- The Washington Times - Monday, June 3, 2002

Liberian refugees
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone With its own 10-year conflict ended, Sierra Leone is now taking in about 100 refugees a day from the flaring conflict in neighboring Liberia, U.N. military authorities say.
More than 1,100 have arrived at one border transit camp since May 17, Lt. Gen. Daniel Opande, commander of the U.N. force in Sierra Leone said.
Many of the refugees complain of "extortion and harassment" by Liberian forces, Gen. Opande said.
The U.N. commander spoke in Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital, on Saturday after a trip to the border to speak with refugees and Liberian Defense Minister Daniel Chea.
Liberia is battling what it portrays as an increasingly aggressive campaign by militias seeking to oust President Charles Taylor. The fighting has sent tens of thousands of Liberians fleeing in recent weeks, on top of hundreds of thousands displaced earlier in the two-year-old conflict. Liberia's forces include former fighters from Sierra Leone's 10-year civil war, which ended in January.
Liberian refugees at camps in southern Sierra Leone told Gen. Opande they fled their villages when Liberian forces told them an attack was coming, he said.

Observers expelled
KIGALI, Rwanda The biggest rebel group in Congo says it had ordered the expulsion of two U.N. mission officials from its rebel headquarters in Goma, in the east of the Congo on the border with Rwanda.
The rebels from the Rwandan-backed Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) accused the two U.N. workers a French man and a Colombian woman of collaborating with the enemy, meaning central authorities in the Congo capital of Kinshasa.
The rebel statement, transmitted to Agence France-Presse news service in the Rwandan capital here on Saturday, identified the two as Magda Gonzales of Colombia, a political adviser to the U.N. observer mission in Congo, and Lionel Gasparot of France, a U.N. security officer.
It said they had "carried out actions that are incompatible with their status and undermine internal security."
Saturday's statement cited a March 24 grenade attack in Goma, which it blamed on the Kinshasa government.
It said confessions from two suspects in the grenade attack accused Miss Gonzales and Mr. Gasparot of giving "moral, material and financial support to negative and terrorist forces" working in the city.
In Kinshasa, the U.N. mission issued a statement protesting the expulsion of its members, and saying it "categorically denies" the allegations of improper conduct.
The rebels control the eastern third of their vast Central African state and have been excluded from peace talks aimed at ending Congo's civil war in what has fueled fears of renewed warfare.

Iraq talks
NEW YORK U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will hold his third round of talks with Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri in Vienna, Austria, on July 4 and 5, Mr. Annan's spokesman said Friday.
The two previous rounds of talks were held at U.N. headquarters in New York on March 7 and May 1-3.
Betsy Pisik is on assignment. This column was compiled from wire service dispatches.




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