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Somali forces storm hotel held hostage by al-Shabaab militants, free 60

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Somali federal forces have stormed the Villa Rose Hotel in capital Mogadishu, where al-Shabaab militants had held hostage since Sunday, killing eight civilians and trapping dozens in the building, the police said in a statement on Tuesday.

The police spokesperson, Sadik Dodishe, said 60 hostages were rescued while all six extremists who held the people hostage were killed during the operation, with one member of the security forces killed in an exchange of fire.

“About 60 people who had been trapped in the hotel were freed and none of them were injured,” Dodishe said in the statement.

“Five of the attackers were killed by security forces, and one blew himself up,” the police spokesman added.

The al-Qaeda sponsored Islamist extremist group had on Sunday, claimed responsibility for the attack in a broadcast on its own radio frequency.

The broadcast said that its :fighters attacked the hotel which has a restaurant popular with government and security officials.”

The Villa Rose Hotel is not far from the presidential palace, Villa Somalia, in one of the most protected parts of central Mogadishu, and has a tradition of hosting top government officials.

The attack had forced the Somali parliament to postpone its session which was scheduled for Monday as there were fears the attacks were targeted at the parliamentarians.

Last month, not less than 500 people were killed in two car bombings that targeted the Somali ministry of education complex in Mogadishu, which also houses many government offices.

The al-Shabaab terrorists had also claimed responsibility for the attack as it continues its battle against the federal government in its quest to overthrow the government and enforce a strict version of the Sharia law.

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66-yr-old South African man sentenced to 18 years for forcefully marrying, raping 13-yr-old girl

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A 66-year-old South African man, Bheki Nxasana, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison by a Gqeberha High Court in the KwaZulu-Natal province, after he was found guilty of forcefully marrying and raping a 13-year-old disabled girl.

The court also sentenced Nxasana’s accomplices, Mxosheni Sibiya and Nomvo Nxasana, who is Nxasana’s sister, on charges relating to “child trafficking and forced marriage of a 13-year-old mildly mentally challenged girl.”

Court documents made available to journalists on Friday, reveals that Nxasana had forcefully married and raped the mentally disabled girl in connivance with Sibiya and Nomvo.

According to the the spokesperson of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Luxolo Tyali, the victim who is an orphan, was married off to Nxasana, in 2016, by one of her relatives.

“Evidence is that the victim was orphaned and lived with a relative in KwaDukuza in KwaZulu-Natal,” Tyali said.

“The relative gave her up to her Sunday school teacher who was friends with Nomvo, the sister of the would-be husband.

“Nomvo took her to her daughter who lived in Mbizana in the Eastern Cape, where Bheki, who worked in Gqeberha, comes from.”

The NPA spokesman said investigations showed that Bheki, with the assistance of Nomvo, initiated “lobola” (customary marriage) negotiations and dowry payments were made in 2016.

“Bheki took the teenager to his house where he allegedly strangled and raped her repeatedly in the name of marriage.”

“The teenager was made to dress in newly married woman’s (makoti) traditional attire and lived at Bheki’s homestead where she worked as a new bride.”

“She managed to escape after the matter was reported to the police in April 2017 and the suspect was arrested.

“During the trial, all the accused claimed that they were not aware of the girl’s age when they entered her into a customary marriage and were not aware that they were acting unlawfully,” Tyali added.

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Former Kenyan policeman, three others sentenced to death for murder of human rights lawyer

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A former Kenyan police officer, Frederick Leliman, alongside three accomplices, were on Friday, sentenced to death by a Nairobi High Court for the murder of a human rights lawyer, his client and a taxi driver.

Leliman and the three others were convicted of carrying out the murders in one of the most popular cases of police brutality and extrajudicial killings in the eastern African country.

The lawyer and activist, Willie Kimani, was representing a motorcycle taxi operator who had sued Leliman for shooting him at a traffic roadblock in 2016 at the time he was murdered.

The bodies of Kimani, the client Josephat Mwendwa and a taxi driver, Joseph Muiruri, were discovered in the Ol-Donyo Sabuk River, in the east of the country, days after they were reported missing.

Evidence produced in court showed that the three victims were abducted by a team led by Leliman after a court session on June 22, 2016, and were briefly locked up and later taken out and murdered in an open field.

While Leliman was given a death sentence, former police officers, Stephen Cheburet and Sylvia Wanjiku, received sentences of 30 and 24 years, respectively, while a police informant, Peter Ngugi, was jailed for 20 years.

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