[An Nahar] Four Afghan coppers were killed and two maimed on Thursday in an bad boy attack assisted by an insider loyal to the Taliban, officials said.
Attackers stormed the police post at Trin Kot, a remote district in the southern province of Uruzgan, before dawn and killed the officers as they slept, police front man Farid Ahmad Aiel told Agence La Belle France Presse.
One policeman who fled with the cut-throats was believed to be a Taliban infiltrator who aided the attack, Aiel said.
"He had links with the Taliban and he helped the Taliban to attack the post. He had called them to attack while the other coppers were sleeping," the front man said.
Abdullah Hemat, a front man for the Uruzgan provincial administration, confirmed the incident and also blamed a Taliban infiltrator. One gunman was maimed during fighting and later jugged Book 'im, Mahmoud! , he added.
"Insider" attacks by members of the police and army have become a major concern for the U.S.-led NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A cautionary tale of cost-benefit analysis.... force deployed in Afghanistan.
The attacks have seen a dramatic surge this year, causing scores of casualties among international troops and among local security forces.
[Pak Daily Times] "Armed groups" from South Sudan clashed with Arab rustics in Samaha, a flashpoint border region disputed by Khartoum and Juba, the Sudanese military said on Thursday.
The fighting occurred two days ago, army front man Sawarmi Khaled Saad told AFP.
"We hear that there was some groups from South Sudan, gangs... and they attacked the nomads there, the Rezeigat," he said. "The fighting was not between the Sudanese army and the South Sudanese army."
He said he had no information on casualties or what sparked the incident. "We are trying to find a political solution for this problem," Saad said. The Samaha region is one of five areas disputed by Khartoum and the South's government in Juba.
In November, Sudan's army said it attacked an area several kilometres (miles) north of Samaha where Darfur rebels had set up a compound, but South Sudan said bombs landed on its territory, killing civilians.
Sudan considers the area, around the Bahr al-Arab River, to be part of its East Darfur state.
This week's clash came as Sudan and South Sudan try to implement stalled economic and security deals -- including a demilitarised border buffer zone -- which they hailed in September as ending conflict after they fought along their undemarcated border in March and April.
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir Head of the National Congress Party. He came to power in 1989 when he, as a brigadier in the Sudanese army, led a group of officers in a bloodless military coup that ousted the government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi and eventually appointed himself president-for-life. He has fallen out with his Islamic mentor, Hasan al-Turabi, tried to impose shariah on the Christian and animist south, resulting in its secessesion, and attempted to Arabize Darfur by unleashing the barbaric Janjaweed on it. Sudan's potential prosperity has been pissed away in warfare that has left as many as 400,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced. Omar has been indicted for genocide by the International Criminal Court but nothing is expected to come of it. and Æthiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Wednesday evening "discussed means of implementing the agreements which were signed in Addis Ababa between Sudan and South Sudan... as well as removing the impediments", the official SUNA news agency reported.
It added that Bashir affirmed his readiness to meet South Sudan's President Salva Kiir "in any time and place" to speed up the deals reached in the Æthiopian capital after African Union ...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful... mediation.
Desalegn was heading on Thursday to South Sudan after his one-day stop in Khartoum, SUNA said. Along with the buffer zone, the September pacts allowed for a resumption of South Sudanese oil exports through northern pipelines. They also said border points would be reopened for general trade.
Khartoum accuses South Sudan of supporting rebels operating in Sudan, which has been a major obstacle to implementing the agreements.
[Magharebia] Malian Islamists issued death threats against several senior Mohammedan religious leaders, including the country's best-known preacher.
"Chérif Ousmane Madani Haïdara has received numerous death threats by phone over the past several days, either directly or through those close to him," his aide Ousmane Diallo told AFP on Thursday (December 27th).
"It's the Islamists in the north who telephoned," Diallo said, adding that one of the callers told the holy man: "We are going to kill you because you want nothing to do with our Islam, we are going to kill you because you don't want Sharia in Mali."
Haïdara heads a Mohammedan association with tens of thousands of followers: Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith). His religious organization bears the same name as the al-Qaeda affiliated Islamist group now occupying northern Mali.
"We have nothing to do with the Ansar al-Din of the north. We condemn their chopping off of hands. We condemn their Islam," Haidara previously told AFP.
Young Mali Mohammedans Union head Mohamed Macky Ba, Bamako imam Mahamadou Diallo and preacher Thierno Hady Thiam have also received death threats.
