Afghanistan causes concern
The leaders of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have agreed to coordinate their response to regional security problems they expect when NATO forces withdraw from neighboring Afghanistan in 2014. Uzbek President Islam Karimov said on Tuesday during a visit to Turkmenistan that the region should brace for a new surge in activity from the Taliban and other insurgent forces within Afghanistan. Central Asian governments have repeatedly conveyed concern about threats from Afghanistan, but appealing for military assistance from the US and Russia had been preferred over cooperation. Turkmenistan opposes military solutions to regional security issues, pinning its strategy for guaranteeing peace on the economic dividends of exporting its natural gas through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India.
Man executed by Islamists
Islamist militant group Ansar Dine executed a man on Tuesday in Timbuktu for murdering his neighbor in an application of Shariah Islamic law, the group and witnesses said. Armed Islamist groups have controlled the northern two-thirds of the country since April, when they hijacked a rebellion launched by ethnic Tuareg separatists. They have since imposed shariah in many of the areas under their control. A spokesman for Ansar Dine, which controls Timbuktu, said the executed man was a member of the group. “He turned himself in ... He was judged, condemned to death and executed this evening. He was shot in the same way he shot his victim. This is what sharia says,” Sanda Ould Boumana told reporters. The UN Security Council last week voiced concern about human rights violations by rebel and militant groups. West African countries from regional bloc ECOWAS have asked for a UN mandate for a possible military intervention.
Inmates let out for beer
Two corrections officers at the country’s only jail are suspected of letting inmates leave to go on beer and food runs. Officers Fiti Aina and Rocky Tua were charged this week with aiding the escape of a prisoner, permitting escape and public servant acceding to corruption. A police search at Territorial Correctional Facility in July turned up beer in an inmate’s cell. Police say that while trying to find out how it got there, they learned the officers were sending inmates unsupervised to a nearby store. One inmate allowed out is serving 40 months for assaulting another man with a machete. Court documents say an inmate told investigators he bought beer for another inmate and chips and cookies for Tua. Aina and Tua were each held on US$10,000 bail.
Club owner charged for fire
Police charged a nightclub owner with gross negligence over a fire that killed four people Phuket, an official said yesterday. If convicted, Tiger Group owner Piya Isramalai faces up to 10 years in prison for the pre-dawn blaze that swept through the Tiger Discotheque on Aug. 17 on the southern island, a magnet for international tourists. Piya is also accused of operating a business outside legal opening hours. A British and a French tourist, as well as two Thai women, died in the fire, which is believed to have spread rapidly because of flammable materials in the construction and decoration of the club. The fire dealt another blow to the nation’s image as the “Land of Smiles” that has been tarnished in recent years. Safety standards in the country are generally poor and tourist deaths are a common occurrence.