- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 24, 2002

Nigerian Senate OKs new election law

ABUJA, Nigeria The Senate adopted a new election bill on Tuesday, replacing one that banned new political parties from next year's elections. The move came after the House of Representatives rejected on Jan. 3 a version signed by President Olusegun Obasanjo on Dec. 6.

Legislators passed the amended bill following its third reading, after removing the offensive clause which they said the president had "smuggled" into the act.

Meanwhile, Nigeria's Supreme Court adjourned to Feb. 25 a hearing challenging the election law over the separate issue of a timetable for the polls.

Sudan said honoring U.S.-brokered truce

KHARTOUM, Sudan The Sudanese army has begun observing a cease-fire with the rebel movement in the Nuba Mountains in line with a U.S.-brokered agreement struck in Switzerland, officers said in remarks published yesterday.

Armed forces spokesman Mohamed Beshir Suleiman was quoted as saying that as of Tuesday, the army "fully abided by orders issued by the general command for cessation of firing in line with the cease-fire agreement between the government and the" Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).

At least 16 die fleeing clan fighting

MOGADISHU, Somalia At least 16 people died yesterday five of them children when clan fighting erupted in three villages in southern Somalia, witnesses said.

The victims included five children who drowned in the Shabelle River when a boat they were using to flee the violence capsized. Twenty-seven persons were injured in the fighting, the reports said. Somalia has been without an effective central government since dictator Mohammed Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991.

Welcome to Kenya, and raise your hands!

NAIROBI, Kenya Gunmen robbed seven French tourists on a road outside the international airport just after they arrived in the country late Tuesday, a police spokesman said yesterday.

Several men in four-wheel-drive vehicles armed with Kalashnikov rifles intercepted the vacationers in their minibus on the main highway to Nairobi, the capital.

The men ordered the five women and two men out of their bus and stole their money, luggage and cameras, police spokesman Peter Kimanthi said.

Weekly notes

Wole Soyinka, the Nigerian Nobel literature laureate, was quoted this week as saying he will form a new political party to run in general elections due in 2003. Mr. Soyinka said the new party nonsectarian and not regional would be formed by March. Tanzania plans to send a high-level delegation to the United States to counter charges that proceeds from lucrative tanzanite exports are used to finance terrorism, a senior official in Dar es Salaam said yesterday. "The move is aimed at restoring the confidence of jewelry dealers in the U.S. that Tanzanian gemstone miners and traders are not linked with any terrorist network," said Patrick Rutabanzibwa, secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals.

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