Four Kenyans killed in reprisal raid: Red Cross

Updated 10 January 2013
0

Four Kenyans killed in reprisal raid: Red Cross

NAIROBI: At least four people were killed and several wounded in a retaliatory dawn raid Thursday in the Tana River delta region of southeast Kenya, where scores died in clashes last year, Kenya Red Cross said.
“Four people have been confirmed dead,” local Red Cross official Caleb Kilunde told AFP, adding that an unknown number were wounded in the attack, which comes a day after nine were killed in a raid.
Violence in the region first erupted in August, pitting the Pokomo farming community against their Orma pastoralist neighbors, leading to a series of vicious reprisal killings and attacks that has left more than 140 people dead.
The repeated outbreaks of violence also raises concerns over security and a lack of police capacity in volatile areas ahead of elections due on March 4, with police investigating local politicians for alleged involvement in the unrest.
Thursday’s attacks on the Pokomo village of Kibusu village follows an attack on Wednesday by over 100 raiders on the Orma village of Nduru, in which nine people died.
The two communities have clashed in the past, violence that has often been attributed to disputes over water and grazing rights.
But the scale and intensity of recent killings — with women and children hacked to death or torched in their huts — have shocked many, with some locals accusing politicians of fueling the attacks.
In December at least 45 people were killed in one attack.
The upcoming March 4 elections are for the presidency and parliament, as well as for regional gubernatorial posts and local councils. The run-up to the vote has been marked by renewed tensions both at the national political and grassroots levels.
Elections five years ago descended into deadly post-poll killings that shattered Kenya’s image as a beacon of regional stability, with at least 1,100 people killed and more than 600,000 displaced.


Own up to mass Muslim detentions, Amnesty tells China

Updated 22 min 45 sec ago
0

Own up to mass Muslim detentions, Amnesty tells China

  • Beijing has tightened restrictions on Muslim minorities to combat what it calls Islamic extremism and separatist elements in Xinjiang
  • Critics say the drive risks fueling resentment toward Beijing and further inflaming separatist sentiment

BEIJING: China must come clean about the fate of an estimated one million minority Muslims swept up in a “massive crackdown” in its far western region of Xinjiang, Amnesty International said Monday.
Beijing has tightened restrictions on Muslim minorities to combat what it calls Islamic extremism and separatist elements in Xinjiang.
Critics say the drive risks fueling resentment toward Beijing and further inflaming separatist sentiment.
In a new report, which included testimony from people held in the camps, the international rights group said Beijing had rolled out “an intensifying government campaign of mass internment, intrusive surveillance, political indoctrination and forced cultural assimilation.”
Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are punished for violating regulations banning beards and burqas, and for the possession of unauthorized Qur’ans, it added.
Up to a million people are detained in internment camps, a United Nations panel on racial discrimination reported last month, with many detained for offenses as minor as making contact with family members outside the country or sharing Islamic holiday greetings on social media.
“Hundreds of thousands of families have been torn apart by this massive crackdown,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s East Asia director, in a statement.
“They are desperate to know what has happened to their loved ones and it is time the Chinese authorities give them answers.”
Beijing has denied reports of the camps but evidence is mounting in the form of government documents and escapee testimony.
These suggest that Chinese authorities are detaining large groups of people in a network of extrajudicial camps for political and cultural indoctrination on a scale unseen since the Maoist era.
Amnesty’s report interviewed several former detainees who said they were put in shackles, tortured, and made to sing political songs and learn about the Communist Party.
The testimony tallies with evidence gathered by foreign reporters and rights groups in the past year.
Amnesty also called on governments around the world to hold Beijing to account for “the nightmare” unfolding in Xinjiang.
Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced “awful abuses” of Uighur Muslims detained in re-education camps.
“Hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of Uighurs are held against their will in so-called re-education camps where they’re forced to endure severe political indoctrination and other awful abuses,” Pompeo said in a speech.
However Pakistan, China’s biggest Muslim ally, quickly denied reports last week that it had criticized Beijing — which is pouring billions in infrastructure investment into the country — over the issue.
Religious affairs minister Noorul Haq Qadri told AFP China has agreed to exchange delegations of religious students to help promote “harmony” between Muslims and Chinese authorities.
China’s top leaders recently called for religious practices to be brought in line with “traditional” Chinese values and culture, sparking concern among rights groups.
Earlier this month draft regulations suggested Beijing was considering restrictions on religious content online, such as images of people praying or chanting.
State supervision of religion has increased in a bid to “block extremism,” and authorities have removed Islamic symbols such as crescents from public spaces in areas with significant Muslim populations.
Christians have also been targeted in crackdowns, with a prominent Beijing “underground” church shuttered by authorities earlier this month. Churches in central Henan province have seen their crosses torn down and followers harassed.