- - Wednesday, October 13, 2010

NIGERIA

Ex-president’s aide indicted on corruption

ABUJA | A personal aide to former President Olusegun Obasanjo was charged Wednesday in a six-count indictment accusing him of laundering money in a case involving massive bribes paid by a former Halliburton subsidiary.

A prosecutor alleged Adeyanju Bodunde was just a member in a “ring” of others surrounding the former leader of Africa’s most populous nation, hinting that more charges may come in the case involving Kellogg, Brown & Root.

Mr. Bodunde, who served as Mr. Obasanjo’s personal aide before he won the 1999 presidential election and during his presidency, pleaded not guilty.

The charges center on $1.5 million Mr. Bodunde allegedly received between 2002 and 2003. Prosecutors say that money went toward government officials to ensure that KBR won contracts to build liquefied natural gas facilities on Bonny Island, Nigeria. Those facilities harness natural gas released during oil drilling.

In February, KBR pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court in Houston in the case and agreed to pay more than $400 million in fines. The company admitted authorizing and paying bribes from 1995 to 2004 for contracts in Nigeria, an OPEC member that is one of America’s main suppliers of crude.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Group says warlord allowed to walk free

DAKAR, Senegal | A former Congolese warlord accused of conscripting child soldiers walks freely and is serving in the Congolese military despite a warrant for his arrest, an international rights group said Wednesday.

Bosco Ntaganda was first indicted on war-crimes charges in 2006 by the International Criminal Court, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands. The court has accused Mr. Ntaganda of using child soldiers for fighting in Ituri, in northeastern Congo, from 2002 to 2003.

The U.N. also has implicated Mr. Ntaganda in the 2008 massacre in the village of Kiwanja in Congo’s North Kivu province. More than 150 people were killed by rebels under Mr. Ntaganda’s command, according to a U.N. report.

Human Rights Watch has called for the Congolese government to arrest Mr. Ntaganda immediately, but Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende said the group should direct its demand to the country’s judiciary.

MALI

Official: West should limit fight on AQIM

BAMAKO | A Mali army official says Western countries should limit their participation in military operations against al Qaeda’s North African offshoot.

Col. Yamoussa Camara said Wednesday that foreign forces should remain in the background - providing training and equipment - so Mali’s armed forces can keep the support of their population.

Col. Camara spoke during a Group of Eight meeting in Mali on how to counter Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

NIGERIA

Troops deploy into city after sect attacks

MAIDUGURI | Troops deployed into a northern Nigerian city Wednesday after a wave of attacks blamed on an Islamist sect behind an uprising that led to the deaths of hundreds of people last year.

Hundreds of soldiers in armored tanks and trucks patrolled the almost deserted streets of Maiduguri, while others manned roadblocks alongside police. The police force also sent in reinforcements.

The boosted security follows an attack on a police station Monday by suspected gangs from the Boko Haram sect that injured two police officers. It was the latest in a growing wave of unrest that has left several people dead.

SOUTH AFRICA

Treating TB means months of monitoring

JOHANNESBURG | At a clinic in a poor South African township, Themba Grammary, 48, puts five anti-tuberculosis pills in his mouth, then sticks out his tongue so his nurse can make sure he’s swallowed his medicine.

Tuberculosis treatment lasts at least six months and requires taking multiple pills on a regular schedule each day. As Mr. Grammary knows all too well, the side effects can be debilitating.

“Sometimes I am feeling numb in my legs,” he says.

But for him, the pills are a life-or-death matter. Like 5.7 percent of South Africa’s 48 million people, Mr. Grammary is HIV positive, making him highly vulnerable to TB.

Every year, more than 300,000 people with HIV contract TB in South Africa, and 110,000 die of the bacterial lung infection.

From wire dispatches and staff reports