- - Wednesday, January 4, 2012

KENYA

Military reports battle with Somali fighters

NAIROBI — Kenya’s military said its forces killed three militant fighters from al-Shabab in a battle in Somalia.

Military spokesman Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir said Wednesday that one Kenyan soldier also was killed in the battle.

Maj. Chirchir said that Kenyan and Somali troops were advancing north.

Kenyan troops entered Somalia in mid-October to attack al-Shabab militants and have been supported by Somalia’s weak army.

Since then, Ethiopian troops have entered Somalia on the country’s west, and along with African Union troops in Mogadishu are squeezing al-Shabab fighters on three sides.

NIGERIA

Shell fixing pipeline hit by oil thieves

LAGOS — Royal Dutch Shell PLC said it is repairing a pipeline after detecting a leak blamed on oil thieves in Nigeria’s oil-stained southern delta.

A Shell spokesman said in a statement late Tuesday that its Nigerian subsidiary has cut production by 70,000 barrels per day and isolated its Nembe Creek trunk line in Bayelsa State.

Spokesman Tony Okonedo said an investigation showed oil thieves had installed valves at two points and that more than 200 barrels of spilled oil have been recovered.

The Dec. 24 discovery came days after Shell apologized for another leak that caused Nigeria’s worst offshore spill in more than a decade.

Shell’s pipelines run across Nigeria’s resource-rich region of swamps, mangroves and creeks. Nigeria is a top supplier of crude oil to the U.S.

ZIMBABWE

Police stop Anglican prayer retreat

HARARE — Zimbabwean police stopped a retreat of 80 clergy, saying that their prayer gathering was not given police clearance under sweeping security laws, the country’s mainstream Anglican church said Tuesday.

Zimbabwe’s Anglican church has been split by a breakaway group led by a bishop close to the president, who has seized church properties without police intervention. The bishop has been excommunicated by world Anglicans.

The mainstream Diocese of Harare said in a statement that police ordered them to disperse Monday from the Peterhouse private school but they refused, denying any wrongdoing and insisting police remove them by force.

The diocese said in a statement that police loyal to Bishop Nolbert Kunonga returned Tuesday to the school 50 miles east of the capital and were in a standoff, demanding that the clerics, including two bishops, leave the school grounds.

“We deplore this action and call upon higher authorities to intervene. So much for freedom of religion,” the head of the mainstream Anglicans, Bishop Chad Gandiya, said in the statement.

But diocese spokesman Precious Shumba said later Tuesday that the gathering left the school on police orders, without being arrested, as their leaders requested approval for another venue to hold the retreat.

The boarding school is not linked to the church but allows Christian and other groups to use its facilities during vacations.

SENEGAL

Music star Ndour makes bid for presidency

DAKAR — World music icon Youssou Ndour says he plans to run in Senegal’s presidential election next month, challenging an 85-year-old incumbent whose plans to seek a third term have sparked violent protests.

Mr. Ndour, who made the announcement late Monday on his private radio and TV stations, joins some 20 other candidates already running against President Abdoulaye Wade, who has been in power for more than a decade.

The Grammy-winning artist sells out concert venues worldwide and is the West African country’s most famous cultural export, but Mr. Ndour’s prospects with Senegalese voters remain unclear.

The election is less than two months away.

“For a very long time, many Senegalese of different backgrounds have called for my candidacy for the presidency next February,” Mr. Ndour said. “I’ve listened, I’ve heard and I am responding favorably to their request. I am a candidate. It’s a supreme patriotic duty, the best I can give of myself. I am the alternative to the current leadership in place in the country.”

Mr. Ndour, 52, is well known in Senegal for his scathing critique of the country’s ruling party. He already owns a hugely popular private radio station that holds regular debates featuring government critics.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports