BANGLADESH: 11 alleged members of the JMB die in security forces operation
At least 11 people allegedly members of the Islamist armed opposition group JMB are killed in a series of police raids in three houses where the insurgents were staying. The armed group has been accused by the Bangladeshi Government of being behind the attack carried out on a café in July where around 30 people died, including six assailants. The attack was claimed by ISIS, although the authorities of Bangladesh have repeatedly denied any ties between the two armed groups. The police stressed that the insurgents opened fire when they were requested to surrender, and this is what led to the armed response by the security forces. Since the July attack, 14 people have died in the hands of the police, over their alleged links to the insurgency, including the leader of the armed group and the mastermind behind the attack, Tamim Chowdhury, a Canadian-Bangladeshi citizen. He died during an operation by the security forces at the end of August together with other alleged members of the armed group. (Al Jazeera, 27/8/16 & 8/10/16)
ETHIOPIA: The Government declares a state of emergency in response to a serious escalation of tension
The Government declared a state of emergency for a period of six months in the Oromia region as a result of the serious protests that have caused more than a hundred deaths due to the excessive use of force by the Ethiopian security forces. In this regard, several analysts have accused Ethiopia of withdrawing part of its troops from Somalia to quell its own internal rebellion. The Ethiopian Government denied that its decision to withdraw troops has anything to do with the internal situation, and blamed the lack of international support for its activities in Somalia as the reason for its decision. The government has accused anti-peace forces of provoking the riots. (African News, 11/10/16)
ETHIOPIA (OROMIA): The Ethiopian Armed Forces attack the ONLF in Kenyan Territory
The Ethiopian Armed Forces entered Kenyan soil in mid-October in pursuit of combatants from the ONLF armed group, in Golole, near the town of Sololo in Marsabit County, and killed dozens of the armed group’s members. It is estimated that a detachment of 100 Ethiopian soldiers participated in the operation, which interrogation the civilian population in Golole. In turn, the Kenyan Armed Forces were deployed in Sololo after the attack by the Ethiopian troops to determine the importance of the incident. In addition, the Ethiopian police arrested six policemen on the border between the two countries. The police had entered Ethiopian territory to free a Kenyan reservist who had been arrested for crossing into Ethiopia. The Government of Kenya announced that it is working to obtain the officers’ release. (ESAT News, 26/10/16)
KENYA: Rise in the number of extrajudicial killings allegedly committed by the police
More than 122 people were shot and killed by police in the country in the first eight months of the year, a 7% increase over the same period in 2015, according to the newspaper Sunday Nation. These figures come from the "Deadly Force" database, the most important and comprehensive database on police deaths, which gathers data from the media, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority and human rights organizations. The figure for the first eight months of 2016 is close to exceeding the total annual figure of 140 people in 2015. Reports from human rights organizations have condemned several deaths caused by the police that could be considered extrajudicial executions or were at least controversial and could have been manipulated. The Government has said that the entire police force cannot be tried for isolated cases of excessive use of force. At the same time, the Government established a 60-day curfew in the northern town of Mandera at the end of October, and fighting broke out between armed groups in the Pokot and Marakwet communities on the border between Baringo and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties, causing several deaths. (Deadly Force; Daily Nation, 18/10/16)
MYANMAR: Insurgency attack unleashes new wave of violence in Rakhine State
A group of 250 insurgents attack several police border posts, killing nine police officers in Rakhine State. Eight insurgents also died during the attack. The armed opposition group Aqa Mul Mujahidin would be behind the attack, in which it also managed to take stock of large amounts on weapons and ammunition. As a consequence of the security forces operations that started after the attack, 22 people have died, several under police custody. Many of the victims could be civilians, according to local human rights organisations. Furthermore, thousands have been forced to leave their homes as a consequence of the security operations and there has been a surge in tensions between the Buddhist and Muslim communities. The security forces may have displaced unarmed Rohingya population, killing several civilians. The special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, has called for giving access to the areas affected by the conflict and expressed his concern over the serious claims of human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detention, many cases of sexual violations and the killing of civilians. Access to the area for the media is severely restricted. Also, tens of houses in the area may have been set on fire. Many male civilians have been forced to leave their homes fearing they may be accused of being insurgents and the security forces forced more than 2,000 people to leave their villages. (The Irrawaddy, 14, 18, 25, 28 & 31/10/16)