[An Nahar] Egypt's public prosecutor on Thursday ordered a probe into the top three leaders of the opposition on suspicion of trying to incite followers to overthrow President Mohamed Morsi, a legal source said.
The prosecutor, Taalat Ibrahim Abdallah, who was appointed by Morsi late last month, signed the order against the leaders of the opposition National Salvation Front, which led protests against Morsi's drive to have a new constitution adopted.
The probe targets Mohammed ElBaradei, a Nobel peace prize laureate, Jerry Lewis doppelgänger Amr Moussa ... who was head of the Arab League for approximately two normal lifespans, accomplishing nothing that was obvious to the casual observer ... , former chief of the Arab League ...an organization of Arabic-speaking states with 22 member countries and four observers. The League tries to achieve Arab consensus on issues, which usually leaves them doing nothing but a bit of grimacing and mustache cursing... , and Hamdeen Sabbahi, the leader of the nationalist left wing. Moussa and Sabbahi were presidential candidates in June elections that Morsi won.
The National Salvation Front alleged frauds and irregularities in the December 15 and 22 split referendum on the new charter, which Morsi signed into law this week.
It accuses Morsi's Moslem Brüderbund of wanting to use the constitution to introduce creeping strict Islamic sharia law.
Abdallah called on Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki to name an investigating magistrate for the probe, which would examine suspicions of "inciting for the overthrow of the regime".
Morsi on Wednesday hailed the adoption of the new constitution with 64 percent of the votes in the referendum, though turnout was a low 33 percent.
Within two months, Egypt has to hold legislative elections to choose a parliament to succeed the one dissolved by the constitutional court in June. The opposition parties in the National Salvation Front coalition are considering competing in the elections on the same ticket.
[Magharebia] Islamist beturbanned goon groups in northern Mali demolished the last mausoleums in Timbuktu on Sunday (December 23rd).
The attacks came just three days after the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution authorising an international military intervention to oust bully boyz and other armed Islamists occupying northern Mali.
The demolition of the last Timbuktu shrines by al-Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Din was a direct and desperate reaction to the UN resolution, according to analysts. The group had already explicitly rejected the resolution on the day it was released, Touareg analyst Abdul Hamid Ansari told Magharebia.
"It is not the first time that these bully boyz have acted out in a showy and absurd manner; this happens whenever their actions against the local population are criticised or condemned by regional or international institutions," Ansari said.
"This act will only increase the local population's indignation and their sympathy for the decision, particularly as the decision is anticipated to relieve them from the rule of these groups that do not have constructive plans for the future," he added.
Ansar al-Din, the dominant movement in Timbuktu, demolished about 333 mausoleums, including 18 mausoleums classified as part of UNESCO's World Heritage Site, according to Sahara Media.
The world heritage body condemned the attacks on Tuesday, with UNESCO chief Irina Bokova saying she was "profoundly shocked".
For his part, Attay Ag Elweli, a youth from Timbuktu, told Magharebia that the demolition was carried out by the person nicknamed Abu al-Walid, who commands the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice group, known historically as al-Hisbah.
Ag Elweli added in a sad tone, "Abu al-Walid and his group targeted the last two mausoleums in the neighbourhood of Sankore, and a third tomb near the big market, and a fourth located in the garrison of Sheikh Sayed Ahmed Bakaa."
In response to a question by Magharebia about the relationship between the demolition of shrines and the UN resolution, Ag Elwelli said, "The local population sensed the relationship already when Abu al-Walid repeated while demolishing the shrines that no one would rule the city of Timbuktu but God."
Yet al-Walid himself tried to justify the shrine's destruction by declaring to the Sahara Media that his Islamist group was previously unaware of the mausoleums.
"These shrines are a manifestation of unbelief and sorcery, a place of prayers and blessing without God. They are also too high above the ground, at a height which we are ordered to eliminate," he said.
According to his justification, his group "confirmed the presence of the domes and the effects of unbelief, and they decided to flatten them in order to make them similar to the rest of the graves of Mohammedans in response to the command of the Prophet, peace be upon Him."
However, the difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits... Mauritanian researcher Yahya Ould Sidi Ahmed, a specialist in the history and literature of the Sahara and the Western Sudan, said all previous demolitions took place either on the eve of a decision or a planned military intervention in northern Mali.
