Showing posts from September 15, 2013

The war against Islamic extremists in Mail is won, says French President Francois Hollande

During a speech in Mali, Francois Hollande declared victory in the war against Islamic extremists in the country, while promising to keep French troops on the ground as long as an extremist threat exists.  French President Francois Hollande declared Thursday the war against Islamic extremists had been won in Mali , though he vowed to keep French forces in the West African country as long as the threat exists. Hollande spoke before more than a dozen heads of state at inauguration festivities for Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who overwhelmingly won the election that France  urged Mali to hold only months after the radical jihadists had been largely ousted from power in northern Mali. "We have won this war; we have chased out the terrorists; we have secured the north and finally ... we have, you have organized an uncontested election and the winner is now the president of Mali," Hollande told the crowd gathered at a sports stadium in the Malian capital. "If there

Boko Haram gunmen attack Nigerian security forces, government says

Abuja, Nigeria A shootout between Islamic extremists and  Nigerian  security forces rocked the nation's capital early Friday, according to a Nigerian security official. It is the first violence from the Islamic radicals of Boko Haram in  Abuja  this year and highlights Nigeria's continuing security problems from the extremists. The shooting broke out early Friday when a security team was searching for hidden weapons and it was fired upon by members of Boko Haram, said a statement issued Friday by Marilyn Ogar, Deputy Director of the Department of State Services. Boko Haram is the network of Islamic radicals blamed for violent attacks that have killed nearly 2,000 in Nigeria since 2011. Two arrested members of Boko Haram had led a security team in Abuja to a site near the residential compound for legislators where they said arms were buried, said Ogar. "No sooner had the team commenced digging for the arms than they came under heavy gunfire attack by other Boko Haram electi

Colombian government, rebels trade barbs as talks recess

* Colombian peace talks recess with little progress * Government and rebels exchange accusations * Negotiations resume Oct. 3 By Rosa Tania Valdes HAVANA, Sept 19 (Reuters) - The Colombian government and left-wing FARC rebels ended a 14th round of peace negotiations on Thursday saying they had made progress on part of a six-point agenda, even as they accused each other of violating the principles underlying the talks. A joint statement said the parties "continue advancing in developing and writing up accords ... around the second point of the agenda on political participation," including rights and guarantees for the exercise of political opposition. But Colombia's Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) accused the government of attempting to unilaterally impose conditions on any future peace agreement. And the government said the talks were going too slowly and chided the rebels for using them as an opportunity to spout irrelevant rhetoric. At issue for the rebels is a govern

Al-Qaeda-linked militants, Free Syrian Army agree ceasefire in Azaz

An al-Qaeda-linked militant group and the so-called Free Syrian Army have agreed on ceasefire in the northern Syrian town of Azaz after days of clashes. The truce between the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and the Western-backed FSA was brokered by Liwa al-Tawhid, a powerful militant brigade loyal to the FSA.  The two militant groups have agreed to exchange prisoners and hand back property. It is not clear whether the truce will have an impact on clashes between the two groups elsewhere in the country.  They also agreed that any future problems that might emerge be dealt with by an arbitration committee.  Militants from ISIS captured Azaz, located on the border with Turkey, from the Northern Storm brigade, which is loyal to the FSA, on Wednesday. At least five militants from FSA were killed during the hours-long fighting.  Fighting in Azaz began after an injured militant --either from ISIS or from an allied group -- was taken to a field clinic in the town w

US drone strike claims seven lives in central Afghanistan

A US-led terror drone strike has claimed the lives of at least seven people and injured some others in Afghanistan's central-eastern province of Maidan Wardak. The US military confirmed the strike, claiming that all those killed were militants including a top Taliban leader.  Afghan officials have yet to comment on the deadly strike that sent shock waves across the troubled region.  Washington claims that the airstrikes target militants, but local sources say civilians have been the main victims of the attacks.  Many civilians have lost their lives in US-led strikes and operations in various parts of Afghanistan over the past years, with Afghans becoming increasingly outraged at the seemingly endless number of the deadly assaults.  The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity remains high in the country.  Source

- Another round of Columbia-FARC peace talks ends

The Columbian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have concluded their latest round of peace talks, with both sides blaming each other for violating terms of their prior agreements. In a joint statement issued on Thursday, the parties announced that they "continue advancing in developing and writing up accords... around the second point of the agenda on political participation," including rights and guarantees for the exercise of political opposition.  Among the controversial issues are a government plan to prosecute FARC leaders and a proposed referendum both approved by the Colombian Constitutional Court in August. If passed by the parliament, any peace deals will be put on a popular vote during next year’s national elections.  The rebels accused Bogota of attempting to impose its own conditions on any future peace pacts, saying in a statement that the government could not decide for both sides of the conflict.  FARC suggested that a constitutio

