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December 09, 2002 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-12-09

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2A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, December 9, 2002


Bangladesh cinema blasts kill 18

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) -
Bangladesh authorities questioned
movie theater employees yesterday
after a string of deadly bomb explo-
sions at four crowded cinemas, and the
government ruled out al-Qaida
involvement in the attacks.
The blasts Saturday night tore
through movie houses during a 30-
minute period, killing 18 people and
injuring more than 200 in
Mymensingh, a small town 70 miles
north of the capital, Dhaka.
The government ordered height-
ened security at mosques, temples,
churches, shopping malls and theaters
and appointed a retired judge to
launch an investigation.

Visiting the attack sites yesterday,
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia said
police had many leads and that "those
who are responsible will be tracked
down and put on trial."
The bombs were planted in the the-
aters' projection rooms, a police officer
said on condition of anonymity. They
exploded while the cinemas were
packed with early evening moviegoers
- most of them Muslims celebrating
the Eid-ul-Fitr festival marking the end
of the fasting month Ramadan.
As many as 3,000 people were
inside or near the theaters at the time.
The army defused a fifth bomb Satur-
day night in a theater in the nearby town
Gaibandha, wrapped in a plastic bag tied

to the back of a seat, police said.
Police chief Modabbir Hossain
Chowdhury said the blasts were
"the work of an organized group,"
but he stopped short of labeling it
an act of terror.
Muslim Bangladesh has denied
accusations by neighboring India that
it has become a safe haven for terror-
ists and rejected media claims that it
has been used as a base for al-Qaida.
"I ... would like to categorically
state here that there is no al-Qaida net-
work on the soil of Bangladesh,"
Home Minister Altaf Hussain Chowd-
hury told a news conference.
No suspects have been identified
and no one claimed responsibility for

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the attacks. Police detained 21 theater
employees for questioning.
The explosions killed 15 people Sat-
urday, and three men died of injuries
yesterday. Doctors feared the death toll
would rise because many wounded
were in critical condition. Poorly
equipped hospitals appealed for medi-
cine and blood donations.
Army troops patrolled the small town
as thousands of people besieged hospi-
tals looking for relatives and friends.
Many of the victims were hit by
falling bricks and steel, witnesses said.
"It was a terrible scene. Doctors
were overwhelmed with so many
injured," said Muzahed Ahmed, a uni-
versity teacher.
MONOKO-ZOHI, Ivory Coast (AP)
- Terrorized villagers on Saturday
showed the burnt shops and covered
corpses from what appeared to be the
worst bloodletting of Ivory Coast's
three-month war - a massacre of 120
unarmed civilians by government sol-
diers, survivors claimed.
Revelations of the mass grave at the
central village of Monoko-Zohi came
a~iid reports of heavy fighting in west-
ern Ivory Coast. Rebels and locals said
Saturday that insurgents had taken
another town, Blolekin, while pushing
east into the heart of Ivory Coast, said
Maj. Frederic Thomazo, part of a
1,000-strong French contingent in the
former French colony.
Meanwhile, the government called
for a "general mobilization" Saturday,
urging all Ivorians between the ages of
20 to 26 "who have decided to go to
the front to defend the republic" to sign
up with the army.
"In order to finish with these aggres-
sors and free our country, I want to
appeal solemnly for a general mobi-
lization of Ivorians beneath the flag,"
Defense Minister Bertin Kadet said on
state television.
Tensions heightened further over
emerging allegations of the massacre at
Ivory Coast's army and government
strongly denied wrongdoing, insisting
Saturday that the dead were not cinil-
ians but rebels killed in combat.
However, insurgents denied having
their militia in the village of Monoko-
Zohi and surviving villagers said the
massacre victims were merchants and
African guest workers on the region's
lush cocoa and coffee fields.
Villagers said the killing in Monoko-
Zohi started when six marked Ivory
Coast military trucks arrived Nov. 27
carrying uniformed Ivory Coast sol-
Soldiers accused the villagers of
feeding rebels and then went house-to-
house in the hamlet with a list of
names, survivors alleged.
"We heard the shooting - we pan-
icked, and we all ran," said Kamousse,
a merchant who was showing a cus-
tomer a radio when the soldiers
"But my brother stayed in the house.
He said, 'Maybe it's just someone
shooting into the air.' Afterward, they
took him behind the house to the
latrine and shot him," Kamousse said.
French troops, who are in Ivory
Coast to enforce a now-shattered

cease-fire, first reported the mass
grave Friday. The Associated Press
viewed the scene Saturday.
Monoko-Zohi is about 70 miles
northwest of the government-held city
of Daloa.
A spokesman for President Laurent
Gbagbo invited international human
rights experts and doctors to the site.
He also said rebels dug a mass grave
near the rebel-held central city of
"The French army and the special
correspondents of Western media know
of the existence of a mass grave near
Bouake where the bodies of around
100 soldiers and their families were
buried after they were taken and exe-
cuted by the rebels," spokesman Tous-
saint Alain said.
A nearly three-month-old rebellion
has torn the once prosperous West
African nation into three parts. Rebels
hold the north and are struggling now
to hold the west and move east against
a fierce government offensive.
Fierce fighting continued Saturday
with the reported rebel capture of the
town of Blolekin. The reported

