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Kenyan Bishop Bags 75 Years Jail Term For Defiling Three Girls

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A bishop accused of defiling three girls he was living with at an orphanage, infecting one of them with HIV has now sentenced to 75 years in prison.



Kisumu Resident Magistrate Pauline Mbulika found him guilty of three counts of defilement and deliberate transmission of HIV.

Joseph Agutu had promised to sponsor the minors before he started defiling them.

Agutu who hid his face from the cameras as police escorted him out of the solitary cell to Kodiaga Maximum Prison, had maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings.

He was charged with committing the crime against the girls between April and July 2016. One of the girls is aged 14 while two are 15 years old.

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The court heard that the accused intentionally committed the crime and deliberately infected one of the minors with HIV.

The accused also reportedly touched the girls inappropriately on various dates between April and July 12, 2016. In addition, Agutu also faced an alternative charge of touching the private parts of the minors.

Four prosecution witnesses pointed an accusing finger to the Bishop with the minors recounting the sexual encounters that the man subjected them to.

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One of the minors who is an orphan painfully narrated to the court how the bishop lured her and her grandmother to the trap.

“My grandmother brought me to him and he promised to sponsor my education. My grandmother went back home and left me with him at the church,” said the minor.

After a while, she told the court, the bishop defiled her and called the other girl and defiled them too as she slept on the floor. She said they were crying throughout the ordeal.

The court heard that the following morning the bishop refused to allow them to go to school but instead ordered them to go to church.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Heavy bombardment leaves at least 17 dead.

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Source: Reuters

At least 17 people were killed on Wednesday in an explosion in the center of Jisr al Shughour, a rebel-held city in northwestern Syria, a day after heavy Russian air strikes in the vicinity, rescue workers and residents said.Several residential buildings collapsed as a result of the blast in Idlib province, near a road between the coastal city of Latakia and city of Aleppo.

“The casualties are expected to rise. The cause is not known,” said Ahmad Yaziji, head of civil defense in the city, adding at least 27 people, mostly civilians, were injured.

Bodies were still being pulled out of the rubble, another rescuer said.

The province and areas around it in northern Syria, the last remaining rebel bastion, have seen an escalation in attacks by Russian warplanes and the Syrian army even though they are protected by a “de-escalation zone” agreement brokered last year between Russia, Iran and Turkey.

The bombardment has sent people fleeing from opposition-held towns in the buffer zone that straddles parts of Idlib to northern Hama and parts of Latakia province.

Turkey, which has supported the rebels and has troops to monitor the truce, has been negotiating with Moscow to halt the Russian strikes with little success.

Russian jets hovered in the sky with missile strikes reported in several villages around Jisr al Shughour, residents said.

Overnight, Russian jets struck western parts of Idlib city and residents said long-range missiles hit several villages surrounding Jisr al Shugour from army positions in Latakia province.

Jisr al Shughour has been a target of heavy bombardment by the Russian air force and the Syrian army in recent weeks. Most of its inhabitants have fled to the safety of areas close to the Turkish border, residents and local officials say.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Sri Lanka Update: US accuses external groups of masterminding Easter Sunday attack.

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Source: Reuters

The scale and sophistication of the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka suggested the involvement of an external group such as Islamic State, the U.S. ambassador said on Wednesday as the death toll jumped to 359.

The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the coordinated bomb attacks on churches and hotels but gave no evidence to support that.

Sri Lankan officials have blamed two domestic Islamist groups with suspected ties to Islamic State. Details have begun to emerge of a band of nine, well-educated suicide bombers, including a woman, from well-to-do families.

“If you look at the scale of the attacks, the level of coordination, the sophistication of them, it’s not implausible to think there are foreign linkages,” the U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka, Alaina Teplitz, told reporters in Colombo.

“Exploring potential linkages is going to be part of (investigations),” she said.

Teplitz said the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. military were supporting the investigation.

“Our hope is that as a result of our joint efforts we’re going to roll up the perpetrators and collaborators, trace the linkages and be able to prevent this sort of thing from happening in the future.”

Teplitz’s comments came as Sri Lanka’s junior defense minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, conceded that there had been a significant intelligence failure before the attacks, with reports of warnings of strikes not acted on and feuds at the highest levels of government.

“It is a major lapse in the sharing of intelligence information,” Wijewardene told a separate news conference.

“We have to take responsibility.”

Lakshman Kiriella, the leader of parliament, said senior officials had deliberately withheld intelligence about possible attacks.

“Some top intelligence officials hid the intelligence information purposefully. Information was there, but the top brass security officials did not take appropriate actions,” Kiriella, who is also minister of public enterprise, told parliament.

He said information about possible suicide attacks was received from Indian intelligence on April 4 and a Security Council meeting was chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena three days later but it was not shared more widely.

Police earlier said the death toll had risen overnight to 359 from 321, making it the deadliest such attack in South Asian history. About 500 people were wounded.

If the Islamic State connection is confirmed, it would be the deadliest ever attack linked to the group.

The early Sunday bombings shattered the relative calm that has existed in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka since a civil war against mostly Hindu, ethnic Tamil separatists ended 10 years ago, and raised fears of a return to sectarian violence.

Sri Lanka’s 22 million people include minority Christians, Muslims and Hindus. Until now, Christians had largely managed to avoid the worst of the island’s conflict and communal tensions.

Islamic State said through its AMAQ news agency on Tuesday the assaults were carried out by seven attackers.

However, Wijewardene said there were in fact nine suicide bombers involved in the attacks on three churches and four hotels. Eight had been identified and one of them was a woman, he said.

“Most of the bombers are well-educated, come from economically strong families. Some of them went abroad for studies,” Wijewardene said.

“One of them we know went to the U.K., then went to Australia for a law degree. Foreign partners, including the U.K., are helping us with those investigations,” he said.

Wijewardene told parliament on Tuesday two Sri Lankan Islamist groups – the National Thawheed Jama’ut and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim – were responsible for the blasts. He said on Wednesday the leader of one of those groups blew himself up in the attack on the luxury Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo.

The attacks have already foreshadowed a shake-up of Sri Lankan security forces, with Sirisena saying on Tuesday he planned to change some of his defense chiefs after criticism that the intelligence warnings were ignored.

A total of 60 people had been detained for questioning across Colombo since Sunday, Wijewardene said. That total includes a Syrian, according to security sources.

Police searched more homes overnight, leading to the detention of 18 more people.

The overnight raids included areas near the Gothic-style St Sebastian church in Negombo, north of the capital, where scores were killed on Sunday, a police spokesman said.

An unspecified number of people were detained in western Sri Lanka, the scene of Muslim riots in 2014.

 “Search operations are going on everywhere, there is tight checking of Muslim areas,” a security source said.

Most of those killed and wounded were Sri Lankans, although officials said 38 foreigners were also killed. That included British, U.S., Australian, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch and Portuguese nationals. Forty-five children were among the dead.

The government has imposed emergency rule and an overnight curfew. It said it has also blocked online messaging services to stop the spread of inflammatory rumors that it feared could incite communal clashes.

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