How a Longstanding Rivalry Spiraled Into 5 Deaths Between 2 Families

The council member reacted angrily and told colleagues he blamed Mr. Aymaq for the entire investigation, according to officials and journalists.

Two weeks after the reporter was killed, Mr. Bik was dead, too.

He died of wounds suffered during a shootout on Jan. 14 with National Directorate of Security agents who went to arrest him at his home in connection with Mr. Aymaq’s death, the police said. Three of Mr. Bik’s bodyguards were wounded in the clash, said Fazlulhaq Ehsan, head of Ghor’s provincial council.

The National Directorate of Security office in Ghor declined to comment.

Then came the targeted killings on Feb. 25 of the slain reporter’s relatives in what the police said was a revenge attack.

Provincial officials blamed the Taliban. Ehsanullah Bik, Mr. Bik’s brother, is a commander for the insurgent group, said Amirdad Parsa, the police spokesman for Ghor Province.

This type of vendetta killing is a pattern, said Abdul Basir Qadiri, a member of the Ghor provincial council. “When people see a rival tribe become powerful, they join the Taliban or kill the leader of the rival tribe so they can remain the only powerful family in that area,” he said.

Mr. Aymaq’s brother, Sebghatullah, 28 — a police officer — and his cousin, Gol-Ahmad, 35, were shot and killed during the attack on Sebghatullah’s home in the village of Tigha-e-Timor, the police said. Also killed was Mr. Aymaq’s 13-year-old niece Arefa.

Five other relatives, including a 3-year-old niece, were shot and wounded. The gunmen abducted three male relatives, including Mr. Aymaq’s 11-year-old nephew, police said. They have not been heard from since.

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Sarah Everhard Vigil in London Is Canceled Over Covid Restrictions

The organizers of a vigil for a 33-year-old woman who went missing in London last week, and whose body was identified on Friday, canceled the gathering on Saturday, citing pandemic restrictions.

Lawmakers, activists and women’s rights organizations had called for a gathering in Clapham Common, the South London park near where the woman, Sarah Everard, was last seen alive, to demand actions to address violence against women and to pay tribute to her.

But a court ruled on Friday that the gathering could be deemed unlawful because of Covid-19 restrictions, and the police urged prospective attendees to stay at home.

The death of Ms. Everard set off an outpouring of solidarity and anger in Britain this week, with thousands of women sharing their own stories of street harassment and assault. She was last seen on CCTV at around 9.30 p.m. on March 3 while walking home from a friend’s house.

charged with kidnapping and murdering Ms. Everard, the police said late Friday. Mr. Couzens, 48, appeared in court on Saturday.

While the authorities have tried to reassure the public by pointing out that abductions in London are rare, the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has also acknowledged that its streets are not safe enough. Many have said that as lockdown restrictions have emptied the country’s streets, they felt unsafe walking in public.

More than 125,000 people have died of the coronavirus in Britain, but England is gradually coming out of a monthslong lockdown, starting this week with the reopening of schools, and gatherings of two people outside now allowed. The authorities scrambled to put strict restrictions in place this year after the discovery of a more contagious variant in the country.

The organizers of the vigil, named Reclaim These Streets, said they had suggested ideas like splitting the gathering into several time slots to find a balance between freedom of assembly and safety measures.

“We have been very disappointed that given the many opportunities to engage with organizers constructively, the Met Police have been unwilling to commit to anything,” they said in a statement on Saturday morning in reference to the city’s Metropolitan Police.

The organizers said they had been told that they faced a fine of 10,000 pounds ($14,000) if they went ahead with the vigil. They said that they would instead organize a virtual event and that they were setting up a fund-raiser to support women’s causes around Britain.

“We are clear that women’s voices will not be silenced, now or ever,” they said.

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Woman’s Disappearance Prompts Outcry Over Safety on London’s Streets

LONDON — Thousands of women across Britain have shared stories online of harassment and fear in public spaces after a woman went missing in London last week and a police officer was arrested in connection with the case.

