India stays executions of ‘bandit king’ accomplices until final appeal

Updated 18 February 2013
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India stays executions of ‘bandit king’ accomplices until final appeal

NEW DELHI: India’s Supreme Court yesterday delayed the execution of four death-row convicts until it hears an appeal later in the week as rights groups voiced growing concern over recent hangings in the country.
The Supreme Court said it would hear a plea tomorrow from the four accomplices of slain “bandit king” Veerappan, who were sentenced to death in 2004 for their role in a land mine blast in southern India that killed 22 policemen.
“In the meantime the execution of the death sentence of the four convicts shall remain stayed,” the Supreme Court said.
Colin Gonsalves, the men’s lawyer, said he was seeking to have their sentence commuted to life imprisonment “for the mental distress they have suffered during the inordinate eight-year delay in deciding on their mercy plea.”
The court’s ruling could be a precedent-setting decision for many other inmates who have been lingering on death row for years, lawyers said.
President Pranab Mukherjee last week rejected the mercy plea of the four men being held in Belgaum jail in Karnataka state.
Executions in India are only carried out in “rarest of rare” cases. But Mukherjee, recently elected president, has rejected a number of mercy pleas in the last few months, ending an informal eight-year moratorium on executions.
“This government has executed more people since November 2012 than in the previous 10 years. To continue such a regressive trend would be truly shameful,” said G. Ananthapadmanabhan, chief executive of Amnesty International India.
Earlier this month Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri separatist convicted of involvement in a 2001 attack on the Indian parliament, was executed in New Delhi, triggering angry protests in the disputed region of Indian Kashmir. The lone surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Pakistani-born Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, was hanged last November in India’s first execution since 2004.
Veerappan, accused of over 100 killings, was killed in a police ambush in 2004 after evading capture for decades. He was believed to have amassed a vast fortune from elephant poaching, sandalwood smuggling and kidnappings.


86 people killed in central Nigeria violence: police

Updated 25 June 2018
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86 people killed in central Nigeria violence: police

  • Analysts believe it could become Nigeria’s biggest security concern, eclipsing Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency that has left at least 20,000 dead since 2009
  • The violence — fueled by ethnic, religious and political allegiances — has killed thousands over several decades

JOS, Nigeria: Eighty-six people have been killed in an attack by suspected nomadic herders against farming communities in restive central Nigeria, police said on Sunday.
The discovery in the Barikin Ladi area of Plateau state came after days of violence apparently sparked by an attack by ethnic Berom farmers on Fulani herders on Thursday.
State police commissioner Undie Adie said a search of Berom villages in the area following clashes on Saturday found “86 persons altogether were killed.”
Adie told reporters six people were also injured and 50 houses razed. Bodies of those who died have been released to their families, he added.
The deaths are the latest in a long-running battle for land and resources that is putting President Muhammadu Buhari under pressure as elections approach next year.
The violence — fueled by ethnic, religious and political allegiances — has killed thousands over several decades.
Analysts believe it could become Nigeria’s biggest security concern, eclipsing Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency that has left at least 20,000 dead since 2009.
The Plateau state government said it had imposed restrictions on movements in the Riyom, Barikin Ladi and Jos South areas “to avert a breakdown of law and order.”
“The curfew takes effect immediately... and movement is restricted from 6:00 p.m. (1700 GMT) to 6:00 am, except (for) those on essential duties,” said spokesman Rufus Bature.
On Sunday, ethnic Berom youths set up barricades on the Jos-Abuja highway and attacked motorists who looked “Fulani and Muslim,” according to those who escaped the violence.
Plateau state police spokesman Tyopev Terna and Major Adam Umar, from the military taskforce in the state capital, Jos, confirmed the blockade and vandalism to several cars.
There were no official reports of deaths but Baba Bala, who escaped the violence on the road, said at least six people were killed.
“I was lucky the convoy of the (Plateau) state government was passing through the scene of the attack shortly after I ran into the attackers,” he said.
“I escaped with smashed windscreens and dents on my car. I saw six dead bodies and several damaged cars.”