- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 20, 2008

CONGO

Rebels to consider buffer zone in talks

KIRUMBA | Congolese rebels planning talks with the army will consider a demarcation zone to keep the forces apart, a rebel spokesman said, suggesting there may be hope that Congo’s latest war was easing.

In the army-occupied hilltop village of Kirumba, two charred bodies and scattered debris from looted shops littered the red earth road, a testament to the chaotic nature of Congo’s latest war, between the army and rebels allied to Laurent Nkunda, a minority Tutsi who says he is fighting to protect Tutsis from Congo’s Hutus.

The rebels said they were pulling their forces back from the front lines to allow for the talks with the army near Kanyabayonga, a town 9 miles from Kirumba. The parties “will examine the establishment of zones of separation between their two armies, in order to prevent any possibility of confrontation,” rebel spokesman Bertrand Bisimwa said.

Fighting in Kirumba on Tuesday was between the army and spear-wielding Mai Mai militiamen — who had previously fought on the government side.

RWANDA

Genocide suspect extradited to France

FRANKFURT, Germany | A German prosecutor says that a top Rwandan official sought in connection with the assassination that sparked the African country’s 1994 genocide is being taken to the airport where she will be flown to France.

German prosecutors’ spokesman Hildegard Becker-Toussaint said Wednesday that Rose Kabuye was transferred to Frankfurt’s international airport and will fly to Paris in the company of French police.

Ms. Kabuye arrived in Frankfurt from Ethiopia on Nov. 9 and was detained by German police on a French warrant that connects her to the 1994 attack that downed a plane and killed Rwanda’s president, Juvenal Habyarimana.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has decried the arrest of his chief of protocol.

MOZAMBIQUE

Local elections test ruling party’s might

MAPUTO | Mozambique on Wednesday held local government elections in a poll seen as a critical test of strength for the ruling Frelimo party ahead of next year’s presidential vote.

About 10 million voters were eligible to cast their ballots in the former Portuguese colony on southern Africa’s east coast. Results from the election and the official turnout were not expected until later in the week.

Voters were choosing mayors and local councilors, with 1,000 international observers on hand and a strong police presence.

Most smaller parties withdrew from the polls due to lack of sufficient support, leaving the Liberation Front of Mozambique, better known as Frelimo, and the opposition Renamo as the main contenders.

Mozambique is still recovering from a brutal 17-year civil war that ended in 1992, when Renamo waged an armed battle against the Frelimo government in a conflict that left at least 1 million dead and displaced millions of others.

ZIMBABWE

Hungry villagers eat spilled corn, insects

MHANGURA | Katy Phiri, who is in her 70s, picks up single corn kernels spilled from trucks that ferry the harvest to market. She says she hasn’t eaten for three days.

Rebecca Chipika, a child of 9, prods a stick into a termite mound to draw out insects. She sweeps them into a bag for her family’s evening meal.

These scenes from a food catastrophe are unfolding in Doma, a district of rural Zimbabwe where journalists rarely venture. It’s a stronghold of President Robert Mugabe’s party and his enforcers and informants are everywhere.

At a school for villagers visited by the Associated Press, enrollment is down to four pupils from 20. The teachers still willing to work in this once thriving farming and mining district 160 miles northeast of Harare, the capital, say parents pay them in corn, cooking oil, goats or chickens.

One trip by bus to the nearest bank to draw their government salaries costs more than teachers earn in a month.

Meanwhile, the country is in political paralysis following disputed elections in March. A power-sharing deal signed two months ago has stalled over the allocation of ministries between Mr. Mugabe’s party and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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