Four more deaths in Bolivia protests: rights commission

Police launch tear gas to disperse the supporters of former President Evo Morales in La Paz, Bolivia, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. (AP)
Updated 17 November 2019

Four more deaths in Bolivia protests: rights commission

  • The new deaths were announced after five protesters were killed in clashes with security forces on Friday in central Bolivia
  • The Washington-based IACHR, a part of the Organization of American States, also recorded 122 wounded since Friday

LA PAZ, Bolivia: Four more people have died in protests in Bolivia, raising the total number killed in the political unrest to 23, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said Saturday.

The new deaths were announced after five protesters were killed in clashes with security forces on Friday in central Bolivia, a political stronghold of exiled ex-president Evo Morales.

The Washington-based IACHR, a part of the Organization of American States, also recorded 122 wounded since Friday.

While the rights commission counts nine dead over the past two days, the official government tally remains at five.

Interim leader Jeanine Anez’s cabinet chief Jerjes Justiniano told reporters Saturday night that he would ask for “forensic doctors to speed up their work,” but did not confirm a higher toll.

Fierce clashes between Morales’ supporters and police forces have been ongoing since Anez, 52, declared herself acting president on Tuesday.

The former deputy senate speaker took over the top job to avoid a power vacuum — a move endorsed by the Constitutional Court.

The IACHR said it considers as “serious” her Thursday decree authorizing the armed forces to participate in maintaining order and exempting them from any criminal responsibility.

Morales, 60, said on Twitter that the measure gave “carte blanche and impunity to massacre people.”

Unrest in Bolivia first erupted when Morales — the country’s first indigenous president — was accused of rigging the results of October 20 polls to gain re-election for a fourth term.

He eventually resigned and fled to Mexico after losing the support of Bolivia’s security forces following weeks of protests.


Boko Haram kill 19 Nigeria herders in clashes

Updated 5 min 17 sec ago

Boko Haram kill 19 Nigeria herders in clashes

  • The fighting sparked outside Fuhe village, close to the border with Cameroon
  • The herders tried to repel an earlier attack by the militia and killed one of them
KANO, Nigeria: Boko Haram militants gunned down 19 cattle herders Saturday in northeast Nigeria, civilian militia sources and residents told AFP on Sunday.
Ethnic Fulani herders, besieged by a spate of armed attacks targeting their cattle, pursued Boko Haram, sparking a fierce gunfight outside Fuhe village, near Ngala close to the border with Cameroon.
“The insurgents killed 19 of the herdsmen in the fight,” a militia leader Umar Kachalla told AFP.
Bodies of the slain herders were brought to the police by militiamen, Kachalla said.
The herders had earlier repelled an attack by Boko Haram fighters who invaded the village to steal livestock, killing one of the militants, Mada said.
The herders then decided to pursue the militia and fight them “once and for all,” Mada said, but were overwhelmed.
“The herdsmen were subdued by the better armed Boko Haram gunmen,” he said.
Militants then returned to Fuhe village and burnt homes and food supplies while herds fled, according to Ngala resident Abubakar Yusuf, who saw the dead bodies at the police station.
Boko Haram has increasingly targeted farmers, herders and loggers, accusing them of spying and passing information to the military and the local militia fighting them.
They have also been raiding herding communities, seizing cattle — a valuable commodity in the region — to fund their operations.
Boko Haram and rival Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) are known to operate in areas around Ngala and the neighboring town of Gamboru.
ISWAP has focused on targeting military installations and troops since 2018 while Boko Haram faction is notorious for indiscriminate attacks on civilians.
However, ISWAP has been blamed for a recent increase in attacks on civilians.
In August 2014 Boko Haram seized Ngala and Gamboru, a trading hub, but Nigerian troops retook both towns in September 2015 with the help of the Chadian military.
Despite the recapture of the area, militants continue to launch sporadic attacks, ambushing troops and vehicles, as well as attacking and abducting farmers.
In November last year Boko Haram abducted around 50 loggers at Bulakesa village outside Gamboru.
The decade-long conflict has killed 35,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes.
The violence has spread to neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting the formation of a regional military coalition to fight the militants.