Showing posts from May 10, 2009

Sudan: Darfur - African Union-UN Envoy Concerned Over Surge in Factional Violence

12 May 2009 The joint African Union-United Nations envoy to Darfur expressed concern today over recent armed clashes between various factions in the northern part of the war-ravaged Sudanese region. AU-UN Special Representative Rodolphe Adada called on the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudanese Liberation Army/Minni Minawi wing (SLA/MM) to end hostilities, which flared up over the weekend in the North Darfur town of Umm Baru. Mr. Adada noted that the hybrid AU-UN peacekeeping mission, known as UNAMID, had transported 26 people injured in the fighting to the North Darfur capital of El Fasher for medical treatment at the military hospital. The Special Representative also held discussions today with the Under-Secretary of the Sudanese Foreign Affairs Ministry, Mutrif Siddiq, and the Presidential Adviser, Mustafa Osman Ismail, during separate meetings in Khartoum. In a briefing to the Security Council in April, Mr. Adada estimated that around 2,000 civilians have been in

Philippine troops launch fresh air strikes against Muslim rebels in south

Image 2009-05-13 20:52:02   Print     COTABATO, the Philippines, May 13 (Xinhua) -- State security forces dropped bombs on Muslim rebels’ position Wednesday in the restive southern Philippines, prompting thousands of civilians to flee homes for safety.     The military used two OV-10 planes to disperse rebels, regional military spokesman Major Randolph Cabangbang told Xinhua by phone.     "We also fired artillery towards their (enemy) position. As of now, we are still scouring if there are casualties on the enemy side in the area where the bombs and rockets landed," Cabangbang said.     A clash also broke out between soldiers and hundreds of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country largest rebel organization, Wednesday morning in the township of Datu Saudi Ampatuan i

UN agency warns of more displacement in Philippine south

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WFP official alarmed of growing clash displaced in Mindanao

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WFP official alarmed of growing clash displaced in Mindanao

Updated May 15, 2009 12:00 AM DATU ODIN SINSUAT, Philippines (Xinhua) - A United Nation representative to the Philippines yesterday said he was alarmed by the increasing number of families being displaced by continuous fighting between government troops and Muslim rebels in the restive southern region of Mindanao. "We hope that the situation will return to normal. But in the last few weeks there's another upsurge of fighting in the region, which we are concerned about because this is causing new displacement," Stephen Anderson, United Nation's World Food Programme Country Director and Representative in the Philippines told Xinhua after a day trip to evacuation camps in the central Mindanao. The UN official said that the military operation against Ameril Umbra Kato, a field commander of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MI

Villagers displace after SF clash with rebel

Source: Hueiyen News Service Imphal, May 14 2009: Villagers of a small village in Tamenglong district bordering with Bishnupur district Thursday displaced themselves fear of re-visit of the security forces in the aftermath of dead of a havildar of the 11 Assam Rifles in gun fight with the rebels of the KYKL on Wednesday. One havildar of the 11 Assam Rifles by the name Thangjalet Kuki killed in gunfight with the rebels of the KYKL at Lubonglong village of Khoupum valley in Tamenglong district yesterday evening at around 4 pm. According to a case registered with the police, the havildar who received bullet injuries at the abdomen and thigh succumbed at the Leimakhong military hospital, Imphal were he was brought up. Reports said that the gunfight erupted when Assam Rifles troops who are on patrol duty in the village intercepted with well armed rebels of the KYKL apparently taking shelter at the Lubonglong village located in the interior hill area of Khoupum valley. Aroun

Pakistan: aid groups struggle to help Swat's refugees

NEWS: Up to 1.2 million civilians have fled the fighting between Pakistan security forces and Taliban militants in the Swat valley region, only to find themselves in refugee camps that are ill-equipped to provide for their burgeoning numbers.

Swat Valley

NEWS: Pakistans military has intensified its offensive against Taliban fighters in the countrys northwest as President Asif Ali Zardari appealed for global help to avert a humanitarian catastrophe, during a meeting with UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

Red Cross says Sri Lanka aid not getting through - 15 May 09

Fierce fighting has made it impossible to deliver aid and evacuate the injured among civilians trapped between warring government forces and Tamil separatist fighters in Sri Lanka, Bernard Barrett, a spokesman for the Red Cross, tells Al Jazeera.

