- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 27, 2003

CONGO

French-led force extends Ituri mission

PARIS — France confirmed yesterday that the French-led peacekeeping force in Congo’s Ituri region will remain for an extra 15 days to help incoming U.N. soldiers.

The Artemis force was sent into the northeastern province of Ituri in June to prevent ethnic slaughter after outnumbered U.N. troops on the scene proved unable to control the situation. About 50,000 people have been killed and 500,000 displaced in Ituri since 1999 amid ethnic violence between the majority Lendu and the minority Hema tribes.

A resolution adopted by the Security Council two days ago said the 1,850 European peacekeepers must leave the country by Sept. 15 “at the latest.”

The U.N. mission will assume command in the region on Monday. It will comprise 4,700 troops from Uruguay, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. Unlike the European force, its troops will be authorized to open fire.

NIGERIA

Woman appeals death by stoning

KATSINA — A tearful 32-year-old woman cuddled and nursed her toddler in an Islamic appeals court yesterday as lawyers pleaded she be spared death by stoning for having sex outside marriage.

Heavily veiled and draped in the sweltering courtroom, Amina Lawal appeared overwhelmed by the crush of riot police, journalists and rights workers as she arrived for a case that has sparked international campaigns on her behalf.

The divorced woman was convicted of having sex outside marriage in March 2002 by an Islamic court after the birth of her daughter, Wasila, out of wedlock. The young girl is now nearly 2.

SUDAN

African states urged to ban chemical arms

KHARTOUM — Sudan urged all African countries yesterday to sign a convention banning chemical weapons, a week after the fifth anniversary of a 1998 U.S. strike on what Washington called a chemical-weapons facility linked to al Qaeda in Sudan.

“I call on the African countries that have not joined the convention to do so,” Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail told delegates from 35 African countries at the opening of a three-day conference here on signing and ratifying the international Chemical Weapons Convention banning the manufacture and use of chemical weapons.

MAURITANIA

Government frees 41 Islamic leaders

NOUAKCHOTT — Mauritania granted provisional release this week to 41 Islamic leaders, detained on charges of threatening the security of the northwest African country, their attorney said.

The Islamists, some jailed since May without trial, were freed at the request of the public prosecutor, lawyer Brahim Ebetty said. Dozens of Islamists and activists of the pan-Arab nationalist Ba’ath Party sympathetic to toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein were arrested in Mauritania this year amid signs of unrest after the U.S.-led war on Iraq.

Weekly notes …

The remains of Kenyan Vice President Michael Kijana Wamalwa, who died abroad last weekend, were brought to Nairobi yesterday and met by President Mwai Kibaki, his Cabinet, relatives, politicians and hundreds of people. Mr. Wamalwa. 59, died Saturday in London, where he was being treated for acute pancreatitis. His body will lay in state at the national assembly tomorrow and Saturday. He is to be buried Sept. 6 at his farm near the western town of Kitale.

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