US says airstrike kills 2 militants in Somalia

A Kenya Defense Force soldier in action while confronting Al-Shabab attackers at a campus in Garissa. (Reuters/file)
Updated 03 January 2018
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US says airstrike kills 2 militants in Somalia

MOGADISHU/NAIROBI: The US military said on Wednesday it had killed two militants in Somalia in an airstrike targeting Al-Shabab, an Al-Qaeda-linked militant group that is fighting to topple the UN-backed government.
The military’s Africa Command said the strike took place around 50km west of the capital Mogadishu on Tuesday, and that a “vehicle-borne improvised explosive device” had also been destroyed in the early morning attack.
Last month Washington warned of a threat to its diplomatic staff in Mogadishu and directed all non-essential staff to leave the city.
Al-Shabab was pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011 and has lost control of most of Somalia’s major towns. But the group retains a strong presence in the south and center and can still carry out major attacks. It was blamed for twin bomb blasts in Mogadishu in October that killed more than 500 people.
5 policemen killed
Meanwhile, five Kenyan policemen were killed in an attack on their vehicle in the northeast county of Mandera near the border with Somalia late on Tuesday, a government official in the area said.
Dozens of Kenyan security personnel have been killed in recent months in the remote lands near the border with Somalia, in raids by the Al-Shabab militants from Somalia. The group claimed responsibility for the latest attack.
Daniel Bundotich, the deputy county commissioner for Mandera South, said those killed included three police reservists, local civilians who usually assist the police and are assigned uniforms and arms.
“The militants also set on fire a police lorry ... The police officers were on patrol along Elwak-Kutolo when they were ambushed,” he told Reuters.
Al-Shabab has also launched other attacks in Kenya targeting civilians, in revenge for Kenya moving its troops into Somalia in late 2011.
The militants aim to topple Somalia’s government, and to drive out African Union peacekeeping troops.


Assange sues Ecuadorian government over ‘fundamental rights’ breaches

Updated 19 October 2018
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Assange sues Ecuadorian government over ‘fundamental rights’ breaches

  • Wikileaks founder Assange has filed a lawsuit in Ecuador seeking better access to communications
  • Assange has lived in the Andean nation’s London embassy for six years

QUITO: Julian Assange is sueing the Ecuadorian government over breaches of his “fundamental rights.” 

Wikileaks founder Assange has filed a lawsuit in Ecuador seeking better access to communications as part of his asylum in the Andean nation’s London embassy, where he has lived for six years, his lawyer told a news conference on Friday.

The whistleblowing website said its general counsel arrived in Ecuador on Thursday to launch a legal case against the government for “violating (Assange’s) fundamental rights and freedom.”
“The move comes almost seven months after Ecuador threatened to remove his protection and summarily cut off his access to the outside world, including by refusing to allow journalists and human rights organizations to see him,” WikiLeaks said.
It added that the embassy was requiring Assange’s visitors — including journalists and lawyers — to disclose “private or political details such as their social media usernames.”
The Ecuador government issued no immediate statement in response.
Assange’s legal action comes with speculation mounting that Ecuador was preparing to end its standoff with the British government by terminating his six-year asylum.
Quito confirmed blocking Assange’s Internet and mobile phone access in March after accusing him of breaking “a written committment” not to interfere in Ecuador’s foreign policies.
Assange found refuge in the embassy in 2012 after a British judge ruled he should be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault, and he feared being transferred to the US.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in March 2017 that arresting Assange for leaking sensitive US government files through his websites was a “priority.”