- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 19, 2003


Trial of 17 Ogoni adjourned to Dec. 9

PORT HARCOURT — The trial of 17 minority rights activists arrested last week and charged with public-order offenses during a memorial rally for their slain leader was adjourned yesterday to Dec. 9 because one of the defendants was sick, a spokesman for the activists said.

Bariara Kpalap, spokesman for the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), told Agence France-Presse that the 17 were arrested Nov. 10 in Bonny, a southern oil port, during a demonstration to mark the eighth anniversary of the execution of writer and rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa.

MOSOP has said the 14 men and three women were mistreated while in police custody. Police deny this. All 17 have pleaded not guilty.


Kagame welcomes rebel’s surrender

KIGALI — President Paul Kagame has welcomed the surrender of a Hutu rebel commander from Congo, saying it set an example to other rebels hiding in the jungles of the vast central African nation.

Paul Rwarakabije, military chief of the Congo-based Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR), gave himself up to the Rwandan government on Saturday.

Mr. Kagame said after meeting Pierre-Richard Prosper, U.S. ambassador for war crimes issues, that he intends to treat surrendering rebels “in a manner that will encourage others to come.”


5 million to receive AIDS antiretrovirals

CAPE TOWN — The government, long criticized for failing to take action to fight AIDS, announced yesterday it will make antiretroviral drugs available to 5 million citizens suffering from the disease or the virus that causes it.

“Government will as a matter of urgency start implementing a program to provide antiretroviral treatment in the public-health sector,” Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang told a press conference here after the Cabinet adopted the plan.

A Cabinet statement said the plan will include “recruitment of thousands of health professionals, a very large training program for them, and a massive public education campaign.”

Weekly notes …

Liberia’s interim leader, Gyude Bryant, yesterday canceled a fence-mending trip to neighboring Ivory Coast because of technical problems with his plane, the Ivorian presidential office said. The visit of Mr. Bryant, installed in October at the head of a transitional government to guide the war-ravaged country to elections in 2005, also was delayed last week. … The United Nations appealed yesterday for $128 million to help tackle a humanitarian crisis in Uganda, where civil war and drought have displaced more than 1 million people. Attacks by the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army have nearly doubled the number of internally displaced people since March 2002, officials said. The United Nations also asked donors for about $39 million in refugee aid for impoverished Tanzania, which has more refugees than any other country in Africa.

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