Friday, 5 February 2016

Taliban kill 11-year old war hero

Wasil Ahmad, an 11-year-old Afghan boy who had been praised for his bravery in leading security forces in battle against the Taliban was killed by the militants this week, Afghan authorities said.

Despite his age and national and international laws prohibiting the use of children in warfare, Wasil had distinguished himself on the battlefield last year, Samad, the boy’s uncle, told CNN.

Wasil Ahmad had commanded a police unit for 43 days as it fought to repel a deadly 71-day Taliban siege last year, according to his uncle Mullah Samad, an Afghan Local Police commander in the Khas Uruzgan district of Uruzgan province.

Gunmen on motorbikes shot the boy in the head Monday at a market in Tarin Kowt, the provincial capital of Uruzgan province, said Dost Mohammad Nayab, spokesman for the province’s governor.

Wasil was taken to a local hospital, then transferred to a better-equipped hospital in Kandahar, where he died of his injuries, Nayab said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing on its website Monday.

Wasil had only recently returned to civilian life, enrolling in school in Tarin Kowt last year after surviving the brutal Taliban siege in Khas Uruzgan, Nayab said.

He said Wasil, who lost his father in fighting with the Taliban, had asked him more than a year ago how to use machine guns.
“I asked him why did he want to learn. He told me that he wanted to take revenge from those (who) had killed his father,” Samad said.

Baba Ijebu house demolished in Lagos State

As part of the on-going exercise to curb the spate of building collapse, Lagos State Government, yesterday, demolished a four storey-building owned by the founder of the popular Premier Lotto, popularly known as “Baba Ijebu,” Sir Kensington Adebutu, in order to avert possible loss of lives and property in the area.

The building located at No 6, Campbell Street, Lagos Island was formerly used as party secretariat by the Action Congress, (now All progressives Congress) and law firms. But the building was vacated 10 years ago when the residents discovered crack wall on the building.

It was learned that Adebutu bought the building few years ago but was still deliberating with his staff on how to judiciously use the building.

Vanguard gathered that the building was sealed by the Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, twice to allow the owner embark on Structural Stability Test, SST, before embarking on manual demolition exercise which commenced on October 16th, 2015 and December 22, 2015.

Mr. Sheye Olofin, Manager Omega Homes, the building adjacent to Adebutu’s building, lamented that they work with fear daily because “the slabs from the building often drop on one’s head. Infact, our cleaner was injured by one of the slab from the building.”

Narrating their ordeal since the building became defective, Olofin said, “When we noticed that parts of the building had started falling down, we called the owner of the building but nothing was done.

“It kept destroying our property often but that wasn’t our major concern. Our concern was the life that could be lost if it was allowed to collapse. And that was why we decided to write to the owner of the building.

“Few months after, he sent a team to investigate our claims last year. When they came, they discovered that the alarm raised was true. We had been complaining over the state of the building over four years to the owner. We are happy that the government has finally come to demolish it,” he added.

The LASBCA General Manager, Olusola Adeigbe said that the responsibility of the agency was to monitor building in the state and identify distressed building, saying “We demolish buildings that have over 90 percent of likelihood of collapsing.”

Adeigbe who was represented at the scene by Mr. Felix Olowojoba, Director of Enforcement, said, “When we detect building that are defective and could collapse any moment, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that such building does not cave in to avoid loss of life.

“Over the years, we have had the report of falling of its concrete. We recommended that the building should undergo SST to assist LASBCA to ascertain its structural integrity. The report that came out was not favorable. The report showed that the building is over burdened and distressed.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Syrian rebels getting their ass kicked

Offensive by forces loyal to President Assad takes Shia towns after three-year siege as Geneva peace talks called off.

Syria's army and its allies have broken a three-year rebel siege of two Shia towns in northwest Syria, the government and rebel groups said, cutting off a main supply route to nearby Turkey.

The breakthrough comes after days of rapid military gains north of the major city of Aleppo, with Russian air strikes playing a key role in the advance.

The two towns of Nubul and Zahraa, with an estimated 60,000 population, are connected to the border by areas under the control of Kurdish militias that provided access.

The Levant Front rebel group said the siege was broken "after three days of legendary resistance by the revolutionaries facing the Russian military machine, and after more than 500 raids by Russian air planes", Reuters news agency reported

Abu Khedir parents: Jail sentences not enough

Two Israelis convicted of abducting and burning Mohammed Abu Khdeir alive given life and 21 years, respectively.

The parents of a Palestinian teenager burned alive by Israelis in the lead-up to the 2014 war on Gaza have denounced an Israeli court for not giving two offenders life sentences.

The court on Thursday announced that one Israeli has beensentenced to life in prison, while another was given 21 years in prison for the abduction and subsequent murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir in East Jerusalem.
It is estimated that the pair will spend less than 20 years in prison, after parole and possible sentence reductions are taken into account.

Senior Al-Qaeda leader killed by US drone

Jalal Baleedi, a field commander in the country's south, was killed with his guards in Shabwa province.

One of al-Qaeda's senior commanders was killed by a US drone strike in southern Yemen, a military source told Al Jazeera.

Fighters belonging to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) were preparing to receive the body of Jalal Baleedi, also known as Hamza al-Marqashi, after he was killed overnight with two of his guards near the town of Azzan, the source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Thursday.

Reuters news agency also reported another US drone attack that killed six alleged al-Qaeda fighters in their car travelling in Yemen's southern Shabwa province.
Al-Qaeda fighters took over Azzan on Monday, and it has become the group's stronghold in Shabwa.

Originally from Yemen's mountainous Abyan province, Baleedi was identified in 2004 by the Yemen Times as being the field commander of AQAP in the southern governorates of Abyan, Shabwa, Lahj, Hadramout, and al- Beidha.

Recent reports suggested Baleedi pledged allegiance to and joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group with several other AQAP fighters, becoming the leader of ISIL in Yemen.

However, the reports were not confirmed by ISIL nor by AQAP.

Source: Al Jazeera