- - Sunday, June 24, 2012

HONDURAS

TEGUCIGALPA — A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent shot and killed a suspected drug trafficker during a raid near a tiny Honduran town, U.S. officials said Sunday.

DEA spokeswoman Dawn Dearden said it is the first time a DEA agent has killed someone during an operation since the agency began deploying specially trained agents to accompany local law enforcement personnel on drug raids in Latin America several years ago.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Stephen Posivak in Tegucigalpa said the U.S. agent was working with Honduran National Police, who arrested four other suspects and seized 792 pounds of cocaine during the operation.

He said six other people were arrested later on suspicion of aiding in the smuggling operation.

Mr. Posivak said several people were unloading cocaine from an airplane at a remote landing strip at about 12:30 a.m. when the agents swooped in on helicopters. The U.S. agent opened fire after the suspect reached for a gun in a holster, and the suspect died at the scene, he said.

Three of the men arrested were part of the ground crew, Mr. Posivak said, and the fourth was piloting the small plane loaded with the cocaine. He said their nationalities were not yet known.

The operation took place in the same region as a May 11 raid that left four passengers of a river boat dead when helicopters mistakenly fired on civilians. DEA officials say U.S. agents did not fire their weapons during that incident.

NIGERIA

Islamist sect member killed, sparking large prison break

MAIDUGURI — A top radical Islamist sect member blamed for a deadly Christmas Day church bombing in Nigeria was killed by security forces, says the sect, which demonstrated in a prison break Sunday that his death has not affected its ability to keep fighting.

A statement attributed to the Boko Haram sect and obtained Sunday by the Associated Press said the group is happy about Habibu Bama’s “martyrdom.”

Security forces in Damaturu were still reeling from days of sustained sect attacks when Boko Haram raided a police station early Sunday, freeing 40 suspected sect members, the police commissioner said.

One inmate was killed in the ensuing gunbattle, and a warden was wounded.

Bama, a former soldier, died of injuries sustained in a gunbattle with security forces in Damaturu earlier this week, Nigeria’s State Security Service said.

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