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This is BBC World News Today with me, Philippa Thomas.
Is the Geneva peace deal on Ukraine collapsing? Ukraine's president has
said he's relaunching what Kiev calls its "anti-terror" operation
against separatists in the east. The flash point is here - Sloviansk -
where funerals were held today for three pro-Russian activists, and
where Ukraine's president says one of his local politicians was today
found brutally tortured to death. One week on - more than 180 girls
still missing. We have the first pictures of the burnt-out school in
Northern Nigeria where they were snatched by the Islamist group Boko
Haram. And a special report on the militant threat throughout the
region. Also coming up: More bodies are
pulled from the stricken South Korean ferry, as it's revealed the
first distress call came not from the crew, but from a schoolboy on
board. And sacked after just ten months -
Manchester United removes David Moyes as manager after the club's
tenth defeat in 22 matches. Hello and welcome.
Brutal torture and murder - that's the accusation levelled within the
last hour by Ukraine's acting president, who says two bodies have
been discovered near the city of Sloviansk - the site of the fiercest
pro-Russian uprising in the east of the country. One of the bodies was
that of Vladimir Rybak, a local politician from the president's own
party. We'll have a live update for you from Ukraine, but first, our
correspondent Daniel Sandford in Sloviansk reports on what was
already a day of high emotion at the funerals of three pro-Russian men
shot dead at a checkpoint. The uncontrolled sorrow of a wife
mourning today in the most militant town in eastern Ukraine. Her husband
was one of three men shot by unknown gunmen while manning a rebel
checkpoint. The deaths have only further
increased the strong feelings and tensions in a region which has
already brutally exposed the rifts opening up in Ukraine. Rifts that
will get harder to breach each time blood is shed. The rebel gunmen are
accused by the new pro-Europe Ukraine Government of being backed
by a Russia determined to see them fail.
Today in Kiev, the US Vice President was giving the struggling prime
minister his very public support, though his words would have
antagonised Russia further. No nation should stoke instability
in its neighbour's country. We call on Russia to stop supporting men
hiding behind masks in unmarked uniforms, sowing unrest in eastern
Ukraine. But it is still not clear how much
influence Russia has on men, like the self-appointed mayor of
Sloviansk, fired up with hatred for the far-right activists of western
Ukraine. TRANSLATION: With the Nazis and
fascists we will have only one kind of dialogue. We will destroy them.
This is not a civil war yet. But as the number of deaths mounts on both
sides, the time to resolve the crisis is running out.
Let's get more for you on this dramatic statement from the acting
president of Ukraine. He appears to be determined to re-launch what Kiev
terms its anti-terrorist operation. The BBC's Natalia Antelava is in the
eastern city of Donetsk, and joins me now.
This statement by the acting president just came out. In it, he
calls on his Armed Forces to relaunch the anti-terrorist
operation that was taking place not very successfully, I must add, in
the eastern regions of Ukraine just before Easter. It is not a surprise
they are starting it again. We were always anticipating the relaunch,
but what is a surprise is the news that two bodies have been found in
Sloviansk. That is the most militarised town in the region.
These are the bodies of two men, one identified as local politician and
member of the President's party. In a statement, the president said that
both men had been brutally tortured. Thank you.
It's a week since 230 girls were snatched from their classroom in
broad daylight in Northern Nigeria. More than 180 are still missing.
We're bringing you the first pictures we have from the scene of
the attack - a school where the girls, aged between 16 and 18, were
preparing to sit their final exams. As you can see it was a violent
assault - there was a lot of damage done. The girls were abducted from
the Government Girls Secondary School in the town of Chibok in
Borno State - that's an hour's flight away from the capital Abuja.
It's thought they are being held by members of the Islamist group Boko
Haram in the Sambisa Forest. Boko Haram-related violence killed 1,500
in the first three months of this year alone. A state of emergency has
been declared but Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan last
visited the region more than a year ago.
The BBC's Nigeria Correspondent Will Ross is in Lagos with more.
As you say, a particularly brutal few months in the north-east of
Nigeria. This abduction of over 200 schoolgirls has caused an
extraordinary amount of shock throughout the country. Perhaps for
the first time, people are realising the level of violence and just how
vulnerable some of the communities are in the north-east. There have
been many attacks on schools in recent months, thousands of students
are unable to go to school now in the north-east. The region is in a
way heading backwards. As I have been finding out, the people of this
place are left just praying and fasting for news of missing
children. Another destroyed school in Nigeria.
