Sunday, September 22, 2013

22-Sep-13: A quiet weekend

It's been a quiet weekend... unless the Islamist terrorists happen to be active in your neighbourhood. Some notes from some specific neighbourhoods this quiet weekend:

Nigerian Islamists kill at least 159 in two attacks
Reuters | BENISHEIK, Nigeria | Islamist Boko Haram militants killed 159 people in two roadside attacks in northeast Nigeria this week, officials said, far more than was originally reported and a sign that a four-month-old army offensive has yet to stabilize the region. In the first attack, on Tuesday, Boko Haram guerrillas wearing army uniforms stopped traffic on a highway between the cities of Maiduguri and Damaturu, dragging people out of their vehicles and killing them, with 143 bodies recovered so far... Tuesday's toll was initially given as "more than 20", but information often takes days to trickle out of the remote and sparsely populated region, where roads are bad, curfews are in force and the military has cut the phone network since May... Thousands have been killed since the shadowy sect launched its uprising against the state in 2009, turning itself from a clerical movement opposed to Western culture into an armed militia with growing links to al Qaeda's West African wing... Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sinful" in the northern Hausa language, wants to revive the medieval Islamic kingdoms that used to rule northern Nigeria, before its amalgamation with the largely Christian south by the British colonial authorities.
Pakistan: 75 killed, 120 injured in Peshawar church attack
By Web Desk / AFP Published: September 22, 2013 | PESHAWAR: A twin suicide bombing killed more than 75 people at a church service in northwest Pakistan on Sunday, officials said, in what is believed to be the country’s deadliest attack on Christians. The two attackers struck at the end of a service at All Saints Church in  Peshawar, the main town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which has borne the brunt of a bloody Islamist insurgency in recent years. Sahibzada Anees, one of Peshawar’s most senior officials, told reporters the bombers struck when the service had just ended. “Most of the wounded are in critical condition,” Anees said... Former minister for inter-faith harmony Paul Bhatti and provincial lawmaker Fredrich Azeem Ghauri both said the attack was the deadliest ever targeting Christians in Pakistan... The small and largely impoverished Christian community suffers discrimination in overwhelmingly Muslim-majority Pakistan but bombings against them are extremely rare... Pakistan’s Ulema Council, an  association of leading Muslim scholars, strongly condemned the church attack and said killing innocent people violates the tenets of Islam. “It is an extremely shameful attack  which has shamed all Pakistanis and Muslims,” Allama Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, chief of the council, told AFP. “There is no room for such terrorist acts in Islam...”
Provincial lawmaker Ghauri said there  were about 200,000 Christians in the province, of whom 70,000 lived in Peshawar. “Now after this attack Christians across Pakistan will fear for their lives,” he warned... Only around two percent of Pakistan’s population of 180 million are Christian. The community complains of growing discrimination... Christians have a precarious existence in Pakistan, often living in slum-like “colonies” cheek-by-jowl with Muslims and fearful of allegations of blasphemy, a sensitive subject that can provoke outbursts of public violence.
Kenya: Standoff at Nairobi mall after gunmen kill at least 59
Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post | Updated: Sunday, September 22 | NAIROBI — More than 24 hours after Islamist militants stormed an upscale Nairobi mall, a tense standoff continued Sunday between the heavily armed assailants and Kenyan security forces, as the government announced that the death toll had risen to 59 with more than 175 injured in the deadliest attack in Kenya since the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings. The attackers, strapped with grenades and wielding machine guns and AK-47 rifles, remained holed up inside the Westgate Premier Shopping Mall, with as many as 30 hostages, Kenyan government officials said Sunday. An unknown number of people remained inside the building, hiding from the gunmen. Sporadic gunfire erupted at the mall Sunday morning as additional Kenyan security forces arrived to help defuse the crisis, which began Saturday afternoon.
Suicide bomber hits Iraq Sunni funeral, killing 16
Associated Press | Sunday September 22, 2013 A suicide bomber detonated his explosive belt among Sunni mourners attending a funeral in Baghdad on Sunday, killing 16 people and wounding 35 others, officials said, in the latest episode of the country's near-daily violence. Police officials said the evening attack took place when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive belt inside a tent where the funeral was being held in Baghdad's southern neighborhood of Dora. Two other attacks in the country's north left two policemen dead and 37 others wounded, the officials added. Sunday's bloodshed came a day after a wave of attacks killed 104 people, most at a double suicide attack on a Shiite funeral in Baghdad. Violence has spiked in Iraq during the past few months. More than 4,000 people have been killed between April and August, a level of carnage not seen since the country was on the brink of civil war in 2006-08.Earlier on Sunday, a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden car into a residential area in the city of Kirkuk, wounding 35 people... The bomber targeted both a Kurdish educational office and an adjacent house for a Christian lawmaker, Qadir said. Seven members of the lawmaker's family were wounded in the attack
Associated Press has a deeply depressing album of images that illustrate aspects of these weekend stories.

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