World briefs: John Kerry backs Nigeria search

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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- Secretary of State John Kerry pledged U.S. help Saturday in finding and returning hundreds of Nigerian girls abducted by militants more than two weeks ago.

"The kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime," Mr. Kerry said. "We will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes and hold the perpetrators to justice."

Nigerian authorities said more than 250 girls are still missing after the mass abduction of teenagers from schools on April 14.

Mr. Kerry did not specify what kind of help the United States could provide.

Explosions rock Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya -- At least three people were killed in a grenade blast in one of two explosions Saturday along the coast of Kenya, an east African country working to crack down on a recent wave of terrorist attacks.

Authorities said the grenade blast at a bus stop in Mwembe Tayari, in the coastal city of Mombasa, also injured seven other people. Separately, a bag with an improvised explosive device was spotted near the coastal Reef Hotel in Nyali, and passersby noticed in time to take cover before it detonated, the Interior Ministry said. No fatalities were immediately reported there.

Authorities said they didn't immediately have an explanation for the explosions.

Kenya has been hit by a wave of gun and explosive attacks since it sent troops to neighboring Somalia to fight al-Shabab militants in 2011.

India arrests 20 in attacks

NEW DELHI -- The police said Saturday they had arrested 20 people suspected of being associated with attacks that left at least 29 Muslims dead in western villages in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, where tensions between members of the Bodo tribal group and non-Bodo residents, including Muslims, have been simmering for years.

The army has imposed an indefinite curfew in the parts of western Assam where the attacks took place Thursday and Friday.

The attacks, according to the police, were carried out in three villages by militants with the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, an armed insurgent group that has been agitating for a separate state for decades.

South Sudan seeks talks

JUBA, South Sudan -- South Sudan's President Salva Kiir agreed to hold talks with rebel leader Riek Machar, as the United Nations Security Council is seeking to end a four-month conflict mired in ethnic violence.

Mr. Kiir, who met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the president's office in Juba yesterday, said he's committed to "take forceful steps in order to move to end the violence and implement the cessation-of-hostilities agreement and to begin to engage on a discussion with respect to a transition government," Mr. Kerry told reporters after the 90-minute meeting.

Mr. Machar, speaking later in a phone interview from South Sudan's Upper Nile state, said he sees no reason to meet Mr. Kiir.

Egypt stages mass sentence

CAIRO -- Reflecting the Egyptian judiciary's growing role in a wide-ranging crackdown against opponents of the interim government, a criminal court on Saturday sentenced more than 100 alleged supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to 10 years in prison.

International rights groups and Western governments have declared themselves troubled by Egypt's now-routine use of mass trials in which defendants have little or no access to due process. The 102 sentenced on Saturday were convicted of rioting and weapons possession.


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