paramilitaries

Sudan: RSF accused in village massacre

The local Resistance Committees in Madani, capital of Sudan's al-Jazira (Gezira) state, reported June 5 that the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) carried out a massacre at the nearby village of Wad al-Noora, killing nearly 100 people. The Resistance Committees released a video showing the burial of dozens of bodies in a public square amid a large gathering of village residents. Other videos circulating online show RSF fighters firing with automatic rifles and from "technicals," pick-up trucks mounted with machine-guns. The RSF acknowledged operations in the area, but said it only targeted army positions on the village outskirts. Since taking control of Madani late last year, the RSF has been raiding villages in al-Jazira, with widespread atrocities reported, including killings of unarmed residents, abductions, forced displacements, and looting of properties, including crops and homes. (Sudan Tribune, Al Jazeera)

Mexican elections see record number of assassinations

The results are in from Mexico's June 2 presidential election and Claudia Sheinbaum of the ruling left-populist National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) has won by some 60%, handily defeating a rival backed by an alliance of the country's more traditional political parties. The former mayor of Mexico City as well as an environmental scientist with a PhD in energy engineering from UC Berkeley, Sheinbaum was a researcher with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) when it earned a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Despite this prestigious and somewhat technocratic background, her status as the chosen hier of incumbent populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador has caused her victory to be viewed with suspicion if not panic in elite quarters. Both the peso and Mexican stock exchange slided on the news.

Uprising in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir

Three protesters were killed and six injured May 14 as Pakistani security forces fired on crowds during angry street demonstrations in Muzaffarabad, capital of Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK). The paramilitary Rangers were mobilized to Muzaffarabad after a police officer was killed three days earlier amid protests over high food, fuel and electricity prices. A "wheel-jam and shutter-down" strike had been called by the Jammu Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC) on May 10, but was called off as Islamabad agreed to a Rs 23 billion ($86 million) subsidy for the region. The new deadly violence erupted just as the Rangers were starting to withdraw from Muzaffarabad. A curfew remains in place in the city. (Jurist, Dawn, FPK, India Today, LiveMint, BBC News)

War crimes seen in Mali conflict

An Islamist armed group linked to al-Qaeda killed at least 32 civilians, including three children, and set fire to over 350 homes in central Mali in January, forcing about 2,000 villagers to flee, Human Rights Watch reported May 8. Earlier in January, a Bambara ethnic militia formed to oppose the jihadists killed at least 13 civilians, including two children, abducted 24 other civilians, and looted property and livestock in central Mali. These attacks violate international law and are apparent war crimes.

Tajikistan denies Moscow claim of mercenary recruitment

Tajikistan's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Shokhin Samadi on April 6 denied claims by Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev that Ukraine has been recruiting mercenaries for its military in the country's territory. Patrushev charged that Kyiv's embassy in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital, has been recruiting Tajikistan nationals to join the International Legion of the Ukrainian army, in return for a pathway to Ukrainian citizenship. The comments were made during a meting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Kazakhstan.

Gaza: flashpoint for regional war? (redux redux)

At least 42 people were reportedly killed March 29 in Israeli air-strikes near the Syrian city of Aleppo, allegedly targeting an arms depot belonging to the militant group Hezbollah. Those killed include members of Hezbollah and Syrian soldiers. Israeli air-strikes in southern Lebanon on March 27 killed 16 people, and one person in Israel was killed by a barrage of rockets fired by Hezbollah from south Lebanon. Earlier in the week, a series of air-strikes on Syria's eastern province of Deir el-Zor killed 15 people, including a World Health Organization staff member as well as an Iranian military adviser. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for those strikes. (TNH)

Court dismisses child labor case against Big Tech

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on March 5 dismissed a child labor case against technology companies and refused to hold them accountable for their alleged complicity in the use of children in cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Former cobalt miners and their representatives filed a lawsuit against Alphabet (Google), Apple, Dell Technologies, Tesla and Microsoft under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA). The TVPRA penalizes anyone who "knowingly benefits financially from participating in a venture that engaged in trafficking crimes." They claimed that the companies were involved in a "venture" with their suppliers that engaged in forced labor of children to obtain the metal.

Political violence erupts in Chad

Violence erupted in Chad this week shortly after the country's elections agency confirmed dates for a May presidential poll, which is supposed to restore democracy after three years of junta rule. Feb. 28 saw an armed attack on the headquarters of the National Security Agency (ANSE), which the government blamed on followers of the Socialist Party Without Borders (PSF), the main opposition party in Chad. The PSF denied the charge. But the following day party leader Yaya Dillo—a vocal critic of ruler Gen. Mahamat Idriss Déby—was killed alongside dozens of the others in a shoot-out with security forces at the PSF headquarters in the capital, N'Djamena.

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