Man kills four, self after family argument in Philippines

Updated 01 January 2014

Man kills four, self after family argument in Philippines

MANILA: A gun enthusiast held hostage three members of his family and their maid for 10 hours before killing them and committing suicide in the eastern Philippines, police said Wednesday.
Witnesses said Anthony Zepeda had argued with family members in their home in the town of Pili in Camarines Sur province on Tuesday, police said.
The confrontation later culminated in Zepeda taking hostage his father, brother, sister-in-law and the maid, provincial police chief Superintendent Romero Bausa said.
Bausa said police negotiators had tried to end the crisis peacefully, but Zepeda instead shot his captives and later committed suicide.
“The cadaver of the suspect was also found at the ground floor. He has a bullet wound in the head and there’s an indication that he shot himself,” Bausa said.
The nature of the argument that prompted the hostage taking remained unknown, but initial investigation showed that Zepeda had a history of drug abuse, police said.
Bausa said Zepeda was also a known gun enthusiast as was his father.
“The assumption was... that he was fully armed,” he said, explaining why police did not immediately assault the suspect’s home.
The killings underscored the need for stricter gun controls in the Philippines, where a thriving weapons black market makes it easy for anyone to buy unlicensed firearms.
In January last year, a drugs-crazed gunman armed with a semi-automatic weapon killed eight people in a shooting rampage in a town just south of Manila.
The killings had sparked a government drive against illegal firearms, although months later police said there remained a staggering more than half a million unlicensed guns in the hands of civilians in the country.


Australian special forces probed for alleged Afghan war crimes

Updated 25 February 2020

Australian special forces probed for alleged Afghan war crimes

  • 55 separate incidents being investigated as part of a years-long probe into war crime allegations
  • Elite Australian commandos were deployed alongside US and allied forces in Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 attacks

SYDNEY: Australia is investigating more than 50 alleged war crimes by the country’s special forces in Afghanistan, including the killing of civilians and prisoners, the military watchdog said Tuesday.
An annual report by the Inspector-General of the Australian Defense Force said 55 separate incidents were being investigated as part of a years-long probe into allegations Australian soldiers committed war crimes while serving in Afghanistan.
These relate mainly to unlawful killings of “persons who were non-combatants or were no longer combatants” as well as “cruel treatment” of such persons, the report said.
“The inquiry is not focused on decisions made during the ‘heat of battle’,” it added.
It is also considering “cultural, psychological, operational and organizational factors” surrounding the alleged incidents.
The probe was launched in 2016 in response to what the watchdog called “rumors” of “very serious wrongdoing” over more than a decade by members of Australian special forces in Afghanistan.
Elite Australian commandos were deployed alongside US and allied forces in Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 attacks. NATO and its allies pulled combat forces from the country in 2014.
The ongoing inquiry, led by judge Paul Brereton, has called 338 witnesses and is now “approaching the final stages of evidence-taking.”
Defense Minister Linda Reynolds told Sky News she expected the watchdog would provide a report to the country’s defense chief within months and he would “decide on appropriate further actions.”
At least four investigations into alleged abuses by Australian special forces in Afghanistan are currently under way.