Many women urged the authorities to make streets safer and address gender violence at a time when pandemic lockdown restrictions have emptied the country’s streets.

“We’re scared, we’re shaken and we’re intimidated,” Mandu Reid, the leader of the Women’s Equality Party, who is running for mayor of London in an election in May, said in an interview.

“While we have been confined to our homes, going out for walks has been an important release,” Ms. Reid said. “Now this has happened, and we feel under threat and under siege.”

Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, was last seen on March 3 in the Clapham neighborhood of south London. The police said on Wednesday that human remains had been found as part of their investigation into her disappearance, prompting an outpouring of grief from lawmakers, community leaders and London residents.

70 percent of women in Britain had experienced sexual harassment in public.

Boris Johnson and Mayor Sadiq Khan of London expressed sadness over Ms. Everard’s disappearance. Commissioner Dick called the situation “every family’s worst nightmare.”

Online, women offered countless testimonies about facing catcalls, unwanted attention, threats and assaults in public spaces. As Ms. Everard’s name trended on Twitter in Britain on Thursday, stories included recollections of anxious walks, of being followed in the streets and having to run and of being harassed in a public space.

Women also listed measures they felt compelled to take to mitigate risks, such as sharing with other women the addresses of places they go at night, keeping keys clenched in their hands as a weapon, choosing better-lit routes in the hope of avoiding danger, and having an app that sends a text with the person’s location when it detects a scream.

“Headphones at lowest volume, keys clenched in my hand, rape alarm in my pocket, fearful of the dark at 8.30 p.m.,” Joanna Montgomery, a 43-year-old London resident, wrote on Twitter as she shared a picture of walking two dogs on a street.

hundreds shared tips on how to help women feel less threatened.

While city officials have acknowledged that “too many women feel unsafe when traveling, working or going out at night,” activists and community leaders say little has been done to make the streets safer amid lockdown restrictions, when walking remains one of the few activities that people are allowed to do in public.

Ms. Everard left a friend’s house in south London around 9 p.m. on March 3. Her journey back home should have taken her around 50 minutes, and she was last spotted on CCTV at 9:30 p.m. near a road intersection in a residential area.

Police officers have searched hundreds of houses in the neighborhood, as well as ponds in a park, Clapham Common, that Ms. Everard may have walked through that night.

But hopes that she would be found alive grew slimmer on Wednesday evening, when Ms. Dick said that officers had found human remains in Kent, around 50 miles southeast of London. Ms. Dick said the police could not confirm the identity of the remains, adding that doing so could take “considerable time.”

Ms. Everard’s disappearance is likely to add pressure to Mr. Johnson’s government, which plans to introduce measures to address violence against women and girls this year. According to national statistics, more than 55,000 rapes were recorded in England and Wales in 2019 and 2020, and one in five women in Britain will be subjected to sexual assault during their lifetime.

It was even more shocking to many that the main suspect in Ms. Everard’s disappearance was a police officer. The Metropolitan Police said on Tuesday that the man, in his 40s, had been arrested on Tuesday in Kent and was being kept in custody on suspicion of kidnapping, murder and indecent exposure. A woman in her 30s was arrested at the same location on suspicion of assisting an offender.

The officer, who serves in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, and whose primary role was to patrol diplomatic premises, was not on duty when Ms. Everard disappeared, the police said.

On Wednesday Ms. Dick, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, sought to quell any mistrust the public may have about the force she oversees.

“I speak on behalf of all my colleagues when I say that we are utterly appalled at this dreadful, dreadful news,” she said.

But Ms. Reid, the leader of the Women’s Equality Party, said that even beyond devoting more funding to address gender violence and improving city planning to protect women, the police had a lot to do to win women’s trust.

“It’s not about safety — it’s about freedom in the public space,” Ms. Reid said. “Most of us have accepted that the streets are too dangerous for us,” she added. “But we can’t accept this any longer.”