This area is promoted and dangerous it to a whole week to get the first
pictures out. Many schools have been attacked by Islamist notes, but this
midnight raid was different. Gunmen forced all the female students out
of their dormitories and they were then torched. Insurgents are
believed to be from the group known as Boko Haram, and let girls onto
lorries. One girl said she at first mistook the attackers for people who
are going to protect them. We have had her identity.
We thought they were soldiers and they asked us to get on the vehicle.
We ran back home because they did not look innocent.
15 spoke to by phone and pleaded Boko Haram to show mercy. There is
nothing between us and them. I plead with Boko Haram to have mercy.
The Islamist extremists are believed to be holding the teenagers in the
vast forest in this region. Some of the parents of the missing girls
have searched the forest themselves, but found it too dangerous. Boko
Haram translates as western education is forbidden, and attacks
on Government schools have forced thousands of students home.
Christians and Muslims are all saying the same prayers, for the
girls to be set free. The Nigerian military last week said it was doing
all it could to locate and free the girls, who we believe are being held
by the Islamist militant group. Since last week, we have had no word
from the military or Government. Many people in that area, especially
the parents and relatives, are left praying and hoping for good news.
But they are folding their arms and saying there is nothing they can do
themselves, but they are calling on the Government to do more and on
Boko Haram to show mercy and released the girls.
It seemed the military had got the figures wrong in the first place. It
is hard for the families to have been in the military in that case,
is it not? There was a lot of confusion last
week over the number of girl that had been taken. That's partly
because this raid happened in the middle of the night, when the school
was only open for a few days for exams. It was not a regular term
time period of the educational system. But, yes, there was
confusion and some people thought the military were downplaying the
scale of the attack on purpose. At the moment, the focus is on how on
earth are those girls going to be freed. It is a difficult job for the
military. The forest is huge and covers about 100 kilometres across
from west to east. It will be difficult to locate them and even
harder to set them free. These are well armed Islamist militants
holding these girls. Thank you.
The reach of the radical Islamist group Boko Haram appears to be
spreading beyond Nigeria. The BBC has spoken to a local gang in
neighbouring Niger, which says it's collaborated with the group, in
return for money. Nigeria's neighbours have feared for
some time that the Boko Haram insurgency could spread. Thousands
of people have already fled violence in the country. Thomas Fessy, sent
this report from across the border in Diffa in southeastern Niger. In
the Sahara, there is little cover to take from a sandstorm. For this
village in Nigeria, the fourth attack by Boko Haram meant it was
time to leave. The border, the river between Niger and Nigeria. On either
side of it, people have enjoyed strong links for centuries, sharing
ethnicity and culture. Is your village over the? This man believes
the border will keep them safe for now. On Lake Chad, Nigerians are
fleeing by boat. The UN estimates 500 cross into Niger each week. This
man arrived last month with his family. TRANSLATION: I was going to
bed when we heard the first gunshots. As we ran to escape, your
little girl was shot as she fled her burning house. We counted 15 dead in
the streets. It is a growing refugee crisis but
without camps. Authorities argue they could become new targets, or
worse, recruitment centres for Boko Haram. Boko Haram have shown they
can hit the Nigerian state in different ways. Bomb attacks,
raiding villages, attacking schools and abducting children. For now,
Nigeria's neighbours are dealing with the consequences of this
violence. The prospect of the same violence billing over is becoming
more of a question of, not if, but when they may strike here.
Mitigating the threat means daily patrols along the border. Several
attacks have been foiled over the last months and dozens of men
expected to be linked to Boko Haram have been arrested. We have made
contact with a local gang, whose members claim they are collaborating
with Boko Haram. They agreed to talk to us but we cannot show their
faces. The gang members are in their early 20s and told us that five of
their group have joined Nigerian militants. Two have already been
killed. TRANSLATION: Some of our members are
with them now. We hear information. They come to us.
If they tell you to launch an attack, would you do it?
TRANSLATION: Yes. We are ready. That is why we are there.