Terrorism-Linked Charity Finds New Life Amid Pakistan Refugee Crisis

By Omar Waraich / Mardan Wednesday, May. 13, 2009 Young boys hold teapots as they line up to receive hot tea at a refugee camp near Mardan, in northwest Pakistan Greg Baker / AP Just five months after Pakistan banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) over its links to the terrorist organization blamed for last November's Mumbai massacre, the Islamist charity group's flags are flying high over a relief effort for refugees fleeing the fighting in the Swat Valley. The banned group's signature black-and-white banner bearing a scimitar flew in the heart of Mardan as tens of thousands of refugees poured into the northwest garrison town, fleeing the military campaign to oust the Taliban from Swat and its surroundings. Photos Refugees Flee Fighting in the Swat Valley The JuD flags are being flaunted by a group with a different name: "We are with the Falah-e-Insaniat [Human Welfare] Foundation," Jafar Khan, a volunteer, told TIME. "We used to

UK: Most terrorism suspects freed

By DAVID STRINGER – 1 day ago LONDON (AP) — More than half the people arrested in Britain on suspicion of terrorism since 2001 have been freed without being charged, the country's law and order ministry said Wednesday. Britain's Home Office said 1,471 people were arrested as suspected terrorists between September 2001 and March 2008, the first time it has compiled data on the often controversial arrests. Of those, fewer than 200 have been convicted as a terrorists — highlighting questions about police tactics, particularly following high-profile raids on Muslims communities that have failed to bring convictions. The statistics show British Asians are at least twice as likely to be arrested by terror police than members of other ethnic groups, a trend that has fueled resentment in the Muslim community. Of those arrested by anti-terror police over the last four years, 303 — or 42 percent — were classified as Asian, more than double the number classified as white. Last mo

Pakistan lifts Swat valley curfew

The needs of civilians who have fled are overwhelming the authorities Pakistan's army has temporarily lifted the curfew in large parts of the Swat valley, to allow civilians to flee the intense fighting against the Taleban. The curfew is being suspended for eight hours, officials said. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said the army would be successful in clearing the area of the militants, who have largely been controlling it. The UN says more than 800,000 people are living in harsh conditions in camps for those displaced by the fighting. A further influx is expected on Friday where the curfew is lifted in lifted in parts of the Swat valley from 0600 to 1400 (0100-0900GMT). Mountain retreat Up to 15,000 troops have now been deployed in the Swat valley and neighbouring areas to take on up to 5,000 militants. A new front was opened earlier this week by troops airlifted by army helicopters to Peochar, which is about 65km (40 miles) north-west of Swat's m

Sri Lankans face 'catastrophe'

The military says nearly 3.000 civilians waded across a lagoon under fire in order to escape [Reuters] Sri Lankan civilians caught between warring government forces and Tamil separatists are facing "an unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe", the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said. The assessment comes as the Sri Lankan military said on Thursday that civilians continued to flee the combat zone under fire from Tamil Tiger forces using them as human shields. "Our staff are witnessing an unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe," Pierre Krahenbuhl, the director of operations at the ICRC, said. "No humanitarian organisation can help them

Tamils hunt for news of relatives

Thousands of civilians are fleeing the conflict zone Many Sri Lankan Tamils around the world say they are unable to find out information about their loved ones in the war-torn north-east, reports Swaminathan Natarajan of the BBC Tamil service. Thomas Cruz says he is undergoing treatment for depression and that his health has been badly affected by what is happening in north-eastern Sri Lanka. For more than six months all the telephone lines to the rebel-controlled areas, except the official lines connecting government offices and hospitals, have been cut off. But some Sri Lankan Tamils there have been able to speak to relatives abroad via satellite phones provided by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). My family were living in a bunker covered by a tent Pathmanathan Vasegaran Mr Cruz, who is living i

