Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 12th 2014 Contents A29
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HAIFA, Israel---The top Roman
Catholic cleric in the Holy Land urged
Israel to crack down on vandals
behind a spate of hate crimes aimed
primarily at Christian and Muslim
sites yesterday, weeks before Pope
Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal said that
the vandalism "poisons the
atmosphere of coexistence" for the
papal visit at the end of May.
He asked why the vandals haven't
He spoke two days after another
church was defaced. It was the latest
in a series of attacks believed to be
the work of fringe Jewish radicals.
Churches, mosques, dovish Israeli
groups and even Israeli military bases
have been hit by the vandals.
The vandals are widely despised by
the vast majority of Israelis and they
have been condemned by leaders
across the political spectrum.
Israeli police are investigating the
hate crimes but so far have had little
success in stopping them. (AP)
Holy Land cleric: Hate crimes threaten pope visit
BAUCHI, Nigeria---One of the teenagers who
escaped from Islamic extremists who abducted
more than 300 schoolgirls says the kidnapping
was "too terrifying for words," and she is now
scared to go back to school.
Sarah Lawan, a 19-year-old science student,
spoke Sunday as Nigerians prayed for the safety
of the 276 students still held captive. Their
prayers were joined by Pope Francis.
"Let us all join in prayer for the immediate
release of the schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria,"
the Roman Catholic leader tweeted, using the
Lawan told The Associated Press that more
of the girls could have escaped but that they
were frightened by their captors threats to
shoot them. She spoke in the local Hausa lan-
guage in a phone interview from Chibok, her
home and the site of the mass abduction in
The failure to rescue those who remain captive
four weeks later has attracted mounting national
and international outrage. Last week, Nigeria
was forced to accept international help in the
search, after ignoring offers for weeks.
More experts are expected in Nigeria to help
rescue the girls, including US hostage negotiators
and others from Britain, France, China and
"I am pained that my other colleagues could
not summon the courage to run away with me,"
Lawan said. "Now I cry each time I come across
their parents and see how they weep when they
Police say 53 students have escaped. Nigeria s
homegrown Boko Haram terrorist network is
threatening to sell those who remain in captivity
In churches across the nation, Nigerians
prayed for the girls, whose plight has brought
together ordinary people in a year that had seen
growing dissension between Muslims and Chris-
tians, disagreements exacerbated by the increas-
ingly deadly attacks of the Boko Haram terrorist
network. Africa s most populous nation of 170
million has almost equal numbers of Christians
The Rev. Stephen Omale prayed at a church
in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.
"Wherever they are, God will bring them
out in his own mercy, he will see that they are
brought out safely, without harm and also that
this act will bring an end to all those who are
perpetrating these acts," he told congregants.
Boko Haram claimed two bomb blasts that
killed about 100 people and wounded more
than 200 in the capital last month.
Britain, Nigeria s former colonizer, has said
it hopes to help rescue the girls and to halt the
five-year-old Islamic uprising that has killed
thousands of Muslims and Christians and has
driven some 750,000 people from their homes.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel cautioned
that it is "going to be very difficult" to find the
missing girls. In an interview with ABC s This
Week that aired yesterday, he said " It s a vast
country... But we re going to bring to bear every
asset we can possibly use to help the Nigerian
The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu said in a statement that the leader
spoke with Nigeria s president and told him:
"We are ready to assist in locating the girls and
fighting the brutal terrorism inflicted on you."
It did not elaborate on what kind of assistance
Israel is offering.
Israel has security relations with Nigeria as
well as other African nations, including Kenya
whom Israel helped with security advisers in
the Nairobi mall attack.
A Nigerian security expert warned that mil-
itants may have laid land mines to discourage
any pursuit, and said strategists may be con-
sidering starving them out.
"They may have laid land mines, one cannot
rule that out," formed Nigerian Air Force Com-
modore Darlington Abdullah said on Sky TV.
And "even as they go along abducting children,
they are also going after food, grabbing food,"
Also Sunday, a leading Nigerian rights group
demanded the UN Security Council impose
sanctions on Boko Haram, saying expressions
of concern and condemnation are not enough.
"The future of these missing schoolgirls hangs
in a balance. The council should not leave them
to fend for themselves," executive director
Adetokunbo Mumuni of the Socio-Economic
Rights and Accountability Project said in a
He said targeted sanctions would send a
US Senator Charles Schumer called for a
reward, including refugee status, for anyone
who is not a terrorist that provides help leading
to the girls rescue.
The United States already has designated
Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organization, as
has the European Union, making it illegal to
contribute to the group. And Washington last
year put a US$7 million ransom on the head
of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, who
said in a video last week that he will sell the
girls into slavery.
There also have been reports that some of
the girls have been forced into marriage with
their abductors, who paid a nominal bride price
of US$12, and that some have been carried
across borders into Cameroon and Chad.
(AP) (See Page A37)
Abducted Nigerian girl
scared to go back to school
Catholics nuns attend a morning Mass given
in honour of the kidnapped Chibok
schoolgirls, in Abuja, Nigeria, yesteray.
TRIPOLI, Libya ---Libyan officials said yes-
terday the bodies of at least 24 migrants
attempting to make it to Europe were found
after a boat carrying 130 capsized this week-
end off the country s shores.
Libyan navy spokesman Ayoub Bilqassem
said the bottom of the small boat collapsed,
causing the boat to capsize. He said 52 people,
mostly Africans, were immediately rescued
and four bodies were found.
Bilqassem said more than 20 bodies were
found later. At least 54 remain missing, he
said. However, Interior Ministry spokesman
Rami Kaal said another 40 bodies were
washed ashore since the capsizing at al-
Qarbouli, 50 kilometers east of the capital.
The discrepancy could not be immediately
Libya has become a prime springboard
for tens of thousands of migrants trying to
reach Europe in rickety, crowded boats. (AP)
DOSWELL, Virginia ---Searchers scoured
woods and fields in northern Virginia yes-
terday for the body of the third victim from
the crash of a hot air balloon that drifted
into a power line and burst into flames in
front of horrified spectators.
Two members of the University of Rich-
mond s athletic staff were killed in the crash.
Associate head coach Ginny Doyle and
director of basketball operations Natalie
Lewis were killed Friday after the balloon
drifted into a power line, burst into flames
and fell into a heavily wooded area about
25 miles north of Richmond.
Donald Kirk on Sunday said his son, Daniel
T Kirk, was piloting the balloon. The balloon
was registered to Daniel at an address in the
Dover, Delaware, area. His company s Web
site said he had been a hot air balloon pilot
for more than 20 years and had a commercial
balloon pilot license issued by the Federal
Two bodies have been found so far.
Searchers continued to look for the third
body yesterday. Undergraduate commence-
ment at University of Richmond was sched-
uled for later in the day. (AP)
Libya: At least
24 migrants to
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