NIGERIA

Sect blamed in slayings

Suspected Islamic sect members ambushed and killed at least 24 members of a youth vigilante group who were on a mission to find and fight the sect in northeast Nigeria, a security official said Saturday. Those who returned from Friday’s attack told officials that 36 other vigilantes were missing.

IRAQ

Officials’ perks rile crowd

Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Iraqi cities Saturday to protest lawmakers’ perks despite an intense security crackdown, while bombing and shootings in and west of the capital killed 13 people in the latest bout of sectarian unrest rocking the country. Protest organizers demanded an end to what they claim are generous pension benefits granted to members of parliament.

YEMEN

Gunmen target premier

Gunmen opened fire on the motorcade of Yemen’s prime minister on Saturday but he escaped unharmed, an aide said. The attack on Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Bassindwa’s convoy in the Yemeni capital came after a senior intelligence officer was fatally shot in the country’s south by unknown assailants, security officials said.

AFGHANISTAN

At least 18 die in attacks

A suicide bomber detonated his explosives near a police checkpoint and a bank in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, one of two attacks in the heartland of the insurgency that killed 18 people over 24 hours. Separately, a NATO service member was killed by insurgents in the country’s east.

VATICAN CITY

Pope selects senior aide

Pope Francis on Saturday announced the appointment of a longtime Vatican diplomat, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, as secretary of state, replacing Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, a powerful and divisive figure in the Vatican hierarchy. Parolin, 58, is currently the Vatican envoy to Venezuela and served as the Vatican’s deputy foreign minister from 2002 to 2009.

Compiled from wire reports.