32 killed in Congo plane crash

Updated 01 December 2012
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32 killed in Congo plane crash

BRAZZAVILLE: A cargo plane crashed into houses near Brazzaville Maya-Maya airport while attempting to land in a thunderstorm on Friday, killing at least 32 people, a Congolese Red Cross official said yesterday.
“We have already pulled 32 bodies from the crash site, but there could be more victims,” the official said, asking not to be named. The official said the dead included six crewmembers.
The Soviet-made Ilyushin-76 cargo plane, operated by local carrier Trans Air Congo was traveling from Pointe-Noire, the commercial capital of the Central African state. It crashed into more than a dozen houses near the airport.
Congo Republic, like its neighbor the Democratic Republic of Congo and many countries in the region, has one of the world’s poorest aviation safety records due to poor maintenance and the use of old planes banned from other skies.
In March 2011, another Soviet-made Antonov cargo plane, operated by the same company, crashed into houses in Pointe-Noire while attempting to land, killing 23.


Egypt denies Sinai battle is choking off food and medicine supplies

Updated 31 min 39 sec ago
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Egypt denies Sinai battle is choking off food and medicine supplies

  • Human Rights Watch warned of a wider humanitarian crisis if North Sinai continued to be cut off from the Egyptian mainland, saying the army’s actions “border on collective punishment.”
  • Air strikes and raids have killed scores of suspected militants, the military says, as it imposes curfews and tight movement restrictions around towns in North Sinai.

CAIRO: An Egyptian military campaign to defeat Daesh militants in the northern Sinai Peninsula is choking essential food and medical supplies to thousands of residents in the desert region, Human Rights Watch said on Monday. The army denied the charge.
The New York-based organization warned of a wider humanitarian crisis if North Sinai continued to be cut off from the Egyptian mainland, saying the army’s actions “border on collective punishment.”
The army launched an operation in February to crush militants who have waged an insurgency that has killed hundreds of soldiers, police and residents over many years.
Air strikes and raids have killed scores of suspected militants since then, the military says, as it imposes curfews and tight movement restrictions around towns in North Sinai. The army has said it is winning the battle.
A military spokesman denied there were shortages, saying it was providing food and medical support throughout the areas it operated in, The HRW report had used “undocumented sources” in its report, he said.
“Thousands of food parcels have been and are being provided to people in North Sinai,” Col. Tamer Al-Rifai, the spokesman, added.
International news outlets are prevented from traveling to North Sinai to report.
Residents said food supplies, medicine and fuel were insufficient and that movement restrictions meant most people were unable to leave the region, HRW reported.
“A counter-terrorism operation that imperils the flow of essential goods to hundreds of thousands of civilians is unlawful and unlikely to stem violence,” HRW’s Middle East and North Africa director Sarah Leah Whitson said.
The report said authorities had banned the sale of petrol and cut communication lines, water and electricity in some areas of North Sinai including near the border with the Gaza Strip.
Residents told Reuters last month they often waited for hours for bread handouts which were not guaranteed to arrive.
Defeating the militants and restoring security after years of unrest that followed Egypt’s 2011 popular uprising has been a promise of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who was re-elected in March in a landslide victory against no real opposition.
El-Sisi’s critics say he has presided over Egypt’s worst crackdown on dissent. Supporters say such measures are needed to bring stability and improve the country’s hard-hit economy.
In Sinai, analysts and foreign diplomats say heavy-handed military tactics including air strikes and demolitions of populated areas have failed to defeat the insurgency.