- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 20, 2003

NIGERIA
19 candidates listed on presidential ballot
LAGOS The electoral agency listed 19 candidates yesterday for a presidential election that promises to be the country's most broadly based contest since independence in 1960.
President Olusegun Obasanjo, 64, will face a motley array of challengers on April 19, four years after he came to power in an election organized by the former military regime.
His strongest rival is likely to be retired Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, like him a former military dictator, the candidate of the main opposition All Nigeria People's Party.

LIBERIA
LURD rebels fight Taylor on four fronts
MONROVIA Rebels fighting to oust President Charles Taylor are battling government troops on four fronts, Defense Minister Daniel Chea told reporters Tuesday. "As I speak, there is fighting … @ Tubmanburg, Gba, … in and around Zorzor and around the Kolahun area," he said.
Tubmanburg, an iron-mining town, is 38 miles north of the capital, Monrovia, while Gba is just 24 miles away. Kolahun is in the remote north and Zorzor is near the northern border with Guinea. Mr. Chea said the rebels, who call themselves Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), intensified their attacks two weeks ago and pushed toward Tubmanburg. He did not give casualty figures.
Mr. Taylor emerged victorious after a brutal, multisided, seven-year civil war in the 1990s and was elected president in 1997. LURD rebels began their uprisin

ZIMBABWE
At least 80 arrested for food profiteering
HARARE At least 80 people, one of them a government minister, have been arrested during the past three weeks in a famine-hit province for hoarding and overcharging for food, state television said Tuesday.
The arrests took place in the worst-hit southern region of Masvingo, the report said. Most of those held had been charged for hoarding and overpricing cornmeal, which is scarce. The report said Shuvai Mahofa, deputy minister of youth development, gender and employment creation, was fined the equivalent of $90 for overpricing cornmeal in one of her shops.

Weekly notes …
Ivory Coast's main rebel group returned to its headquarters, in Bouake, yesterday after a whirlwind tour of five West African nations to lobby for the implementation of a French-brokered peace accord. A delegation of the Ivory Coast Patriotic Movement, or MPCI, led by Secretary-General Guillaume Soro, held talks with the presidents of Ghana, Nigeria, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso on the accord that President Laurent Gbagbo accepted only "in spirit." … Norway has donated $3.5 million to humanitarian agencies operating in Sudan, according to International Development Minister Hilde Johnson. "The $3.5 million is for humanitarian and development purposes," she said at a news conference in Nairobi, Kenya.


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