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Nigerian soldiers kill two in reprisal attack on town
by Staff Writers
Kano, Nigeria (AFP) Sept 3, 2011

Media rights group warns Egypt blogger may die in jail
Cairo (AFP) Sept 3, 2011 - A media watchdog on Saturday called for the immediate release of a blogger sentenced by Egypt's military to three years in jail, warning that he might die after he stopped eating and drinking.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said in a statement that Maikel Nabil Sanad, who began his hunger strike on August 23 and more recently started refusing to drink, "could very soon die."

"The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would have to take full responsibility. Held for exercising his right to freedom of expression, Sanad must not become the symbol of a repressive and unjust post-Mubarak Egypt," it said.

A military court convicted Nabil in April on charges of insulting the armed forces, prompting US lawmakers to send a letter to the military ruler, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, demanding his release.

Nabil's trial was the first of a blogger since the military took charge of the country in February following president Hosni Mubarak's overthrow by a nationwide uprising.

The military, which has tried thousands of civilians since then, mostly for crimes such as theft and assault, faces growing pressure to refer civilian cases to normal courts. It has also jailed activists arrested in protests.

Opponents of military trials say they are unfair and result in harsh sentences.

Nigerian soldiers killed at least two people and wounded several others in a reprisal attack on a northeastern town where a woman was killed last month, emergency and residents said Saturday.

"Soldiers trooped out of the barracks into town last night and shot residents indiscriminately and set shops on fire following the shooting of their colleague by unknown gunmen, resulting in at least two deaths with several people injured," Ibrahim Farinloye, spokesman for the emergency relief agency NEMA, told AFP.

He said the casualty figure from Friday's killings in the town of Biu in Borno State could be much higher.

"Details on destruction are sketchy as people have remained indoors for fear of being shot by soldiers who have been patrolling the streets since last night and setting fire on shops at will," Farinloye said.

"The town has been sealed, no one is let in or out. We will have to be on ground to properly assess the situation," he added.

Biu residents said up to 11 people could have been killed in the shootings.

"We have been in our homes since the soldiers began the rampage but from information we have been receiving on the phone no less than 11 people have been killed by soldiers who have taken over the town since last night," resident Mustapha Bura said on the phone from Biu.

"All the streets are deserted except for military vehicles patrolling them with soldiers shooting. Smoke from burning shops has filled the air. It is quite frightening," said another resident Ali Lawan.

A military spokesman in neighbouring Adamawa State overseeing Biu declined to comment on the incident.

"I have not been briefed on any incident in Biu, no news has reached us to that effect," Lieutenant Victor Olukoya told AFP.

Last month soldiers in Biu shot dead a woman protester and injured another while quelling a protest in the town.

Nigeria's Defence Minister Bello Halliru has ordered an inquiry into the incident.

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Nigerian army threatens force after clashes
Jos, Nigeria (AFP) Sept 2, 2011 - Nigeria's army said Friday it would use "all the necessary force within its powers" to stop clashes in the city of Jos after claims of dozens killed in ethnic fighting and by troops who responded.

Christian and Muslim groups claimed up to 42 people were killed Thursday in clashes in the central city, which has seen waves of ethnic and sectarian violence that left hundreds dead in recent years.

The head of a search and rescue team for the Muslim community claimed soldiers were responsible for most of the casualties on the Muslim side, which he said included 22 dead, as troops reciprocated after they were shot at.

An official from the Stefanos Foundation, a Christian group, said his side counted 20 dead and 50 wounded, mostly from machete cuts and gunshot wounds, but did not provide further details.

An AFP journalist saw 21 bodies in a mosque being prepared for burial.

"... The special task force is now mandated to use all the necessary force within its powers on anybody carrying and using arms and/or dangerous weapons on another person," Captain Charles Ekeocha said in a statement.

The military task force has been deployed to Jos over the repeated violence in the city and surrounding area.

Ekeocha's statement said three soldiers were shot and critically wounded.

The statement said it wanted to "make it clear to whoever is having the false confidence of trying their hands on the might of the Nigerian military to retrace their steps, as the special task force will bring her might to bear on any persons or groups of persons."

Jos lies in the Middle Belt region between the predominately Christian south and mainly Muslim north of Africa's most populous nation.

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Uruguay shanty towns get partial reprieve
Montevideo, Uruguay (UPI) Sep 1, 2011
About half of the 200,000 residents of Montevideo's shanty towns are set to win a reprieve in a government plan to regularize substandard housing seen as an embarrassment to a country hailed abroad as a buoyant emerging economy with prospects of further growth. Officials said they would consider giving nearly half of the slums regular status, but the other half would need to go and like ... read more

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