ISIS recruit was in Sri Lanka on missionary work

While the NIA launched a nation-wide swoop down on the ISIS terror suspects in January this year, arresting two dozen ISIS suspects, Khan remained out of reach.Khan’s three other associates from Bengaluru were arrested. They were identified as Asif Ali, Mohammed Afzal, Syed Mujahid but Abid Khan lay low.Khan has told NIA sleuths and the Kullu police that he converted to Christianity in a Methodist church of Bengaluru to stay out of the radar of the agencies. The NIA will corroborate this aspect, since they are yet to formally take over the case. An ISIS recruit arrested in India had visited Sri Lanka allegedly on missionary work, the Times of India reported.Abid Khan, a 23-year-old Abid Khan resident of Bengaluru, lived in a church in Banjar town in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh for the last six months before he was arrested in a joint operation of the NIA and Kullu Police. After conversion, he went to Sri Lanka allegedly on a fake passport with his fake identity of Paul.Sources told India Today that Khan went to Sri Lanka in March-April this year for a month on missionary work. (Colombo Gazette) A mobile phone and a laptop recovered from him could lead to crucial clues into Abid’s life while he was at large.How Khan, a Bengaluru man, reached Kullu is another story by itself. Khan told his investigators that he was to visit Indonesia to visit an Indonesian girl, whom he termed his girlfriend. But investigators are yet to conclude on this aspect. Khan was planning to reach Syria via Indonesia and had recently visited Sri Lanka. read more

UN to distribute seed tools for Eritreas June planting season

“More than 60 per cent of the population – 2.3 million people – are dependent on food aid. To reduce dependency on emergency food assistance and improve the ability of rural populations to adapt to recurrent drought conditions, agricultural inputs such as seeds, farming tools, animal feed and veterinary support are also needed,” the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said.Some 27,000 drought-affected families will receive seeds for the planting season in the main farming areas of Debub, Anseba and the border region of Gash Barka as part of the FAO programmes supported by Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States, it said.”But importing seeds only solves the problem for a year or two,” said FAO’s Marco Falcone. “Promoting local production of quality seeds is the only way out of the current situation, particularly given the rather fragile agro-ecology of Eritrea, the non-availability on the international market of adapted varieties and the current poor quality of local seeds.”The FAO Emergency Unit in Eritrea has rehabilitated 12 veterinary clinics inside the temporary security zone along the border with Ethiopia, which were seriously damaged during the conflict that ended in 2000. Although Eritrea and Ethiopia signed a peace agreement in December 2000, tensions remain over their disputed border.FAO said it has distributed 400 tons of wheat bran to feed animals belonging to around 2,300 families who were displaced during the 1998-2000 conflict, but have now returned to their villages in Gash Barka.Eritrea also has a problem with labour. With large numbers of men doing compulsory national and military service, there is a shortage of skilled manpower. “In some areas, more than 50 per cent of households are headed by women, who are often barred from agricultural activities, such as ploughing,” Mr. Falcone said. read more