During a small political gathering in the city of Multan, militants kidnapped the son of Yusuf Raza Gilani, the former prime minister who was disqualified last year from his premiership and now serves as the vice-chairman of the from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).The gunmen also killed Ali Haider Gilan’s secretary and a bodyguard during the assault, police said. “If we don’t get my brother by this evening I will not let the elections happen in my area,” said his brother, Musa, in an interview to the local TV station. The other family members, popular in the region, said they will boycott the vote unless Ali Haider Gilan is returned. Several others were injured, including Gilan, who was reported by local media to be bleeding as he was dragged into the abductor’s car. The Gilani family claimed that they had received death threats in the past from the Taliban and blamed the police for not providing adequate security. Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan denied responsibility in a telephone call to Reuters.Taliban struggle In a message to the group’s spokesman, dated May 1, and obtained by Reuters on Thursday, Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, revealed the organization’s plans for suicide bombings in all of the country’s provinces on election day.“We don’t accept the system of infidels which is called democracy,” Mehsud said.The Taliban has waged a war in Pakistan for years trying to enforce Islamic Sharia law and expel the United States, which regularly carries out drone warfare along the Pakistani-Afghani border, inflicting civilian collateral damage. In response, the Taliban resolves to its traditional assault measures of suicide blasts that killed thousands of civilians and security personnel.The group’s main stronghold is located in the northwest, along the Afghan border in the semi-autonomous tribal region. The Taliban also have a strong presence in Karachi.Over the past month, Taliban fighters have allegedly killed more than 100 people in assaults on election candidates and their gatherings in an effort to undermine elections they regard as un-Islamic.The extremists are threatening the moderate politicians from some of the country’s most volatile areas forcing them to cancel campaigning. This is also threating the voter turnout on Saturday.“Everyone is scared of bombs and nobody feels safe. So very few people will go and vote because they’re scared. And God only knows who will be the winner,” Arshad, the local shopkeeper has told the RT crew in Peshawar. Candidates switch to social media outlets and other forms of communications to avoid large gatherings, a traditional trademark of elections in the country.The Taliban has vowed to target the country’s three main secular parties which formed the outgoing national government. The Awami National Party (ANP) has suffered some of the worst attacks.“We can’t campaign, we can’t arrange meetings. All parties are doing rallies with millions of people but we can only do them with 200 people, and even when we do that terrorists still target us,” Mian Iftikhar Hussain, ANP candidate told RT.But the Taliban seems to avoid targeting some of the marginalized parties such as Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and Jamaat-e-Islami. They have also spared some mainstream parties such as the Pakistan Muslim League-N and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which stands against drone attacks and advocates withdrawal of Pakistani forces from ethnic Pashtun areas along the Afghan border.So far the main opposition party led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has also avoided the Taliban’s wrath as Sharif is seen as a strong contender to become the next prime minister. He advocates breaking from the US hold on the region and suggested negotiations with the Taliban. Part of the reason why these parties are not in the Taliban’s crosshairs experts say is because they support peaceful negotiations with the Taliban. The group recently said possible negotiations should be mediated by the leaders of the top two Islamic parties and the Pakistan Muslim League-N. The other parties that have been the targets of the Taliban insurgency also called for peace negotiations but demanded that the militants put down their weapons first and embrace the constitution – conditions which the Taliban has rejected.Historic vote For Pakistan, this elections is historic, as the state enters its first ever democratic transition where for the first time a civilian government has completed a full term and is ready to hand over the reins of power to another civilian government.Prior to that Pakistan was ruled by the military for more than half of its history, mostly through coups.In the May 11 general election, voting will take place in all parliamentary constituencies of Pakistan, to elect Members to the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament and to the four Provincial Assemblies. Over 86 million are registered to vote in the country.The main contenders in the race are Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, a 24-year-old son of late prime minister Benazir Bhutto who heads the Pakistan People’s Party, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from the Pakistan Muslim League and celebrity Imran Khan from the Tehreek-e-Insaf party. Overall, 11 parties will participate in the election.The army announced on Thursday that it would dispatch tens of thousands of troops to polling stations to prevent the Taliban from disrupting the vote. In Bunjab province alone the army has deployed 300,000 security officials, including 32,000 troops. Another 96,000 security personnel would be deployed in the northwest.But despite all the promised security measures, it is the non-Muslim minorities which feel most threatened.”I feel shame, that (Pakistan) People’s Party and these liberal political parties have not played the positive role to give security to the non-Muslim: Hindi, Christians and Ahmadis,” Amar Lal told RT. …
http://www.youtube.com/v/P7DKVC_VgyA?version=3&f=videos&app=youtube_gdata Originally posted here: Deadly ambush by Nigeria ‘cult’
AFP – Libya’s General National Congress on Sunday, under pressure from armed militias, voted through a controversial law to exclude former regime officials from government posts. Gunmen who had surrounded the foreign and justice ministries to press for officials from the regime of the…
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Gunmen have surrounded Libya’s justice ministry in the capital of Tripoli.
