Un observador desprevenido podría concluir, de la lectura de los diarios en los últimos días, que dejando de lado Medio Oriente y algunas partes de Europa, el resto del planeta está tranquilo como agua de pozo. No, chicos: hay otro continente que hierve de violencia sanguinaria. Hablamos de Africa. Las 19 noticias que siguen son del portal iraní PressTV y corresponden a los últimos 15 días. Dos semanas. ¿Se imaginan si algo así estuviera ocurriendo en América del Sur?
1. Armed men attack UN peacekeeping base in northern Mali, kill three
A group of armed men have attacked a base for the United Nations’ (UN) peacekeepers in northeastern Mali, leaving at least three people dead and 14 others wounded.
An official from the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), whose name was not released in reports, said the assault took place in the town of Kidal on Saturday.
“Our camp … was attacked early this morning by terrorists using rockets,” the official said, adding that two Guinean UN peacekeepers and a civilian contractor were among those who lost their lives in Saturday’s incident.
Another unidentified UN source also said that 14 people sustained injuries in the attack, including three seriously.
The incident came a few days after a siege at the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital city of Bamako, which claimed the lives of 20 people plus two gunmen. Several foreigners were also among the casualties.
On November 20, gunmen held around 170 guests and staff hostage for about nine hours before Malian and international forces stormed the luxury hotel to free the captives.
Both the Macina Liberation Front, a Malian militant group, and the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Mourabitoun group, led by Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, claimed responsibility for the hotel attack and hostage-taking.
Mali has been witnessing violence linked to militant activity in its northern region since 2012. The area remains vulnerable to attacks despite a military operation led by France in 2013, which came after the UN Security Council passed a resolution on the deployment of MINUSMA to the region.
2. 16k children requited by rebels, army in South Sudan: UNICEF
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says up to 16,000 children have been forcibly recruited by both rebel forces and the army in South Sudan since a brutal civil war broke out in the landlocked African country in 2013.
“There are now 16,000 children associated with armed groups and the military,” UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac told reporters in the Swiss city of Geneva on Friday, adding that some minors have been forced into direct armed combat, while others are serving as messengers or porters in very dangerous circumstances.
Boulierac also warned that children were kidnapped, killed and subjected to sexual violence in the violence-wracked African state.
Despite the signing of a recent peace deal between South Sudan’s rebels and army forces, “there has been little sign of improvement,” the UNICEF spokesman said.
On August 26, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir signed the peace accord, which had already been signed by Riek Machar, the current rebel leader and former vice president.
The ceasefire came into effect on August 29 following months of on-off talks, hosted by Ethiopia sides, but the truce has far failed to stop the deadly fighting in South Sudan. Among other things, the peace deal urges both conflicting sides to stop fighting and release all child soldiers and prisoners of war.
South Sudan plunged into chaos in December 2013, when fighting erupted around the capital city of Juba between troops loyal to Kiir and defectors led by Machar.
Violence has reportedly forced 2.3 million people from their homes and left 4.6 million others in need of emergency food aid. Approximately 1,500 children have also been killed while 900,000 others have been internally displaced in South Sudan, according to UNICEF.
3. 21 killed in bomb attack on Shia Muslims in Nigeria
More than 20 people have been killed in a bomb attack targeting Shia Muslims during an annual religious procession in the northern Nigerian state of Kano.
On Friday, a bomber detonated his explosives among a crowd of Shia Muslims participating in a march organized by followers of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in Dakasoye village south of Kano, the capital of the province with the same name.
Organizers of the procession said several people were also injured in the attack which happened days before Shias in Nigeria are going to commemorate Arbaeen, the 40th day since the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the third Shia Imam, and his followers in the Battle of Karbala, which is to fall on December 2 this year.
“We lost 21 people and several others have been injured,” said Muhammad Turi from the Islamic Movement.
