Gunmen kill six laborers in SW Pakistan — police

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Updated 04 May 2018
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Gunmen kill six laborers in SW Pakistan — police

  • “Unidentified gunmen shot dead six laborers and wounded another, who is in critical condition,” local government official Hashim Ghilzai said
  • The murders took place overnight in Lajjay, where Islamist militants — including the Taliban — and ethnic Baloch separatists are active

QUETTA, Pakistan: Unknown gunmen shot dead six laborers in a remote southwestern Pakistani town, officials said Friday, in the latest bout of violence to rock the restive region.
The murders took place overnight in Lajjay, about 170 kilometers (105 miles) southwest of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, where Islamist militants — including the Taliban — and ethnic Baloch separatists are active.
“Unidentified gunmen shot dead six laborers and wounded another, who is in critical condition,” local government official Hashim Ghilzai told AFP.
The laborers, from eastern Punjab province, were working on a mobile tower and were sleeping in tents at the site when the gunmen attacked, Ghilzai said, adding that “it appeared to be an act of terror.”
Local security official Tariq-ur-Rehman confirmed the incident and casualties.
No group has claimed responsibility for the killings, but Balochistan is home to a long-running ethnic Baloch insurgency aimed at seeking greater control over the province’s abundant mineral resources.
Separatist militants have previously targeted ethnic Punjabi and Sindhi laborers, who are largely considered outsiders in many parts of the province and viewed with deep suspicion.
Hundreds of soldiers and militants have been killed since the insurgency flared up in the mid-2000s.
Pakistan also regularly accuses its eastern neighbor India of funding and arming the separatist insurgents — a charge some analysts say is payback for Pakistan’s alleged backing of separatists in the Indian-administered part of the Kashmir region.
Balochistan, a desperately-poor province, is also riven by sectarian violence, with Sunni Islamist militants attacking Shiites, especially ethnic Hazaras.


Philippines’ Duterte in war of words over Canada garbage row

Updated 17 min 54 sec ago
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Philippines’ Duterte in war of words over Canada garbage row

  • The Philippines has urged Canada to take back scores of garbage containers shipped to the country in 2013 and 2014, alleging they contain toxic waste
  • Ottawa has said it had no authority to compel a private shipper to return the shipment to Canada

PORAC, Philippines: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday demanded Canada take back tons of trash it had illegally shipped to Manila or risk “war,” in the latest incident to strain bilateral ties.
The Philippines has urged Canada to take back scores of garbage containers shipped to the country in 2013 and 2014, alleging they contain toxic waste.
But Ottawa has said it had no authority to compel a private shipper to return the shipment to Canada.
Speaking to officials during a visit north of Manila, an area ravaged by an earthquake on Monday, Duterte said he did not care if his stance on the issue turned the two countries into enemies.
“I want a boat prepared. I’ll give a warning to Canada maybe next week that they better pull that thing out, or I will set sail for Canada and dump their garbage back there,” he said.
“Let’s fight Canada. I will declare war against them,” added the president, who frequently uses coarse language and hyperbole in public speeches about opponents.
The garbage is among several festering issues that have soured ties between the two governments.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been among the most vocal critics of the domestic drug war waged by Duterte, who was elected in 2016.
Philippine police say they have killed nearly 5,000 alleged drug users and pushers who fought against arrest in the crackdown, while rights groups say the true toll is at least triple that and may amount to crimes against humanity.
Last year Duterte angrily canceled the Philippine military’s $235 million contract to buy 16 military helicopters from a Canada-based manufacturer after the Trudeau government put the deal under review because of the president’s human rights record.