Egypt Independent: World-Main news en Boko Haram militants kill 15 in southern Niger: sources <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Boko Haram militants attacked a village in Niger&#39;s southern border area of Diffa on Thursday, killing 15 people, two security sources said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The guerrillas arrived in the village of Gogone on foot and opened fire indiscriminately on residents, the sources said, adding that Niger troops had pursued them.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Niger&#39;s Diffa region has suffered dozens of cross-border strikes this year by the Islamist militant group whose stronghold in northeast Nigeria lies just a few kilometers away.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A state of emergency has been declared there in a bid to boost security. But the attackers often manage to flee across the River Komadougou, marking the border with Nigeria.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Central African leaders in regional bloc CEEAC said on Wednesday at a summit that they were raising 50 billion CFA Francs ($80 million) to help Nigeria&#39;s neighbors fight the Islamist militant group.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>An 8,700-strong regional task force with troops from Chad, Niger, Benin, Nigeria and Cameroon is operational but has yet to begin joint military strikes against the group.</div> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 15:31:00 +0000 Reuters 2462254 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/03/08/499612/boko_haram.jpg Cameron says time to start bombing militants in Syria <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Prime Minister David Cameron told MPs on Thursday it was time to join air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria, saying Britain cannot &quot;subcontract its security to other countries&quot;.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Cameron, who lost a vote on air strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad&#39;s forces in 2013, needs to persuade several MPs in his own Conservative Party and some in the opposition Labour Party to back his cause if he is to win parliament&#39;s backing for military action.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Parliament&#39;s Foreign Affairs Committee criticized extending air strikes into Syria earlier this month, saying that without a clear strategy to defeat the militants and end the civil war such action was &quot;incoherent&quot;.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But since Islamic State claimed responsibility for killing 130 people in Paris, some MPs who were reluctant to launch new strikes in Syria have increasingly felt action was needed to protect Britain from such attacks.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We do not have the luxury of being able to wait until the Syrian conflict is resolved before tackling ISIL (Islamic State),&quot; Cameron wrote in a response to the committee&#39;s objections.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He said in his 24-page response the campaign against Islamic State was entering a new phase, focussing on command and control, supply lines and financial support - something Britain could contribute well to.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;It is wrong for the United Kingdom to sub-contract its security to other countries, and to expect the aircrews of other nations to carry the burdens and the risks of striking ISIL in Syria to stop terrorism here in Britain,&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Cameron will have to convince MPs that extending the air strikes will not mean that Britain becomes an even greater target for attacks. Militants downed a Russian airliner after Moscow launched strikes on Syria, killing all 224 on board.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Thirty Conservative MPs voted against the motion for military intervention in Syria in August 2013.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran anti-war campaigner, says he is also reluctant to support the strikes without a political plan for Syria, fearful more bombing would complicate the more than 4-1/2 year civil war.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But, breaking with a British political tradition of using a &quot;party whip&quot; to keep party discipline, his finance spokesman said Labour was considering allowing its MPs to vote as they wish, which may increase support for Cameron.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;In these sort of issues of conscience it is better to allow MPs to make their own minds up,&quot; John McDonnell told BBC television, adding Britain must learn lessons from the 2003 Iraq war. Islamic State hold territory in northern and western Iraq.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Finance minister George Osborne, a frontrunner to succeed Cameron, said he understood people&#39;s concerns that further involvement in the Middle East could make Britain a target.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We know they want reassurance that we are getting this right ... first of all we are a target from this terrorist organization ISIL (Islamic State),&quot; he told BBC radio, referring to the attacks on tourists in Tunisia in June.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He said it was a &quot;bit strange&quot; that Britain&#39;s air force could strike in Iraq but not Syria.