- The Washington Times - Monday, July 27, 2009

HONDURAS

Zelaya backers trickle back home

EL PARAISO | Disheartened supporters of deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya trickled home from the Nicaraguan border Sunday, weakening protests backing his bid to return to power after a coup last month.

Honduran troops manning checkpoints have prevented several thousand demonstrators from staging a show of support at the border for the leftist leader, now exiled in Nicaragua.

Six miles from the border, 100 weary protesters milled around the coffee town of El Paraiso, a far cry from the massive outpouring of public backing Mr. Zelaya had called for.

Mr. Zelaya was accused by Honduran Congress and Supreme Court of trying illegally to extend presidential term limits. Soldiers arrested him and sent him into exile June 28.

AFGHANISTAN

Veep candidate dodges assassins

KABUL | A running mate of President Hamid Karzai escaped unscathed after a gun and rocket attack hit his convoy Sunday in northern Afghanistan, weeks ahead of the elections, officials said.

Dozens of vehicles accompanying vice presidential candidate Mohammed Qasim Fahim were driving through Kunduz province — which has seen soaring Taliban-linked attacks — when an unknown number of gunmen ambushed the convoy.

Mr. Karzai’s campaign office labeled the attack an assassination attempt and said the campaign cameraman was injured as a hail of bullets hit the motorcade. Security and government officials said no one was hurt.

The attack comes ahead of Afghanistan’s second-ever presidential elections Aug. 20, in which Mr. Karzai hopes to win a second term, and as fears grow that spiraling violence will keep voters away from the polls.

IRAN

Permission sought for memorial service

TEHRAN | Iran’s opposition leader asked authorities Sunday for permission to hold a memorial service for victims of last month’s post election unrest, including a young woman whose death was caught on video and became a symbol for protesters.

Iranian authorities have pressured the families of slain protesters not to mourn publicly out of fear the gatherings could spark the kind of demonstrations that followed the June 12 presidential vote, according to the opposition.

Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and fellow pro-reform presidential candidate, Mehdi Karroubi, sent a request to the Interior Ministry to hold a memorial service in Tehran’s Mosalla mosque Thursday to commemorate the end of the 40-day mourning cycle for at least 10 people killed June 20, Mr. Mousavi’s top aide, Ali Reza Beheshti, told the Associated Press.

NIGERIA

Militants hit police station

ABUJA | Islamist militants attacked a police station in northern Nigeria on Sunday, and police killed 39 militants and arrested more than 150 others, a police spokesman said.

The Islamist fighters attacked a station in the capital of Bauchi state, state police spokesman Mohammed Barau said. He said no policemen were killed. Fifteen Islamist fighters were injured and 156 were arrested, he said.

“The fundamentalists, known as Pokoharam in the local language, are those clamoring for the prohibition of Western education in the state,” Mr. Barau said. “They were armed with different types of dangerous weapons. There were so many of them.”

Nigerian national police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu told the Associated Press the fighters were “armed with guns, bows and arrows, and explosives.”

IRAQ

Gunmen kill 5 at money exchange

BAGHDAD | Five people were killed Sunday in a daylight attack at a popular money-exchange office, a reflection of the increasing crime in Iraq even as violence is on the decline.

The gunmen broke into the al-Nibal money-exchange office in downtown Baghdad shortly before noon, killing three employees and two customers, said two Iraqi police officials.

They said 12 others, including eight employees, were wounded in the attack in Baghdad’s commercial Karradah district.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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