Boko Haram, they say, have paid them $3000 to join their insurgency. It
is the cash they want, they have no interest in defending sharia law.
Drought and hunger have made communities in this area vulnerable.
Events have made unstable and this fragile state is now threatened by a
crisis next door, fuelled by poverty and neglect. Both conditions exist
here. Now a look at some of the day's
other news: A court in Russia has found the
opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, guilty of libel. Mr Navalny was
accused of referring to a local politician as a drug-addict on
Twitter. Mr Navalny - a critic of the Kremlin who stood for election
as mayor of Moscow last year - was fined about $8,000. He's already
under house arrest, accused in a separate case of embezzlement. Mr
Navalny has always insisted accusations against him are
politically motivated. The military in South Sudan says
it's engaged in heavy fighting with rebel forces in several parts of the
country. The United Nations has accused rebels loyal to the former
vice president Riek Machar of hundreds of ethnic killings last
week in the oil town of Bentiu. The rebels have denied involvement,
blaming retreating government forces.
A court in Egypt has been holding the latest hearing in its trial of
three journalists working for the Al Jazeera news channel. They're
accused of spreading false news and aiding the banned Muslim
Brotherhood. The prosecution has presented photos and news reports
which it says support its case. The journalists have now been held for
more than 100 days. In South Korea, 108 bodies have now
been recovered from the ferry that capsized last Wednesday. Nearly 200
- mainly schoolchildren - are still missing. Our correspondent Lucy
Williamson has been speaking to one of the survivors and sent this
report from the island of Jeju, the ferry's scheduled destination.
Day and night, they are bringing in the bodies. Each one precious, even
after life. But these new arrivals are too late to spark anticipation.
No miracles here now, just the joyless reunions of families with
their dead. This was where it was meant to end. South Korea 's holiday
island, Jeju. Its beaches and volcanoes a treat for teenagers
before their final school year. They never saw it. Just before 9am last
Wednesday, traffic controllers picked up the boat's distress call.
It was the second request for help that morning. Moments earlier, a boy
on board had called emergency services shouting, save us, we are
on a ship and I think it is sinking. Workers at the ferry company here on
shore were rushed in to the office, but there was little they could do.
One of them who was here that they told me he cannot even walk down the
street now without people blaming him. His colleagues on board, he
said, should have done more. This person was on board the ferry. A
truck driver who had made the same journey hundreds of times. He had
just had breakfast and had gone up on deck for a smoke. TRANSLATION:
All of a sudden, the ship tilted and started to sink. Containers fell
into the sea. I realised we were going to capsize. I was clinging on
to the handrail. I tried to save some of the students in the
cafeteria. They were sliding around on their knees. I threw them a fire
hose. The boat was tilting too much. Then the water started coming in. My
friend managed to save a six-year-old child who was trapped
inside. I think the parents and others inside were the heroes. They
were passing children to each other over their heads. The ship was
capsizing. All those people were swept away in the water. He is still
haunted by the students he could not save. They were all the same age as
my daughter, he said. The memories of them will not go away.
It's one of the biggest football clubs in the world, and one of the
best-known global brands, with millions of loyal fans. But, today,
Manchester United is in disarray. After ten months at the helm,
manager David Moyes has been sacked. It's been a very poor season for the
man who was personally chosen by the legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson
to lead the club in July last year. By January, United had been knocked
out of the FA Cup after losing at home in the third round. And on
Sunday the Red Devils suffered its 11th Premier League defeat of the
season at Everton. Sunday's defeat means it's impossible for the club
to qualify for next season's Champions League - the first time
since 1995. Ryan Giggs will now take over as caretaker manager for the
final four games of the season. And what happens at the club next will
certainly be watched with great interest. The Reds have a total
following of 659 million adults worldwide.
Just ten months ago he was the chosen one, the hand-picked heir to
the Manchester United throne. But, for David Moyes, the Theatre of
Dreams has become the stuff of nightmares. Morales scores! Everton
two, Manchester United zero. Saturday's defeat at Everton was to
prove the final whistle. This morning, as his players arrived at
the training ground, Moyes was sacked. Manchester United has
announced that David Moyes has left the club, they said in a statement
on Twitter. But for the fans it's still sinking
in. I think it is a shame. He could've done with a bit more time.