PAKISTAN (BALOCHISTAN): Attack against police academy in Quetta kills at least 62
An attack in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, against a police academy kills at least 62 people, mostly police cadets. More than 100 were injured in the attack. A group of insurgents attacked the police in an assault lasting several hours and during which there was intense shooting. Two of the attackers detonated belts with explosives and a third attacker was shot dead. Although some sources attribute the attack to ISIS, the Pakistani armed group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, with ties to the Taleban insurgency, had claimed responsibility for the attack previously. A spokesperson of the Balochi Government pointed out that the attack had been prepared in Afghan territory and accused “foreign intelligence agencies”. In a separate event, six people died and 19 were injured after a train in March, south of Quetta, was attacked. The attack was claimed by the Balochi armed opposition group BLA, which stated that the attack was targeting Pakistani soldiers who were travelling on the train to Rawalpindi. The Balochi nationalist insurgency frequently carries attacks against this infrastructure. Recently, the leader of the armed group BLF, Allah Nazar Baloch, called for international support for the Balochi cause, including from India, and announced attacks against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which seeks to join western China to the Arabian Sea in Pakistan through a network of roads, railways and energy pipelines crossing Balochi territory. The Balochi insurgency calls this an imperialist project and the Frontier Workers Organisation, the Pakistani company controlled by the Army highlighted that in the past two years, 44 of its workers have been killed and 100 more have been injured as a consequence of the attacks. (Al-Jazeera, 25/10/16; Reuters, 25/10/16)
PHILIPPINES (MINDANAO-ABU SAYYAF): Government says more than 70 Abu Sayyaf members have been killed since the army’s military offensive in early July
According to the armed forces statements in October, since large-scale counterinsurgency operations began in early July, 70 Abu Sayyaf members have been killed, 32 have been captured and a further 34 have surrendered. Over the same period, 28 soldiers have lost their lives with around 100 wounded in the Sulu and Basilan provinces. Also in late October, the government reported that during the first six months of the year military offensives had reduced the number of Abu Sayyaf fighters to 481 (from 506 in the same period last year). Nevertheless, over the same period the group carried out 32 attacks using explosive devices, an increase of 68% over last year. These numbers do not take into account the impact of the army’s military offensives against Abu Sayyaf’s chief strongholds, meaning that the government places the group’s current number of fighters at between 300 and 400. Nevertheless, in early September an Abu Sayyaf spokesperson had stated that the group had more than 1000 fighters. In mid-October, according to the armed forces, in the first 100 days of new President Rodrigo Duterte’s government 579 military operations had been launched against the group in Sulu alone with 54 engagements being reported between the two sides. In September, the armed forces said they had deployed 7,000 troops since late August, although some media sources claimed the number could be as high as 10,000. Indeed, the army acknowledged that more than 50% of its military air force and navy capacities are deployed in Mindanao, primarily centred on counterinsurgency operations against Abu Sayyaf. The government acknowledged that it was able to deploy substantial numbers of soldiers and considerable military equipment in the fight against Abu Sayyaf because peace talks with the MILF and the NPA, groups with which the government has a ceasefire agreement, were progressing well. Moreover, Manila also reported that in the first six months of the year Abu Sayyaf had secured 7.3 million dollars in ransom payments for the release of hostages, mainly 14 Indonesian sailors and a further four Malaysian sailors captured at the start of the year off the Sulu coast. Ever since, the governments of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia have increased patrols in the Sulu Sea, coordinating their communications and their plans to protect the ships that use the region’s waters. Indeed, the joint fight against Abu Sayyaf is one of the foremost issues Rodrigo Duterte is expected to address on his visit to Malaysia in early November. Along these lines, it is worth highlighting that on 21 October Abu Sayyaf members attacked a South Korean ship off the coast of Tawi-Tawi province and kidnapped the captain and another crew member. (Aljazeera, Interaksyon, 21/10/16; ABS-CBN News, Inquirer, 30/10/16; GMA News, 29/10/16; Philippine Star, 15/10/16; Rappler, 16/10/16)
REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Violence on the rise in the Pool region