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;I don&#39;t think this is a country that lets others like the French or the Americans defend our interests and protect us from terrorist organizations - we should contribute to that effort.&quot;</div> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 14:28:00 +0000 Reuters 2462248 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/02/25/501010/britain_02-25-15.jpg Pope in Africa says dialogue vital to avert violence in God's name <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Pope Francis said on Thursday in Kenya, a country that has seen a spate of attacks by Islamist militants, that dialogue between religions in Africa was essential to teach young people that violence in God&#39;s name was unjustified.</p><p>Bridging divisions between Muslims and Christians is a main theme of his first tour of the continent that also takes him to Uganda, which like Kenya has seen a number of Islamist attacks, and the Central African Republic, riven by sectarian conflict.</p><p>Starting his first full day in the Kenyan capital, Francis met Muslim and other religious leaders before saying an open-air Mass for tens of thousands of rain-drenched people who sang, danced and ululated as he arrived in an open popemobile.</p><p>&quot;All too often, young people are being radicalised in the name of religion to sow discord and fear, and to tear at the very fabric of our societies,&quot; he told about 25 religious leaders.</p><p>Inter-religious dialogue &quot;is not a luxury. It is not something extra or optional, but essential,&quot; he told them, stressing that God&#39;s name &quot;must never be used to justify hatred and violence.&quot;</p><p>He referred to Somalia&#39;s al Shabaab Islamists&#39; 2013 attack on Nairobi&#39;s Westgate shopping mall and this year&#39;s assault on Garissa university. Hundreds of people have been killed in the past two years or so, with Christians sometimes singled out by gunmen.</p><p>The chairman of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, Abdulghafur El-Busaidy, called for cooperation and tolerance. &quot;As people of one God and of this world, we must stand up and in unison,&quot; he told the pope.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>CONTRASTS</p><p>Francis&#39;s African tour is also addressing the continent&#39;s fast-growing Catholic population, which is expected to reach half a billion by 2050.</p><p>A third of Kenya&#39;s 45 million people are Catholics. Tens of thousands of them gathered in pouring rain from before dawn to attend the pope&#39;s open-air Mass in central Nairobi.</p><p>Representatives of Kenya&#39;s tribes ascended the papal altar platform to read prayers, their native dress contrasting with that of bishops in Western liturgical vestments just feet away.</p><p>In his homily at the Mass, Francis urged the faithful &quot;to resist practices which foster arrogance in men,&quot; speaking in a nation rattled by a series of corruption scandals.</p><p>President Uhuru Kenyatta, a Catholic who attended the Mass, reshuffled his cabinet this week after several ministers were embroiled in graft allegations.</p><p>When not in his popemobile, the pope, who has shunned many of the perks at the Vatican, was driven in a Honda car, starkly different to the Mercedes and other luxury vehicles used by top officials in Kenya where many people live in city slums or villages without electricity.</p><p>Giving his address at Mass in a sodden sports field at Nairobi University, the pope urged youths on a continent with a large young population to resist the &quot;new deserts created by a culture of materialism and indifference&quot; and build a more just society.</p> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 09:41:00 +0000 Reuters 2462236 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/09/28/501010/pope.jpg Labour Party says considering 'free vote' for lawmakers on Syria airstrikes <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Britain&#39;s opposition Labour Party is considering allowing its lawmakers to vote as they wish on whether to approve Prime Minister David Cameron&#39;s plan to extend airstrikes to Syria, its finance spokesman said on Thursday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Britain is already bombing Islamic State in Iraq but Cameron wants to get Parliament&#39;s support to strike militants in Syria. He will make the case to British lawmakers on Thursday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>When asked whether Labour would allow its lawmakers to vote as they wished on the issue, John McDonnell told BBC television: &quot;At the moment we&rsquo;re considering that within the Labour Party and we&rsquo;ll arrive at a democratic decision.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;In these sort of issues of conscience it is better to allow MPs to make their own minds up,&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>However, McDonnell said he remained &quot;deeply sceptical&quot; about any British involvement in the Middle East.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;I think we need to learn the lessons of what happened in Iraq, so I come from that position,&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Cameron is keen to avoid a repeat of 2013 when he lost a parliamentary vote on air strikes in Syria.</div> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 09:25:00 +0000 Reuters 2462233 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/07/19/484151/cameron.jpg