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Nigerian Islamists oppose arms mop-up in restive city
by Staff Writers
Kano, Nigeria (AFP) Nov 2, 2011

A purported spokesman for a Nigerian Islamist sect has dismissed an arms mop up exercise by soldiers in the restive city of Maiduguri as a ploy to disarm residents ahead of a suspected crackdown.

In a conference call with journalists in the northeastern city, a man identifying himself as a spokesman for the Boko Haram sect that has been behind strings of deadly attacks in recent months, called on the city's residents not to give in to what he called a trick by the military.

"I call on the people of Maiduguri not to give in to this deception because it will amount to mortgaging your freedom and your enemies will attack you with ease," said Abu Qaqa.

Qaqa has claimed to speak on behalf of the radical sect on several previous occasions but Boko Haram is believed to have a number of factions and several others have identified themselves as spokesmen as well.

"Your arms are your only protection and the aim of disarming you is to render you defenceless and hopeless when the military launches its planned attack on you," said Qaqa.

Soldiers from a special military unit deployed to end the violence in the city on Tuesday launched a house-to-house search for weapons following an October 31 deadline for residents to turn in weapons.

A military unit's spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Mohammed, said they have recovered at least 1,000 firearms in the first 24 hours of the exercise as residents who had been afraid to declare their arms rushed to drop them off at various designated collection points or simply left them by the roadside.

Towns and villages near Maiduguri city, the epicentre of frequent gun and bomb attacks by suspected sect members in recent months, are also targeted in the arms clean-up operation.

Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the August 26 UN bombing that killed at least 24 people in Abuja.

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S.Leone war criminals complain about Rwanda jail treatment
Freetown (AFP) Nov 3, 2011 - The families of eight Sierra Leone war criminals serving their sentence in Rwanda have complained about their treatment in prison there and want them transferred back home.

Two family sources, who asked not to be named, told AFP they had called on government to intervene and have the prisoners brought back to finish their sentences in Sierra Leone.

Government spokesman Ibrahim Ben Kargbo said that the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, set up to probe atrocities during the country's 1991-2002 civil war, had warned the government not to interfere in the matter.

"We have been asked by the court to stay off from the matter as any such act will be interpreted as contempt," said Kargbo.

In a nine-page petition handed by the families to the government on September 7, the men alleged that since their arrival in Kigali in October 2009 they had suffered poor nourishment and a lack of access to medical facilities.

The prisoners are three ex-leaders of the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF), Issa Hassan Sesay, Morris Kallon and Augustine Gbao and three former leaders of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), Alex Tamba Brima, Ibrahim Bazzy Kamara and Santigie Borbor Kanu.

The other two are former leaders of the Civil Defense Forces (CDF), Moinina Fofana and Allieu Kondewa.

The men, serving terms of between 15 and 52 years, were sent to Rwanda under a special arrangement as Sierra Leone does not have proper facilities for their detention.


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Kenya claims Somali rebels receive third weapons airdrop
Nairobi (AFP) Nov 2, 2011
Kenya said Wednesday that Somali Islamist rebels had received a third planeload of armaments, as its forces prepare to push forward against the Al-Qaeda-linked militants in the war-torn nation. Kenyan soldiers and tanks pushed into Shebab-controlled southern Somalia some two weeks ago to fight the insurgents and curtail their ability to launch cross-border attacks. "We've had a positive ... read more

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