- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 12, 2009


Soldier sentenced in shooting death

BAGHDAD | The U.S. military sentenced a soldier to three years in prison Saturday for the accidental shooting death of a fellow soldier serving in Iraq.

The military said Sgt. Miguel A. Vegaquinones pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the accidental shooting death of Pfc. Sean McCune. According to the military, Vegaquinones negligently discharged one round on Jan. 11 in Samarra after guard duty.

Vegaquinones’ sentence was cut by six months in a pre-trial agreement. His rank was reduced to private and he was dishonorably discharged. Vegaquinones and Pfc. McCune were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.


Hostage freed in Philippines

ROME | An ailing Italian Red Cross worker who was kidnapped in January in the Philippines by the Islamist Abu Sayyaf rebel group was freed Saturday, officials said.

No ransom was paid for the release of 63-year-old Eugenio Vagni, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said.

Mr. Vagni had been in rebel custody since Jan. 15. He was abducted with two other Red Cross workers after they visited a water supply project in a Jolo jail. The two other captives, a Swiss and a Filipino, were freed earlier in the year by the militants.


Mumbai trial ready to start

ISLAMABAD | The trial of five men accused in the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people is likely to start this week, Pakistan’s interior minister said Saturday.

Rehman Malik said one of the five suspects, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, has been charged with masterminding the three-day November siege of India’s commercial capital, while the four others acted as facilitators and managed funds and hideouts used by the attackers.

There was no immediate reaction from Indian officials to Saturday’s announcement. New Delhi blames the assault on militants trained in Pakistan. Indian security forces killed nine of the Mumbai attackers and arrested the tenth, who is facing trial in Mumbai.


Australian killed at Freeport mine

JAKARTA | An Australian working for the U.S.-based mining giant Freeport in Indonesia’s restive Papua province was fatally shot Saturday, possibly by a sniper, police and company officials said.

The shooting happened near the Grasberg site, one of the world’s largest open-pit mines and among the largest single producers of copper and gold, where two Americans were killed in an ambush in 2002.

Papua, a desperately poor and militarized province on Indonesia’s easternmost tip, is home to separatist rebels who denounce PT Freeport as a symbol of Jakarta’s rule. Three rebel suspects were detained later Saturday after a shootout with soldiers and police in Yapen, 270 miles northwest of the mine, the military said.


Massacre victims get mass funeral

SREBRENICA | Tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslims prayed for the dead in Srebrenica and buried hundreds more recovered bodies Saturday on the 14th anniversary of Europe’s worst massacre since World War II.

Family members laid to rest the remains of 534 victims, removed recently from mass graves, next to the existing 3,297 graves at the Srebrenica-Potocari memorial center.

Visitors and dignitaries prayed for the 8,100 Muslim men and boys who were killed in Srebrenica over several days in 1995 when Serb forces overran the town.


Foreign fighter among 16 dead

MOGADISHU | A foreign fighter and a top government security official are among 16 people killed in Saturday’s fighting between U.N.-backed government forces and Islamist insurgents in the north of the capital, a Somali official said.

Presidential information officer Abdulkhadir Wehliye said the foreign fighter is believed to be Bangladeshi because of identity documents found on the body.

There are believed to be hundreds of foreign jihadi fighters in Somalia supporting an Islamic insurgency. Saturday’s attack also claimed the life of Nor Daqli, who was head of security for the capital, Mogadishu, and the surrounding Benadir region.

The attack follows an ultimatum issued by the insurgents early this month for government soldiers to lay down their arms or face Islamic courts. The ultimatum expired Friday, the same day that insurgents beheaded seven men in the southwestern town of Baidoa for purportedly spying for the government.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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