- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 14, 2002

Congolese troops, rebels attack civilians
BRAZZAVILLE, Congo Justice Minister Jean Martin Mbemba yesterday said government forces and militias fighting in the southwest for some eight months had attacked civilians, forcing many to flee.
"Violence committed by belligerents on both sides against civilians in the Pool region has forced people to abandon everything and subsist in miserable conditions, and this hardly pleases us," Mr. Mbemba said in a speech to parliament.
Members of a militia group from the 1990s, the Ninjas, have been fighting government forces in the Pool since April. The clashes have driven civilians from their homes. Nearly 10,000 of them have sought refuge with humanitarian groups in Brazzavillet.

Central African force to replace Libyan troops
LIBREVILLE, Gabon Libyan troops will leave the Central African Republic (CAR), where they have been protecting President Ange-Felix Patasse since a May 2001 coup attempt, and will be replaced by a central African peacekeeping force, a CAR official said yesterday.
"The Libyan forces will pull out in line with what was decreed" at a central African summit on Oct. 2 in the capital of Gabon, Martial Beti Marace, minister-delegate to the prime minister's office, said at a press conference.

Obasanjo amnesties 80 Biafran soldiers
LAGOS, Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo has granted amnesty to 80 Biafran soldiers for their roles in the 30-month civil war that ended in 1970, his office said yesterday.
The soldiers fought Nigeria when their leader, Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, declared a separatist Republic of Biafra for Igbo people in 1967. Officials said the pardon was granted in the spirit of general reconciliation.
The Igbo, Nigeria's third-largest ethnic group, sought to break away from the rest of Nigeria in 1967 but were defeated.

King needs costly jet 'to feed drought victims'
MBABANE, Swaziland King Mswati III appears set to acquire a $51 million luxury jet, despite parliamentary opposition and criticism from donor nations seeking to stave off starvation in his impoverished kingdom.
"The king needs the plane to get food for you," Natural Resources Minister Magwagwa Mdluli told drought victims at rural Macetjeni during a weekend visit. The plane, made by Canada's Bombardier Inc., is worth about a quarter of Swaziland's national budget.

Weekly notes
Sudan's ambassador to Ethiopia, Osman El-Sayed, said in remarks published yesterday that war could break out between Sudan and neighboring Eritrea, whose President Issaias Afeworki he described as unpredictable. "We have information that [Mr. Afeworki] has already started making trenches in areas bordering Sudan," Mr. El-Sayed said in an interview published in yesterday's edition of the Reporter, an Ethiopian weekly. Commissioner Jackie Selebi, South Africa's top police officer, yesterday blamed the Boeremag, a shadowy group of white supremacists, for the worst string of bombings since the end of white rule in 1994. He told parliament that investigators were certain the group was behind nine Oct. 30 blasts in Soweto that killed one woman and another explosion that day near a Hindu temple outside Pretori that injured two persons.


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