GAUHATI, India – Separatist rebels wearing black masks opened fire on Muslim villagers and set their homes ablaze in remote northeastern India, killing at least 29 people over two days, police said Friday. It was the worst outbreak of violence in the region in two years.
The gunmen are members of the Bodo tribe and belong to a faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, regional police official L.R. Bishnoi said. Bodo tribesmen have long accused Muslims of sneaking into India illegally from Bangladesh and encroaching on their ancestral land in Assam state.
The violence comes at a time of heightened security during India’s general election, with the voting taking place over six weeks.
Islamists blamed for deadly firefight
TRIPOLI, Libya – Gunmen attacked a security forces headquarters in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi early Friday, killing nine people and wounding 24, authorities said, blaming an Islamic extremist group allegedly behind the attack of a U.S. diplomatic post there.
A security official said the attack started when dozens of gunmen opened fire with machine guns and mortars. The onslaught lasted for an hour, with the fighting heard miles away.
Libyan commandos later arrived and fought the attackers, though the official said they suffered heavy casualties. A statement issued by the interim government and read by Cabinet spokesman Ahmed al-Amin put the death toll at nine people. Milad al-Zowi, a commando spokesman, said the dead were six army commandos and three police officers. Al-Zowi said that three soldiers and a police officer were missing after the battle.
A local hospital official said some of the slain troops were badly butchered, with some corpses burned.
Brother: Mayor will beat ‘little challenge’
TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford expects to overcome his “little challenge” with substance abuse and get back to work after a stint in rehab, his brother said Friday.
Even as Ford began his treatment at an undisclosed location, another report of the mayor behaving inappropriately while intoxicated emerged Friday. A report written by City Hall officials said Ford turned up intoxicated at the front security office at City Hall on St. Patrick’s Day and threatened a guard who had reported the mayor for similar behavior two years ago.
U.N. official reports on torture in Mexico
MEXICO CITY – A United Nations official said the torture of detainees in Mexico continues to be widespread and occurs between the time of arrest and when suspects appear before a judge.
U.N. special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez said signs of torture are found on people arrested by all levels of authority, from the military to state and local police.
Mendez spoke Friday in a press conference at the end of a two-week visit to Mexico, where he met with officials, activists and victims of torture.