- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2003


Lack of witnesses halts Rwandans’ trial

ARUSHA — The trial of four former Rwandan army officers, including a man described as the mastermind of the 1994 genocide, was suspended yesterday for lack of prosecution witnesses, the independent Hirondelle news agency reported.

The so-called “military trial” is considered one of the most important before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, investigating the ethnically motivated massacres in which up to 1 million people were killed in more than 100 days.

Col. Theoneste Bagosora, the former Cabinet director in the Defense Ministry whom prosecutors consider the brains behind the genocide, is accused with Lt. Col. Anatole Nsegiyumva, former commander of Gisenyi military region; Brig. Gratien Kabiligi, former army operations chief of the Rwandan armyp; and Maj. Alloys Ntabakuze, former commander of the Kanombe commando battalion.

All four have pleaded not guilty.


Obasanjo seeks aid for Liberia’s child soldiers

ABUJA — President Olusegun Obasanjo is seeking the assistance of the international community to rehabilitate disarmed Liberian child soldiers, his spokeswoman said yesterday.

Gen. Obasanjo, who received a hero’s welcome from thousands of war-weary Liberians during a visit to Monrovia on Monday, said the children who fought during Liberia’s 14-year civil war must be given vocational training.

“He believes that skill acquisition is important, especially for child soldiers,” the spokeswoman told reporters. She said Gen. Obasanjo appealed for international help to the 15-member Economic Community of West African States, which has sent peacekeepers to Liberia.


2 Chinese tiger cubs arrive to learn hunting

PRETORIA — Two endangered Chinese tiger cubs arrived in Pretoria this week for five years of hunting and survival lessons from South African wildlife specialists who are trying to save the species from extinction.

The cubs, a female named Cathay and a male called Hope, were introduced to reporters at the Pretoria zoo by Li Quan, who initiated the project supported by the Chinese and South African governments.

“With only 60 Chinese tigers left in zoos and less than 30 in the wild, we have to take this drastic measure to save them from likely extinction,” she told the South Africa Press Agency. The cubs were born at the Shanghai zoo. After quarantine they will be taken north of Pretoria for their first lessons.

Weekly notes …

The national carrier Kenya Airways yesterday began direct flights to Thailand, airline spokeswoman Neema Gitonga said. The flights were due to start June 1, but were put off because of an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in parts of Asia. KA will fly on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from Nairobi to Bangkok, from whence it will proceed to Hong Kong after a one-hour stopover. … Toto the chimp, 25, taught to smoke cigarettes and drink tea in a Chilean circus, is starting a new life back in Africa. Rescued by Animal Defenders International, he will be flown 7,000 miles to Chimfunshi Orphanage for abused animals in Zambia, said Christabel Mutuna of DHL Express-Zambia, which is paying for Toto’s transportation.

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