Kuwait minister quits after accusations of links to jihadists
Kuwait’s Islamic Affairs Minister Nayef al-Ajmi said Monday that the Gulf state’s ruler has accepted his resignation. He was earlier accused by a senior US official of promoting jihad in Syria, AFP reported. Local media say Ajmi, who also held the justice ministry portfolio, has quit for health reasons. In early April he submitted his resignation following accusations by a US official that he had links with jihadists in Syria. However, at that time it was turned down by Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.
ASEAN leaders ‘concerned’ over disputes in South China Sea, warn Beijing
Southeast Asian leaders have expressed “serious concern” over worsening territorial disputes in the South China Sea. They presented a rare united front against an increasingly assertive Beijing, AFP reported, citing a statement released on Monday after the 10-nation ASEAN summit. It called for a peaceful resolution to the maritime rows, which flared up this month after China moved an oil drilling rig into waters also claimed by Vietnam. Hanoi and Manila led a push for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to deliver a veiled rebuke to China over the standoff. However, Beijing insisted on Monday that the contested Paracel Islands, located near the controversial oil rig, were its “inherent territory.”
Several migrants dead as boat sinks off Italy – reports
Several people were reported killed on Monday after a boat packed with migrants sank off the coast of southern Italy, AFP reported. The incident happened some 100 nautical miles from the Italian island of Lampedusa, ANSA news agency said. It added that “several bodies” had been recovered and 200 people were rescued. SkyTG24 news channel said there were around 400 people on board.
Vietnam, China ships fire water cannons in disputed waters
A Vietnamese patrol boat and several Chinese vessels blasted each other with water cannons Monday, AP reported. The incident happened near an oil rig recently positioned by Beijing in disputed waters, according to Vietnamese state media. It was the first time that Vietnamese vessels have responded to Chinese actions close to the deep-sea rig, which was positioned May 1 in an area of the South China Sea claimed by both Beijing and Hanoi, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said. On Sunday, thousands of Vietnamese protested in Hanoi chanting anti-China slogans, and the event was covered by Vietnamese state media.
Boko Haram ‘ready’ to exchange kidnapped Nigerian girls for prisoners
Abubakar Shekau, leader of Nigeria’s Islamist Boko Haram militant group, said in a video seen by AFP on Monday that he would release more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by his fighters in exchange for prisoners. About 100 girls wearing full veils were reportedly shown on a 17-minute video praying in an undisclosed location.
6 Al-Qaeda suspects killed in Yemen drone raid – reports
A drone strike in eastern Yemen killed six Al-Qaeda suspects on Monday, tribal sources said. This was the first such raid since the army launched an offensive against jihadists on April 29. The pilotless aircraft targeted a vehicle carrying “Al-Qaeda members” near Al-Husun, a village in Marib province, AFP quoted one source as saying. The US is the only country operating drones over Yemen.
Militants attack police checkpoints in east Afghanistan, killing 3
Militants have attacked police checkpoints in eastern Afghanistan, leaving three people dead and eight wounded, AP reported. Groups of militants, including some on motorbikes, attacked three police checkpoints on the outskirts of the city of Ghazni early on Monday, according to the deputy provincial governor of Ghazni province, Mohammad Ali Ahmadi. One policeman and two civilian women were killed, while two policemen and six civilians were wounded, including three children.