- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 7, 2006

CROATIA

Former rebel leader commits suicide

AMSTERDAM — Milan Babic, the Serb leader of a rebel republic in Croatia and one of the key figures in the Balkan wars of the 1990s, committed suicide in prison, the U.N. war-crimes tribunal said yesterday.

Babic, who was serving 13 years for crimes against humanity, was found dead Sunday evening in his cell at the U.N. detention center in Scheveningen, a suburb of The Hague.

The Serbian minority revolted after Croatia broke away from Yugoslavia in 1991, setting off a war that lasted until 1995.

With the support of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, Croatian Serbs proclaimed their own republic, with Babic as its president, and began an ethnic cleansing campaign against non-Serbs.

MAURITANIA

Dozens dead as refugee boats sink

DAKAR, Senegal — Two wooden canoes carrying West Africans seeking a better life in Europe foundered in heavy weather off the coast of Mauritania, killing at least 45 would-be immigrants, a health official said yesterday.

Seventeen persons are missing, said Ahmed Ould Haya, head of Mauritania’s branch of the International Committee of the Red Crescent.

The boats had sailed separately from Mauritania in an attempt to reach the Canary Islands.

BANGLADESH

Top suspect in bombings held

DHAKA — An Islamic militant leader blamed for recent deadly bombings tried to blow himself up to avoid capture but was instead arrested yesterday by security forces, officials said.

Siddiqul Islam was captured at his hide-out in northern Mymensingh district, an official of Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion said.

Islam is one of the top leaders of Jumatul Mujahideen Bangladesh, a militant group blamed for bombings across the country in recent months that killed at least 26 persons.

PAKISTAN

Clashes lead to curfew, exodus

MIRAN SHAH — Authorities imposed a curfew yesterday in a remote town in northwestern Pakistan where three days of fighting between Pakistani security forces and pro-Taliban militants have killed more than 100 people.

Clashes continued yesterday in the North Waziristan tribal region, and thousands of residents joined an exodus out of the main town of Miran Shah.

YEMEN

Al Qaeda escapees recaptured

SAN’A — Yemeni forces have recaptured three al Qaeda inmates who were part of a group that tunneled out of jail in the Arab country last month, a government official said.

Last month, President Ali Abdullah Saleh said three other al Qaeda militants — part of a group of 23 inmates who broke out of jail — had surrendered to authorities.

The fugitives include the leaders of the 2000 bombing of the warship USS Cole and the 2002 attack on the French supertanker Limburg as well as a Yemeni-American wanted by the United States.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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