- - Wednesday, October 20, 2010

SOMALIA

British hostage freed in Somalia

MOGADISHU | A British contractor kidnapped in Somalia while working for the aid group Save the Children has been freed after negotiations with his captors, local officials said Wednesday.

Regional officials in central Somalia said Frans Barnard, a Nairobi-based security consultant, was freed late Tuesday about 150 miles from the town of Adado, where he was abducted last week.

Within Somalia, the kidnapping of foreign nationals has become relatively rare because nearly all aid agencies have barred expatriate workers from operating there after hard-line Islamist militants gained control of more territory.

KENYA

Kibaki to step up fight against graft

NAIROBI | Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki said Wednesday he would step up the fight against corruption in East Africa’s biggest economy, a day after suspending a Cabinet minister over fraud charges.

Mr. Kibaki said the new constitution he promulgated in August had given fresh impetus to a war against corruption that analysts say is endemic and has choked growth in Kenya’s economy, deterring potential investors.

On Tuesday, Mr. Kibaki suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto after high-court judges ruled Mr. Ruto should stand trial for fraud over a land deal.

Mr. Kibaki came to power in 2002 on an anti-graft platform, but his record in this area has failed to impress his critics.

NIGERIA

Muslim sect kills despite crackdown

MAIDUGURI | Members of a Muslim sect blamed for recent violence across northern Nigeria apparently have fatally shot another police officer despite a military crackdown in the region, authorities said Wednesday.

The shooting death of Inspector Kashim Bukar comes as the military promises to deploy attack helicopters to Maiduguri, a city formerly home to the Boko Haram sect that has seen targeted killings in recent weeks.

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