- - Monday, September 17, 2012

KANO — Soldiers manning a checkpoint in northern Nigeria fatally shot two ranking members of a radical Islamist sect responsible for hundreds of killings this year alone, a military official said Monday.

The dead included the spokesman for the sect known as Boko Haram, as well as a commander who operates in Kogi state south of Nigeria’s capital, the official said. The killings could prove to be a boon to Nigeria’s security forces, which remain largely unable to stop guerrilla attacks and bombings by the sect, which killed another 13 people over the weekend, authorities said.

The shooting occurred Monday morning in Mariri, a town to the southeast of Kano, the largest city in Nigeria’s Muslim north. Soldiers stopped a vehicle with the sect spokesman, the commander, the spokesman’s wife and their children, the official said. It is unclear what happened next, though the official said soldiers fatally shot both the commander and the spokesman. The wife and children remain in military custody, the official said.


Man pleads guilty to possessing bombs

NAIROBI — A Kenyan man pleaded guilty Monday to possessing six bombs and four suicide vests and belonging to al Shabab, the Somali Islamist extremist group allied to al Qaeda that has threatened terrorist attacks in Kenya.

Abdi Majid Yassin Mohammed, 26, also known as Ali Hussein, had no defense attorney with him as he entered a guilty plea before magistrate Lucy Nyambura on charges that he was caught engaging in an organized criminal activity by being a member of al Shabab, which has been outlawed in Kenya. The United States designated it as a foreign terrorist organization in 2008.

Mohammed also admitted that he was in possession of the explosives, 12 grenades and 481 bullets but denied that he was in possession of four AK-47 rifles. Omar Abdi Ada, 24, also known as Salman Abdi, denied 10 charges against him including the weapons charges. The two suspects were not represented in court.

The judge ordered Mohammed be taken for a psychiatric examination and be arraigned in court Tuesday so that charges can be read to him again.

The suspects were arrested Friday in a raid on a house in a residential area that police said disrupted the final stages of planning of a major terrorist attack.


Lawmakers suspect neo-Nazi cover-up

BERLIN — German legislators Monday accused law enforcement officials of withholding information about a series of neo-Nazi murders that took place from 2000 to 2007.

The head of a parliamentary committee into the killings said Berlin police failed for months to tell lawmakers that they had an informer who was close to the group suspected of carrying out the murders.

Sebastian Edathy said Monday that officials appeared to have intentionally withheld the information, and he called it “the most serious failure yet by the authorities.”

Fellow committee member Hans-Christian Strobele accused security officials of lying to lawmakers.

Four senior German domestic intelligence officials have resigned in recent months over the authorities’ failure to track the National Socialist Underground during its seven-year murder spree.


Police charged with abusing protesters

MANAMA — Bahrain says it has charged seven police lieutenants with abuses against suspected anti-government protesters, including using torture to obtain confessions that were later thrown out in court.

The allegations mark the most sweeping action so far against security forces in Bahrain’s 19-month-old unrest between the Sunni-led ruling system and protesters from the Gulf nation’s Shiite majority seeking a greater political voice.

A government statement Monday said two of the officers will face the most serious allegations of extracting the forced confessions. The others face lesser charges.

A hearing is set for Oct. 1.

At least 50 people have been killed in the uprising in the strategic kingdom, the base for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.


Ex-police chief tried behind closed doors

CHENGDU — China opened the trial for an ex-police chief at the center of the country’s worst political scandal in decades, unexpectedly staging a closed-door hearing Monday, a day earlier than publicly announced.

Authorities justified the closed proceedings by saying state secrets were being discussed in the trial of Wang Lijun, who is charged with defection, abuse of power and other crimes.

On Tuesday, the court is scheduled to hold the previously announced public portion of the trial, and the hearing is expected to go over allegations of bribe-taking and other charges.

The trial was the latest wrinkle in the bizarre scandal that started when Mr. Wang fled to the U.S. Consulate in February and divulged the murder of a British businessman. It resulted in the removal of his boss, senior politician Bo Xilai, from the communist leadership and the roiling of the Communist Party as it prepares a delicate transfer of power to younger leaders.

During his 33-hour stay at the consulate, Mr. Wang claimed that Mr. Bo’s wife was involved in the murder. Apparently unable to get asylum in the U.S., Mr. Wang turned himself over to a senior state security official from Beijing. Months later Mr. Bo’s wife was convicted of the murder after she confessed in court.


Suicide bomber kills seven in Green Zone

BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber slammed a car packed with explosives into one of the gates of Baghdad’s heavily guarded Green Zone on Monday, killing seven people, including three security officers, Iraqi officials said.

Lawmaker Habib al-Turfi and two of his bodyguards were wounded in the blast, said Hameed Maala, a spokesman for his political bloc.

The bombing took place during the morning rush hour near the bridge over the Tigris River connecting the Karradah district and the Green Zone, the location of most government offices, parliament, and several embassies and foreign missions.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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