Francine Farias had just completed a census of her tumbledown favela on the outskirts of one of the world’s most violent cities when she heard a volley of gunfire and her count was rendered suddenly out of date. One unpaved street away, her nextdoor neighbour, 17-year-old Ruan Patrick Ramos Cruz, lay dead in the dirt after being repeatedly shot in the head and chest by unknown assassins. “First I heard four [shots], then two more,” recalled Farias, a community leader in Loteamento Alameda das Árvores, a rundown 288-home settlement on the southern fringes of Feira de Santana. “It’s devastating to see one more young person die because of crime – a young man with his whole future before him,” added Farias, 31, who said her neighbour had become mixed up in drugs. “He’s the third since I’ve lived here. All of them the same age.” Cruz was the 296th person to die in Feira de Santana this year and the latest victim of an escalating murder crisis that has arguably made public security the key issue as Brazil holds its most unpredictable presidential election in decades.Full Article: 'Brazil is at war': election plays out amid homicidal violence | World news | The Guardian.
A suicide bomber struck an election rally in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province on Tuesday, killing at least 14 people and wounding around 40, a provincial official said. The attack, the first since campaigning began last week ahead of elections for the lower house of parliament, underscored the widespread violence gripping the country 17 years after the U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban. The vote is scheduled for Oct. 20 but it’s unclear if the balloting will go ahead in areas controlled by the Taliban, who have seized several districts across the country in recent years and who carry out near-daily attacks. Tuesday’s attack targeted a rally for Abdul Naser Mohmand, an independent candidate, who was unharmed.Full Article: Suicide bomber kills 14 at election rally in Afghanistan - The Washington Post.
Campaigning for Afghanistan’s long-delayed parliamentary elections kicks off Friday (Sep 28), as a crescendo of deadly violence and claims of widespread fraud fuel debate over whether the vote will go ahead. More than 2,500 candidates will contest the Oct 20 poll, which is seen as a test run for next year’s presidential vote and a key milestone ahead of a UN meeting in Geneva where Afghanistan is under pressure to show progress on “democratic processes”. But preparations for the ballot, which is more than three years late, have been in turmoil for months, despite UN-led efforts to keep Afghan organisers on track.Full Article: Afghan election campaigning kicks off amid violence, fraud claims - Channel NewsAsia.
Bullets flew constantly in her hometown. Her two young children haven’t attended school in two years. She abandoned the shop she owns after soldiers arrived and started shooting. One day she saw the corpses of seven of her neighbors. Now, Pamela Njoke, 38, is among the thousands of people fleeing the English-speaking areas of Cameroon, where separatists are battling to form a new nation and the population is bracing for a surge in violence before a presidential election next month. “People are dying everywhere,” said Ms. Njoke, who waited four hours recently amid a crush of people seeking space on a packed bus to take her and her children, ages 5 and 9, out of Bamenda, her hometown, to the safety of the capital, Yaoundé. “In short, it’s horrible,” she said.Full Article: Thousands Flee in Cameroon as Separatists Battle for New Nation - The New York Times.
Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right frontrunner in next month’s Brazilian presidential election, is in a serious condition in hospital after being stabbed while campaigning. Bolsonaro was taken to hospital in the town of Juiz de Fora, about 125 miles (200km) north of Rio de Janeiro, after he was stabbed by a man who rushed up to him while he was being carried through a crowd on the shoulders of a supporter. He was in a serious but stable condition after injuries to his abdomen, surgeons at the Santa Casa de Misericórdia hospital said. Bolsonaro’s son Flávio – himself a candidate for the Brazilian Senate – tweeted that his father was “almost dead” when he arrived at hospital, having lost a lot of blood.Full Article: Jair Bolsonaro: Brazil presidential frontrunner stabbed at campaign rally | World news | The Guardian.
Rwandans need to take extra precautions during the on-going parliamentary election period to ensure that the campaigns and subsequent polls are conducted in an environment that is free and secure. The message was delivered yesterday by the Rwanda National Police spokesperson, Commissioner of Police Theos Badege, in an exclusive interview with The New Times. Badege warned against too much excitement during the election season that may lead to some people forgetting to respect traffic rules and uphold security measures designed to ensure that people are safe at campaign rallies. “We need crime-free elections. We want to conduct elections in a free and secure environment,” he said, urging Rwandans to remain sensitive to security matters during the campaign and elections. Among the things to be avoided by citizens, the officer said, is to overload cars with supporters during the campaign process and trying to transport people in cars that are not meant for passenger transportation such as trucks.Full Article: Police ask public to stay calm, vigilant during election season | The New Times | Rwanda.
