Suicide bombers hit cellphone firms in north Nigeria

Updated 22 December 2012
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Suicide bombers hit cellphone firms in north Nigeria

KANO, Nigeria: Two suicide car bombers attacked the offices of two mobile phone operators on Saturday in Nigeria’s northern city of Kano, killing themselves but no civilians, police said.

India’s Airtel and South Africa’s MTN were the targets.

Boko Haram has previously blown up telephone masts and offices of phone companies, saying they help the security forces catch its members.

“The one who hit the Airtel office was shot by military men before the bomb exploded ... at the MTN office the car rammed into the fence but no civilians were killed,” Ibrahim Idris, the chief of police in Kano, told Reuters. Both bombs went off.

A military source said one security guard was injured and has been taken to hospital.

MTN and Airtel Nigeria’s parent company Bharti Airtel, India’s top cellphone operator, gave no immediate comment.

The national emergency agency confirmed the bombings and said it was not aware of any civilian casualties. The security forces have played down the death toll in previous bombings.

At least 2,800 people have died in fighting in the largely Muslim north since Boko Haram launched an uprising against the government in 2009, watchdog Human Rights Watch says.

The sect wants to impose strict Islamic law on a country of 160 million people. 

The group has previously targeted churches and security has been increased in all the major northern cities.

Kano, Nigeria’s second-largest city after the southern commercial hub Lagos, was the site of Boko Haram’s deadliest attack which killed at least 186 people in January in coordinated bombings and shootings.

Armed police have been guarding major churches in Kano this week and additional police checkpoints have been set up around the majority-Muslim city, a Reuters witness said.

Police in Kano said this week that their anti-terrorism squads have been searching houses and buildings they suspect to be hideouts of criminals and “terrorists.” 

A French national was kidnapped in far northern Nigeria, close to the border with Niger, this week by people France’s intelligence agency said were “an organized group linked to a terrorist activity.”

 


Indian court finds spiritual guru guilty of raping devotee

Updated 25 April 2018
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Indian court finds spiritual guru guilty of raping devotee

NEW DELHI: An Indian court on Wednesday found a high-profile spiritual guru Asaram Bapu guilty of raping a teenage female devotee in 2013 and he faces a maximum of life in prison.
The verdict against 77-year-old Bapu was read out inside a prison in the city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan state because of fears that his followers may resort to violence.
The case is the latest in a series of high-profile rape cases in India that have fueled public protests and raised questions about how police handle the cases and treat the victims.
In August last year, another popular and flamboyant Indian spiritual guru, Dr. Saint Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim Insan, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges of raping two female followers.
Judge Madhusudhan Sharma will announce the prison term for Bapu later after hearing arguments from the prosecution and Bapu’s attorneys.
Bapu has denied the rape and can appeal his conviction in a higher court.
The girl in her complaint to the police in 2013 accused Bapu of raping her when she visited his retreat in Jodhpur with her mother. The girl’s family said they had been followers of Bapu for more than a decade.
Bapu has been in prison since his arrest in the case in 2013.
On Wednesday, security was tight around the prison complex and in states where the self-styled guru has a considerable following.
Religious sects also wield considerable political clout in India with several politicians as followers. Asaram is also on trial along with his son Narayan Sai in a separate rape case where two sisters have accused the two men of sexual assault.