- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 12, 2002

Liberia, neighbors air civil war's spillover

FREETOWN, Liberia Officials from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia continued talks here yesterday to find a solution to the escalating civil war in Liberia, sources said. The "problem of dissidents, joint border security and confidence-building measures" reportedly dominated the talks on Tuesday.

Liberian Security Minister Lavela Korboi Johnson said: "We hope the crisis in Liberia will be solved to avoid a spillover into other countries." Guinea Security Minister Abou Camara told reporters, "Our presence is a manifestation of Guinea's commitment to peace and stability in the region."

Rebels from Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) stepped up an insurgency in the west African country early this year, prompting President Charles Taylor to declare a state of emergency in February as the conflict was brought to the capital doorstep. The fighting now poses security threats to neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea.


Court rejects delay of voter registration

ABUJA, Nigeria The Federal High Court ruled yesterday that a national voter registration drive should begin today as planned, rejecting a suit seeking to postpone it.

Five minority parties seeking to be included on the ballot for Nigeria's first elections since the end of military rule had called for registrations to be delayed.

But Judge Stephen Jonah Adah dismissed their suit, effectively giving the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the green light to begin a 10-day campaign to sign up voters. The court challenge was the last legal hurdle in the way of INEC's ambitious and much-delayed plan to register at least 60 million voters of Nigeria's estimated 120 million people.


Three killed in Uganda as troops, LRA clash

KAMPALA, Uganda Two civilians and a soldier were killed when troops clashed with a group of fighters believed to be members of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda yesterday, a military spokesman said.

The civilians were caught in the cross fire when soldiers engaged the armed group that had raided a unit of army reservists at the Pajule trading center in Pader district, the spokesman, Maj. Shaban Bantariza, told Agence France-Presse. "There were 20 to 30 rebels but they were pursued and they fled," he said.

The LRA agreed on Aug. 24 to most cease-fire conditions set by President Yoweri Museveni and announced a unilateral truce until further notice. The rebels then resumed their violent campaign, dimming hopes for a peaceful settlement of the 16-year-old conflict in northern Uganda.


Weekly notes

Rwanda President Paul Kagame left Kigali yesterday for New York, where he is to meet President Bush tomorrow. Mr. Kagame and other heads of central African states are to discuss the international fight against terrorism with Mr. Bush as well as the general situation in Africa's Great Lakes region with a view to reinforcing of the United Nations' role. Later in the day, Mr. Bush is to meet Mr. Kagame, Joseph Kabila and Thabo Mbeki, respectively the presidents of Congo and South Africa. Zimbabwe is assured of regular fuel supplies following renewal of a $360 million deal with Libya, state radio in Harare reported yesterday. Libya supplies Zimbabwe with 70 percent of its fuel. The latter pays with exports of beef and tobacco to Libya.


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