Two soldiers killed in Mali by explosive device: army

The Malian military said a vehicle hit an improvised explosive device near Bandiagara. (Reuters/File photo)
Updated 03 November 2019

Two soldiers killed in Mali by explosive device: army

  • The explosion occurred near the central town of Bandiagara
  • An attack on a military base on Friday left 49 Malian soldiers dead

BAMAKO: Two Malian soldiers were killed and another six injured when their armored vehicle hit an improvised explosive device, the army said Sunday.
“A vehicle of the Malian armed forces hit an improvised explosive device” near the central town of Bandiagara, the military said in a tweet.
It was the latest in a string of attacks underscoring the fragility of an area straddling several West African countries which is battling a surge in extremist violence that has claimed hundreds of lives.
An attack on a military base on Friday left 49 Malian soldiers dead in the eastern Menaka region near the border with Niger.
On Saturday, a French soldier died in the same region after his armored vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.
The Daesh group on Saturday claimed responsiblity for both attacks.


Protests flare as India’s parliament set to vote on citizenship bill

Updated 49 min 21 sec ago

Protests flare as India’s parliament set to vote on citizenship bill

  • Police in Assam’s main city of Guwahati used water cannons and tear gas as they clashed with protesters
  • The US Commission on International Religious Freedom said on Monday that Washington should consider sanctions against Shah, a close associate of Modi
NEW DELHI: India’s ruling Hindu nationalists pushed for final parliamentary approval on Wednesday for a law that critics say undermines the country’s secular constitution by granting citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from three neighboring countries.

Having obtained assent from the lower house of parliament a day earlier, Home Minister Amit Shah tabled the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the upper house and a vote is expected late on Wednesday.

Opposition parties, minority groups, academics and a US federal panel have contested the proposed law, which would for the first time provide a legal route to Indian citizenship based on religion, calling it discriminatory against Muslims.

The bill seeks to give citizenship to Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Parsis and Sikhs, who fled Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan before 2015.

Protests against the bill turned violent on Wednesday in India’s ethnically diverse northeastern region, with the army deploying troops in Tripura state and putting reinforcements on standby in neighboring Assam, where police battled thousands of protesters.

Police in Assam’s main city of Guwahati used water cannons and tear gas as they clashed with protesters, who had blocked roads with flaming tires.

“The bill will take away our rights, language and culture with millions of Bangladeshis getting citizenship,” said Gitimoni Dutta, a college student at the protest.

Despite Shah’s assurances that safeguards will be put in place, people in Assam and surrounding states fear an influx of settlers could lead to a competition for land and upset the region’s demographic balance.

In northern India, thousands of students at Aligarh Muslim University began a hunger strike in protest.

Some opposition Muslim politicians have argued that the bill is targeted against the community, accusing the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for trying to render them “stateless.”

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom said on Monday that Washington should consider sanctions against Shah, a close associate of Modi, if India adopts the legislation.

Introducing the bill in the upper house, Shah defended his government’s move, saying the new law only sought to help minorities persecuted in Muslim-majority countries contiguous with India.

“For India’s Muslims, there is nothing to worry about, nothing to debate. They are citizens, and will remain citizens,” Shah said.

Unlike the lower house, where Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has a clear majority, the ruling party will likely find it more challenging to push the bill through the upper house, as it is unclear whether it can garner enough support from regional parties.