Gunmen suspected to belong to a radical Islamist sect attacked a village in northeast Nigeria, tying up men, women and children before slitting their throats, killing at least 15 in the troubled region's latest attack, witnesses said Saturday.
The assault happened early Friday morning in the village of Musari on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the city where the sect known as Boko Haram first launched its guerrilla campaign of shootings and car bombings against Nigeria's weak central government. The gunmen shouted religious slogans and later ordered those there to be gathered up into a group, said Mshelia Inusa, a primary school teacher in the village.
"We heard some people chanting, 'God is great, God is great' amid sounds of banging on doors of houses at about 1 a.m.," the teacher said. "A voice was heard ordering people to be slaughtered and also voices of children were heard screaming."
Inusa said he and others later saw corpses with their hands tied behind their backs and their throats cut.
At least six persons were killed and nearly 50 others injured when a powerful explosion ripped through a bus a short distance from the Pakistan Army chief's official residence in the southern port city of Karachi on Saturday.
The bus had just left a terminal near the Cantonment Railway Station when the bomb went off, witnesses and police officials said.
The incident occurred at a spot located less than a kilometre from Army House, the army chief's official residence when he visits Karachi.
TV news channels reported army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was in Karachi and had stayed at Army House on Friday night.
Officials at Jinnah Hospital said they had received six bodies, including one which was in pieces, and 48 injured people. Eight of the wounded were in a serious condition. Women and children were among the injured, they said.
Witnesses said they had seen body parts lying at the site. One man told reporters a young boy was torn in two by the explosion.
Several police officials claimed soon after the incident that the blast was caused by the CNG cylinders of the bus. However, the cleaner of the bus told the media that the vehicle ran on diesel and had no CNG cylinders. There goes that theory!
For a map, click here. For a map of Zacatecas state click here
By Chris Covert
Despite public promises by authorities to reinforce security in northern municipalities of Zacatecas state, several security incidents have taken place, including the kidnapping of a relative of a Chihuahua state politician Christmas eve, according to Mexican news accounts.
A news story published on the website of El Siglo de Durango news daily Friday reported that three members of the family of Camargo, Chihuahua mayor Arthus Zubia Ordaz died in a carjacking incident near Fresnillo, Zacatecas.
According to the report, at around 1200 hrs the family was bound for Chihuahua state when the victims were intercepted by armed suspects, then driven some distance only crash at a location about 24 kilometers outside of Fresnillo.
Killed in the crash were Yolanda Zubia Fernandez, a former government official from Guanajuato state and Zubia Ordaz's sister, and Brenda Ordaz Zubia, 34. and her son Luis Alfredo Ordaz Zubia, 14.
Three months ago Chihuahua state politician Alex LaBaron claimed that in September in Fresnillo his brother Max LeBaron and two women were taken hostage and driven to a warehouse in Cuencame municipality in Durango. There Max Lebaron was beaten. Three hours later the trio were released near Fresnillo.
The last incident probably explains why the Secretaria de Defensa Nacional (SEDENA), the controlling agency for the Mexican Army had announced plans in November to reinforce the northern border areas in Zacatecas, especially near the borders of Durango and Coahuila states.
Since that announcement, more than 50 individuals have been killed, mostly in intergang fighting and executions.
Incidents have taken place on or near Mexico Federal Highway 54, and have included 13 killed in or around Fresnillo between November 12th and December 16th. Included in that time frame was a counter-kidnapping operation by units with the Mexican 11th Military Zone, which led to the capture of four kidnapping suspects. Other killings have occurred in that time frame in Jerez and Calera municipalities as well as in Guadalupe and Tabasco municipalities.
According to a news item posted on the website of El Sol de Zacatecas news daily, intense fighting between armed gang members has been taking place since Christmas. Locations in Fresnillo include firefights on Calle Miguel Hidalgo, near Zona Centro and near the Palacio Municipio or city hall. Fighting continued in Zapata colony, on Avenida Huicotand and near Chedraui store.
