- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 25, 2007

MAURITANIA

Migrants die en route to Spain

MADRID — The crew of a Spanish hospital vessel found two persons dead aboard a vessel carrying 87 African migrants drifting off the coast of Mauritania, a diplomatic source said yesterday.

The migrants said they had thrown overboard the bodies of about 10 other passengers who perished as the ship sought to reach Spain’s Canary Islands; 25 survivors were treated for dehydration and other ills on the hospital ship Esperanza del Mar.

Spain had asked Mauritanian authorities Monday to send help, but Nouakchott refused, arguing that the migrants were picked up outside its territorial waters.

KENYA

Police arrest villagers while seeking terrorists

MOMBASA — Police arrested 11 persons yesterday suspected of involvement in terrorist activities, including a 15-year-old schoolboy, a Muslim preacher and a village elder who works for the National Museum of Kenya.

A counterterrorism unit of about 60 police arrested the suspects in their houses in Guraya village and at an Islamic school near Mombasa, on the Indian Ocean coast. Villagers said police used excessive force.

NIGERIA

International criticism of election rises

LAGOS — The Catholic Church and Human Rights Watch have joined widespread criticism of the country’s violence-marred presidential election.

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch yesterday mentioned the late start of voting, a shortage of ballot papers, widespread voter intimidation, seizure of ballot boxes by thugs and vote buying.

Weekly notes …

Ethiopian troops searched yesterday for seven Chinese and Ethiopian workers kidnapped in a rebel attack on an oil field that killed 74 persons in a remote southeastern region. The Ogaden National Liberation Front — ethnic Somalis fighting for independence since 1984 — claimed responsibility for the pre-dawn raid on the Chinese-run site, one of the biggest attacks so far on Beijing’s growing interests in Africa. … The United Nations’ African-development director said yesterday that the continent will fail to reach the goal of slashing poverty in half by 2015. “Despite some encouraging economic results, Africa will not achieve the millennium development goals by 2015,” Gilbert Houngbo said in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of the Congo. “African growth is handicapped by … poor empowerment of women, weak child protection, and insufficient access to reproductive health and to decent work,” he said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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