Friday, March 1, 2013

Twin Car Bombings Hit in Southern Iraq

Iraqi officials say twin car bombings have killed at least five people and wounded dozens more at a busy livestock market in the south.

Police say the attack occurred early Friday in Diwaniyah province, about 130 kilometers south of the capital, Baghdad.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack in the predominantly Shi'ite area. Sunni militants recently have carried out a series of strikes on Shi'ite targets across the country.

On Thursday, a wave of bombings in predominantly Shi'ite areas of Baghdad killed at least 22 people and wounded dozens of others.

The increase in violence coincides with a political crisis that has seen the Iraqi government plagued by infighting among sectarian factions and pressured by almost two months of protests in mostly Sunni regions.

Many Sunnis accuse Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of marginalizing and discriminating against their community.

from VOA News
March 01, 2013

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Nigeria: Ex-Militants - Why We Rescued Kidnapped Foreigners

Bayelsa State Nigeria
Bayelsa State Nigeria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Former leaders of militant camps in the Niger Delta have said they decided to be involved in the rescue of six foreigners who were kidnapped in Bayelsa State last week because of the negative impact the crime was having on the people of the area.

The ex-militants, under the aegis of Leadership Forum for Peace in the Niger Delta, also noted that the Federal Government had shown enough commitment to develop the region and was implementing the amnesty programme successfully, adding that there was no justification for the kidnap of innocent people who were in the country to work towards its development.

This came as the former militants called on the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, to expose those he termed traitors within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum.

President of the Leadership Forum for Peace in the Niger Delta, Reuben Wilson, who addressed journalists in Port Harcourt yesterday, also warned youths in the region against further involvement in the kidnap of persons or other forms of social vices.

He said the former leaders of the militants took the pains to locate the six foreigners who were kidnapped in Bayelsa State and secured their freedom at no cost because the incident did not paint the region in good light.

Three of those abducted were from Ukraine, two from India and one from Russia.

Wilson said after successfully securing the release of the expatriates from a riverine community in Bayelsa State, they handed them over to their employers.

He said: "We took the pains to go into the creeks that we left some years back to look for and rescue all the abducted foreign workers because for us, it was shameful and degrading that some disgruntled elements are still thinking of kidnapping people in times like this when the amnesty programme has been on course.

"Our message to those elements is that they must stop the rubbish. There is nothing to gain in engaging in this kind of venture. The government of President Goodluck Jonathan at the Federal Government and that of Seriake Dickson in Bayelsa State are doing so much to address the empowerment challenges of our youths.

"Rather than engage in activities that will drag the name of the region in the mud, we should all join hands in supporting the development initiatives of the government. Kidnapping does not pay. This was what we saw and decided to accept the amnesty and drop our arms."

Meanwhile the repentant militants hailed the election of Akpabio as chairman of the PDP governors' forum but called on him to hasten the process of exposing and dealing with those identified as traitors within their fold.

He said Akpabio "has been an example on how to govern a state," adding that he would be a positive influence on his colleagues.

from allAfrica/ThisDay
By Ernest Chinwo, 1 March 2013

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4 schools blown up in Pakistan’s northwest

KABUL (PAN): Suspected militants have blown up four more government-run schools in Pakistan’s restive northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a media report said on Friday.
The schools -- two primary and as many middle -- were destroyed in the Safi sub-district of Mohmand Agency near the Afghanistan border late Wednesday night, the Express Tribune reported.

A search operation was ongoing, but the perpetrators were yet to be traced, the newspaper quoted Assistant Political Agent Jamshed Khan as saying.

More than 60 schools have been destroyed in the sub-district and 106 schools in Mohmand Agency, affecting hundreds of thousands of students.

from Pajhwok
By Pajhwok Report Mar 1, 2013 - 11:14   

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Mar. 01., 2013. - ISAF Joint Command Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan and coalition forces killed Taliban leader, Sadiq, and wounded another insurgent during an operation in Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province, Feb. 28.

Sadiq was an experienced leader responsible for procuring and distributing small arms and improvised explosive devices to Taliban fighters for use in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. He was also involved with kidnapping government officials and Afghan National Security Force members.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


Afghan and coalition forces killed an insurgent during an operation in Kishindeh district, Balkh province, Feb. 28.


An Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Taliban facilitator and detained three other insurgents during an operation in Nawah-ye Barakzai district, Helmand province, March 1. The insurgent is alleged to be heavily involved in IED operations in the district. He has also participated in multiple IED attacks and has a history of procuring and distributing IED parts to his fellow insurgents.

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Mar. 01., 2013. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Afghan and coalition forces detained three suspected insurgents, located one weapons cache and cleared four improvised explosive devices during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, Feb. 28.

Khowst province
Afghan National Security Forces detained three suspected insurgents in Gurbuz district. The detained suspects were transferred to a base for questioning.

Afghan National Security Forces discovered a weapons cache during an operation in Gurbuz district. The cache contained small-arms weapons and ammunition, IED making materials and two suicide vests.

Afghan and coalition forces found and safely cleared three improvised explosive devices during an operation in Shamal district.

Nangarhar province
Afghan National Security Forces found and safely cleared an improvised explosive device during an operation in Surkh Rod district.

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Nigeria: Multiple Explosion in Maiduguri

About four Improvised Explosive Devices suspected to have been planted by terrorists in Maiduguri the Borno state capital , Thursday, exploded at different locations within the metropolis.

