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Briefly: Africa

- - Wednesday, June 29, 2011

SUDAN

Bashir reassured of Chinese investments

BEIJING | Sudan's president, wanted on a war-crimes warrant, won pledges Wednesday from China and its state-owned energy firm that they will continue investing in his country after its resource-rich southern region becomes independent next month.

Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti said Wednesday that President Omar Bashir came to China hoping to hear Sudan's biggest diplomatic and economic backer would continue to invest in northern Sudan's oil, agriculture and mining sectors.

"We had good assurances from his excellency President Hu Jintao that China would go on working with Sudan hand in hand whether politically or financially or economically," Mr. Karti said.

Mr. Karti said Mr. Bashir also visited the Beijing headquarters of China National Petroleum Corp., Asia's biggest oil and gas producer by volume, and was assured the state-owned firm would continue to invest in the north.

ETHIOPIA

Ethiopia arrests 9 on terrorism charges

ADDIS ABABA | An Ethiopian official said nine people were arrested last week on suspicions of organizing a terrorist network and planning attacks.

Government spokesman Shimeles Kemal said Wednesday that two journalists were among those arrested. He said they were involved in planning attacks on infrastructure, telecommunications and power lines. He said two other suspects are members of an opposition party.

Mr. Shimeles said the suspects were supported by Ethiopia's archenemy, Eritrea, and by an international terrorist group, which he did not name.

International media rights groups have been calling for the release of Reeyot Alemu, a columnist for the independent weekly Feteh, and Woubshet Taye, deputy editor-in-chief of the weekly Awramba Times newspaper.

UGANDA

Lightning kills 22 students, 1 teacher in midwest

KAMPALA | Ugandan officials said 22 students and a teacher died after lightning struck their school in the country's midwest.

Local police spokeswoman Zura Ganyana said Wednesday that 51 students between the ages of 7 and 16 were injured Tuesday.

She said the teacher who died was visiting the Runyanya Primary School, about 160 miles west of Uganda's capital.

Zombo education official John Ojobi said another school 200 miles northwest of Kampala also was hit by lightning Tuesday, injuring 37 students and two teachers.

Meteorology experts said school buildings were being hit because they don't have lightning conductors and are built on high ground.

In the past few weeks, lightning strikes around the country have killed at least 38 people.

NIGERIA

Limited curfews imposed on capital after bombing

ABUJA | Nigeria's capital on Wednesday imposed limited curfews on recreational centers after a deadly bomb attack two weeks ago at the police headquarters claimed by a radical Islamist sect.

The city's administration said nightclubs, cinemas, beer parlors and pool halls should close by 10 p.m. daily, including weekends. Parks and gardens that admit children would close at 6 p.m.

The city also banned parking vehicles on roads where most government offices are located.

The new security steps follow the June 16 bomb attack on the national police headquarters parking lot, which claimed at least two lives, including that of a police officer.

The Boko Haram sect, blamed for a series of gun and bomb attacks in the northern part of the country in recent months, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The sect hit again this week in two attacks in as many days, killing 30 people.

ETHIOPIA

Ethiopia to make 'power hub' with 4 new Nile dams

ADDIS ABABA | Ethiopia plans to become an African power hub by building hydroelectric dams along the Nile River, an official said Wednesday - a move that would allow it to sell electricity to Egypt and Sudan, which have said that dams along the Nile threaten their water rights.

Ethiopian Electric Power Corp. manager Mihret Debebe said the four new dams could add 11,000 megawatts to the country's ailing power grid. Another dam on the Nile is under construction and will add 5,250 megawatts. Work on the four new dams will start after 2015, he said.

He said the power will mainly be exported to neighboring countries. Other recipient countries include Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia and Yemen.

Ethiopia already has started building another Nile dam in the country's west called the Grand Renaissance Dam.

The new dams "have the potential to double the capacity we have at the Renaissance Dam," the manager said.