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AFGHANISTAN

Afghanistan arrests British contractors with guns

KABUL | Afghan police arrested two British private security contractors and two Afghan colleagues and ordered their company closed down after finding a cache of weapons in their vehicle, an official said Thursday.

They are being held for investigation into illegal arms transport.

Their detention spells the latest trouble for Afghanistan’s dozens of private security companies, which guard supply convoys, development projects and private businesses.

President Hamid Karzai has ordered all the protection companies shut down by March, to be replaced by a unified government-run protection force.

Police who stopped the contractors’ vehicle at a Kabul checkpoint Tuesday found more than two dozen AK-47 rifles in a metal box covered by a blanket, Ministry of Interior spokesman Sediq Sediqi told a press briefing.

All 30 weapons had their serial numbers scratched off, and the men had no permits for them, so police arrested all four men on suspicion of illegal arms transport, Mr. Sediqi said.

PHILIPPINES

Landslide kills 25, buries dozens more

MANILA | A landslide tore through a tiny gold-mining village in the southern Philippines on Thursday, killing 25 people and burying dozens more, months after the government warned residents the mountain was certain to crumble.

The mountainside in Napnapan village in Pantukan township collapsed around 3 a.m., when most residents were asleep, sweeping away about 50 houses, shanties and other buildings, officials said.

A fissure in the mountain discovered last year likely was aggravated by heavy rains and continuous mining in the saturated ground.

Thousands of poor Filipinos dig and pan for gold in the area, hoping to strike it rich despite the dangers of largely unregulated mining. The tunnels are often unstable, and landslides and accidents are common.

Aside from those confirmed dead, more than 100 people were believed buried in the earth rubble, Compostela Valley provincial Gov. Arturo Uy said.

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