Gen. Laurent Nkunda, a Congolese rebel leader whose brutal tactics and Congo-sized ambitions have threatened to bring about another catastrophic war in central Africa, was arrested late Thursday, removing an explosive factor from the region.
Nkunda was captured by Rwandan troops as he tried to escape a Congolese-Rwandan offensive that has taken aim at several rebel groups terrorizing eastern Congo, U.N. officials and Rwandan authorities said.
The surprise arrest could be a turning point for Congo, which has been mired in rebellion and bloodshed for much of the past decade. It strengthens the hand of the government, just when the government had seemed about to implode. But it could also empower other, even more brutal rebel figures.
Hamas delivers aid to suffering Gazans
Hamas leaders delivered an envelope with five $100 bills Friday to a veiled woman whose house was damaged during Israel's invasion of Gaza, the first of promised relief payments by the militant group. In another part of the territory, a bulldozer cleared rubble and filled in a bomb crater where a week before a top Hamas leader had been killed in an Israeli airstrike.
Since a truce took hold this week, ending Israel's three-week onslaught, Gaza's Hamas rulers have declared victory and pledged $52-million of the group's funds to help repair lives, the money divvied up by category. The veiled woman received compensation for her two-story home in the northern town of Beit Lahiya. Hamas said the emergency relief would include $1,300 for a death in the family, $650 for an injury, $5,200 for a destroyed house and $2,600 for a damaged house.
Gunmen kill 8 as Sunni family sleeps
Gunmen killed eight members of a Sunni family, including six women, and kidnapped two others in a tense area northeast of Baghdad where Shiite militiamen still operate, officials said Friday.
The gunmen stormed the al-Karawi family's home late Thursday and shot the eight victims to death in their sleep, said Brig. Gen. Abdul-Karim al-Rubaie. The family was poor and had moved to the Maamil village a year ago to work at brick factories in the area, he said.
Missile strikes send message from Obama
Two remote U.S. missile strikes that killed at least 20 people at suspected terrorist hideouts in northwestern Pakistan Friday offered the first tangible sign of President Obama's commitment to sustained military pressure on the terrorist groups there.
The shaky Pakistani government of Asif Ali Zardari has expressed hopes for warm relations with Obama, but members of Obama's new national security team have already telegraphed their intention to make firmer demands of Islamabad than the Bush administration. The separate strikes on two compounds were the first high-profile hostile military actions taken under Obama's four-day-old presidency.
Liberia: Liberia's worst caterpillar plague in three decades has spread to neighboring Guinea after swarms of the crop-eating insects devastated more than 45 towns in the West African nation, officials said Friday.