Friday, January 24, 2020

The List 5198

The List 5198 TCB

To All,

I hope that your week has been going well



Today in Naval History

Jan. 23

1854—The sloop-of-war Germantown captures the slaver R.P. Brown off Porto Praya.

1943—Submarine Guardfish (SS 217) sinks the Japanese destroyer Hakaze off New Ireland.

1945—Three US Navy destroyer escorts, Corbesier (DE 438), Conklin (DE 439) and Raby (DE 698) sink the Japanese submarine I-48 off Yap Island, Caroline Islands.

1960—The Bathyscaph "Trieste" descends on a nine-hour journey seven miles to the deepest part of the world’s oceans, Challenger Deep, located at the southern end of the Mariana Trench.

1968—USS Pueblo (AGER 2) is seized by North Korean forces in Sea of Japan. The crew is released on Dec. 23, 1968.

Thanks to CHINFO

Executive Summary:

• Breaking Defense interviewed Acting SECNAV Thomas Modly as he prepares to testify before Congress next month to defend the 2021 Navy budget.

• The Navy is increasing the number of meritorious promotions to petty officer first class to help ensure proper ship staffing, reports USNI News.

• USNI News also reports that the entire Navy Tomahawk cruise missile arsenal will upgrade to Block V.

January 23


A great fire ravages Montreal, resulting in $2.5 million in property lost.


The "Young Turks" revolt because they are angered by the concessions made at the London peace talks.


Franklin D. Roosevelt enters the presidential race.


The Soviets refuse UN entry into North Korea to administer elections.


The Communist Chinese forces begin their advance on Nanking.


Jerusalem becomes the official capital of Israel.


President Truman creates the Commission on Internal Security and Individual Rights, to monitor the anti-Communist campaign.


NASA unveils moon-landing craft.


President Richard Nixon claims that Vietnam peace has been reached in Paris and that the POWs would be home in 60 days.


Alex Haley's Roots begins a record-breaking eight-night broadcast on ABC.


Under international pressure, opposition leader Kim Dae Jung's death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment in Seoul.


U.S. begins maneuvers off the Libyan coast.


Toy company Wham-O produces first Frisbees


Thanks to Bill but worth time to read/Watch it again


Four Motored Dogfight

Very interesting story!

The Most-Honored Photograph

Doesn’t look like much, does it? But, depending upon your definition, this photograph,

a team effort by 9 men, is the most honored picture in U. S. History. It’s an interesting tale about how people sometimes rise beyond all expectations.

First, let’s get this out of the way: Jay Zeamer wasn’t a photographer by trade. He was mostly a wanna-be pilot. He looked good on paper, having graduated with a degree in civil engineering from MIT, joining the Army Air Corps, and receiving his wings in March 1941. He was a B-26 bomber co-pilot when World War II started.

His classmates all rapidly became lead pilots and squadron leaders, but not Jay. He couldn’t pass the pilot check tests despite trying numerous times. He was a good pilot, but just couldn’t seem to land the B-26. Landing, from what I’ve read, was considered one of the more important qualifications for a pilot. Stuck as a co-pilot while his classmates and then those from the classes behind him were promoted, he got bored and lost all motivation.

Things came to a head when co-pilot Zeamer fell asleep while his plane was in flight—not just in flight, but in flight through heavy anti-aircraft fire during a bombing run. He only woke when the pilot beat him on the chest because he needed help.

His squadron commander had him transferred to a B-17 squadron in Port Moresby , Papua New Guinea, where he was allowed to fly as a fill-in navigator and occasionally as a co-pilot. He was well liked and popular — on the ground. But no one wanted to fly with him.

Zeamer finally managed to get into the pilot’s seat by volunteering for a photo-reconnaissance mission when the scheduled pilot became ill. The mission, an extremely dangerous one over the Japanese stronghold at Rabual, won Zeamer a Silver Star – despite the fact that he still hadn’t qualified to pilot a B-17.

The Eager Beavers

Zeamer become the Operations Officer (a ground position) at the 43rd Air Group. Despite his lack of qualification, he still managed to fly as a B-17 fill-in pilot fairly often. He had discovered that he loved to fly B-17s on photo-reconnaissance missions, and he wanted to do it full time. There were only three things standing in his way: he didn’t have a crew, he didn’t have an airplane, and oh, yeah, he still wasn’t a qualified pilot.

He solved the first problem by gravitating to every misfit and ne’er-do-well in the 43rd Air Group. As another pilot, Walt Krell, recalled, “He recruited a crew of renegades and screwoffs. They were the worst — men nobody else wanted. But they gravitated toward one another and made a hell of a team.”

