- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 11, 2003

MAURITANIA

Arrest warrants issued for 9 coup plotters

NOUAKCHOTT — Mauritanian authorities have issued arrest warrants for nine army officers accused of leading last weekend’s coup attempt in the Islamic republic.

The warrants were for sacked army Col. Saleh Ould Hnana, the suspected mastermind of the failed putsch, and eight other officers whose identities were not disclosed.

The abortive coup was launched amid tensions in the Sahara desert country where President Maaouiya Ould Taya’s Israel ties and pro-Western position have provoked the ire of some Mauritanians as well as other Arab nations.

LIBERIA

Taylor, rebels agree to truce

MONROVIA — Liberian President Charles Taylor agreed to halt hostilities against rebels, paving the way for peace talks to start in earnest and possibly prevent a bloody showdown in the capital.

The rebels have also promised West African mediators they will halt their advance so talks can start properly.

ZIMBABWE

Opposition leader shackled at courthouse

HARARE — Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai went to the country’s high court in shackles yesterday, pleading for freedom after five days in detention on treason charges.

Mr. Tsvangirai, who heads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), appeared at the heavily guarded Harare courthouse in handcuffs, leg irons and a flimsy prison uniform as his lawyers entered a formal bail request.

Mr. Tsvangirai was arrested Friday and accused of treason after the MDC organized five days of protests and work boycotts last week that paralyzed the country’s battered economy.

CONGO

French troops deploy as fighting flares

BUNIA — As French troops beefed up patrols yesterday in eastern Congo to end bloody tribal clashes, tens of thousands of people were fleeing another round of fighting involving pro-government forces.

French commanders said hundreds more of their 1,400-strong multinational force were now heading for the town of Bunia with a mandate from the United Nations to end fighting between Hema and Lendu tribal militias that has killed hundreds.

Weekly notes …

Four out of every 1,000 South Africans are in jail, many because they cannot afford bail as low as $6, an independent study shows. Hannes Fagan, the inspecting judge of prisons, also said in his annual report that at the end of February, the prison population stood around 188,000 even though official capacity was just 111,000. …Ethiopia could register negative growth this year because serious drought has slashed agricultural output, the World Bank’s representative said. Ethiopia’s economy grew by 5.4 percent in 2000, 7.7 percent in 2001 and fell to 1.2 percent last year. More than 12.6 million Ethiopians are directly affected by the drought and more than 2 million of them are under strict surveillance, according to the United Nations.

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