- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 9, 2004

ALGERIA

Chadian rebels to deliver militant

ALGIERS — One of North Africa’s most wanted Islamist militants, suspected of ties to terror network al Qaeda, will be turned over soon to Algeria, a rebel group in Chad said yesterday.

The Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad is holding the second-in-command of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat — blamed for hundreds of deaths in Algeria — and 11 of his followers.

“We … believe a breakthrough is near. I … can say the only obstacle is how to get them to Algeria,” said Abubakar Rajab, a France-based spokesman for the Movement for Democracy and Justice. “We demand nothing in exchange.”

Amari Saifi, also called Abderrazak el Para, and his group were captured in northern Chad in late March. He is feared to be building a powerful rebel stronghold in the vast Sahara desert with ransom money obtained from the abduction of 32 European tourists last year.

NIGERIA

Religious warfare kills 50 in north

KANO — At least 50 Nigerians were killed in fighting between Muslims and Christians in the northern town of Numan, said a reporter who visited the local morgue with the area’s governor yesterday.

Ibrahim Abdulazeez of state radio said Adamawa state Gov. Boni Haruna visited Numan after the sectarian clash Tuesday. He imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew and ordered police to shoot rioters on sight.

Earlier, Willie Zalwalie, the governor’s spokesman, told Agence France-Presse that the rioting broke out when local Christians objected to the Muslim minority’s erecting of a mosque minaret overlooking a chief’s palace. Extra police and soldiers have been deployed to Numan, but fighting is said to have spread to at least six neighboring villages, Mr. Abdulazeez said.

ZIMBABWE

Opposition faults land nationalization

HARARE — Zimbabwe’s main opposition said yesterday that a government plan to nationalize all farmland is an outdated and desperate attempt to reverse the errors of its land reforms.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, suggested that President Robert Mugabe’s government is seeking to entice white farmers driven off their land to return to farming, but only with long-term leases.

Lands Minister John Nkomo was quoted Tuesday by the state-owned Herald newspaper as saying that the government plans to cancel titles to all productive land and replace them with 99-year leases under a vast land nationalization program.

Weekly notes

Lord’s Resistance Army rebels in Uganda killed 19 persons in an attack on a camp for people displaced by the civil war in the north, an army spokesman said yesterday. “The rebels attacked a camp in Apac district Tuesday night and killed 19 people,” Lt. Paddy Ankunda, army spokesman for northern Uganda, told Reuters news agency. “They also abducted some people, but we don’t know how many yet.” … Kenyan police said yesterday that they had found the head of a street preacher at a bus stop in Nairobi, the capital. “We recovered the head of Simon Ndabi early [Tuesday] … near Racecourse bus stop. We have not yet traced the torso, but investigations are going on,” said police spokesman Jasper Ombati, who added that Mr. Ndabi, about 30, was killed after defecting from the banned Mungiki sect and converting to Christianity.

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