- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 26, 2002

Parley of Africans to ask cash for Haiti

GEORGETOWN, Guyana An international conference of Africans and African descendants will push next week for France to repay Haiti tens of millions of dollars they say the Caribbean state paid for its independence after Haitian slaves toppled their white masters in 1804.

The issue is one of many to be discussed at the first African and African Descendants World Conference on Racism Oct. 1-6 in Bridgetown, Barbados, said Maxie Fox, an executive member of Guyana's African Cultural and Development Association.

American activist Angela Davis, Hollywood actor Danny Glover and Winnie Madikzela-Mandela, former wife of ex-South African President Nelson Mandela, are expected to be among the delegates from 168 countries at the conference.

The Guyanese group will propose that France be sued for the more than $100 million it demanded in installments before Haiti was granted independence.

Nigeria dismantling state-armed vigilantees

LAGOS, Nigeria Police have begun an operation to shut down Anambra state government's vigilante militia accused of torture and political murders, the force said yesterday.

National police spokesman Chris Olakpe said police squads descended Tuesday on the bases of the feared Anambra Vigilante Services, known as the Bakassi Boys, and arrested 100 suspects. "The operation took place following a series of complaints and grievances about serious human rights violations and abuses," Mr. Olakpe told Agence France-Presse.

The spokesman said that as well as arresting militiamen and shutting down their bases, the police seized dozens of assault rifles and pump-action shotguns.

Namibia seeks to shut land-ownership loophole

WINDHOEK, Namibia Land Minister Hifikepunye Pohamba has called for urgent changes to agricultural land-reform laws, including shutting a loophole that enables foreigners to buy land, the Namibian newspaper reported yesterday.

Mr. Pohamba told the National Assembly on Tuesday that loopholes in agricultural land laws passed in 1995 allow the country's mainly white commercial farmers to register their farms as closed corporations (CCs).

That "made it possible for the foreign nationals to continue buying agricultural land in Namibia."

Weekly notes

An infant girl was raped and murdered in eastern South Africa, SABC radio news reports. The body of the 18-month-old was found in a stream less than three miles from her village in KwaZulu-Natal province after her disappearance Monday led to a frantic search. The baby had been raped and strangled, police told the public broadcasting network, and a 14-year-old boy was arrested. Malawi's ruling party has fired the chairman of a parliamentary committee who was investigating a corn scandal blamed for worsening severe food shortages here, an official said yesterday. Joe Manduwa of the United Democratic Front was sacked for his role in investigating the sale of 160,000 tons of corn from Malawi's strategic grain reserves in the midst of a drought that has left the country with a 600,000-ton shortfall of the country's staple food.

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