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Tripoli ? U.S. raids in Libya and Somalia that captured an Islamist wanted for bombing its Nairobi Embassy 15 years ago shows Washington?s determination to hunt down al Qaeda leaders around the globe, Secretary of State John Kerry said.
Libyan Nazih al-Ragye, better known by the cover name Abu Anas al-Liby, was seized by U.S. forces in Tripoli on Saturday, the Pentagon said.
A seaborne raid on the Somali port of Barawe, a stronghold of the al Shabaab movement behind last month?s attack on a Kenyan mall, failed to take or kill its target.
?We hope this makes clear that the U.S. will never stop in its effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror,? Kerry said during a visit to Bali.
?Those members of al Qaeda and other terrorist organisations literally can run but they can?t hide,? Kerry said.
?We will continue to try to bring people to justice.?
The twin raids, two years after a U.S. Navy SEAL team killed al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, demonstrated American reach at a time when Islamist militants have been expanding their presence in Africa ? not least in Libya following the Western-backed overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.
Libya?s government, wary of an Islamist backlash, demanded an explanation for the ?kidnapping? of one of its citizens.
The target of the Somali operation was unclear but a U.S. official was quoted as saying it was planned in response to the Nairobi mall attack two weeks ago in which at least 67 were killed.
It highlighted the risk of Somalia?s rumbling civil conflict destabilising a resource-rich continent where Islamists have been on the rise from west to east in recent years.
Launched in the early hours of Saturday, the Somali raid appears to have featured a beach landing in hostile territory that was followed by an extended firefight.
U.S. officials said SEALs conducted the raid and had killed al Qaeda-allied al Shabaab fighters while taking no casualties themselves. Somali police said seven people were killed during the operation.
Somalia?s Western-backed government, still trying to establish its authority after two decades of civil war, holds little sway in Barawe, 110 miles South of Mogadishu.
Asked of his involvement in the U.S. operation, Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said: ?We have collaboration with the world and with neighbouring countries in the battle against al Shabaab.?
In Tripoli, the seemingly bloodless operation to snatch Libya as he returned home from dawn prayers at a mosque in the capital may have involved some cooperation with the friendly but weak Libyan administration.
?The Libyan government is following the news of the kidnapping of a Libyan citizen who is wanted by U.S. authorities,? read a statement from the office of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan.
?The Libyan government has contacted U.S. authorities to ask them to provide an explanation.?
Libya, who the FBI says is 49, has been under U.S. indictment since 2000 for his alleged role in bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, which killed 224 people.
Of more pressing concern for Washington, however, may have been that al Qaeda appears to be establishing itself in Libya today. (Reuters/NAN)
By Luka Binniyat & Mayen Etim
Campaigners for President Jonathan Goodluck ahead of 2015 elections, yesterday, escaped being lynched when hoodlums among the estimated 30,000 youths attending the Northern Youth Summit in Kaduna suddenly turned violent and went for the organisers of the event, while policemen on ground looked the other way.
The Murtala Square venue of the summit, which was thronged by the youthful men and women, said to come from mainly far northern states, was alive when the occasion kicked off around 11am. But it turned out that most of them had little idea why they were there.
The coordinator of the summit, also the Chairman, Northern Youth Forum (NYF), Jibrin Tafida, mounted the rostrum, surrounded by other states coordinators, soon launched into oration on what the real North should be like and how their forebears were exploited by past northern leaders.
The initial applause he got reduced to murmuring. Coordinators from Kano, Jigawa and Kebbi, who spoke in the same tone, did so in an atmosphere of arguments in the crowd.
Suddenly, a crowd of ill-clad youths was formed which started asking in loud voices that they heard what President Goodluck gave the organizers on their behalf, since Tafida had claimed so much closeness to Nigeria?s number one citizen.
Others claimed that the organizers had collected money to induce a fight among the youth during the sharing of the booty, so ?they could use the blood that would be shed in the free mason fetish?.
Soon, the unruly youth started throwing stones and other objects at the rostrum as they shouted, ?Give us our share of the loot? and, ?free mason, you will not taste our blood. You will instead shed your blood?.
Some of the youths drew daggers and charged at the organizers. But it would seem that the pro-Jonathan group had envisioned such a scene, because their private security guards sprang from nowhere, but unarmed and stood to the attackers, who relaxed the aggression. The anti-Jonathan mob seemed to be adding in numbers, as sticks, clubs and stones flew towards the direction of the rostrum.
While thousands scampered for safety, a vehicle forced its way into the place where Tafida and his three main officials were protected by a ring of supporters and body guards. At this point.
While the drama played out, the hundreds of policemen around the venue kept a safe distance.
Tafida and his men boarded the vehicle and were driven into safety.
The summit lasted about 35 minutes.
By PETER OKUTU, Abakaliki
TWO young men between the ages of 25 and 35 yesterday escaped being lynched by an angry mob at Amaeme play ground in Ozziza community in Afikpo North local government area of Ebonyi State for allegedly defiling a 7 year old girl (name withheld) in the area.
The rape incident which occurred at different locations in the community provoked the angry youths who apprehended the suspects, Ugwu Uro and Ndubusis Nnaya Nnachi and unleashed mayhem on them. An eye witness who pleaded anonymity alleged that one of the suspects, Ugwu Uro had forcefully defiled the girl when she went to a nearby bush to pick oranges while the second suspect, Ndubusis Nnaya Nnachi allegedly confessed that he lured her to his house where he later had
carnal knowledge of the girl.
He said: ?I ran into this group of youths at Amaeme as they were trying to flog these two young guys and on getting closer, I found out that they had raped a little girl in primary school who is about 5 years old. The angry youths were trying to give them a deterrent punishment by flogging them; they were beating them because nobody will hear a rape case and let go the offence.