- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 4, 2002

Angola approves amnesty for UNITA

LUANDA, Angola Angola's parliament has approved a blanket amnesty for UNITA after the rebel group agreed to end hostilities in the country's 27-year-old war.

The amnesty, approved unanimously on Tuesday, covers "all civilians and soldiers, Angolan or foreign, who committed crimes against the security of the Angolan state," and "any person imprisoned during the war, as well as deserters" from the Angolan army.

The cease-fire agreement, signed in the eastern provincial capital of Luena on Saturday, is to be formalized today at a ceremony attended by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and representatives of the international community.

UNITA is a Portuguese acronym for the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola

Rwanda denies sending more troops to Congo

KIGALI, Rwanda Rwanda has denied accusations by U.N. observers that it has deployed more troops in the past few days in the troubled east of Congo.

"These allegations are false. We have not deployed a single soldier in the [Congo]," Rwandan army spokesman Jean Bosco Kazura said Tuesday.

The U.N. observer mission in Congo said on Monday that nearly 1,600 Rwandan soldiers were on their way to the highlands of the South Kivu province.

The U.N. mission said 1,100 of the 1,600 soldiers were troops who had come directly from Rwanda, which backs Congolese rebels.

Somalia elders urge president to resign

MOGADISHU, Somalia Prominent Somali elders have urged the president of the country's Transitional National Government, Abdiqassim Salad Hassan, to resign before peace talks are held next month in the Kenyan capital.

"It would be good for the spirit of reconciliation at the peace conference convened by the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development and for Salad himself, if he resigned," the elders said in a letter published in the Somali daily Xogogal.

"If he refuses our suggestions, then Salad would be considered one of Somalia's warlords," said the letter published this week.

The elders, who represent all of Somalia's clans, blamed Mr. Abdiqassim for failing to reconcile his differences with his political opponents and to reopen Mogadishu's seaports and airports, which have remained closed since 1995.

Nigerian president mulls seeking re-election

LAGOS, Nigeria Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has promised supporters he will make a decision in two weeks on whether to seek a second term at elections in 2003, local radio reports said.

Mr. Obasanjo, 65, who came to power in May 1999, has recently dropped several hints that he will run for re-election next year.

On Monday, he met with prominent politicians from his home area of southwest Nigeria and told them he would hold "intensive" meetings with supporters over the next two weeks to make up his mind, the radio said.

Weekly notes

Intelligence reports have cast new doubt on the legitimacy of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's re-election last month, the International Herald Tribune reported. Egyptian and German archeologists have discovered the head of a colossal statue, which could be an image of Nefertari, the queen of Pharaoh Ramses II, a senior antiquities official says. The head, in granite, stands about 11 feet tall and weighs more than 11 tons, said the director of antiquities for the Delta, Mohammed Abdel Maqsoud.

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