Turi, who was leading the procession when the attack happened, said the incident was no surprise as similar attacks happen all over Nigeria almost on a daily basis.
He added, however, that the deadly blast will not deter Nigeria’s Shia community from continuing to perform its religious duties, stressing, “This will not deter us from our religious observance. Even if all of us were bombed the last person will carry on with this duty.”
One of the organizers also said the assailant “was dressed in black like everyone else. His accomplice was initially arrested and confessed they were sent by Boko Haram.”
Boko Karam has not claimed responsibility for the attack, but Nigerian officials usually blame the Takfiri terror group for such assaults.
At least 17,000 people have been killed and more than 2.5 million made homeless since the Boko Haram militancy began in 2009, when the terror group started an armed rebellion against the government.
The terrorists have recently pledged allegiance to the Takfiri Daesh militant group, which is primarily operating inside Syria and Iraq.
4. 18 killed by Boko Haram Takfiri militants in Niger
Takfiri Boko Haram militants have attacked a village in southeast Niger, killing 18 people and burning nearly 100 homes, local authorities say.
The assault occurred in the village of Wogom located in Diffa late Wednesday. The Takfiri militants are believed to have come to Niger after crossing the Komadougou Yobe river which separates the country from Nigeria.
Niger's southeast Diffa region near Nigeria has witnessed numerous attacks since February, including one in June when 38 people lost their lives and the latest in October, during which the Boko Haram terrorists shot 13 people dead in a village.
Niger has joined a regional military alliance alongside Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria to battle Nigeria-based Boko Haram elements, whose violence has spilled over into several African nations.
The Boko Haram militancy began in 2009, when the terrorist group started an armed rebellion against the government. At least 17,000 people have been killed and more than 2.5 million made homeless since then.
The terrorists have recently pledged allegiance to the Takfiri Daesh militant group, which is primarily operating inside Syria and Iraq.
5. Bomb blast hits military bus in Tunisia, 12 dead
At least 12 people have lost their lives and 16 others have been injured in a bomb blast targeting a bus carrying presidential guards in Tunisia, the Interior Ministry says.
A ministry spokesman, whose name was not revealed, announced the casualties figure after an explosion struck the vehicle on the Mohamed V avenue in the Tunisian capital city of Tunis on Tuesday.
Presidential spokesman Moez Sinaoui described the incident as an "attack."
The attack was likely caused by a bomber detonating explosives inside the vehicle, a presidential source said.
No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Ambulances rushed to the scene of Tuesday’s incident while Tunisian security forces sealed off the area.
The explosion came 10 days after authorities increased the security level in the Tunisian capital and deployed security forces in high numbers.
Tunisia has been plagued violence since the 2011 uprising, which ousted former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who had been in power for over two decades.
Earlier this year, two attacks, which were claimed by the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, occurred in Tunisia, with one of them at the National Bardo Museum in March, killing 21 tourists and a policeman, and the second one at a resort hotel in the city of Sousse in June, killing 38 tourists.
The Daesh militants, who have seized swathes of land in Iraq and Syria, have been carrying out horrific acts of violence, such as public decapitations and crucifixions, against all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians in areas they have overrun.
6. Algeria camp fire kills 18 African migrants
At least 18 people have been killed and 43 others injured in a fire incident at a camp for African migrants in Algeria.
Emergency services said on Tuesday that the blaze began before dawn at the camp housing about 600 migrants in Ouargla, 800 kilometers (500 miles) southeast of Algeria’s capital, Algiers.
According to the head of the Algerian Red Crescent, Saida Benhabiles, “a short circuit triggered the explosion of a heater and the fire.”
Authorities have launched an investigation into the incident.
Algeria has been a top North African destination for sub-Saharans seeking a better life.
Benhabiles said that since 2014, Algeria has managed to send back more than 4,000 migrants from Niger, adding that 400 more migrants were due to be returned to Niger from Ouargla.
