UK charges two Russians for attempted murder of Skripals

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Alexander Petrov, left, and Ruslan Boshirov, were charged in absentia with conspiracy to murder, attempted murder. (AP)
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Investigators work in the garden of Sergei Skripal’s house in Salisbury, southern England, on March 22. (AFP)
Updated 05 September 2018
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UK charges two Russians for attempted murder of Skripals

  • A European arrest warrant has been issued for the two Russians
  • ‘We will not be applying to Russia for the extradition of these men as the Russian constitution does not permit extradition of its own nationals’

LONDON: British prosecutors said Wednesday they have charged two Russian men with the nerve agent poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury.
The Crown Prosecution Service said the men, known to British investigators as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, are charged in absentia with conspiracy to murder, attempted murder and use of the nerve agent Novichok.
Prosecutor Sue Hemming said the UK is not asking Moscow to extradite the men because Russian law forbids extradition of the country’s citizens.
Police say the men, both about 40, flew from Moscow to London on Russian passports two days before the Skripals were poisoned on March 4.
Assistant police commissioner Neil Basu said the men were probably using aliases. He appealed the public “to come forward and tell us who they are.”
Police released a series of images of the men as they traveled through London and Salisbury between March 2 and March 4. Police say the two men flew back to Moscow from Heathrow Airport on the evening of March 4, hours after the Skripals were found collapsed on a park bench in Salisbury.
Britain has issued a European Arrest Warrant for the suspects, meaning they can be detained if they leave Russia for another European country, but Basu conceded it was “very, very unlikely” police would be in a position to arrest them any time soon.
British officials have blamed the Russian government for the poisoning, a charge Moscow has denied.


Rebel attack in Congo Ebola zone kills 18

Congolese police patrols in Kinshasa, Congo, in this May 17, 2017 file photo. (AP)
Updated 24 September 2018
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Rebel attack in Congo Ebola zone kills 18

  • The attack underscores the challenges the government and health organizations face in tackling Ebola in an area where years of instability has undermined locals’ confidence in the authorities

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo: At least 14 civilians and four soldiers were killed on Saturday in a six-hour attack by rebels on the town of Beni in eastern Congo, the army and local officials said, disrupting efforts to contain an Ebola epidemic in the area.
The latest outbreak of the deadly disease in Democratic Republic of Congo has been focused in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, which have been a tinder box of armed rebellion and ethnic killing since two civil wars in the late 1990s.
Militants believed to belong to the Allied Democratic Forces, a Ugandan Islamist group active in eastern Congo, clashed with Congolese troops in Beni, a town of several hundred thousand people, local civil society leader Kizito Bin Hangi said by telephone.
“Beni is ungovernable this morning. Several protests have been declared in the town where the people express their anger with consternation,” he said.
In addition to the known fatalities, dozens of civilians were wounded as they fled the violence, which broke out in the early hours of Saturday evening and lasted until midnight, Bin Hangi added.
During a news conference in Beni on Sunday, a representative of the Congolese army said four soldiers had also been killed in the attack.
Spokesman Mak Hazukay confirmed the civilian death toll of 14, but said six civilians and four military personnel had been wounded — lower figures than estimated by the civil society leader.
The attack underscores the challenges the government and health organizations face in tackling Ebola in an area where years of instability has undermined locals’ confidence in the authorities.
Community unrest in the wake of the latest violence prompted the Health Ministry to suspend temporarily the field work it has been carrying out in Beni as part of its Ebola response.
“Many inhabitants of the town of Beni took to the streets this Sunday to protest against the growing insecurity in the zone. The field work of the response will resume once calm returns to the town,” the ministry said in its daily Ebola report.
The latest outbreak, which causes haemmorhagic fever, vomiting and diarrhea, is believed to have killed 99 people since July and infected another 48.