The plane came later. An old, beat-up B-17, serial number 41-2666, that had seen better days was flown into their field to be scavenged for spare parts. Captain Zeamer had other ideas. He and his crew decided to rebuild the plane in their spare time, since they weren’t going to get to fly any other way. Exactly how they managed to accomplish their task is the subject of some debate. Remember, there were so few spare parts available that their ‘plane’ was actually brought in originally to be a parts donor.

But rebuild it they did. Once it was in flying shape the base commander congratulated them and said he’d find a new crew to fly it. Not surprisingly, Zeamer and his crew took exception to this idea, and according Walt Krell the crew slept in their airplane, having loudly announced that the 50 caliber machine guns were kept loaded in case anyone came around to ‘borrow’ it. There was a severe shortage of planes, so the base commander ignored the mutiny and let the crew fly – but generally expected them to take on missions that no one else wanted.

The misfit crew thrived on it. They hung around the base operations center, volunteering for every mission no one else wanted. That earned them the nickname "The Eager Beavers," and their patched up B-17 was called "Old 666."

The Eager Beavers

(Back Row) Bud Thues, Zeamer, Hank Dominski, Sarnoski

(Front Row) Vaughn, Kendrick, Able, Pugh.

Once they started flying their plane on difficult photo-reconnaissance missions, they made some modifications. Even among the men of a combat air station, the Eager Beavers became known as gun nuts. They replaced all of the light 30 caliber machine guns in the plane with heavier 50 caliber weapons. Then the 50 caliber machine guns were replaced with double 50 caliber guns. Zeamer had another pair of machine guns mounted to the front of the plane so he could remotely fire them like a fighter pilot. And the crew kept extra machine guns stored in the plane, just in case one of their other guns jammed or malfunctioned.

As odd as all this sounds, the South Pacific theatre in the early days of World War II was a chaotic area scattered over thousands of miles with very little equipment. Having a plane with an apparently nutty crew who volunteered for every awful mission not surprisingly made the commanding officers look the other way.

In June, 1943, the U. S. had secured Guadalcanal in the southern Solomon Islands. They knew the Japanese had a huge base at Rabual, but were certain there were other airfields being built in the Northern Solomon Islands. They asked for a volunteer crew to take photographs of Bougainville Island to plan for an eventual invasion, and of Buka airfield on the north side of the island to assess for increased activity there. It was considered a near-suicide mission — flying hundreds of miles over enemy airspace in a single, slow bomber. Not to mention photo-reconnaissance meant staying in level flight and taking no evasive action even if they were attacked.

Credit: World Factbook

The only crew that volunteered, of course, was Jay Zeamer and the Eager Beavers. One of the crew, bombardier Joseph Sarnovski, had absolutely no reason to volunteer. He’d already been in combat for 18 months and was scheduled to go home in 3 days. Being a photo mission, there was no need for a bombardier. But if his friends were going, he wanted to go, and one of the bombardier’s battle stations was to man the forward machine guns. They might need him; so he went.

They suspected the airstrip at Buka had been expanded and reinforced, but weren’t sure until they got close. As soon as the airfield came in sight, they saw numerous fighters taking off and heading their way. The logical thing to do would have been to turn right and head for home. They would be able to tell the intelligence officers about the increased number of planes at Buka even if they didn’t get photos.

But Zeamer and photographer William Kendrick knew that photos would be invaluable for subsequent planes attacking the base, and for Marines who were planning to invade the island later. Zeamer held the plane level (tilting the wings even one degree at that altitude could put the photograph half a mile off target) and Kendrick took his photos, which gave plenty of time for over 20 enemy fighters to get up to the altitude Old 666 was flying at.

The fighter group, commanded by Chief Petty Officer Yoshio Ooki, was experienced and professional. They carefully set up their attack, forming a semi-circle all around the B-17 and then attacking from all directions at once. Ooki didn’t know about the extra weapons the Eager Beavers had mounted to their plane, but it wouldn’t matter if he had; there was no way for a single B-17 to survive those odds.

During the first fighter pass the plane was hit by hundreds of machine gun bullets and cannon shells. Five crewman of the B-17 were wounded and the plane badly damaged. All of the wounded men stayed at their stations and were still firing when the fighters came in for a second pass, which caused as much damage as the first. Hydraulic cables were cut, holes the size of footballs appeared in the wings, and the front plexiglas canopy of the plane was shattered.

