivery, however, provoked criticism inside the US Congress with Kentucky Republican Senator Ran Paul calling the action a “huge mistake.” The United States delivered 224 F-16 aircraft to Egypt at the order of former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Malian child soldiers are fighting in the country’s conflict, journalists on the ground have reported. While French troops have boasted of the successful retaking of northern Mali from Islamist fighters, sectarian violence is worsening.
The three-week-long intervention has created havoc and misery, reporter Gonzalo Wancha said, adding that the scars of the conflict will likely last a lifetime.
“The war became a real nightmare for the Malians,” Wancha told RT. “The French intervention left a pile of debris and ashes, but that’s just the visible traces of the war they left.”
Reporters have witnessed scores of armed children fighting in Mali. Local resident Mohamed Kandanku, shared his story of losing his brother to the armed youth:
“My brother was attacked by a group of militants,” Kandanku said. “There were children among them. He started running and got back into our house. But they followed him.… Continue reading
Protests turn violent in key Egyptian cities again on Friday, as thousands take to the streets to demand the end of Morsi’s government. Police brutally dispersed petrol bomb-throwing protesters in Cairo, arresting and injuring dozens. At least 48 people were injured during clashes in Cairo on Friday, Al Arabiya reported. Dozens of people have reportedly been arrested. Some of the arrests turned ugly with at least one case of police beating and stripping a protester, and dragging him naked into a police van “like a piece of meat,” Cairo-based journalist Bel Trew reported in her twitter.
Protesters threw Molotov cocktails and launced fireworks over the gates of the presidential building, Cairo-based journalist Bel Trew told RT. The angry crowds were pushed back by the teargas-firing security forces on armored vehicles, she added. Deafening shotgun fire was heard on the scene of the clash, as the… Continue reading
The British prime minister has made a surprise visit to the Libyan capital for talks centred on security, just days after his government, which played a key role in Libya’s revolution, warned of threats to its embassy.
David Cameron flew into Tripoli on Thursday morning before his entourage was ringed by security, then headed to a police academy for a ceremony to mark the promotion of officers, accompanied by Ashur Shwayel, the Libyan interior minister.
“I will never forget the scenes I saw in Tripoli and [the eastern city of] Benghazi,” Cameron said soon after arriving in the North African country, in reference to the 2011 revolution that toppled Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
“The British people want to stand with you and help you deliver the greater security that Libya needs,” he was quoted by the BBC as saying.
“We look forward to working together in the years… Continue reading