- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 1, 2007

CHAD

Hundreds protest ‘child trafficking’

ABECHE — Chadians chanting “No to the slave trade, no to child trafficking” yesterday protested a French group accused of trying to abduct African children as France sought to avoid a row with its former colony.

Several hundred angry locals gathered outside the governor’s office in the eastern town of Abeche, where nine French nationals and seven Spaniards were arrested last week as they tried to fly 103 children out of the impoverished state.

The detained French are members of a group called Zoe’s Ark that said it wanted to place orphans ages 3 to 10 from Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region with European families.

Officials from France and the United Nations have said it appears many of the children were from Chad and were not orphans.

SOUTH AFRICA

Abuse claims probed at Winfrey’s school

JOHANNESBURG — South African police are investigating purported abuses at billionaire U.S. television magnate Oprah Winfrey’s all-girl leadership academy, a police spokesman said yesterday.

South Africa’s Rapport newspaper reported that a matron at the school reportedly fondled one of the pupils, and grabbed a girl by the throat and threw her against a wall. The report said other school employees also were implicated in misconduct. Police said the school carried out an investigation and handed the file to the police last week.

Rapport said Miss Winfrey flew to South Africa to meet with parents and school administrators at the campus near Johannesburg, and asked parents’ forgiveness.

SUDAN

Joint Darfur force to be ready next year

EL-FASHER — A joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force will begin operating in Darfur by early next year, the mission’s political head, Rodolphe Adada, said yesterday as the force’s new headquarters was inaugurated in this western Sudanese town.

A 26,000-strong force will absorb a struggling AU mission of 7,000 troops which has failed to stem the violence in Sudan’s remote west.

Weekly notes …

A prosecutor in Niger has formally charged a news- paper’s managing editor with criminal association for his suspected ties with Tuareg rebels, a legal source said yesterday. Ibrahim Manzo, who edits the bimonthly Air Info in the northern town of Agadez, is the second journalist to be charged over purported ties with the rebel group. … A biennial international conference on AIDS in Africa that had been slated for December in Gabon has been moved to next year and the venue shifted to Senegal because of logistical hitches, the Society for AIDS in Africa said. … Gunmen in speedboats attacked a Nigerian navy vessel yesterday on the oil-rich Niger Delta coast, killing one officer and wounding several others, officials said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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