2 NPA rebels slain in clash with government troops in Surigao

By:   Jaime Sinapit, September 20, 2013 4:59 PM NPA rebels in formation, with their flag, in file photo. The online news portal of TV5 MANILA, Philippines - A fierce encounter Friday morning between Army soldiers and the New People’s Army (NPA) left two rebels dead in Barangay Ima, Sison, Surigao del Norte. Soldiers also recovered high-powered firearms and explosives. Capt. Albert Caber, head of the Public Affairs Office (PAO) of the Eastern Midnanao Command (Eastmincom), said there was no casualty on the government side in the 45-minute battle. “The clash also resulted in the recovery of four assault rifles, improvised explosive device, radios, medical kit, backpacks and subversive documents while no casualty on the government side,” Caber said. Meanwhile, the chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Rainier G. Cruz III, lauded residents who alerted authorities on the presence of the bandits; as well as the troops who instantly responded.

Police to work with Army to ensure peaceful village polls

POLICE authorities in Eastern Visayas region said they will monitor organized crime groups, including the New People’s Army (NPA), that might spread violence during the barangay elections next month. Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Director Elmer Soria said that as part of the preparations for the upcoming elections, they will strengthen partnership with the Philippine Army. “Just like the May 2013 midterm elections, we will be working closely with the military in various security operations to ensure a peaceful barangay polls,” Soria said. He said the effort includes the establishment of joint Armed Forces of the Philippines-PNP checkpoints, campaign against loose firearms, and neutralization of most wanted persons, including members of the NPA. He said that although the barangay election is different from the national polls, they do not want to disregard any possibilities that might happen during the voting. He said authorities in Eastern Visayas have mapped out security me

Jharkhand Police worry about Maoists' chemical bomb

Jharkhand Police   said Friday it is concerned that Maoists are acquiring the capability to use chemical weapons. "An alert has been sounded in all districts. The police officer leading the operation against the Maoists has been directed to take precautions during operations," Additional Director of Police (Law and Order) S.N. Pradhan, who is also the state police spokesperson, told IANS. He said, "Maoists have got training to use methane and nitrogen compounds in liquid form. Such liquid form of chemical weapons are hung on trees or thrown on security forces, and they set off a fire." There are reports that the  Maoist  guerrillas have hired professional engineers to train their cadre in the use of the chemical weapons. Guerrillas are allegedly trained to plant bombs on the roadside or in human bodies and also track the messages of the security forces. In January, after the bodies of security personnel killed in a Maoist attack in Latehar district were airlifted to

Maoists kill Special Task Force trooper in Bihar

Patna :  Maoist guerrillas attacked a patrol vehicle in Bihar's Jamui district late last night, killing a Special Task Force (STF) trooper and seriously injuring two others, police said. The attack took place near Khaira, about 200 km from here, when the security personnel were on a routine patrol. The injured were admitted to a government hospital.  Maoists also attacked and damaged a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp under construction in the district and opened fire at a vehicle of a private mobile tower company. According to police officials, the attack may be linked to the killing of Maoists in neighbouring Odisha. A police officer said: "In the last two months, Maoists have attacked in over half a dozen places across the state and killed nearly a dozen people including policemen." Source

Yemen foils bombing bid after blasts kill 65

Aden ( Yemen ), Sep 20 (IANS) Yemeni armed forces Friday foiled an   Al Qaida   attempt to detonate an explosives-laden car at a gas terminal in the   southern province   of   Shabwa   after three attacks earlier in the day killed 65 people, the defence ministry said. The armed forces killed all the terrorists who were driving the car toward the Belhaf gas terminal in Shabwa province, the ministry said in a brief text message obtained by  Xinhua . A military source confirmed the incident to Xinhua, saying: "The terrorists ignored an army checkpoint and ran away. The soldiers opened fire on their vehicle, triggering a huge blast that killed all militants on board." Earlier Friday, three explosives-rigged cars went off at a military site and a police headquarter in Azzan of the same province, killing at least 65 soldiers and wounding dozens of others at the scene, a local government source said. "At least 65 army and security soldiers died and 38 others were wounded in thr

Bombs inside Sunni mosque in Iraq kill 15 - police, medics

TIKRIT, Iraq   (Reuters) - Two bombs concealed in   air conditioning   units inside a Sunni mosque south of the Iraqi city of   Samarra   exploded during Friday prayers, killing at least 15 people, police and hospital sources said. It was not clear who was behind the attack, which took place in al-Mafraq, around 10 km (6 miles) south of Samarra. "During the Friday prayer suddenly a huge explosion took place. Black smoke filled the mosque, we could not see each other. I tried to stand, but I couldn't as I had some injuries in my legs," said 35-year-old Saleh al-Shamani. At least 17 people were wounded, the sources said. Iraq 's delicate sectarian balance has come under growing strain from the civil war in neighbouring Syria, where mainly Sunni rebels are fighting to overthrow a leader backed by Shi'ite Iran. Both Sunnis and Shi'ites have crossed into Syria from Iraq to fight on opposite sides of the conflict. Al Qaeda's Syrian and Iraqi branches merged earl

