- - Wednesday, April 4, 2012


BAMAKO The main opposition parties in Mali said they will not take part in a national convention being organized by the military officers who seized control of the country in last month’s coup.

Coup leader Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo over the weekend proposed holding the convention as a way to appease the international community, which is demanding that he immediately restore the nation’s constitutional order.

Capt. Sanogo said the gathering would be held Thursday to decide on what kind of transitional body will lead the nation before new elections are held.

Opposition leader Tiebeli Drame, one of the leaders of a coalition representing some 40 opposition parties, said Wednesday that the parties do not recognize Capt. Sanogo’s legitimacy, and that the military has no place calling for such a convention.


Police station attacked in previously targeted city

KANO Police said gunmen attacked a police station in the north Nigeria city previously targeted in a massive assault by a radical Islamist sect.

Police said no one was injured in the shootout Tuesday night , though gunfire echoed around the nervous city.

Kano was attacked by the sect known as Boko Haram in January, an assault that killed at least 185 people.

Meanwhile, a military spokesman in Maiduguri in the northeast said suspected sect members fatally shot an auto parts dealer who is from the nation’s Christian Igbo people.

Officials also said four suspected Boko Haram gunmen were killed Tuesday night in Kano and Maiduguri.


Anti-gay group issues hit list of rights supporters

MONROVIA An anti-gay group distributed fliers over the weekend with a hit list of people who support gay rights, and one member of the group threatened to “get to them one by one.”

The fliers mark the latest development in an increasingly hostile national debate about gay rights in the country on Africa’s western coast.

Lawmakers in February introduced two pieces of legislation that would make homosexuality punishable by possible jail time.

And a vow by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf last month to preserve an existing law criminalizing “voluntary sodomy” prompted a statement of concern from the U.S. State Department.

The fliers distributed in parts of Liberia’s capital were signed by the Movement Against Gay’s in Liberia. The group said those involved in promoting gay rights “should not be given space to get a gulp of air.”


King demands birthday cows from his poor subjects

MBABANE Swazi King Mswati III, Africa’s last absolute monarch, has ordered his impoverished subjects to give him cows for his birthday celebrations this month.

Chiefs from the Shiselweni region, where the celebrations will be held, will have to canvass their subjects for cattle to be slaughtered for the king, who turns 44 on April 19, said Prince Gcokoma, the country’s home minister.

“Chiefs from the Shiselweni, as hosts, are expected to provide cattle to be slaughtered on the day,” Prince Gcokoma told Agence France-Presse. “They are fully aware of the fundamental role they’re expected to play as they are the ones who will be hosting the king on his memorable day.”

The prince said the government did not have enough in the budget to pay for the event, which was canceled last year because of the crippling fiscal crisis that has left the kingdom struggling to pay wages.

But the government this year has pledged to make a contribution toward the $652,000 budgeted for the celebrations.


Legislative elections delayed until 2013

YAOUNDE Cameroon’s national legislature has voted to extend the terms of lawmakers for at least six months, a move that will delay elections which had been expected this year.

The mandate of the deputies, elected in 2007 for five-year terms, was due to expire Aug. 21 and elections were to be organized before that date, local media said.

The extension of the mandate is “for six months with eventual renewal,” according to the adopted text. It did not set a new date for elections.

The move is not expected to trigger an outcry of opposition, as political factions and civil society have expressed the desire to see the legislative elections delayed to allow the electoral commission to prepare for the polls, local media reported.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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