At least 30 people have been killed and 33 others wounded in an attack on a military academy in the Libyan capital, the health ministry of the Tripoli-based government said.
At the time of Saturday’s attack, cadets were gathered on a parade ground before going to their dormitories, according to Amin al-Hashemi, spokesman for the health ministry of the United Nations-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).
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Reporting from Tripoli, Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed said the situation in the capital’s hospitals was “chaotic” following the attack.
“Medical sources [at public hospitals] said it was very difficult for them to identify the bodies of the victims because most of them were either burned or torn apart by the attack.”
Abdelwahed said the majority of the victims were military students from cities across Libya, aged between 18 and 22.
Since April, the Tripoli-based GNA has been facing an offensive by renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), which is aligned with a rival government based in the country’s east.
There has been an increase in air raids and shelling around Tripoli in recent weeks, with fears that fighting could escalate further after Turkey’s parliament voted to allow a troop deployment in support of the GNA.
Forces allied with the GNA described Saturday’s attack on the military camp at Al-Hadhba as “an aerial bombing” launched by their eastern rivals. An LNA spokesman denied involvement.
GNA Health Minister Hamid bin Omar told Reuters news agency that the number of dead and wounded was still rising. Tripoli ambulance service spokesman Osama Ali said some body parts could not be immediately counted by forensic experts.
The GNA health ministry called for blood donors to go to hospitals and blood banks to help those injured.
Separately, the GNA foreign ministry called for referring Haftar and his aides to the International Criminal Court on charges of committing “crimes against humanity”, adding that it would call for an emergency UN Security Council meeting to discuss the alleged crimes.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) also condemned the attack, saying that “rising escalation … further complicates the situation in Libya and threatens the chances of returning to the political process”.
Libya was plunged into chaos after the toppling and killing of Muammar Gaddafi in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising.
Increase in attacks
An increase in air attacks and shelling in and around Tripoli has caused the deaths of at least 11 civilians since early December and shut down health facilities and schools, the UN mission in Libya said on Friday.
Rockets and shelling also shut down Tripoli’s only functioning airport on Friday.
The southern part of Tripoli has seen fierce fighting since last April, the start of Haftar’s offensive against the GNA.
Haftar’s forces are backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, while Russian military contractors have also been deployed with the LNA for several months, diplomats and analysts say.
Turkey, which backs the GNA, signed security and maritime agreements with the Tripoli-based government in November.
The Turkish parliament last week approved a bill to deploy troops in support of the GNA, paving the way for increased military cooperation despite criticism from opposition legislators.
Days after the vote, Saudi Arabia condemned “the recent Turkish escalation in Libya”.
The foreign ministry said, in a statement on the state news agency SPA, it considered the move a violation of UN Security Council decisions.
“The kingdom affirms that this Turkish escalation poses a threat to the security and stability in Libya and a threat to Arab and regional security, as it is an interference in the internal affairs of an Arab country in flagrant violation of international principles and covenants,” it said.
The Arab League has warned that foreign military interference in Libya will facilitate the arrival of foreign fighters into the war-torn country.
More than 280 civilians and more than 2,000 fighters have been killed since the start of Haftar’s assault on Tripoli, according to the UN. The fighting has also displaced some 146,000 people.
Dozens killed in fighting in Afghanistan as peace talks continue |NationalTribune.com
Fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban left dozens dead in a restive eastern province as negotiators from both sides pushed ahead with peace talks in Qatar. Overnight clashes erupted in three districts of Nangarhar province when Taliban fighters attacked several checkpoints of Afghan forces and pro-government fighters, Ataullah Khogyani, spokesman for the Nangarhar governor…
Fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban left dozens dead in a restive eastern province as negotiators from both sides pushed ahead with peace talks in Qatar.
Overnight clashes erupted in three districts of Nangarhar province when Taliban fighters attacked several checkpoints of Afghan forces and pro-government fighters, Ataullah Khogyani, spokesman for the Nangarhar governor told the AFP news agency on Thursday.
He said at least 11 Afghan security personnel were killed in fighting in Hesarak, while eight pro-government fighters were killed in Khogyani district.
The official added that about 30 Taliban fighters died in the clashes.
The Taliban has not commented on the fighting so far.
“There have been no attacks from our side … The enemies continue to attack and spill the blood of Afghans,” Afghanistan’s acting Minister of Defense Asadullah Khalid said.
The latest fighting comes as the Afghan government and the Taliban are engaged in talks in Doha aimed at ending the long-running conflict.
Representatives from the Afghan government and the Taliban started face-to-face talks on Monday after months of delay over a contentious prisoners swap agreement between the two sides.
