Briefs, November 5, 2012

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 November, 2012, 4:14am

Nigerian extremists target police, school

KANO - Gunmen with explosives attacked a police station, a primary school and two cellphone towers in the town of Fika in Nigeria's restive northeast early yesterday and set them ablaze. A man said he had seen the bodies of two policemen being brought out of the razed police station. Lazarus Eli, military spokesman in Yobe state, said troops had been deployed to the town to contain the violence. Fika is 170 kilometres from Damaturu, the capital of Yobe, and a hotbed of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram. AFP

Hollande assures Lebanon of his backing

BEIRUT - French President Francois Hollande, on a brief visit to Beirut, pledged support for Lebanon against threats of destabilisation caused by the deadly conflict in neighbouring Syria. "France will spare no effort to guarantee Lebanon's independence, unity and security," Hollande said at a joint news conference with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman. Lebanon has been reeling from the effects of the deadly conflict that has shaken Syria since March last year. Hollande was due later to visit Saudi Arabia for talks with King Abdullah on Syria and Iran. AFP

Policeman killed in attack on church

NAIROBI - A grenade attack on an interdenominational church killed one policeman and wounded 14 people in an eastern Kenyan town near the Somalia border where 18 people were killed in similar attacks in July. The pastor is believed to have been among the victims. Three of the wounded were said to be in critical condition. Kenya has seen a wave of grenade attacks on its cities, including in the capital, Nairobi, and in the key port of Mombasa, since the country sent troops into Somalia last October to fight al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab insurgents. AFP

10 die as raft full of migrants sinks

MILAN - At least 10 people died and about 70 were rescued by Italy's coastguard after their boat sank some 75 kilometres off the Libyan coast, the Ansa newswire reported yesterday. Italy's coastguard started a rescue operation last night in the Mediterranean Sea after a raft carrying migrants sank, Ansa said. Bloomberg

Car bomb kills one, injures 12 in Turkey

DIYARBAKIR - A car bomb exploded in southeastern Turkey as a police vehicle passed by, killing one person and wounding 12 others, security sources said. The blast occurred in the town of Semdinli in Hakkari province on Turkey's borders with Iraq and Iran, a scene of frequent conflict in recent months between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants. The area is a focus of activity for the Kurdistan Workers Party militant group, which has several thousand fighters based in the mountains of neighbouring northern Iraq. Reuters

Militias in gun battle at Tripoli security HQ

TRIPOLI - A gun battle between two rival Libyan militias raged around a security headquarters, highlighting the fragility of peace in the capital more than a year after a popular armed revolt ousted Muammar Gaddafi. At least five people were wounded and a bullet penetrated into a nearby hospital, causing panic. Residents in the district of Sidi Khalifa said the fight erupted when two militia units authorised by the official Supreme Security Committee got into an argument over a detained member of one of the militias. Reuters

Thousands join rally of nationalists in Moscow

MOSCOW - Thousands of nationalists marched through the Russian capital, chanting slogans including "Moscow is a Russian city" to express their resentment of dark-complexioned migrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia. The march comes on Unity Day, a national holiday established in 2005 to be observed on the same day that once commemorated the Bolshevik Revolution. Nationalists accuse the Kremlin of lavishing privileges on migrants and minorities while ignoring ethnic Russians. AP