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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

In brief: Businessman arrested in abduction of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls

From Wire Reports

LAGOS, Nigeria – Nigerian troops have arrested a businessman accused of “participating actively” in Boko Haram’s mass abduction of nearly 300 schoolgirls from the northeastern town of Chibok last year, Nigeria’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

Spokesman Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade said Babuji Ya’ari headed a “terrorists’ intelligence cell” for the Islamic extremists while masquerading as a member of the self-defense Youth Vigilante Group. That confirms suspicions that the vigilantes have been infiltrated by Boko Haram. Soldiers have told the Associated Press that some of their comrades also belong to Nigeria’s Islamic extremist group.

Olukolade alleged that Ya’ari has since 2011 coordinated several deadly attacks on the northeastern city of Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram, and spearheaded the May 2014 assassination of the emir of Gwoza, a religious and traditional ruler who was targeted for speaking out against Boko Haram.

Ex-Colombia paramilitary leader sentenced on drug charges

WASHINGTON – A former Colombian paramilitary leader convicted of federal cocaine trafficking charges will serve nearly seven more years in an American prison before he is sent back to his country.

Salvatore Mancuso was sentenced Tuesday to nearly 16 years in prison for his role in guiding more than 150 tons of cocaine to U.S. soil. U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle gave him credit for nine years served.

Mancuso was extradited to the United States in 2008 along with a dozen other men who headed Colombia’s powerful right-wing militias.

He once led the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a paramilitary group formed to protect wealthy ranchers and drug traffickers from leftist rebels. Colombian authorities blame the group for killing more than 10,000 people.

Russia fails to clinch deal on gas supplies to Ukraine

MOSCOW – Talks on Russian gas supplies to Ukraine have failed to reach an agreement on future supplies.

The two countries have fought several gas price wars in past years, and gas disputes were exacerbated after Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Demchyshyn said after Tuesday’s talks in Vienna that they couldn’t clinch a deal on Russian supplies in the third quarter, according to Russian news agencies.

Thousands expected to protest in annual Hong Kong march

HONG KONG – Hong Kong residents are set to take to the streets today to renew their call for full democracy for the Asian financial hub in a rally that follows a turbulent year of protests over political reform.

Organizers expect tens of thousands at the annual protest march, held on a public holiday marking Hong Kong’s handover from British to Chinese rule.

The event comes seven months after the end of student-led protests that blocked streets in key districts for 79 days to demand free elections for the southern Chinese city’s top leader.

Today’s protest march marks the start of a new, uncertain chapter in the city’s democratic development, which is now stuck in limbo after Hong Kong lawmakers voted down the government’s blueprint for inaugural elections in June.