|W O R L D||
Sunday, August 15, 1999
4 Russian soldiers killed
Armed supporters of Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden guard the anti-United States rally on Friday, Aug 13, 1999 in Lahore. Partcipants are chanting slogans in favour of Laden, who is wanted by United States government claiming his involvement in bombings of American embassies in Nairobi and Tanzania. Laden is hiding in Afghanistan. AP/PTI
Laden for trial: USA
USA drags its feet on world
4 Russian soldiers killed in Dagestan
MOSCOW, Aug 14 (AFP) Four soldiers were killed and 13 injured overnight in Dagestans southwest, where Russia mounted an offensive against Islamic rebels using helicopter gunships and combat aircraft, official reports said today.
The casualty report, carried by the Interfax news agency, was the first to be given by the Russain Interior Ministry since the offensive was announced yesterday against the fighters who have invaded its southern republic of Dagestan and warned of striking their rear bases in neighbouring Chechnya.
The effectiveness of the air strikes, whose intensity had not let up during the night, was very great. The Itar-Tass news agency said quoting Dagestans Interior Ministry.
General Viktor Kazantsev, who heads the North Caucasus military region, was quoted by Moscow Echo Radio as saying that the Islamists had suffered very serious losses and were progressively being dislodged from the hills they occupied.
The fighters are suffering big losses, and we hear on our radio monitoring that (guerrilla leader Shamil) Basayev is begging in the name of Allah for reinforcements from Chechnya, Kazantsev told Moscow echo.
The operation to retake the zones of southwest Dagestan occupied for the past week by the Islamists should be over in two days, the general affirmend.
Some 1,200 fighters, according to Russian Interior Ministry figures, crossed from Chechnya into Dagestan last Saturday, seizing control of several villages and proclaiming the region an independent Islamic state.
DPA adds: Russia said on Saturday that its troops have partially surrounded the Moslem rebels fighting in Dagestan.
The rebels, most of whom infiltrated from Chechnya, had suffered heavy losses in the Tsumadi region, Russian news agency reports said.
However, the insurgents were still in a stronger position in the Border region of Botlikh.
Russian losses during the night were given as four dead and 13 wounded. There were no independent reports from the battle zone.
In addition to ground troops the Russian side was employing artillery, helicopters and jet fighters in the offensive begun on Friday.
Most of the civilian population, meanwhile, had fled from the disputed border area between Dagestan and Chechnya.
Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, has said the insurgency
would be put down by the end of the month. The Russian
forces were also authorised to fire at targets in the
breakaway Chechen republic if necessary.
Deport Laden for trial: USA
WASHINGTON, Aug 14 (AFP) The USA is negotiating with Afghanistans hardline Islamic Taliban on sending alleged terrorist Osama bin Laden to stand trial in a third country, NBC news reported on its website today.
Quoting a senior US official, NBC said Washington hoped to convince the Taliban to send Laden to either Egypt or Saudi Arabia to answer charges that he had masterminded the bombings of two US embassies in Africa, a year ago.
Abdul Hakeem Mujahid, the Talibans UN representative, told NBC news, the USA had asked that Laden be deported.
If Osama bin Laden himself wants to go to any other country, we will support the idea and even facilitate his departure to any other country, a Mujahid said.
But if Laden were to leave the shelter of the Taliban, which controls 80 per cent of Afghanistan, it is unlikely he would go to Egypt where he has been linked to a plot to kill President Hosni Mubarak or Saudi Arabia where he is suspected of involvement in a bomb attack that killed five US servicemen, reported NBC.
Liberian rebels free 96 hostages, all safe
MONROVIA, Aug 14 (Reuters) All captives, including some western aid workers, held by an armed group in Liberia have been freed, ending the regions second hostage crisis in less than two weeks, aid agencies and diplomats said today.
But as the captives walked free across the border into neighbouring Guinea after nightfall, yesterday, a third hostage crisis was reported in southern Senegal.
Alex Parisel, Director of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Belgium, said the group seized in northern Liberia on Wednesday included four Britons, an Italian and a Norwegian and about 90 other civilians, most of them thought to be Liberians.
They are quite safe and sound and tired, he told Reuters in neighbouring Ivory Coast by telephone from Brussels.
He said they had made contact with a relief team waiting for them in Guinea after crossing the border on foot.
He quoted a spokesman for the group as saying they had been treated well by the armed group that seized them, but said the identity of the group remained unclear at this stage.
He said that they seemed to have been caught in the middle of fighting in northern Liberia on Wednesday and had been taken from there to Guinea. There is a lot of tension in the area, he said, expressing concern for the plight of civilians there.
The British Foreign Office later confirmed the releases.
Proof of massacres by Pak army
DHAKA, Aug 14 (PTI) More proof of large-scale massacre of Bangladeshis by the Pakistani army during the 1971 liberation war have been found with Bangladeshi troops digging out human remains and armament bearing Pakistani inscription from a newly-discovered mass-grave in the suburbs of Dhaka, officials and news reports said.
Using mine detectors, the army personnel, who joined government workers since Thursday in the task, have recovered heavy machine guns and other military relics like bullets with inscriptions reading POF (Pakistan Ordnance Factory) and the year of manufacturing 1964-66, they said yesterday.
