S.C man gets 10 years for forced labor of Black man

CONWAY, S.C. — A white South Carolina man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of forcing a Black man with intellectual disabilities to work at a restaurant for up to 18 hours a day without pay .

The U.S. Justice Department announced Wednesday that cafeteria manager Bobby Paul Edwards was sentenced to federal prison for forced labor and mandated to pay nearly $273,000 in restitution to Christopher Smith.

The federal agency said in a statement that Edwards began managing the Conway, South Carolina, eatery where Smith worked in 2009.

The Justice Department added that Edwards is also accused of using torture to intimidate Smith into working without benefits, keeping him from speaking with family, hitting him with kitchen items and using racial slurs toward him.

A state assault charge wasn’t prosecuted.

Burkina Faso vows to defeat ‘terrorists’

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — Burkina Faso’s president vowed Thursday that security forces will hunt down “terrorists and all their accomplices,” a day after at least 37 people were killed in the West African nation when gunmen attacked a convoy carrying employees of a Canadian mining company.

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore also called for volunteers “to defend the homeland in the areas under threat” following what is believed to be the deadliest attack in Burkina Faso since Islamic extremists became active in the country in 2015.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday’s ambush but the high death toll and targeting of a foreign company’s employees suggest that well-armed jihadists carried out the assault. At least 60 other people were wounded in the ambush, according to regional governor Col. Saidou Sanou.

Wednesday’s attack happened in eastern Burkina Faso, about 25 miles from the Boungou mine, which is owned Canada’s Semafo Co. The gunmen attacked a convoy of five buses carrying mine employees that was accompanied by a military escort.

The ambush underscores the deteriorating security situation in Burkina Faso, which observers say has increasingly become a refuge for jihadists from neighboring Mali and Niger.

Second sentencing comes in 2017 cross burning case

JACKSON, Miss. — A second white man has been sentenced to federal prison for his part in burning a cross in 2017 in the yard of an African-American family in south Mississippi.

During a hearing Tuesday in Hattiesburg, U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett sentenced Graham Williamson, 38, to three years in prison.

— Compiled from The Associated Press

Williamson pleaded guilty Aug. 5 to intimidating and interfering with fair housing and conspiring to use fire or explosives to commit a felony. The housing charge is a federal civil rights violation.

Prosecutors said Williamson and another man, Louie Bernard Revette, built a wooden cross and burned it near the home of an African American teenager on Oct. 24, 2017, “with the intention of intimidating and frightening” black residents of Seminary, about 70 miles south of Jackson.

Revette received an 11-year sentence in September, months after pleading guilty to interfering with housing rights and using fire during commission of a federal felony.

Cross burnings have historically been used by racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan to rally supporters and terrorize black people in the South and elsewhere.

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