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SOF World Report

Gunmen Seize at Least 75 Hostages in Philippines

The Philippine military says gunmen have seized at least 75 people, most of them schoolchildren, after a raid on a remote elementary school in the southern Philippines. Military officials say the gunmen abducted the residents of a village on Mindanao island on Thursday. Police said 15 of the children were later released. The southern Philippines is plagued by banditry, loosely supervised government-armed militias, and Muslim and communist insurgents. Officials say police are pursuing the gunmen who appear to be using the hostages as human shields to escape. Last month, 57 people

Guinea Pulls Out of Mediation Talks

The minister for democracy and development, Colonel Moussa Keita, said the government is withdrawing from the negotiations being held in Burkina Faso until Captain Moussa Dadis Camara has recovered enough to return to work in Guinea. During an address on state television, Keita assured Guineans the military government is not giving up on regional dialogue aimed at resolving the country's political crisis. One opposition leader accused the government of withdrawing from the talks to stay in power longer.  Mamadou Bah Baadiko of the Union of Democratic Forces (UFD) called for the negotiati

Philippine Police Seek 161 Suspects in Massacre

Philippine police say they have identified and are seeking 161 people, including government militiamen, for involvement in last month's gruesome massacre of 57 people. National police chief Jesus Verzosa says witnesses identified Andal Ampatuan Jr., a local mayor, as the person who led the killings.  He is accused of leading the group to stop supporters of a rival politician from registering him for next year's provincial governor elections in Maguindanao.  Ampatuan Jr.

Nigerian Police Deny Amnesty Report Alleging Extra-Judicial Killings

Nigerian police deny Amnesty International's report alleging extra-judicial killings by officers. The rights group's three-year inquiry details cases of prisoners tortured to death and shootings at roadblocks. Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer Frank Mba denied the alleged killings.

Al-Qaida Affiliated Groups Claim Responsibility for Kidnappings in West Africa

A terrorist group affiliated with al-Qaida is claiming responsibility for last month's kidnapping of three Spanish aid workers in Mauritania and a Frenchman in Mali.   The Algerian-based group al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb made the kidnapping claim in an audio tape given to the Al Jazeera television network. A man identifying himself as Saleh Abu Mohammad says that France and Spain will be informed later about the kidnappers' demands. Spain says it can not confirm the validity of the claim, but is investigating the report. Three Spanish aid workers were kidnapped November 29 sout

UN Launches 2010 Appeal for Aid to Zimbabwe

The United Nations has launched its 2010 Consolidated Appeal Process for humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe. Speaking at the launch, U.N. Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Catherine Bragg, said the money asked for is much less than the $719 million requested for this year. "The CAP 2010 already outlines lesser needs than any other CAP launched in Zimbabwe," said Catherine Bragg. "At a total of $378 million, almost 50 percent less than the year before." Brag, who is also the U.N.

Russia to Help India Build 4 Nuclear Reactors

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says Russia will help his country build four new nuclear power plants.  Mr. Singh made the announcement after meetings in Moscow with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. President Dmitri Medvedev says the heads of the Russian and Indian atomic energy agencies initialed the agreement to foster nuclear cooperation between the two countries for years to come. Mr.

Guinea's Military Leader Recovering in Morocco From Gunshot Wounds

Guinea's military leader is in a military hospital in Morocco where he is recovering from gunshot wounds sustained Thursday in an apparent assassination attempt.  Guinea is offering a reward for the capture of the former head of the presidential guard whose men are accused of the attack. The Moroccan doctors of Guinea's military ruler, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, say he has had successful surgery for head trauma and his condition is now "not worrying." Captain Camara flew to Morocco after being shot by men loyal to his former aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite, who is als

Explosions in Pakistan Hit Peshawar Court, Lahore Market

Police in Pakistan's eastern city Lahore say two explosions in a busy outdoor market have wounded at least 20 people. Television footage of the Monday evening blasts show rescue workers battling large fires.  Authorities have released few details about the explosions, which occurred in an area of the city called Moon Market. A local television station, Pakistan news express 24/7, says the blasts hit multi-story buildings that have shops on the ground level and apartments on higher floors.

Bolivia's President Easily Wins Re-election

Exit polls in Bolivia show that leftist President Evo Morales has earned a second term after easily winning re-election on Sunday.  Bolivian media report that President Morales gained at least 61 percent of the vote, 35 points ahead of his closest challenger, former governor Manfred Reyes. Mr.

Al-Shabab Denies Responsibility for Deadly Bombing

Militant Islamist group al-Shabab has denied responsibility for a deadly suicide blast Thursday that killed at least 22 people, including 3 government ministers and a number of Somalia's educated elite.

Gunmen Attack Rawalpindi Mosque in Pakistan

Police in Pakistan say gunmen attacked a mosque Friday near the country's army headquarters, killing at least 35 people and wounding more than 40 others.  Pakistani state television say authorities still are searching for the attackers. The attack occurred in Rawalpindi, just outside the Pakistani capital Islamabad, at the conclusion of Friday's prayers at the Parade Lane mosque.  Regional police officer Aslam Tareen spoke to reporters shortly after the assault. He says when the prayer leader finished his sermon, two to three attackers entered the mosque's main hall and opened fire on

Soldier Who Shot and Wounded Guinea's Junta Leader Reportedly Arrested

Guinea’s security forces were said to be on high alert Thursday night after renegade soldiers shot and wounded the country's military leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara. Communication minister Idrissa Cherif reportedly said the junta leader was doing well and that his life was not in danger. Mamadou Dian Balde, a journalist for the Independent newspaper in Guinea’s capital, Conakry said Aboubacar Toumba Diakite, a close aide to President Dadis Camara, is blamed for the attack.  “Mr.

China Sentences 5 More to Death Over Xinjiang Riots

A court in China's western Xinjiang region has announced that five more people have been sentenced to death for murder and other crimes committed during riots in the remote region in July. China's official Xinhua news agency says the Intermediate People's Court of Urumqi also sentenced two others to life in prison. Last month, China announced that nine Uighurs had been executed for taking part in July's ethnic rioting that left nearly 200 people dead. Xinhua did not immediately give the names or the ethnic background of the latest five people to be sentenced to death. Hundreds of p

Deadly Suicide Blast Rips Through Hotel in Somalia

A deadly hotel bombing in Mogadishu has killed at least 19 people, including three Somali Cabinet ministers.  Some reports say the death toll could be higher.  The blast targeted a university graduation ceremony being attended by a number of government officials.   Mogadishu's Shamu Hotel was hosting a graduation ceremony for Banadir University.  Eyewitnesses tell VOA a suicide bomber gained access to the venue dressed as a woman, donning a full abaya and a veil.