Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for April 19, 2012

Newsline: 2 held in protest vigil at Bahrain embassy in London

British police arrested two activists who had occupied the rooftop of Bahrain’s Embassy in a protest against the Gulf kingdom’s Sunni rulers. The two men draped over the building a banner bearing pictures of hunger striking human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and senior Shiite opposition leader Hassan Mushaima, both of whom were sentenced to life in prison in Bahrain for their role in last year’s revolt by the country’s Shiite majority that has long demanded more political freedoms and opportunities equal to those of the ruling Sunni minority. The BBC and Britain’s The Independent newspaper both identified one of the protesters as Mushaima’s son, Ali. The BBC said the other man is 30-year-old Moosa Satrawi. British police would not identify the demonstrators or say whether they are from Bahrain. “Our demand is for my father and al-Khawaja to be freed,” The Independent quoted the younger Mushaima as saying in a telephone interview. “The rulers of Bahrain are dictators.” The two men, who had scaled the building Monday and threatened to jump off its roof, were taken into custody after they surrendered and were not immediately charged, said London’s Metropolitan Police. Earlier, Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry urged Britain to protect its embassy and take legal action against the protesters. Bahrain is in the grips of a 14-month Shiite uprising against its Sunni rulers. The unrest could complicate efforts by Formula One to hold the Bahrain Grand Prix in four days.



Newsline: U.S. in Abuja Embassy Issues Security Alert

Following the emergency message issued by the U.S. Mission in Nigeria over alleged planned attacks by the Boko Haram, security agencies have beefed up security in certain parts of Abuja. The statement which was posted on the embassy’s website said the attacks are to be carried out in Abuja and especially hotels frequented by foreigners. The embassy advised citizens of the United States resident or visiting Abuja to exercise additional caution and said the Nigerian government is already aware of the threat and is taking additional steps to forestall them. Particularly it advised its citizens to maintain alertness in and around Abuja, near Nigerian government facilities, diplomatic missions, large gathering places, hotels, markets and malls, and places of worship.


Newsline: Ousted Mali Leader at Senegal Embassy in Bamako

Senegalese President Macky Sall says Mali’s ousted leader Amadou Toumani Toure is being sheltered at Senegal’s embassy in Bamako, Mali. Toure’s whereabouts had been previously undisclosed. Sall spoke in the French capital, where he signed new defense and financial agreements during his first official visit. Sall expressed concern about the security situation in West Africa, where Mali and Guinea Bissau have been shaken by coups. During a joint press conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Sall said through the regional body ECOWAS that West African nations are trying to find a rapid and peaceful solution to Mali’s crisis. A coup there last month emboldened Tuareg rebels to seize control of the northern half of the country.