But seventh is just not good enough. He didn't do as well as everybody
expected, for a club like Manchester United. They should have finished at
least in the top four. After Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement, this
would always be the toughest of acts to follow, but Moyes was his choice,
arriving with a plea for patience. When we have had bad times here, the
club has stood by me. All my staff stood by me, the players stood by
me. Your job now is to stand by our new manager. But Moyes could never
escape the shadow of his predecessor. He began badly with the
flop signing of Fellaini and was soon struggling on the pitch too.
The style was as stodgy as the results. Defeats to Liverpool and
Manchester City prompted an aerial protest last month, and now the
club's American owners have acted. The failure to qualify for the
riches of the Champions League perhaps the biggest concern. I think
it's largely driven by finances, the finances of not being in the
Champions League, and also driven by the finances of making sure that
when they enter the transfer market this summer they will be able to
spend a lot of money and trust the person they will give the money to
spend. So who will they turn to next? Among the favourites are
Holland coach, Louis van Gaal. But in the short term, they have asked
Ryan Giggs to take temporary charge. He already helps with coaching at
United, so could he be the long-term solution? He knows every player in
the last 25 years, and he's won more than any other player in the league.
Is there anybody more suitable for the job and knows more than him? He
knows how to do it himself. But now, United, who just a year ago were
celebrating the title, are in turmoil. Following this man was
often described as the impossible job, and for David Moyes, that is
exactly how it has proved. Jim White is the author of
Manchester United: The Biography and is a columnist with the Daily
Telegraph newspaper. He joins me from our studio in Oxford. Welcome
to the programme. So much analysis in the hours since we have heard
this, but where you think David Moyes went wrong? I think it went
wrong from the start. The first thing he did was to get rid of Alex
Ferguson's backroom staff and bringing his own guys over from
Everton. They were the people who ran Manchester United. They
understood the players and knew what they needed in training. They knew
how to motivate them. I think the new guys came in, the players took
one look at them and thought, what have you want? That was a position
they could never answer. You could see anybody would have failed to
shine in the wake of Alex Ferguson CHEERING AND APPLAUSE It was always
going to be hard. Is working space, the office if you like, is the
technical area. Then in ten foot letters opposite you is the name
Alex Ferguson. It was always going to be difficult. When you get to the
point where the players want you gone, you are toast? That is right.
You have to trust the players and they have to trust your. My
understanding is that things started to deteriorate around Christmas
time. You could see that on the pitch. Players who had won the title
the year before suddenly looked second rate. Of course this is not
just an English story or off the ball story, this is a global
business story. It is. That is principally why David Moyes was
sacked. The business requires a constant triumph on the pitch in
order to feed the huge number of global commercial partners it has
two keep bringing fans involved. All of those people demand constant
successful stop David Moyes did not provide that. He was gone. Is one of
the reasons to sack him that they didn't want him in charge of the
purse strings over the summer? That is right. I think he probably had a
clause in his contract which said if you don't qualify for the champions
league you are out. It was mathematically impossible to qualify
on Sunday. As you see, there is a huge rebuilding job to be done.
Someone has to come in and attract players to a club that will not be
in the champions league. They have to change that vicious cycle. It
will not be fun. Who do you think is likely to get the job? Who do the
players need? The romantic in me, the man who believes in the kind of
glory of football, would want Ryan takes to get the job. He has four
games in charge at the moment, he understands the club, he has been
there since he was a small boy. He absolutely gets what Manchester
United is about. But the club have said they will not offer him the
job. I think they will go for one of the big beasts of the game. If they
go for Louis van Hal, the most likely candidate, they will have an
equal problem similar to other big managers in the premiership. I don't
think anything could be one next year possibly the year after. I
think it will take very long to get out of this mess thank you for your
time and your insight. A reminder of our main news.
The Ukrainian president has said that the time has come for them to
relaunch their power in the east of the country. Joe Biden has said that
he fears the Geneva agreement could collapse.
That's all from the programme. Next the weather. From me and the rest of
the team, goodbye. We will find some spells of sunshine
developing tomorrow. One weather front will provide focus for
possibly longer spell of rain or slide its way into the south-west by
the morning, heading up into Northern Ireland as well. A bit of a
misty to Wednesday. Many central