The explosions occurred simultaneously at Baga road, Customs, Gamboru general areas at about 3pm, while that last one in London ciki happened at about 6pm.

An unconfirmed report from a hospital source said, over six corpses including security operatives and that of civilians were brought to the mortuary of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.

When contacted, State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Yuguda Abdullahi said, he was aware of only one blast in Maiduguri where he personally visited the scene, but declined comment on the number of casualties.

from allAfrica/Vanguard
By Ndahi Marama, 28 February 2013

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Bombs kill at least 22 in Iraqi capital

(Reuters) - At least 22 people were killed in a series of blasts in Shi'ite neighbourhoods of Baghdad on Thursday, police sources said, as Iraq's precarious sectarian balance comes under growing strain.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Sunni Muslim insurgents have been redoubling their efforts to undermine the Shi'ite-led government and spark deeper intercommunal fighting since the start of the year.

Two car bombs, one parked near a crowded restaurant and the other close to a football stadium, exploded around sunset and killed at least 18 people in Baghdad's southern Shula district.

Violence in Iraq is increasing as Sunni opposition swells against Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whose power-sharing government has been all but paralysed since U.S. troops withdrew in December 2011.

Another car bomb and six roadside explosive devices planted at a market killed four other people in mainly Shi'ite Mahmoudiya, also in the south of Baghdad.

"I was inside my shop when the explosion happened," said photographer Ibrahim Jassam. "There were a groom and his bride preparing to have their wedding picture taken. They left everything and ran away after the blast. I hid in my shop."

A curfew was imposed on the area following the attacks.

Tens of thousands of Iraqi Sunnis have staged protests against Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shi'ite-led government in their western stronghold of Anbar on the border with Syria, and al Qaeda has urged them to take up arms.

Al Qaeda-linked militants appear to be regrouping in Anbar's caves and valleys, with some moving into Syria to join the fight against Assad, whose Alawite sect springs from Shi'ite Islam.

Iraq is calmer than in the communal bloodletting of 2006-2007, but Shi'ite leaders fear the war in neighbouring Syria could push the country back towards sectarian strife.

BAGHDAD | Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:05pm GMT
(Reporting by Kareem Raheem, additional reporting by Suadad al-Salhy; Writing by Isabel Coles; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Roger Atwood)

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Senior Al-Qaeda leader Abu Zeid killed in northern Mali

This Al-Andalus image grab taken on September 30, 2010 from a video released today shows Abu Zeid (L), also known as Abid Hammadou, posing with fighters of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and hostages (unseen) seized two weeks ago, among whom are five French.
A senior leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has been killed in northern Mali: Algeria-based Ennahar television reported on Thursday.

The station said 40 militants including Abu Zeid were killedin the region of Tigargara in northern Mali three days ago. A French Defense Ministry official declined to comment on the report. Algeria did not confirm the killing.

France launched a whirlwind assault to retake Mali's vast northern desert region from AQIM and other Islamist rebels on Jan. 11 after a plea from Mali's caretaker government. The military intervention dislodged the rebels from several main towns they had occupied and drove them back into desert wilds.

Overwhelmed by the superior fire-power of the French air force and special forces, Islamist hardliners in northern Mali pulled out of the towns they had ruthlessly ruled for nine months, imposing an extreme form of sharia law.

They regrouped and reverted to guerrilla tactics, launching hit-and-run attacks against French or pro-government forces and resorting to suicide attacks.

AQIM has earned tens of millions of dollars in ransom payments for Western hostages taken to its strongholds in northern Mali.

Abu Zeid has been regarded as one of AQIM's most ruthless operators. He is believed to have executed British national Edwin Dyer in 2009 and a 78-year-old Frenchman, Michel Germaneau, in 2010.

Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler, in an account of his kidnapping by another Islamist cell in the Sahara, recounted how Abou Zeid refused to give medication to two hostages suffering from dysentery, one of whom had been stung by a scorpion.

By Al Arabiya With Agencies
Last Updated: Thu Feb 28, 2013 22:10 pm (KSA) 19:10 pm (GMT)

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Twin blasts kills 9 in Kunar province

Districts of Kunar.
Districts of Kunar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to local authorities in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan, a heavy explosion rocked Damkan district on Thursday evening.

The incident took place in Derki area killing at least 7 Afghan border protection police forces, district security chief for Derki said.

In the meantime eyewtinesses and local residents said the area was shocked by a second explosion while people were looking to carry the dead bodies of those killed during the first blast.

They said at least three Afghan civilians were also killed during the second explosion.

There are no reports regarding the exact number of casualties as a result of the incident and there are fears that the death toll could rise.

No group including the Taliban militants has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

By Ghanizada - 28 Feb 2013, 8:56 pm


from Pajhwok:

By Khan Wali Salarzai Feb 28, 2013 - 19:05

ASADABAD (PAN): Nine people were killed in bomb attacks on border police in the Dangam district of eastern Kunar province on Thursday, an official said.

The first blast hit a border police patrol in Do Band area in the afternoon, wounding three policemen, the district chief told Pajhwok Afghan News.

Hamish Gulab said a vehicle carrying the injured struck a roadside bomb on its way to hospital. The explosion killed seven policemen and two civilians, he said, adding a woman was wounded in the second blast.
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