Friday, April 1, 2011

Kills eight UN workers in Afghanistan violence

At least eight UN workers were murdered in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, during violent protests against the burning of a Koran in the U.S., police sources told Efe. After Friday prayers, thousands of people took to the streets in the city, the most important northern Afghanistan, in protest against the burning of a Koran, on 20 March, at a church in the United States, and stoned the local headquarters of the UN mission in the country.

Efe said a regional spokesman in the city, Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, the protest was peaceful at the beginning, but later several demonstrators began shooting and killed eight UN workers and injured scores of civilians. A source quoted by the Afghan agency AIP said, however, that the demonstrators were able to reduce the guards of the building and took away the weapons, after which they set fire to the headquarters of the international organization.

For the moment, it is unknown what the nationalities of the deceased. According to Ahmadzai, Afghan security forces have taken control of the area and opened an investigation into the facts, arresting several protesters. On 20 March, the Protestant pastor Wayne Sapp burned a Quran in a church in Florida (USA) in the presence of Pastor Terry Jones, who announced last year that would do the same to mark the anniversary of 11-S, although then backed down.

Sapp's action has triggered a wave of condemnation from the authorities of the Islamic world and analysts believed that the burning of the Koran could spark protests in Afghanistan, a country at war and very conservative society.

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