- - Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Arrests made against Nigerian sect

MAIDUGURI — Security forces have arrested a top commander of a radical Muslim sect who is accused of orchestrating attacks in the country’s northeast that have left police, clerics and others dead, a governor said Wednesday.

Borno state Gov. Kashim Shettima told the Associated Press in an interview at his heavily guarded office that officials think a negotiated peace can be reached with the sect known locally as Boko Haram.

However, he warned that those involved in the group who continue the sect’s sectarian campaign of assassinations and bombings will be hunted down by the increasing military and police presence in his state.

“I believe the worst is over,” Mr. Shettima said, adding that five others also were arrested and are being detained.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege,” came to prominence in July 2009 when its members rioted in Maiduguri. The riots and an ensuing military crackdown left 700 people dead and the group’s mosque in ruins.

The group, which wants strict implementation of Shariah law across Nigeria, re-emerged last year to carry out shootings and bombings.


U.N. reports gains in fight against famine

NAIROBI — The U.N. on Wednesday said food assistance has reached nearly half the Somalis in need, though it warned cases of diarrhea and cholera could spike with the seasonal rains expected in October.

Famine relief has gotten to about 1.85 million Somalis, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

The World Health Organization, meanwhile, reports that cases of diarrhea and cholera are down, though October rains could pose a high risk of transmission of waterborne diseases in highly populated camps for those displaced by the famine.

Tens of thousands of Somalis already have died from a lack of food, and the U.N. says 750,000 more are at risk of death from famine in the next four months. Six areas in southern Somalia have been declared famine zones.

Despite an increase in food aid in Mogadishu, Somalis in filthy camps for the internally displaced continue to die. Food aid is being siphoned off by corrupt power brokers, and government soldiers have stolen food.

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