Mauritanian prison siege ends with hostages freed

Updated 24 January 2015
0

Mauritanian prison siege ends with hostages freed

Nouakchott: A hostage crisis sparked when death row inmates in Mauritania seized two prison guards ended on Saturday after the captives were freed, security sources said.
The prisoners at Nouakchott’s central penitentiary had kidnapped the wardens on Friday during a violent protest in which several security personnel were injured.
The inmates — including more than a dozen hard-liners sentenced to death or life imprisonment — were protesting against the refusal of the authorities to release those who had completed their jail terms.
A prison source told AFP the group had “accepted a government proposal to release those among them who are entitled to leave and to improve the conditions of detention of others.”
The source said four of the prisoners were being freed in return for the release of the guards.
Ahmed Ould Hindi, chairman of the Bar Council in Nouakchott, who has spoken to the prisoners, said those who had negotiated their release should have left the prison days ago.
The group began a hunger strike several days ago.


Rahul startles bitter foe Modi with a hug

Indians watch television showing Congress party President Rahul Gandhi hug Prime Minister Narendra Modi during parliament session, at an electronics shop in Jammu, India, Friday, July 20, 2018. (AP)
Updated 18 min 30 sec ago
0

Rahul startles bitter foe Modi with a hug

  • Critics accuse the BJP of divisive politics and of trying to undermine India’s pluralistic foundations enshrined in the constitution
  • Modi, startled by Gandhi’s gesture, froze in his seat in an image that was repeatedly played on television screens across the country and went viral on social media

NEW DELHI: Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi created a flutter in parliament on Friday, giving Prime Minister Narendra Modi a surprise hug during a heated debate and said he had nothing but love for his bitter political foe.
Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has repeatedly targeted Gandhi, the fourth generation scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family, as a “failed dynast” out of touch with ordinary people and ill-suited for public life.
But Gandhi, who is girding up for national elections next year, said his politics were above hate and that he bore no personal rancour toward Modi who has also targeted the young leader in the past.
Soon after closing a speech tearing into Modi’s four years in office, Gandhi strode across the floor and put his arms awkwardly around the seated prime minister in a rare gesture that caught Modi unawares.
“You have anger against me, you can call me names, you can abuse me, but I don’t have a speck of hatred against you. I will take out this hatred out of you and turn it into love,” Gandhi said as lawmakers thumped their desks and others looked on.
He was speaking on a no-confidence motion against Modi that the government is certain to defeat because of its majority in parliament, but which the opposition hopes will focus attention on the government’s failures in office.
Critics accuse the BJP of divisive politics and of trying to undermine India’s pluralistic foundations enshrined in the constitution. Gandhi’s mother, the Italian-born Sonia, has also been attacked for her foreign origins.
Modi, startled by Gandhi’s gesture, froze in his seat in an image that was repeatedly played on television screens across the country and went viral on social media. Modi later called back Gandhi to his seat and shook hands, smiling.
Modi himself is known for his bear hugs, embracing world leaders such as US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The ruling BJP is setting up next year’s vote as a presidential-style contest between the experienced Modi with long years of service in government against Gandhi, portrayed as a political novice handed the reins of his Congress party because of the accident of birth.
But Gandhi, after a poor start in politics losing a string of elections to Modi’s party, is drawing crowds as he seeks to exploit Modi’s failure to deliver tens of thousands of jobs he promised India’s youth and a broader decline in law and order.
“What an astonishing performance by @RahulGandhi,” said Congress leader Shashi Tharoor in a Twitter post. “It was a game-changing speech, tearing apart the Govt’s claims & ending with that unscripted hug that has literally taken the BJP’s breath away.”