"The previous demolitions that occurred last October took place on the eve of the adoption in Bamako of the military intervention," he said.
"Destruction is again implemented now just three days after the adoption by the Security Council of this plan. This means that the issue is primarily political, such as what happened last Friday in Gao. There, the Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa [MUJAO] amputated the hands of some residents," he added.
[Magharebia] A bomb blast killed two Algerian teenagers on Wednesday (December 26th), El Watan reported. The incident occurred when the two children, aged 12 and 14, were gathering olives in Ahl Regueb, south of Bouira.
The bomb likely targeted ANP troops that use the area as a shooting range.
The Nigerian army said soldiers killed five "suspected terrorists" and destroyed a bombmaking factory on Thursday in the northern city of Kaduna where the Islamist sect Boko Haram ... not to be confused with Procol Harum, Harum Scarum, possibly to be confused with Helter Skelter. The Nigerian version of al-Qaeda and the Taliban rolled together and flavored with a smigeon of distinctly Subsaharan ignorance and brutality... is active.
Kaduna, in the mainly Moslem north, has been the target of several attacks by Boko Haram since the group's low-level insurgency intensified over two years ago. Boko Haram has killed hundreds this year in a campaign to impose Islamic sharia law in northern Nigeria. The sect is the biggest threat to stability in Africa's biggest oil exporter.
"On the approach to the factory, some suspected hard boyz opened fire and also threw already primed Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) at the troops," Kaduna Army front man Sani Kukasheka Usman said in a statement.
"The exchange of fire that ensued resulted in the death of five terrorists, while two that sustained various degrees of injuries are being treated."
Something about a thirty kilometer wide strip of Saudi coastline, as I recall, where all the oil is...Not that it will matter for much longer. After that fun will be had by some.
Soddy Arabia ...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in their national face... n police rubbed out a Shi'ite protester in the country's oil-producing east late on Thursday, local activists said on Friday, bringing the corpse count from festivities in the restive area to 12 this year.
They said police had opened fire on protesters demonstrating about the detention of people from the Qatif district, killing 18-year-old Ali al-Marar and injuring six others.
The authorities confirmed in a statement that a man had died but contradicted the activists' account, saying a security patrol had come under fire and shot back in self defense.
The front man for the Eastern Province police said the routine patrol was attempting to intercept rioters who had blocked a road with burning tires when it came under fire from several sources, including the man they rubbed out. Police said he had a handgun.
Activists said security forces in two sports-utility vehicles had shot "indiscriminately" at the demonstrators in central Qatif and fired at people on rooftops.
[An Nahar] Yemeni police have found the mutilated body of an officer kidnapped last month in the eastern province of Hadramawt, a security official said on Thursday, pointing to al-Qaeda faceless myrmidons as suspects.
"The security forces found the body of Lieutenant Colonel Al-Numeiri Abdo al-Oudi," who was the deputy police chief in Al-Qotn village, the official said.
Oudi's body had "received several shots in the chest while his ears were cut off and his eyes gouged out".
The official said al-Qaeda Death Eaters, who are active in southern and eastern Yemen, could have been behind the killing as "no other party can be barbaric to such a degree".
Unidentified gunnies kidnapped the police commander on November 29 as he made his way to the mosque in Al-Qotn for dawn prayers, said the same source.
The Christmas eve massacre at El Platanar Ontiveros in Sinaloa state was caused by a rivalry between drug gangs over territory, according to Mexican news reports.
According to a Proceso wire dispatch published on the website of Vanguardia news daily, the armed group which invaded the remote mountain community numbered about 30 armed suspects, said Sinaloa state Procuraduria General de Justicia (PGJE), or attorney general Marco Antonio Higuera Gomez.
At a news conference Higuera Gomez told the press that his office had a number of leads in the case including the identity of some of the shooters, but he did not elaborate beyond saying that armed groups vying for territory in Sinaloa state include the Beltran Leyva cartel, the Sinaloa cartel and Los Zetas.
According to the news article, Concordia mayor José Eligio Medina Rios was informed at around 1930 hrs by Maria Ontiveros Osuna that her husband Francisco Tirado Gutierrez had been kidnapped.
It was later learned that Tirado Gutierrez, along with three other individuals, Bastidas Feliciano Gutierrez, Francisco Lizarraga Perez and Marcelino Rueda Medrano had been taken to the town basketball court and executed. Tirado Gutierrez was beheaded using a machete. Investigators found 17 spent cartridge casings identified in the story as "Cop killer" rounds, probably 5.7mm.
