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Mexico: At least 26 killed and 11 injured in arson attack on bar



Mexico: At least 26 killed and 11 injured in arson attack on bar

At least 26 people have been killed and 11 others seriously injured in an arson attack on a Mexican bar, which has highlighted the failure of the country’s new president to quickly bring down record levels of violence.

An armed gang stormed the Caballo Blanco, or White Horse, nightclub in the Mexican city of Coatzacoalcos at around 10pm on Tuesday night. They sealed the emergency exits before setting fire to the entrance hall and making their escape, apparently taking the establishment’s owner with them.

The attack on the strip club is the worst single act of violence since Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office in December with the promise that his term would bring a new era of peace.

Though he has put more emphasis on crime prevention and creating economic opportunities, López Obrador has done little to change the basic outline of the failed anti-cartel strategy he inherited from his predecessors, rooted in reliance on operations by the army and navy.

He disappointed human rights organizations and security experts by creating a new permanent crime-fighting force largely from military recruits and putting it under military control.

The president described last night’s attack in Coatzacoalcos, a gritty Gulf coast city focused on the oil industry, as “very, very sad” in his daily early morning press conference.

López Obrador promised a rigorous investigation would “get to the bottom” of the case that, he underlined, had two angles.

Also read:  5 killed in stampede at concert in Algeria

“One is that it is regrettable that organized crime acts in this way. It is the most inhuman thing possible,” he said. “The other, which should also be condemned, is the collusion of the authorities. If we don’t at least separate off the authorities from the criminals we will not get anywhere.”

López Obrador said there was evidence that the attackers included an alleged local cartel operator identified as Ricardo “N”, with the alias La Loca, who had recently been captured but then released.

Though López Obrador initially suggested this release was due to local level corruption, the state attorney general’s office hit back with a comuniqué insisting La Loca had been the responsibility of the federal authorities.

Security experts have long said that corruption – at all levels of government – helped ensure the failure of a military-led offensive against organized crime launched in 2006, which instead sparked the extreme violence still tormenting Mexico today.

The attack took place nearly eight years after 52 people were killed after gunmen burst into a casino in the northern city of Monterrey and set it ablaze.

That attack was widely blamed on local authorities turning a blind eye to the group’s extortion.

This time, the governor of the state of Veracruz, where Coatzacoalcos is located, said early evidence suggested the attack was motivated by efforts to sell drugs at the bar. Photographs from the scene showed the bodies of naked women lying between toppled tables and chairs.

“Coatzacoalcos today has a situation in which different groups want to sell their drugs in these kinds of places and fight between each other,” the governor, Cuitláhuac García, told Radio Fórmula. “But this time it looks like one group was pressuring the bar because the owner was kidnapped.”


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Sri Lankan President Thanks Seychelles Defence Forces For Rescuing Sri Lankan Vessel From Somali Pirates



President Ramkalawan says Seychellois military boarded boat with utmost courage to take complete control

 The Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF) Special Forces and Seychelles Coast Guards on board Coast Guards vessel Topaz led a successful operation to regain control of a Sri Lankan vessel hijacked by armed Somali pirates.

Seychellois special military forces boarded the boat with utmost courage to take complete control of the vessel and rescue our Sri Lankan brothers.

The Commander in Chief of the Seychelles, President Wavel Ramkalawan has spoken to the Chief of Defence Forces, Brigadier Michael Rosette to congratulate the Special Forces and Coast Guards team on a well-executed and successful mission.

“This is the spirit of the Seychelles Defence Forces. Professionalism, courage, and bravery are the tenets of the new spirit in the force. Though small, we will make our contribution to attaining maritime security, peace, and determination in the fight against terrorism to ensure that the world, especially in our part of the Indian Ocean remains a safe and peaceful region. Once again, I reiterate the  pride and confidence of the Seychellois nation in the Seychelles Defence Forces.”

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GoG: Promoting Trans-boundary Management For Sustainable Socio-Economic Development



…Mission builds upon previous efforts by AU-IBAR in the beneficiary countries (Benin and Togo) for the national validation of the report on the State of the Transboundary Marine Environment (SoME)

NAIROBI, Kenya, January 23, 2024/ — From January 21st to 27th, 2024, AU-IBAR is on a mission in the republics of Benin and Togo. The mission is dedicated to supporting the implementation of a Transboundary Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) initiative between the two nations. Funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), under the project “Conservation of Aquatic Biodiversity within the Framework of the Africa Blue Economy Strategy,” this initiative holds the promise of fostering socio-economic development through the judicious use of marine resources.

Collaborative Efforts: AU-IBAR is collaborating with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) body, the Abidjan Convention, and the World Bank-funded West African Coastal Area Management (WACA) Project. The SIDA-funded project, implemented by AU-IBAR, involves an assessment to map the extent of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) usage in Africa as a management tool for the conservation of aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems in the west, central, and northern regions of Africa.

Mission Objectives: This mission builds upon previous efforts by AU-IBAR in the beneficiary countries (Benin and Togo) for the national validation of the report on the State of Transboundary Marine Environment (SoME). The current objective is to secure joint expert validation of the SoME report and obtain high-level political endorsement for the provisions of the jointly validated report, demonstrating the commitment of both countries to the cause. Participants in the joint validation workshop include WACA project-nominated committee members from Benin and Togo, representatives from the Abidjan Convention, and government authorities from both nations, alongside relevant AU-IBAR staff.

Political Commitment: The opening statements during the joint meeting saw representatives from the Governments of Benin and Togo, the Executive Secretary of the Abidjan Convention, and the representative of the Director of AU-IBAR express unwavering commitment to the transboundary marine management process. Both the Director of AU-IBAR and the Executive Secretary of the Abidjan Convention reiterated their support for the Governments of Benin and Togo in realizing their shared vision for the sustainable management of coastal and marine resources in the designated shared maritime boundary.

Key Outcomes: The pinnacle achievement of the joint meeting is the validation of the study report on the state of the marine environment between Benin and Togo. This validation marks a significant milestone towards establishing the transboundary MSP between the two countries. AU-IBAR Director, DR Huyam Salih, emphasized that this accomplishment is a crucial step forward in enhancing aquatic biodiversity conservation and environmental protection in the Gulf of Guinea.

Conclusion: The joint expert consultation workshop serves as a testament to the collaborative efforts aimed at promoting transboundary management of shared marine aquatic ecosystems in the Gulf of Guinea. The validated report and political commitment from Benin and Togo are integral to realizing the socio-economic development potential inherent in the sustainable use of marine resources. As AU-IBAR continues its mission, the hope is that this initiative will serve as a model for other regions seeking to harmonize efforts for the conservation and management of their shared marine ecosystems.
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U.S.-British Strikes In Yemen Left 5 Dead, Say Houthi Rebels



The U.S. and British military strikes in Yemen have left five Houthi fighters dead and six others injured, the Iran-aligned rebels said on Friday, vowing retaliation.

“The American and British enemy bears full responsibility for its criminal aggression,’’ the Houthi military spokesman Yehya Saree said in a statement.

Saree said the massive attack had targeted several Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen including the capital Sana’a.

“It will not pass unanswered and without punishment.

“The Yemeni Armed Forces will not hesitate to target sources of threat and all hostile targets on the ground and in the sea,’’ he said. 

  • dpa
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