- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 13, 2006

NIGERIA

Obasanjo loyalists seek to extend rule

ABUJA — Senators from Nigeria’s ruling party yesterday introduced a constitutional amendment that would allow President Olusegun Obasanjo to run for a third term.

The move to extend Mr. Obasanjo’s rule is likely to fan tensions in Nigeria, where it was seen by many as undemocratic.

The Obasanjo loyalists presented the contentious proposal for debate Tuesday, then introduced the bill in the Senate a day later — apparently intent on speeding approval. Bills normally need committee passage before being forwarded to the Senate floor for debate and a vote.

Elections are planned for 2007 in Africa’s most populous country.

CHAD

Rebels thwarted, government says

N’DJAMENA — The government said yesterday that its forces had repulsed United Front for Change rebels from a crossroads town east of the capital, as France, Chad’s former colonial ruler, voiced alarm at the growing crisis.

The rebels denied the assertion by Chad’s defense minister that they had been repulsed, insisting that they still control the town of Mongo and were advancing on N’Djamena, the capital. The worsening security situation in Chad, where rebels have vowed to oust President Idriss Deby Itno, is alarming African and Western countries weeks before Chad’s presidential elections.

France, which has 1,200 soldiers in Chad, yesterday ordered an additional 150 there, a high-ranking French military source said.

Weekly notes …

Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown will commit Britain on Monday to spend the equivalent of $100 billion over 10 years to build primary schools so that by 2015 every child in the world can attend classes, the London Telegraph reported yesterday. Mr. Brown was using a visit to impoverished Mozambique to call on other developed countries to help create primary schools to serve 200 million youngsters in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The project follows a promise by Mr. Brown at the Group of Eight summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, last year to raise British spending on foreign aid to 0.7 percent of the gross domestic product. … A disabling mosquito-borne disease that has swept across Indian Ocean islands off Africa has made its first appearance in the Comoros Islands, a health official said yesterday. Dr. Ahmed Bedja, director of epidemiology in the Comoros Health Ministry, said chikungunya had been reported on the island of Anjouan. “Eight cases have been confirmed,” he told Agence France-Presse in the capital, Moroni. Chikungunya gets its name from a Swahili word meaning “that which bends” because of its arthritic-type symptoms that leave victims stooped. It is generally nonfatal, and most victims eventually recover.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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