Algeria forest fires: Dozens killed in Kabylie region

KABYLIE (BBC): At least 25 Algerian soldiers and 17 civilians have been killed in wildfires to the east of the capital Algiers, the country’s prime minister has said. Several more soldiers were injured fighting the fires, in the forested Kabylie region. Temperatures of up to 46C were forecast.
Fires have caused devastation in several Mediterranean countries in recent days, including Turkey, Greece, Lebanon and Cyprus. Climate change increases the risk of the hot, dry weather that is likely to fuel wildfires. The world has already warmed by about 1.2C since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make steep cuts to emissions. More than 100 fires have been reported across 17 Algerian provinces, the country’s official news agency APS said.
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune paid tribute to the soldiers who were killed, tweeting that they had succeeded in rescuing more than 100 people from the mountains of Bejaia and Tizi Ouzou. Interior Minister Kamel Beldjoud said that about 50 of the blazes were “of criminal origin”. Earlier this week, a major UN scientific report found that human activity was changing the climate in unprecedented and sometimes irreversible ways.
The landmark study warned of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding, and a key temperature limit being broken in just over a decade, but scientists say a catastrophe can be avoided if the world acts fast. Meanwhile, the Nigerian government is demanding punishment for Indonesian immigration officials who were filmed assaulting a Nigerian diplomat. Footage circulating on social media showed Abdulrahman Ibrahim, a consular officer based in Jakarta, being held down in a vehicle by several men. Nigeria called it “an egregious act of international delinquency by the Indonesian state”.
It vowed to review bilateral relations with the south-east Asian nation. The video showed one of the officials putting his hand on the diplomat’s head and pushing it back against a seat. Between yells of protest, Mr Ibrahim repeated: “I can’t breathe.” Later in the one-minute-and-30-second clip Mr Ibrahim was heard saying: “My neck, my neck.”
Mr Ibrahim had been detained on a street in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. The incident has caused anger in Nigeria, with many saying it shows the disdain that other countries hold for Nigerians. Some are calling for a full explanation from the Indonesian government. Nigeria’s foreign ministry had previously sent a letter of protest to the Indonesian government saying the mistreatment Mr Ibrahim endured was “against international law and the Vienna Conventions governing diplomatic and consular relations between states”. Indonesia’s envoy to Nigeria was also summoned on Monday over the incident and apologised on behalf of his government, the foreign ministry said. Immigration officials had also apologised to Nigeria’s ambassador to Indonesia, it added. Meanwhile Nigeria’s ambassador in Jakarta has been called home to give a full report to the government, and the foreign ministry says consultations will continue.