Bolivian mob attacks politician, cuts her hair, cover her in paint and force her to march barefoot

The mayor of the Bolivian town of Vinto and member of his ruling Movement for Socialism (MAS) party, Patricia Arce, is being humiliated by a mob of opposition supporters, in Vinto, close to Cochabamba, on November 6, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2019

Bolivian mob attacks politician, cuts her hair, cover her in paint and force her to march barefoot

  • The opposition mob stormed the municipal headquarters and dragged the mayor into the street before setting the building ablaze

LA PAZ: Bolivia’s President Evo Morales condemned on Thursday an attack on a female mayor in which an opposition mob forcibly cut her hair, covered her in paint and marched her barefoot through the streets.
Bolivia has been rocked by deadly post-election violence over opposition claims that Morales rigged his re-election last month.
A 20-year-old student died in clashes Wednesday between pro- and anti-government demonstrators in the central city of Cochabamba, bringing the overall toll to three dead since the October 20 election.
In nearby Vinto, an opposition mob stormed the municipal headquarters and dragged the mayor, Patricia Arce, into the street before setting the building ablaze.
Morales said in a tweet Thursday that Arce — a member of his ruling Movement for Socialism (MAS) party — had been “cruelly abducted for expressing and defending her ideals and the principles of the poorest.”
Television images showed her on the ground, her hair cut, and covered in red paint. She was dragged and forced to walk barefoot through the town by the mob, before being rescued by police on motorcycles.
Morales’ party demanded the police bring the perpetrators to justice.
Arce’s office told local media Thursday the mayor “is recovering” from her ordeal.
“For these people, being a woman is a crime, being humble is a crime, having a skirt is a crime, said Vice President Alvaro Garcia.
“This has never happened in our democracy. That is called fascism: attacking women, assaulting them for their ethnic status. What Bolivia is facing is a fascist wave.”
The Women’s Social Organizations, linked to the ruling party, expressed “outrage” at the attack, and “for all the insults of hatred, racism, discrimination and violence” of the opposition.

 


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.