World Digest: June 14, 2013

June 14, 2013
EUROPE
Records: Leader of Nazi-led unit in U.S.

A top commander of a Nazi SS-led unit accused of burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by the Associated Press.

Michael Karkoc, 94, told American authorities in 1949 that he had performed no military service during World War II, concealing his work as an officer and founding member of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion and later as an officer in the SS Galician Division, according to records obtained by the AP. The Galician Division and a Ukrainian nationalist organization he served in were both on a secret blacklist of groups whose members were forbidden from entering the United States.

Though records do not show that Karkoc had a direct hand in war crimes, statements from men in his unit and other documentation confirm that the Ukrainian company he commanded massacred civilians and suggest that Karkoc was at the scene of these atrocities as the company leader. Nazi SS files say he and his unit were also involved in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, in which the Nazis suppressed a Polish rebellion.

Polish prosecutors announced Friday that they will investigate Karkoc and provide “every possible assistance” to the U.S. Department of Justice. The AP evidence of Karkoc’s wartime activities has also prompted German authorities to express interest in exploring whether there is enough to prosecute.

Karkoc refused to discuss his wartime past at his home in Minneapolis, and repeated efforts to set up an interview, using his son as an intermediary, were unsuccessful.

— Associated Press

BURMA
U.N. aid reaches troubled region

A United Nations-led convoy of trucks in Burma has for the first time in nearly a year been allowed to deliver food and household supplies to areas beyond government control in the country’s northernmost region.

The U.N. humanitarian office said Friday that a 10-truck convoy was delivering food, special nutrients for children, household and hygiene kits and water purification tablets to 5,100 of the estimated 100,000 people driven from their homes due to fighting between the government and rebels in Kachin state. The region in Burma, also known as Myanmar, borders China.

Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva, said it was the first time Burma’s government has allowed a U.N.-led convoy to enter Kachin state since July 2012.

The U.N. estimates that since June 2011, fighting between Burma’s government and the Kachin Independence Organization has forced an estimated 100,000 people from their homes, with 60,000 of them living in areas beyond government control.

— Associated Press

NATO denies report of children killed in airstrike: The NATO military coalition in Afghanistan has denied a United Nations report that a coalition airstrike killed three children in eastern Afghanistan. The United Nations Children’s Fund cited the alleged incident in a statement this week condemning a steep rise in child casualties. The U.S.-led coalition said Friday that the report was “simply not true” and that it had no aircraft operating in the province of Kunar at the time of the June 6 incident.

Guatemalan police killed in attack: Officials say a heavily armed group has ambushed and killed eight Guatemalan police officers in a township located about 120 miles west of the capital, Guatemala City. Cecilio Chacaj of the municipal firefighters department said the victims had multiple gunshot wounds and that one died in the hospital after the Thursday night attack. The bodies of the other officers were discovered in the police station.

— From news services

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