- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 24, 2003

CONGO REPUBLIC

Crackdown targets uniformed services

BRAZZAVILLE — Six members of the security forces have been arrested in a crackdown on rogue policemen and soldiers for stealing vehicles and military weapons, a senior police chief announced Tuesday.

“These agents were caught red-handed” here in the capital and in the Atlantic oil port city of Pointe-Noire last weekend as part of the government’s Operation Hope, Brig. Gen. Gilbert Mokoki told reporters. The operation is expected to last three months.

KENYA

Petty crooks freed to ease jail crowding

NAIROBI — President Mwai Kibaki freed 11,546 prisoners this week to ease overcrowding in prisons notorious among Kenyans as centers of malnutrition and disease.

Kenya’s 97 prisons hold tens of thousands of inmates, and the government blames overcrowding on a slow and corrupt judiciary. Most of those freed Monday were petty or first-time offenders with a record of good conduct, a government statement said.

Mr. Kibaki recently suspended nearly half the country’s judges for taking bribes and appointed new ones to try to speed up justice.

LIBERIA

U.N. keeps sanctions after Taylor’s exile

NEW YORK — The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Monday to maintain sanctions on Liberia, including an arms embargo and a ban on importing diamonds from the West African nation.

A resolution adopted by the 15-nation council urged the country’s transitional government, led by Monrovia businessman Gyude Bryant, to take specific steps that could lead to lifting the sanctions.

Weekly notes…

The Mauritius government this week dismissed a by-election defeat as a protest vote typical of democracies halfway through an electoral cycle. It blamed ethnic campaigning by the Indian-descent majority as a factor in its defeat. In Sunday’s by-election, the opposition Labor Party candidate, Rajesh Jeetah, beat the ruling MSM-MMM coalition’s Prakash Maunthoora. “I am not surprised that we lost the by-election, as it is quite normal across the world,” Prime Minister Paul Berenger, the first Franco-Mauritian elected to the office since independence in 1968, told a news conference. … The trial of former Mauritanian President Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla and 14 others accused of plotting a foiled coup resumed in Nouakchott this week with defense attorneys protesting state interference. They strongly protested in open court the publication one week ago of a police statement accusing Libya of financing the purported coup by the ex-president, who finished a distant second to President Maaouiya Ould Taya in a presidential election last month and was arrested two days after the voting.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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