Six Detained After Turkish Dormitory Fire Kills Schoolgirls

Authorities in southern Turkey, detained six people on Wednesday over a fire in a dormitory that killed 11 schoolgirls and one other person, the state-agency said.

Flames swept through the mostly wooden interior of the two-storey dormitory in the town of Aladag late on Tuesday, causing the roof to collapse.

European Affairs Minister Omer Celik, a ruling AK Party lawmaker who represents the surrounding province in the national parliament, said the suspected cause was an electrical fault.

But the opposition complained of lax regulation and criticised an education policy that has seen a growing number of such dormitories set up to house poor students from villages where there are no state schools.

Local media said the dormitory was run by one of the several religious movements in Turkey that operate such facilities. Elif Dogan Turkmen, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party, said she had unsuccessfully tabled several proposals in parliament to improve the inspection and supervision of such buildings.

“The AKP has abandoned all state authority on education to religious movements and cults,” Turkmen told Reuters. “They throw children from poor families into the lap of cults by not building dormitories themselves.”

Local mayor Huseyin Sozlu was quoted by the Hurriyet newspaper as saying the door to a fire escape was shut, trapping some of the victims inside. But Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak denied that was the case.

“The initial information passed on from investigators and our prosecutor suggests there was no lock on the door,” he said.

Kaynak rejected claims of insufficient inspections, saying the building had been audited in June as well as last year and that it had the necessary license.

The fire began on the ground floor but quickly spread through wooden fixtures and carpets, according to a CNN Turk correspondent who said children had smashed windows on the upper floor as they tried to escape.

Twenty-four people, many of them schoolgirls, were injured. One of the people detained was the dormitory manager.

Such incidents are not uncommon in Turkey. In 2008, an explosion triggered by a gas leak in a religious preparatory school in the central province of Konya killed 18 girls and wounded 29. Charges were brought against the dormitory manager and other officials but the case is ongoing.

Credit: NAN

Russian minister Alexei Ulyukayev detained over ‘bribe’.

Russia’s Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev has been detained in connection with an alleged bribe.

Russia’s main anti-corruption body, the Investigative Committee, said Ulyukayev received a payment of $2m.

His ministry had given a positive assessment that led to the oil giant Rosneft acquiring a 50% stake in another oil company, Bashneft. He is the highest-ranking Russian official to be detained since the 1991 coup attempt in what was then the USSR.

“This is about extortion of a bribe from Rosneft representatives accompanied by threats,” Svetlana Petrenko, a spokesperson for the Investigative Committee, told RIA Novosti news agency.

“Ulyukayev was caught red-handed as he received a bribe,” she said.

The Investigative Committee said the minister would soon be charged and could face a prison sentence of between eight and 15 years, if found guilty.

Rosneft, which is controlled by the Russian government, bought 50% of Bashneft for 330bn roubles (($5bn) in October.

A Rosneft spokesperson told the Tass news agency it acquired the Bashneft stake “in accordance with Russian law on the basis of the best commercial offer made to the operating bank”.

Ulyukayev was appointed economy minister in 2013; prior to that, he had been deputy chairman of Russia’s central bank for a decade.

Lawmaker Demands Release Of Detained Legislative Aides

A member of Kogi State House of Assembly, Idris Ndako, has expressed concern over the continued detention of some legislative aides and called for their immediate and unconditional release from police detention.

Ndako condemned what he said was the illegal arrest and detention of four legislative aides on account of disrupting the sitting of the House members last week, adding that they were their legislative aides and were arrested at Crusher Village while waiting for their principals who resumed on Thursday.

The lawmaker told journalists in Lokoja that the workers were standing beside the cars of their principals when the police swooped on them and took them away.
He said, “That is why we keep telling the police to work with their own intelligence, and not rely on the one given to them by some people. They have been giving the police wrong information with the intention to destroy the G15.

“The security forces do not have credible information, that is why they arrested wrong people.

“Imagine, the police claimed that the four men our suspected to have come to disrupt our sitting. How can my Personal Assistant who drove me to the assembly complex turn to be a thug?

“After all, our sitting that day was peaceful. Except that the police wanted to lock us out. The police must have acted on a script.”