Sri Lanka war to end in 48 hours: President

    COLOMBO, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's over 30-year-old conflict with the Tamil Tiger rebels is to end within the next 48 hours, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has said.     The Government Director of Information Anusha Palpita told reporters here Friday that President had made the announcement in Jordan where he is currently on a two-day official visit.     Sri Lanka's troops have been surrounding the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Karayimullivaikkal and Mullivalikkal areas - just 3.5 sq km in extent in the northeastern Mullaithivu district.     Meanwhile the troops said that they had heard a loud explosion followed by a thick black smoke coming 200 meters high from the rebel holds around 6.30 p.m. local time Thursday (1230 GMT).     All rebel communications had ceased after the explosion, military said.     The whereabouts of senior rebel leaders are still not kno

2 FC men among 10 killed in suicide blast

Tariq Saeed Peshawar—A suicide car bomb explosion at a FC check post in Darra Adam Khel F R Kohat on Monday morning left at least 10 people including two men in uniform and a minor dead and many others seriously injured. Reports reaching here said a suicide bomber rammed his explosive laden vehicle at a Speena Thana FC check post near a Frontier constabulary fort when the paramilitary troops were conducting routine checking of the vehicles on Indus Highway Monday morning. Another report say the blast took place when a suicide bomber detonated himself closed to the FC check-post while trying to enter the main entrance of Frontier Constabulary (FC) Base Camp setup at Degree College Darra Adamkhel on Peshawar-Kohat road. The powerful explosion played havoc on the area killing as many as 6 people on the spot while many others sustained injuries.While the injured were shifted to a nearby hospital for treatment as emergency was decla

Pakistan fighting kills 15; headless bodies found

By RIAZ KHAN – 26 minutes ago PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Troops secured footholds Wednesday in a Pakistani valley overrun by the Taliban, killing 11 militants and discovering five headless corpses near the region's main town, the army said. Elsewhere in the turbulent northwest, police said dozens of assailants stormed a transport depot handling supplies for NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan and torched eight trucks before escaping. Rising violence, including a string of attacks on NATO and U.S. supplies, have fed concern that more of Pakistan's border region is slipping from government control and into the hands of the Taliban and al-Qaida. Afghan President Hamid Karzai warned Wednesday that the threat militants pose to both countries is very real. "Terrorists and extremists are extending their reach in whole areas of our countries," Karzai told a regional economic conference in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. Under strong U.S. pressure, Pakistani auth

Sri Lanka Attacks said to killed dozens in hospital

By MARK McDONALD Published: May 13, 2009 HONG KONG — Up to 50 people were killed Wednesday when a primary school in Sri Lanka that had been converted into a field hospital was shelled for the second day, news agencies reported. Forty-nine people were reported to have been killed Tuesday when a mortar round hit the compound. Dr. Thurairaja Varatharajah, the top government health official in the war zone, told The Associated Press the attack killed at least 50 people, including patients and relatives, and wounded about 60 others. He said heavy shelling continued throughout the day. Separately, a local worker for the International Committee of the Red Cross and his mother were killed in the shelling, a spokesman for the Geneva-based humanitarian agency said. The 31-year-old man was one of some 20 Sri Lankans working for the Red Cross in the dwindling two-square mile conflict zone, where thousands of civilians remain trapped on a sandy strip as intense fighting between the Tamil

Lankan army deep inside LTTE chief’s last bastion

The Sri Lankan army (SLA) on Thursday claimed to have tightened the noose around the LTTE leadership after capturing the last earth embankment inside the no fire zone (NFZ) in the north eastern district of Mullaitivu. Lankan troops captured the earth bund after fierce fighting with the LTTE. ``Amid stiff LTTE resistance the valiant troops hit the LTTE earth bund and dominated it today. Scores of dead bodies of the terrorists were found scattered ahead of the captured bund along with their weapons,’’ the media centre for national security said. Agencies reported, quoting unidentified military sources that the LTTE had deployed many suicide bombers along the front to take on the advancing SLA troops. The troops also came across a concrete tunnel, built over ground. ``This compartmentalised tunnel was found by the 58 Division troops in the coast South of Vellamullivaikal.  According to ground troops, the tunnel 360ft long and 25ft width was under construction and believed planned to be