At least 14 people were killed in an attack on a train in the town of Mindouli, in the Pool region. According to police sources, the attack was carried out by former combatants known as Ninjas (Ninjas Nsiloulou), led by former rebel leader Frédéric Bintsamou, also known as Reverend Ntumi. Representatives of Reverend Ntumi say that they had nothing to do with the incident. In recent weeks there have been clashes involving the Ninjas militias, a former armed group led by the Reverend and very active in the wars that affected the country in the 1990s. Ntumi has expressed his support for Guy Brice Parfait Kolélas, son of the historic political leader Bernard Kolélas, who became prime minister in 1997 and set up the private Ninjas militia that he used to spread terror in the country. Kolélas was defeated in the March 2016 elections by Denis Sassou-Nguesso. Ntumi has said that his people have resumed fighting because of the election fraud in March and in response to government violence that has grown since Nguesso's disputed re-election. The Congolese authorities have issued a search warrant for Ntumi, who blamed President Sassou-Nguesso for the deteriorating security situation. Ntumi has called for a dialogue with mediation by the international community. (AFP, 02/10/16; RFI, 01, 05, 06 y 21/10/16)
SOUTH SUDAN: Clashes and tensions break out in the country
A political crisis broke out in the country following clashes between government troops and those belonging to the SPLA-IO in the capital city of Juba in June. As a result, Riek Machar, the First Vice-President of the Government of Transition of National Unity, was dismissed and the armed groups that support Machar returned to violence. Between October 8 and 9, 21 civilians were killed in an ambush by SPLA-IO forces on the road linking Juba with the country's second largest city, Yei. A day later 30 other people were killed when four buses were ambushed on the Kampala-Juba route. Meanwhile fighting has been reported in Wajwok and Lelo near Malakal, the Greater Upper Nile region, which resulted in 56 rebels and four soldiers dead, according to an army spokesman. Clashes erupted for control of both areas between government and rebel forces from the Shilluk militia, known as Aguelek, which is loyal to Riek Machar. Finally, they remained under government control. The deterioration of the security situation and attacks against the civilian population were condemned by the UN mission in the country (UNMISS), which warned of the danger of the rising violence. Fighting resumed in September after Riek Machar called on his followers to return to the war against the Kiir government. After being dismissed as First Vice-President, he stated that the peace agreement signed in August 2015 had failed. (Sudan Tribune, 07, 10/10/2016; Radio Tamazuj, 11, 23/10/2016; Reuters, 16/10/2016; AFP, 17/10/2016)
TURKEY (SOUTHEAST): The armed conflict worsens, with over 100 fatalities, including two AKP officials, and a new era in the fight against terrorism is announced
The conflict between Turkey and the PKK deteriorated, with many incidents of violence throughout the month, including special operations against the PKK, bombings of PKK positions in parts of Turkey and northern Iraq and attacks carried out by the PKK. Among the incidents, the Ukrainian Army reported the deaths of at least 100 PKK militants in special operations between 20 and 26 October in eight provinces in the southeast. On 17 October, curfews were imposed in 15 municipalities in Diyarbakir province. Violence intensified in the district of Şemdinli (Hakkari province). There, a suicide attack on a military checkpoint on 9 October killed 10 soldiers and six civilians and wounded 11 soldiers and around 15 civilians. Following the attack, the Turkish Army declared it was launching a large-scale air operation. Suspected PKK militants killed two AKP politicians in the district of Özalp (Van province) and Dicle (Diyarbakir) and attacked AKP headquarters in Mardin province. The prime minister stated that the group seemed to have begun a new phase with its attacks against the party. Politicians condemned the attacks, including from the pro-Kurdish HDP party. Meanwhile, the armed group TAK, which is considered linked to the PKK, was blamed for a bomb attack near a police station in Istanbul on 6 October that killed 10 civilians. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey was starting a new era in the fight against terrorism in 81 cities in Turkey after a recent shakeup in the police department, which will intensify the fight against the PKK. Meanwhile, the Turkish Army boosted its deployment along the border with Iraq. According to ICG reports, at least 49 members of the security forces, 67 members of the PKK or people linked to the PKK and 15 civilians were killed in October. Tensions worsened between the government and the Kurdish movement following the arrest of the co-mayors of Diyarbakir, the symbolic capital of the Kurds, on charges of having ties to the PKK, prompting harsh criticism from the armed, political and social wings of the Kurdish movement. PKK leader Cemil Bayik stated that the arrest of the two co-mayors of Diyarbakir was the culmination of the state’s hostility towards the Kurds. In the political arena, Kurdish political leaders called for demonstrations in the streets and “resistance”. (Hürriyet, Reuters, Rudaw, Firat, 1-31/10/16)
YEMEN: The situation in the country worsens after an air strike on a funeral kills 140 people in Sana’a amidst a deteriorating humanitarian crisis
