New Zealand plans to withdraw all troops from Iraq by June 2020

The New Zealand and Australian troops were station in Taji Military Complex. (File/AFP)
Updated 10 June 2019
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New Zealand plans to withdraw all troops from Iraq by June 2020

  • The country has 95 noncombat personnel at Taji Military Complex
  • They will also decrease the number of defense force personnel in Afghanistan

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: New Zealand says it will withdraw all of its troops from Iraq by next June.
The South Pacific nation has a small contingent of 95 so-called noncombat personnel deployed at the Taji Military Complex northwest of Baghdad, where they are tasked with training Iraqi security forces.
The training mission is a joint operation with Australia, which has about 300 troops stationed at Taji. Australia has not made any announcement about its long-term plans at the base.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday the number of New Zealand troops will be reduced to 75 by July and then to 45 by January before all the troops all withdrawn.
Ardern also announced New Zealand will reduce the number of defense force personnel it has posted in Afghanistan from 13 to 11.


16 dead in crush at Madagascar independence day rally

Updated 45 sec ago
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16 dead in crush at Madagascar independence day rally

  • The accident occurred outside Mahamasina Stadium, where several thousand people had gathered for a concert following the traditional military parade held to mark the national holiday

ANTANANARIVO: At least 16 people were crushed to death and dozens injured in Madagascar on Wednesday at a stadium hosting national independence day celebrations in the capital Antananarivo.
The bodies of sixteen victims, including three children, were stored at the mortuary of HJRA hospital in the city, AFP journalists said.
Hospital director Oliva Alison Rakoto had earlier reported 15 dead and 80 wounded.
According to witnesses at the hospital, the accident occurred in the afternoon outside the Mahamasina stadium, where several thousand people had gathered for a concert following the traditional military parade held to mark the national holiday.
At the end of a military parade, security forces opened the gates to allow spectators to leave the enclosure, causing the crowd to mass outside the stadium, witnesses said.
The police then immediately closed the gates and blocked the crowd, witnesses said, causing a deadly pile up.
“When the organizers opened the gate, we were in the front row, in the queue,” said Jean Claude Etienne Rakotoarimanana, 29, who suffered bruises from the crush.
“Suddenly people ran to get in front of us. They shoved us, some even punched us and pulled us,” he added, saying he then fainted.
In September 2018, a deadly crush killed one person and injured 30 people in similar circumstances at the entrance of the same stadium during a football match between Madagascar and Senegal.