According to an El Universal dispatch which appeared on the website of El Diario de Coahuila news daily, Lizarraga Perez, 19, was a student on vacation attending Autonomous University of Sinaloa,
About 20 minutes later, Medina Rios found five other individuals who had been shot to death at a nearby grocery store, identified as Francisco Parentes Medina, the store owner, Victor Medina Garay, related to Parentes Medina, Parentes Medina's sons Jesus and Francisco Parentes Paez and Tomas Rodriguez Aguirre, a neighbor. At the store investigators found 96 spent cartridge casings for an AK-47 rifle.
According to Higuera Gomez, El Platanar Ontiveros had a local army detachment permanently stationed in the village, but the unit had been dispatched to another location for a counternarcotics operation. Higuera Gomez said the armed group took advantage of the military unit's absence to make their assault.
Higuera Gomez also said that none of the victims had a criminal history, but any nexus with organized crime is under investigation.
The same group which performed the massacre in El Platanar Ontiveros also killed two Sinaloa state Policia Estatal Preventiva agents in Mazatlan municipality near the Picachos dam last November, said Higuera Gomez.
Many residents in the area had fled to Concordia municipality drug gang violence in other areas of the state.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com
For a map, click here. For a map of Nuevo Leon state, click here
By Chris Covert
Five armed men suspected in the deaths of 22 individuals were detained by Nuevo Leon state ministerial agents and a unit of the Agencia Estatal de Investigaciones (AEI), according to Mexican news accounts.
The detainees were identified as Ezau Alejandro Saldaña Olvera, Carlos Arturo Bazaldua Escalante, Jesus Guadalupe Frías Mendoza or Jesus Alejandro Drias Lozano, Mario Vazquez Ramirez and Francisco Javier Sanchez Robles.
According to a news item posted on the website of Milenio news daily, the five suspects were operating as halcones, or lookouts for the Los Zetas drug cartel in Anahuac municipality in Nuevo Leon state.
Quoting the Nuevo Leon state Director de Comunicación Social del Gobierno del Estado, Jorge Domene Zambrano, the five detainees had been operating in Anahuac municipality between April and August of 2012.
In total only four complaints have been filed against the crew. Three of the detainees were placed under arrest on a road leading to Monclova, Coahuila this month. Information developed from that arrest led to the other two members of the crew.
In addition to the 22 allegedly killed, the crew also committed kidnappings and carjackings in the area, and were employed as hit men. Among the victims were individuals who had denounced members of the crew, relatives of enemies and operatives of rival local gangs.
The cases allegedly involving the crew include:
An April, 2012 case of a hit on a woman and her daughter who had gone to the police about the crew.
An April, 2012 case of hit on an unidentified female who was a relative of an individual who had denounced one of the crew to the local police.
A June, 2012 carjacking victim.
A June, 2012 kill order against an unidentified individual.
A June 2012 hit against a drug dealer and his son.
A July, 2012 hit against a female acquaintance of one of the crew's leaders.
A July 2012 hit against a mechanic accused of stealing money from the crew.
A July 2012 hit on a female who was living in ejido Los Rodriguez.
An August hit on a male member of a rival gang.
Two men were killed because they had posted photos of escapees of the Apodaca prison break last February.
Two men who were abducted from 20 de Noviembre colony.
Six others who were identified as relatives of a former crew member known only as Z50.
According to the report, 17 of the 22 murder victims were incinerated, while the other five were buried in various places in and around the municipality.
Anahuac municipality is on Nuevo Leon Highway 1, about 40 kilometers southwest of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas and about 15 kilometers west of the Tamaulipas-Nuevo Leon state border.