Zeamer was wounded during the second fighter pass, but kept the plane flying level and took no evasive action until Kendrick called over the intercom that the photography was completed. Only then did he begin to move the plane from side-to-side allowing his gunners better shots, just as the fighters came in for a third wave of attacks. The third pass blew out the oxygen system of the plane, which was flying at 28,000 feet. Despite the obvious structural damage Zeamer put the plane in an emergency dive to get down to a level where there was enough oxygen for them men to survive.

During the dive, a 20mm cannon shell exploded in the navigator’s compartment. Sarnoski, who was already wounded, was blown out of his compartment and beneath the cockpit. Another crewman reached him and saw there was a huge wound in his side. Despite his obviously mortal wound, Sarnoski said, “Don’t worry about me; I’m all right” and crawled back to his gun which was now exposed to 300-mile-an-hour winds since the plexiglass front of the plane was now gone. He shot down one more fighter before he died a minute or two later.

The battle continued for over 40 minutes. The Eager Beavers shot down several fighters and heavily damaged several others. The B-17 was so heavily damaged, however, that they didn’t expect to make the several-hundred-mile-long flight back home. Sarnoski had already died from his wounds. Zeamer had continued piloting the plane despite multiple wounds. Five other men were seriously wounded.

Flight Officer Ooki’s squadron returned to Buka out of ammunition and fuel. They understandably reported the B-17 was destroyed and about to crash in the ocean when they last saw it.

The B-17 didn’t quite crash, though. Zeamer had lost consciousness from loss of blood, but regained it when he was removed from the pilot seat and lay on the floor of the plane. The copilot, Lt. Britton, was the most qualified to care for the wounded and was needed in the back of the plane. One of the gunners, Sergeant Able, had liked to sit in the cockpit behind the pilots and watch them fly. That made him the most qualified of the crewmen; so he flew the plane with Zeamer advising him from the floor while Britton cared for the wounded.

The plane made it back to base. (Britton did return to the cockpit for the landing.) After the landing, the medical triage team had Zeamer removed from the plane last, because they considered his wounds mortal. Amazingly, the one thing on the plane not damaged were the cameras and the photos in them were considered invaluable in planning the invasion of Bougainville.


All of the wounded men recovered, although it was a close thing for Captain Zeamer. In fact, a death notification was sent to his parents somewhat prematurely. He spent the next year in hospitals recovering from his wounds, but lived a long and happy life, passing away at age 88.

Both Zeamer and Sarnovski were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for the mission, the only time in World War II that two men from one plane ever received America’s highest medal for valor in combat. The other members of the crew were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor as an award for bravery.

So, somewhat surprisingly, the most decorated combat flight in U. S. history didn’t take place in a major battle: It was a photo-reconnaissance flight------the flight of ‘old 666′ in June of 1943.

There is a show called dogfight (you can find it on YouTube I’m sure) that recounts this flight of old 666! Truly amazing!

Here it is.


Bernie’s History With Iran

Thanks to Jim

The acorn isn’t far from the tree.


The Berniemeister. What a piece of work.

Subject: Bernie’s History With Iran

Some suggested reading for fans of Bernie Sanders!
Bernie’s History With Iran


With Iran back in the spotlight, the Daily Beast reminds us that we–and Bernie Sanders–have been here before:

On April 1, 1979, the theocratic Islamic Republic of Iran was proclaimed. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had returned to Iran from exile to assume command of the revolt, became Supreme Leader in December of that year. His rise was accelerated by the seizure on Nov. 4 of 52 American diplomats and citizens, and citizens of other countries, at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The hostage crisis became the means by which the Ayatollah crushed political opponents in Iran. Dealing with the hostage taking became the overwhelming political crisis for President Jimmy Carter. It lasted 444 days.

Virtually all Americans—Democrats, Republicans and independents—united in support of the hostages and the international call for their freedom. One prominent political figure on the 2020 stage, then almost completely unknown, stood apart by joining a Marxist-Leninist party that not only pledged support for the Iranian theocracy, but also justified the hostage taking by insisting the hostages were all likely CIA agents. Who was that person? It was Bernie Sanders.

Sanders was a member of the Trotskyite Socialist Workers’ Party. Not just any member, either; he was the SWP’s presidential elector for Vermont, and he appeared with, and campaigned for, the SWP’s presidential candidate.