Reports were also received from the sectors Lomas de Plateros and Fovissste, which are near roads leading to Valparaiso municipality.
According to the report fighting continued Thursday in Esparza colony, near the Secundaria Tecnica 2 school and in Paseo del Mineral colony near roads that lead to Valparaiso.
No one was reported killed or wounded in the multiple gunfights.
It is worth noting that a comment appearing on the El Siglo de Durango article charged that federal and state police forces in the area were charging tolls at checkpoints in northern Zacatecas. That comment was removed a few minutes later. The original remark in Spanish can be seen here.
Criminal gangs also have been known to don military uniforms to appear as legitimate security elements, disguising their presence in public.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com.
I find it odd that no German tourists have been rubbed out or kidnapped in Mexico. Or have they and I missed it? Germans are crazy stupid during vacation, which they have a lot of, thanks to Greece and Luther.
[Magharebia] An unknown gunman on Thursday (December 27th) killed a Libyan police officer in Al-Abiar, 50km east of Benghazi, Libya Herald reported.
Lieutenant Awad Mohamed Al-Fakhri, 35, was rubbed out in his home. His mother was injured in the attack. The slain officer was reportedly one of the first people to defect from Moamer Qadaffy's security forces to join the revolution.
[Al Ahram] Israeli troops Friday incarcerated Don't shoot, coppers! I'm comin' out! a Paleostinian policeman as he tried to pass through an Israeli military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank, a Paleostinian security source told AFP.
He said that soldiers tossed in the calaboose Drop the rosco, Muggsy, or you're one with the ages! Firas Abu Aziz, 27, as he was on his way home to the village of Yata, near the southern city of Hebron. The Israeli army could not confirm or deny the report.
Israeli troops had been looking for Abu Aziz and a previous attempt to arrest him earlier this month was aborted when Paleostinians hurled stones at the Israeli force, which withdrew in what the army later said was to avoid civilian casualties, sparking a tirade of criticism in Israeli media.
[Al Ahram] Hundreds of ant-Morsi protesters, who reject the newly approved constitution, demonstrated peacefully at the Qaed Ibrahim mosque after the prayer on Friday, following two violent festivities between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi at the mosque, one of the main protest sites in the coastal city of Alexandria.
Member of Islamist parties and groups seemed to have avoided praying in Qaed Ibrahim mosque to prevent a third violent incident.
"The Brotherhood would be facing the same destiny as Mubarak's if it continued to walk down his path," said Hussein Gomaa, coordinator of the Left Youth Movement, which participated in the protest.
Continued on Page 49
[Yemen Post] Two Al-Qaeda hard boyz were killed in an Arclight airstrike in Yemen's Hadramout ...the formerly independent Qu'aiti state and sultanate, annexed by Communist South Yemen in 1968, encompassing a region along the Gulf of Aden, extending eastwards to the borders of the Dhofar region of Oman. The people are called Hadhramis and speak Hadhrami Arabic. The city Tarimis estimated to contain the highest concentration of descendants of the Prophet Muhammad (PTUI) anywhere in the world, approximately seven in every square yard... province where several hard boyz have been killed by US drones in the past few days, state media reported on Friday.
The hard boyz were targeted while on their cycle of violences in Alshihr city, it said, adding that the two were targeted in separate attacks.
"Their bodies which were completely burned and taken to forensic experts to identify the Death Eaters," the website quoted local sources as saying.
In the past few days, several AQAP hard boyz have been killed in Hadramout by US drones and Yemeni warplanes as the authorities are continuing a massive hunt for hard boyz across the republic.
This year, Al-Qaeda has received severe blows since the army drove its operatives out of their strongholds which were seized last year in Abyan ...a governorate of Yemen. The region was a base to the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army terrorist group until it dropped the name and joined al-Qaeda. Its capital is Zinjibar. In March 2011, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula declared the governate an Islamic Emirate after seizing control of the region. The New York Times fastidiously reported that those in control, while Islamic hard boyz, are not in fact al-Qaeda, but something else that looks, tastes, smells, and acts the same. Yemeni government forces launched an effort to re-establish control of the region when President-for-Life Saleh was tossed and the carnage continues... and Shabwa provinces.
Separately, the border guard seized a suspicious ship off the Midi port in Hajja province, the website said.
"15 Syrian and 2 armed Somali sailors were onboard the ship, which was carrying 4 tonnes of coal," it quoted a statement by the local security authorities. "The ship was en route to the Saudi port of Jazan coming from Somalia," it added.
A panel has been formed to check the cargo onboard the ship.
In recent months, Yemen has seized several arms cargoes, mainly Turkish pistols, at the Hodeida and Aden ports.
The seizures come amid alarming security disorder affecting the West-backed power-transition.
[Africa Review] Nigerian troops killed five suspected Islamists and recovered arms and explosives in a raid in the restive northern city of Kaduna, the military said Friday.
Army front man in Kaduna Colonel Sani Usman said two suspected 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... members were also maimed during the operation, a raid on a bomb-making factory in Rigasa area of the city on Thursday.
"On approaching the factory, some suspected faceless myrmidons opened fire and also threw already primed IED (improvised bomb) at the troops.
"The exchange of fire that ensued resulted in the death of five terrorists, while two that sustained various degrees of injuries are being treated." he said.
Soldiers destroyed the bomb factory and recovered several guns, rifles and other bomb-making chemicals, he added.
Kaduna is considered a stronghold of Boko Haram, which has repeatedly targeted the security services and churches as part of its violent campaign across northern and central Nigeria.
Nigerian troops have carried out a series of raids on suspected Boko Haram hideouts in recent months as violence linked to the sect's insurgency is believed to have left some 3,000 people dead in Nigeria since 2009, including killings by the security forces.
[Dawn] At least five people were killed Friday in a suspected US drone strike in North Wazoo tribal region, intelligence officials said.
According to the intelligence sources, the US predator targeted a compound in Gurbaz village of North Waziristan's Shawal district, close to the border of South Waziristan agency, firing two missiles and killing five suspected cut-throats inside.
Shawal district of North Waziristan region is considered a bastion of Taliban and al Qaeda-linked bad turbans.
North Waziristan, which is close to the Pakistain-Afghanistan border, is one of the seven regions in Pakistain's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), governed by tribal laws. An orc insurgency led by the Pak Taliban plagues the region while the area is known to be infested with bad turbans, including the al Qaeda, Taliban and other armed orc organizations.
Attacks by unmanned US aircraft are deeply unpopular in Pakistain, which says they violate its illusory sovereignty and fan anti-US sentiment, but US officials are said to believe the attacks are too important to give up.
[Dawn] Indian forces on Friday killed two suspected rebels in a gunbattle and injured seven civilians separately during anti-India protests in southern Kashmire, police said.
Two army officers and one policeman were maimed in the fighting in Chandigam, a village 45 kilometres south of Srinagar, the main city in the Indian portion of Kashmire, said a police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to news hounds.
[Dawn] A police constable was killed and another policeman was maimed in an exchange of fire with half a dozen armed bandidos while foiling a bank heist in Orangi Town on Thursday.
With the latest killing, the number of coppersbumped off in the city during the current year has reached 121.
Also maimed in the firing was one of the bandidos whose accomplices took him away along with the weapons they had snatched from a private bank guard and the maimed policeman, the police said.
Continued on Page 49
[An Nahar] Syrian rebels attacked a key army base in the northwest province of Idlib on Friday, the last regime bastion in the region, and regime warplanes launched air raids in Damascus ...The capital of Iran's Syrian satrapy... province, a watchdog said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said several rebel groups pounded Wadi Deif amid violent festivities on the ground while regime warplanes launched air strikes around the army base.
