- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 29, 2007


President claims Islamists defeated

MOGADISHU — Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed said yesterday that the army had beaten off Islamist forces in the capital and urged fleeing residents to return home.

“The government forces, with the support of the Ethiopian troops, have completed the operations against the terrorist groups in Mogadishu, and they have accomplished their mission,” the president told a press conference at the presidential palace.

“We call on the people who fled their houses to get back and maintain their normal life,” he said.

Ethiopian forces have been battling Islamist fighters and clan militia since the beginning of the year, when they backed Somali government soldiers to oust an Islamist movement from the capital and other areas in the Horn of Africa nation.


Exhumations planned after two-day rioting

TALLINN — Estonia yesterday stepped up preparations to exhume the remains of Red Army soldiers at a memorial site after removing a World War II monument, sparking two days of riots in which one man died.

As calm returned to the capital after violence shocked the small Baltic state, Russia expressed anger over Estonia’s actions and accused Tallinn police of using excessive force and causing the death of a Russian citizen.

Estonia rejected the accusations. Prime Minister Andrus Ansip used a televised national address to appeal for calm and tolerance in the ethnically mixed country.

The streets of Tallinn were calm yesterday, with no sign of fresh rioting, which led to the arrest of about 800 people and left 153 injured, many from glass cuts from broken shop windows.

Estonia’s Defense Ministry said a team was surveying the small park in central Tallinn where until Friday the statue stood to find the remains of soldiers thought to be buried there.


Police chief slain in beach resort

MEXICO CITY — Gunmen fatally shot a local police chief yesterday in Acapulco, a Mexican beach resort that has been sucked into a bloody turf war between drug gangs in northern and western Mexico, local press reported.

Gunmen in two or three vehicles shot up to nine bullets at 45-year-old Jorge Arturo Lopez, a chief detective in Guerrero state, as he was getting into his car in the old town of Acapulco, according to reports in two Mexican dailies.

Local police and justice officials would not confirm the killing, but relatives of the victim told Mexican radio yesterday that Chief Lopez had received death threats.

The shooting occurred a day after one of Mexico’s worst death counts this year, with 15 persons reported dead on Friday in gang-style killings.


Stars demand action on Darfur

LONDON — Actors and musicians including Elton John, George Clooney, Bob Geldof and Mick Jagger called yesterday on world leaders to take “decisive action” over atrocities in the western Sudan region of Darfur.

The statement was released to coincide with the Global Day for Darfur today, marking the fourth anniversary of the conflict.

“The international community must end its stalling and take decisive action,” said the group of stars, which also includes Hugh Grant, Mia Farrow and Mark Knopfler.

The Global Day for Darfur was to be marked around the world by activists overturning 10,000 hourglasses filled with fake blood.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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