Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Heavy rain suspends search for 5 miners

Intermittent heavy rain forced the search for five miners trapped inside a mining pit of Semirara Mining Corp. in Caluya, Antique, to be suspended, an official said Monday.

Rescuers stopped their search after two landslides occurred near the west wall pit.

The bodies of five miners have been recovered beneath the rubble after the west wall of the Pani-an pit caved in on the night of Feb. 13, trapping 13 people.

“Retrieval operations are temporarily suspended due to the rainy weather,” said Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr.

He said the miners who remained trapped had a slim chance of survival, though he was hoping an air pocket would allow them to breathe.

A left arm from a still unidentified miner was recovered after it was seen floating near the Pani-an pit.

The police investigators who were sent to the site to determine what caused the coal pit to collapse were still to file a report, but it appeared that whatever caused it was aggravated by the heavy downpour.

Semirara Mining Corp. on Monday said the operations at the Pani-an site remained suspended as the company and government authorities continued to search for the five missing miners.

The company said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange that dogs had been called in to aid in the search.

“Further, the company has guaranteed financial, employment, scholarship and livelihood assistance to the families of those involved,” Semirara said.

Tuesday 19 February 2013


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Yemeni military plane crashes in capital Sanaa, 12 dead

A Yemeni air force plane crashed in the capital Sanaa on Tuesday, killing at least 12 people, security sources said.

State news agency Saba said three women and two children were among those killed when the plane, on a training flight, came down in a western residential district. Eleven people were wounded, security sources said.

Pictures of the crash on social media sites showed one body near burning wreckage of the aircraft. Several cars were on fire and debris littered the street.

A security official said the pilot had ejected from the plane. There was no immediate word on whether he had survived.

"It's terrible and painful," resident Abdullah al-Ashwal said. "The police and medics evacuated five completely burned bodies, they were all unrecognisable."

Abdulsattar Mohammed said he saw a plane burning near houses that were also set on fire. "People were terrified and ambulances arrived late," he said.

A military official said the plane was a Russian SU-22 fighter/ground attack aircraft.

Yemen has 30 SU-22s and four SU-22UM3s in an air force with 79 capable aircraft in all, according to the 2012 Military Balance handbook issued by the International Institute of Strategic Studies.

In November 2012, a Yemeni military transport plane crashed near Sanaa airport and burst into flames, killing all 10 people aboard.

Tuesday 19 February 2013


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Ezu River mystery: Bodies belong to executed Kidnappers

The mystery surrounding the dead bodies found floating in the Ezu River, Anambra State has finally been unraveled. The bodies belong to suspected kidnappers who have been terrorizing the South-East zone.

Investigation revealed that leaders of the zone have been greatly disturbed by the unbridled activities of notorious indigenes of the zone who have decided to derive pleasure from snatching their kith and kin for money. And in order to curb this activity, the leaders reached an unwritten agreement which is to deal with apprehended suspect extra-judicially.

Some of the states in the zone including Anambra made their House of Assembly to pass an Edict making kidnapping punishable by death.

But the law as developments would later prove has not deterred the men prone to this cruel means of making money from engaging in their terrifying activities.

It would be recalled that to press matter home, some 1000 indigene of Anambra staged a protest complaining to the State Government the effect of the activities of these men is having on their means of daily survival. Because of the rate of this nefarious crime, most children of the state living abroad have refused to come home for visits thus denying them access to much needed foreign currency useful in their daily upkeep. The protesters which included women and children cried to the Governor to find means of dealing with the issue.

Investigation revealed that most of the bodies belonged to suspected kidnappers arrested between October and November last year. And reluctant to follow the long route of prosecution, the state in connivance with the security decided to terminate the lives of these men.

Although, the initial plan was to conduct a mass burial, the men charged with the task later changed their mind in view to the task involved. But their solution has since backfired with the whole world wanting to know what triggered the dumping of such a number of bodies in the river.

Insiders informed that recent police denial of the claims made the by the Movement for the Actualization of The Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) that some of the dead bodies were its members was not far from the truth but that associations do at times cut across and that some MASSOB members might have had links with kidnappers in the region, and that some existing MASSOB members may still have.