LTTE's top military aide believed to have been killed

11 May 2009, 2235 hrs IST, PTI COLOMBO: Elusive LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran's top military aide is believed to have been killed by the Sri Lankan Army in heavy fighting in the island's north, even as 1,000 civilians broke away from the rebel-held areas and crossed over to safe zones. Irasiah Ilanthriyan, the Military spokesman of the LTTE, was seriously injured in a skirmish with the troops in Kariyamullivaikkal in Wanni region on Sunday. He later succumbed to his injuries, official sources said. LTTE Sea Tigers' deputy chief Cheliyan was also killed in a skirmish late last week in the rebel-held area. Pro-LTTE website reported that Ilanthirayan was seriously wounded in clashes. However, it did not provide much details about the incident. Ilanthriyan, a senior cadre from Batticaloa and who had been in key positions in the LTTE, was a top military aide of Prabhakaran and was incharge of the military's media department. It was he who announ

The making of an American suicide bomber

By Star Tribune (Minneapolis) His remains lie a few hundred yards from a bustling highway, in a section of the Burnsville cemetery reserved for Muslims called the Garden of Eden. There is no marker. Only dirt and small rocks cover the final resting place of Shirwa Ahmed, who lived most of his life almost as anonymously. But the manner of the 26-year-old Minneapolis man's death has put him at the center of one of the most far-reaching U.S. counterterrorism investigations since Sept. 11. Nobody knows for sure why Ahmed left Minnesota in late 2007, or how he wound up obliterated in a bomb crater in Somalia a year later. Did the once passive teenager who came of age at Roosevelt High School shooting hoops, wearing hip-hop fashions and hanging out at the Mall of America volunteer for al-Shabaab, an affiliate of al-Qaida? Did his self-described transformation into a "God man" lead him to return to fight in his homeland's civil war, or become a recruit for jihad? Most frig

Deadly blast hits Afghan province

A suicide bomb attack has killed at least 12 people in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, officials say. According to reports, the target of the attack was a convoy of foreign troops, but all those killed were civilians. Many other people were wounded in the attack including two soldiers, a local police chief told AFP news agency. An official said the attacker was on a motorbike and set off his explosives near an international military convoy in a market area of Gereshk district. Gereshk is on a major road that passes through the province. "The blast took place in a crowded bazaar in the centre of the district. That is why it caused so many casualties," said police chief Abdul Razeq. No group has admitted responsibility for the incident, but Taleban militants have carried out similar attacks in the past. Lt Col Nick Richardson, spokesman for the British-led Nato contingent in the province, said: "We are aware of an incident which has ta

Pakistan: Taliban 'on the run'

The UN says hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled the fighting in recent days [AFP] Pakistan's armed forces have put Taliban fighters "on the run", the country's interior minister has said, as the military steps up its offensive in the Swat valley. With warplanes bombing alleged Taliban strongholds in the region, Rehman Malik said on Monday that up to 700 fighters had been killed in four days of fighting. "The operation will continue until the last Taliban is flushed out," Malik said, adding that the offensive was "continuing successfully." "Our strategy has succeeded. We haven't given them a chance. They are on the run. They were not expecting such an offens

12 cops die in rebel ambush

OUR CORRESPONDENT Dhamtari (Chhattisgarh) May 11: Twelve policemen and a civilian were killed when Maoists ambushed a search party in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh. The incident took place late Sunday evening. But, the information was only revealed in the morning today when the jawans, who escaped, managed to reach the nearest Sihawa police station after passing a night in the forests. “A 41-member police party left for a search operation in Dhamtari district’s Risgaon village after receiving a tip-off that rebels were seen camping in the area,” deputy inspector-general (headquarters) Pawan Deo told The Telegraph . Besides three jeeps, the jawans were travelling in a Tata jeep. As the security personnel reached the spot, rebels first detonated series

Confusion reigns in Pakistani hotspot

  By M Ilyas Khan Lower Dir, Pakistan The Taleban have not left Lower Dir A day after Pakistan announced an end to a military operation in the north-western district of Lower Dir, confusion reigns in the area. Government forces moved into the Maidan area of Lower Dir on Sunday to flush out militants and to plug the routes that link up with the Taleban-occupied Bajaur region to the west. On Tuesday, the army announced the objectives had been achieved. Many displaced families returned on Wednesday only to find the roads that connected to the Maidan region were still closed for traffic. Influential The soldiers allowed them to proceed on foot, which for many meant a trek of 20-30km (12-1