When its presidential candidate, Andrew Pulley, came to speak at the University of Vermont in October 1980, Sanders chaired the meeting.
In his standard stump speech, Pulley condemned “Carter’s war drive against the Iranian people,” and said that the U.S. “was on the brink of war with Iran,” which would be fought “to protect the oil and banking interests of the Rockefellers and other billionaires.” Americans, he predicted, would soon “pay on the battlefields with our very own lives.” Their criticism of the Ayatollah was intended “to get us ready for war.” And, Pulley charged, the media who criticized those of us who were against “American imperialism” were “declared insane.” As for the hostages, Pulley said “we can be sure that many of them are simply spies… or people assigned to protect the spies.”

Pulley’s words were a direct echo of what the Islamic Society of University Teachers and Students had declared on Nov. 4, 1979 : “We defend the capture of this imperialist embassy, which is a center for espionage.”

Not much has changed since 1980. Sanders is still a blame-America-first crank who had little or nothing to say about the Iranian-led attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. But he exploded in fury over the killing of arch-terrorist Qassem Soleimani and pledged to “stop a war with Iran,” just as in 1980 his Socialist Workers’ Party had no problem with the mullahs holding 52 Americans hostage for over a year, but hysterically warned that the Carter administration was leading us into war with Iran. Which would have been all our fault.

Sanders was a nasty piece of work then, and he is equally nasty now.


Daily News from Military Periscope for 23 January

USA—Army Orders Scores Of Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles Dept. Of Defense | 01/23/2020 The U.S. Army has placed an order for additional Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles (AMPVs), reports the Dept. of Defense. The $401 million contract awarded to BAE Systems on Jan. 21 covers 160 AMPVs. The purchase was in part funded through the European reassurance initiative, indicating that some portion of the vehicles will be assigned to units deployed in Europe. Work under the contract is scheduled to be completed by Feb. 28, 2023. The AMPV is being produced in five variants: general purpose, mortar carrier, command-and-control, medical evacuation and medical treatment. The variants being procured was not specified.

USA—BAE Systems Plans Purchases Of Raytheon, Collins Aerospace Businesses Bae Systems | 01/23/2020 BAE Systems has announced that it has reached agreements to buy subsidiaries of Raytheon and United Technologies Corp. (UTC). The proposals call for the acquisition of the military Global Positioning System business of UTC subsidiary Collins Aerospace and Raytheon’s Airborne Tactical Radio business, BAE said on Jan. 20. The GPS unit is being acquired for $1.925 billion in cash and an anticipated tax benefit of $365 million. BAE will pay $275 million in cash for the radio business in a deal that has an expected tax benefit of $50 million. The two business units are being divested to comply with anti-trust regulations as part of the merger agreement between Raytheon and UTC. Once the sale is approved by regulators, the two business units will be merged into BAE’s Electronic Systems unit.

USA—Declassified Documents Reveal Challenges Of Counter-ISIS Cyber Campaign Fifth Domain | 01/23/2020 Officials at U.S. Cyber Command faced a number of challenges in executing a major cyber campaign against ISIS, while also building up its organization, according to recently released documents cited by the Fifth Domain. The redacted documents detailing Operation Glowing Symphony were released on Wednesday by the National Security Archive at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., which obtained them through a Freedom of Information Act request. The operation in November 2016 was part of the larger Joint Task Force-Ares counter-ISIS mission. It was specifically designed to take down the infrastructure that supported ISIS media and online operations as well as prevent ISIS members from using the internet to communicate or post propaganda. While the operation was described as successfully contesting ISIS at the time, the documents show the difficulties CYBERCOM faced due to its lack of experience in offensive cyber operations. Problems included underestimating the magnitude of the data that would be acquired, interagency coordination difficulties that delayed its start and difficulty in acquiring targeting authorization, reported the Defense Post. While these issues did not prevent success against a non-state actor such as ISIS, they likely would have resulted in its failure against a state actor such as Russia or China, experts said.

Romania—U.S. Deploys MQ-9 Reapers To Campia Turzii Air Base U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa | 01/23/2020 American MQ-9 Reaper drones have arrived in Romania for a temporary deployment, reports U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa. The uncrewed aerial vehicles began deploying to the 71st Air Base outside of Campia Turzii earlier this month, reported Defence Blog. The deployment, scheduled to last until the early spring, is intended to promote stability and security in the region. This is the second time the Air Force has sent Reapers to Romania. The UAVs were deployed to the air base last summer during construction work at their base in Poland. The U.S. Air Force deployed MQ-9s to Poland beginning in May 2018.

