Irish Fugitives Sentenced in Colombia Surrender to Police in Dublin

DUBLIN -- Three IRA-linked fugitives from Colombian justice surrendered to Dublin police Thursday, complicating the Northern Ireland peace process and leaving the Irish government with a political dilemma.

Police questioned the trio, who turned themselves in at three police stations, for several hours. The men had been on the run for eight months; they were sentenced last year in absentia to 17 years in prison by a Bogota court for teaching bombmaking to Marxist guerrillas. They deny the charges.

Two of the men -- James Monaghan and Martin McCauley -- left the stations without being charged. An official source said the third, Niall Connolly, had been arrested on a charge of carrying a false Irish passport.

Colombia wants the men, who it says are members of the Irish Republican Army, handed over despite the lack of an extradition treaty between Ireland and Colombia. Any transfer could disrupt the peace process in Northern Ireland. Extradition would upset nationalists, but allowing the men to stay would anger pro-British unionists.


* KABUL, Afghanistan -- Two American soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb hit a convoy supporting crews improving a road that runs from the southern city of Kandahar to outlying mountains, the U.S. military said.

* JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Power supplies to tens of millions of people on Java and Bali islands in Indonesia were disrupted, but police and the state electricity company said there was no immediate evidence of sabotage. Thousands of police officers were mobilized in the capital, Jakarta.

* ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- A homemade bomb exploded near a polling station, while clashes between supporters of rival candidates in Pakistani municipal elections left seven dead and 82 injured, police said. Security was beefed up for the first round of the three-phase elections that started Thursday in 53 districts across the country.

* VLADIVOSTOK, Russia -- Russia and China began unprecedented joint military exercises involving air, sea and land forces. The exercises, dubbed Peace Mission 2005, will climax next week with an amphibious and paratroop landing on China's Shandong peninsula in the Yellow Sea.


* QUITO, Ecuador -- Ecuadoran troops took control of government buildings in the Amazon provinces of Sucumbios and Orellana and reinforced security at oil wells as they moved to quell protests that have slashed crude production, a senior officer said. The protesters want foreign oil firms to finance infrastructure and provide more jobs.

* BOGOTA, Colombia -- Gunmen dragged a Catholic priest out of a classroom in rural Colombia and shot him to death, bringing to three the number of clergy killed in the South American nation this week, officials said.

-- From News Services