Tripoli :Fighting between rival groups in Libya’s capital has killed at least 96 people since August 26, with civilians among the casualties, authorities have said.
Libya’s Tripoli-based Health Ministry, in a statement , said 11 people, including five civilians, were killed on Thursday night as battles raged between militias aligned to the UN-backed government and from two nearby towns.
A resident told DPA news agency that some families were trapped in their homes due to the heavy exchange of fire while some refused to leave due to fears of looting.
Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed, reporting from Tripoli, said the sound of gunfire echoed across “many parts of the capital” on Friday with aid agencies fearing for the civilians stranded by the violence.
“Aid agencies have been trying to reach out to families stuck in areas in or near the fighting,” he said, adding that the clashes caused lasting damage to a power plant with several areas in the capital suffering from power cuts.
Fighting has mainly taken place in the southern Salah al-Din district and along the road leading to Tripoli airport, which has been closed for years.
The fighting violated a September 4 UN-brokered ceasefire deal and underscores Libya’s lingering lawlessness since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.
“The is the third time the UN-brokered ceasefire agreement has been breached with each side accusing the other of violating the terms of the agreement,” said Abdelwahed.
Tripoli-based militias loyal to the internationally recognised government say the fighting is aimed at expelling “criminals and outsiders” from the cities of Tarhouna and Misrata, Abdelwahed said.
“Meanwhile, the Seventh Infantry Brigade from the town of Tarhouna and its allies from Misrata say they are trying to rid the capital of militias that are blackmailing state institutions and imposing royalty fees on banks,” he added.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has described the situation in the north African country as “desperate”, with the fighting, collapsed economy and destruction of infrastructure leaving hundreds of thousands of people “increasingly vulnerable”.
“Seven years of war in Libya has driven over 500,000 people to flee their homes,” the ICRC said in a tweet.
“For Libyans trying to return home, there’s not always much to return to. Houses, schools are often destroyed completely.”
The group also cited the sabotaging of health facilities, water and electricity supplies, as well as the dangers of unexploded remnants.
In biggest drug haul, 150-kg heroin seized in Delhi
NEW DELHI: In the biggest ever narcotics haul in the national capital to date, Delhi Police Special Cell seized about 150 kilograms of Afghan-origin heroin, exposing an Afghan-Pakistan narcotics cartel in the process. Five persons, including two Afghanistan nationals, were arrested.
The international market value of the seized heroin is over Rs 600 crores, police told.
The police busted the heroin reconstitution and processing unit which was functional at the time of the arrests. Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Corolla Altis and other luxury vehicles, used to transport the Afghan heroin in Delhi, have also been seized.
The two Afghan nationals – Shinwari Rehmat (30) and Akhtar Mohammad Shinwari (31) – are chemical expert who were handling the production. The other accomplices have been identified as Vakeel Ahmed (36), Raees Khan (43), and Dheeraj (21), who worked for the Afghans in Delhi, reported IANS news agency.
With this major drug haul, the Modus Operandi (MO) of another trans-national narcotic cartel has been exposed.
“A team of Special Cell during separate raids on Wednesday and Thursday initially arrested Dheeraj, a native of Haryana and Raees Khan, a resident of Maharani Bagh when they assembled at Ashram flyover with 60 kgs of heroin,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Manishi Chandra told IANS.
The accused disclosed the names of two Afghan nationals who were then arrested from their hideout in Zakir Nagar with another 60 kgs heroin and another accused Vakeel Ahmed with 30 kgs of heroin.
“At a site in Zakir Nagar, a huge amount of preparatory and precursor chemical agents, solutions and implements etc were also found. Also, a semi-industrial set up of relatively sophisticated design was found almost operational. The entire premises were sealed,” he added.
During interrogation, police stumbled upon a intricate method that uses jute bags to transport the drug. The crude heroin is first dissolved in a preservative solution. Jute gunny bags, meant to transport spices and condiments, are then soaked and dried in this heroin solution. After emptying the contents, the jute sack is again dipped in another chemical that helps creates the heroin residue.
“Vakeel Ahmed disclosed that with the expertise gained by years of clandestine operations, the Af-Pak drug cartels have recently adopted this novel modus operandi whereby crude heroin is dissolved in a preservative solution and ordinary jute bags, meant for carrying various kinds of spices and condiments, are soaked and dried in this heroin solution,” said Chandra.
Indian masterminds of the syndicate have been identified and efforts are on to nab them, Chandra said.
Nehru, Sardar Patel, Bapu appealed Muslims to not migrate to Pak: Azam Khan
New Delhi: In another controversial statement, Samajwadi Party MP Azam Khan said on Saturday that Muslims in the country are being punished for their decision to not go migrate to Pakistan after the partition in 1947.
“Why our ancestors did not go to Pakistan? Well, they considered India as their nation. This is our fault. Maulana Azad, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and even Bapu had appealed Muslims to not migrate to Pakistan,” he said when asked about his views on growing incidents of mob lynching.
Khan, an MP from Rampur in Uttar Pradesh, claimed that Muslims have not been able to live a dignified life in the country. “We have been living a very disgusting life since 1947, and we are very ashamed of it,” he said.
He also alleged that the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh is fabricating land dispute cases against him because he managed to defeat BJP candidate Jaya Prada in the Lok Sabha elections.
The state government recently put Khan’s name on anti-land mafia portal after several complaints were registered against him for allegedly grabbing lands in Rampur, his home district.
Khan, a former state Cabinet minister, is known for his controversial remarks. During the Lok Sabha elections, he said Jaya Prada wears khaki underwear, a reference to her alleged affiliation with the RSS.
“I won the election against powerful people despite their several tactics. I am being punished for that mistake. The Rampur district magistrate went to counting stations wearing a saffron shirt and harassed voters. Still, I emerged victorious,” he said.
Centre, Assam move SC seeking extension of deadline for final NRC
New Delhi: The Centre and the Assam government on Friday moved the Supreme Court seeking extension of the July 31 deadline for finalisation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The Centre told a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that India could not be the refugee capital of the world.
The Union and state governments also sought sample verification of the citizens included in the NRC, saying lakhs of people had been wrongly included in areas bordering Bangladesh due to involvement of local officers.
The first draft of the NRC for Assam was published on the intervening night of December 31, 2017 and January 1, 2018 in accordance with the top court’s direction. Names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated then.
Assam, which had faced influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC which was first prepared in 1951.