According to Benhabiles, the migrants “are constantly on the move. One day, there could be 2,000 (migrants) and the next they are 200.”
7. Gunmen kill 4 Egyptian security personnel south of Cairo
Four Egyptian security personnel have been killed in a shooting attack on a police checkpoint south of the capital, Cairo.
Two gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire using machine guns at the checkpoint in the ancient burial ground of Saqqara, a security source said on Saturday.
The Egyptian Interior Ministry said in a statement that the assailants were still at large and security forces were scanning the area of the attack in search of the gunmen.
The news of the shooting attack comes as Egyptian security forces and officials have been frequently targeted by militants based in the Sinai Peninsula.
The volatile region is regarded as a safe haven for the militants from the so-called Sinai Province Takfiri group.
In mid-November, Egyptian security forces killed 24 Sinai militants in an attack on their hideout in the central part of the region.
The Sinai Province militant group has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks in the region over the past months. The group has pledged allegiance to the Takfiri Daesh terrorists currently operating against the governments in Syria and Iraq.
8. Car bomb attack kills six guards near Libya capital: Sources
At least six security guards have been killed and 14 others wounded after a car bomb went off at a checkpoint on a coastal road east of the Libyan capital city of Tripoli, a security source says.
Safwan Bayou, commander of a unit in charge of security on the coastal road linking eastern and western Libya, said on Tuesday that the bomb targeted the Mislattah checkpoint close to the city of Khoms.
"The car bomb explosion left six dead and 14 wounded, all civilians," he added.
No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Over the past four years, Libya has been grappling with political uncertainty and violence committed by militants such as members of Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.
Since August 2014, when militias seized Tripoli, Libya has had two parliaments and two governments with one, the General National Congress (GNC), run by the rebels in the capital and the other, which is internationally-recognized, based in the northeastern city of Tobruk.
The United Nations has proposed the formation of a national unity government in an effort to end the conflict in the North African state. Under the proposal, a nine-member presidential council, including a prime minister, five deputy prime ministers and three senior ministers, will govern Libya.
9. Blasts near hotel in Egypt’s el-Arish claim six lives
At least six people, including one election judge, have been killed in bomb explosions targeting an area outside an Egyptian hotel in North Sinai, state media reports say.
The blasts occurred outside the Swiss Inn hotel in the North Sinai city of el-Arish on Tuesday, killing the election judge monitoring the parliamentary elections in Egypt and a policeman, among others. At least 12 others were also wounded in the bombings.
State television and security forces said the first blast went off after police forces opened fire at a man who attempted to drive his car into the hotel.
The second bombing struck the area minutes later.
The area has been closed off by police forces.
The violence comes a day after polling stations closed in the second round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections. The first round was held on October 18 and 19.
The general election is the first to be held in Egypt since 2011, after the revolution that ousted the country’s long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Although no group or individual has yet claimed responsibility for the bombings, the Wilayat Sinai (Sinai Province) terrorists, affiliated to the Takfiri Daesh group, has claimed similar attacks in the region in the past, including a deadly bombing of a Russian passenger plane in the Sinai Peninsula on October 31.
Over the past years, the militants have been carrying out anti-government activities, taking advantage of the turmoil caused in the country after democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi was ousted from power by the military in July 2013.
10. At least 22 killed in clashes, drone attack in Somalia
Clashes between several rival armed sides and a drone strike in Somalia have killed at least 22 people in the African country.
At least 14 people died and 13 were wounded in clashes between soldiers from two autonomous federal states in central Somalia on Sunday, DPA reported.
Armed groups from the central states of Puntland and Galmudug fought over control of the city of Galkayo, which is located on the border between the two states.
For the past several years, the strategic city has been run by two competing governments.
Somalia has lacked a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
Meanwhile, in the southern Somalia, at least eight members of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group were killed and another five injured by a drone attack on a camp belonging to them.
