Philippines arrests suspected pro-Daesh militant over Marawi siege

Above, weapons and Daesh flags recovered from militants during an encounter with Philippine military forces in Sultan Kudarat on the southern island of Mindanao in this November 26, 2015 photo. Hundreds of Daesh gunmen seized Marawi in May last year, triggering a five-month battle that claimed more than 1,100 lives. (AFP)
Updated 05 March 2018
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Philippines arrests suspected pro-Daesh militant over Marawi siege

MANILA: Philippine police announced on Monday the arrest of a suspected pro-Daesh militant accused of killing civilians in last year’s deadly siege of the southern city of Marawi.
Hundreds of gunmen flying black Daesh flags seized Marawi in May last year, triggering a five-month battle that claimed more than 1,100 lives, in a bid to establish a caliphate in the largely Catholic country.
Nasser Lomondot was arrested on Saturday in Manila, months after he fled the fighting in Marawi.
“He participated in the killing of innocent civilians and committed violence against female and child hostages,” regional military spokesman Major Ronald Suscano told reporters.
As government forces battled to wrest back control of Marawi, Lomondot directed a diversionary attack by pro-Daesh gunmen in the neighboring town of Marantao, Suscano added.
“He was one of the key planners of the attack in Marantao town ... while the firefight was still ongoing” in Marawi, Suscano said.
Lomondot was arrested with a second pro-Daesh suspect, Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said in a statement.
The Philippine military warned last month that the remaining militants from Marawi have mustered a force of about 200 gunmen to launch a second attempt to put up a caliphate in the country’s south.


India ‘arrogant’ for canceling rare meeting: Pakistan’s Khan

Updated 10 min 27 sec ago
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India ‘arrogant’ for canceling rare meeting: Pakistan’s Khan

  • India pulled the plug on a meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart set for next week on the sidelines of a major UN conference, just one day after saying it would go ahead.
  • High-level talks between India and Pakistan are rare.

ISLAMABAD: India’s decision to cancel rare talks with Islamabad was disappointing and “arrogant,” Imran Khan said Saturday, one day after New Delhi accused Pakistan’s prime minister of harboring an “evil agenda.”
India pulled the plug on a meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart set for next week on the sidelines of a major UN conference, just one day after saying it would go ahead.
The foreign ministry in New Delhi blamed the about-face on recent actions that had revealed Pakistan’s “evil agenda” and the “true face” of Khan, who hit back on Twitter Saturday.
“Disappointed at the arrogant & negative response by India to my call for resumption of the peace dialogue,” he wrote.
“However, all my life I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture.”
New Delhi said it canceled the talks after the “latest brutal killings of our security personnel by Pakistan-based entities” and the recent release of a series of Pakistani postage stamps “glorifying a terrorist and terrorism.”
India did not specify which killings it was referring to in its statement, but earlier this week, an Indian border guard in the disputed territory of Kashmir was killed and his body mutilated.
Three policemen were then found dead on Friday after being abducted in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Pakistan also recently issued postage stamps of Burhan Wani, a charismatic Kashmiri militant commander killed by Indian troops in July 2016, whose death sparked a wave of violent protests in the territory.
India has long accused Pakistan of arming rebel groups in Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two countries but claimed in full by both.
In a statement from its foreign office, Pakistan said Friday it had “nothing to do with” the deaths, accusing India of spreading “motivated and malicious propaganda.”
The meeting in New York between Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi — on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly debate — was only confirmed on Thursday.
It came after Khan wrote to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi calling for a resumption of talks between the nuclear-armed foes.
High-level talks between India and Pakistan are rare. Indian media described the meeting would have been the first in nearly three years.