Suspected Marxist rebels massacred 16 peasants, including women and children, in a remote area in lawless Arauca Province, police said on Saturday. \nThe attack by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, happened Friday night less than an hour before the New Year arrived in the village of Puerto San Salvador, 380km northeast of Bogota, Arauca police chief Colonel Rodrigo Palacio said. \n Accusations \nThe FARC had accused the peasants of collaborating with right-wing paramilitary militias, Palacio said. Among the dead were six women and four children, he said. \nA witness had originally told police that 17 people were killed, but when police arrived, they found that 16 were dead. It took police a while to reach the area, which is only accessible by boat. \nThe FARC, a smaller leftist rebel group and the outlawed paramilitary fighters of the United Self-Defense Forces, or AUC, have long battled to take control of Arauca, one of Colombia's most violent provinces that is a strategic corridor for smuggling drugs and arms from across the border in Venezuela. \nThe province is also rich in oil and these illegal groups have become rich syphoning royalties paid to the Colombian government by multinational oil companies. \nThe AUC is involved in a peace process with the government and has demobilized more than 3,000 fighters this year. The FARC has shunned government offers to start negotiations. \nExtradition \nThe massacre came the same day that President Alvaro Uribe took the unprecedented step of extraditing a top FARC commander to the US on drug trafficking and terrorism charges. The move has raised fears of reprisal attacks. \nColombia's armed forces chief put his troops on high alert after Ricardo Palmera, a former FARC peace negotiator believed to have been heavily involved in the group's financial operations, became the first FARC leader to be sent for trial in a US federal court. \nThe extradition came after the FARC failed to comply with an ultimatum from Uribe to free 63 hostages, including three Americans. \nColombia's 40-year-old conflict kills more than 3,000 people every year.
India has moved additional troops along its northern border as it prepares for an extended conflict with China, after several rounds of talks failed to ease tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. China has already placed about 5,000 soldiers and armored vehicles within its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh region, an Indian government official said, asking not to be identified, citing rules. India is adding a similar number of troops as well as artillery guns along the border to fend off the continuing incursions by the Chinese army, the official said. The standoff began on May 5, when troops clashed
CLOSELY TRACKED: A US officer said that the warplanes were watched as they flew from Russia by way of Iran and Syria to Libya and were photographed multiple times The US Africa Command flatly rejected Russian claims that Moscow did not deploy fighter jets to Libya, saying on Friday that the 14 aircraft flown in reflect Russia’s long-term goal to establish a foothold in the region that could threaten NATO allies. US Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, deputy director of intelligence, said that the US tracked the MiG-29s and Su-24 fighter bombers flown in by Russian military, passing through Iran and Syria before landing at Libya’s al-Jufra air base. The base is the main forward airfield for Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army, which has been waging an
Singapore’s otters, long adored by the city-state’s nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the COVID-19 lockdown, but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. With the streets empty, the creatures have been spotted hanging out by a shopping center, scampering through the lobby of a hospital and even feasting on pricey fish stolen from a pond. While many think of tiny Singapore as a densely populated concrete jungle, it is also relatively green for a busy Asian city, and has patches of rainforest, fairly clean waterways and abundant wildlife. There are estimated to be about
Indonesian officials are forcing people who break social distancing rules to recite Koran verses, stay in “haunted” houses and submit to public shaming on social media as the country battles to contain surging novel coronavirus infections. The Southeast Asian archipelago began deploying about 340,000 troops across two dozen cities to oversee enforcement of measures aimed at halting transmission of the disease, such as wearing masks in public. However, provincial leaders are buttressing these efforts with their own zealous campaigns to fight the coronavirus. Police in western Bengkulu Province have assembled a 40-person squad to find lockdown scofflaws and force them to wear