According to authorities, three rockets were fired from the drone and hit the camp which was located near the city of Beledul Amin in the Lower Shabelle state around midnight on Saturday.
Authorities also confirmed that a high-ranking al-Shabaab leader was among the dead.
The origin of the drone was not immediately known, but the US has been using unmanned airplanes in Somalia and other countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen - to target what it calls militants. According to witnesses, however, the attacks have mostly led to civilian deaths.
According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW), the US drone strikes have killed many civilians over the past few years in a blatant violation of international law.
11. Bomb attack kills 8 in northeastern Nigeria
A bomb attack has claimed the lives of at least eight people and injured several others in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State.
A female bomber detonated her bomb among a group of displaced women and children arriving in Maiduguri, the capital of the volatile state on Sunday.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said the bomber "sneaked in amongst them disguised as an IDP (interally displaced person) before setting off her explosives".
“Since the internally displaced persons were coming voluntarily into the town, it was decided that they had to be screened to avoid the insurgents mingling with them,” said the chairman of the agency, Ahmed Satomi in a statement.
No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the bombings, but the Takfiri Boko Haram terrorists have claimed similar assaults in the past.
Last week, a similar explosion killed at least 32 people and injured about 80 people in the Nigerian city of Yola.
Boko Haram, which controls parts of northeastern Nigeria, started its militancy against the government in 2009 and recently pledged allegiance to the Daesh Takfiri group, active in Syria, Iraq, and Libya.
Some 20,000 people have been killed in the six-year-old violence that has spread to neighboring countries.
Soldiers from Chad, Cameroon, and Niger joined Nigerian forces in the battle against the terrorists after the violence spread across neighboring countries and became a regional issue.
12. At least 10 people killed in bomb attacks in Cameroon
At least ten people, including a traditional chief, have been killed after four female bombers blew themselves up in northern Cameroon.
"The initial figures speak of 10 dead, including the suicide bombers, and around a dozen wounded," a senior Cameroonian army commander said on Saturday.
One of the female attackers set off her explosives outside the house of a local chief in the village of Nigue near the town of Fotokol, located on the border with Nigeria, on Saturday.
The attack killed the local chief and four members of his family, regional governor Midjiyawa Bakari said.
Boko Haram militants often carry out terrorist attacks in Fotokol.
The Takfiri militants claim their main objective is to overthrow the Abuja government.
Boko Haram’s crimes include bombings, terrorist operations and militant attacks, not only in the group's birthplace, Nigeria, but also in Cameroon and neighboring Chad, as well as other African nations.
The militancy by the terrorist group which started in 2009 has so far claimed the lives of at least 17,000 people and made more than 1.5 million displaced.
Human rights group Amnesty International said last month that at least 1,600 people have been killed in attacks carried out by Boko Haram militants since the start of June.
The group added that at least 3,500 civilians have also been killed by Boko Haram so far this year.
13. 32 people killed, 80 wounded in huge blast in Nigeria’s Yola
More than 30 people have lost their lives and 80 more sustained injuries in an explosion that ripped through a market in the northeastern Nigerian city of Yola.
The bomb was detonated beside a main road in a crowded market in the Jambutu area of Adamawa’s provincial capital at about 20:20 local time (1920 GMT) on Tuesday, but it was not immediately clear whether it was caused by an improvised explosive device or an explosive-laden vest worn by a terrorist.
“So far, we've recorded about 32 dead and about 80 injured,” said Sa'ad Bello, the Yola coordinator for the National Emergency Management Agency, AFP reported.
The Red Cross and state police, however, gave a lower toll of 31 dead and 72 wounded.
According to Red Cross official Aliyu Maikano and local residents, the targeted area was a lorry park which also houses a livestock market, an open-air eatery and a mosque.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the blast, but it bears the hallmark of Boko Haram Takfiri militants.
The deadly explosion occurred just days after Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari visited Yola and said that the defeat of Boko Haram was close.
