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US Soldier Pleads Guilty To Killing Women And Children In Afghanistan

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Sergeant Robert Bales

Sergeant Robert Bales

A US soldier has pleaded guilty to killing 16 Afghans last year, as he faced a military hearing hoping to escape a death sentence.

Sergeant Robert Bales, 39, pleaded guilty to 16 counts of murder over the massacre in southern Afghanistan in March last year.

After making the plea on Wednesday, he read from a statement in a clear and steady voice, describing his actions for each killing in the same terms.

Bales said he left the remote base where he was posted in southern Afghanistan and went to the nearby villages of mud walled compounds.

Once inside, he says he “formed the intent” of killing the victims, then shot each one. Bales told the judge: “This act was without legal justification, sir.”

His lawyer said last week he would admit guilt in exchange for prosecutors not seeking his execution.

Bales was joined by his lawyers John Browne and Emma Scanlan in a packed courtroom at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle in Washington state, where he has been held pending court martial proceedings.

Scanlan entered guilty pleas for all charges against him including six of atttempted murder and seven of assault.

Seventeen of the 22 victims were women or children and almost all were shot in the head.

Bales pleaded not guilty to one count of wrongful endeavor to impede an investigation by damaging a laptop.

When asked by military judge Colonel Jeffery Nance if he understood that a guilty plea was final, Bales said, “Yes, sir.”

A date of August 19 was set for a sentencing trial. Bales requested trial by a 12-member jury including one-third enlisted officers.

Judge Nance asked Bales why he committed the March 2012 killings. Bales responded that he’s asked himself that a million times.

“There’s not a good reason in this world for why I did the horrible things I did,” he said.

Bales’ lawyer John Browne announced last week that he had reached “an agreement with the military to take the death penalty off the table” if Bales would plead guilty.

Asked if Bales was sorry, Browne said: “Absolutely. And I think that will become clear as the process goes forward. He’s very relieved that the death penalty is not on the table.”

Prosecutors did not confirm that they were no longer seeking the death sentence. In death penalty cases, a unanimous verdict is required.

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JUST IN: ECOWAS Lifts Sanctions On Mali

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ECOWAS countries
ECOWAS Countries

ECOWAS Countries

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US President, Donald Trump, Wife Test Positive For Covid-19

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Donald Trump and Melania
Donald Trump and Melania

Donald Trump and wife, Melania Trump

President of the United States, Donald Trump, and his wife, Melania Trump have both tested positive for COVID-19.

The President took to his official Twitter handle on Friday to make this announcement.

Trump was last seen in public on Thursday afternoon, returning to the White House after a fundraising trip to New Jersey.

Also Read: What I Told Trump When He Accused Me Of Killing Christians – Buhari

On Thursday, he announced that his aide, Hope Hicks tested positive for the virus which has killed over 1 million people around the world.

He further revealed that he and the first lady had taken the test and waiting for the results before announcing the outcome on Friday.

 

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Mali: N’Daw, Coup Leader Goita Sworn In As President, VP

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President of Mali, N'Daw, coup leader, Goita
President of Mali, N'Daw, coup leader, Goita

President of Mali, N’Daw, coup leader, Goita

Retired Army Colonel, Bah N’Daw has been sworn in on Friday as the interim president of Mali and he is to head a transitional government following last month’s military coup in the country.

The swearing-in ceremony held in the country’s capital city of Bamako, where Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the military junta, was also sworn in as interim vice president.

This administration is to lead the government for a maximum of 18 months before organising national elections.

Also Read: Buhari Attends Virtual ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit Over Mali Crisis

It will be recalled that the country’s military executed a coup last month (August 18) which successfully removed the nation’s president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita from office.

Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, attended the ceremony alongside other members of the ECOWAS mediation team.

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