The week at a glance...International
Baga, Nigeria Soldiers massacre families: Nigerian soldiers burned an entire town—thousands of thatched-roof homes—and killed some 200 villagers last week after a single soldier was killed by an Islamist militant. Some Baga residents were shot as they fled their burning homes, while others drowned or were attacked by hippos while trying to escape into Lake Chad. It was the most egregious example yet of the military’s brutal tactics in its fight against the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The government has ordered an investigation into the incident. “When you burn down shops and massacre civilians, you are pushing them to join the camp of Boko Haram,” said Borno state Gov. Kashim Shettima.
Baghdad Sectarian war threatens: After a week of bombings and unrest that killed dozens, civil war is threatening Iraq again as Sunnis say they are forming an army. Sunnis had been protesting peacefully against the Shiite-led government until last week, when government soldiers stormed a Sunni protest camp, saying it was harboring insurgents, and several Sunni mosques were attacked. “In order to keep Anbar a safe place for the Sunnis, we decided to form an army called the Army of Pride and Dignity with 100 volunteers from each tribe to protect our province,” said Sheik Saeed Al-Lafi, a spokesman for the protesters. Adding to Sunni resentment, the government revoked the licenses of several Sunni-leaning TV channels, including Al Jazeera.
Kabul CIA bribes: The CIA has flung tens of millions of dollars in cash at President Hamid Karzai to buy influence in Afghanistan, but the money has merely fueled corruption, The New York Times reported this week. Suitcases, backpacks, and even plastic shopping bags stuffed with U.S. dollars have been delivered to the president’s office nearly every month so Karzai could dispense favors. Much of the money—which Karzai has admitted receiving—has gone to warlords who have ties to the drug trade or the Taliban. “The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan,” said one U.S. official, “was the United States.” Members of Congress were outraged. “I thought we were trying to clean up waste, fraud, and abuse in Afghanistan,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).
Mount Everest, Nepal Sherpas rage at climbers: Fed up with the condescension and disrespect shown by rich dilettante climbers, a mob of Sherpa mountain guides attacked three Europeans this week on the slopes of Mount Everest. The Sherpas said the three had ignored their request not to interfere with their ropes until they had finished fixing the route. After being threatened with an axe, the three descended to Camp Two, where up to 100 Sherpas began pelting them with rocks. Melissa Arnot, an American who holds the women’s record for summiting Mount Everest and has a close relationship with some of the guides, stepped in to calm the situation. One of the Europeans, British climber Jonathan Griffith, said Sherpa resentment has been growing in recent years against “luxury adventurers” who treat the experienced guides like servants.
Savar, Bangladesh Factory owner arrested: The owner of the factory building that collapsed last week, killing more than 400 people, has been arrested. After the building collapsed, Mohammed Sohel Rana, 35, a local tycoon with a reputation as a drug dealer and gunrunner, escaped from his basement office and fled to the Indian border, where police apprehended him. Rana, who is well connected in the local politics of his Dhaka suburb, is accused of refusing to close the Rana Plaza building even though large cracks had appeared in the walls. Seven others, including Rana’s father and wife, have also been arrested. The tragedy has sparked mass protests among the millions of Bangladeshis who work in the garment industry under unsafe conditions.