Contraband seized during the investigation included five vehicles and communications equipment.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com
[Pak Daily Times] Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira on Thursday said that one of the suspected assassins of Benazir Bhutto ... 11th Prime Minister of Pakistain in two non-consecutive terms from 1988 until 1990 and 1993 until 1996. She was the daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, founder of the Pakistain People's Party, who was murdered at the instigation of General Ayub Khan. She was murdered in her turn by person or persons unknown while campaigning in late 2007. Suspects include, to note just a few, Baitullah Mehsud, General Pervez Musharraf, the ISI, al-Qaeda in Pakistain, and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, who shows remarkably little curiosity about who done her in... was killed in a drone strike whereas the remaining accused were languishing in jail. Talking to news hounds, he said that the Pakistain People's Party (PPP) wanted to resolve the country's problems through dialogue. He also said the journey started by the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto ...9th PM of Pakistain from 1973 to 1977, and 4th President of Pakistain from 1971 to 1973. He was the founder of the Pakistain Peoples Party (PPP). His eldest daughter, Benazir Bhutto, would also serve as hereditary PM. In a coup led by General Zia-ul-Haq, Bhutto was removed from office and was executed in 1979 for authorizing the murder of a political opponent... and carried on by Benazir Bhutto to strengthen the country was full of crises, problems and sacrifices. The information minister said Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had begun the journey by giving a new philosophy to Pakistain, adding that Benazir had also given her vision, and now Bilawal would announce his vision. In a related development, the National and Super highways were closed for heavy traffic on Thursday to facilitate the people going to Garhi Khuda Bakhsh to attend the fifth death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto.
[Pak Daily Times] Three people, including a political worker belonging to the Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It is among the largest cities in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... Muzafati Organising Committee (KMOC) of Muttahida Qaumi Movement ...English: United National Movement, generally known as MQM, is the 3rd largest political party and the largest secular political party in Pakistain with particular strength in Sindh. From 1992 to 1999, the MQM was the target of the Pak Army's Operation Cleanup leaving thousands of urdu speaking civilians dead... (MQM), were killed in separate acts of violence here on Thursday.
A KMOC member was killed and two others were maimed in an armed attack at Khadim Hussain Solangi Goth situated in Ahsanabad within the precincts of Sohrab Goth cop shoppe.
According to police, two unidentified armed pillion riders opened targeted fire at a teashop, resultantly, three people, including a 30-year-old Sabghatullah son of Bilal, the committee member, 29-year-old Ali Hassan Magsi, son of Allah Dino, Incharge and 26-year-old Abdul Hameed, son of Mauj Ali, received bullet wounds. They were rushed to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH) for treatment, where Sabghatullah succumbed
to his injuries.
The police said that the victim and injured were residing in the same area where incident happened. They said that ongoing killing of political workers could be the motive behind the incident. However, it was a brave man who first ate an oyster... further investigation was underway.
Separately, a man was killed at sector 16, Orangi Town within the limits of Pakistain Bazaar cop shoppe.
A police official said that Salamat Ullah, 34, son of Nizamat Ullah, was killed by unidentified armed riders near his house. The body was brought to ASH for his appointment with Doctor Quincy. The dear departed was the father of three children and a labourer.
Meanwhile, ...back at the scene of the crime, Lieutenant Queeg had an idea: there was a simple way to tell whether Manetti had been the triggerman -- just look at his shoes!... a man was killed near his house in Landhi Sector 1 near fire brigade office within the limits of Landhi cop shoppe.
An official said Altaf Hussain, 31, son of Abdul Jaleel, was returning home after closing his chicken shop. As he reached near his house, two armed riders shot him dead and escaped. The body was shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) for his appointment with Doctor Quincy.
[Pak Daily Times] Anti Extremist Cell (AEC) of Crime Investigation Department (CID) of police on Thursday claimed to have apprehended an alleged absconder involved in killing of three Hindu doctors in Shikarpur District in 2011. Sindh government had announced Rs 0.5 million head money for his arrest. An official of the CID department said that under the directives of SSP CID and police team, including DSP Ali Raza, Sub Inspector Owais, Inpector Raja Khalid and ASI Basharat Hussain, conducted a targeted raid at Truck Ada Maripur area and apprehended an absconder Ramzan Bhaio, son of Haji Bux, and recovered one Kalashnikov and bullets from his possession. He added that the accused had demanded extortion from Dr Ashok Kumar, Dr Adeeb Kumar and Naveed Kumar and later killed them over its non-payment in Shikarpur. The provincial government announced Rs. 5, 00,000 million reward money for his arrest. An FIR 74/11 U/S 302, 324, 452 384 and 511 was lodged against him and his accomplices in PS Chak in the district.
[Pak Daily Times] Unidentified persons tortured thirty Afghan nationals near the Michni post on Thursday, whereas two Khasadar Force personnel who came to the rescue of the Afghans were maimed in cross-firing with the assailants.
