Radical leftist dies in prison
The ex-leader of an armed leftist group from the 1970s has died while on death row, having been in jail since her 1972 arrest over the savage killings of 14 fellow radicals, reports said yesterday. Hiroko Nagata, 65, a central figure in the now-defunct United Red Army, died late on Saturday due to multiple organ failure, Jiji Press and other news outlets said, quoting the Justice Ministry. In August 1971, Nagata conspired with another member to kill two people who had tried to leave the group. Over the following year she and the United Red Army’s chairman led the horrific group killings of another 12 members who were deemed not revolutionary enough.
Taliban condemn death
Taliban extremists condemned an Afghan inmate’s death at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp as a “clear indicator” of US human rights violations and “brutal behavior,” US-based monitors said Saturday. Awal Gul, who was held at Guantanamo for nearly nine years over alleged links to the Taliban and al-Qaeda collapsed and died on Tuesday of “apparent natural causes” after exercising on an elliptical machine, the US military said. In a statement posted on its Web site in Pashto on Friday and in English on Saturday, the Afghan Taliban called Gul an “eminent commander” and blamed his death on the “bestiality of the American rulers,” according to SITE Intelligence Group monitors.
Mineral deal with China set
Pyonygang will sign an agreement this month to allow Chinese companies to explore its potentially vast mineral wealth, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said yesterday. Yonhap said officials of the two countries will sign a deal in Beijing on Feb. 15, a day before the birthday of Pyongyang’s leader Kim Jong-il. Seoul estimates the total value of mineral deposits in the North at US$6.3 trillion. “The agreement contains a specific list of mines to be developed ... including gold, anthracite coal and rare earth mineral mines,” Yonhap quoted a source familiar with the North’s affairs as saying. Under the agreement the nations will open a Hong Kong-based firm to seek investment from private Chinese companies, the source was quoted as saying.
Official fears for peace talks
The chief government negotiator said yesterday he was “seriously concerned” after a feared rebel commander broke from the main Islamic separatist group ahead of peace talks. Ameril Umbrakato’s split from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) could compromise talks between the government and the rebels, negotiator Marivic Leonen said. He is due to meet his MILF counterparts on Wednesday to reopen the stalled talks. Umbrakato quit the rebel organization seven months ago, taking at least a thousand fighters with him.
Hamas commander returns
A senior Hamas commander returned home on Saturday after breaking out of a Cairo jail during the political upheaval in Egypt, sources in the Palestinian Islamist movement said. They said Ayman Nofal had been arrested in the Egyptian Sinai in early 2008. Five other Palestinian militants who had been held at Abu Zaabal prison in Cairo made their way back to Gaza last week, using smuggling tunnels to circumvent Egyptian border controls. Abu Zaabal was raided during anti--government protests on Saturday.
Women protest in Riyadh