- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 2, 2008

SUDAN

U.S. diplomat killed in ambush

KHARTOUM — An American diplomat and his driver were fatally shot yesterday in the Sudanese capital, the U.S. Embassy said.

A spokesman said it was “too early to tell” whether the attack was terrorism related.

The shooting of John Granville, 33, originally of Buffalo, N.Y., occurred a day after a joint African Union-United Nations force assumed control of peacekeeping in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Though Darfur, far to the west, is engulfed in violence, the Sudanese capital and its surroundings rarely see political violence or attacks by Islamic militants.

NIGERIA

Militants attack oil-industry center

PORT HARCOURT — Armed militants attacked targets in Nigeria’s main oil-industry center of Port Harcourt yesterday, killing 13 persons, a military spokesman said.

Bands of armed men invaded the city in the morning, attacking two police stations and raiding the lobby of a major hotel. Four policemen, three civilians and six attackers were killed, said Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, spokesman for the military task force in charge of security in Nigeria’s troubled oil region.

The Niger Delta Vigilante Movement, led by militia leader Ateke Tom, claimed responsibility for the attack, group spokesman Richard Akinaka told the Associated Press.

The group is one of several armed movements active in the southern Niger Delta oil-producing region. Attacks have reduced the country’s oil exports of 2.5 million barrels daily by more than 20 percent in the past two years.

RUSSIA

British Embassy to defy order

MOSCOW — The British Embassy yesterday said it will defy a Russian order to close two offices of a British cultural organization.

Russia last month ordered the offices closed by yesterday, accusing the two branches of operating illegally. Russian officials say the council is a for-profit organization subject to taxation.

British officials say the British Council — a nongovernmental organization that acts as the cultural department of the British Embassy — fully conforms with a 1994 Britain-Russia agreement and with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

The offices will reopen Jan. 14 after a holiday break, a British Embassy spokesman said on the condition of anonymity, in line with government policy. The organization’s Moscow office has not been ordered to close.

LIBERIA

Special cell phones to battle crime

MONROVIA — Liberia’s government is giving away specially programmed cell phones so citizens in the country impoverished by civil wars can report rapes and other violence as crime soars amid a shortage of police officers.

The 1989-2003 civil wars killed about 250,000 Liberians and ravaged institutions, such as the police.

Crime is such that the 3,500 Liberian police only venture into dangerous areas with the backing of armed U.N. police.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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