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Ansaru claim attack on Mali bound Nigeria troops: paper KADUNA: An Islamist group blamed for abducting Westerners claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on Nigerian troops heading to Mali on Sunday, according to the local Desert Herald, which often publishes their claims.   Suspected Islamist gunmen opened fire on a convoy of troops leaving northern Nigeria en route to deployment with West African forces in Mali, killing two officers and wounding eight others, in Kogi state, central Nigeria.   The statement in the online newspaper said the attack was part of a mission to stop Nigerian troops joining Western powers in their "aim to demolish the Islamic empire of Mali."   "We are warning the African countries to stop) helping Western countries in fighting against Islam and Muslims or face the utmost difficulties," said the statement by the group, whose full name Jama'atu Ansarul Musilimina Fi Biladis Sudan means "Vanguards for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa".   The attack came after a report that a ...

British ambassador to travel to Algerian crisis site: sources LONDON: Britain's ambassador to Algeria is expected to travel to the gas complex where an international hostage crisis has been unfolding since Wednesday, British sources in London said on Saturday.   No further details were immediately available from the sources. The Sky News television channel reported that the ambassador was expected to get permission to travel to the gas plant with a small consular team.   Copyright Reuters, 2013 ...
Algerian army clearing mines from gas plant: Sonatrach ALGIERS: The Algerian army is clearing mines planted by al Qaeda-linked fighters at the desert gas plant they attacked three days ago, the national oil and gas company Sonatrach said on Saturday.   News of the mine clearing operation came shortly after Algerian official media said special forces had lauched a final assult against the militants.   Copyright Reuters, 2013 ...
Algeria desert standoff as Islamists hole up with hostages IN AMENAS: Islamist gunmen were holed up with an unknown number of foreign hostages on Saturday at a remote gas plant in the   Algerian desert, as the world awaited the military's next move to free them.   More than 72 hours after the heavily armed militants staged a deadly raid on the complex, and two days after Algerian special forces launched a botched rescue bid widely condemned as hasty, there appeared to be a stand-off in the Sahara.   "There's ...
Ouattara urges broader international effort in Mali ABIDJAN: Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara on Saturday called for a broader international commitment to the military operations in Mali, where Malian and French forces are battling Islamist militant groups that control the country's vast arid north.   "The hour has come for a broader commitment by the major powers and more countries and organisations to the military operations to show greater solidarity with France and Africa in the total and multi-faceted war against terrorism in Mali," said ...
South African press club names rhino as 2012 JOHANNESBURG: The rhino has been named South Africa's newsmaker for 2012, based on the extensive media coverage around the slaughter of the creature for its horn, the National Press Club said on Saturday.   It is the first time that such recognition has gone to an animal, as poaching figures reach all-time highs.   "Stories of rhino poaching dominated the headlines throughout the year, the story was covered extensively locally and internationally," said Antoinette Slabbert, chairperson of the National ...
Two soldiers killed, five wounded in Nigerian blast: army LAGOS: Two soldiers were killed and five others injured on Saturday in an explosion in Okene city in Nigeria's central Kogi state,  an army spokesman said, adding that they were part of the contingent set to be deployed to Mali.   "We lost two soldiers while five others were wounded when the IED (improvised explosive device) planted on their route went off and hit their convoy," Major General Bola Koleoso told AFP.   Koleoso said that the soldiers were ...


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