- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 28, 2010

SOMALIA

Fighting kills at least 17 civilians

MOGADISHU | Clashes in Mogadishu pitting Islamist insurgents against Somali government troops backed by African Union forces have killed at least 17 civilians, medics said Wednesday.

“The ambulance servicemen collected 10 civilian bodies and 46 others who were injured in the clashes [Tuesday] afternoon,” Ali Musa, the head of Mogadishu’s ambulance services, told Agence France-Presse.

Seven others died of their injuries while undergoing treatment at the city’s Madina hospital, officials said.

The fighting erupted as African Union leaders agreed Tuesday to boost the bloc’s force in Somalia by 4,000 to counter the Islamist insurgents waging a deadly battle to oust the country’s transitional government.

The decision came in response to the devastating bomb attacks in Kampala that killed 76 people and was claimed by Somalia’s al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab rebels two weeks ahead of the AU summit in the Ugandan capital.

ZIMBABWE

Court appeals aide’s treason acquittal

HARARE | Zimbabwean lawyers say the nation’s highest court is appealing the acquittal on treason charges of a top aide of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The Supreme Court adjourned indefinitely Wednesday to study bulky court records of the High Court trial that in May acquitted Roy Bennett. Mr. Bennett, who was designated deputy agriculture minister, was charged with plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe.

The case against Mr. Bennett strained Zimbabwe’s struggling coalition government since it was forged 18 months ago. Mr. Mugabe vowed not to swear in Mr. Bennett as a minister until he was cleared of charges carrying a possible death sentence.

Defense attorney Beatrice Mtetwa described the state appeal as continuing “political persecution” of Mr. Bennett.

SIERRA LEONE

Ex-Irish president calls for maternal health focus

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