Local news

World in brief: Blast kills, wounds dozens of people

An explosion at an outdoor dogfighting competition killed and wounded dozens of people in southern Afghanistan today, an official and a witness said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary said “tens of people” had been killed and dozens more wounded, though officials did not yet have a precise count.

He said it wasn’t yet clear if the explosion was caused by a suicide attacker.

“All the police are there and they are evacuating the injuries and the dead,” Bashary said.

A witness, Mohammad Khan, 25, said hundreds of people had gathered in an open field to watch a dogfighting competition.

He blamed the attack on a suicide bomber.

BANGKOK, Thailand

Politician killed in mosque attack

A gunman opened fire inside a mosque in Thailand’s restive south, killing a Muslim politician who was among dozens gathered for evening prayers, police said today.

The gunman entered the mosque in Pattani province Saturday evening and joined about 40 others who were kneeled in prayer. He then pulled out a gun and shot Madori Buraheng, a 40-year-old town official, at close range before fleeing on a motorcycle, said army spokesman Col. Akara Thiprote.

Authorities believe the attack in Pattani’s Thung Yangdaeng district was politically motivated and not linked to a Muslim insurgency that has claimed more than 2,900 lives in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces since 2004, Akara said.

“Initial investigations show that it might be connected to a local political feud and not the Muslim insurgency,” said Akara. “It was definitely a targeted attack since no one else got hurt.”

Drive-by shootings and bombings occur almost daily in Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat provinces, the only Muslim-majority areas of the Buddhist country.

Muslims seen as collaborators with the government are targeted by the insurgent violence along with Buddhists.


Bush warns Kenya to share power

President Bush opened a six-day, five-nation tour of Africa on Saturday with a warning to Kenya’s government that it needs to agree to a power-sharing arrangement with the opposition to settle a post-election upheaval that has torn the country apart.

Arriving to trumpet-blaring, red-carpet welcomes, Bush hoped to use the trip to highlight success stories in Africa and the programs he has launched to fight disease, poverty and illiteracy here. But he was immediately confronted with the latest crisis to challenge stability on the continent and defended his record of conflict resolution in the region.

“We’ve been plenty active on these issues, and we’ll continue to be active on these issues because they’re important issues for the U.S. security and for our interests,” Bush said after landing in the tiny coastal country of Benin. He noted he will send Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Kenya on Monday.

From wire reports

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