After first denying its responsibility, Saudi Arabia acknowledged that it had conducted an air strike during a funeral in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, which killed 140 people on 8 October and wounded another 600. The air strike prompted harsh criticism of the coalition led by Riyadh, which has been accused of many attacks on markets, schools, hospitals and weddings that have claimed many lives. The funeral of the father of a Houthi government minister had brought together many rebel leaders and the air strike killed members of the political, tribal and military elite. Riyadh blamed the incident on incorrect information and identified the location of the funeral as a military target. Analysts warned of the powerful impact of the attack, considered a violation of traditional norms, and raised alarm regarding its consequences in efforts to resume the peace negotiations. After the attack, the Houthis launched two missiles into Saudi territory, one of which may have struck the military base in Ta’if, 520 km from the Yemeni border. The Saudi attack prompted the United States to declare that its cooperation with Riyadh was not a “blank check” and that it would review the military and logistical assistance that it is providing to the Saudis. Washington has denied intending to play a larger role in the war in Yemen after conducting its first attack against Houthi-controlled territories. The United States launched missiles against three radar sites on the Houthi-dominated Yemeni coast following a failed missile strike on a US ship stationed in the Red Sea. The Houthis denied any responsibility for this attack and accused the United States of using it as an excuse. In mid-October, the UN special envoy for Yemen announced a new 72-hour ceasefire in the country to facilitate access to humanitarian aid. The truce (the sixth since March 2015) was implemented with partial violations, but the parties ignored calls to extend it and resumed fighting. The UN warned of the serious humanitarian situation in the country, with half of all health facilities non-operational, a new outbreak of cholera, 3.2 million people displaced by the violence, 80% of the population in need of humanitarian aid and 370,000 severely malnourished children. (OCHA, 25/10/16; The Guardian, 09, 13, 15, 16, 18, 23, 30/10/16; Foreign Policy, 12/10/16)
AFGHANISTAN: EU forces repatriation agreement with Government to allow forced return of tens of thousands while violence increases in the country
The EU and the Afghan Government sign a repatriation agreement by which tens of thousands of people coming from Afghanistan and whose asylum applications are turned down willed be forcefully returned to their country of origin. The agreement was announced during the international conference held in Brussels where donors pledged 3.750 billion Euros per year for development cooperation in the country during the next four years. 213,000 people coming from Afghanistan reached Europe during 2015; from these, 177,000 applied for asylum, although more than half of these applications were rejected. The European authorities denied that this repatriation agreement was conditioned by the aid pledged for the country, but then information was leaked proving this link, and also members of the Afghan delegation to the conference recognised this. The conference also covered other issues, such as the elections scheduled to take place in 2015, which have not yet taken place. Human rights organisations expressed concern over the regression in terms of human rights and also because no concrete conditions were established, in terms of human rights, for the payment of this aid. At the same time, there was a surge of violence during the month, with one of the most serious episodes in the country. At least 100 members of the Afghan security forces died in a Taleban attack just outside Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province. The Taleban insurgence also managed to regain control in several parts of the city of Kunduz for several days, after intense fighting that forced thousands of people away from their homes. According to figures released unofficially by Government sources, from March to August some 4,500 Afghan soldiers and police officers had died, and more than 8,000 had been injured. New recruitments are not happening fast enough to replace the number of casualties and desertions, meaning there could be a considerable security gap in the near future. (The New York Times, 5, 12/10/16)
IRAQ: Iraqi forces supported by peshmergas, Shia militias, the United States, the United Kingdom and France begin an offensive aimed at expelling ISIS from Mosul
After months of planning, on 17 October the Iraqi government announced the start of its military operation aimed at regaining control of Mosul, the second-largest city in the country, which has been in the hands of the armed group ISIS since June 2014. In addition to the Iraqi forces, participants in the offensive included Kurdish fighters (peshmergas), Shia militias and special forces from the United States, the United Kingdom and France, countries that form part of the international anti-ISIS coalition. A force of around 30,000 soldiers surrounded the city, whose access points had been undermined by ISIS. Senior Iraqi military leaders expected that the Mosul campaign could last for months. Mosul is a key city for ISIS due to its symbolic value (the group’s leader announced the caliphate in Mosul) and its strategic value (the loss of the city would affect supply lines from Iraq to ISIS-controlled areas in Syria). The armed group prohibited the population of Mosul from abandoning the city, destroying the homes of people who have fled and setting up checkpoints on the ways out. Even so, the International Committee of the Red Cross, UNHCR and international