- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 21, 2003


Obasanjo dissolves outgoing government

ABUJA — President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria dissolved his government yesterday, a week before he is to return to power for his second four-year term as the elected leader of Africa’s most populous nation.

“I say to all members of the council: Thank you, well done, and au revoir,” Gen. Obasanjo said at the end of a meeting of his Federal Executive Council

Meanwhile, Gbolade Osinowo, the president’s political adviser, denied a report yesterday in the Cameroon newspaper Aurore Plus that Abuja is funding Cameroonian dissidents in anger over its loss of a World Court judgment on ownership of the disputed oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula. “It is outright falsehood,” Mr. Osinowo said.

The International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled in October that the 400-square-mile patch of coastal swamp jutting into the Gulf of Guinea belongs to Cameroon.


Ituri massacre toll rises at 280

BUNIA — The decomposing corpses of 50 more victims of ethnic violence have been found in the Ituri region, the U.N. Mission to Congo (MONUC) said yesterday, bringing the number of dead found on the streets of Bunia since May 4 to 280.

Other parts of the city, which has been relatively calm for more than a week, have yet to be explored and the death toll is expected to rise. Ethnic killings have long ravaged the Ituri region, having claimed the lives of some 50,000 civilians since 1999.

One of two U.N. military observers recently slain there was from Malawi, an official said yesterday, correcting earlier reports the man was Nigerian.


Government to extend cease-fire in south

NAIROBI, Kenya — Sudan’s government will extend a cease-fire accord set to expire at the end of June, but progress toward a final agreement to end two decades of war remains slow, said Khartoum’s top envoy.

Sudanese President Omar Bashir said last week that a peace deal could be reached within two months, but presidential peace adviser Ghazi Salah al-Din told Reuters here Tuesday there is no deadline.

He said there had been little progress in the latest round of negotiations here, but “people on both sides are so fed up of war, I think it would be wise to renew the agreement.” The two sides have been unable to agree on how to carve up power and wealth, including oil.

Weekly notes …

Belgium this week became the latest country to warn its nationals against traveling to Kenya because of terrorist threats. “We have decided to advise against nonessential travel to Kenya,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Patrick Herman. Similar measures were taken by countries including the United States, Britain, Germany, Denmark and Canada. … Forces loyal to Liberian President Charles Taylor battled rebels near Guinea and Ivory Coast this week in a scramble for territory in advance of peace talks. Negotiations between Mr. Taylor and the rebels will take place in Ghana in early June, but diplomats fear fighting will continue until the last minute.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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