- - Wednesday, May 23, 2012

KAMPALA — More than 12,000 Congolese fleeing violence at home have crossed into Uganda since the end of last year, and Uganda is planning for an influx of up to 30,000 refugees from Congo, an official said Wednesday.

Scores of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo enter Uganda every day and 200 police have been deployed to help manage border security, said Stephen Mallinga, Uganda’s minister for disaster preparedness and relief.

“The refugees started coming in November and up to now they are still coming,” Mr. Mallinga told the Associated Press.

Thousands of Congolese refugees are also fleeing into Rwanda.

SOUTH AFRICA

Farmworker guilty in murder of white supremacist

VENTERSDORP — A court found a black farmworker guilty Tuesday of murdering a white supremacist in rural South Africa.

A younger farmworker was acquitted of murder, but found guilty on other charges.

The two black farmworkers were accused of beating 69-year-old Eugene Terreblanche to death with an iron rod in April 2010. The verdict ends a case that has lasted two years and fanned racial tensions in Ventersdorp, west of Johannesburg.

Prosecutors rejected allegations that Chris Mahlangu, who was found guilty of murder, had been sexually abused by Terreblanche.

The younger suspect, Patrick Ndlovu, was acquitted of murder but found guilty of breaking and entering with intent to steal.

ZIMBABWE

President blames past for nation’s woes

HARARE — The U.N. human rights chief says Zimbabwe’s president has acknowledged the nation faces “current problems” but blames influences of the past.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Wednesday that President Robert Mugabe attributed continuing economic and political woes to the nation’s history.

Ms. Pillay, on a weeklong visit to assess human rights, said she had “an important meeting” with Mr. Mugabe, at his official State House offices in Harare. She said he outlined historical aspects affecting current events.

Ms. Pillay said she commended his recent calls for an end to political violence.

The 88-year-old president is widely seen as condoning human rights violations and has ruled since independence in 1980. He repeatedly has accused Western countries and Britain, the former colonial power, of plotting to oust him.

MALI

W. African group probes attack on president

BAMAKO — West Africa’s regional bloc has said it will impose sanctions on those it finds responsible for allowing an attack on Mali’s president at his office.

Interim President Dioncounda Traore suffered a head wound after Monday’s attack by protesters and was taken to a hospital. Mr. Traore was released from the hospital a few hours later.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said it was launching an investigation, and that protests leading to the attack must have been organized by forces wanting to disrupt a return to constitutional rule in Mali.

The bloc expressed surprise that an attack could have taken place at the presidential palace, where security is usually tight.

ECOWAS struck a deal over the weekend with Mali’s junta to allow the interim president to stay in office for 12 months until new elections can be held.

The junta previously had opposed the automatic extension of the president’s mandate and had asked for a national convention to choose who should be president of Mali.

The protests in Bamako on Monday were organized by groups angry about the ECOWAS deal and the extension of Mr. Traore’s mandate.

UGANDA

Kony commander to be investigated

KAMPALA — A Ugandan official says a top Joseph Kony associate recently captured in the jungle will be “investigated” and may be put on trial if there is sufficient evidence against him.

Director of Public Prosecutions Richard Buteera released that statement Tuesday.

Caesar Acellam was arrested in the Central African Republic on May 12. He is the highest-ranking former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) member to have left the bush.

Uganda’s defense minister said last week that Mr. Acellam may be eligible for amnesty. But Radhika Coomaraswamy, the top U.N. official for children and armed conflict, has said Mr. Acellam must face charges.

The LRA has tortured and abused thousands of victims in Central Africa. Uganda has pardoned thousands of former LRA rebels who cooperated with authorities.

SOUTH AFRICA

Vandals deface painting that ridicules leader

JOHANNESBURG — Two men wielding cans of red and black paint entered a Johannesburg gallery on Tuesday and defaced a painting that draws attention to the South African president’s genitals and his reputation for promiscuity, witnesses said, as a judge determined the art could be challenged in court by the president and his party.

“Now it’s completely and utterly destroyed,” said Iman Rappetti, a reporter for a South African TV channel who was in the Goodman Gallery when the men struck.

Her channel showed footage of a man in a suit painting a red X over the president’s genital area and then his face. Next, a man in a hoodie used his hands to rub black paint over the president’s face and down the painting.

Ms. Rapetti said the men were detained by gallery staff and police arrived later to take them away.

The painting by Brett Murray titled “The Spear” has been on display since early this month, but made the news only last week when it came to the attention of South Africa’s governing African National Congress party.

Earlier Tuesday in a Johannesburg courtroom a few miles from the gallery, a judge said that in an unusual move a full bench of the High Court would hear the ANC’s and President Jacob Zuma’s challenge of the gallery’s rights to display the painting.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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