NGOs warned that the battle for Mosul could aggravate the humanitarian situation in the country with the forced displacement of over one million people across the area amidst a lack of economic resources, a shortage of spaces to receive them and adverse weather conditions with winter approaching. Three million Iraqis are already estimated to have been forcibly displaced since the intensification of violence in 2014 and humanitarians fear that the mismanagement of a new crisis could worsen the population’s grievances, which may have once contributed to the capture of Mosul by ISIS. After the campaign began, ISIS launched attacks on Kirkuk in order to divert attention to that front and prevent the concentration of troops in Mosul, setting fire to a chemical plant on the outskirts of the city. (The Guardian, 17, 19, 20, 22/10/16; AP, 21/10/16)
NIGER: Malian Jihadist groups launch attacks in the west of the country
Twenty-two members of the Nigerian security forces (14 national guards, 5 policemen and 3 soldiers) were killed on October 6 in a Malian refugee camp in Tassalit, Tahoua region, by attackers from Mali. The United Nations agency for Refugees (UNHCR) also confirmed that five other soldiers were wounded and that no civilians were affected. UNHCR reported that there are currently about 60,000 refugees from Mali, as well as an additional 80,000 people who have fled the violence by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Subsequently, on October 17, another Malian armed group, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), conducted an attack on a prison in Koutoukale, fifty kilometres north of the capital. The attack was thwarted by the national armed forces. That same day an American humanitarian worker was kidnapped in the town of Abalak by a Malian armed group that murdered two guards in the operation. In a meeting in Niamey with Nigerian President Issofou, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged 27 million euros to reinforce security in the country. (Al Jazeera, 15/10/2016; The Independent, 16/10/2016; AFP, 17/10/2016)
SOMALIA - ETHIOPIA: Al-Shabaab regains control over ten towns after the withdrawal of part of the Ethiopian troops
The radical Islamist armed group al-Shabaab has taken control over around ten Somali towns since July as a result of the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops, who have abandoned several towns in recent months in the interior of Somalia, mainly in Hiiraan and Bakool. This decision has led to the forced displacement of hundreds of people who are concerned that al-Shabaab could return to these towns. The Ethiopian Minister of Communication stated that only those Ethiopian troops that are not part of the AU mission in the country (AMISOM) have been withdrawn, and he blamed the decision on the lack of international support, following a recent EU decision to cut economic support for the international military presence in Somalia. Ethiopia is one of the countries that has contributing the most troops to AMISOM. According to VOA journalist Harun Maruf, an important base in the town of El-Ali was abandoned in October and although the reasons for the withdrawal are unclear, several experts indicate that the decision could be linked to the Ethiopian domestic situation. Due to the rise in the number of demonstrations by Oromo community groups, the troops could have been ordered to return to quell the internal social protests. A state of emergency was declared for six months in response to demonstrations by the Oromo community. (Africa News, 11/10/16; BBC, Reuters, 26/10/16)
GUINEA-BISSAU: Government and opposition move toward unblocking the political crisis
Since the crisis that began in August 2015, and after a year marked by confrontation between President Vaz and the dominant faction of the ruling party, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), a political dialogue between the parties finally took place between October 11-14 in Conakry, the capital of neighbouring Guinea. During the meeting discussions were held on the implementation of the six points proposed in September under ECOWAS mediation, in an attempt to end the political crisis. The plan included the creation of an inclusive consensus government, as well as amendments to the Constitution and to laws governing elections and political parties. The dialogue concluded with the signing of the Conakry Agreement on October 14, which involves electing by consensus a new Prime Minister who will remain in office until the 2018 legislative elections. The agreement also reinstates in Parliament the 15 dissident deputies of the PAIGC who had been suspended. (Reuters, 14/10/2016)
KIRGUISTÁN –UZBEKISTÁN: New confidence building measures, with government visits, help dispel the mid-year crisis