The negotiations are a result of a deal between the Taliban and the United States signed in February, which also paved the way for the withdrawal of all foreign forces by May 2021.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said although the talks raise hopes of the war ending in the country, many challenges remain.
“This is a new phase in diplomacy for peace in Afghanistan,” Khalilzad said last week.
“These negotiations are an important achievement, but there are … significant challenges on the way to reaching an agreement.”
Al Jazeera and news agencies
Dozens feared trapped in building collapse in India’s Maharashtra |NationalTribune.com
One person has died and at least 100 feared trapped in the debris of a five-storey building that collapsed in an industrial town in western India’s Maharashtra state, officials said. Not all the roughly 200 residents of the building in Raigad district’s Mahad town, about 165km (100 miles) south of India’s financial capital Mumbai, were…
One person has died and at least 100 feared trapped in the debris of a five-storey building that collapsed in an industrial town in western India’s Maharashtra state, officials said.
Not all the roughly 200 residents of the building in Raigad district’s Mahad town, about 165km (100 miles) south of India’s financial capital Mumbai, were at home when it crumbled in the evening, local legislator Bharatshet Maruti Gogawale told the Reuters news agency on Monday.
India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) spokesman Sachidanand Gawde told reporters that emergency workers had retrieved the body of one victim, who has not yet been identified.
“I believe about 100 to 125 people must have been inside at the time of its collapse,” Gogawale, who was present at the accident site, told Reuters.
The building was comprised of 47 flats, police officials in Mahad said in a statement.
Local residents and police combed through tin sheets, metal rods and other wreckage in a desperate search for survivors as ambulances ferried victims to nearby hospitals.
Authorities said more than two dozen people were pulled out by rescue teams and taken to hospital amid heavy monsoon rains.
NDRF rescue teams and canine squads were deployed to the scene of the accident.
An unnamed official with the Maharashtra state Disaster Management Unit later told the Press Trust of India that at least 51 people were missing.
A man removes the debris after a five-storey building collapsed in Raigad in the western state of Maharashtra [Reuters]
Former Mahad legislator Manik Motiram Jagtap told the local TV9 Marathi channel that the structure was 10 years old and built on “weak” foundations.
“It fell like a house of cards,” he said. “It is a scary situation.”
The office of Uddhav Thackeray, chief minister of Maharashtra state, said on Twitter that he had been in touch with local representatives in the area.
“He has assured them that all possible support will be extended for speedy rescue and relief works,” the tweet said.
The cause of the accident was not clear. But building collapses are common in India, usually due to shoddy construction, substandard materials and disregard of regulations.
More than 1,200 people were killed in 1,161 building collapses across India in 2017, according to latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau.
Many of these accidents occur between June and September during the monsoon season, which plays a vital role in boosting agricultural harvests across South Asia.
But the monsoon season also causes widespread death and destruction, unleashing floods, triggering building collapses and inundating low-lying villages.
The death toll from monsoon-related disasters this year has topped 1,200, including more than 800 lives lost in India alone, according to a tally by the AFP news agency.
Dozens killed in separate Burkina Faso attacks |NationalTribune.com
In this file photo from 2015, soldiers guard positions near the Naaba Koom military base in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso [Arnaud Brunet/Reuters] An armed group in Burkina Faso attacked a cattle market and a humanitarian convoy, killing at least 35 people, the government said on Sunday. Twenty-five people were killed and more wounded in the attack…
In this file photo from 2015, soldiers guard positions near the Naaba Koom military base in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso [Arnaud Brunet/Reuters]
An armed group in Burkina Faso attacked a cattle market and a humanitarian convoy, killing at least 35 people, the government said on Sunday.
Twenty-five people were killed and more wounded in the attack on the market in the eastern village of Kompienga, while five civilians and five military police were killed near the northern village of Foube, the government said in a statement.
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Armed groups “targeted a humanitarian convoy returning from Foube after delivering supplies”, it said.
A further 20 people were wounded in the convoy attack, it said.
No group has claimed responsibility.
Saturday’s violence underscores deep instability in parts of Burkina Faso, which has been battling armed groups with links to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) since 2017.
Hundreds have been killed in the past year in the Sahel nation, and more than half a million people have fled their homes due to the violence, which has also raised ethnic and religious tensions.
The bloodshed follows the death of at least 15 people on Friday in an attack on a convoy transporting traders in northern Burkina Faso. That attack, in Loroum province, was also blamed on armed groups.
In the past five years, more than 900 people have been killed by armed groups, while some 860,000 people have fled their homes.
The Sahel country is part of a regional effort to battle an armed uprising along with Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Chad. Their militaries, under-equipped and poorly trained, are supported by 5,000 French troops in the region. Unrest in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger killed approximately 4,000 people last year, according to UN figures.
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