Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 28th 2014 Contents A36
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt December 28, 2014
Stuntman Daniel Tomaszewski trains his horse Monaco ahead of a New Year's
show, in Lomianki near Warsaw, Poland, yesterday. AP PHOTO
A top al-Shabab militant,
Zakariya Ahmed Ismail Hersi, has
given himself up, Somali officials
Hersi, a leading figure in the
militant group's intelligence wing,
surrendered to police in the Gedo
region, officals said.
In June 2012, the US state
department offered $3m (£1.9m,
2.5m euros) for information leading
to his capture.
It comes three months after al-
Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi
Godane was killed in a US air
A Somali intelligence officer,
quoted by the Associated Press
news agency, suggested Hersi may
have surrendered because of a dis-
pute with al-Shabab members loyal
to the former leader.
Hersi fell out with Godane last
year and has been on the run ever
since but he is still a powerful fig-
ure, says BBC Africa editor Mary
Police stormed a house Hersi
had been hiding in for six days,
close to the border with Kenya,
after receiving a tip-off, the district
commissioner of the town of El
He said that although Hersi had
a pistol, he did not put up a fight.
"Al-Shabab leader Zakariya
Ismail surrendered to government
forces in El Wag, Gedo region. He
is expected to be flown to
Mogadishu tomorrow," an
unnamed official said.
There has been no immediate
comment from al-Shabab.
Ahmad Umar was named the
new leader of al-Shabab, days after
Godane's killing last September.
The US has supported the
African Union (AU) force that has
driven al-Shabab out of the capital
Mogadishu and other towns since
The al-Qaeda-linked fighters
want to overthrow the UN-backed
Somali government and frequently
attack government targets as well
as neighbouring countries that
provide troops to the AU force.
Three members of the AU force
and a civilian contractor were killed
in an al-Shabab attack on its head-
quarters in the capital Mogadishu
chief surrenders to police
Pro-Russian rebels in eastern
Ukraine have freed four Ukrainian
prisoners a day after the two sides
exchanged hundreds of captives.
The release was announced by
a Ukrainian defence ministry
adviser, Vasyliy Budik, who said
three were soldiers and the fourth
On Friday, rebels freed 146 pris-
oners for 222 people held by the
government, in the biggest such
swap to date.
President Petro Poroshenko
greeted those freed on Friday at
Elsewhere, Ukraine has frozen
vital bus and rail links with Crimea,
its southern peninsula annexed by
Russia in March.
Crimea has no land corridor to
Russia, and relies on a ferry in the
Azov Sea and flights from Russia.
The latest moves come ahead
of the traditional holiday season
in the region, when people travel
to be with their families for new
The releases are part of a 12-
point peace plan agreed in Sep-
tember, which also included a
ceasefire. Fighting continues, how-
ever, and more than 1,300 people
have died since the truce was
The latest releases took place
without any rebels being freed in
return, Budik wrote on his Face-
book page (in Russian).
He added that the three soldiers
had spent around four months in
captivity after being captured at
Luhansk airport. The fourth person
freed was the head of a factory
security guard service, he said.
According to the defence adviser,
a further 10-12 Ukrainians could
be freed shortly.
Friday's prisoner exchange took
place near the town of Avdiyivka,
about 35km (22 miles) north of
Ukrainian and Russian media
showed rows of men in civilian
clothes standing on a road, super-
vised by armed men.
Among the rebels released by
the government are a number of
civilians from eastern Ukraine,
detained as suspected rebel sym-
pathisers, according to the pro-
rebel Donetsk News Agency.
Those released include 35
women, the same source said.
The rebel leadership in Donetsk
region has appealed to observers
from the Organisation for Security
and Co-operation in Europe
(OSCE) and the Red Cross to
investigate allegations of maltreat-
ment by the Ukrainian authori-
Inconclusive talks were held this
week in Minsk, Belarus, on ending
the conflict in eastern Ukraine,
which has claimed 4,700 lives.
Ukraine accuses Russia of
actively supporting the militants
with Russian soldiers and heavy
The Kremlin denies this but says
its regular forces are fighting in
eastern Ukraine as volunteers.
Separatist rebels free
more Ukrainian soldiers
Rebel prisoners wait to be exchanged for Ukrainian soldiers. AFP PHOTO
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