Pakistan kills senior Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militant in Baluchistan raid

Shiites have sought protection from the Pakistani army, saying they had lost thousands of people in militant attacks in recent years. (AP)
Updated 17 May 2018
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Pakistan kills senior Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militant in Baluchistan raid

  • The military released pictures of a blood-spattered militant laying dead on the ground, along with photos of ammunition.
  • Islamist militants have killed thousands of people in Pakistan since early 2000s, in their bid to impose a hardline version of Islam.

QUETTA, Pakistan: Pakistan's military has killed a senior member of Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi(LeJ) along two suicide bombers in a raid in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, the army's media wing said on Thursday.

A military intelligence officer was killed and four other soldiers wounded during the operation targeting Salman Badeni, the Baluchistan region chief of LeJ, on the outskirts of provincial capital Quetta.

Badeni had been "involved in killings of over 100 innocent personnel of Hazara Community and police", the army said in a statement.

The military also released pictures of a blood-spattered militant laying dead on the ground, along with photos of ammunition and what appears to be bomb-making material.

LeJ, a group which subscribes to the hardline Takfiri Deobandi school of Islam, considers Shi’ites apostates and has carried out scores of bloody bomb and gun attacks in Baluchistan over the past two decades, most of them aimed at the Shi'ite Hazara community.

Earlier this month members of the Hazara community went on a hunger strike in Quetta to protest a recent spate of killings targeting them and to demand greater protection in the resource-rich province that has been plagued by violence and insurgency.

Over the past couple of years Islamic State militants have also targeted the Hazara community in Baluchistan.

The Hazaras called off the protest after meeting with Pakistan's powerful army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who vowed greater protection and promised those targeting Hazaras "shall suffer twice as much".

Violence in Baluchistan is also a worry for China, which has voiced concerns about security in the province that hosts a key route in the $57-billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a transport and energy link planned to run from western China to Pakistan's southern deep-water port of Gwadar.

Islamist militants have killed thousands of people in Pakistan since early 2000s, in their bid to impose a hardline version of Islam.


Six dead in fire at Rohingya camp in Myanmar

Updated 49 min 4 sec ago
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Six dead in fire at Rohingya camp in Myanmar

  • The UN Human Rights Council has accused top Myanmar generals of genocide over the bloody campaign, allegations the country strongly denies.
  • Myanmar has vowed to close nearly 20 of the camps around Sittwe in the coming months.

YANGON, Myanmar: Six Rohingya were killed early Friday after a blaze tore through an overcrowded camp for the persecuted minority in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, the local fire service said.
Global attention has focused on the 720,000 Rohingya Muslims forced from the state’s north into Bangladesh last year by a brutal military crackdown.
The UN Human Rights Council has accused top Myanmar generals of genocide over the bloody campaign, allegations the country strongly denies.
But less visible are the 129,000 Rohingya confined to squalid camps further south near the capital Sittwe following an earlier bout of violence in 2012.
Hundreds were killed that year in riots between Rakhine Buddhists and the stateless minority, who were corralled into destitute camps away from their former neighbors.
The conflagration in Ohndaw Chay camp, which houses some 4,000 Rohingya and lies 15 miles (24 kilometers) from Sittwe, started just before midnight and lasted several hours, fire department official Han Soe told AFP.
“Six people, one man and five women were killed,” he said, adding that 15 communal longhouses were also destroyed in the blaze thought to have been started in a kitchen accident.
“We were able to bring the fire under control about 1:10 am this morning and had put it out completely by around 3 am,” he said.
A total of 822 people were left without shelter, local media reported.
Conditions in the camps are dire and Rohingya trapped there have virtually no access to health care, education and work, relying on food handouts from aid agencies to survive.
Access into the camps is also tightly controlled, effectively cutting their inhabitants off from the outside world and leaving their plight largely forgotten.
Fires in the camps are common because of “severe” overcrowding, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
“Many camp residents have built makeshift extensions to their shelters to create more space for their families. So when a fire breaks out, it is more likely to spread quickly,” said OCHA spokesman Pierre Peron.
Hla Win, a Rohingya man from a nearby camp, told AFP that fire trucks were slow to arrive along the dilapidated roads from Sittwe and the lack of water also hampered efforts to extinguish the blaze.
“We have no ponds near the camps,” he said. “That’s why the fire destroyed so much.”
Myanmar has vowed to close nearly 20 of the camps around Sittwe in the coming months.
Rights groups say the move will achieve little without ending movement restrictions or granting Rohingya a pathway to citizenship.