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Al Qaeda affiliate threatens Algerian hostages’ lives

BAMAKO — An al Qaeda offshoot that has abducted seven Algerian diplomats in northern Mali warned Sunday that the hostages’ lives are in danger.

The Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, which kidnapped the men on April 5 at their consulate in the northern city of Gao, issued the warning in comments to Agence France-Presse, after negotiations with Algeria.

The terrorist group’s spokesman, Adnan Abu Walid Sahraoui, did not elaborate on what demands the Islamist kidnappers were making.

Various Islamist groups and Tuareg rebels have seized control of much of northern Mali in recent weeks in a campaign that rapidly gained pace after an army coup on March 22 in the capital, Bamako, in Mali’s south.


Sudan: Detained foreigners have military ties

KHARTOUM — Sudan has claimed three foreigners arrested in a disputed area on the border with South Sudan had military hardware and an armored vehicle.

But a representative for one of the three said Sunday that they were on a humanitarian mine-clearing mission.

A Briton, a Norwegian, a South African and a South Sudanese were captured by Sudanese troops Saturday in the oil-rich region of Heglig.

The arrests are the latest sign of spiking tensions along the disputed border, where clashes have raged in recent weeks. The violence has brought the two nations, already at odds over demarcating the border and dividing oil revenue, to the brink of war.


Activist detained for anti-Putin prayer

MOSCOW — An opposition activist was detained and beaten Sunday after he tried to enter Moscow’s landmark Christ the Savior Cathedral to pray to deliver Russia from President-elect Vladimir Putin.

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