Briefly: Insurgents expel Save the Children
A Tuesday statement from the al-Shabab militia said Save the Children distributed 4,470 cartons of expired porridge to children, was corrupt and offered bribes.
Save the Children officials were not immediately available for comment.
Experts say the expulsions of aid agencies contributed to a famine in the group’s strongholds from July to January in which tens of thousands of people died.
The South African Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane reached an agreement to exchange diplomats with her Somali counterpart in that country’s transitional government.
It said only peace negotiations between all Somali armed groups could restore constitutional law after more than two decades of civil war.
The statement said South Africa is ready to share experiences of its own history in ending apartheid-era rule and building a new constitution.
Former ruling party dissolved: Chief registrar
LUSAKA — Zambia’s former ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy has been dissolved for failing to pay registration fees, which could see it stripped of its parliamentary seats, the chief registrar said Wednesday.
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 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.
The Congolese government has attempted unsuccessfully to eradicate the group, which crossed into Congo after Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.
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.
Authority spokesman Adrian Lackey said trends suggest “well-known organized crime figures have been moving away from investing in traditional illegal drug smuggling.”
In Zimbabwe’s chaotic economy, cigarettes sell for one-fourth of the retail price in South Africa.
Revenue officials said smuggled cigarettes also came from Dubai. They said a recent shipment of 18 million cigarettes was seized at the South African port of Durban.
• From wire dispatches and staff reports