Terror suspect Afzal Usmani escapes from court in Mumbai

Afzal Usmani was a key firgure in the bomb blasts that rocked India in 2008 and was arrested the same year. MUMBAI:  Afzal Usmani , an accused in 2008 Ahmedabad and Surat blast cases, on Friday escapes from MCOCA court in  Mumbai . The court has issued  arrest warrant  against them. Usmani  was arrested in 2008. He was a key firgure in the bomb blasts that rocked India in the same year.  He is not a prominent member of  Indian Mujahideen  but certainly his arrest led to the chain reaction of many high-ranked IM operatives. Source

Pakistan to free former Afghan Taliban No.2 Saturday

By Maria Golovnina ISLAMABAD (Reuters) -  Pakistan  is to release former  Afghan Taliban  second-in-command Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar  on Saturday, yielding to years of calls from  Afghanistan  to free a man who it hopes could play a pivotal role in bringing peace to Pakistan's neighbour. The United States and Afghanistan have long pressed Pakistan to free  Baradar , a figure they believe could tempt moderate Taliban leaders to come to the negotiating table as U.S.-led troops prepare to leave Afghanistan at the end of next year. The  Pakistani Foreign Ministry  said in a statement that Baradar, captured in Pakistan in 2010, would be freed "in order to further facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process". Pakistani sources said he would probably be sent to Saudi Arabia or Turkey as part of that process, but Pakistani  government officials  would not confirm it. Afghanistan is trying to inject life into its attempts to negotiate an end to the Islamist Taliban insurgency a

Suspected al Qaeda attacks on Yemeni forces kill at least 31

By Mohammed Mukhashaf ADEN (Reuters) - Suspected  al Qaeda  militants killed at least 31 Yemeni soldiers and policemen in attacks in the south of the country on Friday, their deadliest for more than a year,  security officials  said. Twenty-one  soldiers  died when two car bombs exploded at a military camp in al-Nashama, near the coast,  Yemen 's  Supreme Military Council  said, and 10 police were killed by gunmen in the inland town of Mayfaa. A car bomb exploded near the country's only liquefied natural gas export terminal at the coastal town of Balhaf, killing people inside the vehicle but not causing any other damage, sources added. Officials believe members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula ( AQAP ) were behind the attacks, the security officials said. AQAP is seen by Western countries as one of the most dangerous branches of al Qaeda because it has attempted to carry out bombings on international airlines. U.S. drone strikes have killed scores of AQAP members and the Ye

Chicago shooting leaves 13 hurt, including 3-year-old

By Renita Young CHICAGO (Reuters) - An apparently gang-related shooting spree on  Chicago 's South Side left 13 people wounded, including a 3-year-old child, police said on Friday. Chicago has been struggling with gun violence for years, which hurt the city's reputation and put pressure for change on Mayor  Rahm Emanuel . "I can tell you that it's an ongoing investigation,"  Chicago Police Department  spokeswoman Amina Greer  said on Friday. No arrests have been made so far, Greer said, adding that police believe the motive for the shooting was gang-related. According to witnesses, gunfire rang out late Thursday as gunmen sprayed a basketball court with bullets in a park in the city's Ninth District. "We were sitting in the park talking, then two dudes came up, stood by the gate for a minute, then they just started shooting," said Michelle Adams, 16. Other witnesses said the gunmen had driven up and fired on the basketball court from their vehicle. M

Six dead in Karachi, Peshawar grenade attacks

KARACHI/PESHAWAR - OUR STAFF REPORTER/Agencies - At least three people were killed and 13 others wounded in a grenade attack inside an imambargah in Landhi area of Karachi late on Thursday night. Another three people were killed in a gun-and-grenade attack on a mosque in Peshawar. Senior Superintendent of Police Nasir Aftab told The Nation that dozens of people had congregated at Sajjadia imambargah in Majeed Colony when unidentified attackers on a motorbike tossed a hand grenade into the worship place and fled. At least sixteen people were wounded in the attack, added the official.  Rescue workers ferried the injured to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, where three of them expired during treatment.  Immediately after the incident, a massive contingent of police and rangers was deputed in the area to avert any further unwanted happening. Tension simmered in Majeed Colony, Rizvia Society, Ancholi, Jaffar Taiyar Society, Numaish and other localities.  Meanwhile, the station house offic

Al Qaeda pushing Iraq towards civil war, says envoy to U.S.