After the first round of Mali’s presidential election was marred by violence and accusations of fraud, EU observers on Tuesday called for more transparency and access during Sunday’s run-off. It came as a thousand people gathered in the capital of Bamako to condemn alleged fraud in the July 29 poll. “With the second round approaching, it would be desirable for authorities to take all necessary measures to guarantee all voters can exercise their right to vote,” said Cecile Kyenge, who heads the EU observer mission in Mali. Kyenge welcomed the publication of a detailed list of 871 polling stations where voting could not be held in the first round, due to outbreaks of violence.Full Article: Mali opposition protests, EU calls for transparency ahead of poll - Journal du Cameroun.
A Zimbabwe court Tuesday freed on bail 27 opposition supporters arrested by police last week on accusations of fomenting post-election violence. Magistrate Francis Vhitorini granted $50 bail to each of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) members. “The court has indicated that it did not consider any of them to be a flight risk. The judgment was so brilliant that we are still trying to process it,” MDC lawyer Denford Halimani said. Violence erupted last week after President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his ruling ZANU-PF party won a national election. The MDC disputes the outcome and says the vote was rigged.Full Article: Zimbabwe court bails opposition members accused of post-election violence | Reuters.
Security agencies continued a crackdown on opposition activists in Zimbabwe on Sunday, less than three days after historic presidential elections won by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the leader of the ruling Zanu-PF party. Human rights groups reported dozens of abductions, beatings and rapes carried out by unidentified men overnight in the centre and north-eastern areas of the former British colony. The wave of repression began on Friday night with the army moving through neighbourhoods in Harare, the capital, and satellite towns, targeting supporters and officials of the opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). An MDC spokesman said thousands of its members were now in hiding. “The nature of an abduction means we can’t tell who has gone, but we have lots of people missing. We have helped five people who narrowly escaped abduction to flee Zimbabwe. Others we are hiding in safe houses. There is intimidation and atrocious treatment of people who they catch,” Nkululeko Sibanda, an MDC spokesman, said.Full Article: Zimbabwe opposition face wave of detentions, beatings after election loss | World news | The Guardian.
Three people have been killed in Harare as soldiers and police fought running battles with hundreds of protesters, firing live ammunition, teargas and water cannon amid rising tension following Zimbabwe’s presidential election. The army was deployed in the capital on Wednesday after police proved unable to quell demonstrators who claim Monday’s historic election is being rigged. In a late-night press conference, Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu warned that the government “will not tolerate any of the actions that were witnessed today.” “The opposition… have perhaps interpreted our understanding to be weak, and I think they are testing our resolve and I think they are making a big mistake,” he said.Full Article: Zimbabwe election unrest turns deadly as army opens fire on protesters | World news | The Guardian.
Counting was under way on Monday in Mali following a key presidential election that saw balloting halted at hundreds of polling stations because of violence in restive regions of the poor Sahel country. Despite the violence, candidates and authorities praised Sunday’s first round of voting, relieved that the violence – which included the torching of polling stations and assaults on electoral officials – caused no casualties. Security was a central issue during the campaign, in which 73-year-old President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is seeking re-election with the international community hoping the poll will strengthen a 2015 peace accord.Full Article: Counting under way after Mali's violence-marred poll | News24.
Mali holds crucial polls on Sunday with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita seeking re-election in a country reeling from jihadist violence and ethnic attacks. The international community hopes the poll will strengthen a 2015 accord that Mali, a linchpin state in the troubled Sahel region, sees as its cornerstone for peace. But violence has peppered the election, with the final days of campaigning marred by an attack on a candidate’s convoy and renewed killings of civilians.Full Article: Mali holds key polls overshadowed by jihadist violence | News24.
Armed protesters from Mali’s Arab community fired shots into the air, burned tyres and torched vehicles in Timbuktu on Wednesday, bringing the desert city to a standstill days before an election seen as a test of stability across the country, officials said. The Arab youths, mostly petty traders, were protesting against worsening insecurity and alleged ill treatment by security forces in northern Mali, which has been plagued by Islamist violence, Tuareg separatists and ethnic tensions ever since armed groups took over parts of the region in 2012. Demonstrators filled the streets, forcing shops and banks to shut, witnesses said, though there were no reports of casualties.Full Article: Arab gunmen shut down Mali's Timbuktu days before vote | Reuters.
