Port-Au-Prince, Nov 22 (AP/UNB) — A Haitian government car went out of control into a group of people on Wednesday, killing at least six and further inflaming unrest in a capital wracked by violent protests.
Police spokesman Michel-Ange Louis-Jeune told The Associated Press that one of the car's wheels had come off. Protesters later set fire to the car, which remained on the scene in the capital of Port-au-Prince.
Louis-Jeune said he didn't know how many people died, but an AP journalist on the scene counted the bodies of four men and two women on the ground.
The deaths come as Haiti faces a fourth day of protests to demand that President Jovenel Moise resign for not investigating allegations of corruption in the previous government over Petrocaribe, a Venezuelan subsidized energy program.
At least nine people have died in the protests, not including those hit by the car. The ninth death was reported on Wednesday. Police spokesman Frantz Lerebours told the AP that authorities discovered the body of a young man while clearing street barricades in the southern department of Nippes.
Schools and government offices remained closed on Wednesday, as did many banks and grocery stores. However, hundreds of people stood outside one bank that opened in the neighborhood of Petionville, and public buses were running again.
Government trucks also cleared many streets blocked by barricades of tires, although some remained burning in parts of the capital.
Juba, Nov 22 (AP/UNB) — Five hundred cows, two luxury cars, $10,000, two bikes, a boat and a few cell phones made up the final price in a heated bidding war for a child bride in South Sudan that went viral after the auction was pointed out on Facebook. It is the largest dowry ever paid in the civil war-torn country, the government said.
The highest bidder was a man three times the 17-year-old's age. At least four other men in Eastern Lakes state competed, said Philips Anyang Ngong, a human rights lawyer who tried to stop the bidding last month. Among the bidders was the state's deputy governor.
"She has been reduced to a mere commodity," Ngong told The Associated Press, calling it "the biggest test of child abuse, trafficking and auctioning of a human being." Everyone involved should be held accountable, he said.
Earlier this month, Nyalong became the man's ninth wife. Photos posted on Facebook show her sitting beside the groom, wearing a lavish dress and staring despondently at the floor. The AP is using only her first name to protect her identity. The groom did not respond to requests for comment.
South Sudan has a deeply rooted cultural practice of paying dowries for brides, usually in the form of cows. It also has a long history of child marriage. Even though that practice is now illegal, 40 percent of girls still marry before age 18, according to the United Nations Population Fund. The practice "threatens girls' lives" and limits prospects for their future, said Dr. Mary Otieno, the agency's country representative.
The bidding war has caused local and international outrage. It took several days for Facebook to remove the post that first pointed out the auction, and after it was taken down other posts "glorifying" the situation remained, George Otim, country director for Plan International South Sudan, told the AP.
"This barbaric use of technology is reminiscent of latter-day slave markets. That a girl could be sold for marriage on the world's biggest social networking site in this day and age is beyond belief," he said. The auction was discussed, not carried out, on the site.
Facebook did not reply to a request for comment.
While South Sudan's government condemns the practice of child marriage it says it can't regulate communities' cultural norms, especially in remote areas.
"You can't call it bidding as if it was an auction. It's not bidding. If you see it with European eyes you'll call it an auction," government spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told the AP. "You have to see it with an African eye, as it's a tradition that goes back thousands of years. There's no word for it in English."
Some local lawmakers and activists disagree. In a statement released this week, the National Alliance for Women Lawyers in South Sudan called upon officials to comply with the government's plan to end child marriage by 2030. Ending the practice includes putting a stop to the auctioning of girls.
South Sudan's anti-human trafficking chief called the case reminiscent of others he has seen across the country, in which girls are forced or tricked into marriage after being told they are going to live with relatives and go to school instead.
"It is clear that some human trafficking practices are hidden in our culture," John Mading said.
In other cases, some girls who grow up in the South Sudanese diaspora are brought back to the country and forced to marry. The AP spoke with several people who know girls who arrived for what they thought was a vacation, only to have their passports taken away and forced into marriage by their families.
"Some families want children to marry in their countries and in their ethnic communities, but most do it if the kids are misbehaving," said Esther Ikere Eluzai, undersecretary for South Sudan's ministry of gender.
Port-Au-Prince, Nov 20 (AP/UNB) — One police officer was killed and three people were wounded in Haiti on Monday amid a second day of countrywide protests over allegations of government corruption.
Two of the wounded were foreigners who were hurt by gunfire.
One of those was a 29-year-old French woman who was riding with her boyfriend and a Haitian-American tourist from the Port-au-Prince airport to a popular beach club about two hours away.
Her name is Marion Bobin, 29, said her boyfriend, Francis Eugene, who explained the incident to The Associated Press.
Eugene, 27, said the Haitian-American tourist and the driver were also wounded.
He said a group of armed men tried to stop an airport shuttle operated by the club about a half-hour before it arrived at its destination and opened fire when it refused to stop.
It wasn't immediately clear how seriously the tourists and driver were hurt.
Haitian police said earlier in the day that one of their officers had been killed by a street gang in the capital.
Police spokesman Gary Derosier told the AP that the officer was riding in a motorcycle taxi that was stopped at a roadblock run by a street gang, who fatally shot him and burned his body in an alley.
Schools were closed and most other activities around the country were stopped Monday, a day after six died in clashes between protesters and police.
Demonstrators were calling for the president to resign for not investigating allegations of corruption in the previous government over a Venezuelan subsidized energy program, Petrocaribe.
Harare, Nov 16 (AP/UNB) — Fire swept through a passenger bus in Zimbabwe, and police said Friday that more than 40 people died and at least 20 were injured, some with severe burns.
Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said she did not have details about the cause of the accident on Thursday night.
A photograph posted on Twitter by the Zimbabwe Red Cross shows the remains of a bus that was completely incinerated. The Red Cross said its teams responded to a "horrific accident" involving a bus heading to neighboring South Africa at around midnight.
The accident happened in Gwanda district, about 550 kilometers (340 miles) south of Harare, Zimbabwe's capital.
Last week, a collision between two buses in Zimbabwe killed 50 people and injured about 80.
Mogadishu, Nov 9(AP/UNB) — Four car bombs by Islamic extremists exploded outside a hotel in the capital, Mogadishu, killing at least 20 people and injuring 17, said police.
After the three explosions in front of the hotel, a fourth blast hit as medics attempted to rescue the injured.
The suicide bombs detonated near the perimeter wall of the Sahafi Hotel, which is located across the street from the Somali Police Force's Criminal Investigations Department, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein.
Some of the victims were burned beyond recognition when one car bomb exploded next to a minibus, he said.
Somali security forces shot dead four gunmen who tried to storm through a hole blown into the hotel's wall but did not succeed in entering, he said.
"Although they failed to access the hotel, the blasts outside the hotel killed many people," said Hussein.
"The street was crowded with people and cars, bodies were everywhere," said Hussein Nur, a shopkeeper who suffered light shrapnel injuries on his right hand. "Gunfire killed several people, too."
Somalia's Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility for the bombs, according to the group's Adalus radio station.
Among the dead was the manager of the Sahafi Hotel, whose father was the owner of the hotel before he was killed in an al-Shabab attack on establishment in 2015, said police Capt. Hussein.