- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 28, 2002

Rwandan pleads not guilty to genocide

ARUSHA, Tanzania A former local council member pleaded not guilty to seven charges of genocide and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Vincent Rutaganira of Mubuga in Rwanda's Kibuye province was formally charged with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, crimes against humanity and other violations of the Geneva Conventions covering war crimes.

"I did not participate in any killings. I'm not guilty," Mr. Rutaganira told the court on Tuesday.

Mr. Rutaganira, 62, is charged with conspiring to kill Tutsis along with Ignace Bagilishema.


Uganda executes soldiers for Irish priest's murder

KAMPALA, Uganda Two Ugandan soldiers were publicly executed after a military court found them guilty of murdering an Irish priest.

A firing squad executed a corporal and private who were not identified late Monday in the northeastern town of Kotido, about 250 miles from the capital, Kampala, said army spokesman Maj. Shaban Bantariza.

The two soldiers were arrested over the weekend. At their trial the soldiers were not allowed to appeal the decision.


Women describe sex-for-food demands

ZIMMI, Sierra Leone Two Sierra Leonean women have complained that they were forced into providing sex to humanitarian-aid workers in exchange for food.

"We finally agreed to 'go with' the people who were giving us food. We had no choice," said Gloria Kanneh, 38, and Fanta Kaisamba, 29, who recently returned to Sierra Leone from Liberia, where they had fled as refugees from the civil war in their home country.

Speaking at a refugee transit camp, the women complained they were subjected to threats and blackmail and had no other choice than to accept the sexual demands of some of the humanitarian-aid workers.


Progress reported in Congo peace talks

JOHANNESBURG Peace talks on the Congo are making progress, but the deadline will not be extended beyond April 12, facilitator Sir Ketumile Masire said.

"There is no question of an extension of the talks. The Lusaka [Zambia] accord, from which I take my mandate, does not allow it," Mr. Masire said Tuesday.

He was referring to the 1999 peace deal signed by belligerents in the 4-year-old war in the Congo.

The government quit the negotiating table on March 14 to protest the capture of Moliro,by Rwandan-backed rebels.


Weekly notes

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo told a summit of African leaders in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, that the whole world was watching to see whether Africa could deal with its economic woes and failed governments. … Zimbabwean farmer Kumbirai Chikwenengwe said his family will have to endure "a very long year" until the harvest of April 2003. More than 500,000 Zimbabweans faced starvation in a nation that used to be a regional breadbasket.


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