- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 1, 2006

SOMALIA

Foreign aid worker kidnapped in Juba

MOGADISHU — A foreign U.N. worker was abducted yesterday in southern Somalia, and efforts were under way to obtain his release, officials said.

Robert McCarthy, a staffer with the U.N. Children’s Fund whose nationality was not disclosed, was seized on the outskirts of Afmadow in the volatile southern region of Lower Juba, they said.

“All necessary contacts have been made with the traditional elders, security officials and local politicians,” said Ahmed Ashi, a Somali member of parliament from Lower Juba, which is in the grip of an acute food shortage.

KENYA

Police arrest 3 over news report

NAIROBI — Police announced yesterday they had arrested three journalists over an article charging that President Mwai Kibaki held secret talks with a lawmaker who successfully rallied opposition to constitutional reform last year.

Managing Editor Chacha Mwita of the Standard newspaper’s weekend editions, News Editor Dennis Onyango and reporter Ayub Savula were arrested late Tuesday after presenting themselves to Nairobi’s central police station over the article, which the government called “fabricated,” police said.

IVORY COAST

Extradition request from France pondered

ABIDJAN — National judicial authorities are to meet today to examine a French request to extradite Youssouf Fofana, wanted for the grisly killing near Paris of a young Jewish man.

Justice Ministry spokesman Ali Yeo said defense lawyers and prosecutors would be present at the hearing. Paris last week issued an international arrest warrant and extradition request for Mr. Fofana, who is believed to have fled France shortly after Jewish cell-phone vendor Ilan Halimi, 23, was found dying Feb. 13 on the outskirts of Paris. The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Halimi was handcuffed and that four-fifths of his body was covered with bruises, stab wounds and serious burns. He died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

Mr. Fofana, 25, was arrested in Abidjan several days after Mr. Halimi was found, and reportedly confessed to kidnapping but not murder.

Weekly notes …

Niger called on the international community yesterday for help in fighting an outbreak of the deadly strain of bird flu. One of the world’s poorest countries, it became the third African country hit by the deadly H5N1 bird-flu virus after Nigeria and Egypt when four farm ducks were confirmed this week to have been infected. … The British charity Oxfam has criticized Britain for a legal loophole that allowed the sale of military equipment to Uganda that was used to violently quell demonstrations. It said a South African subsidiary of British defense and aerospace giant BAE Systems supplied armored vehicles to the East African nation despite political concerns that led London to suspend some aid last year.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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