Continued on Page 49
[An Nahar] Three Ambassadors left Syria via Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport on Thursday, Leb's state-run National News Agency reported.
It said Romania's envoy traveled to Bucharest via Istanbul and Russia's diplomat headed to Moscow through a stopover at Dubai airport.
The Indian ambassador also headed to his home country via Dubai, NNA added.
Instead of flying in and out of the Damascus ...Home to a staggering array of terrorist organizations... International Airport, brass hats are driving overland from and to the Lebanese capital because of fighting near the Damascus airport.
[An Nahar] Gunmen attacked a key oil pipeline in Yemen's eastern province of Marib on Friday just hours after technicians repaired damage from previous sabotage, tribal sources and an engineer said.
"A team of technicians had managed to repair the oil pipeline in the afternoon, following mediation by tribal chiefs that allowed them access to the site," an engineer said, speaking on condition of anonymity ... for fear of being murdered...
Just hours later, gunnies attacked the pipeline, which links eastern oil fields with a floating export terminal on the Red Sea, causing fresh damage, tribal sources said.
On Tuesday, the Yemeni army launched an offensive against rustics suspected of repeatedly sabotaging the pipeline, sparking festivities which left 17 people dead, tribal sources said.
Marib is a major al-Qaeda stronghold.
Attacks on oil and gas pipelines by al-Qaeda gunnies or by rustics seeking to extract concessions from the central government are common in Yemen -- an impoverished country that produces about 300,000 barrels of oil a day, mostly for export.
A tribal source told AFP that the offensive was targeting prominent figure Salah bin Hussein al-Dammaj, who has allegedly blown up the pipeline several times to pressure the authorities to pay him 100 million riyals ($480,000) in compensation for land he claims was taken from him in Sanaa.
The 320-kilometer (200-mile) pipeline carries oil from Safer oilfields in Marib to an export terminal on the Red Sea. It carries around 180,000 barrels per day.
According to official figures, lost production because of attacks on pipelines in the east cost the government more than $1 billion dollars in 2012, while oil exports fell by 4.5 percent.
[An Nahar] A U.S. drone strike in the Yemeni town of Shehr in the eastern province of Hadramawt killed two suspected members of al-Qaeda on Friday, a local official said. This is the same strike generically described as "an airstrike" in the Yemen Post article...
"Two members of al-Qaeda on a cycle of violencewas struck down in his prime when targeted by a missile fired by a U.S. drone," the official said on condition of anonymity.
On Monday, four other members of al-Qaeda were killed and another maimed by three missiles fired at cycle of violences in the same town.
Those missiles were also fired by an "American drone" in the center of Shehr, a town east of the lovely provincial capital Mukalla, an official had said.
The head of Pakistan's Taleban said his militia is willing to negotiate with the government but not disarm, a message delivered in a video given to Reuters on Friday. The release of the 40-minute video follows three high-profile Taleban attacks in the northern city of Peshawar this month: an attack by multiple suicide bombers on the airport, the killing of a senior politician and eight others in a bombing and the kidnap of 22 paramilitary forces on Thursday.
"We believe in dialogue but it should not be frivolous," Hakimullah Mehsud said. "Asking us to lay down arms is a joke."
In the video, Mehsud sits cradling a rifle next to his deputy, Waliur Rehman. Military officials say there has been a split between the two men but Mehsud said that was propaganda.
"Waliur Rehman is sitting with me here and we will be together until death," said Mehsud, pointing at his companion.
Give us the coordinates and it won't be long now...
The Taleban said in a letter released on Thursday that they wanted Pakistan to rewrite its laws and constitution to conform with Sharia, break its alliance with the United States and stop interfering in the war in Afghanistan and focus on India instead.
In other words, give them everything they want and they'll then agree to behave. They sound like Paleostinians. Or Soviets...
Mehsud referred to the killing of the senior politician in his speech and said the political party, the largely Pashtun Awami National Party, would continue to be a target along with other politicians.
