Darfur attack wounds Sudan war crimes suspect

Updated 09 July 2013
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Darfur attack wounds Sudan war crimes suspect

KHARTOUM: A suspect wanted for war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur has been left wounded after an attack which reportedly killed two of his men, sources in the region’s largest city Nyala said yesterday.
Ali Kushayb, a former commander of the feared Janjaweed militia, was attacked on Sunday during battles in the city, which state officials blamed on “differences” between members of the security forces.
“It’s Kushayb who was injured,” one source said, referring to the man who is wanted by the International Criminal Court.
“Not sure what the injuries are,” but Kushayb was to be transferred to Khartoum, the source added, asking for anonymity.
The urban warfare which first erupted in Nyala on Wednesday night has killed at least eight people and wounded more than 20, according to official media.
Among the dead are two Sudanese workers from the aid group World Vision. As a result of the fighting, food aid to an estimated 400,000 needy people in the area will be disrupted, the World Food Programme said.

Kushayb was hurt as residents ran for their lives during fresh fighting and looting in Nyala on Sunday.
The state-run Radio Omdurman reported late Sunday that Kushayb “was saved from assassination” but did not say he was wounded.
His driver and guard were killed, the report said.
Kushayb is wanted by The Hague-based ICC for crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed earlier in the decade-long Darfur conflict.
On Sunday afternoon, a witness saw an ambulance under police guard at the Nyala hospital, where onlookers said an “important person” was to be transferred to Khartoum.
A Nyala resident said the city was calm on Monday but “many shops have been looted and burned.”
The violence adds to what the United Nations says is a worsening security situation in Sudan’s vast western region.
Fighting in Nyala was sparked when security forces allegedly killed a notorious local bandit who was also an officer in the paramilitary Central Reserve Police.
Darfuri members of the Reserve formerly belonged to the Janjaweed, a government-backed militia which shocked the world with atrocities against ethnic minority civilians suspected of supporting rebels.
The ethnic minority rebels began their uprising against the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime in 2003.
Security problems have been compounded by inter-tribal fighting, kidnappings, carjackings and other crimes, many suspected to be the work of government-linked militia and paramilitary groups.
In February, a UN panel of experts reported “some incidents in which former members of government militias have forcibly expressed their discontent with the current government, especially against the backdrop of rising inflation and unemployment.”
it/kir


Iraq lifts nearly 30 km of blast walls from Baghdad: official

Updated 7 min 18 sec ago
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Iraq lifts nearly 30 km of blast walls from Baghdad: official

BAGHDAD: Iraqi authorities have removed nearly 30 kilometers of concrete blast walls across Baghdad in the last six months, mostly around the capital’s high-security Green Zone, a senior official told AFP.
Since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, T-walls — thick barriers about six meters tall and one meter wide — have surrounded potential targets of car bombs or other attacks.
When premier Adel Abdel Mahdi came to power last year, he promised to remove barriers, checkpoints and other security measures to make Baghdad easier to navigate.
“Over the last six months, we removed 18,000 T-walls in Baghdad, including 14,000 in the Green Zone alone,” said Staff Lt. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bayati, the PM’s top military adviser.
Hundreds of the security checkpoints that contributed to Baghdad’s notorious traffic jams have also been removed.
And according to the Baghdad municipality, 600 streets that had been closed off to public access have been opened in the last six months.
Among them are key routes crossing through Baghdad’s Green Zone, the enclave where government buildings, UN agencies and embassies including the US and UK missions are based.
It was long inaccessible to most Iraqis until an order from Abdel Mahdi last year, and families can now be seen picking their way across its manicured parks for sunset pictures.
Iraq is living a rare period of calm after consecutive decades of violence, which for Baghdad peaked during the sectarian battles from 2006 to 2008.
It was followed, in 2014, by Daesh’s sweep across a third of the country and a three-year battle to oust the militants from their urban strongholds.
The group still wages hit-and-run attacks against Iraqi security forces and government targets, and Baghdad’s authorities are on high alert.
Thousands of the removed T-walls have been placed on Baghdad’s outskirts to prevent infiltration by Daesh sleeper cells, according to Bayati.