- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 2, 2007

SIERRA LEONE

Liberia sends back civil war refugees

FREETOWN, Liberia — A U.N.-backed voluntary repatriation exercise to return Liberian refugees from Sierra Leone will wind up at the end of June, a government official said yesterday.

“June 30 … is the end of organized voluntary repatriation of Liberian refugees to their homeland,” said Sidi Bah, director of a government-funded resettlement commission that works with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

“We shall not have an organized convoy taking refugees back to Liberia after this deadline,” he said. Only 6,000 refugees, of some 54,600 who fled to the country during Liberia’s 14-year civil war that ended in 2003, are expected to stay in Sierra Leone. The status of those remaining in Liberia will be considered “on a case-by-case basis but there will be the possibility of local integration for them.” Mr. Bah said.

SOUTH AFRICA

Jack the Ripper perhaps identified

JOHANNESBURG — An eminent South African historian thinks he has stumbled on the identity of Jack the Ripper, but said that at first he hesitated to publicize the conclusions he drew when he noticed parallels in the century-old, unsolved Ripper case and the background of Joseph Silver, who terrorized women as “King of the Pimps” in Johannesburg.

The publicity around Charles van Onselen’s “The Fox and The Flies: The World of Joseph Silver, Racketeer and Psychopath,” published in April, has made much of Silver being Jack the Ripper, the notorious Victorian serial killer who murdered at least five East London prostitutes in 1888.

But Mr. van Onselen, an acclaimed biographer who specializes in South Africa’s criminal history and who took nearly three decades to research the book, only makes his Ripper case in the final 25th chapter, written in the past 36 months.

UGANDA

Potential successor to Museveni dies

KAMPALA — A senior Ugandan army officer widely seen as a potential successor to President Yoweri Museveni has died in Kenya, an official statement said yesterday.

Brig. Noble Mayombo, 42, who last served as the Defense Ministry’s permanent secretary, died at Aga Khan hospital in Nairobi on Tuesday where he was receiving treatment for multiple organ failure.

“It is chilling that we have lost a person of such caliber, more so at such a young age,” said Ofwono Opondo, spokesman for the ruling National Resistance Movement party. Defense Minister Crispus Kiyonga said the government has begun an investigation into Brig. Mayombo’s death in response to widespread speculation that there had been foul play.

Weekly notes …

Ghana’s first case of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu has been confirmed by local laboratories and a laboratory in Egypt, a World Health Organization official said yesterday. The first African cases of the deadly H5N1 strain were detected 15 months ago in poultry in the northern Nigerian states of Kano, Kaduna and Plateau. … South African international soccer star Jabu Mahlangu was arrested and charged with raping a 19-year-old woman yesterday, police in Johannesburg said. The 26-year-old Bafana Bafana star, who currently plays for the Johannesburg-based Orlando Pirates, turned himself in at a police station, accompanied by his lawyers.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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