At least two people were killed late Saturday in a bomb attack on a restaurant popular with Westerners in central Djibouti, official sources said. Djibouti's main ADI news agency said there were several explosions around 8:00pm local time (1700 GMT) and that the area was quickly sealed off by police. The Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti, a former French colony, is home to the United States' biggest base in Africa which is used for anti-terror operations in Yemen, Somalia as well as for other operations across Africa. France also maintains a military base in Djibouti.
Jos (Nigeria) (AFP) - An explosion rocked the central Nigerian city of Jos on Saturday, the country's main relief agency said, just days after at least 118 people were killed in a twin car bomb attack. "There has been an explosion in Jos," Manzo Ezekiel, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told AFP but said it was not clear what caused the blast nor if there were casualties. Pam Ayuba, spokesman for the Plateau state governor Jonah Jang, said the blast happened on Bauchi Road at about 9:30 pm (2030 GMT) and appeared to target football fans watching the European Champions League final. On Tuesday, two car bombs suspected to have been planted by Boko Haram Islamists exploded within 20 minutes of each other in a crowded market in Jos, killing at least 118 people.
Throngs of Shiite Muslims converged on a shrine in Baghdad on Saturday for an annual ritual under heavy security, but a string of attacks outside the capital killed 25 people. The bloodshed was the latest in a protracted surge in nationwide unrest that has fuelled fears Iraq is slipping back into the all-out communal conflict that plagued it in 2006 and 2007, leaving tens of thousands dead. Much of Baghdad was on lockdown Saturday for the climax of the rites to mark the death of a revered figure in Shiite Islam, with Baghdad's security forces looking to deter Sunni militant groups which often target Iraq's majority community. Several major roads were closed off and a wide variety of vehicles barred from the streets, as security forces also relied on aerial cover and sniffer dogs.
Cologne (Germany) (AFP) - Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Germany Saturday, splitting the large Turkish community between passionate street protesters and conservative supporters flocking to what was widely seen as a campaign speech. Erdogan is widely expected to run for the presidency in August, and Germany -- with a Turkish community of three million, about half of them eligible voters -- would be a strong constituency for the controversial leader.
A Rwandan peacekeeper has been killed and three others wounded in a gun battle after trying to mediate a tribal dispute in Sudan's Darfur region, the African Union-UN mission said on Saturday. "As a result of the ensuing fighting, four Rwandan peacekeepers were injured and, unfortunately, one of them died from his wounds," UNAMID said in a statement. "The Arab militia elements, nevertheless, became hostile towards UNAMID peacekeepers and started shooting at them, at which point the peacekeepers returned fire," the mission said.
Maiduguri (Nigeria) (AFP) - The Nigerian city of Maiduguri may be calmer than this time last year but locals in Boko Haram's spiritual home still feel under siege, afraid to venture beyond the city limits because of the high risk of attack. A bomb also ripped through a crowded market in January, as Boko Haram's violent campaign to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria entered its fifth year. Despite the relative calm in the northeastern city, resident Ari Kaka said: "We are practically under Boko Haram siege. "It is always a nightmare leaving the city because Boko Haram often set barricades on major roads, robbing and killing travellers," he told AFP.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that it was impossible to isolate Russia from the global economy, as he rejected talk of a "new Cold War" between Moscow and the West. Speaking to foreign news agency journalists at a key economic forum in his hometown Saint Petersburg, Putin also denied claims he was trying to restore the Soviet empire and said he was ready to meet Western leaders next month. Putin said that US and EU sanctions imposed on dozens of Russian officials have been "counterproductive" and insisted Russia could not be excluded from world markets. "I think isolating such a country (as Russia)... is impossible," he said, adding that wide-ranging sanctions "would be negative for everyone and would bring such turbulence to the European, Russian and global economies that it is clear that nobody is interested in this."
Blantyre (Malawi) (AFP) - Malawi's President Joyce Banda on Saturday declared this week's chaotic election "null and void" and called for a fresh vote, throwing the impoverished nation into crisis. Her main rival Peter Mutharika said Banda's decision to annul the election was "illegal". "Nothing in the constitution gives the president powers to cancel an election," said Mutharika, who partial results showed was well ahead of Banda in the polls. There were chaotic scenes at the tally centre in Blantyre when word went around that the poll had been nullified, with police ordering a shutdown of the centre.
A US surveillance drone arrived at an air base in northern Japan on Saturday for the first deployment of the spy aircraft in the country, the US Air Force said. The Global Hawk was brought to the US Misawa Air Base from Guam "to support US intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions and contingency operations throughout the Pacific theater," America's air force said on its website. It is also believed it will be used to monitor North Korea and China at a time when Pyongyang's nuclear and missile development programme and Beijing's maritime assertiveness have raised security concerns in Japan, local media reported.
Angry Bahrainis preparing to bury a teenager killed in clashes with police in a Shiite village near the capital torched a police car, the interior ministry said on Saturday. The ministry said the police car caught fire and burned on Friday night after being hit by a Molotov cocktail in the village of Mikshaa, west of Manama. Mahmud Mohsen, 15, died after being hit by birdshot on Wednesday, the main Shiite opposition bloc Al-Wefaq said. Bahrain remains deeply divided three years after security forces crushed an Arab Spring-inspired uprising, with persistent protests sparking clashes with police, scores of Shiites jailed on "terror" charges and reconciliation talks deadlocked.