World Digest: Jan. 31, 2014

January 31
CENTRAL AFRICANREPUBLIC
Red Cross reports
worsening violence

The capital of the Central African Republic is experiencing “unprecedented levels of violence,” with at least 30 people killed in the past three days, Red Cross officials warned Friday as heavily armed rebels regrouped in a nearby town.

The attacks in Bangui have largely targeted Muslim civilians accused of having supported the Seleka rebels who overthrew the government last March, ushering in months of violence against the Christian majority. An armed Christian movement known as the anti-balaka arose in opposition to Seleka and included ­supporters of ousted president ­François Bozizé.

Now that the Seleka leader who installed himself as president has stepped down and many rebels have left the capital, Muslim civilians have become increasingly vulnerable to horrific killings.

— Associated Press

PAKISTAN
Musharraf rebuffed over medical request

A Pakistani court hearing the case against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on charges of high treason rejected a request Friday that he be allowed to go abroad for treatment, his lawyer and a court official said.

Instead, they said, the court issued an arrest warrant for the retired general. But the warrant is “bailable” — meaning that Musharraf can avoid jail by applying for bail and depositing a bond. The court said it lacked the authority to remove his name from the list of people restricted from traveling abroad.

The judges’ decision is the latest in the legal battles that Musharraf has faced since returning home last March to take part in elections. He has been told to appear in court next week.

— Associated Press

ITALY
Knox’s ex-boyfriend denies plan to flee

Amanda Knox’s former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, insisted Friday that he had no plans to flee his country when police apprehended him near the northeastern border with Austria and Slovenia shortly after a murder conviction.

“I never thought about escaping. Not before, nor now,” Sollecito said through an attorney.

The ANSA news agency reported that Sollecito briefly entered Austria on Thursday, just as a Florence appeals court was preparing to convict him and Knox for the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years in prison and banned from traveling abroad, while Knox, who stayed in the United States and was tried in absentia, was sentenced to 28½ years.

— Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Reptile consignment intercepted in South Africa: An estimated 1,600 reptiles and amphibians smuggled from Madagascar and destined for the exotic pet trade in the United States were discovered during a routine inspection at Johannesburg’s international airport, animal protection activists said. Geckos, frogs, chameleons, skinks, lizards and toads had been tied in small muslin bags or crammed into plastic tubs for about five days before they were discovered. Many had already died, and the rest were taken to the Johannesburg Zoo.

Son of alleged Mexican drug lord captured: Mexican soldiers and marines have captured the son of the alleged leader of a drug cartel, officials said. Ruben Oseguera and four other men were arrested in a raid Thursday near the western city of Guadalajara, the officials said. The 23-year-old’s father, Nemesio Oseguera, allegedly leads the Jalisco New Generation cartel, which is thought to be allied with the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico’s most powerful drug gang.

Yemeni soldiers slain by suspected militants: At least 15 soldiers were killed by suspected al-Qaeda militants in an attack on an army checkpoint in southeastern Yemen, an army official said. The soldiers were reportedly ambushed as they were having lunch in a desert area near the city of Shibam, in the eastern province of Hadramout.

Egypt’s military strikes in Sinai: Egyptian military aircraft pounded the suspected positions of al-Qaeda-inspired fighters in the Sinai Peninsula, killing 13 people, officials said, as fears rise about a well-armed insurgency that is striking with increasing regularity in the capital. In the most recent insurgent attack, bombs on a highway on Cairo’s outskirts hit a police truck.

— From news services

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