"We are against the democratic system because it is un-Islamic," Mehsud said. "Our war isn't against any party. It is against the non-Islamic system and anyone who supports it."
"If you ain't fer us, you against us!"
Mehsud said in his interview that although he was open to dialogue, the government was to blame for the violence because it broke previous, unspecified deals.
Unless you disagree with him in which case he'll kill you...
"In the past, it is the Pakistani government that broke peace agreements," he said. "A slave of the US can't make independent agreements; it breaks agreements according to US dictates."
Mehsud said that the Pakistan Taleban would follow the lead of the Afghan Taleban when it came to forming policy after most Nato troops withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014.
"We are Afghan Taleban and Afghan Taleban are us," he said. "We are with them and Al Qaeda. We are even willing to get our heads cut off for Al Qaeda."
Always a good idea to have your air force bomb your capital...
Syrian warplanes launched air raids in Damascus province on Friday after overnight bombardments and clashes across the country, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog said.
"The air force for the first time attacked the Assal Al Ward area in the Kalamun region, killing one civilian, wounding dozens and destroying several homes," the Britain-based group said in a statement. It said the military on Thursday withdrew from several areas in the province but that further air raids were expected as regime forces sought to take back areas they had lost after rebel attacks on military checkpoints.
The Observatory said several rockets hit the Qaboon district in the northeast of the city and that clashes between rebels and the army erupted in the southern neighbourhood of Qadam, which was also bombarded.
Fighting also took place in southern Damascus in Daraya, which President Bashar Al Assad's forces have been trying to retake for weeks, the watchdog said. There were also clashes in Yalda in the south and Douma in the northeast, as well as an attack on a military position northeast of Damascus between the provincial town of Irbin and the suburb of Harasta.
Elsewhere, a sniper shot dead a man in a Palestinian refugee camp in Daraa in the south, and fighting was also reported in areas near the border with Jordan, the watchdog said.
In the north, clashes took place in several neighbourhoods of the country's second city Aleppo, including around a military compound besieged by rebels, and several districts of Deir Ezzor city in the east were bombarded.
Overnight shelling was also reported in the central provinces of Hama and Homs.
On Thursday at least 142 people were killed in violence across Syria, said the Observatory which has reported a death toll of more than 45,000 since protests against Assad that erupted in mid-March 2011 became an armed rebellion.
Two Syrian air force generals have defected from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and joined opposition forces in Turkey, a diplomat said on Friday. The generals, commanders of the Regional Air Force, have crossed the border and arrived in the town of Reylanli in southern Turkey, the Turkish diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The generals and dozens of lower-ranking officers and their families were taken to a separate camp where army defectors take refuge.
Turkish officials refuse to give an exact number of Syrian generals currently on Turkish soil as some are returning to Syria to join the active fighters inside the conflict-wracked country.
Already on Wednesday, General Abdel Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, commander of the Syrian military police, crossed into Turkey via the Cilvegozu border crossing in the town of Reyhanli.
I'm liking the Ol'Snagglepuss revival. Perhaps he is also think Coupe deh Grass, Coupe deh Grass. It's the airforce that often gets the Coup-Ball rolling. One of these days a Yak is going to go after the presidential hide-out/palace.
Saudi authorities said Friday that an insurgent had been killed in an exchange of fire with security forces in Qatif, a restive Shiite-majority province in the east of the kingdom, dpa reported.
A Saudi security official said that the man was among "other rioters" who fired on a police patrol in the region late Thursday. The alleged attacker was injured in the clash and died on arrival at a local hospital, according to the official.
The official did not identify the man whom websites said was an 18-year-old local protester.
His death raises to 12 the number of people killed since last year when Shiites started protests in Qatif demanding political reforms from Saudi Arabia's Sunni rulers, according to activists.
Saudi authorities said in September that a policeman had been killed by unidentified gunmen in Qatif, which is an oil-rich region.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.