UNICEF: 129 kids killed in offensive
At least 129 children were killed, with boys castrated and girls raped, during a government offensive against rebels last month in South Sudan, said the U.N. children’s agency. South Sudanese military spokesman, Col. Philip Aguer, questioned the credibility of the report and called for a full investigation. UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake urged, “In the name of humanity and common decency this violence against the innocent must stop.”
Boko Haram sets villages ablaze
Militants from the Nigeria-based Islamic extremist group Boko Haram crossed the border into Niger, setting homes ablaze and killing at least 40 people, a local government said. The attack marks the latest attempt by Boko Haram to strike inside neighboring countries that have joined the Nigerian military’s attempt to quash the group once and for all. Yakouba Soumana Gaoh, the governor of Niger’s Diffa region, said that the army there was hunting down those responsible for the violence overnight in the towns of Lamana and Ngoumawa.
Taliban advances into key Helmand district
Taliban fighters overran part of a crucial district in the southern province of Helmand, residents of the area said, demonstrating the insurgents’ growing power in an area that U.S. and British troops had long fought to keep out of Taliban control. During a nighttime assault that lasted into early Thursday, Taliban fighters sacked part of the center of Musa Qala district, residents said, setting a clinic on fire and destroying government vehicles. Omar Zwak, a spokesman for the governor of Helmand Province, said the Taliban never succeeded in overrunning the area. But some residents said that the Taliban controlled much of the district center early Thursday, at least temporarily.
Upgraded charges in Zimmerman attack
A man accused of shooting at George Zimmerman now faces an attempted murder charge. A prosecutor upgraded the charges against Matthew Apperson to attempted second-degree murder. Apperson earlier had been charged with aggravated assault and battery for firing a gun into Zimmerman’s car during a traffic run-in last month. Zimmerman had minor injuries.
World’s oldest person dies at age 116
A woman deemed the world’s oldest person died in Michigan, about a month after her 116th birthday. Jeralean Talley died Wednesday evening at her home in the Detroit suburb of Inkster, said her daughter, Thelma Holloway. Holloway said that her mother was recently hospitalized and treated for fluid in her lungs before returning home “just where she wanted to be.” The Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group considered Talley to be the world’s oldest person, followed by Susannah Jones of Brooklyn, New York. The group said Jones turns 116 in July.