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Nigerian kidnapping victims rescued

LAGOS, Nigeria – In one of the largest releases of kidnapping victims in Nigeria, at least 187 people, including babies, were released in the north of the country, police said.

Nigerian security forces rescued hostages from a forest in Zamfara state where they had been held for many weeks, Zamfara police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said in a statement. He said they had been released “unconditionally”, indicating that no ransom had been paid.

Zamfara hostages were freed Thursday following “extensive search and rescue” and were aided by sweeping security measures, including shutting down mobile phone networks and restrictions on gatherings and movement in Zamfara state, Shehu said.

“The new security measures in the state have yielded tremendous results, as they have successfully rescued many abducted victims who number in the hundreds, and [they] were reunited with their respective families, ”Shehu said. Nigerian security agencies will continue to work “to ensure the return of lasting peace and security to the state,” he said in the statement.

The people had been kidnapped by armed bandits operating in remote forest reserves in northwest Nigeria. Bands of motorcycle outlaws attack rural villages where they murder, rape, rob and take hostages. Large gangs often outnumber the police and security in the settlements they attack. There are thousands of such bandits, according to security experts.

652 migrants found near the US border

CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico – Mexican authorities have discovered 652 Central American migrants in six caravans near the US border.

The trucks stopped Thursday evening at a military checkpoint on a highway between Ciudad Victoria and Monterrey, in the state of Tamaulipas, in the north of the country. The state’s public security agency said on Friday that four suspects had been arrested.

Among the migrants were 564 Guatemalans, as well as migrants from Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Belize. More than half of the people on the trucks were children, nearly 200 of whom were unaccompanied by an adult.

Authorities said the trucks’ journey appeared to have started in central Puebla state and that they were trying to reach Monterrey, a key transport hub to reach various points on the US-Mexico border.

The trailers were padlocked, forcing authorities to move them to state police facilities to open them. The Red Cross said 40 migrants have been assessed for dehydration and malnutrition.

Portugal approves blood donation rules

LISBON, Portugal – Portugal’s parliament on Friday approved four bills that enshrine the country’s rules and procedures for donating blood into law, as people are turned away because of their sexual orientation.

The Portuguese Constitution prohibits discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation, and discrimination in blood donation has been specifically prohibited in Portugal since 2010.

But some health workers have been accused of refusing to accept gay and bisexual donors, saying their sexual behavior puts them at increased risk for communicable diseases.

The ruling center-left Socialist Party said it had received reports of discrimination, in particular from gay men who went to donate blood at health services but were told they could not. not – even if the rules say they can.

His bill, which will now come into force, states that health services “may not discriminate between donors on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation.” Three other bills said the same thing, but with additional details such as donor campaigns and donor rewards.

German claims innocence in Nazi trial

BERLIN – A 100-year-old man on trial for his alleged role as a Nazi SS guard in a concentration camp during World War II told a German court on Friday that he was innocent.

The accused is charged with 3,518 counts of aiding and abetting murder at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin, where he allegedly worked between 1942 and 1945 as an enlisted member of the paramilitary wing of the Nazi party.

German news agency dpa reported that the accused, who was only identified as Josef S. under German privacy rules, said on the second day of his trial in Neuruppin State Court that he did not know the Sachsenhausen camp.

Two witnesses from France and the Netherlands told the court earlier how their fathers were killed in Sachsenhausen for being part of the resistance against the Nazis.

The authorities found the accused sufficiently fit to stand trial despite his advanced age, although the number of hours per day the court sits is limited.

More than 200,000 people were detained at Sachsenhausen between 1936 and 1945. Tens of thousands of detainees died of hunger, disease, exhaustion from forced labor and other causes, as well as as a result of ‘medical experiments and systematic SS extermination operations, including shootings, hangings and gassings.

As they arrive at court in Brandenburg, Germany on Thursday, a lawyer covers the face of Josef S., 100, who is on trial for his alleged role as a Nazi SS guard. (AP / Markus Schreiber)


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