Injuries, some serious, after knife attack on German bus

A major police deployment is underway in the northern German city of Luebeck, above, after eight people were wounded in a suspected knife attack on a bus. (AFP)
Updated 20 July 2018
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Injuries, some serious, after knife attack on German bus

  • At least eight people have been wounded in a stabbing incident in the northern German city of Luebeck
  • Major police deployment underway in Luebeck in Schleswig-Holstein state

BERLIN: At least eight people were wounded, two of them seriously, in a suspected knife attack on a bus in the northern German city of Luebeck, the local Luebecker Nachrichten newspaper reported on Friday.
Earlier, police in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, where Luebeck is located, tweeted that there was a major police deployment underway in the city.
“There is currently a major police deployment in Luebeck,” the police force wrote. “We are examining the situation and will give more information later.”

The packed bus was heading in the direction of Travemuende, a popular beach close to the city of Luebeck, when a man pulled a weapon on passengers, Luebecker Nachrichten reported, quoting an unnamed witness.
The bus driver immediately stopped the vehicle, allowing passengers to escape, the daily said on its website.
“The passengers jumped out of the bus and were screaming. It was terrible. Then the injured were brought out. The perpetrator had a kitchen knife,” a witness living close to the scene told the daily.
A police car which happened to be close by was able to get to the scene quickly, allowing officers to detain the perpetrator, added the report.
Police quoted by national news agency DPA said there were no fatalities, and did not give a motive for the assault.
According to Luebecker Nachrichten, the attacker is an Iranian man in his mid-30s.

* With Reuters and AFP


Filipino rebel chiefs become officials under peace deal

President Rodrigo Duterte, political leaders and officials flash the peace sign following Friday’s oath-taking ceremony in Manila. (AP)
Updated 22 February 2019
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Filipino rebel chiefs become officials under peace deal

  • It is a very difficult and challenging process, says MILF spokesman

MANILA: Some of the fiercest Muslim rebel commanders in the southern Philippines were sworn in Friday as administrators of a new Muslim autonomous region in a delicate milestone to settle one of Asia’s longest-raging rebellions.

President Rodrigo Duterte led a ceremony to name Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leader Murad Ebrahim and some of his top commanders as among 80 administrators of a transition government for the five-province region called Bangsamoro.

About 12,000 combatants with thousands of firearms are to be demobilized starting this year under the peace deal.  Thousands of other guerrillas would disarm if agreements under the deal would be followed, including providing the insurgents with livelihood to help them return to normal life.

“We would like to see an end of the violence,” Duterte said. 

“After all, we go to war and shoot each other counting our victories not by the progress or development of the place but by the dead bodies that were strewn around during the violent years.”

About 150,000 people have died in the conflict over several decades and stunted development in the resource-rich region. 

Duterte promised adequate resources, a daunting problem in the past.

The Philippine and Western governments and the guerrillas see an effective Muslim autonomy as an antidote to nearly half a century of secessionist violence, which Daesh could exploit to gain a foothold.

“The dream that we have fought for is now happening and there’s no more reason for us to carry our guns and continue the war,” rebel forces spokesman Von Al-Haq said in an interview ahead of the ceremony.

Several commanders long wanted for deadly attacks were given safety passes to be able to travel to Manila and join the ceremony, including Abdullah Macapaar, who uses the nom de guerre Commander Bravo, Al-Haq said. 

Known for his fiery rhetoric while wearing his camouflage uniform and brandishing his assault rifle and grenades, Macapaar will be one of the 41 regional administrators from the rebel front.

Duterte will pick his representatives to fill the rest of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, which will also act as a regional Parliament with Murad as the chief minister until regular officials are elected in 2022.

Members of the Moro National Liberation Front, which signed a 1996 autonomy deal that has largely been seen as a failure, will also be given seats in the autonomous government.

Disgruntled fighters of the Moro National Liberation Front broke off and formed new armed groups, including the notorious Abu Sayyaf, which turned to terrorism and banditry after losing its commanders early in battle. 

The Abu Sayyaf has been blacklisted by the US as a terrorist organization and has been suspected of staging a suspected Jan. 27 suicide bombing that killed 23 mostly churchgoers in a Roman Catholic cathedral on southern Jolo island.

“We have already seen the pitfalls,” Al-Haq said, acknowledging that the violence would not stop overnight because of the presence of the Abu Sayyaf and other armed groups, some linked to Daesh. 

“It’s a very difficult and challenging process.”