A group of 275 children and women rescued from Boko Haram extremists by Nigeria’s military have arrived at a refugee camp after a three-day journey to safety.
They came from the Sambisa Forest, the last stronghold of the Islamic extremists, where the military said it has rescued more than 677 girls and women and destroyed more than a dozen insurgent camps in the past week.
Two newborns were among the first arrivals.
“Boko Haram killed the father of this child,” Lami Musa told The Associated Press, cradling a four-day-old girl with black curls glistening with sweat in the 40C (104F) heat.
A police team from Nepal has pulled out the bodies of about 50 people, including some foreign trekkers, from an avalanche-hit area, officials say, as the death toll from last month’s devastating earthquake climbed to more than 7,000.
None of the bodies have been identified, deputy superintendent of police in the northern district of Rasuwa, Pravin Pokharel, said.
Mr Pokharel, who led the police team, said the bodies were pulled out on Saturday (local time), a week after the earthquake, and rescuers would return to the remote area on Sunday.
Some of the relief material for survivors of Nepal’s devastating earthquake was being held up at the country’s only international airport because of customs bottlenecks, the United Nations said on Saturday, as the death toll from the disaster passed 6,600.
Nepal exempted tarpaulins and tents from import taxes on Friday, but U.N. Resident Representative Jamie McGoldrick told Reuters the government had to loosen customs restrictions further to deal with the increasing flow of relief material.
“They should not be using peacetime customs methodology,” he said. Material was piling up at the Kathmandu airport instead of being ferried out to victims, McGoldrick said.
There was no immediate response from the government but Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat had appealed to international donors on Friday to send tents, tarpaulins and basic food supplies, saying some of the items received were of no use.
Around 30 graves belonging to Myanmar and Bangladeshi migrants have been recovered in southern Thailand. The area is frequented by human traffickers who run camps for migrants.
Thai police on Friday found at least 30 graves containing the bodies of possible Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Thousands of persecuted Rohingya Muslims, who have been fleeing Myanmar’s Rakhine state since 2012, are brought by smugglers and arrive in Thailand every year (pictured above).
“There are at least 30 graves that have been place marked. We exhumed four bodies today and will continue to exhume bodies,” Police Colonel Anuchon Chamat told the Reuters news agency by telephone.
Around 160 women and children believed to have been abducted by Boko Haram extremists in Nigeria have been rescued by the Nigerian army, according to media reports Thursday.
It follows the rescue Tuesday of 200 girls and 93 women by the country’s armed forces.
A statement from Sani Usman, the Nigerian army spokesman, said several people including a female hostage and a soldier died in shootouts in nine extremist camps in the huge Sambisa Forest in the northeast of the country, the Associated Press reported. He said some of those freed had opened fire on their rescuers.
A long-absent noise — cheers — rang out in Nepal’s capital Thursday as rescuers pulled a teenager alive from the earthquake rubble he had been trapped in for five days. The joy interrupted a dreary and still fearful day in which thousands worried about aftershocks lined up to board free buses to their rural hometowns.
Crowds cheered as the 18-year-old, identified by police as Pemba Tamang, was pulled out of the wreckage, dazed and dusty, and carried away on a stretcher. He had been trapped under the collapsed debris of a seven-story building in Kathmandu since Saturday, when the magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck.
Nepalese rescuers, supported by an American disaster response team, had been working for hours to free him. L.B. Basnet, the police officer who crawled into a gap to reach Tamang, said he was surprisingly responsive.
Nigeria’s military says it has rescued 200 girls and 93 women from Boko Haram in the northeastern Sambisa Forest but they do not include any of the schoolgirls kidnapped a year ago from Chibok.
The army announced the rescue on Twitter Tuesday and said it is now screening and profiling the girls and women.
Army spokesman Col. Sani Usman told The Associated Press that troops destroyed and cleared four militant camps and rescued 200 abducted girls and 93 women “but they are not the Chibok girls.”
The Iranian military on Tuesday seized a Western cargo ship in the Persian Gulf, the Pentagon said, roiling markets. () Warning shots were fired but no injuries were reported, a shipping agency said.
The Pentagon said the Marshall Islands-flagged Maersk Tigris did not have any U.S. citizens aboard and was traveling through the Strait of Hormuz when the confrontation occurred.
Al Arabiya, the Saudi news network, initially reported that a U.S. vessel has been fired on and steered to the Bandar Abbas port by Iran. Iran’s Fars News Agency also reported that an “American trade vessel” had been confiscated.
The Pentagon said it was reviewing its U.S. defense obligations to the Marshall Islands after the seizure. It also called the Iranian firing of warning shots at the ship “inappropriate.”
The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Monday accused Saudi Arabia of treachery against the Islamic world and compared the kingdom to Israel, the official IRNA news agency reported.
“Today, the treacherous Saudis are following in Israel’s footsteps,” Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari was quoted as saying.
“Saudi Arabia is shamelessly and disgracefully bombing and mass killing a nation that is fighting against the arrogant system,” or world powers, he said. He was apparently referring to Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been waging a monthlong air campaign against Iran-supported rebels, known as Houthis.
Iran has provided the Houthis with political and humanitarian support but denies arming them. The Houthis seized the capital, Sanaa, last year, and Yemen’s internationally recognized president has fled the country.
International rescue crews and relief agencies are beginning to arrive in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, two days after a massive earthquake rattled the country, killing more than 3,600 people and injuring several thousand others.
VOA correspondent Steve Herman is on his way to the capital aboard a flight carrying 70 members of Japan’s national search and rescue team. Because of the “congestion” caused by a number of military planes attempting to land at Kathmandu’s airport, his plane could not land and was re-routed to Kolkata for re-fueling.
Herman said the flight has been warned to expect a “chaotic situation” at Kathmandu’s airport with a control tower that is evacuated during aftershocks and where people who are trying to leave the country have taken to the tarmac.
Oxfam executive Helen Szoke told VOA that the earthquake has given Nepal what she described as a “double hit.” She said the country’s destroyed infrastructure will not support the tourism industry that Nepal depends on. Szoke said this is something that often occurs in these “humanitarian tragedies.”