- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 13, 2006

AFGHANISTAN

Three U.S. soldiers killed in attack

KABUL — Militants attacked a U.S. patrol with rocket-propelled grenades, killing three Americans in Afghanistan’s northeast, one of the wildest regions in the country, an official said yesterday.

American soldiers have been hunting extremists close to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terror network in the area near Pakistan. Troops used artillery to repel the attack in Nuristan province Friday, Col. Tom Collins said.

The clash in Nuristan province’s Waygal district on Friday also wounded three U.S. soldiers and one civilian as American forces kept up their hunt for Taliban fighters and extremists.

NIGERIA

Cameroon to get oil-rich peninsula

CALABAR — Nigeria tomorrow will formally hand sovereignty over the potentially oil-rich Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon after withdrawing its 3,000 troops in compliance with a U.N.-brokered deadline.

The handover ceremony, to be held at Archibong, in the north of the peninsula, was to be attended by foreign dignitaries and diplomats, plus Nigerian military and government officials.

Cameroon’s deputy prime minister, Amadou Ali, will lead his country’s delegation to the ceremony, when the Nigerian flag will be lowered and Cameroon’s hoisted in its place, a senior government official in Yaounde said.

MEXICO

Leftists continue post-election protests

MEXICO CITY — Hundreds of leftists, claiming fraud in Mexico’s presidential election, spread their protests out from the capital yesterday by occupying major highways to stop the government from collecting toll fees.

It was an escalation of protests that have so far centered on Mexico City, and organizers vowed even more in coming days.

Leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador narrowly lost the July 2 presidential election but claims he was robbed by fraud and is demanding that all 41 million votes be recounted.

SRI LANKA

Peace-talks official slain, fighting goes on

COLOMBO — A leading official involved in Sri Lanka’s troubled peace process was assassinated yesterday as fighting in the island’s north and east intensified, with the military claiming more than 200 rebels had been killed.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa blamed the shooting of Ketheesh Loganathan, the deputy secretary-general of the Peace Secretariat, on the Tamil Tigers although there was no claim of responsibility.

Mr. Loganathan was shot at his home in Colombo’s Dehiwala suburb by two unidentified gunmen.

CONGO

Incumbent gains lead in vote count

KINSHASA — President Joseph Kabila’s share of the vote in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s historic elections rose above 50 percent yesterday as 1 million more votes were counted and certified, official results showed.

With a rash of tallies coming in from the country’s east, where Mr. Kabila’s support is strong, the president extended his share to 53 percent, compared with 19 percent for Jean-Pierre Bemba, a former rebel leader in the civil war.

A majority would give Mr. Kabila an outright victory. Otherwise, the two top finishers in the field of 33 candidates in the July 30 presidential vote would meet in a run-off.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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