- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 14, 2003

LIBERIA

Taylor, rebels agree on June 2 peace talks

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — Liberian President Charles Taylor will lead a government delegation for talks in Accra, Ghana, on June 2 with rebels who have been fighting his regime since 1999, one of his close aides said yesterday.

Mr. Taylor will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Monie Captan and other officials, Nelson Blamoh told Agence France-Presse by telephone from the Liberian capital, Monrovia. Mr. Blamoh said after a meeting with the top U.N. refugee official, Ruud Lubbers, that the government was ready to meet with the rebel Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD).

NIGERIA

18 slain in Warri in postelection battles

LAGOS — At least 18 persons were killed in two days of fighting between political factions in the southern Nigerian oil city of Warri, witnesses and press reports said yesterday.

A month after the start of a historic series of elections, street battles erupted Monday between members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and opposition supporters, witnesses told Agence France-Presse by telephone.

“It is terrible. We counted 18 bodies yesterday afternoon, and many people were injured. Fighting is still going on this morning. Our fear now is that the violence will spread,” said hotel waiter James Uwe.

Looters are taking advantage of the mayhem, he added.

Three Nigerian dailies reported the clashes yesterday, citing death tolls of 20 to 25. A pregnant woman reportedly was killed by stray bullets, and bodies lay scattered along the roads.

UGANDA

Rebels kill four after a kidnap raid

KAMPALA — At least four persons have been killed and three injured in an ambush suspected to have been the work of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in the northern Gulu district, army spokesman Lt. Paddy Ankunda said yesterday.

“A vehicle from Acet to Gulu town was ambushed at Opit forest by the LRA rebels, killing four people and injuring three others,” he told Agence France-Presse by telephone. The LRA has intensified attacks in the north recently, raiding villages and abducting people.

Last weekend, the rebels abducted more than 40 children from a Roman Catholic junior seminary at Lacor, and other villagers, after killing an 8-year-old.

Weekly notes …

The United Nations began yesterday the voluntary repatriation of about 5,000 Rwandan refugees in Zambia who had fled the 1994 genocide at home, under the terms of an agreement the two countries signed in January. Kelvin Shimo, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Lusaka, said air transport has been arranged by the International Organization for Migration. … The European Union has approved $1.5 million for the second phase of a survey of land mine effect in Somalia, the bloc said yesterday. Such ordnance was used extensively in Somalia during the conflicts with Ethiopia; the uprising against dictator Mohammed Siad Barre, ousted in 1991; and the more recent civil war.


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