Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 14th 2014 Contents A25
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fired rubber bullets and used
batons to disperse hundreds of
villagers protesting the
abductions and killings of four
Muslim traders in India's remote
northeast, where ethnic
tensions run high.
The protesters defied a curfew
and beat up one police officer in
Baksa district in Assam state.
The traders were abducted on
Friday and their bodies recovered
yesterday. No one has claimed
responsibility for the killings.
The villagers later retreated
into their homes as army and
The region was rocked by
violence in May when 45 people
were killed after gunmen from
the Bodo tribe set Muslim
homes ablaze and fired at
civilians. The Bodos accuse
Muslims of entering India
illegally from neighbouring
ABUJA---Pakistani rights activist
Malala Yousafzai, who survived being
shot in the head by the Taliban for
campaigning for girls education, has
pledged while on a trip to Nigeria to
help free a group of school girls
abducted by Islamist militants.
Yesterday, 16-year-old Malala met
with parents of the more than 200
girls who were kidnapped by militant
group Boko Haram from a school in
the northeastern village of Chibok in
Boko Haram, a Taliban-inspired
movement, say they are fighting to
establish an Islamic state in religiously
mixed Nigeria. The group, whose
name means "Western education is
sinful," has killed thousands and
abducted hundreds since launching
an uprising in 2009.
Some of the parents broke down
into tears as Malala spoke at a hotel
in the capital Abuja on Sunday.
"I can see those girls as my sisters
... and I m going to speak up for them
until they are released," said Malala,
who celebrates her 17th birthday on
Monday in Nigeria, where she is
scheduled to meet with President
"I m going to participate actively
in the bring back our girls campaign
to make sure that they return safely
and they continue their education."
The girls abduction drew unprece-
dented international attention to the
war in Nigeria s northeast and the
growing security risk that Boko Haram
poses to Nigeria, Africa s leading ener-
A #BringBackOurGirls Twitter
campaign supported by Michelle
Obama and Angelina Jolie heaped
pressure on authorities to act, and
President Jonathan pledged to save
the girls, drawing promises of Western
help to do so.
But several weeks on the hostages
have not yet been freed and media
interest has waned.
In addition, Boko Haram, now con-
sidered as the main security threat to
Nigeria, is growing bolder. Police said
on Saturday they uncovered a plot to
bomb the Abuja transport network
using suicide bombers and devices
concealed in luggage at major bus sta-
"I can feel...the circumstances under
which you are suffering," she said.
"It s quite difficult for a parent to know
that their daughter is in great danger.
My birthday wish this year is..bring
back our girls now and alive."
Taliban militants shot Malala for
her outspoken views on women s right
to education. She survived after being
airlifted to Britain for treatment and
has since become a symbol of defiance
against militants operating in the tribal
areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan
She has won the European Union s
prestigious human rights award and
was one of the favourites to win the
Nobel Peace Prize last year, although
the award ended up going to the
Organisation for the Prohibition of
Chemical Weapons. (Reuters)
Malala Yousafzai visits Nigeria
GAZA CITY---Israel briefly
deployed ground troops inside
the Gaza Strip for the first time
early yesterday as its military
warned northern Gaza residents
to evacuate their homes, part of
a widening offensive that has
killed more than 160 Palestini-
Neither Israel nor Palestinian
militants show signs of agreeing
to a cease-fire, despite calls by
the United Nations Security
Council and others to end the
increasingly bloody six-day offen-
sive. With Israel massing tanks
and soldiers at Gaza s borders,
some fear that could signal a
wider ground offensive that would
cause heavy casualties.
"We don t know when the
operation will end," Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told
a Cabinet meeting yesterday. "It
might take a long time."
Early yesterday, Israeli troops
launched a brief raid into north-
ern Gaza to destroy what the mil-
itary described as a rocket-
launching site, an operation the
military said left four soldiers
The Israeli air force later
dropped leaflets warning residents
to evacuate their homes ahead of
what Israel s military spokesman
described as a "short and tem-
porary" campaign against north-
ern Gaza to begin sometime after
12 pm (0900 GMT). The area is
home to at least 100,000 people.
It was not clear whether the
possible attack would be confined
to stepped-up airstrikes or
whether it might include a size-
able ground offensive---something
that Israel has so far been reluc-
tant to undertake.
As the ultimatum drew near,
hundreds fled Beit Lahiya, one of
the communities the Israeli
announcement affected. Some
raced by in pickup trucks, waving
"They are sending warning mes-
sages," resident Mohammad Abu
Halemah said. "Once we received
the message, we felt scared to stay
in our homes. We want to leave."
Adnan Abu Hassna, a
spokesman for the UN agency in
charge of aiding Palestinian
refugees, said eight schools were
opened as temporary shelters, and
about 4,000 people had moved
in. He said more schools would be
opened if needed.
Ignoring international appeals
for a cease-fire, Israel widened its
range of Gaza bombing targets Sat-
urday to include civilian institu-
tions with suspected Hamas ties.
One strike hit a centre for the dis-
abled, killing two patients and
wounding four people. In a second
attack, an Israeli warplane flattened
the home of Gaza police chief
Taysir al-Batsh and damaged a
nearby mosque as evening prayers
ended, killing at least 18 people.
Fifty were wounded, including al-
Yesterday, hundreds chanting
"God is Great" joined the funeral
procession for 17 members of al-
Batsh s extended family who were
killed. Among the dead were his
sister-in-law and her husband,
along with the couple s seven chil-
dren, ranging in age from 13 to 28.
A neighbour also was killed.
Mourners carried the bodies,
wrapped in the green flags of the
Islamic militant Hamas, through
the streets on stretchers.
The attack reduced the al-Batsh
family home to sand and rubble.
Abdallah al-Batsh, a nephew of
the police chief, said Israel had not
given warning before the strike.
Hamas activists said the group s
military wing had asked the fam-
ilies of its members to leave their
homes, after Israel targeted several
such homes in a series of airstrikes.
Israel deploys ground troops inside Gaza Strip for the first time
Palestinians walk past the ruins of the Al-Tawfeeq
mosque after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike
in the Nuseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip,
Saturday. AP PHOTO
Indian villagers protest as four missing found dead
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