DR Congo general ambushed in troubled eastern region

The Congolese army on January 13, 2018 announced a new operation against armed groups, notably the ADF Ugandan rebels suspected of murdering 14 UN peacekeepers last month. Army vehicles transported some 300 troops to the operation’s headquarters near Beni in the restive eastern province of North Kivu. (AFP)
Updated 19 January 2018
0

DR Congo general ambushed in troubled eastern region

KINSHASA: A general commanding military operations in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo was ambushed, army sources said on Friday, as rebels launched fresh attacks in the troubled region.
A convoy that included General Philemon Yav, in charge of forces in the region, came under fire by the Yakutumba militia in Fizi district in South Kivu province late Thursday, a source said.
At least one soldier was killed and three were injured.
The attack came two days after gunmen in South Kivu abducted two members of the country’s powerful domestic intelligence agency, the National Information Agency (ANR), an army officer said. One of the two escaped.
In neighboring North Kivu province, two army positions came under attack on Friday by suspected members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militia gathering Ugandan Islamist rebels.
“Fighting is still underway,” the army’s regional spokesman, Captain Mak Hazukay, told AFP. He said four rebels had been killed.
However, a military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there had been “five dead” among the army. Another source said the toll had been “heavy” but gave no further details.
North Kivu and South Kivu — the two provinces which border Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania — are a deeply troubled region.
Rival militia groups hold sway over larges areas of territory, often competing for its rich mineral resources.
Last Saturday, the army announced an offensive in North Kivu against the ADF, which is suspected of murdering 14 UN peacekeepers last month.
Three troops were killed on Monday in an attack on Beni attributed to the ADF, a witness told AFP.


Flood death toll in India’s Kerala jumps to 164

Updated 3 min 8 sec ago
0

Flood death toll in India’s Kerala jumps to 164

  • More than 10,000 kilometers of roads and hundreds of homes have been destroyed or damaged across the state
  • A heavy rainfall “red-alert” has been issued across much of the state, which is home to around 33 million people

KOCHI: The death toll from major floods in India’s tourist hotspot Kerala has jumped to 164, state chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Friday, issuing a fresh heavy rainfall warning for the battered region.

Kerala’s government has described the crisis — one of the worst in decades — as “extremely grave” and rescue operations are underway to help thousands who remain trapped by floodwaters.

“The chief minister has confirmed 164 deaths. Around 100 people died in the last 36 hours alone,” an official in the Kerala government’s public relations department said.

Local reports indicated an even higher toll with thousands still waiting for relief and rescue across the flood-ravaged state.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that he had discussed the flood situation with Vijayan as more troops and rescue workers were deployed across Kerala.

“Later this evening, I will be heading to Kerala to take stock of the unfortunate situation,” Modi said on Twitter.

The state, famed for its palm-lined beaches and tea plantations, is always pummeled by the annual monsoon but this year’s damage has been the most severe in almost a century.

More than 150,000 people made homeless across the state have moved into some 1,300 relief camps.

Vijayan’s office Friday posted a fresh warning for around 33 million residents of Kerala.

“Alert: all districts apart from Kasargod are under red alert... heavy rains may affect these 13 districts. Everyone please be cautious,” his office tweeted.

Even before the latest warning, locals like Ajo Varghese have been posting desperate appeals for relief and rescue on social media.

“My family and neighboring families are in trouble with flood in Pandanad nakkada area in Alappuzha,” Varghese said in a viral Facebook post.

“No water and food. Not able to communicate from afternoon. Mobile phones are not reachable and switch off. Please help... No rescue is available,” he added.

A state official said that apart from the new rainfall warnings, a breakdown of the local communication system was making it difficult for them to reach local people who may be in urgent need in the worst-affected areas.

The government says 10,000 kilometers (6,000 miles) of Kerala roads have been destroyed or damaged and tens of thousands of homes partially or completely damaged.

The gates of at least 34 major dams and reservoirs across the state have been opened in the last few days as water levels reached danger levels.

North and central Kerala has been worst-hit by the floods with the international airport in main city of Kochi shut until at least August 26.