Entries in Virginia (3)


Virginia Teenager Released from Captivity in the Philippines

STR/AFP/Getty Images(MANILA) -- The Philippine military says that a 14-year-old from Virginia who was abducted five months ago by suspected militants has been released.

Kevin Lunsmann was kidnapped with his mother and cousin five months ago. His Filipino-American mother was freed two months ago, and his cousin escaped last week.

The family was vacationing on an island in the Philippines when they were attacked by the militants.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Authorities Arrest Suspects Involved in International Drug Ring

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- An international drug ring smuggling heroin through Dulles Airport was broken up Thursday with seven suspects arrested.
According to U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride traffickers used couriers to transport drugs from Ghana to the United States, where they would then move about the east coast. Among those arrested were two in Maryland, one in Virginia and one in New York.
The smugglers were paid as much as $15,000 to smuggle $250,000 worth of heroin into the country each trip. Authorities say they used carry on bags which hid heroin in the lining or in special compartments.
The alleged 61 year old ringleader was arrested in Ghana.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Libyan Rebel Commander Is from Fairfax, Virginia

MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images(BENGHAZI, Libya) -- Gen. Khalifa Haftr, the self-proclaimed commander of the Free Libyan Army, does not dress for battle. On a recent day after his forces had reclaimed much of the territory they had lost, the commander was wearing a pinstripe suit and a black turtleneck sweater.

Haftr, who lived in Fairfax, Va., until recent weeks when he returned to join the rebellion against Moammar Gadhafi, was appointed to lead the rebel army earlier this month. His top aides appear to be his sons.

It is difficult for the media as well as the Obama administration to determine who, if anyone, is in charge of the rebellion. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said recently, "We don't know as much as we would like to know and as much as we expect we will know. We're picking up information."

A U.S. official said, "There's still a fair amount of uncertainty here on who's who in the opposition camp."

After a surge across eastern Libya following allied aerial attacks on Gadhafi's forces, the rebel army is again in retreat from the key oil city of Ras Lanouf, and it's not clear who is commanding them.

Haftr, a general in Gadhafi's army during the 1980s, claims to be in charge. Haftr told ABC News that he doesn't officially report to Omar Hariri, the rebels' defense minister, or to Gen. Abdel Fattah Younes, who has the title of chief of staff. Haftr spoke with ABC News earlier this week at a time the rebels were on the march behind allied air power. At the time, Haftr predicted that the rebels' advance on Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte would not be a major test for his ragtag army, and that the city would fall easily.

Instead, the rebels ran into tanks and artillery and are now fleeing for safety.

The opposition's military command structure -- what is known of it -- has some inherent problems. A U.S. official pointed out that Haftr and Younes have been on opposite sides for a long time.

When Haftr served under Gadhafi, he fought in Chad, a military debacle in which thousands of Libyan soldiers died. After being arrested in Chad, Haftr says he was sentenced to death by Gadhafi, but managed to seek asylum in the U.S. He said he returned to Libya in recent weeks and was promptly put in charge of the rebel forces.

Haftr insists that he is well known in Libya and can rally and organize forces against Gadhafi.

Younes defected from Gadhafi's forces only in the last month. While his long-lasting loyalty to Gadhafi has aroused suspicion among some opposition elements, he brings with him recent military experience and knowledge of Gadhafi's forces and capabilities.

"Libyan opposition forces are a patchwork. Gen. Khalifa Haftr and Abdel Fattah Younes are two of the players. They've been on opposite sides in Libya for quite a while and are probably just beginning to build a relationship. After all, Haftr's been an opposition figure for some 20 years and Younes just left the Gadhafi regime," said the U.S. official who had asked not to be named.

Haftr says his forces need M16 rifles, anti-tank missiles, armored personnel carriers and communication equipment. The general said he would welcome foreign military trainers to whip his army into shape.

He also denied that extremist Islamists are in his army, although U.S. experts told Congress this week that there was evidence that militant Muslims make up a small number of rebel fighters.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio