Daily World News Digest, 17 December 2015

Human Rights Commission says Nigerian Army is out of order, digging mass graves

Naij, a news portal from Nigeria, reported on 16 December that the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has affirmed that the Nigerian Army has opened fire on peaceful demonstration in Kaduna. The IHRC have also affirmed claims that the existence of mass graves have been credible. They report that the army has dug mass graves and are filling them up with bodies of victims of army actions over the weekend. The bloodbath which was experienced in Zaria on Saturday, 12 December, has stirred great controversy across the nation and in the international community, when the army attacked hundreds of Shiites who were protesting. http://bit.ly/1RTwEPk

Two drown, more missing in refugee boat tragedy in Aegean

The Global Post reported on 16 December that Greek Coast Guard authorities announced on Wednesday that two people drowned and unclear number of migrants and refugees went missing after the wooden boat that was transferring them from Turkey to Lesvos Island was capsized. A rescue operation was underway by the Greek Coast Guard in cooperation with Frontex to locate the missing people. The roughly 60 survivors gave conflicting information to local authorities about the number of passengers on board. The new tragedy in the Aegean Sea occurred a few hours before EU summit that will examine the latest EU plan to upgrade the European border agency’s role in managing refugee influxes. http://bit.ly/1YjYN7i

Colombian president says peace deal with FARC to be signed by March 2016

Fox News Latino issued a news on 16 December saying that a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC rebels, will be signed by March 2016, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos reiterated Tuesday. Santos said the latest deal, related to victims of the civil war, clarifies there would be no amnesty for serious crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide and human rights violations or grave violations of the International Humanitarian Law, including abductions, extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and displacement, torture, sexual abuse and forced recruitment of minors as rebel soldiers. The last point on the dialog agenda – the end of the conflict – is still pending. http://bit.ly/1Qr7fgG

Burundi: 21 bodies found in mass grave

Pop Herald, a news portal, reported on 16 December that both opponents and supporters of the government have been killed in apparent revenge attacks. Army buried the corpses in mass graves to “prevent the spread of disease” although some locals said the army was trying to hide evidence of the massacre. At least 28 bodies have been found in Burundi’s worst night of political violence since an attempted coup in April, with residents describing victims shot execution-style. The bodies were found a day after attacks on military sites. The incident comes amid continued unrest in Burundi that started in April, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans for a third term in office that many Burundians and foreign observers criticized as unconstitutional. http://bit.ly/1QOozKU

US to Laos: Step up probe of activist Somphone’s disappearance

Voice of America reported on 16 December that the United States on Wednesday called on Laos to resolve the mystery of the disappearance three years ago of prominent social activist Sombath Somphone, saying his abduction sent a “chilling message” on human rights. Sombath went missing in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, on 15 December, 2012. A video previously released by authorities shows him being stopped at a police checkpoint and being led into a pickup truck. We are troubled by the fact that no progress has been made in locating Mr. Somphone and call on the Lao government to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation. The government should take measures to resolve this case immediately.” http://bit.ly/1T2lTIQ

Mexico body discovery: Remains of 19 people found in Guerrero to be identified

The BBC carried a story on 16 December saying that forensic experts have found the remains of at least 19 people outside a village in the Mexican state of Guerrero. Police are expected to compare the remains with DNA samples taken from more than 600 families searching for missing relatives in the state. Last year, the disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero drew attention to the thousands of people who have gone missing there in the past years. Officials were acting on an anonymous tip off and found the bodies after a long search. They had been dumped at the bottom of a narrow canyon. Eight of the bodies had been burned. Police are not ruling out the possibility of finding more remains at the site. http://bbc.in/1RS5jwR

Items in Daily World News Digest are summaries of published reports relevant to the issue of missing persons, compiled by ICMP staff.  These items do not necessarily reflect the position of ICMP.