It would be recalled that the police boss in the state, Ballah Nasarawa, on February 12, 2013, no member of the movement was either killed or dumped in Ezu River by the Police.

While briefing newsmen at the police headquarters located in Amawbia, Nasarawa revealed that the names mentioned by MASSOB as some of its missing members were not in the records of the state command, adding that as far as the police were concerned, MASSOB remained a proscribed body by the government.

He said, “As far as Anambra state police command is concerned, MASSOB had been proscribed by government and must remain so. Therefore, any person that hides under the protection of MASSOB, or any illegal organization for that matter, and commits any criminal act, will be arrested and prosecuted'.

He stressed that that the command was putting the records straight, adding that all suspected criminals arrested under the guise of MASSOB were dully charged to courts.

Earlier at the beginning of the debacle, the Civil Liberties organization (CLO) in Anambra State had accused the Anambra State Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of complicity in the discovery of 50 dead bodies floating in a river in the state.

The State Chairman, Comrade Aloysius Attah and Secretary, Comrade Justus Ijeoma in a press statement pointed accusing finger at the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) saying they contended that litanies of extra judicial killings have been rampant in the state insisting that government should investigate the activities of the body.

But the State Police Command through the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Mr. Emeka Chukwuemeka denied the allegation, describing it as untrue and added that there were no bullet wounds on the bodies of the corpses.

Chukwuemeka stressed that an autopsy is already been carried out by a team of specialist on the bodies and that such insinuations would affect investigation into the matter.

The villagers of the small and obscure town of Amansea located at the border of Enugu and Anambra State woke up to discover dead bodies of able bodied young men floating on their river known as 'Ezu River' which empties into Anambra River from Agba Ogwudu River in Enugu State. Information gathered by National Daily then revealed that some villagers went to fetch water from the river in the morning only to discover dead bodies floating slowly, with some wedged on the banks of the river. After counting up to 50 bodies, they quickly alerted their traditional ruler, Igwe Kenneth Okonkwo who mobilized his cabinet for an emergency meeting after which the state government and the police was contacted. According to the traditional ruler who looked dazed, “I have never seen this kind of incident; in fact I do not know how to describe it. Able bodied men wasted and dumped in our river major source of water for us and other communities close to us. I cannot say actually how many bodies that were dumped inside the river but all I know is that they are too many,” he said.

The CLO had further claimed that one Olisa Ifedika who is said to be a kidnapping kingpin in the state and his gang who were arrested and has been in custody of the police is among the dead bodies found at Ezu River.

“We scrutinized the bodies and saw a mark with which he is known,” a source told National Daily but the according to the police PPRO, Mr. Emeka Chukwuemeka, the suspect is alive and in their custody where “he is helping police with investigations,” he said.

The CLO demanded that if the police are sincere in what they are saying they should present the suspects to the public; a demand that has not been met as at the time of writing this report.

Out of the total number of twenty two decomposing bodies evacuated from the river, 19 were earlier given a mass burial close to the river, but the uncertainty surrounding the deaths necessitated that three out of the lot were taken for autopsy procedures on them.

National Daily investigation gathered that following the accusations by the CLO on the state police command, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubaker, dispatched pathologists from the Police Force Headquarters, Abuja to be part of the team to forestall foul play.

The bodies were taken to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, for the autopsy.

The police established that of all the deceased victims, none was a female adding that while some wore only singlet, others wore only pants with some others boxers. Nasarawa also confirmed that there were no gun injuries or machete cuts on their bodies as earlier speculated. Nasarawa stated further that investigations were still continuing on the matter, assuring that the police would be providing additional information on the matter as they became available.

Attempt by National Daily to visit the site of the exhumation near the Ezu River was stalled as the police cordoned off the area and refused anybody from gaining access. It also directed all enquiries to either the State Commissioner for Health or the Commissioner of Police but, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ikeako said he was yet to be briefed by the team of pathologists. He also explained that the bodies had gone so bad, having been buried for over one week and urged those seeking information on the matter to be patient until he had adequate information to give on the findings of the autopsy. Ikeako noted that the state government had already picked a bill of N1.5 million from the morticians and those who evacuated the bodies, even as more bills were being expected for the autopsy proper and embalmment.

