- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Italy will return looted Axum stele

AXUM — Nearly 70 years after it was stolen by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s troops, the Axum Obelisk, dating from the third century B.C., is being readied for its return from Rome to this northern Ethiopian town. The only question is exactly when.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi “went to Italy,” chortled Abebe Alemayehu, 80, one of the few living witnesses to the 1937 removal of the 70-foot-high funeral stele. “Now the obelisk will return.”

Hundreds of thousands of people are to participate in welcome festivities when the obelisk returns sometime between January and April. Everyone in Axum, near the border with Eritrea, is waiting to know the exact date.

“When it comes back, I will thank God twice for allowing me to witness two historical moments,” Mr. Abebe said. “I will jump, dance and invite everyone to a feast of mutton cooked in ale. It will be a big party, a renaissance,” he said.


U.N. tribunal seeks Congo’s cooperation

ARUSHA — The U.N. tribunal trying leaders of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide has urged the U.N. Security Council to push the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to help bring fugitives on its soil to justice, reports said yesterday.

“As of now, 14 [wanted] people are still at large, most of whom are in DRC,” Chief Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow said in a report Tuesday to the Security Council in New York, quoted by Hirondelle news agency.

All member states of the United Nations are obliged to cooperate in the arrest of those wanted by the tribunal for participating in the 1994 slaughter of about 800,000 Rwandans, mostly ethnic Tutsis. Relations between Rwanda and the DRC have varied from warring to strained since Tutsi rebels took power in Rwanda in July 1994, ending the genocide.


Cholera cases soar in Kano

KANO — Cholera cases here in northern Nigeria’s largest city rose to nearly 1,000 yesterday from 642 last week, state health Commissioner Dr. Sanda Mohammed told Agence France-Presse.

“A total of 962 people have been hospitalized at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Kano since the outbreak two weeks ago, out of which 47 have died,” he said. The disease now affects 20 municipalities, up from 14 previously, despite measures by health authorities to combat it, he said.

Weekly notes

France’s military intervention in Ivory Coast was a mistake, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said yesterday in an interview published before President Jacques Chirac’s arrival in Tripoli. France destroyed the small Ivorian air force this month after government forces killed nine French peacekeepers. The issue did not come up publicly when Mr. Chirac arrived seeking to renew commercial ties — the latest in a series of Western leaders to call on Col. Gadhafi after Libya agreed to pay compensation for the Lockerbie and French UTA airliner bombings and end its quest for weapons of mass destruction. … To quell rumors that he was siphoning off government funds, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday publicly disclosed his personal income, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported. Spokesman Femi Fani Kayode told reporters that the president earns about $250,000 a month from his sprawling chicken farm in the town of Otta. The spokesman said the farm is managed by professionals, and much of the money is reinvested into the property. Although Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, it has a long history of corruption, and most of its people live on less than $1 per day.

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