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Norwegian who attacked mosque worshippers arrested

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A young Norwegian man arrested in connection with a shooting incident Saturday at a mosque near the capital Oslo is being investigated on suspicion of murder, Oslo police said.

There were no fatalities in the shooting at the Al-Noor Islamic Centre in Baerum, west of Oslo.

A woman’s body was found in a house in Baerum that was linked to the suspected assailant.

“We are investigating the case as a possible murder,” Rune Skjold of the Oslo police said late Saturday.

“The dead woman is a young woman and was found when police entered the house where the arrested man lives,” he said, declining to detail the relationship between the suspect and the victim.

The body was discovered as the police searched locations and addresses the suspected assailant was linked to, Skjold said.

The suspected assailant had not been questioned as he had been been given medical treatment and no lawyer had been appointed yet, Skjold added.

Skjold said police were checking his online activity and were “aware that he has posted a number of messages on the internet, social media and discussion forums.”

Broadcaster TV2 reported a message that hailed the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March was posted a few hours before Saturday’s Oslo incident.

Skjold said police were interested in possible information about the man.

So far nothing suggested there were other assailants involved, police said.

Skjold said so far the case was not being investigated as terrorism but underlined that the investigation was wide-ranging.

The suspected assailant sustained minor injuries, as did one of the mosque visitors who had overpowered him, Skjold said earlier.

He did not comment on what caused their injuries or what kind of weapons were found at the scene.

Oslo police said they would step up their presence at other mosques on Sunday, the start of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, and would also be armed.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg expressed her sympathy with those who had been present at the mosque or were affected.

“It should be safe to go to the mosque, church or other worship places,” she said in a statement.

She added that it was too early to speculate over a possible motive.

Earlier, mosque board president Ifran Mushtaq told TV2 that the incident took place after a handful of members had attended prayers at the mosque.

Mushtaq said three members had stayed behind when the assailant, armed with what appeared to have been two shotguns and a handgun, broke in. “When they saw him come in, two of them took cover.

A third member, in his 70s, acted quickly” and managed to overpower the assailant, who fired some shots, Mushtaq told TV2.

Another mosque member then hit the assailant in the back of the head, he added.

The assailant wore a protective vest, black clothes and knee pads.

Local daily Budstikka reported that the mosque had stepped up its security measures after the deadly Christchurch shooting.

Ikhlaq Ahmad, spokesman for the Islamic Cultural Centre in Oslo, Norway’s oldest mosque founded 1974, said the incident gives “painful associations” to the Christchurch attacks and to the 2011 attack on a Labour Party youth wing camp that claimed 69 lives.

It was carried out by Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik.

The Al-Noor Islamic Centre was founded in 1983. (dpa/NAN)

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China threatens sanctions against U.S. arms sales to Taiwan

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China threatened to sanction U.S. companies involved in arms, F-16 fighter planes sales to Taiwan, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

China “resolutely opposes” the arms sales and has lodged “solemn protests” to the U.S., said a statement on the Foreign Ministry’s WeChat account.

”China will take all necessary measures to safeguard its own interests including imposing sanctions against U.S. companies involved in the arms sales to Taiwan,” the ministry said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, urged the U.S. to stop the arms sales and end military contact with Taiwan.

The U.S. government has approved the possible $8 billion (6.6 billion euros) deal involving 66 aircraft, the biggest in decades.

The potential sale comes amid ongoing tensions between Washington and Beijing, notably over trade.

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory which should be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.

It has regularly criticised U.S. arms deals with Taiwan including the current one, which has been widely discussed.

The U.S. Defence Security Cooperation Agency announced the deal on Tuesday in an official notification to Congress.

In a statement, it said that the deal was for 66 F-16 fighter aircraft, 75 General Electric engines and other systems.

The sale was in U.S. national interests and would help improve Taiwan’s security, it added.

