- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 29, 2003

CONGO

Rebels prevent U.N. from checking camp

KINSHASA — Congolese rebels are preventing U.N. observers from checking villagers’ claims that Rwanda has sent troops back into the country’s restive east, a U.N. aide said yesterday.

Insurgents from the Congolese Rally for Democracy, supported by Rwanda during a five-year war that officially ended this year, turned U.N. officials away from an armed camp and prevented them from speaking with fighters at Ruwangabo in North Kivu province, said U.N. spokesman Hamadoun Toure.

Rwanda pulled its 30,000 troops out of eastern Congo according to a 2002 accord. In return, Congo agreed to disarm and repatriate former Rwandan Hutu fighters who took part in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, which killed at least a half-million people.

Rwandan Foreign Minister Charles Murigande visited Kinshasa this month after complaining that Congo was not doing enough to contain the Rwandan Hutu fighters.

SOMALIA

Clan militias clash; 18 feared killed

MOGADISHU — At least 18 persons were feared dead and 23 wounded in clashes between rival clans over territory in southern Somalia, witnesses said yesterday.

Fighting broke out Friday between militias of the Jubba Valley Alliance and warlords based in the Gedo region 210 miles south of Mogadishu. Jubba Valley Alliance militia chief Abdullahi Fartag told Reuters that the clashes were triggered by his clan’s attempts to dismantle checkpoints along the road north to the capital.

Somalia’s fractious militias have flourished since the lawless Horn of Africa country descended into chaos in 1991 after dictator Mohammed Siad Barre was toppled.

ANGOLA

No vote until 2005, dos Santos declares

LUANDA — President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said this week that the country’s first postwar elections won’t be held before 2005.

At a ceremony to welcome Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso of Portugal, Angola’s former colonial overlord, Mr. dos Santos said the government is getting the country ready to vote and is drawing up a new constitution as a first step.

The process “won’t take more than 24 months,” he said. “But all this will depend on the speed with which we’re capable of realizing the tasks necessary.”

The former rebel movement UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola), now the largest opposition party, also wants elections to take place in 2005, but a coalition of 87 smaller opposition parties wants them held next year.

Weekly notes

Former Ivory Coast rebel leader Ibrahim Coulibaly said in Paris yesterday that rebel fighters would be prepared to lay down their arms if the western African state was put under U.N. supervision. In a commentary published in today’s edition of the French newspaper Le Monde, Mr. Coulibaly said: “In my opinion, we urgently need to end this futile standoff between the former rebellion and the regime, which has reduced France to the role of powerless arbiter.” … German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer yesterday ruled out any official apology for Germany’s ruthless suppression of rebellions when Namibia was a German colony, but he indicated that Berlin would increase aid once Germany’s economy recovers. Speaking at a news conference in Windhoek after a working lunch with President Sam Nujoma, Mr. Fischer said Germany stood by its past. Germany ruled what was then South West Africa from 1884 to 1915.

From wire dispatches and staff report

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