Indian farmer who fasted for Trump’s recovery dies

Bussa Krishna Raju.
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Updated 13 October 2020

Indian farmer who fasted for Trump’s recovery dies

  • The village of Konne, in the Jangaon district of southern Telangana state, has been mourning his death

NEW DELHI: An Indian farmer who died after fasting for US President Donald Trump’s recovery is being mourned by his village.

Bussa Krishna Raju, who changed his name to Trump Kriss in honor of his idol, had been abstaining from food and drink following news of Trump’s coronavirus infection.

He broke his fast on Saturday upon learning that the president was better, only to collapse the following day while drinking tea. 

The village of Konne, in the Jangaon district of southern Telangana state, has been mourning his death.

“The death of Trump Kriss is news in this area,” local journalist Veera Gaud told Arab News. “He used to worship Trump and, because of his devotion to the US leader, he changed his name to Trump Kriss from Bussa Krishna Raju.”

Raju was 32 when he died. His relatives said it was a cardiac arrest.

“He was so disturbed for five days that he stopped eating,” Bukka Vijay Kumar, Raju’s cousin, told Arab News. “He came out of his room only when he heard that Trump had recovered. However, he collapsed when he was having tea in the morning. Raju did not have any medical history. We believe that he died from exhaustion caused by the fast.”

But a normal body could resist hunger for 30 days, according to Noida-based pulmonologist Dr. Loveleen Mangla. “He might have died because of any underlying cardiac cause,” Mangla told Arab News. “It must have been there for a long time, and no one had seen it.”

Raju’s journey to becoming Trump Kriss started in 2016, after Trump’s election victory.

The story goes that, one day around four years ago, Trump came into Raju’s dreams and the farmer decided to worship the US leader. He even erected a statue of him. 

“He spent INR200,000 ($3,000) to build the statue and he would worship him,” his cousin Bussa Sanjay Kumar told Arab News. 

Konne village has a population of 3,000 people and a literacy rate of less than 50 percent. It is located nearly 100 km away from the state capital, Hyderabad. Most Konne residents had not heard of Raju until a few years ago when he changed his name.

“Soon after he changed his name to Trump Kriss, people in the area started calling him by this name,” Sanjay said, adding that Raju had been pinning his hopes on the US president winning November’s election.

Raju even set out to meet Trump during his visit to India earlier this year, village chief Venkat Verumalla Gaur said.

“Raju went to the Hyderabad consulate and requested them to fix a meeting with the US president, but that never happened and he was sad,” Gaur told Arab News.

On Sunday night villagers held a candlelit march to express their sorrow over Raju’s death.

“Konne village and the surrounding areas are in a state of mourning at the loss of our Trump,” Konne resident Srinivas Reddy told Arab News.

Gaur echoed this sentiment.

“Sadly, we lost our Trump,” he said. “He brought national attention to our village.”


Two accomplices in Kenya’s Westgate attack jailed for 33 and 18 years

Updated 30 October 2020

Two accomplices in Kenya’s Westgate attack jailed for 33 and 18 years

  • Mohamed Ahmed Abdi and Hassan Hussein Mustafa, both 31, were found guilty on October 7 of conspiring with and supporting the four assailants
  • The convicted men were in regular contact with the attackers who at midday on September 21, 2013, stormed the upscale Westgate mall in the Kenyan capital

NAIROBI: A Kenyan court Friday handed prison terms of 33 and 18 years respectively to two men accused of conspiring with the Al-Shabab extremists who attacked Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall in 2013, killing 67 people.

Mohamed Ahmed Abdi and Hassan Hussein Mustafa, both 31, were found guilty on October 7 of conspiring with and supporting the four assailants from the Somalia-based extremist group who died in what was then Kenya’s worst terrorist attack in 15 years.

The accused asked the judge for leniency, saying they had already served seven years behind bars and had family to care for.

“Despite mitigation by their defense lawyers on their innocence, the offense committed was serious, devastating, destructive, that called for a punishment by the court,” Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi told a Nairobi courtroom.

He sentenced the men to 18 years for conspiracy and 18 for supporting extremists, but ordered they serve both terms together. Abdi was also given an additional 15 years for two counts of possessing extremist propaganda material on his laptop.

He will serve 26 years and Mustafa 11, taking into account their pre-trial detention.

The convicted men were in regular contact with the attackers who at midday on September 21, 2013, stormed the upscale Westgate mall in the Kenyan capital and began throwing grenades and firing indiscriminately on shoppers and business owners.

A four-day siege ensued — much of it broadcast live on television — during which Kenyan security forces tried to flush out the gunmen and take back the high-end retail complex.

Although there was no specific evidence Abdi and Mustafa had provided material help, the court was satisfied their communication with the attackers amounted to supporting the armed rampage, and justified the guilty verdict for conspiracy.

The marathon trial began in January 2014. A third accused was acquitted of all charges.
The Westgate attack was claimed by Al-Shabab in retaliation for Kenya intervening military over the border in Somalia, where the extremist group was waging a bloody insurgency against the fragile central government.

Kenya is a major contributor of troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which in 2011 drove Al-Shabab out of Mogadishu and other urban strongholds after a months-long offensive.

In a car the attackers drove to Westgate, police found evidence of newly-activated SIM cards used by the gunmen. Their communications were traced, including calls to Mohamed Ahmed Abdi and Hassan Hussein Mustafa.

A fourth defendant, Adan Mohammed Abdikadir, was acquitted in early 2019 for lack of evidence.

The Westgate attack was the deadliest incident of violent extremism on Kenyan soil since the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi, which killed 213 people.

But since the assault on the shopping complex, Al-Shabab has perpetrated further atrocities in Kenya against civilian targets.

In April 2015, gunmen entered Garissa University and killed 148 people, almost all of them students. Many were shot point blank after being identified as Christians.

In January 2019, the militants struck Nairobi again, hitting the Dusit Hotel and surrounding offices and killing 21 people.

Al-Shabab warned in a January statement that Kenya “will never be safe” as long as its troops were stationed in Somalia, and threatened further attacks on tourists and US interests.

That same month, Al-Shabab attacked a US military base in northeast Kenya in a cross-border raid, killing three Americans and destroying a number of aircraft.