18 Daesh fighters killed in joint operation with US in Niger

Nigerien soldiers in Diffa city. Niger is one of a number of poor, fragile countries in the Sahel region that have been hit by an extremist revolt. (Reuters)
Updated 20 June 2019

18 Daesh fighters killed in joint operation with US in Niger

  • The June 8-18 operation took place in the northern border region of Tongo Tongo targeting a gang of Daesh terrorists implicated in an ambush on May 14, in which 28 Nigerien soldiers were killed
  • In October 2017, Daesh claimed responsibility for a raid which killed four US soldiers and five Nigerien troops in the same region

NIAMEY: Eighteen members of Daesh in the Greater Sahara were killed in a joint operation by US, French and Niger troops near Niger’s border with Mali, the defense ministry said Tuesday.
The June 8-18 operation took place in the northern border region of Tongo Tongo “targeting a gang of Daesh terrorists implicated in an ambush on May 14,” in which 28 Nigerien soldiers were killed, it said.
“The toll on the enemy side is: 18 terrorists neutralized, five terrorists, of whom three are Nigerien, taken prisoner.”
There were “no human or material losses” during the operation, which was codenamed ACONIT, it said.
“Important materiel was recovered including equipment belonging to the Niger armed forces which were taken by the attackers after the ambush,” the statement said.
In October 2017, Daesh claimed responsibility for a raid which killed four US soldiers and five Nigerien troops in the same region, a mere 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Malian border.
That ambush claimed the largest number of American lives in combat anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa since the “Black Hawk Down” incident in Somalia in 1993
On June 8, a US army vehicle hit a land mine near the town of Ouallam, about 100 kilometers north of the capital Niamey, but there were no casualties.
The area is near a major training camp where Nigerien soldiers are trained to serve in a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.
Late Tuesday, gunmen attacked a police station on the northern edge of the Niger capital Niamey, killing two policemen.
Niger is one of a number of poor, fragile countries in the Sahel region that have been hit by an extremist revolt.
The United States has a big base for drones in the northern city of Agadez and Niger recently gave the Americans permission to arm their drones.
The French also have a military base near Niamey airport and another at Madama in the north.
Various insurgent groups operate in the country’s west and north, and Nigeria’s Boko Haram is present in its southeast.
The country is part of the so-called G5 Sahel group set up to manage a coordinated response to the extremist insurgency.


Riyadh’s Sri Lankan gem tycoon dies at 80

Updated 56 min 45 sec ago

Riyadh’s Sri Lankan gem tycoon dies at 80

  • Razeen Salih entered the Guinness Book of World Records for purchasing a 41.3 carat diamond for $4.6 million at a gem auction
  • He was the founder of Sri Lankan International School in Riyadh

COLOMBO: Razeen Salih, the celebrated Sri Lankan gem tycoon in Riyadh, died in India on Sunday night during a visit to the Tamil Nadu capital of Chennai.

The owner of Al-Nadeera Gem and Jewelry in Riyadh, 80-year-old Salih started his business in the Kingdom in late 1970s with his first shop, Al- Sharq Jewellers, in the Saudi capital.

In the early 1980s, Salih entered the Guinness Book of World Records for purchasing a 41.3 carat diamond for $4.6 million at a gem auction in Geneva. The diamond, “Polar Star,” was once owned by the brother of the French Emperor Napoleon, and this was thought to be the highest price paid for a piece of jewelry at the time.

Salih, a renowned philanthropist, helped to set up the Sri Lankan International School in Riyadh, which has 1300 students today.

He attended Zahira College, Colombo, during the golden era of Dr. A.M.A. Azeez’s principalship, where he was a senior prefect and also represented the college at rugger. Everybody in College adored him for his enviable personality and his courage.

The Sri Lankan Ambassador in Saudi Arabia, Azmi Thassim said that the death of Razeen Salih came as a great shock to the Sri Lankan community in the Kingdom. “He was our pride and his contributions towards the community are immeasurable. We hope and pray that Allah will give him the best place in Jannah for his valued services for the community uplift,” Thassim said.

Azad Yousuf, an accountant at a private medical hospital in Riyadh said that Salih had left a vacuum which no one else could fill it: “He was an icon in the Saudi business circle who brought Sri Lankan gems and jewelry to the Kingdom’s market.”

Salih is survived by his two daughters Aysha and Jamaaliyah.

His remains will be flown to Philadelphia, USA.