- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 1, 2004

SUDAN

Khartoum agrees to disarm militias

KHARTOUM — Sudan said it will try to disarm Darfur militias as required by a U.N. resolution threatening sanctions, but the justice minister cautioned yesterday that meeting the 30-day deadline will be “extremely difficult.”

With international pressure mounting and France announcing it would redeploy soldiers in Chad to help bring aid and security to desperate refugees, Sudanese ministers will meet today to formulate a response to the U.N. vote.

After first dismissing the resolution as “misguided,” the government yesterday said it would try to comply.

The U.N. Security Council on Friday adopted a U.S.-drafted resolution that threatened Sudan with sanctions in 30 days if it fails to stop attacks by Arab militias known as Janjaweed and bring them to justice.

UZBEKISTAN

Resist Islamists, president pleads

TASHKENT — President Islam Karimov blamed suicide bombings on Friday against the U.S. and Israeli embassies on the same group behind unprecedented similar attacks earlier this year, pleading in a nationwide TV address yesterday for Uzbeks to spurn extremist Islamic influences.

He spoke after a police officer guarding the U.S. Embassy died overnight from injuries in attacks, which also hit the chief prosecutor’s office in the Uzbek capital. The officer’s death raised the fatalities to at least six, including the three bombers.

Though not identifying the group behind the attacks, Mr. Karimov pointedly mentioned Hizb ut-Tahrir, a secretive Islamist extremist group that has spread across Central Asia since the Soviet Union’s collapse.

FRANCE

Ex-Gitmo inmates face terror probe

PARIS — Anti-terrorism judges, in their first move toward prosecution, yesterday placed under investigation two of the four men returned to France after their release from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, judicial officials said.

The four — Mourad Benchellali, Imad Kanouni, Nizar Sassi and Brahim Yadel — were released to French authorities Tuesday and became the first French prisoners to return from the U.S. military lockup after spending more than two years there.

IRAN

Top dissident freed on bail

TEHRAN — Iran’s most prominent academic dissident, Hashem Aghajari, was freed on bail yesterday after two years in jail facing the death penalty for telling Iranians not to follow their clerical leaders like “monkeys.”

Students took to the streets in violent protests in 2002 after the history lecturer, who lost a leg in the 1980-1988 war with Iraq, was sentenced to hang for blasphemy.

His attorney said one of the reformist’s friends had met the bail of $113,000.

ITALY

Wanted man killed in hostage drama

ROME — A killer who had been declared Italy’s most-wanted man but managed to evade a nationwide manhunt for 10 days was killed in a shootout with police after taking a tourist hostage yesterday, police said.

Luciano Liboni, 47, had been on the run since he killed a policeman on the Adriatic coast on July 22. He had managed to evade several police traps, including one that resulted in a shootout in another part of Rome last week.

SAUDI ARABIA

Foreigner arrested with weapons cache

RIYADH — Saudi police yesterday arrested a foreigner who was hiding a cache of weapons and explosives at his home in Riyadh, the Interior Ministry and security sources said.

Ministry officials said the man had been caught during a raid on a neighborhood of the Saudi capital. Security sources later said the man was not a Saudi national but that he spoke Arabic.

Earlier, the family of Isa al Oshan, a prominent al Qaeda militant killed by Saudi police this month, surrendered to authorities, security sources said.

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