36 foreign militants killed in Pakistan air strikes

Updated 23 January 2014
0

36 foreign militants killed in Pakistan air strikes

ISLAMABAD: Three Germans were among 40 people killed when Pakistani jets and helicopters bombarded suspected Taleban hideouts in a northwestern tribal district, a senior security source said Wednesday.
The air strikes in the North Waziristan tribal region on Tuesday followed two major Taleban attacks on military targets in as many days.
“Most of (the) terrorists killed are foreign fighters including 33 Uzbeks and three Germans,” the source told AFP.
Uzbeks, many affiliated with the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, make up one of the largest groups of foreign fighters in Pakistan’s tribal northwest.
There was no immediate confirmation from the countries concerned. Independent verification of casualties was not possible because media and aid workers are not allowed to visit the area.
The source added that Wali Muhammad, a Pakistani Taleban commander and trainer of suicide bombers, was among the dead. This was confirmed by a senior militant source.
Tuesday’s operation was one of the heaviest bombardments in recent years in North Waziristan, a key stronghold of militants linked to the Taleban and Al-Qaeda.
Officials said some of those killed were linked to an attack on Sunday on paramilitary troops in the northwestern city of Bannu that killed 26, and a double suicide bombing on a church in September that killed more than 80.
Another military official said a few families had fled the fighting and moved out of the tribal areas, but so far there has been no mass migration from the area.
The government officials said that around 500 families fled to Bannu district from North Waziristan after the bombardment.
“Some 500 families from Mir Ali sub-division of North Waziristan have migrated to Bannu. They are living with the local host tribes of Mamashkhel and Bakakhel in Bannu,” said Arshad Khan, head of the Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA).


Honduras and Guatemala act to stop migrants after Trump threats

Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the US, get off a truck during a new leg of their travel in Chiquimula, Guatemala on Tuesday, October 16, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 29 min 35 sec ago
0

Honduras and Guatemala act to stop migrants after Trump threats

  • US Vice President Mike Pence drove home the point, saying he spoke to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez and Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales warning them to help protect US borders and adding “no more aid if it’s not stopped!“

WASHINGTON/ESQUIPULAS, Guatemala: The organizer of a migrant caravan from Honduras was detained on Tuesday in Guatemala as the US government threatened to withdraw aid from both countries if the flow of migrants north to the United States was not stopped.
Up to 3,000 migrants, according to organizers’ estimates, crossed from Honduras into Guatemala on a trek northward, after a standoff on Monday with police in riot gear.
The Honduran Foreign Ministry called on its citizens not to join the group. The government “urges the Hondurans taking part in this irregular mobilization not to be used by a movement that is clearly political,” it said.
Over the border, Guatemalan police officers detained Bartolo Fuentes, a former Honduran lawmaker, from the middle of the large crowd that he and three other organizers had led from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, since Saturday.
The moves followed comments by US President Donald Trump that indicated his administration would halt aid if the Central American governments did not act, his latest effort to demonstrate his tough stance on immigration.
The Honduran security ministry said Fuentes had been detained because he “did not comply with Guatemalan immigration rules” and would be deported back to Honduras in the coming hours.
Security officials at the Honduran border with Guatemala in Agua Caliente blocked the road to prevent another much smaller group getting through, television images from the border showed.
“We can’t attend to people en masse. People are going through one by one,” said police spokesman Alex Madrid, in a radio interview.
Guatemala’s government said it did not have official figures for how many migrants from the caravan had already crossed the border.
Adult citizens of the countries of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua need only present national identity cards to cross each others’ borders. That rule does not apply when they reach Mexico.
“NO MORE MONEY“
Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to express his annoyance at the caravan, which follows a similar event in May that ultimately led to hundreds of migrants either seeking asylum in the United States or remaining in Mexico.
“The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the US is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!” Trump wrote.
US Vice President Mike Pence drove home the point, saying he spoke to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez and Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales warning them to help protect US borders and adding “no more aid if it’s not stopped!“
The strong words could encourage Honduras to move closer to China, amid intensified efforts by Beijing to win recognition from Central American countries aligned with Taiwan.
Honduras is one of a dwindling number of countries that still have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, an island nation off the Chinese coast that Beijing views as a renegade province.
Hernandez said last month that cuts in US support for Central America would only hinder the country’s ability to stem illegal immigration. He welcomed China’s growing diplomatic presence in the region as an “opportunity.”
Last week, Pence told Central American countries the United States was willing to help with economic development and investment if they did more to tackle mass migration, corruption and gang violence.

GROWING GROUP
The migrants in the group making its way north plan to seek refugee status in Mexico or pass through to the United States, saying they are fleeing poverty and violence.
“What Trump says doesn’t interest us,” organizer Fuentes said in an interview shortly before his arrest. “These people are fleeing. These people are not tourists.”
Widespread violence and poverty prompt thousands of Central Americans, mainly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, to make the arduous journey north toward Mexico and the United States in search of a better life.
Trump ran for president in 2016 on promises to toughen US immigration policies and build a wall along the 2,000-mile(3,220-km) border with Mexico.
Illegal immigration is likely to be a top issue in Nov. 6 US congressional elections, when Democrats are seen as having a good chance of gaining control of the House of Representatives from Trump’s fellow Republicans.