Parts of some weapons used by Bangladeshi freedom fighters were also recovered during the excavation, Prothom Alo daily said.
A contingent of the Bangladesh army, comprising engineers, infantry and military police personnel, continued their digging for the second day yesterday of the mass grave discovered on July 31 by workers involved in the extention on a mosque in the Mirpur area.
A 40-member team of the Bangladesh army under a lieutenant colonel joined the excavation work on the 13th day of digging following a request to the army authorities by Bangladesh Liberation Museum, which is coordinating the task.
The inter-service public relations (ISPR) of the Defence Ministry in a statement said among the objects unearthed were a piece of light olive green-coloured cardigan, a small broken portion of a 9mm machine gun, heavy machine guns, three live bullets of 303 gun and three spent bullets.
Also found were a wrist watch belt, bangle of a child, hair, about 100 small pieces of human bones, clothes and a number of teeth were recovered during the excavation by the army personnel.
Over 300 intact pieces of bones, including five skulls, four lower jawbones and parts of limb bones, have so far been found from the site.
We are now sure it is one of the mass graves of 1971 as we have found some evidence to that effect, including rubber boots used by the freedom fighters and bullet marks on the skulls, museum director Akku Chowdhury said.
The Bangladesh Observer daily, quoting defence sources, said the army personnel evolved a unique plan to remove earth from an abandoned well where the skulls, bones and other remains were found.
They would pour in water in the well and the adjacent area to dilute the mud, then pump it out and remove the relics with the help of strainers.
The remains of the bodies found at the mass grave remind us that time has come to bring the Pakistanis and their agents to the dock, said Mofidul Haq, a trustee of the museum.
The newly-discovered mass grave and other mass graves where Pakistani forces and Al-Badr and Rajakars (a term used to describe Pakistan army collaborators during the liberation war) dumped boides of Bengalis are the invincible evidence of their crime, he said.
The remains would be sent to forensic experts in Dhaka, London and New Delhi for their examination and dating, Mr Chowdhury said.
USA drags its feet on world criminal court
UNITED NATIONS, Aug 14 (Reuters) The United States of America would be driven into isolationism against its will if an international criminal court started work without taking its concerns into account, the spokesman of the Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee said.
Mr. Marc Thiessen yesterday called for 100 per cent certitude that this court is not going to be turned into a vehicle for political attacks against the United States, of America for politicised prosecutions of American soldiers and officials.
Otherwise, he told reporters at the United Nations, the biggest concern...is that that will push the United States of America into a policy of isolation, against its will.
While the United States of America would always defend its vital security interests, the first thing that is going to go overboard are humanitarian interventions, where we dont necessarily have vital national security interests, he said.
Because the United States of America had a unique position in the world and was always called on to take the lead in humanitarian, military and peacekeeping operations, it was also most liable to political attacks.
Due to these and other concerns, the United States of America was one of only seven countries to vote against the ICC statute when it was adopted with the support of 120 nations at a conference in Rome last year.
Senator Jesse Helms (Republican, North Carolina), whose Senate Foreign Relations Committee would have to consent to any US adherence to the treaty, has already warned it would be dead on arrival.
The treaty, signed so far by 84 countries and ratified by four, enters into force after being ratified by 60 states.
Unlike the existing International Court of Justice, or World Court, at The Hague, which hears cases between states, the ICC would try individuals accused of genocide war crimes crimes against humanity or aggression.
The United States of America has been trying to get changes accepted during meetings of a preparatory commission working on such issues as rules of procedure and evidence and the precise definition of each of the crimes.
First woman to face rape charge
UNITED NATIONS, Aug 14 (Reuters) For the first time in history, a woman has been charged with rape as a crime against humanity, a UN spokesman has said.
Pauline Nyiramasuhoko, a former Rwandan Minister of Family and Womens Affairs, already faces a genocide charge before the UN War Crimes Tribunal and Rwanda for her alleged part in the slaughter of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in her country in 1994.
She is also the first woman to be indicted by an international criminal tribunal, the UN spokesman said on Thursday.
The tribunal, based in Arusha, Tanzania, permitted the prosecutor on Tuesday to add the rape charge on the ground that the accused knew her subordinates were raping Tutsi women and failed to take necessary and reasonable measures to prevent or punish them.
This is a historic development as it is the first time in history that a woman has been charged with rape as a violation of international humanitarian law, the UN spokesman said, citing a statement by the tribunal.
charged jointly with her son, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali,
with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity
in genocide, crimes against humanity and serious
violations of the Geneva Convention. Both accused are in
custody at the UN detention facility in Arusha.
|Castros 73rd birthday
HAVANA: Cuban President Fidel Castro quietly celebrated his 73rd birthday on Frirday, with a trip to a childrens symphony and some low-key television and radio tributes. Television news broadcast made no mention of Castros birthday, although they broadcast pictures of his life without commentary. Radio hosts simply wished him happy birthday at the start of their broadcasts. Castro it is said not likes personal tributes, so no major party or public celebration marked the birthday of the leader of the last Communist country in the western world. AFP
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