- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 11, 2004

KENYA

Bombing witness saw mystery aircraft

NAIROBI — A light aircraft flew over the burning ruins of an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya immediately after a suicide bomb attack killed 15 persons at the resort 14 months ago, a witness told a Nairobi court yesterday.

Four Kenyans — Mohammed Ali Saleh Nabhan, Omar Said Omar, Mohammed Kubwa and Aboud Rogo Mohammed — are on trial for the murder of 12 Kenyans and three Israelis at the Paradise Hotel, north of the coastal city of Mombasa.

“Immediately after the loud explosion, a plane flew low over the hotel and then out to sea where it disappeared completely,” Meshak Oture Rianga, who was a plumber at the hotel, told the high court.

He testified that he saw two men filming the hotel grounds three months before the attack, echoing similar testimony by another witness Tuesday. The defendants also are charged with a failed attempt to use a missile to shoot down an Israeli airliner.

NIGERIA

Health officials to test safety of polio vaccine

KANO — Nigerian health officials have left for South Africa, India and Indonesia to conduct tests to determine whether a World Health Organization (WHO) oral polio vaccine is safe, a government spokesman said yesterday.

The health specialists are to conduct the tests on the oral polio vaccine, which Muslim clerics and some doctors in northern Nigeria say contains anti-fertility agents that could render women barren.

Critics of the vaccine also claim it could cause HIV/AIDS, arguing it was part of a Western plot to depopulate Africa.

Weekly notes

The Sudanese government canceled plans to attend scheduled peace talks in Geneva with western rebels this week, officials said yesterday, days after the president claimed military victory over the insurgency. Peace talks between the government in Khartoum and two rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement, were to begin Saturday in Geneva. … Guillaume Soro, political leader of Ivory Coast’s rebels, has announced he will not run for president next year, as a rebel leadership rift threatened to harm efforts to disarm and reunite the country. Mr. Soro’s announcement came as his leadership of the rebel New Forces appeared increasingly challenged by Ibrahim Coulibaly, a Paris-based military chief.

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