Archive for March 2, 2016

Wed Oct 12, 2011

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Hundreds of Sudanese took to the streets of central Khartoum on Tuesday to demonstrate against high food prices and to demand better public transport, witnesses said.

Protests are rare in Sudan but anger has been building over an economic crisis and spiraling inflation after the country lost most of its oil reserves to newly-independent South Sudan.

About 300 people protested in the main bus and taxi station in Khartoum to demand better public transport, witnesses said. Students from the university faculties joined the crowd to protest against food inflation.

“The students shouted: ‘No to high prices. Bread, bread for the poor,” a witness said, declining to be identified. Police arrived at the scene but did not interfere, he said.

Hundreds of people also protested at a bus station in the suburb of Omdurman, another witness said. The protesters then marched on a Nile bridge linking Omdurman with Khartoum and started throwing stones at private cars and police vehicles, the witness said.

Police said in a statement that a group of citizens had thrown stones at cars crossing the bridge, adding that it had prevented “acts of sabotage.”

Sudan has a poor public transport system with commuters mostly relying on private taxis and mini-buses which struggle to meet demand and often get accused of overcharging.

Many Sudanese have been hit hard by inflation which reached 20.7 percent in September due to high food prices, while the Sudanese pound has dived on the black market in past weeks.

The government has reacted with a package of measures, including temporarily waiving duties on basic food imports.

But economists doubt inflation will ease much as Sudan lost most of its oil reserves when South Sudan became independent, reducing the inflow of foreign currency needed to pay for imports, leading to scarcities.

The economy is dependent on oil and small-scale gold exports. The government wants to diversify the economy but progress has been slow, which experts blame on U.S. trade sanctions and poor planning.

© Thomson Reuters 2016 All rights reserved

Source: Reuters.


February 21, 2016

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian police on Sunday released most of the men detained while attending military-style training at a suspect jihadi camp, as officials lamented weaknesses in the current anti-terrorism legislation that is due to be significantly strengthened following last month’s deadly attacks in Jakarta.

The elite anti-terrorism squad early Saturday detained 38 men at a suspected militant camp on the remote slopes of Mount Sumbing in Central Java province, said provincial police spokesman Col. Liliek Darmanto. Police seized air rifles, knives, and jihadi books and flags in the raid.

However, they were released early Sunday after 24-hour questioning as police were unable to prove a string of terrorism-related allegations, he said. “This is the weakness of our laws,” said Saud Usman Nasution, head of the anti-terrorism agency. “We cannot arrest before they have committed a crime even though we can detect a radical network.”

His agency has been pushing the government to strengthen the anti-terrorism law. It gained momentum following the Jan. 14 suicide and gun attacks in Jakarta, which left eight people dead, including four of the attackers.

In response to the attacks, Indonesia’s government submitted a new anti-terrorism law to parliament this past week. The draft bill, obtained by The Associated Press, says an individual suspected of plotting to carry out an act of terrorism could be detained for up to six months without charges. If approved, it would be the first time for such a tough measure to be enacted since the downfall of dictator Suharto in 1998.

Luhut Pandjaitan, a Cabinet minister in charge of security and political affairs, said he expected lawmakers to pass the revisions within the next two months. The bill would also become an offense for Indonesians to join a militant group overseas such as the Islamic State group, or recruit others, with a maximum imprisonment of seven years. It would also authorize the anti-terrorism squad to execute raids and arrest suspects for interrogation based solely on intelligence reports.

In addition to the Central Java raid, five other suspected militants were captured late Friday in Malang, a hilly city in East Java province, said local police chief Lt. Col. Yudho Nugroho. He said police were tipped about their whereabouts after interrogating alleged militants who were arrested on suspicion of links to the Jakarta attack. National police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti told lawmakers last week that police had arrested a total of 33 people in connection with the attack.

Among those arrested Friday was Nazarudin Mukhtar — also known as Abu Ghar. He is believed to have planned the Jakarta attack with Muhammad Ali and Afif Sunakin, who was fatally shot by by police when the two were trying to detonate a bomb in front of a Starbucks cafe, said Lt. Col. Arif Makhfudiharto, head of the anti-terrorism squad unit in West Java province.

Mukhtar, who had recently completed a prison sentence for his role in a deadly 2004 attack on a police station in Maluku province, “returned to his old ways,” Arif said. He alleged Mukhtar joined a new militant cell after visiting Abu Bakar Bashir and Aman Abdurrahman, the country’s most radical clerics who are now serving sentences on the Nusa Kambangan prison island.

Arif said that Mukhtar had pledged allegiance to Islamic State leaders.

February 19, 2016

CAIRO (AP) — Disgruntled Egyptians beat up a policeman, blocked roads, and surrounded the local security headquarters late Thursday night after the officer killed a driver in a dispute. Egypt’s Interior Ministry media office said in a statement that the killing followed an argument over the sergeant’s fare for his ride in Cairo’s populous el-Darb el-Ahmar district. In the course of the dispute, the officer shot and killed the driver.

A second Interior Ministry statement called the shooting a “mistake.” Videos posted by the el-Masry el-Youm news website showed tearful residents displaying bloodstained sections of cardboard and saying the officer had verbally insulted the driver and when the latter objected, the policeman shot the driver in the head.

Egypt state-run news agency said the policeman was arrested. The incident highlighted ongoing tensions in Egypt over the behavior of the security forces. Last week, Egyptian doctors staged a large protest after police officers assaulted two emergency room doctors in a Cairo hospital.

Human rights groups say that a culture of impunity among the Egyptian security forces has led to widespread police brutality. Trials are rare and when they do occur, sentences are usually appealed and subsequently reduced.

Unrestrained police abuses were also one of the main contributing factors in the 2011 popular uprising that ousted longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power. Thursday’s incident comes after the body of an Italian student was found by a roadside in Cairo earlier this month, marked with cigarette burns and other signs of torture. Italy has demanded those responsible be brought to justice. Egypt has dismissed suggestions its security services could have been involved.

By BNO News

CAIRO (BNO NEWS) — Dozens of Egyptian protesters on Tuesday gathered outside the Cairo Military Court to express solidarity with detained activists and protested against the ruling military council, the Al-Ahram daily newspaper reported.

Members of the “Free Maikel” group waited outside the military court in which detained blogger Maikel Nabil’s sentence is being appealed. Nabil, who has been on a hunger strike for 50 days and now weighs only 44 kilograms (97 pounds), was sentenced in August to three years in jail on charges of insulting the military after publishing a blog post entitled “The people and the army were never one hand.”

Activists chanted slogans against Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) as they waited outside for the verdict. They also called for the release of Ali Sultan and Khaled Saleh, two other civilians currently standing trial before military courts.

“I really don’t think he’ll be freed,” said group member John Milad. “The authorities have been extremely stubborn in regard to Maikel’s case, especially due to his opinions on Israel and the Egyptian army.”

Nabil has said that he would maintain his hunger strike until his release. He also has vowed to stop drinking water as well if Tuesday’s appeal trial fails to grant him his freedom, the newspaper reported.

According to reports, as many as 12,000 civilians have been hauled before military tribunals since February. Activists have been demanding that civilians only be tried by civil courts.

Last month, the Cairo-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information noted a ‘sharp decline’ in freedom of opinion and expression in Egypt following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak during a revolution earlier this year. The human rights group condemned recent measures taken by the SCAF, which was handed the power to govern Egypt after the ouster of Mubarak, such as the return of Mubarak-era emergency laws.

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Source: Wire Update.