- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 31, 2003

MADAGASCAR

Ex-president’s daughter sentenced

ANTANANARIVO — The daughter of Madagascar’s ousted president was sentenced to five years in prison for blowing up a bridge during a campaign to shore up her father’s crumbling rule, court officials said yesterday.

Sophie Ratsiraka, one of three daughters of former President Didier Ratsiraka, was among scores of suspects to be convicted of sabotage and other offenses during a power struggle on the Indian Ocean island in 2002.

She was tried in the Madagascan capital Antananarivo in absentia, having fled to exile in France with her father after Marc Ravalomanana took over the presidency in July 2002. It was not clear whether the authorities would seek her extradition.

IVORY COAST

Peacekeepers to enter rebel-held areas

ABIDJAN — French and West African peacekeepers will begin this month to deploy in northern Ivory Coast, which has been in rebel hands since their failed coup bid 15 months ago sparked civil war, sources said yesterday.

Government and rebel forces agreed to the deployment of the joint peacekeeping troops at a meeting Tuesday in the central town of Daoukro, said French military spokesman Georges Peillon.

The peacekeepers will move into Ferkessedougou and Korhogo, a town on the border with Burkina Faso that is considered the northern capital of the rebel movement.

SOUTH AFRICA

Airline denies need for armed marshals

JOHANNESBURG — South African Airways sees no need to place air marshals on board its flights because it believes its security is satisfactory, a spokesman for the national carrier said in comments reported yesterday.

Rich Mkhondo said the airline had told U.S. authorities it believed there was no need for marshals after a U.S. demand for armed guards on foreign planes when U.S. officials deem a terrorist threat exists.

“After receiving the directive Monday, we wrote to the U.S., saying we believed security should be taken care of on the ground before a plane’s departure,” Mr. Mkhondo said.

SOUTH AFRICA

New Year’s tradition brings out police

JOHANNESBURG — Police and soldiers were out in force yesterday on the grimy streets of Hillbrow, a gangland neighborhood of Johannesburg where residents traditionally lob old refrigerators, TV sets, beds and bottles from the windows of their high-rise apartments on New Year’s Eve.

But residents said they were gearing up for a quieter New Year’s than 12 months ago, when 46 persons were injured, two seriously, by falling bric-a-brac.


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