National Daily learnt that the bodies were dumped from the top of the bridge at Amansea into the river few days before the shilling discovery and the question on the lips of people of Amansea and beyond is; when will the truth behind the dumped dead bodies be told?.

According to the men sent by the traditional ruler of Amansea, Igwe Kenneth Okonkwo to find out what happened; they said they saw traces of what looked like blood on the bridge, even as there was no sign of scuffle in the area. In their thinking, the victims were killed elsewhere and brought to the river where they were dumped but the police on their part said there were no bullet wounds on the victims' bodies.

Tuesday 19 February 2013


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Accident claims 16 lives on Jigawa /Kano Road

A motor accident at Durbundai village in Takai Local Council of Kano State, which is some a few kilometres from Jigawa State, has claimed not less than 16 people, members of the same family and indigenes of Waza village in Birninkudu Local Council of Jigawa state.

The accident, which occurred on Saturday, an eye-witness confirmed, also injured seven persons, who are receiving treatment at Rasheed Shekoni Special Hospital Dutse.

The eyewitness told The Guardian that the two vehicles, a Toyota Siena and Ford bus, which were coming from opposite directions, had a head on collision, claiming the lives of 11 passengers instantly.

Continuing, he stated that there were two occupants in the Toyota, a male and female, adding that he could not ascertain the number of passengers in the Ford bus but he indicated that the bus was over-loaded.

The Birninkudu Local Council Chairman, Alhaji Khali Ibrahim confirmed the accident. He said the victims were on their way to Tsangaya village of Albasu Local Council in Kano State to attend a wedding Fatiya of their relation.

Ibrahim explained that “when the accident occurred, 11 people died on the spot, adding that three died later in the hospital same Saturday and on Sunday morning, another two also passed on.

The chairman explained further that the nine dead bodies received mass burial at Waza village while two were buried at Unguwar Bashe village, a few kilometres to Waza.

The Chairman promised to foot the medical bills of those admitted in Rasheed Shekoni Specialist hospital

Governor Sule Lamido has visited the injured victims at the hospital and has also paid condolence visits to the families of the deceased.

Tuesday 19 February 2013


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Australia-bound refugees 'dumped bodies at sea'

A boatload of Myanmar refugees rescued from a sinking wooden vessel off Sri Lanka's east coast after two months at sea had been trying to reach Australia, police say.

Shocking pictures have emerged of the boat people, who were plucked to safety by Sri Lanka's navy at the weekend and taken to the southern port of Galle where they were rushed to hospital to be treated for dehydration and starvation.

A Myanmar embassy spokesman said 32 people were rescued, although initial reports from naval units had suggested there were 38.

The group comprising 31 adult males and a boy had been at sea without food for 21 days when the navy rescued them after being informed by a local fishing boat.

Survivors have told local newspapers there were 130 passengers at the beginning of the journey, and 98 died on the way with their bodies dumped to sea.

They said they were planning to go to Australia after their attempt to enter Malaysia failed.

"We have been told of 32 people rescued and we are waiting to speak to them," embassy spokesman Aung Soe Moe said.

Sri Lankan police said the rescued boat people claimed they were in a group of 130 who set out in three boats just over two months ago with the intention of reaching Australia.

The fate of the others was not known.

Saturday's rescue was the second in less than two weeks.

On February 3, the navy rescued 138 Bangladeshi and Myanmar nationals from a sinking boat. One passenger was found dead.

Local police officials said it was unclear if those identified as Myanmar nationals were Rohingya - members of a stateless Muslim minority described by the UN as one of the world's most persecuted groups - who had fled the country.

An explosion of tensions between Buddhist and Muslim communities in Myanmar's western state of Rakhine since June 2012 has triggered a seaborne exodus of Rohingya.

Tuesday 19 February 2013


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