Thursday, December 4, 2008


Police target protesting doctors

HARARE | Riot police charged into a group of doctors and nurses protesting Zimbabwe‘s deepening economic and health crisis, eyewitnesses said Wednesday as deaths rose sharply from a cholera epidemic blamed on collapsing infrastructure.

The witnesses said officers in downtown Harare ran into a march of doctors and nurses - some in uniform - who fled the police charge. A few blocks away, police stopped teachers trying to join the same protest and at least six people were taken away in police trucks, according to the witnesses, who declined to give their names for fear of official retribution.

The unions are joining a mass movement to press the government to respond to the worsening crises.

Men in the blue uniforms of paramilitary police armed with rifles were seen positioned atop several high-rise bank headquarters Wednesday.

On Monday, soldiers went on a rampage after they were unable to withdraw wages from banks, which have been short of cash as a result of Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown.


Amnesty says torture on rise

DAKAR, Senegal | The torture of prisoners including al Qaeda suspects has increased under the military junta that rules Mauritania, where security forces routinely abuse detainees with electric shocks, burnings, beatings and sexual violence, an international rights group said Wednesday.

Amnesty International issued a report accusing the government of “routine and systematic torture of prisoners.” It said security forces carried out the acts with impunity to extract confessions.


Suspected leader of coup plot held

BISSAU | A man who authorities say masterminded a coup attempt late last month has been arrested, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

N’tchami Yala was arrested Tuesday in a nearby country and will be repatriated within the next few days, Interior Ministry spokesman Col. Armando Nhaga said. He declined to say where Mr. Yala was arrested.

Last week, authorities detained and interrogated six soldiers suspected of taking part in the Nov. 23 attempt, which saw armed men burst into the president’s home and open fire with automatic rifles. President Joao Bernardo Vieira narrowly escaped by hiding in a room in his heavily fortified residence while security forces fought back.

Since independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea- Bissau has suffered multiple coups and a civil war.


Pirates free Yemeni cargo ship

GAROWE | Somali pirates freed a Yemeni cargo ship they seized last week after successful talks between regional authorities, clan elders and the gunmen, a local official said Wednesday.

A surge in attacks at sea this year in the busy Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean off Somalia has pushed up insurance costs, brought the gangs tens of millions of dollars in ransoms, and prompted foreign warships to rush to the area.

Ali Abdi Aware, state minister of Somalia’s northern Puntland province, said the Yemeni ship was released after long discussions, and no ransom was paid. The Amani, with seven sailors on board, was seized Nov. 25 as it carried 507 tons of steel from Yemen’s Mukalla port to Socotra Island.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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