This Week Around the World

March 8 Bogota: Colombia: Social activist Jorge Macana was shot multiple times before dying from his injuries in his home. Many public shops in the area surrounding his home were closed during the weekend following the activist’s murder out of respect for him and his family. Macana was a prominent activist who strongly advocated for the replacement of coca plant production with the production of sacha inchi palm oil, as well as the construction of a road connecting the rural population of Playa Rica with main roads. He was the 54th social activist to be killed in 2020 in Colombia, according to TeleSUR


March 9 Kintampo, Ghana: At least 35 people were killed after two buses collided on a road and burst into flames. Authorities fear the death toll could rise, as six of those who were injured in the accident are in critical condition. Only one person escaped with no injuries. According to News24, of the 35 victims, 27 were “burnt beyond recognition.” “What we know per preliminary investigation is that the driver of the bigger bus veered off his lane and collided head-on with the smaller one,” Frances Adjei Brobey of the Kintampo police’s motor traffic unit said in a statement. Road accidents in Ghana are relatively common with an average six road-related deaths per day. 


March 10 Ijara, Kenya: Kenyan authorities announced that two rare white giraffes were found killed. The two giraffes were an adult female and her seven-month-old calf. According to Al Jazeera, the killing left only one white giraffe in the area, the male child of the killed adult female. The giraffes had a condition known as leucism, which results in the partial loss of pigmentation in the skin, and lived on the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy located in northeastern Kenya. Activists discovered the skeletal remains of the giraffes, but the poachers responsible for the act have not yet been identified. “This is a very sad day for the community of Ijara and Kenya as a whole,” Mohammed Ahmednoor, manager of the conservancy, told The New York Times in a statement. “We are the only community in the world who are custodians of the white giraffe.”


March 11 Islamabad, Pakistan: A United States-made F-16 fighter jet crashed in the Shakarparian Hills park in Pakistan’s capital during a rehearsal for the upcoming annual military parade scheduled to take place on March 23. There were no casualties reported on the ground, but the pilot of the aircraft, Wing Commander Noman Akram, died in the accident. Akram was a highly-decorated pilot in the Pakistani Air Force and was given an award in October 2019 for best marksman. According to a statement made by the Pakistani Air Force, “a board of inquiry has been ordered by Air Headquarters to determine the cause of the accident.” The military parade is held annually to celebrate the separation of India and Pakistan. 


March 12 Lilongwe, Malawi: A magistrate court released three anti-government activists on bail after they were arrested for planning protests against the current President of Malawi, Peter Mutharika. The three activists were all members of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition and their arrests were condemned by HRDC member Charles Kajolweka as “unlawful and orchestrated by partisan politics,” according to Al Jazeera. HDRC vice chairman Gift Trapence and member Macdonald Sembereka were arrested on March 11, and HDRC chairperson Timothy Mtambo turned himself into police on March 10. “We condemn it in the strongest of terms possible and would like to call for their unconditional release,” Kajolweka said in a statement, according to Al Jazeera


March 13 Ankara, Turkey: Three human traffickers were convicted of “killing with eventual intent,” and sentenced to 125 years each for the drowning of five refugees in 2015. The drownings occurred after a dingy carrying 14 people capsized. One of the victims was two-year-old Aylan Kurdi, whose body later washed up onto the shore of Turkey and quickly became a symbol of the refugee crisis across international newspapers and other media outlets, according to The New York Times. Aylan’s five-year-old brother and mother also died in the accident, along with two other passengers. The three defendants were convicted on March 13 after their final hearing on March 11.