- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 31, 2002

13 rebels among 18 killed in Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India Indian troops fatally shot 13 Muslim militants, nine of them along Pakistan's borders, while an Indian soldier died as the two rival armies traded fire, an army spokesman said yesterday.

The fighting also led to the killings of two civilians and two political activists from Kashmir's ruling National Conference party in separate overnight clashes elsewhere in the state, the police said.

Nine of the 13 militants killed were killed just after they sneaked from Pakistan into Indian Kashmir's northern frontier district of Kupwara on Thursday night, the army spokesman said.

Reputed gang chief arrested in Bihar

PATNA, India Police this week announced the arrest of the shadowy founder of an outlawed private army blamed for the murders of at least 500 low-caste Hindus in the past two decades.

Police in Patna, state capital of Bihar in eastern Indian, said the arrest Thursday of Brahmeshwar Singh Mukhiya brought down the curtain on a marathon manhunt for the elusive leader of the Ranvir Sena private militia.

Police Director-General Ashish Ranjan said detectives raided a city hotel and arrested Mr. Mukhiya, reputed mastermind behind the massacres of 61 Hindu peasants in 1996 and 34 others two years later the two latest Sena-led outrages.

POW swap delayed in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka A prisoner-of-war exchange set for today has been delayed, but the gesture of good will should still happen before the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels sit down for peace talks next month, an official said.

The Tigers had announced that they would hand over six soldiers and a naval officer and had given a list to the government of 23 rebels they wanted freed.

"There are some administrative problems, so it has been delayed," the military official said yesterday, adding that some of the names did not match and some of the prisoners had been convicted of criminal charges.

Landmark talks between the government and rebels will be held in neutral Thailand for three days starting Sept. 16. Thai Foreign Ministry sources said Thursday they will be held at a naval base in the port of Sattahip on the Gulf of Thailand, about 160 miles southeast of Bangkok.

Weekly notes

A two-day meeting of top police officials of the South Asian nations ended in Katmandu, Nepal, Thursday with unanimous agreement to create Saarcpol, an umbrella body for police in the region. The proposal was put forward by Nepal to combat growing criminal activities in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), which groups Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi should visit neighboring Southeast Asian countries and get a firsthand look at development in the region, U.N. special envoy Razali Ismail said this week.

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