Tajikistan—Specialists Attend Russian-Led Training Courses Tass | 01/23/2020 Russian troops in Tajikistan have begun training 500 junior specialists of the Tajik army, reports Russia’s Tass news agency. The troops are being trained in 10 military specialties at Russia’s 201st military base in Tajikistan, said a Central Military District release on Wednesday. The courses are scheduled to last three months. At the end, the Tajik personnel must complete a firing exercise and employ the basic guns of combat vehicles as well as small arms and grenade launchers. Russia agreed to train a number of Tajik army personnel on an annual basis as part of the accord allowing Moscow to establish a military base in Tajikistan. A total of 1,000 personnel are set to be trained this year.

Taiwan—Chinese Military Resumes Flights Through Bashi Channel Central News Agency | 01/23/2020 The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense says Chinese military aircraft have resumed long-range training flights near the self-ruled island, reports the Central News Agency (Taipei). On Thursday, a Chinese H-6 bomber and a KJ-500 early warning and control aircraft were detected in the Bashi channel south of Taiwan, said the ministry. The aircraft took off from bases in southern China and approached the southern coast before turning away, the ministry said, as cited by the South China Morning Post. China is likely resuming long-range flight training, which was paused during elections in Taiwan earlier this month, said a local analyst.

North Korea—Head of Kim’s Construction Projects Named Armed Forces Minister Japan Times | 01/23/2020 The North Korean government has confirmed that Gen. Kim Jong Gwan has been installed as North Korea’s new defense minister, reports the Japan Times. The Korean Central News Agency announced on Wednesday that Kim had been appointed to the post. No Kwang Chol previously held the position. The general previously served as the vice defense chief and was known for leading the pet construction projects of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. As defense minister, he will serve as an alternate member of the politburo. Kim Jong Gwan’s installment as defense chief is the latest change in the North Korean government as part of a leadership reshuffle that occurred during a plenary session of the ruling Worker’s Party of Korea in December. Other changes include the installation of former military officer Ri Son Gwon as foreign minister, reported Reuters. Ri’s appointment is believed to signal a more hawkish stance toward negotiations with the U.S. Reports have also emerged that Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, was removed from power during the session and dismissed as a member of the politburo, according to sources quoted by the Yonhap news agency (Seoul), citing a South Korean intelligence report. Her removal from the politburo has not been confirmed, but North Korean media announced that she was appointed as a first vice department director.

Burma—ICJ Orders Government To Protect Rohingya Minority Washington Post | 01/23/2020 The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that Burma must implement emergency measures to prevent violence against the country's Rohingya minority and preserve evidence of potential genocide, reports the Washington Post. On Thursday, the 17-judge panel ordered the Burmese government to take "all measures within its power" to prevent acts of genocide, reported the BBC News. The government must also permit access to evidence of genocide and report on its progress within four months, with additional reporting every six months thereafter, the ICJ said. In their decision, the judges said that the Burmese government has done "irreparable damage to the rights of the Rohingya," reported Al Jazeera (Qatar). The ruling, the initial step in what is expected to be years-long legal process, did not make a final determination on whether the Burmese government might be responsible for genocide. On Wednesday, a Burmese government-sponsored panel published a report it said absolved the government of allegations of genocide in its military operation against rebel groups in the western Rakhine state in August 2017. Burmese authorities claim that the operation only targeted militants. An estimated 700,000 civilians were displaced during the violence. Pakistan—Strategic Forces Test Launch Ghaznavi Ballistic Missile Geo News | 01/23/2020 Pakistan has successfully test-fired a surface-to-surface ballistic missile during a field training exercise, reports the Geo News (Karachi). On Thursday, the military's strategic forces command launched a Ghaznavi missile during an operational readiness drill, the military Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement. The missile can carry multiple types of warheads, including nuclear warheads, to a range of 180 miles (290 km), according to the ISPR. Pakistan last tested the Ghaznavi in August amid heightened tensions with India over Kashmir, noted the Press Trust of India.