“With what I have seen today, I believe that the Boko Haram are very close to defeat and I urge you to quickly clear the remnants of these criminals from wherever they may still be hiding,” Buhari said on Friday.
Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden,” has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly shootings and bombings in Nigeria since the beginning of their militancy in 2009, which has so far claimed the lives of at least 15,000 people and made more than 1.5 million displaced.
The terrorists have recently pledged allegiance to the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, which is primarily operating inside Syria and Iraq.
14. Hostage crisis at Mali hotel over, 21 killed
Several hours of hostage crisis at a hotel in the Malian capital, Bamako, has come to an end, leaving 21 people dead, including two of the gunmen who stormed the place.
"They currently have no more hostages in their hands and forces are in the process of tracking them down," security minister Salif Traore told a news conference following a stand-off of several hours at Bamako's Radisson Blu hotel.
Some 170 people, including nationals from France and Turkey, were initially held hostage by a gunmen.
The hotel chain company initially said in a statement that 140 guests and 30 employees had been taken hostage in the former French colony.
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said 21 people, including two gunmen, were killed and seven others wounded in the attack before special forces managed to enter the hotel and end the stand-off.
However, UN peacekeepers at the site had earlier said they saw 27 dead bodies there.
A Belgian local government official is reportedly among those killed.
Geoffrey Dieudonne, an official with the parliament of Belgium's French-speaking community, had been in Mali for a convention, a parliament spokesman told Belga news agency.
A security source said earlier that some 10 gunmen were believed to have been inside the hotel. A Malian military source said two gunmen were killed in the siege.
Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita cut short his trip to Chad where he was attending a regional meeting. Keita’s office said he will beck to Bamako “in the next hours.”
One of the freed hostages said he had heard attackers in the next room speaking English.
"I heard them say in English 'Did you load it?', 'Let's go'," singer Sékouba 'Bambino' Diabate, said in Conakry. "I wasn't able to see them because in these kinds of situations it's hard."
15. 10 killed in fighting between Somali soldiers in Mogadishu
Fighting between Somali soldiers has left at least ten people dead in the capital city, Mogadishu.
At least 15 others, including both soldiers and civilians, were wounded in the clashes on Monday.
Police and eyewitnesses said that a gun battle erupted between the soldiers when some of the troops tried to stop the others from distributing food aid coupons to internally displaced people.
"Women and children are among the fatalities," police representative Abdi Hassan said.
"The commanders responsible for this horrible violence should face justice," a senior security official said on condition of anonymity.
“Security forces are investigating the incident,” the source added.
Widespread militancy by the al-Shabaab Takfiri group across Somalia and droughts and flooding in different parts of the east African state have pushed thousands of people to take refuge in the Mogadishu area.
Somalia has been struggling to reconstitute its 8,000-member army, which collapsed with the government back in 1991, plunging the country into over two decades of chaos after warlords overthrew the country's former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
16. 24 militants killed in central Sinai: Egypt
Security sources added on Monday that eight more militants were arrested during the raid on the mountainous cave about 70 kilometers from the site of the recent crash of a Russian passenger plane.
The airplane crashed in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on October 31, leaving all the 224 people on board dead.
The Wilayat Sinai (Sinai Province) terrorists, affiliated to the Daesh Takfiri group, claimed responsibility for the crash of the Airbus A321 run by Russia’s Kogalymavia airline. Neither Russia nor Egypt has confirmed the claims.
The militant group launched its anti-government operations two years ago by taking advantage of the turmoil caused in the country after the democratically-elected president Mohammad Morsi was ousted from power by the junta in 2011.
Cairo views the volatile Sinai region as a safe haven for terrorists.
The terrorists have targeted a multitude of government officials, policemen and army troops deployed to Sinai to restore security.
Egyptian security forces have been engaged in operations to quell acts of terrorism and militancy in the Sinai Peninsula.