According to reports, the Khasadar Force personnel rushed to the site to control the situation when they came to know that some unidentified people were torturing the Afghan nationals. "We were tortured physically and our clothes and some Afghan passports were also torn," an Afghan national said. Another Afghan national quoted their attackers as saying that "we are taking Dire Revenge™ for those twenty-nine Pak nationals who had been tortured in Afghanistan and whose Pak passports had been torn and thrown into River Kabul."
The political administration dispatched more Khasadar personnel to the site who exchanged fire with the unidentified persons. As a result, two Khasadar personnel were slightly injured. The administration forces have incarcerated Keep yer hands where we can see 'em, if yez please! five suspected persons during a search operation in the area near Michni checkpost, Landikotal APA said. The Khasadar personnel took the Afghan nationals to the Torkham border crossing so that they could go back, sources said.
They added that the Afghan border security forces went berserk and wanted to close the border when the saw the tortured Afghans returning, but the Torkham Tehsildar Meraj Khan met them and pacified them by promising that strict action would be taken against the myrmidons. He also informed them that five suspects had been arrested after the incident.
[Pak Daily Times] Around 200 heavily-armed Orcs and similar vermin stormed two government paramilitary camps in northwest Pakistain on Thursday, killing two security personnel and kidnapping at least 22, officials said.
The attackers armed with heavy weapons including mortars and rocket launchers struck before dawn at the two militia posts outside Beautiful Downtown Peshawar ...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire. , close to the restive tribal areas that border Afghanistan. "The exchange of gunfire lasted about one hour in which they killed two soldiers, maimed one and took away 22 others," local administration official Naveed Akbar told AFP.
He said security forces had barricaded some roads and launched search operations in certain areas but no success had been reported so far. A security official confirmed 22 members of the tribal militia were missing from the camps, which lie in a mountainous area about three kilometres apart. The camps are close to Pakistain's tribal areas, which are regarded as havens for Taliban and al Qaeda linked bad boys.
Other Pak officials, however, said at least 30 men had been taken, a figure echoed by Taliban spokesmen. Eight of the paramilitary soldiers have been killed, Taliban front man Muhammed Afridi said in Khyber Agency. He said the group had captured 30 soldiers. Another front man, Ihsanullah Ihsan, said 33 were taken. Military sources said no soldiers or police were missing. The Levies is a force raised from the tribes and supported by the Pak government.
In August, the Pak Taliban released a video showing what appeared to be the severed heads of a dozen soldiers, after the military said 15 troops had gone missing following fighting with Orcs and similar vermin in the Bajaur tribal district. There has been a surge in attacks in northwest Pakistain in the past two weeks, including a suicide kaboom on a political meeting in Peshawar on Saturday that killed Bashir Bilour, the second top politician in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa ... formerly NWFP, still Terrorism Central... province.
The Pak Taliban grabbed credit for that attack, saying Bilour, an outspoken critic of the bad boys, was assassinated in Dire Revenge™ for the death of one of the movement's "elders". Pakistain has lost more than 3,000 soldiers in the fight against homegrown hard boyz but has resisted US pressure to do more to eliminate havens used by those fighting the Americans in Afghanistan.
[Pak Daily Times] Two Levies Force personnel were maimed when unidentified gunniesshot up their vehicle on Wali Khan Road on Thursday. According to Levies sources, the gunniesshot up a Levies' vehicle which was patrolling on Wali Khan Road, and managed to escape from the scene. They said that two personnel, identified as Zaheer Ahmed and Abdul Samad, were maimed and shifted to the Civil Hospital Mastung for treatment.
[Pak Daily Times] At least three people, including two personnel of a sensitive agency, were killed in separate attacks on Thursday. Unidentified gunniesbumped off two personnel of a sensitive agency in the Satellite town. The dear departed, identified as Subidar Ishaq and Hawaldar Abdur Rehman, was struck down in his prime while their killers fled the scene of the crime. On getting information, police reached the spot and shifted the dead bodies to hospital for an appointment with Dr. Quincy. After completing legal formalities the bodies were handed over to the heirs. Police have started the paperwork but haven't done much else and started a search for the killers.
In another firing incident in Satellite Town of the placid provincial capital, one person was killed and another injured. Police sources said that unknown gunnies riding a bike opened indiscriminate fire at two persons, leaving them seriously injured. The assailants managed to escape from the scene. The maimed were rushed to the Civil Hospital where one of them departed this vale of tears. The police are investigating the incident.
