Police detain man after 11 injured in car incident near London museum, terrorism ruled out

Updated 07 October 2017
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Police detain man after 11 injured in car incident near London museum, terrorism ruled out

LONDON: A man was detained after 11 people were injured on Saturday in a collision with a car near London’s Natural History Museum, in one of the capital’s busiest tourist areas, but police ruled out terrorism.
Police said it was believed a car mounted the pavement and collided with a number of pedestrians.
“The incident is a road traffic investigation and not a terrorist-related incident,” the statement said.
The museum, one of the most popular visitor attractions in the country, said in a statement: “A vehicle has collided with pedestrians near the Natural History Museum entrance at Exhibition Road.”
London’s ambulance service said they had treated 11 people, mostly for head and leg injuries, with nine taken to hospital.
Unverified footage from the scene in South Kensington, west London, showed a man being pinned to the ground by what appeared to be four security guards or police officers.
Prime Minister Theresa May was being updated, a spokesman said, adding it was usual practice in such circumstances, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was in close contact with the police’s most senior counter-terrorism officer.
 
Footage of man being arrested after car hits pedestrians outside Natural History Museum in London. (Photo courtesy: social media)


Packed with tourists
Exhibition Road, in one of London’s most upmarket districts, is home to a host of museums, restaurants as well as university buildings with the streets packed with tourists at the weekend.
“We heard a horrible thudding noise and a car engine. Everyone started running and screaming inside,” Connor Honeyman, who was in the queue for the museum, told the BBC.
A Reuters witness said large numbers of paramedics and police, including armed officers, were at the scene although the atmosphere appeared calm.
The car believed to have been involved in the incident was lying diagonally across the road, jammed between two other vehicles. A BBC reporter said she had seen one or two people on the ground and police had told her the injuries sustained were minor.
Britain is on its second highest security alert level, meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely. There have been five attacks described by the authorities as terrorism this year, three involving vehicles.
In March, a man drove a car into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge killing four before stabbing a police officer to death in the grounds of parliament.
Three Islamist militants drove into people on London Bridge in June before stabbing people at nearby restaurants and bars, killing eight. The same month, a van was driven into worshippers near a mosque in north London which left one man dead.
The Natural History Museum is the fourth most popular tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, with 4.6 million visits during 2016, according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions.
A spokesman for the museum told Reuters that no one was being allowed into the building and people were being let out through a different exit. 


Indonesian fishermen return home after release from Philippines militants

Updated 20 September 2018
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Indonesian fishermen return home after release from Philippines militants

  • With the release of the trio, all Indonesians abducted by Filipino militants before 2018 have been released
  • Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines wil boost security cooperation in the Sulu Sea, which is a busy maritime area for fishing boats and cargo vessels transporting coal from Indonesia to the Philippines

JAKARTA: After 20 months being held hostage by militants in the southern Philippines, three Indonesian fishermen were finally reunited on Wednesday with their respective families at the Foreign Ministry.

Vice Foreign Minister A.M. Fachir handed them over from the government to their respective family representatives in a ceremony which was held without media presence.
 
"The condition on the field was getting more difficult. But we made the most of our contacts and assets on the field, and with the Philippines government support we were able to get them released,” Fachir said in a statement from the ministry. .
 
Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, the Foreign Ministry’s director for protection of Indonesians abroad, said the handover was held in private because “it was not a cause for celebration.”
 
“We are grateful for their release, but we still have two Indonesians who were abducted on Sept. 11 and we don’t want to hurt their families’ feeling,” Iqbal said.
 
The three fishermen are Hamdan bin Saleng, Sudarling bin Samansunga, and Subandi bin Sattu, who hail from Selayar and Bulukumba in South Sulawesi province. They were freed from their captors on Friday in Sulu province on the southern Philippines.
 
Rudi Wahyudin, a representative of Sattu’s family, said the family members were devastated during the 20 months Sattu was held hostage but they tried to keep their hopes up by keeping in touch with the foreign ministry to get updates of efforts to release him and his fellow fishermen.
 
“It’s normal for people in our village in Bulukumba to migrate and work abroad. Now his wife has asked Sattu to quit working overseas and find another job close to home instead,” Wahyudin said.
 
Indonesian ambassador to the Philippines, Sinyo Harry Sarundajang said the military attache and he flew to Zamboanga City to pick up the three men, after the embassy received information of their release from the West Mindanao Command.
 
“We thank President Duterte and the Philippines government for their attention and cooperation on this matter. It was a long and delicate process to release them and we had to be very careful because we didn’t want anyone to become victim in the process,” Sarundajang said at the press conference.    
 
According to the ambassador, the three men were moved and had to island-hopped to various small islands on the Sulu archipelago as their captors were avoiding the Philippine military operation.
 
The three men were working as crew members in a Malaysian fishing boat when they were abducted in the waters of Sabah in Malaysia on Jan 2017.
 
Iqbal said there are about 6,000 Indonesians working in fishing vessels in Sabah. Since 2016, there has been 34 Indonesian citizens who were kidnapped by armed militants in the southern Philippines and 13 of them were fishermen who were abducted from their vessels in the waters of Sabah.
 
With the release of the trio, all Indonesians abducted by Filipino militants before 2018 have been released.
 
“We are now working to release the two fishermen who were abducted on Sep 11. We have expressed our concerns to the Malaysian authority on the lack of security on their waters,” Iqbal said.
 
He added that Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines would boost security cooperation in the Sulu Sea between the three countries, which is a busy maritime area for fishing boats and cargo vessels transporting coal from Indonesia to the Philippines.
 
The three neighboring countries agreed in May 2016 to launch joint patrols in the area following a series of hijacking and kidnapping of Indonesian vessels and crew members. The initial maritime patrol was launched in June 2017 and was beefed up with air patrols in Oct 2017.