US police say 11 children rescued from ‘extremists’ at ‘filthy’ hideout

This Aug. 3, 2018, aerial photo released by Taos County Sheriff's Office shows a rural compound during an unsuccessful search for a missing 3-year-old boy in Amalia, N.M. (AP)
Updated 06 August 2018
0

US police say 11 children rescued from ‘extremists’ at ‘filthy’ hideout

  • The FBI had provided information and surveillance on the spot but “didn’t feel there was enough probable cause to get on the property

LOS ANGELES: Police say 11 children ages one to 15 were rescued in the US state of New Mexico after officers raided a makeshift compound occupied by armed “extremists.”
Two men were arrested after police found them and the children in what one officer called “the saddest living conditions and poverty I have seen,” as part of the operation connected to a months-long search for an abducted three-year-old, according to New Mexico’s Taos County sheriff’s office.
The investigation kicked off late last year on the opposite side of the country in Jonesboro, Georgia, where 39-year-old Siraj WahHajj of the state’s Clayton County was accused of kidnapping his toddler — who was ultimately not found.
The boy’s mother told police her child, who she said suffered from seizures along with development and cognitive delays, went to the park with his father WahHajj last December and never returned.
On August 2, Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe of Taos County in New Mexico issued a search warrant describing “a makeshift compound surrounded by tires and an earthen berm” in a subdivision, where WahHajj along with adult Lucas Morten were thought to be.
The FBI had provided information and surveillance on the spot but “didn’t feel there was enough probable cause to get on the property,” Hogrefe said.
“That all changed for me when a message was forwarded to us from a Georgia Detective that we reasonably believed came from someone at the compound — the message sent to a third party simply said in part ‘we are starving and need food and water,’” the sheriff said in a statement.
“I absolutely knew that we couldn’t wait on another agency to step up and we had to go check this out as soon as possible.”
The sheriff described planning “a tactical approach for our own safety because we had learned the occupants were most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief.”
On the morning of August 3, a dozen officers kicked off the “all day” operation, discovering the two men with an AR-15 rifle, five loaded 30-round magazines and four loaded pistols, including one in WahHajj’s pocket.
The men at first refused to follow verbal direction, police said, who added the raid went without major incident or injuries.
Morten was charged with harboring a fugitive and WahHajj was booked without bond on his Georgia warrant for child abduction.
Three women thought to be parents of the children now in protective custody were also detained for questioning, and were released pending further investigation.


China: US has ‘no right’ to interfere in Russia military cooperation

Updated 22 September 2018
0

China: US has ‘no right’ to interfere in Russia military cooperation

  • The US would face “consequences” if it did not immediately revoke the sanctions
  • The US State Department imposed sanctions on China’s Equipment Development Department

SHANGHAI/BEIJING: China’s decision to buy fighter jets and missile systems from Russia is a normal act of cooperation between sovereign countries and the United States has “no right to interfere,” defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian said on Saturday.
On Thursday, the US State Department imposed sanctions on China’s Equipment Development Department (EED), the branch of the military responsible for weapons procurement, after it engaged in “significant transactions” with Rosoboronexport, Russia’s main arms exporter.
The sanctions are related to China’s purchase of 10 SU-35 combat aircraft in 2017 and S-400 surface-to-air missile system-related equipment in 2018, the State Department said.
The sanctions will block the EED and its director, Li Shangfu, from applying for export licenses and participating in the US financial system.
“The US approach is a blatant violation of the basic norms of international relations, a full manifestation of hegemony, and a serious breach of the relations between the two countries and their two militaries,” Wu said in a notice posted on the Chinese defense ministry’s official Wechat account.
He warned that the United States would face “consequences” if it did not immediately revoke the sanctions.