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip
Palestinian reportedly slain by Israeli soldiers
Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian woman and wounded her three children as
well as a second woman in a refugee camp yesterday, Palestinian witnesses said.
Israel said soldiers shot at armed Palestinians trying to infiltrate a Jewish settle-
ment and had no information on civilians being shot.
Early yesterday, two Israeli soldiers were wounded seriously when a bomb went
off on the Israel-Lebanon border.
Two other soldiers were wounded, one lightly and another moderately, when
a bomb exploded next to their jeep near the West Bank town of Tulkarem,
army officials said.
There also were Israeli tank movements in the Gaza Strip.
The military said soldiers saw a group of Palestinians, some of them armed,
approaching the settlement of Rafiah Yam. The soldiers opened fire on the Pales-
tinians and saw Palestinians take four wounded people away while two others
escaped, the military said.
But a Palestinian witness, Samir Abu Shahin, said Israeli soldiers opened fire
at the Tel Sultan refugee camp, which is near the settlement.
"The woman and her family were walking in the middle of the street, and I saw her
fall, and blood covering her body, and not far from her, the two children also fell."
GOD A, India
India elections threaten peaceful relations
Nine months later, a brick maker named Jagdish Prajapati still hears the
people who screamed for help as they were burned alive when a mob set fire
to their train.
The attack killed 60 Hindus and ignited riots that killed more than 1,000 peo-
ple, most of them Muslim. Now, just as Hindus and Muslims are struggling to
rebuild their shattered trust in each other, an election threatens to rekindle the sec-
tarian passions that led to India's worst communal bloodshed in a decade.
The legislative elections Thursday in Gujarat, India's largest state, are
important for the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, which heads the national
coalition government.
The Hindu nationalist party has lost power in three of India's 29 states since it
came to power at the federal level in 1998, and now holds only four. Losing
Gujarat to the secular Congress party would be a serious blow to its credibility.
The BJP was accused of tacitly approving the Gujarat violence against Mus-
lims. There were calls from some of the party's own coalition partners to oust the
BJP leader in Gujarat, Chief Minister Narendra Modi.


CARACAS, Venezuela
Chavez tries to end
truck drivers' strike
President Hugo Chavez sent troops
to force gas stations to open and
threatened to take over private gas
delivery companies yesterday amid
increasing signs of scarcity due to a
strike that has shut down production
by the world's fifth-largest oil pro-
Lines of cars stretched for blocks in
Caracas yesterday as panic-buying at
gas stations began on the general
strike's seventh day. Shoppers emptied
store shelves, worried about political
unrest and Chavez's threat to declare
martial law if needed.
Last week, Chavez sent soldiers to
protect oil wells and refineries from
possible sabotage by strikers. Yester-
day, he sent soldiers to gasoline sta-
tions to ensure continued service and
delivered a warning to striking gaso-
line truck drivers.
Lousiana Senate race
taken by Democrat
President Bush's midterm election
magic failed in Louisiana as Democ-
rat Sen. Mary Landrieu defeated a
strong challenge from Republican
Suzanne Haik Terrell in an unusual
December runoff.
National Democratic Party leaders
saw Landrieu's close victory as salve

for their wounded pride after Novem-
ber elections that boosted Bush's
numbers in Congress and gave the
GOP control of the Senate.
Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), soon
to lose his job as Senate majority
leader, said Landrieu's victory
"proves the Democrats are alive and
well" and noted that Louisiana voters
also chose Democrat Rodney Alexan-
der over Republican Lee Fletcher for
the open congressional seat in the 5th
Cardinal protested
outside cathedral
Facing rekindled outrage from priests
and parishioners over new revelations
of clergy misconduct, Cardinal Bernard
Law stayed away from the Cathedral of
the Holy Cross yesterday as protesters
renewed calls for his resignation.
Some400 protesters gathered outside
the cathedral, where Law had been
expected to celebrate Mass, as they
have since the abuse scandal erupted in
January. An archdiocese spokeswoman
refused to say where Law was, saying
only that he had no public schedule.
Yesterday's larger-than-usual protest
was fueled by last week's release of new
internal church documents containing
some of the most spectacular allegations
yet, suggesting church officials tolerated
a wide range of clergy misconduct, and
not just sexual abuse of boys.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.

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