Washington, Sept. 19 (ANI): Iraq's envoy to the United States has said Al Qaeda is trying to push the nation towards a civil war. Lukman Faily said the levels of violence in Baghdad have increased in recent months blaming pro-democracy uprisings for creating a power vacuum, the Washington Times reports. Faily said Iraq's security has been adversely affected by extremism and sectarianism as well as by the ongoing civil war in neighboring Syria. Al Qaeda in Iraq has also forged ties with Islamists fighting the Assad regime in Syria, the report added.  The statement came after six people were killed and dozens wounded in bombings in northern and central Iraq on Wednesday. The United Nations estimated that more than 4,000 people have been killed in Iraq since April in Muslim violence between the rival Sunni and Shiite sects, the report added. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki urged Iraqis to support his government's counter-terrorism campaign. (ANI) Source  http://in.m.

Pakistani Taliban seeks release of 50 prisoners

Islamabad: Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakimullah Mehsud has demanded the release of 50 prisoners, including those from banned anti-Shia groups, in response to the government's offer of talks, a media report said on Thursday.  Mehsud conveyed his demand through former PML-N lawmaker Javed Ibraheem Paracha, who is reportedly serving as a mediator for the talks.  Paracha claimed Mehsud had telephoned him and given a list of 50 prisoners who should be released, Geo News channel reported.  He said these prisoners were associated with the TTP and sectarian groups Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.  The report said Paracha had visited Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail to meet Taliban prisoners.  The channel quoted its sources as saying that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and an Inter-Services Intelligence officer met Paracha.  The report could not be independently confirmed.  The report comes amid uncertainty and concerns about the prospects of peace talks with the

Authorise targeting of Taliban and Haqqani leaders in Pak

Washington: As the US prepares to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, a top retired American General on Thursday called for targeting the Taliban and Haqqani network's safe havens in Pakistan.  Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, General (rtd) John M Keane, told lawmakers that one of the way to reduce the risk post-2014 is to "authorise the targeting" of the Taliban and Haqqani leaders in the sanctuaries in Pakistan.  "Priority is to the Haqqani sanctuary because the security situation in the East is not as stable as the South," he argued.  "This would be an extension of the mission the OGA is conducting against the al Qaeda in the FATA. Once systematic targeting commences, the sanctuary will cease to exist as we currently know it, a place where strategy, training, operational oversight, intelligence and logistics is executed, routinely, in safe haven," he said.  "These functions will suffer significantly which will positively

Four U.K. Arrests Linked to Syria Terrorism Inquiry, Police Say

Two British men arrested Sept. 16 for suspected terrorism overseas have been linked to activity in  Syria , police said. The men, 22 and 29, were arrested and ammunition seized in the coastal town of Dover,  England , as they returned from the French port of Calais. The arrests are Syria-related, The Metropolitan Police said in a statement today. Another man, 37, and a 36-year-old-woman were arrested yesterday in Essex, in connection with the inquiry, police said. All four remain in custody in London. Search warrants have been issued for addresses in east London and Lancashire, in northwest England, as part of the investigation that is being led by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command. Syria remains embroiled in a civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people and uprooted about 6 million. The country has faced intense scrutiny from world powers, including the U.K., in recent weeks over the use of chemical arms against civilians. Source

Egypt Security forces raid Islamist town curfew imposed

A senior Egyptian police officer was killed as security forces backed by helicopters today stormed a suburb of Cairo known to be an Islamist stronghold amid a crackdown on militants. Cairo:  A senior Egyptian police officer was killed as security forces backed by helicopters today stormed a suburb of Cairo known to be an Islamist stronghold amid a crackdown on militants. Security forces stormed the Kerdasa area to arrest people accused of torching police stations and killing around 11 security officers in clashes in the district following the army's ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July. Armoured vehicles and security troops poured into the area and helicopters flew overhead in a bid to flush out alleged "terrorist elements." A senior police officer, Giza security assistant director Nabil Farag, was shot dead during the raid and ten other officers were injured, state TV reported. The Ministry of Interior said dozens of weapons including three RPG's had

Islamist blitzkrieg in Syria: Jihadists wiping out moderate rebels

Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists in Syria have begun an offensive against former allies, wrestling moderate FSA rebels out of the controlled areas. With the US assault on Syria postponed, radical Islamists are seeking ultimate authority to fight Assad.  The latest news coming from the north of Syria suggests that a series of clashes between the former allies have already left a number of casualties and a change of the operational situation in the Syrian civil war. The FSA leaders have recently acknowledged that clashes between their brigades and Islamist rivals haves reached boiling point. Last weekend, the very same day Russia’s FM Sergey Lavrov and the US Secretary of State John Kerry hammered out  an agreement on Syria’s chemical weapons disarmament, the clashes between FSA associates and the most notorious jihadist groups operating in Syria, the al-Nusra front and the ISIL, were reported by the Daily Beast.  Islamists attacked first, by blowing up the brother of a commander of the Allahu