Meanwhile, ...back at the pound, the lost dog backed into the corner and showed its teeth. Really big teeth... a man was shot and injured. Police sources said that unidentified gunnies riding a cycle of violenceshot up the victim, Sadiq Ali, on Toghi Road, leaving him injured. The attackers managed to escape. The police shifted the injured to Sandeman Civil Hospital. Police said it was a sectarian attack and it was probing further.
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr on Thursday welcomed news that Warren Rodwell was alive after being held hostage for more than a year in the Philippines, but said his prolonged captivity was a "major concern".
Rodwell, a former soldier from Sydney, was taken by suspected Muslim terrorists extremists from his home in the southern Philippine town of Ipil on December 5, 2011.
In a video posted on a YouTube channel linked to Abu Sayyaf, Rodwell confirms he was captured by that terrorist militant group, which was started with seed money from Al-Qaeda.
Rodwell says the date is December 16, 2012 and shows a newspaper from the previous day. He says he was kidnapped 54 weeks ago. In the two-minute video he says, "I'm being held prisoner, kidnapped by (the) Abu Sayyaf Muslim terrorist group for over one year - actually 53, 54 weeks today. This video clip today is to say that I am alive, I am waiting to be released. I have no idea what's going on outside, I'm just kept held prisoner in isolation."
Carr said the "confirmation of Mr Rodwell's welfare is welcome" but called his prolonged captivity a "major concern".
In a statement, Carr said, "The Philippines government has the lead in response to this case and is devoting significant resources to securing Mr Rodwell's release. The Australian government is assisting Philippines authorities where appropriate."
He added Australian officials had been keeping contact with Rodwell's family and it would "not be helpful to Mr Rodwell to comment further".
Major Emmanuel Garcia, the military's deputy chief for public affairs, said, "The Armed Forces of the Philippines will take measures in support to the Philippine National Police... to fully ascertain the identity and if possible, the whereabouts of the individual if he is a kidnap victim."
Rodwell was last seen in a video in May that was believed to be dated from the end of March. In another video in January, sent to his Filipina wife, Rodwell said his captors were demanding $2 million in ransom.
Syria's military police defector tells of nerve gas attack
The head of Syria's military police defected to the opposition, accusing the Assad regime of systematic "murder" and claiming that reports of chemical weapons being used against rebels in the restive city of Homs were true.
From The Independent, no less. Will this cause the progressives in the western world to pay attention to Syria now? Condemn Assad? Do anything other than the most mild 'tsk-tsk'?
Oh, I already know the answer.
Maj-Gen Abdul-Aziz Jassim al-Shallal became one of the highest ranking Syrian military officers to throw their support behind the rebels, accusing forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of turning their weapons on innocent civilians in the now 22-month-long civil war.
"I declare my defection from the army because of its deviation from its fundamental mission to protect the nation and [its] transformation into gangs of murder and destruction," he said in a video message posted online, reportedly from the Turkish border.
He accused the military of "destroying cities and villages and committing massacres against our innocent people who came out to demand freedom." General Shallal suggested in his message that he had been working with the opposition for some time before he formally defected to the rebel cause.
He becomes the latest in a string of leading military advisers to abandon the government and join the disparate rebels. But it is his claim that chemical weapons were used in Homs during a deadly attack on Christmas Eve that is likely to be of greater interest to the Syrian opposition and their foreign backers.
Reports from Homs had suggested that a type of nerve agent was used by the Syrian forces in the attack, a point that General Shallal appeared to verify yesterday. Al Jazeera reported at the time that at least seven people had died after inhaling a poisonous gas "sprayed by government forces in a rebel-held Homs neighbourhood".
It is not clear that the substance used in Homs was banned by international law, even the though the General yesterday specifically referred to a "chemical weapons" attack. Nonetheless, the use of non-conventional weapons is considered a "red line" by some in the international community who have been reluctant to intervene directly.
But not by our president, apparently, even though he said a month ago that it would be...
The issue of chemical weapons and their security is likely to form the basis of discussions when the UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi visits Moscow on Saturday.
Only so the Rooskies can remove the 'Made in the Soviet Union' labels from the stash...
Posted by: Frank G ||
Of course the goal posts will be moved: NOW it will not be that chemical weapons were used, but that PROHIBITED chemical weapons were used.
Thus, a convenient loophole is created by allowing the use of a uniquely compounded active agent, or the creative use of an existing agent that was not forseen. It will be left open until it is "suddenly" discovered and closed at a convenient moment.