- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 9, 2009

SUDAN

Genocide charges sought for Bashir

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia | International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said Tuesday that he had lodged an appeal to have Sudanese President Omar Bashir charged with genocide in the Darfur conflict.

The ICC has indicted Lt. Gen. Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity - including murder, rape and torture - but ruled it had insufficient grounds for a charge of genocide.

“Today, President Bashir has to be arrested for five counts. … If we win this appeal in some months, President Bashir will also have to answer the charges of genocide,” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said in Ethiopia.

Gen. Bashir has dismissed the allegations made by the ICC, the world’s first permanent court for prosecuting war crimes, as part of a Western conspiracy.

The ICC warrant was the first issued against a sitting head of state by The Hague-based court. United Nations’ officials say the Darfur conflict has killed as many as 300,000 people since 2003.

SUDAN

Captured workers in ‘good health’

KHARTOUM | Two aid workers kidnapped in Darfur last week have been located and are in good health, Sudanese officials told Agence France-Presse on Wednesday.

“They are in good health; they are safe,” a senior official said on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Gunmen kidnapped Irish national Sharon Commins and Ugandan Hilda Kawuki from the office of the Irish aid group Goal in the North Darfur city of Kutum on Friday night.

A Sudanese guard was also seized but later released.

The location of the two women is now known, Abdel Baqi Gilani, state minister for humanitarian affairs told Agence France-Presse without providing further details.

MALI

Al Qaeda says 28 soldiers killed

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates | Al Qaeda’s North African wing said it killed 28 Malian soldiers in a weekend attack, according to an Internet statement published after Mali’s president declared all-out war on the Islamist group.

Mali’s army dismissed the claim as propaganda, saying that in a recent clash in the north there were “dozens of dead on either side” but that al Qaeda had lost the most men.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said it killed the soldiers and captured three in a strike on a Malian military convoy in al-Wasra, northern Mali, on July 4, according to the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors Islamist Web sites.

NIGERIA

Rebels attack oil pipelines

ABUJA | Nigeria’s most well-known militant group said Wednesday that it sabotaged oil pipelines operated by Shell and Agip, widening a six-week offensive against Africa’s biggest energy industry.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said gunmen attacked the pipelines in two separate attacks near Nembe creek in Bayelsa state in the Niger Delta.

Attacks against the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries member’s oil sector have become a near daily occurrence since President Umaru Yar’Adua announced an amnesty offer two weeks ago.

SOUTH AFRICA

Workers’ strike threatens World Cup

JOHANNESBURG | South African construction workers went on an indefinite strike Wednesday at stadiums being built for the 2010 World Cup - a move that could derail Africa’s historic first World Cup tournament.

About 70,000 workers at stadiums across the country lay down their tools after wage negotiations deadlocked earlier this week. Workers are demanding a 13 percent pay increase, but employers are offering a 10.4 percent rise.

The strike could delay completion of flagship projects such as the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town and the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Stadiums need to be completed by December to meet deadlines set by the world soccer body FIFA before the tournament kicks off in June 2010.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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