- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2008

SOUTH AFRICA

Man sentenced in serial rapes

CAPE TOWN | A man who terrified a small rural community for months was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for committing a series of rapes and imprisoning a teenage girl and his own young daughter for 15 months in a pit.

The crimes were committed in the bucolic Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, 60 miles from Cape Town, a valley known for its fine wines and fruit - and its crushing poverty, illiteracy and alcohol abuse among farm workers.

Johannes Mowers, 33, pleaded guilty to 28 charges, including abduction and rape of a minor, four additional rapes, kidnapping, assault and housebreaking. The prosecution dropped other charges under an agreement that effectively gave Mowers one life sentence rather than many - making him eligible for parole after about 25 years.

The case was shocking even by the standards of South Africa, where about 1,000 people are raped every day and police and courts are too overwhelmed to cope.

EAST AFRICA

U.S. warns travelers of risk

KAMPALA, Uganda | The U.S. Embassy in Uganda says Americans in East Africa may be at an increased risk of attack from terrorists as the 10th anniversary of a double bombing approaches.

The embassy said a number of al Qaeda operatives are believed to be in East Africa and could endanger U.S. facilities and personnel as Aug. 7 approaches.

Ten years ago terrorists bombed American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania on that date.

The embassy’s message issued Tuesday warned that increased security at official U.S. facilities may cause terrorists to seek softer targets where tourists congregate.

LIBYA

Row over Gadhafi arrest eases

GENEVA | Libya has resumed oil shipments to Switzerland, the Swiss Petroleum Association said Wednesday, ending an embargo against the Alpine nation to protest the arrest of Moammar Gadhafi’s son in Geneva.

A tanker with 80,000 tons of oil left Libya on Tuesday for Switzerland, said Rolf Hartl, managing director of the Swiss Petroleum Association.

Libya’s General National Maritime Transportation Co. last week stopped oil shipments to Switzerland and barred Swiss ships from its ports. The move followed the arrest two weeks ago of Hannibal Gadhafi.

Police arrested him on July 15 at a luxury hotel in Geneva for purportedly beating two servants being used by him and his wife, according to the couple’s attorney.

Mr. Gadhafi was released on bail three days later and returned to Libya with his wife.

The episode prompted a series of diplomatic recriminations that included Libya recalling some of its diplomats from Switzerland, suspending the issuing of visas for Swiss citizens, reducing the number of flights to Switzerland and detaining two Swiss nationals. The two were released on bail Tuesday, but were ordered to stay in Libya.

ETHIOPIA

U.N. ends peace-keeping mission

UNITED NATIONS | The United Nations Security Council voted Wednesday to end its eight-year-long peacekeeping mission between Eritrea and Ethiopia, a failure the U.N. chief has warned could lead to a new war between the Horn of Africa neighbors.

Council members voted unanimously to withdraw the remaining peacekeepers from what was once a 1,700-strong force monitoring a 620-mile long buffer zone between the two nations.

Belgian Ambassador Jan Grauls told the council that the mission, known as UNMEE, “had become impossible to implement” because Eritreans progressively limited peacekeepers’ movements - including restricting night patrols, supply routes and diesel fuel - and Ethiopians refused to accept an independent boundary commission’s ruling in 2002 to award the key town of Badme to Eritrea.

Most of the peacekeeping personnel had already left the Eritrean side; fewer than 200 U.N. staff remained there - most of them Eritreans tasked with guarding U.N. equipment until it could be evacuated.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned in April that a new war could break out if peacekeepers were to withdraw entirely, and urged Eritrea to restore the U.N.’s ability to patrol its side of the border.

Eritrea and Ethiopia have been feuding over their border since Eritrea gained independence in 1993 after a 30-year guerrilla war. The U.N. entered under a 2000 peace agreement that ended the two-year border war.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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