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Political parties are required to pay annual registration fees, but the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) has not paid since 1993 and owes more than $97 million, said Clement Andeleki, chief registrar of societies.

“I have canceled the registration of the MMD for noncompliance with the Societies Act,” he told a news conference in Lusaka.

“The effect of my decision is also to nullify 53 seats in parliament held by the MMD as of today,” Mr. Andeleki said.

The party will retain its seats until the speaker of the National Assembly is notified.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Rwandan rebel leader surrenders in Congo

KINSHASA — A top Rwandan rebel leader who has been fighting in neighboring eastern Congo has surrendered amid a U.N.-backed military offensive in the violence-wracked region, a Congolese military official said Tuesday.

Lt. Col. Idrissa Muradadi and three of his bodyguards turned themselves over on March 10, said Col. Sylvain Ekenge. He said Col. Muradadi is in the hands of the U.N. mission in Congo and awaiting extradition to Rwanda.

Col. Muradadi was a leader in the 2nd battalion of the Rwandan Hutu militia known by its French acronym, FDLR, which has terrorized eastern Congo for years, launching brutal attacks on civilians.

The Congolese government has attempted unsuccessfully to eradicate the group, which crossed into Congo after Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.

Col. Ekenge said Col. Muradadi surrendered because of military pressure.

SOUTH AFRICA

Drug dealers turn to cigarette smuggling

JOHANNESBURG — The national revenue service says illegal drug syndicates in South Africa are turning to cigarette smuggling.

The tax and customs authority said Tuesday that more than 1 billion smuggled cigarettes were confiscated last year. It said 70 percent of the tobacco contraband came from the nation’s troubled northern neighbor, Zimbabwe.

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