- The Washington Times - Friday, April 15, 2005

KYRGYZSTAN

Rumsfeld assured U.S. base will stay

BISHKEK — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, visiting amid political turmoil in this former Soviet republic, won assurances yesterday that the U.S. military will not lose access to a base it established here in support of the war in Afghanistan.

Ganci air base, which is situated at Manas airport outside the capital, is part of a network of facilities in Central Asia that still provides support for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. The U.S. military has nearly 1,000 troops stationed at Ganci.

Doubts were raised about the future of the U.S. military presence when Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev fled the country last month after an uprising that has yet to play out. Acting Prime Minister Kurmanbek Bakiyev said Kyrgyzstan will comply with agreements with the United States on the base.

Yesterday, Mr. Akayev’s daughter, Bermet Akayeva, returned to parliament to assume the seat she won in disputed parliamentary elections earlier this year.

NEPAL

60 rebels killed in clash with army

KATMANDU — Nepal’s army said yesterday it killed at least 60 communist rebels in fighting in remote mountains west of the capital.

The army patrol came under attack late Wednesday near the village of Dalfing in Rukum district, about 250 miles west of the capital, Katmandu.

COLOMBIA

Rebels strike 2 towns; four dead, 23 wounded

BOGOTA — Using household compressed gas cylinders as bombs, Colombian rebels attacked two towns yesterday, killing three policeman and a girl and wounding 23 three, officials and residents said.

Authorities called the pre-dawn attacks on the towns of Toribio and Jambalo ?an attack on the civilian population? and blamed guerrilla fighters.

?According to firefighters in Toribio, the cylinder-bombs are falling? on the town, a man told a local radio station. ?At least two fell near our house,? he said.

ZIMBABWE

Court acquits British journalists

NORTON — A Zimbabwean court yesterday acquitted two British journalists of reporting on the country’s March 31 parliamentary elections without permission but said they should face charges of overstaying their visas.

Magistrate Never Diza said state prosecutors had failed to prove that Toby Harnden, chief foreign correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph, and photographer colleague Julian Simmonds were working in the country illegally.

TAJIKISTAN

Foreign contacts with locals curbed

DUSHANBE — The Foreign Ministry yesterday ordered foreign embassies and aid organizations working in Tajikistan to report their contacts with political and civic activists.

The move followed last month’s overthrow of the president in neighboring Kyrgyzstan in a popular revolt that has agitated other Central Asian leaders. Kyrgyzstan was the third former Soviet country to face such revolt. Authorities in other former Soviet republics have responded by trying to tighten controls and cracking down on Western aid organizations, saying they had prepared and funded the uprisings in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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