Pakistan says US statement over Khan-Pompeo call is ‘fake news’

Pakistan PM Imran Khan and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (AFP)
Updated 24 August 2018
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Pakistan says US statement over Khan-Pompeo call is ‘fake news’

  • “There was no mention at all in the conversation about terrorists operating in Pakistan” — Foreign Office spokesperson
  • Heather Nauert, State Department’s spokesperson said in her press briefing, on Thursday, that State Department stands by the original readout of the phone call

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson has rejected a statement made by the US State Department about the contents of a phone call between Prime Minister Imran Khan and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“Pakistan takes exception to the factually incorrect statement issued by US State Dept on today’s phone call between PM Khan and Sec Pompeo. There was no mention at all in the conversation about terrorists operating in Pakistan,” Dr. Mohammad Faisal said in a tweet on Thursday.

The “factually incorrect” statement, which was released by the US State Department, said: “Secretary Michael R. Pompeo spoke today with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and wished him success. Secretary Pompeo expressed his willingness to work with the new government toward a productive bilateral relationship. Secretary Pompeo raised the importance of Pakistan taking decisive action against all terrorists operating in Pakistan and its vital role in promoting the Afghan peace process.”

Pakistan’s Foreign Office said that there was no mention of terrorists in the telephone conversation and demanded that the US government immediately correct the “false statement.”

State Department’s spokesperson, Heather Nauert, said in her press briefing on Thursday, that State Department stands "by original readout of the phone call between Sec. Pompeo and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan."


At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

Updated 17 June 2019
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At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

  • A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation
  • Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo: At least 161 people have been killed in a northeastern province of Democratic Republic of Congo in the past week, local officials said on Monday, in an apparent resurgence of ethnic clashes between farming and herding communities.
A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation, although the exact identity of the assailants remains murky.
Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo that left millions dead from conflict, hunger and disease.
Tit-for-tat attacks between the two groups in late 2017 and early 2018 killed hundreds of people and forced tens of thousands more to flee their homes, but a tenuous calm had taken hold until this month.
Pascal Kakoraki Baguma, a national lawmaker from Ituri, said the latest violence was sparked by the killing last Monday of four Lendu businesspeople.
“Members of the Lendu community believed that these assassinations were the work of the Hema,” Kakoraki said. “This is why they launched several attacks on Hema villages.”
“Sources affirm that 161 bodies have been found so far. But the death toll goes beyond the bodies recovered, as there were other massacres of civilians and police officers,” he said.
Jean Bosco Lalo, president of civil society organizations in Ituri, said 200 bodies had been found since last week in predominantly Hema villages, including the 161 mentioned by Kakoraki. Lalo said the toll would rise once his teams gained access to other villages where killings had been reported.
Ituri Governor Jean Bamanisa said provincial authorities were still working to establish the exact death toll and declined to say who was responsible.
He said the assailants’ tactics were to “empty out the villages, burn them and pursue those who had fled to the surrounding areas with bladed weapons.”
Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, who took office in January, is trying to restore stability to the country’s eastern borderlands, a tinderbox of conflict among armed groups over ethnicity, natural resources and political power.
Several rebel leaders have surrendered or been captured during his first months in office, but armed violence has persisted, particularly in North Kivu province, south of Ituri, which is the epicenter of a 10-month Ebola outbreak.