- - Wednesday, October 6, 2010

NIGERIA

Leader vows to find independence bombers

ABUJA | Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday vowed that everything possible would be done to unearth those behind last week’s independence day bombings that killed 12 people.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, a militant group operating in the oil-rich Niger Delta, claimed responsibility for the attacks, which took place a few hundred yards from an independence parade in the capital, Abuja.

But Mr. Jonathan has blamed the attacks on “a small terrorist group that resides outside Nigeria that was paid by some people.”

ETHIOPIA

Officials release top opposition leader

ADDIS ABABA | Ethiopian officials on Wednesday released a top opposition leader who had been sentenced to life in prison after the government said she had violated a pardon agreement and sent her back to jail in late 2008.

The Ethiopian government said Wednesday in a statement that they released Birtukan Mideksa because she requested a pardon last month, after spending nearly two years in prison.

The single mother and former judge was one of 100 opposition politicians and activists jailed after the 2005 election and charged with treason, but she was later pardoned after signing an agreement in 2007.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Military: Army retakes rebel-held town

BANGUI | Central African Republic government troops regained control of a town held by rebels since Sept. 18, military and government sources said on Wednesday.

But a spokesman for the rebel group, the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP), claimed its fighters still held the town in the unstable east of the country.

The army “regained control of the town of Yalinga in the early hours of Monday morning without resistance after rebel elements fled,” a source close to the military general staff told Agence France-Presse.

Troops were preparing to launch an offensive to retake the town when CPJP rebels slipped away, the source said.

GUINEA

Tension overshadows looming election

CONAKRY | A spokesman for Guinea’s leading presidential candidate said the newly installed head of the country’s electoral commission is biased in favor of the opposing candidate.

Lounceny Camara was chosen to head the National Independent Electoral Commission after the commission’s former president, Ben Sekou Sylla, died after a long illness in September.

While party leaders for presidential candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo are pleased the date for the election has been set for Oct. 24, they accused Mr. Camara of theft and fraud in a statement issued Wednesday. Party officials have threatened to boycott the elections if Mr. Camara remains in office.

The election could be the country’s first free and fair vote since independence from France in 1958.

BURUNDI

U.N. chief resigns as mission nears end

BUJUMBURA | The U.N. representative in Burundi, Charles Petrie, has announced his resignation, a spokesman said Wednesday, ahead of the winding up of the international body’s current mission in the country.

Mr. Petrie, 50, would resume his work in Somalia, where he was deputy U.N. special envoy before his appointment as executive representative for the U.N. Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB).

BINUB had been partly tasked with supporting this year’s elections, which saw President Pierre Nkurunziza sworn in last month for a second five-year term after a landslide victory in June. The poll was boycotted by the opposition over fraud claims.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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