- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 11, 2002

Rival rebels clash in eastern Congo

KINSHASA, Congo U.N. observers reported fighting yesterday in eastern Congo between Rwandan-backed rebels and a splinter group.

"We have been told Rwandan troops took part in the fighting" between the rebel Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) and troops loyal to dissident Commander Masunzu, the interim head of MONUC, the U.N. mission in Congo, told reporters.

The RCD has been fighting Commander Masunzu's troops in the South Kivu region for nearly two months. Rwanda reportedly has sent thousands of soldiers backed by helicopter gunships into South Kivu's high-plateau region.

Ugandans mark Idi Amin's overthrow

KAMPALA, Uganda People here mark for the first time today the anniversary of the overthrow of dictator Idi Amin, now that the reputed cannibal's eight-year reign of terror is a fading blur in their collective memory.

The anniversary has stirred feelings from anguish to nostalgia in Uganda, where Gen. Amin's relatives hope for his return from exile in Saudi Arabia. For many Asians, expelled by Gen. Amin en masse in 1972, the celebrations will be tinged with bitterness.

Nigerian herders flee to northwest Cameroon

YAOUNDE, Cameroon Thousands of Nigerian herders have fled east to Cameroon with huge herds of livestock, apparently to escape ethnic persecution, a Cameroonian government official told Agence France-Presse yesterday.

The herders had fled in recent days to Nwa and Ako in northwestern Cameroon, accompanied by herds of more than 1,000 animals, said the official from the Livestock Ministry, who asked not to be named. "They say they are being persecuted in the Nigerian state of Taraba," he said.

Ethnic clashes concerning land and water claimed more than 50 lives in Taraba, eastern Nigeria.

Weekly notes

LAGOS, Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo is seeking parliamentary approval to outlaw ethnic militias in the country, his office said yesterday. Militant groups have sprung up in recent years to promote ethnic interests and fight crime as vigilantes. Their activities have led to ethnic clashes in parts of the country. Rebels in southern Sudan are holding controversial South African cleric Peter Hammond, accusing him of treason and insurrection, his Frontline Fellowship organization said yesterday in Johannesburg. The group said Mr. Hammond, a conservative Christian minister declared undesirable by the Sudanese government in 1999, and Sudan's Episcopal Bishop Bullen Dolli were arrested by intelligence agents of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army in Yei province on Saturday. Chinese President Jiang Zemin will begin a three-day visit to Nigeria on Sunday, following a visit by President Olusegun Obasanjo last year to China, Radio Nigeria reports. Talks are expected to cover bilateral economic issues, notably in the power and transport sectors. China and Nigeria signed a $390 million deal last month to build two gas-fired power plants in Nigeria's Ondo state.

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