US airstrike kills 3 Daesh militants in Somali region

Cars burn after a poweful car bomb in Mogadishu, Somalia, Wednesday, April 17, 2019.(AP)
Updated 28 April 2019

US airstrike kills 3 Daesh militants in Somali region

  • Al-Shabab was pushed out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011, but retains a strong presence in parts of southern and central Somalia

BOSASO, Somalia: A US airstrike killed three Daesh militants in the Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region on Friday, a US military official said, two weeks after the group’s deputy leader was killed in a strike.
A witness said missiles struck two wells on the outskirts of Timirshe village, some 60km southeast of Puntland’s commercial capital Bosaso. The US military has sharply stepped up its campaign of airstrikes in Somalia since President Donald Trump took office, saying it has killed more than 800 militants in two years.
“This airstrike eliminated Daesh’s Somalia members staged in a remote location in northern Somalia,” Maj. Gen. Gregg Olson, US Africa Command (AFRICOM) director of operations, said in an emailed statement on Saturday.
AFRICOM also claimed responsibility for the killing of Daesh deputy Abdulhakim Dhuqub on April 14.
Somalia has been riven by civil war and militancy since 1991 when clan warlords overthrew a dictator before turning on each other.
“We heard the crash of four missiles on the outskirts of Timirshe village,” resident Ahmed Nur told Reuters by telephone.
He said the wells were used by militants from both Daesh and their more powerful rivals Al-Shabab, an Al-Qaeda affiliate who have been fighting Somalia’s UN-backed government for years.
Al-Shabab was pushed out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011, but retains a strong presence in parts of southern and central Somalia.
It has frequently clashed with the much smaller Daesh force in the north who are thought to number fewer than 200 fighters.


Texas court halts execution in high-profile case

A woman holds a sign during a protest against the execution of Rodney Reed on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, in Bastrop, Texas. (AP)
Updated 17 November 2019

Texas court halts execution in high-profile case

  • Millions of people, including US lawmakers and Hollywood celebrities Kim Kardashian and Susan Sarandon, have signed petitions supporting Reed

WASHINGTON: A Texas appeals court has suspended the execution of convicted murderer Rodney Reed — who has long claimed his innocence — in a case that has attracted widespread public attention and a celebrity-backed campaign.
Reed, a 51-year-old African-American, was sentenced to death in 1998 after being convicted by an all-white jury of the rape and murder of Stacey Stites, a 19-year-old white woman.
His execution by lethal injection had been set for November 20, but Reed says he did not commit the crime, and his lawyers and supporters say that evidence proves he is innocent.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles announced on Friday that it had “voted unanimously to recommend the governor grant a 120-day reprieve” to Reed, who had appealed for clemency.
The state appeals court then halted the execution later in the evening.
Millions of people, including US lawmakers and Hollywood celebrities Kim Kardashian and Susan Sarandon, have signed petitions supporting Reed.
Kardashian said on social media she was with Reed when he received news about the reprieve.
Although traces of Reed’s DNA were found in the victim, he has always maintained that he and Stites were secretly having an affair.
Reed’s lawyers say that evidence obtained after the trial points to another suspect — the victim’s fiance, Jimmy Fennell, a former policeman who later served a 10-year prison sentence for another rape.
“The strong evidence exonerating Mr.Reed and implicating Fennell continues to mount,” the lawyers wrote in the clemency petition lodged with the state’s Republican governor, Greg Abbott.
In the clemency request, they included a testimonial from a former co-worker of the victim who confirmed the affair.
According to another affidavit, a former prison inmate said he heard Fennell brag during a prison yard conversation about committing the murder.
Fennell has denied involvement in Stites’ murder.
The Texas board declined Reed’s request to downgrade his sentence.
His lawyers also have filed a petition with the US Supreme Court, seeking a stay of execution.