Ghost town evacuated
Residents near a privately owned New Mexico ghost town were ordered on Saturday to evacuate as a blaze in the Gila National Forest continued to burn erratically. Fire officials in New Mexico said on Saturday that the -Whitewater--Baldy Complex fire has shrunk slightly to 33,185 hectares, but is still zero percent contained because of weather conditions. The evacuation of Mogollon, a privately owned ghost town, was ordered due to extreme wind around the southwestern New Mexico fire. Four helicopters and more than 500 firefighters from around the state are on hand to fight the blaze, but have had to contend with “extreme conditions.” Cities as far away as Albuquerque remained under a health alert until yesterday afternoon because of smoke from the fire, which has spread across the state. State officials warned residents to limit outdoor activities during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Policeman killed by mob
An angry crowd in a poor neighborhood in the capital, La Paz, mistook a drunken off-duty policeman for a thief and beat him to death, the victim’s sister told ATB television on Saturday. “The neighbors confused him with a pickpocket and they lynched him. They killed him, and I want justice,” said a sobbing Rosmery Guarachi, the sister of 33-year-old Rolando Guarachi. Guarachi, a sergeant with the customs police, was dressed as a civilian and inebriated when he mistook a school for his house, which prompted the civil guard to issue a warning to residents that there was a thief in the neighborhood, his sister said. She said he was beaten for two hours on Friday in a public square in the Achacicala neighborhood. Police detained four suspects.
Militants killed in clashes
At least 22 Islamist militants were killed in overnight clashes and an airstrike in the south, where government troops are fighting rebels linked to al-Qaeda, a local official and residents said yesterday. About 15 of the dead were killed in fighting north of the militant stronghold of Jaar, a town in Abyan Province that has been controlled by the militants since last year. The al-Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law) exploited last year’s popular protests against former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to capture swathes of territory in Abyan, including the provincial capital Zinjibar. The expansion of the militants’ area of control has unsettled the US and Saudi Arabia, both targets of failed attacks by al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP), which last week claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in the capital Sana’a that killed more than 100 soldiers.