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World briefs 10/22/02

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Russia reportedly arrests kidnapper of U.S. worker

MOSCOW -- Police in Chechnya have arrested a suspect in last year's abduction of American aid worker Kenneth Gluck, who was released after 25 days of captivity, according to a news report Monday.

The suspect was a member of a guerrilla group led by Abubakar Dzhumayev, who reportedly was killed this year, the ITAR-Tass news agency said, citing an unnamed police spokesman.

Details about the arrest were not available and officials at Medecins Sans Frontieres, the humanitarian group that employed Gluck, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Gluck, a native of New York City, was seized by masked gunmen near the Chechen village of Stariye Atagi. He was released Feb. 3, 2001, under hazy circumstances.

Archbishop launches investigation into killing

MONROVIA, Liberia -- The head of Liberia's Roman Catholic church ordered an investigation into the slayings of five American nuns during the West African nation's brutal 1990s civil war.

Sisters Mary Joel Kolmer, Barbara Ann Muttra, Agnes Mueller, Shirley Kolmer and Kathleen McGuire were killed in October 1992 when rebel fighters led by warlord Charles Taylor -- now Liberia's president -- were besieging the capital, Monrovia.

The sisters were members of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ order, based in Ruma, Ill.

At a commemorative service Sunday for the nuns, Monrovia Archbishop Michael Francis said he has named a three-member commission to investigate the killings. Findings will be forwarded to Rome, he said.

Brazilian police find car packed with explosives

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Police thwarted a plan by organized crime to blow up the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange with a car packed with explosives, authorities said Monday.

A car carrying about 65 pounds of explosives was found early Monday on a highway near the city of Campinas, 50 miles northwest of Sao Paulo, said Godofredo Bittencourt, head of the organized crime division of the Sao Paulo police.

Police blocked the highway and deactivated the explosives, which were found in a suitcase along with dirty laundry, Bittencourt said.

Colombian police say rebels terrorized village

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Rebels invaded an Indian village, killing two police officers and terrorizing its residents before the air force counterattacked, leaving dozens of insurgents dead, authorities and witnesses said Monday.

An estimated 70 rebels were killed when a Colombian Air Force AC-47 fixed-wing gunship strafed two trucks on Sunday carrying rebels and explosives, said Col. Jose Edgar Herrera, police chief of Cauca state, where the fighting broke out.

The number of dead could not be independently verified, but Herrera said a precise count will be available once officials get to the site and recover bodies.

Stores in Malaysia blacklist al-Qaida book

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Dozens of stores stopped selling a book on al-Qaida that claims some political parties here have historical links with Muslim separatists in the Philippines. Authorities are considering banning the work, officials said Monday.

In the book, "Inside al-Qaida: Global Network of Terror," Rohan Gunaratna, a research fellow at Scotland's University of St. Andrews, claims some Malaysian political groups have historical links with Muslim separatists in the Philippines, which in turn may be tied to al-Qaida.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's National Front coalition, which has ruled Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957, was one group that had "ideological and political links" with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a Muslim rebel group fighting for a separate homeland in the southern Philippines, the book claims.

A spokeswoman for MPH, the country's biggest bookstore group in Malaysia, said store executives removed the book from store shelves last week.

-- From wire reports

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