- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 28, 2002

Ouattara flees Abidjan for Gabon
ABIDJAN Top opposition leader Alassane Ouattara has left the country and flown into exile after a suspected attempt to kill him, officials of his party said yesterday.
"He has left on a plane for Gabon," a party official told Reuters news agency. Mr. Ouattara had been in hiding since taking refuge at the French ambassador's residence here after a Sept. 19 coup attempt. He accused government security forces of trying to kill him.
Although the government never accused Mr. Ouattara of supporting the rebels, many of President Laurent Gbagbo's supporters believe he had a hand in the rebellion. Yesterday, the conflict took another twist as the army said rebels attacked government positions, violating a month-old truce.
The insurgents denied any new assault, and French forces in Ivory Coast reported no sign of fighting. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, who was in Abidjan for talks with Mr. Gbagbo, described the claims as "rumors."

Deadly flu outbreak kills more than 500
KINSHASA The World Health Organization has confirmed an outbreak of flu in rebel-controlled northern Congo, and the country's health minister said more than 500 people have died.
As many as 566 deaths have been recorded since October in Bosobolo, Gbadolite and Gemena in the north of Equateur province near the border with the Central African Republic Health Minister Mashako Mamba said, adding that the figures were "certainly incomplete."
The illness was apparently spread by people fleeing an Oct. 25 coup attempt in the Central African Republic, Mr. Mamba said. It was not immediately clear what strain of flu was involved, said Dr. Mondonge Makuma, a member of Congo's national epidemiological alert system.
While government officials do not have regular access to rebel-held zones, they are in radio contact with the areas.

AIDS decimates farmers, causing food shortages
JOHANNESBURG Africa's AIDS epidemic is the chief cause of the food crisis stalking the continent, and prolonged famine could loom as millions more farmers die from the disease, a senior U.N. official said yesterday.
Stephen Lewis, United Nations special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, said the food shortages faced by more than 14 million southern Africans stem from a collapse of the region's farm sector under the weight of the disease.
"The reality of AIDS is right at the heart of the famine," Mr. Lewis told a news conference in Johannesburg at the start of a three-week trip to the region. "The worst years of this tragedy are yet to come. We are simply on the threshold," he said.

Weekly notes
Liberia's Defense Ministry has declared the coast around Monrovia, the capital, a "restricted zone" and banned fishing amidst fears of a rebel attack. Over the past two weeks, security has been stepped up in Monrovia after military gains by rebel Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) sparked fears that President Charles Taylor could be assassinated. Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi arrived in Uganda yesterday for a two-day official visit during which he will make a farewell speech to parliament. Mr. Moi, 78, who is to retire early in January after 24 years in power, was received by President Yoweri Museveni in a ceremony at Entebbe Airport.

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