Bolivia files UN complaint after president’s jet diverted

Updated 04 July 2013
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Bolivia files UN complaint after president’s jet diverted

LA PAZ: Bolivia lodged a complaint yesterday with the United Nations and planned another to the UN Human Rights Commission against several European countries that closed their airspace to the plane carrying President Evo Morales.
“As a government, we are filing complaints worldwide,” said Vice President and acting head of state Alvaro Garcia.
“We have already made the complaint to the United Nations and in the next few hours, we are making a complaint to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,” Garcia said, over what he called an international rights violation that put the president’s life at risk.
Bolivia said Morales was flying from Moscow back to Bolivia when his plane was forced to land in Vienna on suspicion fugitive US leaker Edward Snowden may be on board.
The flight had originally taken off late Tuesday from Moscow, where 30-year-old Snowden has been holed up for days, just hours after Morales said his country would consider giving him political asylum.
While in flight, Bolivia said the pilot learned Portugal refused to allow the plane to land for refueling, and then France, Italy and Spain banned the plane from entering its airspace.
On the ground in Vienna, police searched the plane and found no sign of the US fugitive, and the European countries reauthorized the use of their airspace.
The diversion has sparked outrage from other Latin American leaders, with Argentine President Cristina Kirchner calling the incident “very humiliating.” In a series of tweets on her official account, the president said, “they are definitely all crazy. The head of state and his plane have total immunity.”
Kirchner said she had spoken to Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, who was equally outraged.
And Organization of American States chief Jose Miguel Insulza demanded an explanation about the incident, which he said endangered the president’s life.
“Nothing justifies such a disrespectful act toward a country’s highest authority.”


Blasts heard in Maiduguri, northeast of Nigeria, before polls open

Updated 23 February 2019
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Blasts heard in Maiduguri, northeast of Nigeria, before polls open

  • The city is the birthplace of Boko Haram Islamists
  • Boko Haram has warned it will disrupt the elections

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria: A series of explosions was heard in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Saturday, shortly before the opening of polls in presidential and parliamentary elections.

Multiple blasts were heard at about 6A.M. (0500 GMT), locals said. There was no immediate indication of the cause.

But the city is the birthplace of Boko Haram Islamists and has been repeatedly attacked during their nearly 10-year insurgency that has devastated the remote region.

Polls open at 0700 GMT, with President Muhammadu Buhari, a former army general who has vowed to defeat the jihadists, seeking a second term.

Boko Haram has warned it will disrupt the elections.

One resident in the Gomari neighborhood of Maiduguri said: “I heard several explosions coming from the Bulumkutu area this morning but it’s unclear what is happening.

“There have been suspicions that it was an attack by Boko Haram but we don’t know yet.”

He added: “Late yesterday (Friday), some gunmen went into the house of a man in Gomari and shot him dead. We still don’t know the motive.”

Two other residents gave a similar account.

The early morning explosions in Maiduguri come after a Boko Haram attack late on Friday on Zabarmari village, some 10 kilometers outside Maiduguri.

The attack forced residents to flee into the city.