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“We appeal to sub-regional and international organizations to pay particular attention to this phenomenon, because recruitment of children is currently taking place in northern Mali,” he said.

The Malian Coalition of Child Rights is a grouping of 78 Malian and international associations.

The Islamists who have controlled the vast desert north of Mali for four months, recently admitted to Agence France-Presse reporters that they have taken children of “all ages to fight in the name of God.”

South Africa

Former U.N. rights chiefhits ANC corruption

JOHANNESBURG — A former U.N. human rights commissioner criticized South Africa’s ruling party in a speech Sunday honoring Nelson Mandela.

Mary Robinson, also a former president of Ireland, urged the African National Congress to scrap a proposed official secrets law and referred to secrecy as “the enemy of truth.”

Mrs. Robinson, speaking in Cape Town, also said that the ANC’s “moral authority has been eroded” by corruption charges in recent years.

Mrs. Robinson gave the keynote address at the 10th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture.

Mr. Mandela was imprisoned for nearly three decades for his fight against apartheid. Released in 1990, he led negotiations to end white rule. In South Africa’s first fully democratic elections in 1994, he was elected president.


Militants attack Red Cross building

TRIPOLI — Armed assailants laid siege on Sunday to a Red Cross staff residence in the western Libyan city of Misrata, causing major damage to the building but no injuries to the humanitarian workers, the organization said.

Seven staffers were in the residence when the “unknown individuals” attacked the building with “various kinds of heavy weaponry” at dawn, said a statement from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Red Cross strongly condemned the attack and said it will suspend its work in Misrata and Benghazi in the east following what it called the fifth such incident in the two cities in less than three months.

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