US says airstrike kills 2 militants in Somalia

A Kenya Defense Force soldier in action while confronting Al-Shabab attackers at a campus in Garissa. (Reuters/file)
Updated 03 January 2018
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US says airstrike kills 2 militants in Somalia

MOGADISHU/NAIROBI: The US military said on Wednesday it had killed two militants in Somalia in an airstrike targeting Al-Shabab, an Al-Qaeda-linked militant group that is fighting to topple the UN-backed government.
The military’s Africa Command said the strike took place around 50km west of the capital Mogadishu on Tuesday, and that a “vehicle-borne improvised explosive device” had also been destroyed in the early morning attack.
Last month Washington warned of a threat to its diplomatic staff in Mogadishu and directed all non-essential staff to leave the city.
Al-Shabab was pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011 and has lost control of most of Somalia’s major towns. But the group retains a strong presence in the south and center and can still carry out major attacks. It was blamed for twin bomb blasts in Mogadishu in October that killed more than 500 people.
5 policemen killed
Meanwhile, five Kenyan policemen were killed in an attack on their vehicle in the northeast county of Mandera near the border with Somalia late on Tuesday, a government official in the area said.
Dozens of Kenyan security personnel have been killed in recent months in the remote lands near the border with Somalia, in raids by the Al-Shabab militants from Somalia. The group claimed responsibility for the latest attack.
Daniel Bundotich, the deputy county commissioner for Mandera South, said those killed included three police reservists, local civilians who usually assist the police and are assigned uniforms and arms.
“The militants also set on fire a police lorry ... The police officers were on patrol along Elwak-Kutolo when they were ambushed,” he told Reuters.
Al-Shabab has also launched other attacks in Kenya targeting civilians, in revenge for Kenya moving its troops into Somalia in late 2011.
The militants aim to topple Somalia’s government, and to drive out African Union peacekeeping troops.


Pakistan gets six more months to ‘fix’ anti-money laundering laws : Ministry of Finance

Updated 20 October 2018
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Pakistan gets six more months to ‘fix’ anti-money laundering laws : Ministry of Finance

  • APG will visit Pakistan in March-April next year for another on-site review
  • Traders say Pakistan can increase its annual remittances from $20 billion to $40 billion

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has got six more months from the Asia Pacific Group (APG) — an arm of the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) — to “fix” its anti-money laundering laws and take effective measures to curb terror financing and illegal remittances.

“The APG delegation has pointed out lacunae in our different laws and we will plug them all soon through proper legislation,” Noor Ahmed, special secretary Ministry of Finance, told Arab News.
“Our institutions have explained their positions and actions taken so far to curb money laundering in their meetings with the APG delegation,” he said. “We have noted their recommendations as well.”
Pakistani officials, however, did not give details of what recommendations had been proposed by the APG delegation.
Pakistan was placed on the FATF “gray list” in June this year by the global watchdog in Paris after a review of the monitoring report of the International Cooperation Review Group.
This is the second visit by the FATF team in the past three months. In August, a FATF team visited Islamabad for a similar assessment.
Last week a Pakistani delegation also participated in an FATF meeting in Paris, to apprise the global watchdog about efforts to get off the “gray-list.”
Earlier, Pakistan and the FATF had also negotiated a 10-point action plan to be implemented by September 2019 to get off the gray list.
“We have got six more months to make our systems more robust and as per the international standard,” Saeed Javed, director general (media) of Finance Ministry, told Arab News.
He said that the APG would visit Pakistan in March-April next year for another on-site review and check the progress made in light of the group’s recommendations.
The FATF is an intergovernmental body established in July 1989 during a Group of Seven (G7) summit in Paris.
Its objectives are to set standards and promote the effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
Dr. Farrukh Saleem, the government’s focal person on economy, earlier told Arab News that the government had finalized amendments in laws including the Federal Investigation Agency Act 1974, the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act 1947, the Customs Act 1969, and the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010, to strengthen its financial system.
“The amendments proposed in these laws will be presented to the prime minister and cabinet for approval,” he said.