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Archive for Saturday, May 4, 2002

Briefly

May 4, 2002

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Philippines: Senior rebel leaders arrested

Police said Friday they have arrested two senior officials of the Abu Sayyaf, the al-Qaida-linked extremist group that the Philippine military is trying to destroy with American help.

The arrests reflect continued attrition by the Abu Sayyaf, which has been holding a Kansas missionary couple, Martin and Gracia Burnham, and a Filipino nurse for 11 months. Battlefield losses, arrests and surrenders have cut the group's strength to only a few dozen fighters on Basilan island, according to Philippine military estimates.

Satar Yacub, described as the No. 4 leader of the group on Basilan, was taken into custody Friday afternoon. On Thursday night, police arrested Salip Abdullah, a key aide of Abu Sayyaf chief Khadafy Janjalani.

United Nations: Progress made in Iraq talks

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan reported progress during meetings with Iraq's foreign minister that ended Friday and said he hopes at the next round of talks within a month Iraq will have "some positive news."

The three-day meeting focused on Iraq's disarmament and the return of U.N. weapons inspectors after three years, a key demand of the U.N. Security Council and especially the United States, which has accused Iraq of trying to rebuild its banned weapons programs and of supporting terrorism.

"We did move forward," Annan told reporters after briefing the Security Council on the talks. "I hope once they've reported back ... they can take some decisions and come back to us with some positive news."

Cuba: New group of prisoners arrives at Guantanamo Bay

Thirty-two more suspected terrorists arrived Friday at this Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, but American officials would not say whether the suspects were detained during the war in Afghanistan.

The new arrivals boosted the prison population at this military outpost in eastern Cuba to 363, representing at least 34 nationalities.

A group of 32 prisoners also arrived on Wednesday.

Bangladesh: Many feared drowned after ferry sinks in river

A ferry carrying nearly 400 passengers capsized in a storm in southeastern Bangladesh Friday night, and police said they feared many were dead.

Up to 100 people were reported to have swum to shore or were picked by other boats after the triple-deck ferry MV Salahuddin went down in the Meghna River, said Bakhtiar Alam, police chief in the area. Other survivors may have been swept downstream, officials said.

"We will not know how many people have drowned until the ferry is pulled out from under the water," he said.

A rescue vessel from state-run Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corp. had reached the site, and rescuers were trying to locate the sunken boat in the river, 40 miles southeast of the capital, Dhaka.

The ferry sank nearly two hours into the journey from Dhaka to southern Patuakhali, 95 miles from Dhaka.

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