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World

Death toll in Bangladesh boat tragedy reaches 51

Police said the boat was carrying around 90 people, of whom around 50 were pilgrims

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Rescue workers recovered 26 more bodies on Monday after a boat carrying religious pilgrims capsized in Bangladesh, taking the death toll to 51 with at least a dozen people still missing, police said.

The small boat packed mostly with women and children on their way to a popular temple flipped over on Sunday in a river as onlookers screamed from the shore.

The incident near the remote northern town of Boda was the latest in a string of similar tragedies blamed on poor maintenance and overcrowding in the low-lying delta country.

Regional police chief Sirajul Huda said fire service and navy divers recovered 26 bodies in the Karotoa River downstream from where the boat tipped over.

It was carrying around 90 people, of whom around 50 were pilgrims on their way to the centuries-old Hindu temple for a major festival, according to police.

Huda said up to 15 people were still missing.

"We called off the search in the night. We will resume our search operation tomorrow morning," he told AFP.

Police said they have lowered the number of missing people as some have reported that they have found relatives who had swum to safety.

Huda said the boat was carrying three times its capacity.

"There were heavy rains in the morning and that is why when the ferrying began, pilgrims packed the boat to make it quickly to the temple," he told AFP.

"The boatman asked some people to disembark in an effort to ease the weight-load. But no one listened," he said.

Local media said at least 10 people had been rescued and sent to hospital.

Mobile phone footage aired by TV station Channel 24 showed the overcrowded boat suddenly flipping over, spilling the passengers into the muddy brown river.

Dozens of people watching from the shore started shouting and screaming. The weather was calm at the time.

Thousands of Hindus in Muslim-majority Bangladesh visit the famous Bodeshwari Temple every year.

Sunday marked the start of Durga Puja, the biggest Hindu festival in Bangladesh -- and also eastern India -- drawing large crowds at the temple.

Last December, around 40 people perished when a packed three-storey ferry caught fire in southern Bangladesh.

A ferry sank in Dhaka in June 2020 after a collision with another vessel, killing at least 32 people.

And at least 78 people perished in 2015 when an overcrowded ship collided with a cargo vessel in a river west of the capital.

SOURCE: AFP

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World

Two soldiers embrace martyrdom in clash with terrorists in South Waziristan

Security personnel seized weapons and ammunition from a killed terrorist

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Rawalpindi: Two Pakistan Army soldiers were martyred in South Waziristan district’s Azam Warsak area on Monday during a gunfight with terrorists, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Monday.

According to a press release from the military’s media wing, 29-year-old Naik Rasheed from Tank and 22-year-old Sepoy Rasool Badhshah from Lower Dir embraced martyrdom.

“On 26 September 2022, terrorists fired at a military post in general area Azam Warsak, South Waziristan district,” the ISPR said. “Pakistan Army troops initiated a prompt response and effectively engaged the terrorists’ location.”

Resultantly, a terrorist actively involved in terror activities against security forces and killing of citizens was killed, the statement read, adding that weapons and ammunition were also recovered from him.

According to the ISPR, a clearance is being carried out to eliminate any terrorists found in the area.

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Pakistan

Canadian Ambassador meets army chief Bajwa, offers full support for flood victims

General Qamar Javed Bajwa thanked the outgoing envoy for Canada’s support

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Rawalpindi: Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan Wendy Gilmour on Monday paid a farewell call to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ in Rawalpindi, the military's media wing said.

During the meeting, matters of mutual interests, regional security situation, and bilateral cooperation in various fields came under discussion, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

It said that the COAS thanked the visiting dignitary for her services and appreciated her contributions to fostering strong ties between the two countries.

Canadian High Commissioner expressed her grief over the devastation caused by floods in Pakistan and offered sincere condolence to the families of the victims.

"She offered the full support of her country to the people of Pakistan. She also appreciated Pakistan’s Army's efforts for rescue and relief efforts in flood-affected areas," the statement said.

The army chief thanked her for Canada’s support and reiterated that assistance from Pakistan's global partners "shall be vital in the rehabilitation of the flood victims".

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