Quoted by Chinese state media, Mr Geng said the sale was a violation of international law and international relations, as well as the One China policy – under which the U.S. recognises and has only formal ties with China and not Taiwan.

(dpa/NAN)

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Embassy demands probe into killing of Nigerian in Ukraine

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The Nigerian Embassy in Ukraine has petitioned the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the police department in Kharkiv demanding full investigations into the circumstances surrounding the alleged stabbing to death of a Nigerian, Gbolade Ejemai.

Ejemai, a medical doctor, was allegedly stabbed to death by one Victoria Popravko, with the connivance of her father in Ukraine.

The Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM ), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who had been in touch with the family of the deceased and Nigerian Embassy in Ukraine, confirmed the petition in a statement on Tuesday.

The statement signed by NIDCOM’s Head of Media, Abdur-Rahman Balogun was made available to reporters in Abuja.

Mrs Dabiri-Erewa said the petition was delivered to the Ukrainian authorities on behalf of the Federal Government.

She confirmed that the Nigerian Embassy in Ukraine had engaged with both the host Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Police department in Kharkiv, informing them of the concern of the Federal government over the death of Ejemai.

“We have requested for a full and thorough investigation into the circumstance surrounding his demise, with a view to ensuring that justice is carried out,” Mrs Dabiri-Erewa said.

The NIDCOM Chairman added that the Nigerian Embassy in Ukraine had called a meeting aimed at having further discussions on the matter with the affected stakeholders.

She also confirmed that she had got in touch with the deceased’s family assuring them of federal government’s commitment to ensuring that justice is done.

She described the killing of Mr Ejemai as a sad one and prayed for God to give his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

It would be recalled that a family friend of the deceased, Dr Ajayi, had reportedly said that Ms Popravko and Mr Ejemai were in a relationship.

He said the duo got into a heated argument on August 8 in the suspect’s house.

Ms Popravko allegedly stabbed Mr Ejemai in his abdomen, which led him in to a state of prolonged unconsciousness and he was taken in for surgery on the said date.

The deceased was said to have told his side of the story when he came out of coma almost 24 hours after the incidence.

He alleged that when Ms Popravko’s father discovered that he was still alive after the stabbing, he hit him on the head with a hammer. (NAN

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Ebola spreads, kill in remote militia-run Congo village

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Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have confirmed a new case of Ebola in the remote, militia-controlled territory of Walikale, the Health Ministry said.

Walikale is hundreds of kilometres away from where previous cases near the border with Uganda and Rwanda occurred.

Pinga, the village where the case was reported, lies about 150 km (95 miles) northwest of Goma, one of the towns affected by the Ebola epidemic, and much further away from the epicentre of the epidemic in Butembo and Beni.

The ministry data also showed a third case confirmed in South Kivu region, which on Friday reported its first cases, more than 700 km (430 miles) south of where the first case was detected.

The widening geographic spread of the virus, and its presence in yet another zone under the sway of armed groups raises the risk of it spreading out of control, even while the technical tools to rein it in are better than ever.

Walikale is controlled almost entirely by a Mai Mai ethnic militia, surrounded by forest and difficult to access because of poor roads.

Ebola has killed at least 1,900 people in Congo over the past year, the second biggest toll in the disease’s history, after 2014, when 16 outbreaks in West Africa killed 11,300 people.

Unlike during that outbreak, there are now major medical advances that have helped fight the disease, including two trial vaccines.

Both vaccines were being deployed and mobile treatment units and experimental treatments had shown the promise of a 90 per cent survival rate.

But public mistrust and rampant insecurity in parts of eastern Congo where there are a plethora of armed groups and criminal gangs left over from two major wars in the late 1990s have hampered the response.

The hemorrhagic fever, first discovered in Congo in 1976, spreads through direct contact with body fluids and typically kills roughly half of those it infects.

The mortality rate is closer to two thirds during the current outbreak because so many victims have failed to seek treatment.

(Reuters/NAN)

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