New Delhi: The Indian Air Force lost 27 aircraft, including 15 fighter jets and helicopters, in crashes since 2016, Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik said Wednesday. The quantum of provisional loss in 11 cases of crashes was approximately Rs 524.64 crore, he said in a written reply in Lok Sabha. In the 2016-17 fiscal, six IAF fighter jets, two helicopters, one transport aircraft and one trainer crashed. In 2017-18, the air force lost two fighter jets and one trainer aircraft in crashes. Also Read – Cong may promise farm loan waiver in Haryana The number rose sharply in 2018-19 with the IAF losing seven fighter jets, two helicopters and two trainers. This included the crash of the MiG-21 fighter jet which was being piloted by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman during a dog-fight with Pakistan Air Force planes on February 27. On the same day, an Mi-17 helicopter also crashed killing six air force personnel. In 2019-20, so far, an AN-32 transport aircraft crashed in Arunachal Pradesh, killing 13 air force personnel earlier this month.
Rabat – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has issued a statement after Algeria decided to shut its border to Syrian, Palestinian, and Yemeni refugees.The agency expressed concerns about the safety of refugees reportedly stranded at Algeria’s southern border with Niger.The agency said that it had received information that the “group, comprising some 120 Syrian, Palestinian and Yemeni individuals, were detained at the Tamanrasset Centre in southern Algeria before being taken to an area near the Guezzam border post on 26 December.” A group of the refugees remain “stranded in the desert, three kilometers from the Guezzam border post where they are exposed to the elements.”The other group “who were taken to the border are unaccounted for.”The UNHCR said that it contacted Algerian authorities regarding the matter. It also denied that the group of refugees were moved to the border “with the agreement of UNHCR,” saying that it had no involvement.Read Also: Algeria Shuts Border to Syrian Refugees, Invokes Terrorism ThreatUNHCR called on Algeria for “access to those individuals, to address humanitarian needs and to identify those in need of international protection and to ensure their safety.”After receiving criticism from the international community, Algeria cited concerns over terrorism.Hassen Kacimi the head of the migration department at the interior ministry in Algeria, said that the country cannot “accept members of armed groups fleeing from Syria when it comes to our security.”Quoted by Reuters, he added that “this is a criminal network and we must be very vigilant not to allow them to enter into Algeria.”In the summer of 2018, UNHCR strongly criticized Algeria for abandoning migrants in the Sahara desert. The Globe and Mail reported in June 2018 that Algeria had abandoned 13,000 migrants over the past 14 months, including women and children, without food or water.