- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 11, 2002

New African Union snubs Ravalomanana

DURBAN, South Africa The African Union decided on its first day of existence Tuesday not to recognize Madagascan leader Marc Ravalomanana's government, saying it took power unconstitutionally.

The 53-nation union, successor to the Organization of African Unity (OAU), said the island could take its seat only if it held new elections. The OAU said last month it recognized neither Mr. Ravalomanana nor Didier Ratsiraka, who held power for more than two decades, after disputed December elections.

Liberian rebels spurn peace talks

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso Liberian rebels ruled out peace talks in their growing 3-year-old uprising, saying war to drive out elected President Charles Taylor was the only way forward.

"We are not just fighting to fight. We are fighting to remove Mr. Taylor from office," Laveli Supuwood, a leader of Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), told the Associated Press. In May, the guerrillas had pushed to within miles of Monrovia, the Liberian capital.

Congolese ex-rebel hits Rwandan troops

GOMA, Congo Forces loyal to a former commander of a rebel group backed by Rwanda clashed with Rwandan troops in eastern Congo last weekend, and more fighting was expected this week, sources on both sides say.

Fighters supporting Patrick Masunzu, once a senior member of the Congolese Rally for Democracy, the only significant rebel group still active in Congo, attacked positions in South Kivu province on Friday.

Sources close to Mr. Masunzu, a Tutsi of Congolese origin, told Agence France-Presse that his men attacked the town of Minembwe for three days, forcing Rwandan troops there to withdraw. Subsequent Rwandan air attacks caused Mr. Masunzu's men to disperse, the same sources said.

Nigerian mothers occupy Chevron site

LAGOS, Nigeria Oil executives met yesterday with the leaders of a group of Nigerian mothers who have taken over one of the country's largest oil terminals, demanding jobs for their sons.

About 150 women began barricading facilities at the Chevron Nigeria terminal in Escravos on Monday, when they seized control of a boat and stormed the island where the oil facility is located.

Hundreds of workers, Nigerians and foreigners, have been unable to leave the terminal since then.

"The women are complaining that their children have not been given employment," he told Agence France-Presse. "They are not armed or violent. Most of them are women over 45, and there is no way we would lay a finger on them."

Weekly notes

Pressure is mounting on Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa to use his state-of-the-nation address today to waive the immunity granted to ex-leader Frederick Chiluba so he can be prosecuted on charges of corruption and abuse of office. Civic groups and opposition parties have urged Mr. Mwanawasa to appoint a special tribunal to try Mr. Chiluba, and his former aides and ministers, on charges of corruption and theft. Cuban President Fidel Castro and President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe will miss the African-Caribbean-Pacific summit in Fiji next month, Fijian Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase said yesterday. Local media had speculated that Mr. Castro, who turns 76 next month, and Mr. Mugabe, the subject of a visa ban by the European Union, would attend the summit.

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