- - Wednesday, January 11, 2012

SOUTH AFRICA

Rangers find eight rhinos dead in record killing

JOHANNESBURG | South African rangers say they have found eight dead rhinoceroses that were stripped of their horns, an unprecedented one-day toll.

Reynold Thakhuli, South African National Parks spokesman, said rangers found the rhinoceros carcasses this week at two sites in Kruger, the country’s flagship national park.

“This is the first time that we’ve had so many in one day, and it’s really a concern for us,” Mr. Thakhuli said Wednesday,

He said 448 rhinos were poached across South Africa in 2011, a record loss. The eight found Tuesday were the first recorded deaths for 2012.

An Asian economic boom in recent years is believed to be behind the spike in poaching, with a growing middle class in countries including China and Vietnam able to afford exotic purported remedies such as powdered rhino horn.

NIGERIA

Muslim terrorists kill eight in beer parlor

MAIDUGURI | Police say an Islamist sect has killed eight people, including four police officers and a 7-year-old child, at a beer parlor in northeastern Nigeria.

Local Police Commissioner Tanko Lawan said the attack happened late Tuesday night in Yobe state. He said no arrests have been made but blamed the shooting on a Muslim terrorist sect known as Boko Haram.

The group has been blamed in at least 54 deaths in recent days.

Boko Haram says it has started specifically targeting Christians, exploiting religious tensions in Africa’s most populous nation.

SENEGAL

Failure to try dictator risks loss of U.S. aid

DAKAR | Senegal risks losing up to $50 million in U.S. aid if it fails to bring former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre to justice, a regional rights group warned Wednesday.

The Dakar-based African Assembly for the Defense of Human Rights said that although Washington earmarked the amount for Senegal, some U.S. officials voiced concern over the lack of progress in the Habre case.

Mr. Habre, dubbed “Africa’s Pinochet” for atrocities committed under his rule, has been living in Senegal since fleeing his country in 1990 after being ousted by President Idriss Deby Itno. He had ruled for eight years.

A 1992 truth commission report in Chad said that during his time in power, Mr. Habre presided over the political murders and widespread torture of up to 40,000 people.

Senegal has for years ignored a ruling by the African Union to put Mr. Habre on trial.

RWANDA

Opposition wants new probe into president’s plane attack

NAIROBI, KENYA | Rwanda’s opposition in exile on Wednesday demanded further investigation into the shooting down of former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane, the event that triggered the 1994 genocide.

“We encourage French justice to continue its investigations and call for an international inquiry,” the two main parties said in a joint statement, referring to a probe already under way in France.

The Unified Democratic Forces is headed by Victoire Ingabire, who is herself on trial in Kigali for supporting a terrorist group.

Co-signatory Rwanda National Congress is made up largely of former comrades in arms of President Paul Kagame.

The assassination of Mr. Habyarimana was one of the triggers that unleashed a genocide that left about 800,000 Rwandans, mostly Tutsis, dead.

Guinea-Bissau

Burial plans for president pits family against government

BISSAU | The body of Guinea-Bissau President Malam Bacai Sanha, who died Monday in a Paris hospital, will be flown back Saturday and buried the next day, a foreign ministry official said.

The body will be brought to the Amura fort in the capital, Bissau, where the troubled West African state’s armed forces are headquartered, and then put on public view in front of parliament, the official said Wednesday.

It is still unclear where Mr. Sanha, 64, who died after a long illness, will be buried amid differences between the government and his family.

The government wants him laid to rest in the Martyrs Cemetery at the army headquarters where independence hero and ruling party founder Amilcar Cabral is buried.

Mr. Sanha’s relatives would like to see him interred in his native village of Kam in southern Guinea-Bissau, the foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

SOMALIA

U.N. compound hit by two hand grenades

MOGADISHU | Unidentified men this week attacked the main United Nations compound in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, hurling two hand grenades that exploded near the wall, U.N. officials and witnesses said Wednesday.

According to witnesses, two grenades blew up by the roadside next to the wall of the U.N. compound late Tuesday. Security guards in the compound opened fire in response, but no casualties were reported.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. It was the latest in a string of blasts, including roadside bombs and grenade explosions, that have rocked the Somali capital in recent months.

The city has seen an increase in such attacks since the al Qaeda-linked terrorist group Shebab abandoned fixed positions there in August and switched to guerrilla tactics against the Western-backed government.

Somalia is one of the most dangerous places in the world for aid workers; three regions, including parts of Mogadishu, have been declared a famine zone.