Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 18th 2015 Contents A34
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, August 18, 2015
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ROME---A Sicilian port city receiving the
bodies of 49 migrants, as well as more
than 300 fellow passengers rescued in the
Mediterranean, yesterday canceled its
annual fireworks show as it mourned the
victims of yet another desperate voyage.
Fleeing war, persecution and poverty,
more than 2,300 migrants have died at
sea so far this year, with the route between
Libya, where the smugglers are based, and
southern Italy, being the deadliest by far.
Usually, coffins are unloaded onto docks
when rescue ships arrive with the bodies
of migrants who died after falling overboard
or being trapped in the hold of capsizing
vessels or from other inhumane conditions.
This time, authorities devised a new
method, since so many bodies arrived at
once, aboard a Norwegian container ship
which took on the dead and the living from
an Italian navy rescue vessel Saturday.
A crane was being deployed to transfer
the container holding the dead onto a truck
for transport to a morgue.
Deputy Mayor Marco Consoli said the
fireworks tradition was being scrapped "out
of respect for the 49" dead. Forty-nine
white balloons will be released instead, local
news reports said.
Italy s navy found the migrants, who
apparently died after inhaling fuel fumes,
inside the hold of an overcrowded fishing
boat. Italian coast guard officials said
survivors include many of the victims wid-
ows. The burial will be in Catania s ceme-
Elsewhere in Italy s south, a Croatian
coast guard vessel, part of the European
Triton rescue mission, brought to Reggio
Calabria 354 survivors as well as one body
found aboard a crowded fishing boat run
by smugglers, Italy s coast guard said. Rough
seas complicated rescuers work.
With southern cities running out of shel-
ters for asylum-seekers, survivors will be
About 103,000 rescued migrants have
reached Italy so far this year. (AP)
To respect 49 dead migrants, Sicilian city cancels fireworks
Migrants disembark from the Norwegian ship Siem Pilot at Catania harbor, Italy, yesterday. The Siem Pilot, which is participating in a
European rescue-and-patrol mission in the Mediterranean, is bringing 49 bodies and more than 300 survivors rescued by an Italian Navy
vessel from an overcrowded smuggling boat off the Libyan coast Saturday. AP PHOTO
Leader of Nigerian Islamist extremist group,
Lagos---The leader of Nigeria s Boko Haram denied
he had been killed or ousted as chief of the jihadist
group in an audio recording released Sunday attrib-
uted to him by security experts.
In the eight-minute Hausa-language message,
Abubakar Shekau rebuffed claims by Chadian leader
Idriss Deby that he had been replaced and called the
president a "hypocrite" and a "tyrant."
"It is indeed all over the global media of infidels
that I am dead or that I am sick and incapacitated
and have lost influence in the affairs of religion," he
said in the recording released on social media.
"It should be understood that this is false. This
is indeed a lie. If it were true, my voice wouldn t
have been heard, now that I am speaking."
Deby declared on August 12 that efforts to combat
neighbouring Nigeria s Boko Haram jihadists had
succeeded in "decapitating" the group and would
be wrapped up "by the end of the year."
Deby told reporters in the capital N Djamena Boko
Haram was no longer led by the fearsome Shekau
and that his successor, whom he named as Mahamat
Daoud, was open to talks.
"Gratitude be to Allah and with his help, I have
not disappeared. I am still alive and I am not dead.
And I will not die until my time appointed by Allah
is up," Shekau said in the message.
The SITE Intelligence Group verified the authen-
ticity of the message, and an AFP correspondent
with extensive experience of reporting Boko Haram
said it exactly resembled Shekau s voice in previous
Shekau s absence from Boko Haram videos in recent
months has fuelled speculation that he might have
been killed or wounded.
He has not spoken publicly since he pledged alle-
giance to the Islamic State (IS) group in an audio
recording released on March 7.
Boko Haram has been waging a six-year uprising
against the Nigerian state, which has claimed more
than 15,000 lives.
The jihadists have repeatedly extended their north-
eastern insurgency into border areas of Cameroon,
Chad and Niger. (AFP)
Boko Haram leader
Shekau says he is
'still in charge'
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