- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 22, 2010

SUDAN

Governor warns against chaos after poll result

KHARTOUM | The newly elected governor of Khartoum on Wednesday warned against protests disintegrating into chaos after results of Sudan’s first competitive polls in more than two decades are announced.

“Everyone can demonstrate if they respect the law; but if there are infringements, they will be dealt with,” said Abdelrahman al-Khidir, who Tuesday was declared winner of the post of governor.

“We will not allow Khartoum to become Tehran or Nairobi,” Mr. Khidir, a member of President Omar Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party, told reporters in Khartoum.

He was referring to violent protests that broke out after disputed presidential elections in Iran last June and in Kenya late 2007.

SOMALIA

Clashes kill 11; 5 are beheaded

MOGADISHU | The beheaded bodies of five builders have been found in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu and at least 11 people were killed in fighting in the central region, residents and moderate militia fighters said on Wednesday.

Mogadishu residents said they suspected al Shabaab militants executed the builders for helping to construct Somalia’s new parliament, an institution seen by the insurgents as home to stooges of the West.

No group has taken responsibility for the killings.

Al Shabaab, which controls vast tracts of southern and central Somalia, previously has executed Somalis it accused of spying for the foreign-backed government as it fights to impose a harsh version of sharia law on the nation.

Fighting erupted in the central Somali towns of Gal’ad and Masagawa when al Shabaab rebels clashed with militiamen from the Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca, a moderate Sufi Muslim group that has signed a power-sharing pact with the government.

KENYA

Pirates seize Liberian cargo ship

NAIROBI | Pirates stormed a Liberian-owned bulk carrier with 21 Filipino crewmen aboard Wednesday, as the end of the monsoon season brought a fresh assault on one of the world’s most vital maritime routes.

Pirates armed with assault rifles and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher scaled the sides of the Voc Daisy in the Gulf of Aden and took control of the vessel, the European Union’s naval force in the region said.

The crew was “able to raise the alarm before the four armed pirates … stormed onboard and cut their lines of communication,” EUNAVFOR said, adding that the crew was safe.

The incident happened 190 nautical miles east of Salalah, Oman.

The 600-foot-long carrier, which was en route from the United Arab Emirates to the Suez Canal, was captured before it could enter the protected transit corridor set up by the naval force in the Gulf of Aden.

An international flotilla of warships has been patroling the Gulf, one of the world’s busiest maritime routes, since 2008, in a bid to stop the hijackings.

MADAGASCAR

Bomb targets minister’s home

ANTANANARIVO | A homemade bomb blew up outside the home of Madagascar’s justice minister in the country’s capital, authorities said Wednesday.

The incident late Tuesday was the third explosion in less than a week in Antananarivo, which has been mired in a political crisis since 2008.

A bomb was thrown at the house of the justice minister Christine Razananahasoa around 9 p.m. and fell about 45 yards from the home, authorities said. No one was injured.

Two bombs exploded at service stations in the capital last Friday.

The Indian Ocean island has been swept by persistent rumors of a coup in recent weeks, and police said they foiled a planned attack on the prime minister’s office last weekend.

ALGERIA

4 countries set up joint military base

ALGIERS | Four countries in the Sahara Desert are opening a joint military headquarters in a united effort to combat terrorism and kidnapping in northwestern Africa.

The Algerian Defense Ministry said the headquarters is in the Algerian city of Tamanrasset, 1,740 miles south of the nation’s capital and deep in the desert.

The four countries directing the operation are Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger.

The countries aim to establish a collective security response to threats from drug traffickers and al Qaeda operatives in the area. The opening comes a week after a security and terrorism conference among seven Saharan countries.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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