- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 14, 2007

UNITED NATIONS

Investigators cancel visit to Darfur

GENEVA — U.N. human rights investigators yesterday called off a visit to Darfur after officials in Sudan demanded that the United Nations’ former top human rights official be removed from the group.

The U.N. Human Rights Council formed the team in December after fierce debate between countries defending Khartoum and others accusing it of war crimes in Darfur. The investigators said they would pursue their work without entering Sudan.

The group had been expected to arrive in Sudan on Tuesday for the second stage of a two-month mission to look into reputed abuses against civilians in the vast, arid region where analysts estimate 200,000 have been killed and 2.5 million driven from their homes in about four years of conflict.

GUINEA

Soldiers ordered to shoot ruler’s foes

CONAKRY — Soldiers with orders to shoot rioters and looters were in control of the country’s towns yesterday as authorities tried to revive negotiations to end an anti-government strike that led to martial law.

The world’s top bauxite exporter has been under military authority since President Lansana Conte declared martial law nationwide on Monday. More than 110 people have been killed since early January and at least nine persons were killed Monday by security forces.

The crackdown appeared to restore calm. Army Chief of Staff Kerfala Camara went on state television late yesterday to say he had ordered his men to use their weapons if they face resistance. Protesters say Mr. Conte, a reclusive, chain-smoking diabetic in his 70s, is unfit to rule.

SOMALIA

Warlords return, threaten aid deliveries

MOGADISHU — Warlords are re-emerging in Somalia and pose a threat to humanitarian-aid deliveries to the needy, the United Nations said yesterday as the government struggled to quell growing unrest.

Rising violence and a power vacuum caused by the ousting of Islamist forces by the transitional government could lead to a return of the chaos that plagued Somalia for 16 years, the United Nations said in a monthly report. It estimates about 1 million Somalis need humanitarian aid.

The spiraling violence may also undermine attempts to deploy an African Union peacekeeping mission to protect Somalia’s weak, Ethiopian-backed government.

Weekly notes …

Former President Jimmy Carter yesterday announced the distribution of thousands of insecticide-treated mosquito nets in impoverished Ethiopia. The effort is part of a partnership with Addis Ababa to distribute 20 million nets to 50 million by July in a drive that could save up to 100,000 lives annually. … A meningitis epidemic has killed 142 persons in Burkina Faso since January, health authorities said yesterday. The World Health Organization last week reported 96 deaths out of 789 cases in January alone.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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