Rebels attack city mayor
Officials say communist rebels ambushed the convoy of Ginoog City Mayor Ruth Guingona, the wife of former vice president Teofisto Guingona Jr, killing two of her aides and wounding a police escort on Saturday. National police spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo yesterday said that Ruth Guingona suffered abrasions from the attack and that she and the wounded policeman were out of danger. A regional police report said she was hit in her lower right knee. The report said the group was traveling in a hinterland village of Ginoog after attending a beauty pageant when rebels manning a road block fired at her vehicle, causing it to overturn.
Gaza militants strike south
Militants in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip fired a projectile that hit the south of the country overnight, without causing any casualties or damage, police said yesterday. “Late last night — after midnight — sirens sounded in the Eshkol region,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told reporters. “One rocket landed in an open area, causing no injuries or damage.” There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Since late February, there have been more than five other cases of rocket fire on the country, most recently overnight on Thursday, including ones claimed by hardline Salafist militants to which the nation has responded with air strikes on Gaza.
Syrian refugees arrested
A security official says eight Syrians have been arrested on suspicion of inciting riots at a refugee camp near the border with Syria. On Friday, 100 Syrian refugees threw stones at police for preventing some of them of sneaking out of their desert camp. Ten police officers were wounded, including two who remain in critical condition. The security official, who requested anonymity in line with regulations, said a military prosecutor was to question the eight suspects later yesterday. If convicted, they face up to three years in jail. The Zaatari camp houses 150,000 refugees from the Syrian civil war. Another 350,000 Syrians have found shelter in Jordanian communities. Conditions in the overcrowded camp have worsened since it opened in July last year, and there have been several riots.
Voting in local polls begins
Citizens yesterday voted in local elections seen as a trial run for presidential elections in 2015 amid high tensions as the party of former president Laurent Gbagbo boycotted the poll. Voting began Abidjan’s working-class Koumassi District about half an hour after the official 7am starting time, with longer delays reported elsewhere in the west African country’s main city and other urban centers. The country is still recovering from years of unrest, which came to a head when Gbagbo refused to admit defeat in the 2010 presidential election. About 3,000 people died in the ensuing conflict before he was captured. President Alassane Ouattara’s government is hoping the municipal and regional polls will set the foundations for a fresh political start. However, the final days of the campaign, which ended on Friday, were marred by physical clashes and invective. Moreover, the Ivorian Popular Front, which backed Gbagbo during his 10-year rule and after his arrest in April 2011, has dismissed the polls as a sham.