The Kogi State Police Command had on Thursday disclosed that it has arrested four suspected thugs at Kogi Assembly complex.

While parading the suspects at Command headquarters in Lokoja, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Yakubu Usman, said he had a distress call that thugs have invaded the House Assembly.

Usman stated that it is responsibility of the police to protect lives and property of the people of the state.

Credit: Punch

I Am Being Persecuted, Detained Badeh Cries Out (READ FULL STATEMENT)

Nigeria’s former defence chief, Alex Badeh, has denied allegations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, that he was involved in stealing money meant for purchase of arms, describing his current detention by the EFCC as “persecution”.

Mr. Badeh, a former Air Chief Marshal, who has been detained by the EFCC for more than three weeks, said in a statement Thursday that he was being subjected to “media trial” for no just cause.

Mr. Badeh said despite his repeated assurances to the EFCC that he would fully cooperate with any investigations, he was being treated unfairly and his rights were violated by a country he fought so hard to defend against Boko Haram.

Read his full statement:

It has been widely reported in the news that I am being investigated over the $2.1 Billion Arms deal but that is not true. I was not part of Dasuki gate.

The claim that 5 properties were acquired for me from the $2.1billion funds is also false.

I was Chief of Air staff from Oct 2012 to January 2014 and then appointed CDS. During my time serving as the CDS, funds for weapons were directly released to the Chief of Air staff, army staff and naval staff and not to me. I had no control over the funds and yet I am being accused of embezzling weapons funds.

The office of the CDS had no operational control of the services and had nothing to do with their spending.

The EFCC’s claim that I received $800,000 from my Director of Finance and accounts is untrue. I did not receive such money from the erstwhile DFA. If he claims to have given me money, where is the proof? Was it paid into my account? Did I sign for it?

In the case of the properties, if they claim the properties are mine and were obtained illegally through proxies then they should go to the court and get an order of forfeiture rather than trying to insist I am the owner of the properties.

It is unfortunate that the media has unwittingly allowed itself to be used by interested parties to become judge jury and executioner in my case.

Even when they claimed Billions were found in accounts of wives of some past Air Force officers, none was found with my family yet EFCC keeps generalizing and making it look like my family is involved too.

It is rather unfortunate that the nation which I fought so hard within my means to defend against Boko Haram insurgents cannot guarantee my fundamental human rights.

During my time as the CDS, lives of both soldiers and civilians were lost. Territories were lost. We fought to regain our nation’s territorial integrity and the insurgents pushed back.

I LOST MY PERSONAL HOUSE AND HOSPITAL IN DEFENCE OF MY FATHERLAND (A hospital which I built many years ago and was equally used in the treatment of injured soldiers). NOW I AM LOSING MY FREEDOM TO THE SAME FATHERLAND THAT I FOUGHT SO HARD TO DEFEND

During the 2014 Boko haram attack on my village Vimtim, it was widely reported in the media that I sent a helicopter to evacuate my parents and relatives. Which parents? I am an orphan, I lost my father in the 70’s and my mother in 2013. My cousin, who lived next to me, was killed during the 2014 attack on my village. So who exactly did I evacuate? It is unfortunate that I didn’t come out to clarify some of these issues when they were reported in the media.

I was detained by The EFCC for 3 weeks and was not charged to court but was given onerous bail conditions by the Commission which I could not meet. A remand warrant was hastily obtained on the 25th February in Lagos as soon as The EFCC was served with a notice for my bail hearing in court by my lawyers. Why detain me for so long and issue such onerous bail conditions when they aren’t ready to charge me to court?

I reported to the EFCC when I was invited and would report anytime I am needed. All I ask for is to be given a fair hearing with the rule of law strictly adhered to.

It is a media trial and I am being persecuted.

Air Chief Marshal A. S. Badeh

Credit: PremiumTimes

Group Petitions Police Affairs Minister, Police IG Over Policemen Detained By Nigerian Army

Following a PREMIUM TIMES exclusive report about the detention of 10 counter terrorism police officers since April 21, a rights group, Committee for Democracy and Rights of the People, has petitioned the Minister of Police Affairs and Inspector general of Police, requesting their intervention for the release of the detained police officers.