17. 1,100 schools destroyed by Boko Haram militants this year: UN
The United Nations (UN) says some 1,100 schools have been destroyed by Boko Haram militants so far this year in regions surrounding Lake Chad in Africa.
Toby Lanzer, the UN envoy to Sahel region in Africa, said on Monday that the attacked schools were in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad.
Boko Haram, which controls parts of northeastern Nigeria, started its militancy against the African state government in 2009. The militancy has now become a regional issue, having spilled over into Nigeria’s neighboring countries. More than 17,000 people have so far been killed in the insurgency.
The militant group, whose name means "Western education is forbidden", is blamed for attacking schools and universities in the region.
Lanzer also said Boko Haram attacks have forced 2.6 million people, including 2.2 million Nigerians, to flee their homes in the militant group’s stronghold region around Lake Chad that touches the four African countries.
He further noted that the militancy, poverty and a rise in population in areas surrounding Lake Chad could lead refugees displaced by Boko Haram militants towards Europe, which is already struggling with an influx of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekeres fleeing conflicts in crisis-hit regions in the Middle East and North Africa.
Lanzer also praised Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s response to Boko Haram militants. Buhari instructed Nigeria’s military to crush the group by the end of this year.
In September, Amnesty International said in a statement that at least 1,600 people have been killed in Boko Haram attacks in the four affected countries since the start of June. The rights group also said at least 3,500 civilians have been killed by Boko Haram so far this year.
Reports indicate that 1,260 people have been killed in Boko Haram violence in Nigeria alone since late May, with the majority of attacks happening in Borno State’s places of worship, markets and bus stations.
18. Six killed, several injured in Burundi violence: Police
At least six people have been killed and several others wounded in violence in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura.
Burundian police said on Monday that six people had been confirmed dead in attacks overnight.
"There have been several armed criminal attacks in many neighborhoods of Bujumbura which were apparently coordinated," Police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said.
According to officials, four people were killed in a shooting and two others lost their lives in a separate attack.
About seven civilians and three police forces were also wounded in the attacks.
Burundi plunged into turmoil back in April, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his bid to compete for a third presidential term. The decision was denounced by the opposition, arguing that the move was contrary to the constitution, which only allows two successive presidential terms.
Many demonstrations against Nkurunziza were held following his announcement to run for a third term. The situation also escalated after the controversial presidential elections in July retained the president in power.
Some 200 people have been killed since the outbreak of violence in April.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein cautioned in September that the country risks sliding back into civil war.
A 12-year civil war, which ended in 2005, between Hutu rebels and a Tutsi-led army killed about 300,000 people in Burundi.
19. Egypt police find 15 dead African refugees near Israel
Police in Egypt have discovered the bodies of 15 African asylum seekers in the restive area of northern Sinai Peninsula near Israel, sources say.
The African refugees were apparently shot dead in an attack, security sources said on Sunday, adding that eight others have been injured.
Ambulances were sent to the site of the assault south of the town of Rafah on the border between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip.
No further details have been so far made available about the perpetrators of the attack or the nationality of the African asylum seekers.
African refugees have long been mistreated in Israel, which has pressed them to go back home or face indefinite imprisonment.
The Israeli regime’s strict policy towards asylum seekers includes building a fence along the Egyptian border, denying illegal migrants work permits and holding them in a detention center in the desert.
A report by The Washington Post said in May that Israel has spent more than USD 350?million to build a fence along the entire border with Egypt to block the entry of Africans, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea.
The Tel Aviv regime defends its tough crackdown on refugees as fair, saying the new policy is designed to help those who have been denied asylum or have not applied for asylum to go back home or to a third country.
About 2,000 Africans mainly from Eritrea and Sudan are held captive at Israeli detention facilities in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Egyptian military has, meanwhile, been engaged in operations to quell acts of terrorism and militancy in the Sinai Peninsula. It views the volatile region as a sanctuary for terrorists.