Daily World News Digest, 26 June 2017

China landslide: More than 90 missing as search continues

The BBC reports today that more than 90 people are still missing after a huge landslide early on Saturday buried homes in a village in Sichuan province in southwestern China. Thousands of rescuers were deployed after some 40 homes were destroyed in Maoxian county. At least 10 bodies have been recovered, but rescuers say they do not expect to find anyone else alive. Heavy rain is thought to have triggered the landslide, causing the top section of a mountain to loosen, sending boulders and rocks crashing down onto Xinmo village below. http://bbc.in/2s6SE4S

Death toll from Bahawalpur oil tanker fire climbs to 153

Dawn newspaper from Pakistan reported on 25 June that 153 people, many of whom had rushed to collect leaking fuel, were killed after an oil tanker crashed on a road near the city of Bahawalpur in eastern Pakistan on Sunday. A senior rescue official in the area said the death toll could rise further as dozens are still in critical condition. The disaster occurred when hundreds of residents of a nearby village gathered at the site of the overturned oil tanker to collect the leaking fuel. Dr. Mohammad Baqar said many of the bodies were burned beyond recognition and would have to be identified through DNA. http://bit.ly/2sRW2xp

Police in Malaysia uncover lead in pastor’s abduction

The Malay Mail reported on 25 June that police in Malaysia have found new information on the abduction of Christian pastor Raymond Koh. Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said photographs believed to be of the missing pastor’s house and his two vehicles were recovered from the home of a suspect killed during a police operation afainst a smuggling syndicate on 17 June and police believe the syndicate is linked to the abduction of Pastor Koh. Koh was abducted near Kuala Lumpur on 13 February. The kidnapping, which was filmed by surveillance cameras, came after the disappearances of Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth, and social activist Amri Che Mat. A coalition of NGOs called Citizen Action Group on Enforced Disappearance has claimed that the disappearances of the four were abductions by state agents. The Home Ministry has denied political interference in any of the four cases. http://bit.ly/2tJwin6

Sri Lanka: Establish Office on Missing Persons immediately

On 23 June, Amnesty International called on the Sri Lankan authorities immediately to establish the Office on Missing Persons, an agency which the government has promised to set up in order to resolve tens of thousands of missing persons cases from more than 30 years of conflict in Sri Lanka. “Tens of thousands of families, from all communities, have waited far too long already. The Office on Missing Persons must be established as soon as possible,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director. “It is encouraging that both the President and the Prime Minister have reached out to families of the disappeared over recent days. But soothing words must be followed by decisive action. Only justice can heal the wounds of Sri Lankans.” http://bit.ly/2u3CNQU

Cyprus uses high-tech tools to ID the missing

The Associated Press reported on 25 June on the efforts of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP), which, over the last 11 years, has unearthed and identified more than a third of the 2,001 Greek and Turkish Cypriots who vanished during fighting in the 1960s and during the summer of 1974. Potential eyewitnesses who could help pinpoint graves are dying of old age, while unceasing construction sometimes makes burial sites forever inaccessible. The CMP is now sifting through archival information it has for the first time gained access to from the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and six countries that dispatched peacekeeping troops to Cyprus at the time of the fighting. Gulden Plumer Kucuk, the CMP’s Turkish Cypriot member, says she expects the new approach will begin to produce results within a year. She estimates the archival search will boost the inflow of information by up to 20 percent. http://bit.ly/2tJFO9L

Items in Daily World News Digest are summaries of published reports relevant to the issue of missing persons, compiled by ICMP staff. These items do not necessarily reflect the position of ICMP.