S. Africa leaders want troops out of C. Africa

Updated 02 April 2013
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S. Africa leaders want troops out of C. Africa

JOHANNESBURG/BANGUI: South Africa's opposition said yesterday it plans to lodge a parliamentary motion to force the government to immediately withdraw troops stationed in the Central African Republic after 13 soldiers died there in a rebel-led coup.
The deaths of the troops in battles with rebels who seized Bangui on March 24, South Africa's heaviest military loss since apartheid, has raised questions over why they were deployed in the troubled nation.
The official line has been that a small contingent was sent to train local forces under a 2007 deal between President Jacob Zuma and the now deposed Central African president Francois Bozize.
But local media reports suggested that the soldiers were sent to protect the business interests of certain South African politicians in the Central Africa Republic. The opposition Democratic Alliance said in a statement it would submit an urgent parliamentary resolution "to compel the president to bring our soldiers back home."
"Given the continued controversy surrounding the deployment, the lack of a clear mandate for our troops to remain in the CAR, the continued risk to the soldiers' safety and rumours that the (military) is considering a 'revenge' mission into the CAR, we believe the entire... presence should be withdrawn immediately," it said. Zuma is under pressure to explain why troops were sent to the Central African Republic and to give details on what happened during the deadly battle for Bangui.

Govt is formed in Central Africa
Meanwhile, the Central African Republic's prime minister has named mostly rebels and opposition figures to his new post-coup government, as reports emerged of child soldiers killed in the fight for the capital. Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye, who has been allowed to keep his post by new strongman Michel Djotodia, whose rebels seized the capital a week ago, named a 34-member cabinet Sunday that includes nine ministers from the Seleka rebel coalition.


Man killed in random knife attack at California steakhouse

Updated 22 April 2018
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Man killed in random knife attack at California steakhouse

  • The victim was dining with his family when the suspect came and stabbed him without warning
  • Police say suspect is a felon who had been convicted for burglary and unlawful sexual intercourse since the 1990s

LOS ANGELES: A homeless man who randomly stabbed a patron in a crowded Southern California restaurant to death as he was holding his daughter was reported just a few hours earlier for disruptive behavior, but police ultimately determined he was not a threat, authorities said Saturday.
Jamal Jackson, 49, is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of 35-year-old Anthony Mele. He was being held in Ventura County jail on a $1.5 million bail. It was unclear if Jackson, who is also a convicted felon, had an attorney to speak on his behalf.
Mele and his wife were eating dinner with their 5-year-old daughter Wednesday at Aloha Steakhouse in the seaside city of Ventura. The girl was sitting on her father’s lap when prosecutors say Jackson walked up and stabbed Mele in the neck.
Prosecutor Richard Simon said customers and a restaurant employee followed Jackson out of the restaurant, even though he still had the knife. They kept track of him until Ventura police arrived and arrested him.
Mele was taken to a hospital and died Thursday after being taken off life support.
“It’s horrible,” Simon said. “You don’t think you’re going to be killed when you go out to dinner at a nice restaurant with your family and you didn’t do anything.”
Simon said the two men had not interacted before the attack.
“He was just sitting there with his daughter in his lap,” Simon said. “You’re not supposed to die that way.”
Mele’s loved ones started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for a funeral and to support his wife and daughter.
Mele’s Facebook page was filled with photos of his daughter and said he was a manager at an AT&T store.
Police confirmed that a bystander reported a man — who turned out to be Jackson — for disruptive behavior several hours before the stabbing.
According to the bystander, a man was yelling on the promenade not far from the beachside restaurant about three hours before the attack.
Patrol officers were out on other calls so command center staff monitored the man via a pier security camera system for more than 20 minutes before deciding he didn’t seem to be a threat, police said.
Police are asking anyone who spoke with Jackson during that time to contact investigators in the city 70 miles (113 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.
Jackson also had half a dozen contacts with police in Ventura since the beginning of the year, including an arrest after a physical fight at a park, said Commander Tom Higgins.
He was also stopped on March 31 after a passer-by reported he was brandishing a knife. Police searched his bag and found a knife but there was no victim so no charge was filed, Higgins said.
Jackson has a lengthy rap sheet including charges in San Bernardino County, Higgins said, as well as convictions for burglary and unlawful sexual intercourse dating back to the 1990s.
The killing prompted the Ventura City Council to increase police patrols in the area and add staff members to monitor security cameras, among other measures.
“We are extremely disheartened and infuriated by this criminal attack,” Mayor Neal Andrews said in a statement. “We will not tolerate this in our community. Nothing is more important than the safety of our visitors, residents and businesses.”
If convicted, Jackson faces up to 55 years in prison.