International briefs

Gambia expels envoy

BANJUL: Gambia has expelled UNICEF’s envoy, the UN children’s agency said on Monday in the west African country regularly criticised for human rights violations.

“UNICEF received a letter last week from the government stating that the country representative, Ms Min-Whee Kang, was no longer welcome in the Gambia,” UNICEF’s spokeswoman in Gambia told AFP. Kang, who is South Korean, has left Gambia for “an unknown destination” after being given 24 hours to leave the country on Friday, the spokeswoman added.

Palestinians held

DUBAI: Dubai police said on Tuesday it is questioning two Palestinians suspected of involvement in the murder of a top Hamas militant, after having named an 11-member hit team travelling on European passports. The two men, both residents of the United Arab Emirates, had “fled to Jordan” after Mahmud al-Mabhuh was found dead in a Dubai hotel room on January 20, police chief Dahi Khalfan told AFP. He said they were extradited from Jordan “three days ago,” pointing to a “strong suspicion” against one of the two who had met a member of the suspected hit team before the assassination.

Iraq Christians killed

MOSUL: A Christian was killed in the restive city of Mosul on Tuesday, the third in as many days, as community leaders warned of rising violence against the minority ahead of Iraq’s March 7 general election. Christian leaders in Mosul, north of Baghdad, have criticised the security forces for “standing by and watching” as attacks against their community increase. On Tuesday, a gunman emerged from a car in the north of the city and fired at two Christian students with an automatic weapon, according to a police officer. One was killed and one wounded. Both young men were Assyrian Christians. Tuesday’s murder of the student came after gunmen in Mosul killed two shop owners from Iraq’s Christian minority in separate attacks.

Man seeks clemency

DENPASAR: A bomb maker convicted over the 2002 attacks on the Indonesian resort island of Bali which killed 202 people has filed for presidential clemency, an official said on Tuesday. Zaenal Abidin, 39, also known as Sarjiyo and Sawad, was found guilty of assembling the bombs used in the nightclub attacks and was sentenced to life in prison in 2004. He submitted an appeal for clemency on January 25, Denpasar District Court spokesman Posma Nainggolan told AFP. “He’s asking the president to reduce his life sentence to a (shorter) prison sentence,” Nainggolan said.