A mourner holds a photograph of his partner, Julia Sologub, killed on the Ukrainian plane shot down by Iranian forces. Efrem Lukatsky/AP Images

This Week Around the World

Jan. 6 Alatona, Mali: A roadside bomb killed five Malian soldiers and destroyed four vehicles on their way to Alatona from the town of Diabaly. After a refueling truck leading the convoy hit the bomb, militants opened fire on the soldiers from cars and motorcycles. The bomb and militants are believed to be a part of an armed uprising which began in 2012 in northern Mali. The uprising resulted in thousands of deaths since it began; estimates suggest at least 110 civilians were killed by the uprising’s roadside bombs in the first six months of 2019 alone, according to France24. “Reinforcements are already in place for the operation to neutralize the enemies,” government spokesperson Yaya Sanere said in a tweet after the attack was announced to the public. 

Jan. 7 Southern Puerto Rico: Puerto Rican Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced declared a state of emergency after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck along the island’s southern coast between the small towns of Ponce and Guanica. NPR reported the earthquake struck before dawn and caused the majority of power throughout the island to stop working. As of Jan. 7, one person died after the walls of his house collapsed on him during his sleep. An additional eight more were injured. The quake caused major damage to buildings and homes along the island’s southern coast and caused a popular tourist rock formation to collapse, according to BBC. Officials are not currently worried about a tsunami.

Jan. 8 Tehran, Iran: A Ukrainian plane on its way to its home country from Iran crashed near the Khomeini International Airport, killing all 176 passengers. The majority of the passengers were Canadian or Iranian, according to BBC. Soon after the plane crash, the Ukrainian government canceled all flights through Iranian airspace, fearing the country had purposefully fired a missile at the plane. While Iranian officials first suggested a technical malfunction, an official statement was issued on Jan. 11, admitting the country had shot down the passenger plane. “My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted after the country’s announcement, according to Al Jazeera. “I offer my sincerest condolences.”

Jan. 9 London, United Kingdom: Duke and Duchess of Sussex Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced they would be taking a “step back” from their duties as senior royal officials and will split their time between North America and the United Kingdom. According to BBC, the couple strives to become “financially independent” and will no longer receive the Sovereign Grant, a public fund that pays for royal duties. The Guardian reported the family has been open about their struggles with media coverage since October 2018 and plan to pursue a sense of normalcy for their son and maintain a more direct line of communication with the public via social media. Prince Harry will remain sixth in line for the throne despite the couple’s decision. 

Jan. 10 Quetta, Pakistan:  A suicide bomb attack inside of a mosque killed at least 15 people—including the mosque’s head cleric and a police officer—and injured 18 more during sunset prayers. Of the 18 people who were injured in the attack, eight were critically injured. Officials believe the death toll could rise. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State later the same day. The IS said it was targeting a Taliban official who is believed to visit the local mosque frequently. IS and the Taliban have long been fighting for control over territory in neighboring Afghanistan; it is believed this was the IS’ motivation to attack the Taliban official. “We went to offer our prayers, when we went to bow our heads…there was a sudden explosion,” attack survivor Azmatullah told Al Jazeera. “I was near the door, so I ran from there to my home, which is nearby.”

Jan. 10 Cauca Valley, Colombia: Aniparo Guejia, 41, and Juan Dicue, 18, were murdered by unknown assailants on Jan. 10 in a village known as La Buitrera. The two victims were leaders of local indigenous movement, Quintin Lame’s Grandchildren (NQL) and prominent activists in the community. “[Guejia and Dicue] got on a motorcycle in the company of [a] 2-year-old child…the murderers shot them, took the child and left him at a nearby house,” a complaint filed by the Southwest Colombia Human Rights Network said, according to TeleSUR. Colombian President Ivan Dugue has been criticized by supporters of Guejia and Dicue for not providing answers regarding their death.