India working with Sri Lanka to repatriate thousands of Tamils

Updated 10 March 2015
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India working with Sri Lanka to repatriate thousands of Tamils

NEW DELHI: India said Monday it was working with Sri Lanka’s new government to repatriate thousands of ethnic minority Tamils who fled the island during nearly four decades of separatist war.
Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said discussions were ongoing for the return of 100,000 refugees from the southern state of Tamil Nadu, which is separated from Sri Lanka by a narrow stretch of sea.
“We had agreed when Sri Lanka’s foreign minister was here (India) in January to find ways by which these refugees could go back with honor, dignity (and) safety,” Jaishankar told reporters.
“We’ve already had one meeting on the bilateral side on January 30 to discuss the issue.”
The comments come as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares to visit Sri Lanka this week to strengthen ties with its new President Maithripala Sirisena.
Modi is expected to visit Sri Lanka’s former war zone and Tamil heartland of Jaffna during the three-day visit, starting on Friday.
Sri Lanka’s Tamils share close cultural ties with those in India’s Tamil Nadu state.
Some 65,000 refugees are living in 109 government-run camps in the state and another 37,000 are residing elsewhere in the state, Jaishankar said.ref
Sri Lanka’s new government has said it will focus on reconciliation after the decades-long war, which claimed an estimated 100,000 lives and exposed deep ethnic divisions.
Tamil Tiger rebels fought for outright independence for their minority community in Sri Lanka until they were crushed by the army in May 2009.
“We are discussing a lot of issues with Sri Lanka and the issue of reconciliation features significantly,” said Jaishankar.
“We want to encourage that process.”
Modi’s visit comes a month after Sri Lanka’s Sirisena traveled to New Delhi to rebuild ties hit by tensions over growing Chinese influence on the strategically located island.


Nigerian spy masters arrest two Daesh ‘commanders’

Boko Haram's radical insurgency in northeast Nigeria has killed at least 20,000 since 2009 and made more than two million others homeless. (AFP)
Updated 22 June 2018
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Nigerian spy masters arrest two Daesh ‘commanders’

  • Four other suspected Boko Haram members, including two specialist bomb-makers, were also arrested, it added
  • Boko Haram's insurgency in northeast Nigeria has killed at least 20,000 since 2009 and made more than two million others homeless

ABUJA: Nigeria's secret police says it has arrested two suspected commanders of a Boko Haram splinter group for allegedly plotting to carry out violent attacks in the country.
The Department of State Services (DSS) said in a statement on Thursday that two "commanders" of the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) were arrested outside the capital Abuja on May 5.
A third suspect was detained in the northeastern state of Bauchi on April 28.
"The suspects were discovered to have concluded plans to not only perpetuate the ideals of the movement in the area, but to, in collaboration with Boko Haram, carry out heinous violent attacks on innocent persons," the statement read,
Four other suspected Boko Haram members, including two specialist bomb-makers, were also arrested, it added
The DSS has made previous announcements the arrests of suspected ISWA and Boko Haram members. But it rarely announces whether those arrested have been charged or released.
The latest came after British tabloid newspaper The Sun claimed Daesh leaders were sneaking "battle-hardened extremists" from Syria into Nigeria, prompting improved security at airports and borders.
Boko Haram's insurgency in northeast Nigeria has killed at least 20,000 since 2009 and made more than two million others homeless.
The jihadist group split into two factions in mid-2016: one is led by long-time leader Abubakar Shekau, the other -- recognised by Daesh -- by Abu Musab al-Barnawi.
Barnawi opposed Shekau's indiscriminate attacks on civilians, particularly using suicide bombers, and has vowed to hit only "hard" targets such as the military and the police.