Government delegations from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan respectively made confidence building visits in October to improve relations between the two countries. The visits came after a new border crisis erupted in August, and as part of the new regional political context following the September death of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, who was succeeded by former Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Several media outlets pointed to gestures that Mirziyoyev had made since he assumed office that would indicate his interest in improving relations with neighbouring countries. A 140-member Uzbek delegation travelled in late October to meet with two Kyrgyz deputy prime ministers in the border town of Dostuk. In addition, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev thanked the acting Uzbek leader for his willingness to improve relations between the two countries. Previously, a Kyrgyz delegation had travelled to the Uzbek city of Andijon after an invitation by the Uzbek Government. Meanwhile, on the domestic front, in late October the Kyrgyz government resigned a few days after the government coalition collapsed. The coalition broke up after the Social Democratic Party –the largest partner– announced that it was leaving due to irreconcilable differences with the two other partners (Ata-Meken and Onuguu) that opposed the constitutional referendum that would expand the powers of the Prime Minister and the Parliament. (Asia-Plus, RFE/RL, Reuters, 1-31/10/16)
LEBANON: After over two years of deadlock, Parliament elects a new president for the country
After over two years of political deadlock and 45 failed attempts, the Lebanese Parliament elected Michel Aoun to be the country’s new president. The 81-year-old former general won 83 votes from the 128 MPs who met in the 46th session to choose a head of state and will succeed Michel Suleiman, who resigned at the end of his term in May 2014. Aoun, a Maronite Christian and leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, fulfils the unique power-sharing scheme established in the Lebanese Constitution, which requires the president to be Christian, the prime minister to be Sunni and the speaker of Parliament to be Shia. His appointment was unblocked after the leader of the Future Movement, Saad Hariri, said in mid-October that he was willing to give him support in order to protect the Lebanese political system. Aoun won backing from Hezbollah, which promoted his candidacy. Analysts considered his appointment a triumph for the Shia group allied with Iran and Syria, in addition to a political concession from Hariri, reflecting the declining influence of Saudi Arabia in Lebanon. Aoun had a prominent role in the Lebanese Civil War as chief of the Army (1984-1990) and played a leading role in rejecting the Syrian presence in the country. He was prime minister of one of the two rival governments installed in Lebanon in the final period of the conflict (1988-1990) and was later exiled to France for 15 years until Syrian troops were withdrawn from Lebanese territory. Despite his historical position against Syrian influence in Lebanon, since 2006 Aoun has formed a political alliance with Hezbollah, a staunch ally of Damascus. Aoun is currently considered a political figure close to Iran and a charismatic leader who has maintained his popularity among the Maronite Christian community. Saad Hariri was expected to be named prime minister in the following weeks. (RFI, BBC, The Guardian, al-Jazeera, 31/10/16)
NIGERIA: 21 of the girls kidnapped at Chibok school in 2014 are released
21 of the more than 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram at Chibok High School in April 2014 were released on October 14. The release was possible due to negotiations between the Nigerian Government and the Boko Haram faction led by Abubakar Shekau, with mediation by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss Government. The Government, headed by Muhammadu Buhari, stated that it did not make concessions in exchange for the release of the girls, although local sources said that in return the Government had released five of the organization’s commanders. A spokesperson for the president, Garba Shehu, said that the Administration is working to free another 83 girls who were being held by the faction led by Abu Musab al-Barnawi, who operates under the name of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). (Al Jazeera, 13/10/2016; The Guardian, 17/10/2016; AFP, 19/10/2016)
UKRAINE (EAST): The Ukrainian Army and the forces of the Donbas withdraw their troops from the front lines of Zolote and Petrivske as part of the partial demilitarisation agreement
The Ukrainian Amy and the armed forces of the Donbas pulled back several kilometres from the front line of the cities of Zolote (Luhansk region) and Petrivske (Donetsk), two of the three locations of the first stage in the creation of demilitarised areas, according to the agreement reached by the parties in September. The special representative of the rotating chairperson-in-office of the OSCE and OSCE representative in the Trilateral Contact Group, Martin Sajdik, confirmed the withdrawal of these troops at the end of the month. Despite the demilitarisation in these two areas, the conflict remained active, with clashes and incidents in other areas, including around the city of Avdiivka and near Mariupol. Several fatalities were reported during the month, including civilians. Furthermore, the authorities of the self-proclaimed republic of Donetsk reported the assassination of one of its leaders, Arsen Pavlov, also known as “Motorola”, in the building where he lived. Rebel forces accused Ukrainian special forces of being behind his death, while Kiev pointed a finger at Moscow, saying that the Kremlin was purging certain rebel leaders. Pavlov’s name is added to the list of assassinated leaders of the Donbas. Meanwhile, the OSCE indicated that 70% of the restrictions on the freedom of movement encountered by the monitoring mission take place in territory under the control of the self-proclaimed republics of the Donbas. (OSCE, NY Times, RFE/RL, Reuters, 1-31/10/16)
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