Loyalists protest French troop buildup
ABIDJAN France announced yesterday that it was boosting its troop presence in Ivory Coast to more than 3,000, as about 10,000 government loyalists protested outside the French Embassy, with some calling French President Jacques Chirac an “assassin.”
The rally yesterday was peaceful, but other protests have escalated into riots and attacks on foreigners especially the French, blamed for an agreement negotiated last month in Paris that would give Ivory Coast rebels control of the military and the police.
Government, rebels to cede captured land
NAIROBI, Kenya Sudan’s government and rebels have agreed to cede control of areas captured since a cease-fire deal was signed in October, as renewed fighting threatens peace negotiations.
Sudan People’s Liberation Army rebels and the government formally signed an agreement Tuesday to allow international observers to verify accusations of violations of the Oct. 15 accord.
Both sides will have to report any troop movements and reveal the location of their forces to the monitoring team, which would include observers from the United States, Britain, Norway and Italy. The cease-fire is due to expire March 31.
The rebels and the government are holding peace talks here in the Kenyan capital to try to end a 20-year civil war that has killed about 2 million people.
Ethnic Lendu urge foreign troops to leave
KINSHASA A representative of Congo’s ethnic Lendu community called this week for foreign troops to withdraw from the country’s northeastern Ituri province, saying they were siding with the rival Hema community in a long-running armed conflict.
Larry Thewi Batsi, who came to Kinshasa about five months ago as a Lendu envoy to peace talks, said on Tuesday: “We’re calling for the total withdrawal of Ugandan and Rwandan troops from Ituri to enable different tribes to reach real peace.”
A decision by the U.N. Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to keep Ugandan troops in Bunia, a main town in Ituri, to maintain order was “like asking the chickens to look after the cockroaches,” Mr. Thewi told Agence France-Presse.
Residents of the province say the Ugandans are siding against the Lendus in a bloody conflict with the Hema people over land.
Weekly notes …
More than five months after Senegal’s Joola ferry sank, the government has acknowledged that 1,863 persons died in the disaster, not 1,200 as was previously announced. Prime Minister Idrissa Seck announced the revised death toll, up more than 50 percent, during a television address Monday. … Northern Ugandan rebels fighting President Yoweri Museveni’s government have written to religious leaders trying to mediate in the conflict that they would like to talk peace, but with international involvement, church sources say. “The rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Deputy Commander Vincent Otti has written to northern Uganda’s Roman Catholic Archbishop John Baptist Odama, saying the LRA would shortly name their peace negotiators,” said a Religious Leaders Peace Initiative member known as Father Carlos.