- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 2, 2004

CONGO

Renegade troops control eastern town

BUKAVU — Renegade troops in eastern Congo said yesterday they had seized this town from government troops in fighting that has dealt a major blow to the country’s fragile peace process.

U.N. sources said between 2,000 and 4,000 dissident soldiers had entered the town on the border with Rwanda, although they could not confirm whether Bukavu had fallen.

“We have full control of the town,” Gen. Laurent Nkunda, a former rebel commander, told Reuters.

U.N. spokesman Sebastien Lapierre said the streets of Bukavu were deserted and that there was no fighting yesterday afternoon.

NIGERIA

Obasanjo granted emergency powers

ABUJA — Lawmakers have approved sweeping security measures including powers of detention in the violence-torn state of Plateau, two weeks after President Olusegun Obasanjo declared a state of emergency there, a Senate spokesman said yesterday.

Hundreds of people have been killed in fighting between Christian and Muslim communities vying for economic and political dominance in the fertile central state of Africa’s most populous country.

Mr. Obasanjo said the killings, which culminated in a massacre of Muslims in May and reprisal riots against Christians in Kano, could have engulfed the country in chaos.

KENYA

Charter review deadline recedes

NAIROBI — The government said yesterday it would miss its deadline to review the constitution, which analysts say could damage the stability of the East African country’s fragile ruling coalition.

President Mwai Kibaki won a election in 2002 and promised within 100 days to revamp the constitution in place since independence from Britain in 1963.

Weekly notes

The death toll from clashes between rival Somali militias rose to 53 yesterday, medical sources said. More than 200 families were evacuated from Bulo Hawo, bordering Kenya, when fighting began Tuesday between gunmen loyal to Mohamud Sayid Aden and those loyal to his former ally Yusuf Cante. Somalia disintegrated into a patchwork of fiefdoms run by rival warlords after the overthrow of dictator Mohammed Siad Barre 13 years ago. … Ten African countries sharing the Nile are meeting at Entebbe, Uganda, this week to discuss a legal framework that would replace colonial laws giving Egypt preferential use of the river’s resources. “Negotiations are not easy. It might take a year,” Ugandan Water Minister Mary Mutagamba told Agence France-Presse. This week’s meeting, under the auspices of the 10-nation Nile Basin Initiative, which manages the river, is scheduled to end tomorrow, but it is doubtful that a final agreement will have been reached by then.

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