One of the detainees had earlier told PREMIUM TIMES that he and his colleagues were detained on the instruction of a Colonel Kalejaye, head of the army forward operation base, because they refused his directive to “impersonate” soldiers by wearing their uniforms for training in Kaduna State.

One of the detainees, on Wednesday, told PREMIUM TIMES that following reports on their plight, the military had started to give them food.

In its petition, signed by its national coordinator, Waheed Saka, the group demanded “immediate and unconditional release of the detainee officers; security synergy among military and paramilitary agency for effective security; and inquiry into the controversial deployment.”

The group also expressed hope that “this unnecessary institutional superiority among security agencies will be properly addressed and necessary reform for implementation will be done for the good of our national security”.

The CDRP said it is concerned about right to life of Nigerian citizen.

“We considered the detainee first as a citizen before they enlisted as policemen in the service of their fatherland,” the group said. “We subsequently condemned the detention as unlawful, unwarranted and totally unacceptable as carried by the online media and various media outlet on 26th April 2015.

“However, the request for your intervention is necessary as all our effort to free the detainees is not fruitful and our independent investigation revealed that the detained officers are still in army cell somewhere in Gwagwalada under a condition that we considered inhuman and filty.

“More so, it is definitely easy to secure the popular minority elite, but if our nation security will operate according to international best practice, we must strive to protect, defend and patriotically respect the rights of our rank and file officers who sworn to defend the green, white and green flag of our country against any internal uprising.”

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Man Detained For Overtaking Gov. Chime’s Convoy

A man has been detained and tortured for driving into Governor Sullivan Chime’s convoy attempting to kidnap him. He was arrested by security personnel of the Enugu State Governor as know one why he had to drive into Chime’s convoy earlier this year.

However the the Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network has argued that it was unlawful to detain the man, as he was beaten to a pulp and held at the Anti Kidnapping Base before he was actually charged.

Parents of the man have been asked to appeal the matter as their son has not committed an offence by overtaking a convoy according to the CRRAN.

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Wife of ISIS Leader Detained in Lebanon

Lebanese authorities have detained a wife and son of the leader of the Islamic State group, and she is being questioned, two senior Lebanese officials said Tuesday. A military official said the woman and her son were detained about 10 days ago while carrying fake identification cards.

Both officials refused to give further details about the woman who is believed to be one of the wives of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group’s reclusive leader. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

The military official said the woman is a Syrian citizen and is being questioned by authorities. The officials refused to give details about the son.

The Lebanese daily As-Safir was the first to break the news, saying they were detained near a border crossing point with Syria. It added that the arrest was in “coordination with foreign intelligence agencies.”

Very little is known about al-Baghdadi’s personal life, including how many wives and children he has. Conservative interpretations of Islam allow for a man to marry up to four wives.

Al-Baghdadi’s first wife is believed to be Iraqi citizen Suja al-Dulaimi, who was reportedly held by Syrian authorities and freed in a prisoner exchange with al-Qaida’s branch in Syria earlier this year. In March, the Nusra Front freed more than a dozen Greek Orthodox nuns, ending their four-month captivity in exchange for Syrian authorities releasing dozens of female prisoners.

Credit: Yahoo News

Cocaine Found in Bananas… Spain Detains Traffickers

Spanish police said Wednesday they had arrested nine people, including one of the country’s biggest drug smugglers, after finding cocaine hidden among a shipment of bananas from Colombia.

The authorities said they opened their investigation after police with sniffer dogs uncovered 54 kilos (120 pounds) of high quality cocaine hidden inside boxes of bananas as they were being unloaded at the port of Marin in the northwestern region of Galicia.

Officers arrested six people who came to pick up the cocaine as well as three others in the southern town of Dilar who were allegedly part of the ring that organised the shipment, a statement said.

The detainees included the leader of the drug smuggling ring, identified only as Antonio Manuel B.I., a Spanish national described by police as “one of Spain’s top drug dealers”.

Police said the suspect had been on the run since being sentenced to 17 years in jail in 2006 for drug smuggling and other crimes.

He was detained in Spain in 2001 on suspicion of being part of a ring trying to smuggle more than 1,000 kilos of cocaine out of Colombia.

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