MAIDUGURI, Nigeria – Gunmen from a radical Muslim sect attacked a town hall Friday in rural northeast Nigeria, killing at least 20 people who had gathered for a meeting of a Christian ethnic group, police said. The attack at noon targeted the Christian Igbo people, with gunmen chanting “God is great” as they fired Kalashnikov rifles.
The killings claimed by Boko Haram come after the group threatened to begin specifically targeting Christians living in the country’s Muslim north in its increasingly bloody sectarian fight with Nigeria’s weak central government. That could further inflame religious tensions in an uneasy nation already gripped by civil unrest.
No arrests have been made in the attack, which left at least another 15 people wounded.
Holloway suspect may confess to other killing
Lima, Peru – Joran van der Sloot appears ready to accept responsibility for the killing of a Peruvian woman five years to the day after the disappearance in Aruba of U.S. teen Natalee Holloway, for which he remains the prime suspect.
The Dutch citizen sought and received more time to decide how to plead as his trial opened Friday in the May 30, 2010, murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores, whom he met at a Lima casino.
He said he was inclined to confess but doesn’t accept the aggravated murder charges the prosecution seeks.
The presiding magistrate of the three-judge panel, Victoria Montoya, said the trial would resume Wednesday.
Giffords marking shooting anniversary
TUCSON, Ariz. – U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has arrived in Tucson, Ariz., to begin commemorating the one-year anniversary of the shooting that killed six people and left her and 12 others wounded.
Giffords’ first stop Friday was her congressional office where she participated in an emotional ceremony to honor slain staffer Gabe Zimmerman, the Arizona Republic reported.
Giffords’ staff gathered to dedicate a permanent memorial that will welcome visitors to her office: a life-size photo of Zimmerman and a memorial plaque that rests on a stand below it.
Giffords attended the event along with her husband, Mark Kelly.
She also will appear at a candlelight vigil Sunday to mark the anniversary of the shooting, which occurred during a Jan. 8 meet-and-greet.
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