A suicide bomber struck outside a crowded polling station in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta, killing 31 people as Pakistanis cast ballots Wednesday in a general election meant to lead to the nation’s third consecutive civilian government. The attack in Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan, also wounded 35 people and several were reported to be in critical condition, raising concerns the death toll could rise further, according to hospital official Jaffar Kakar, a doctor. A witness who was waiting to cast his ballot, Abdul Haleem, said he saw a motorcycle drive into the crowd of voters just seconds before the explosion. Haleem’s uncle was killed in the explosion.Full Article: Explosion kills 31 as Pakistanis vote in general elections - The Washington Post.
Pakistan’s election authorities have granted broad judicial powers to the powerful military at polling stations during next week’s general election, a rare move that has fanned concern among political parties and human rights groups. The July 25 election is seen as a two-way race between parties led by former cricket star Imran Khan and now-jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who has accused the army of working behind the scenes to favor Khan, which it denies. About 371,000 troops will spread out across Pakistan to guard the election, about three times the number during the last election in 2013. In a notice this month, the Election Commission gave soldiers the authority of a “magistrate”, to hold on-the-spot trials of anyone breaking election laws and sentence them.Full Article: Pakistan gives army broad election powers at polling stations | Reuters.
As deadly attacks by extremists become more brazen in Mali, officials and citizens fear this month’s presidential election will be at risk from growing insecurity. A branch of al-Qaida even set off a car bomb at the headquarters of a new West African counterterror force late last month, further destabilizing central Mali as extremist groups expand from remote northern regions where they have had strongholds for years. A more assertive response by Mali’s security forces has led to accusations of extrajudicial killings, while neighbors turn on each other amid suspicions of joining extremist groups. At least 289 civilians including young children have been killed in communal violence since the beginning of the year, with some burned alive in their homes or killed while hiding in mosques, the United Nations said this month.Full Article: Growing extremism threatens Mali's July 29 elections - ABC News.
With less than two weeks to the presidential polls in Mali, the U.N. human rights office says killings of almost 300 Malian civilians in fighting between rival militias this year, could threaten the outcome of the election. Malians head to the polls on July 29 for a vote meant to draw a line under six years of political unrest, jihadist attacks and ethnic clashes. But the situation has degenerated in recent months and spilled over into neighbouring countries. Mali’s government has repeatedly said the polls, in which incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is seeking re-election, will go ahead as planned, but the relentless violence threatens to significantly depress turnout.Full Article: U.N. says killings of almost 300 Malians this year could undermine July 29 poll | Africanews.
Pakistan observed a day of mourning for the dozens of people killed and injured during a series of terror attacks targeting political rallies as the country gears up for the July 25 national elections. Officials on July 15 said that more than 160 people were killed, including political candidates, and at least 230 wounded in three separate election-related bombings over the past week in and around the cities of Peshawar, Mastung, and Bannu. The attacks only served to ratchet up political tensions in the country ahead of the upcoming vote. Adding to the strains was the arrest of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who returned from London to face corruption charges. Officials said the deadliest of three attacks came on July 13, when at least 140 were killed by a suicide bomber at a political rally in the Mastung district of Balochistan Province.Full Article: Pakistan Holds Day Of Mourning After Bloody Week Of Election-Related Violence.
Cambodia ranks as one of the world’s most corrupt countries – but after an extensive forensic investigation, Al Jazeera found that corruption stretches far beyond the country’s borders, all the way to Australia. In 2016, the anti-corruption NGO, Global Witness, released a ground-breaking report exposing the widespread business interests of long-standing Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, his family and their cronies. Hun Sen’s family was shown to have links to more than 100 companies across all sectors of the economy including tourism, agriculture, mining, electricity and the media as well as affiliations with top international brands. The family’s combined wealth is estimated to be anywhere from $500m to $1bn.Full Article: Threats and corruption: Behind the scenes of Cambodia's election crackdown | Cambodia | Al Jazeera.
A week of bombings on political rallies has shattered the relative peace of Pakistan’s general election campaign, culminating in a devastating suicide attack that killed at least 130 people at a rally in the southwestern Baluchistan province. As campaigning intensifies, attacks in different areas of the country have stoked fear of more violence in the Muslim country of 208 million where political rallies can draw tens of thousands of people. The July 25 election features dozens of parties, with two main contenders: ex-cricket hero Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehree-i-Insaf and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, which vows to win a second term despite the jailing of founder, ex-Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif, on a corruption conviction.Full Article: Fears of more violence in Pakistan election after bomber kills 130 | Reuters.