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Indonesian child rescued from earthquake rubble after two days

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(Last Updated On: November 24, 2022)

A six-year-old boy was rescued on Wednesday night from the rubble of Monday’s deadly earthquake in Indonesia in what has been described as a miracle rescue.

The boy, who was trapped under rubble without food or water, was pulled out alive by emotional rescue workers.

“Once we realized Azka was alive everybody broke into tears, including me,” 28-year-old local volunteer Jeksen told AFP on Thursday.

“It was very moving, it felt like a miracle.”

Video showed rescue workers pulling the boy Azka free from a destroyed home in Cianjur’s worst-hit district of Cugenang, wearing the blue shirt and trousers he had on when he became trapped.

The man who pulled him out of a hole cut in the debris clasped him in both arms, as another rescue worker in an orange hard hat ran after them to hold the boy’s hand, footage released by the administration of West Java’s Bogor district showed.

Azka — who like many Indonesians goes by one name — was then shown calmly sipping a drink, held by a soldier as another emergency worker stroked his hair.

His mother died in the earthquake and her body was found hours before Azka’s rescue, a volunteer told AFP on Thursday.

The boy was then found next to his dead grandmother, Jeksen said.

“We didn’t expect him to still be alive after 48 hours, if we knew we would have tried harder the night before,” he said.

“For all the years since I became a volunteer, I’ve never seen anything like this. How can you not cry?”

At least 271 people died in Monday’s quake and authorities have warned that time is running out to find survivors.

“Today for the search and rescue operation we deployed 6,000 people. It was raining but we keep searching,” said Suharyanto, head of the national disaster mitigation agency, or BNPB.

“Please pray for us so the 40 missing people could be found.”

Authorities are continuing to search for dozens who remain buried under debris, including a missing seven-year-old girl.

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More than 100 dead, 150 injured in Iraq wedding inferno

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(Last Updated On: September 27, 2023)

More than 100 people were killed and 150 injured in a fire at a wedding party in Hamdaniya district in Iraq’s Nineveh province that left civil defence searching the charred skeleton of a building for survivors into the early hours of Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Nineveh Deputy Governor Hassan al-Allaq told Reuters that 113 people had been confirmed dead, with state media putting the death toll at at least 100, with 150 people injured.

The fire ripped through a large events hall in the north-eastern region after fireworks were lit during the celebration, local civil defence said, according to state media.

“We saw the fire pulsating, coming out of the hall. Those who managed got out and those who didn’t got stuck. Even those who made their way out were broken,” said Imad Yohana, a 34-year-old who escaped the inferno.

Video from a Reuters correspondent at the site showed firefighters clambering over the charred wreckage of the building, shining lights over smouldering ruins.

Preliminary information indicated that the building was made of highly flammable construction materials, contributing to its rapid collapse, state media said.

Ambulances and medical crews were dispatched to the site by federal Iraqi authorities and Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, according to official statements.

Eyewitnesses at the site said the building caught fire at around 10:45 p.m. local time (1945 GMT) and that hundreds of people were in attendance at the time of the incident.

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Gunmen kill 14, kidnap 60 in attacks in northern Nigeria

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2023)

Gunmen in Nigeria killed eight people on Sunday and abducted at least 60 others in two communities of northwest Zamfara state, residents and a local traditional leader said, two days after armed men kidnapped dozens from a university in the state.

Elsewhere, in the northeast of the country suspected Islamist insurgents ambushed a convoy of vehicles under military escort, killing two soldiers and four civilians, said a police source and a motorist who witnessed the attack, Reuters reported.

The attackers set fire to five vehicles and drove off with one truck, the witness said.

President Bola Tinubu is yet to spell out how he will tackle widespread insecurity. His economic reforms, including the removal of a costly fuel subsidy and freeing the naira currency, have increased the cost of leaving, angering citizens.

Residents said gunmen early on Sunday tried to attack a forward army base in a rural Magami community of Zamfara, but were repelled. Zamfara is one of the states worst affected by kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs known locally as bandits.

The gunmen in three groups attacked the army base and the communities of Magami and Kabasa, said a traditional leader who declined to be named for security reasons, read the report.

He said 60 people, mostly women and children, were kidnapped.

“The bandits rode many motorcycles with guns and other weapons (and) were shooting sporadically,” Shuaibu Haruna, a resident of Magami, told Reuters by telephone.

Four people were killed during the attack, said Haruna, who attended their burial.

Isa Mohd from Kabasa community said four people were also killed and dozens of others kidnapped.

Police and army did not respond to requests for comment, Reuters reported.

Attacks in the northwest are part of widespread insecurity in Nigeria. Islamist fighters still carry out deadly attacks in the northeast, gangs and separatists attack security forces and government buildings in the southeast, and clashes involving farmers and herders continue to claim lives.

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Fire in shop kills 35 people in southeastern Benin

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2023)

At least 35 people were killed in southeastern Benin on Saturday after a fire broke out at a shop where witnesses said gasoline was being unloaded, a justice ministry representative said.

The fire broke out at 0930 local time in Seme-Podji municipality, near the border with Nigeria, Reuters reported.

“The fire burned down the store and according to an initial assessment resulted in 35 deaths including one child,” said Prosecutor Abdoubaki Adam-Bongle in a ministry statement, adding that an investigation had been opened to determine the cause.

“According to the witnesses interviewed, the fire was probably started during the unloading of bags of gasoline.”

More than a dozen others were seriously injured and are being treated in hospital, he said.

A video shared widely on social media, purportedly of the fire, shows a tower of black smoke and flames spewing into the air above what appears to be a market place as shocked people watch from a safe distance.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the video.

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