- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 18, 2002

Burundi Hutu rebels push toward Gitega

BUJUMBURA, Burundi The army said yesterday that 219 Hutu rebels and 12 soldiers had been killed in the east and southeast of this central African country since insurgents began an offensive July 7.

A civilian was killed and two were wounded yesterday when their vehicle struck a mine at Bugendana in Gitega province, one of the theaters of combat between government soldiers and rebels of the Forces for the Defense of Democracy (FDD), military sources added.

The national Bragita brewery in Gitega came under rocket fire yesterday as rebel forces closed to within three miles of the city.

Rwanda seeks buffer along Congo border

KIGALI, Rwanda Plans for a security cordon along Rwanda's border with Congo will dominate bilateral talks today as pressure mounts for Kigali to withdraw some 20,000 troops deployed in the neighboring state.

"We are going to Pretoria to continue what we started in Durban," Patrick Mazimpaka, Rwanda's special presidential envoy for Congo and Burundi, told Agence France-Presse.

The discussions were expected to advance talks after last week's creation of the African cordon during a summit in Durban, South Africa, where Rwandan President Paul Kagame met his Congo counterpart, Joseph Kabila.

Gbagbo's monthly pay equivalent to $14,590

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo will receive a monthly salary of 9.5 million African Financial Community (CFA) francs ($14,590), the pro-government Fraternite Matin reported yesterday.

It is the first time the head of state's pay has been made public since the west African country's independence from France in 1960. The newspaper said the decision was made by the council of ministers on Tuesday. An Ivorian official confirmed the report.

UNHCR aide rebuts criticism from Kenyans

NAIROBI, Kenya A spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees harshly criticized four ruling party members of parliament yesterday for accusing the agency of mismanagement and corruption at camps in the north.

"This mixture of half-truths and misrepresentation is clearly designed to mislead people and serves only to worsen the plight of an extremely impoverished refugee population," said spokesman Jonathan Clayton.

Weekly notes

His walk is a bit slower, and he sleeps in a bit longer nowadays, but Nelson Mandela, Africa's revered statesman who turns 84 today, still keeps a hectic schedule. A spokesman told Reuters the former South African president plans a low-key celebration in London. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin begins a lightning tour of Africa tomorrow with weekend stops in Angola, Mozambique, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast, his ministry said. Mr. De Villepin has made two quick visits to Africa since becoming foreign minister in May.

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