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The protest was partly a response to ongoing demonstrations at a university outside the capital, where Islamists disrupted classes by demanding the school end mixed-sex classes and require female students to wear the full-face veil, or niqab.

Islamist parties have been winning elections since the toppling of dictators in the Arab Spring uprisings, including in Tunisia where Ennahda won the biggest bloc of votes Oct. 23 to dominate the 217-member assembly.

Longtime Tunisian leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his staunchly secular regime were ousted in a popular uprising in January.


Karzai pardons imprisoned rape victim

KABUL | President Hamid Karzai pardoned an Afghan woman serving a 12-year prison sentence for having sex out of wedlock after she was raped by a relative, his office said Thursday.

His office also said the woman and her attacker agreed to marry. That would reverse an earlier decision by the woman, who had refused a judge’s offer of freedom if she agreed to wed the rapist.

Thursday’s statement said Mr. Karzai decided to forgive the rest of the woman’s sentence after hearing from judicial officials. It is not clear how much time the woman has served.

More than 5,000 people had signed a petition urging Mr. Karzai to release her.


Thousands flee clash between herders and farmers

LAGOS | At least 5,000 people have fled villages in central Nigeria at the heart of clashes between nomadic Muslim cattle herders and Christian farmers, officials said Thursday. At least five people have died in the fighting.

Authorities acknowledged there could be many more deaths in the violence hitting rural Benue and Nasarawa states in Nigeria’s fertile central belt, a dividing line in the country between religious and ethnic groups.

The fighting began this week as Muslim Fulani cattle herders found some of their livestock dead, said Conrad Wergba, Benue state’s information commissioner. The cattle herders retaliated by attacking villages of the Christian Tiv ethnic group in both Benue and Nasarawa states, he said.


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