Men in pick-up trucks with anti-aircraft guns asked officials to leave the building, to which they promptly complied.
The militia are calling for former aides to deposed leader, Muammar Gaddafi, to be barred from government posts.
The General National Congress has postponed a decision on the issue to Sunday.
Ibrahim Al-Mesalaty, a protester and former rebel says their message is clear:
“Our demands are for the (enactment of the) Political Isolation Law and to clean up the justice system and all state institutions and ministries.”
“The actual Justice Minister used to be the teacher of Aicha el Gaddafi (Gadaffi’s daughter). He was a law teacher…he used to work for the old regime and now he’s part of the current one,” another protester added
The Foreign Ministry was also encircled by gunmen on Sunday and other state buildings have been targeted.
The rise in armed protests has led to increased security fears in the Libyan capital. The German embassy has already suspended some of its activities.
Copyright © 2013 euronews
An army raid on a Sunni government protest camp in the northern town of Hawija – near Kirkuk – last week sparked a wave of violence across the country. In the latest attack two bombs went off in the town of Amara, 300 km southeast of Baghdad, killing nine people and wounding dozens more, striking a market and a place where people had gathered to look for work. Other bombs went off at markets in Diwaniyah and Kerbala, and in the Shia neighborhood of Mahmudiya, a mainly Sunni town.“I was preparing to go to work when a big explosion shook my house and broke the glass in all the windows. I ran outside, the explosion was near my house and bodies were everywhere,” Woody Jasim, a resident of Diwaniyah, told Reuters.Meanwhile in Mosul, 390 km north of Baghdad, gunmen clashed with the army early on Monday, killing two soldiers and wounding three others, Reuters reports citing military sources. Also one soldier was shot dead and another was wounded by a sniper in eastern Baghdad, police say.The attacks are a violent revenge response to the Shia dominated government and army, which carried out the raid last week.The protesters were denouncing the authorities for allegedly targeting the Sunni community and were calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is a Shia.On Saturday, al-Maliki said that sectarianism is again plaguing Iraq, and in an apparent reference to Syria, said “because it began in another place in this region”. However, Dirk Adriaensens, from the charity SOS Iraq, told RT that the violence is not driven by sectarianism but by the appalling conditions in Iraq, which have now been part of everyday life for the past 10 years.“After 10 years of occupation, because we consider this to be still an occupation, there are still no basic services, people are locked up without charges, and they are tortured. Woman, children and men are being raped. That’s why the protest started by the way,” he said.He continued that unemployment was everywhere, that there is no health care, the education system has collapsed and the media have been very weak about covering the nature of these protests. …
French hostage family released in Cameroon 19/04/2013 11:49 CET
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Apparent video of captured French family on YouTube 25/02/2013 19:25 CET
Seven members of a French family freed after being kidnapped by gunmen in Cameroon have arrived back in France.
French President François Hollande greeted them as they landed in Paris.
The Moulin-Fournier family were taken hostage by armed men on motorbikes in northern Cameroon on February 19.
Tanguy Moulin-Fournier expressed his relief at being back home:
“It was yesterday that I learned about French solidarity. I am pleased that France can act. There was so much emotion. I am so glad to be back in France.It is a great moment.
The father Tanguy, his wife, four children and his brother were held by the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram.
Boko Haram are engaged in an insurgency against the government of Nigeria following a crackdown on their members in 2009.
Copyright © 2013 euronews
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