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Colombia Seeks Justice for War Atrocities Via New Court

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — The testimony is searing. “They tied me to a tree,” said one victim of Colombia’s guerrilla. “They put us in a cage,” said another. “I was kidnapped for four years.”

“Until then, I had not heard of ‘mass graves,’” said a victim of the military. “Finally I understand that those in charge of protecting civilians killed thousands of Colombians.”

After decades of civil war, Colombia has created a historic postwar court designed to reveal the facts of a conflict that defined the nation for generations, morphing into the longest-running war in the Americas.

Thousands have testified. Wide-ranging investigations are underway. The first indictments were issued in January — and the first pleas are expected in April. Perpetrators will be punished, with those who admit responsibility receiving lesser, “restorative” sentences, like house arrest or remaining free while doing hard physical labor. Those who refuse to do so will face trial, and the possibility of decades in prison.

Special Jurisdiction for Peace, could help change the trajectory of a nation that has been at war for much of its history, with one conflict rolling almost immediately into the next.

Its failure could mean the repetition of that cycle.

“We have a window — a generational opportunity — to leave behind the insane violence we have lived in all our lives,” said Ingrid Betancourt, a former presidential candidate who was kidnapped and held by guerrillas, sometimes in chains, for more than six years. “I would like us to be able to open that window and let the light in.”

signed a peace deal that included the creation of the postwar court.

But if the goal of the court is to dig up buried truths, it is clear that this search is also exhuming and exacerbating longstanding divisions — and that the road to a common narrative, if one can be found, will be lined with conflict.

Some see the court as their best chance to find answers about lost loved ones, and the country’s best hope for peace; others are angered that assassins and kidnappers will not receive prison sentences; still others simply dismiss the court’s findings, saying the institution is biased in favor of the former guerrillas.

report by the court implicates the military in more than 6,400 civilian deaths from 2002 to 2008, during his presidency.

Mr. Uribe responded to the report by calling it an “attack” with “only one purpose,” “to discredit me personally.”

The court is held in an imposing black building on a main avenue in Colombia’s capital, Bogotá. Some testimony is public, and has been streamed on social media or released in public documents, offering a window into decades of suffering. To protect participants’ safety, much of it takes place behind closed doors.

first indictment, accusing eight top FARC leaders of orchestrating a kidnapping-for-ransom operation that lasted decades and resulted in more than 20,000 victims, many of them civilians, some of whom were raped or murdered. The kidnappings were used to fund the insurgency, said the court, and amounts to crimes against humanity.

The accused former FARC leaders have indicated that they will admit guilt. If they do, they will receive non-prison sentences, which could include up to eight years digging up old land mines or tracking down bodies. If they don’t admit guilt, they’ll face a trial and the possibility of decades behind bars.

They have until late April to reply to the court.

“We are assuming collective responsibility,” said Julián Gallo, who is among the indicted leaders, in an interview.

“These were practices that in some form delegitimized our fight,” he went on. “What we have asked for is forgiveness.”

scathing report that implicated officials in the intentional killing of at least 6,402 civilians when Mr. Uribe was in office.

The killings were part of a previously revealed strategy in which Colombian soldiers or their allies lured civilians from their homes with the promise of jobs, and then killed them and tried to pass off their deaths as combatant kills. Many of the victims were poor, some were mentally disabled.

The idea was to show that the government was winning the war.

responded to the court’s announcement by calling the numbers “inflated,” and an attempt to “delegitimize the commendable work” of the military.

Magistrates are expected to begin announcing indictments in that scandal later this year.

Mr. Uribe, who has repeatedly said he did he everything he could to stop the killings, is exempt from the court as a former president.

During one of the court’s public hearings, Jacqueline Castillo described how her brother Jaime, a civilian, disappeared one day in August of 2008, and reappeared days later in a mass grave far from home, identified by the military as a rebel killed in combat. She went to the grave, she said, and watched as men pulled her brother from the earth.

Before, she had idolized the Colombian military.

“They were my heroes,” she said, pressing her palm to her heart. “Now they make me sad.”

Sofía Villamil contributed reporting.

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