Death toll from Indonesia quake tops 380

The powerful earthquake struck the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok, killing a number of people and shaking neighboring Bali, as authorities on Monday said thousands of houses were damaged and the death toll could climb. (AP)
Updated 11 August 2018
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Death toll from Indonesia quake tops 380

  • The shallow 6.9-magnitude quake Sunday levelled tens of thousands of homes, mosques and businesses across Lombok
  • The number forced from their homes in the disaster has soared to 387,000, Nugroho said, with around 13,000 injured

MATARAM, Indonesia: An earthquake on the Indonesian island of Lombok has killed 387 people, authorities said Saturday, adding hundreds of thousands of displaced people were still short of clean water, food and medicine nearly a week on.
The shallow 6.9-magnitude quake Sunday levelled tens of thousands of homes, mosques and businesses across Lombok, just one week after another tremor surged through the island and killed 17.
“It’s predicted the death toll will continue to grow because there are still victims who are suspected of being buried by landslides and under rubble, and there are victims that have not been recorded and reported to posts,” national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.
The number forced from their homes in the disaster has soared to 387,000, Nugroho said, with around 13,000 injured.
The hardest hit region of Lombok has been in the north, where 334 people have died and nearly 200,000 have been forced from their homes, according to latest official tolls.
Two people were also killed by the quake on the neighboring tourist island of Bali.
Nugroho said the emergency response period has been extended another 14 days, which would allow authorities to deal with the “many problems” that still existed in the field.
Most of the displaced are sleeping under tents or tarpaulins near their ruined homes or in evacuation shelters, while makeshift medical facilities have been set up to treat the injured.
Six days after the quake hit some evacuees have still not received assistance, particularly in the mountainous north of the island.
“The main problem is the distribution of supplies to thousands of refugee points,” Nugroho said.
“Most of the roads in North Lombok were damaged by the earthquake.”
Survivors of the quake have been shaken by hundreds of aftershocks, including a shallow 5.9-magnitude quake Thursday which caused people to flee evacuation shelters crying and screaming.


Trial starts for suspect in tourist killings in Tajikistan

Updated 23 October 2018
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Trial starts for suspect in tourist killings in Tajikistan

  • Man who swore allegiance to Daesh before killing four foreign cyclists in ex-Soviet Tajikistan went on trial
  • Four of Abdusamadov’s accomplices were killed by police during a manhunt

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan: A man who swore allegiance to Daesh before killing four foreign cyclists in ex-Soviet Tajikistan went on trial Tuesday in a process closed to the public.
Tajikistan’s Supreme Court spokesperson told AFP Tuesday the trial for the “brutal murder of four foreign cyclists” had begun in the suspect’s high-security detention center.
Hussein Abdusamadov, 33, already confessed to killing American cycling tourists Lauren Geoghegan and Jay Austin, Dutch citizen Rene Wokke and Swiss citizen Markus Hummel in July.
The victims were struck by a car as they cycled along the remote Pamir Highway, a popular route among adventure tourists, before being set upon with knives and firearms.
Four of Abdusamadov’s accomplices were killed by police during a manhunt.
A video of the five men pledging allegiance to Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was released by an official Daesh media channel.
Tajik authorities have so far ignored the video evidence, instead blaming a former opposition party — the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan — that was banned by the government in 2015.
The fact the trial is closed has raised concerns about due process in a country with a poor record on political freedoms and human rights.
Abdusamadov implicated the IRPT as the ultimate organizer of the attack in a televised confession, but critics say the government is using the case to tar the opposition.
A dozen senior members of the IRPT are serving long sentences up to life on charges government critics say are trumped up.
In addition to Abdusamadov, 16 other people stand accused of not offering information to the authorities that could have prevented the attack, a source in the police told AFP.