Philippine army arrests wife of top militant in south

A screengrab from a video released by the Philippine Army on June 18, 2017 shows Abdullah Maute, right, looking at an improvised map of Marawi, while Isnilon Hapilon, second left, leader of hardline group Abu Sayyaf looks on, as they plan an attack on Marawi at an undisclosed location on Mindanao island. (Philippine Army via AFP)
Updated 16 July 2018

Philippine army arrests wife of top militant in south

MANILA: Philippine soldiers arrested the wife of a top leader of a pro-Daesh militant group, and killed a suspected bomber in separate raids in a southern city, the army said on Monday.
Nafisa Pundog, who had been in hiding for two years since her escape from prison, was arrested in General Santos City, said army spokesman Major Ezra Balagtey.
Her husband Human Abdul Najib, alias Abu Dar, is the new leader of the pro-Daesh Maute group, which seized the lakeside town of Marawi for five months last year, he added.
“She did not resist arrest,” Balagtey told reporters, adding that materials to make improvised bombs were seized from her hideout.
Before the arrest, soldiers killed Najib Pundog, a suspected bomb maker, not far from the hideout. “He chose to shoot it out with soldiers who tracked him down in his safe house,” Balagtey said.
Both individuals, who are not related, despite a shared surname, were on a list of those President Rodrigo Duterte ordered to be arrested when he imposed martial law on the southern island of Mindanao after the Marawi attack in May 2017.
More than 1,100 people died in the five-month conflict in Marawi, which ended days after soldiers killed the militant leaders, Omarkhayam Maute and Isnilon Hapilon, the emir of the Southeast Asian militant group.


10,000 homeless after fire razes Bangladesh slum

Updated 14 min 23 sec ago

10,000 homeless after fire razes Bangladesh slum

  • The fire broke out at in Dhaka’s Mirpur neighborhood late on Friday and razed around 2,000 mostly tin shacks
  • Experts say fires are frequent in Dhaka due to lax safety measures

DHAKA: At least 10,000 people are homeless after a massive fire swept through a crowded slum in the Bangladesh capital and destroyed thousands of shanties, officials said Sunday.
The fire broke out at in Dhaka’s Mirpur neighborhood late on Friday and razed around 2,000 mostly tin shacks, fire services official Ershad Hossain said.
“I could not salvage a single thing. I don’t know what will I do,” 58-year-old Abdul Hamid, who ran a tea stall inside the slum, said as he broke down in tears.
Authorities eventually got the blaze under control and no-one was killed, although several people had minor injuries, firefighters said.
Many residents — largely low-income garment factory workers — were not in the slum as they had left their homes to celebrate the Muslim Eid Al-Adha holiday with their families.
“Otherwise, the damage would have been bigger,” local police chief Golam Rabbani said.
Around 10,000 people have taken refuge in crammed camps at nearby schools closed for the weeklong holiday, according to Hossain.
“We are providing them with food, water, mobile toilets, and electricity supply,” municipal official Shafiul Azam said, adding that authorities were trying to find permanent accommodation.
Some families have erected tarpaulins to shelter them from bouts of rain during the monsoon season, but the wet conditions have turned the fields muddy.
Experts say fires are frequent in Dhaka due to lax safety measures.
At least 100 people have been killed so far this year in building fires across the densely populated metropolitan city.
In 2012, a fire swept through a nine-story garment factory near Dhaka killing 111 workers. An investigation found it was caused by sabotage and that managers at the plant had prevented victims from escaping.
A 2010 fire in Nimtoli, one of the most densely populated districts of the capital, killed 123 people.