Syria—Dozens Killed In Major Rebel Assault In Idlib Tass | 01/23/2020 Militants in Syria's northwestern Idlib province have launched a major assault on government positions, reports the Tass news agency (Moscow). Late Wednesday, about 200 fighters from the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) supported by 20 pickup trucks, a tank and two infantry fighting vehicles attacked government positions near Abu-Hreif-Samka, said the Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Syrian Reconciliation, Simultaneously, about 250 militants with 34 tacticals, two tanks and an infantry fighting vehicle attacked positions in Maar Shamarin-Crati, southeast of Maarat al-Numan. About 40 soldiers and members of loyalist militias were killed and 80 wounded in the assault. An estimated 50 militants were killed. Syrian forces abandoned some of their positions under rocket fire, reported Reuters. Reinforcements have been deployed to the area, reported the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). Idlib is the last province with a major rebel presence. Areas south of Maarat al-Numan came under government control late last year. The area is ostensibly covered by a September 2018 agreement between Russia and Turkey. Successive government campaigns have reduced rebel influence in the province, which is largely controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

Israel—3 Gazans Killed After Crossing Security Fence Times of Israel | 01/23/2020 Israeli troops killed three Gazans suspected of planning a terrorist attack after they crossed the security fence around the enclave, reports the Times of Israel. On Tuesday night, the three individuals entered a wooded area on the Israeli side of the border from the southern Gaza Strip. The suspects had been under surveillance and were quickly surrounded after entering Israeli territory. Once they realized they were surrounded, they threw explosives at the troops, according to a military spokesman. The soldiers then opened fire, killing all of them. The spokesman emphasized that the Gazans had crossed at a known terrorist infiltration point and behaved as if they were on a mission. Two of the individuals were 18-year-olds while the third was 17, said a police source in Gaza cited by Reuters. The source said that the individuals were civilians unaffiliated with any militant group and questioned whether they had actually thrown explosives.

Algeria—Regional Countries Meet To Discuss Crisis In Libya Reuters | 01/23/2020 Algeria has hosted a meeting of foreign ministers from countries bordering Libya to discuss the conflict in that country, reports Reuters. On Thursday, foreign ministers from Chad, Egypt, Mali, Niger, Sudan and Tunisia met in Algiers. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who hosted an international summit on Libya earlier this month, also took part. Algerian Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum said that he hoped the meeting would reinforce promises to cement a truce that were made during a conference in Berlin on Sunday. The meeting was limited to representatives of those countries that border Libya due to the sensitivity of the talks, an Algerian diplomat told the Anadolu Agency (Ankara).

Mali—2 Soldiers Killed In Roadside Blast In Mopti Agence France-Presse | 01/23/2020 A roadside bomb has killed two soldiers in Mali's central Mopti region, reports Agence France-Presse. On Tuesday, a device exploded next to a vehicle carrying soldiers near the town of Dallah, said a military spokesman cited by the Defense Post. Two soldiers were wounded in the blast and evacuated by U.N. peacekeeping helicopters. There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

Sudan—At Least 20 Dead In Communal Violence In Disputed Border Area Sudan Tribune | 01/23/2020 At least 20 people have been killed in intercommunal violence in the disputed Abyei region between Sudan and South Sudan, reports the Sudan Tribune (Paris). Violence between the Arab Misseriya and Dinka Ngok communities began on Monday, sources told the website. On Wednesday, armed Misseriya men attacked the Dinka village of Kolom, setting some buildings on fire, reported Reuters. The U.N. Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) said that 19 people were killed and 25 wounded in the assault. Local Dinka leaders told Agence France-Presse that 32 people were killed and 15 abducted. The cause of the violence was not immediately clear. Locals indicated that cattle rustling or grazing rights might be behind the attacks. Oil-rich Abyei has no police of its own and relies on the U.N. mission for security. The region has a special status following South Sudan's independence in 2011 and is shared between the two nations.

Democratic Republic of the Congo—6 Killed In Latest Violence In East Agence France-Presse | 01/23/2020 At least six people have been killed in a militant attack in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, reports Agence France-Presse. The army did not reveal details of Wednesday's attack near the city of Beni. The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamist militia that originated in neighboring Uganda, was blamed. Earlier this month, the military said that it had killed five ADF leaders and destroyed a base used by the group in the area. In October, the Congolese military launched an operation to push the group from its hiding places in the region. Since then, attacks blamed on the ADF have killed an estimated 260 people, mostly civilians.

Mozambique—Health Center Torched By Suspected Rebels In Sofala Province Mozambique Information Agency | 01/23/2020 A health center in the village of Macorococho in Mozambique’s central Sofala province has been raided and burned down by an unidentified group, reports the Mozambique Information Agency (AIM). During the attack on Monday, the assailants looted the health center, reported the Carta de Mocambique (Mozambique) newspaper. Four people were killed during the attack. The militants also burned down the head administrator’s residence, witnesses said. The attack has not been claimed by any group, but the Renamo Military Junta is known to operate in the area and was likely responsible for the attack, the newspaper said. The group is a splinter element from the Renamo main opposition party.

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