Daily Nation Newspaper - - UPDATES OF -

KANO - Nige­ria on Mon­day be­gan its first ma­jor tri­als of Boko Haram sus­pects, with a prom­ise to "pros­e­cute and not to per­se­cute" de­fen­dants at the closed-door hear­ings, the jus­tice min­istry said.

A court at a mil­i­tary base in Kainji, in the cen­tral state of Niger, was told that 1 669 sus­pects were await­ing trial at the fa­cil­ity. Of those, 1 631 were men, 11 were women, with 26 boys and one girl.

All of the de­fen­dants have been ar­rested and de­tained since the start of Boko Haram's Is­lamist in­sur­gency in 2009, which has left at least 20 000 dead and forced more than 2.6 mil­lion oth­ers from their homes.

The me­dia has been barred from cover­ing the cases on se­cu­rity grounds. Jus­tice min­istry spokesper­son Sal­ihu Oth­man Isah said the cases would be heard at four courts at the Kainji fa­cil­ity.

Boko Haram be­gan life as an Is­lamic sect in Maiduguri in 2002 and mor­phed into an Is­lamic State group-af­fil­i­ated armed move­ment whose in­sur­gency has threat­ened sta­bil­ity in the im­pov­er­ished Lake Chad re­gion.

The group, whose name roughly trans­lates from the Hausa lan­guage spo­ken in north­ern Nige­ria as "Western ed­u­ca­tion is for­bid­den", aims to cre­ate a hard­line Is­lamic state in north­east Nige­ria.

Among its many no­to­ri­ous acts was the kid­nap­ping in April 2014 of more than 200 school­girls from the Borno town of Chi­bok. NAIROBI - Kenyan op­po­si­tion leader Raila Odinga has pulled out of Oc­to­ber's elec­tion re­run.

Odinga said his with­drawal would give the elec­toral com­mis­sion enough time to in­tro­duce re­forms that will help de­liver a more cred­i­ble elec­tion.

The Supreme Court an­nulled the re­sult of the orig­i­nal 8 Au­gust poll af­ter find­ing ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties and declar­ing it "nei­ther trans­par­ent or ver­i­fi­able."

The elec­toral com­mis­sion had de­clared in­cum­bent Uhuru Keny­atta the win­ner.

It said Keny­atta had won by a mar­gin of 1.4 mil­lion votes.

The re-run was due to take place on 26 Oc­to­ber, but Odinga said: "Af­ter de­lib­er­at­ing on our po­si­tion in re­spect of the up­com­ing elec­tion, con­sid­er­ing the in­ter­ests of the peo­ple of Kenya, the re­gion and the world at large, we be­lieve that all will be best served by the party va­cat­ing its pres­i­den­tial can­di­da­ture in the elec­tion sched­uled for 26 Oc­to­ber 2017." Mean­while, two staff mem­bers were killed and sev­eral stu­dents were wounded in Kenya when gun­men fired on ve­hi­cles car­ry­ing stu­dents to the Tech­ni­cal Univer­sity of Mom­basa’s cam­pus in coastal Kwale county yes­ter­day, a po­lice of­fi­cial and a wit­ness said.

The iden­tity of the gun­men was un­clear.

So­mali mil­i­tant Is­lamist group al Shabaab fre­quently car­ries out at­tacks along the Kenya-So­mali border and along the Kenyan coast. In 2015, it at­tacked a univer­sity in Kenya’s Garissa town, killing 148 stu­dents.

Two fe­male staff mem­bers were killed in yes­ter­day’s at­tack, and a driver and two po­lice­men were in­jured, a po­lice of­fi­cial who did not want to be named said.

“A bus car­ry­ing stu­dents of TUM (the Tech­ni­cal Univer­sity of Mom­basa) was fer­ry­ing them from their hos­tels to the cam­pus in Ukunda for classes and was be­ing es­corted by a van that had some staff of the col­lege and two es­cort po­lice of­fi­cers,” the po­lice­man said.

“Armed men num­ber­ing about 10 emerged from the bushes and started fir­ing at the van in front. As a re­sult two ladies who are staff of TUM were killed in the van. The driver of the van and two po­lice of­fi­cers were in­jured,” he said.

Kenyan op­po­si­tion leader Raila Odinga, the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of the Na­tional Su­per Al­liance

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