Wednesday, October 13, 2004

ALGERIA

Africa ‘vulnerable’ as terrorist haven

ALGIERS — Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said Africa risks becoming a haven for terrorists unless financing sources, sanctuaries and support networks are eliminated.

“Our continent remains vulnerable to terrorism,” he told an African Union conference that also officially dedicated a new AU counterterrorism center based in Algiers.

Weak political institutions and poorly policed deserts and coasts have long been seen as factors that make Africa a potentially fertile recruiting and training ground for militant groups.



WEST AFRICA

Locust plaguethreatens to spread

ROME — Swarms of locusts that have devastated crops and pastures across West Africa may hit countries as far away as Pakistan, a U.N. agency said yesterday as it announced an intensified control campaign.

The desert locusts are moving into southwest Libya, southern Algeria and the borders of Morocco, the Rome-based U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said. Other swarms were reported in parts of the Western Sahara.

FAO Secretary-General Jacques Diouf said that if more is not done to tackle the swarms, they could spread east to countries including Afghanistan and Pakistan.

SOUTH AFRICA

Two more workers killed in Iraq

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s foreign ministry yesterday confirmed that two nationals had been killed in an ambush in Iraq, bringing the number of the country’s dead in the conflict to 10.

The bodies of the two men, who worked for a company named Omega Risk Solutions, were taken to Kuwait before being sent home, said government spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa.

The South African Press Association identified the pair as Johan Botha, 37, and Louis Campher, 43, and said they were killed while traveling from one construction site to another in an area south of Baghdad.

Weekly notes

South Africa’s state television was fined for violating broadcasting rules after airing footage of the beheading of a U.S. hostage in Iraq during a news program. The South African Broadcasting Corp. was forced to pay $2,200 for showing engineer Eugene Armstrong being decapitated by hooded men. … Heads of state from Senegal, Mali, Benin and Niger met this week to discuss adopting a common currency for a coalition of eight West African nations. … Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai appeared in court yesterday to face a new set of treason charges, just two days before a ruling on a charge of plotting to kill President Robert Mugabe. Mr. Tsvangirai faces the death penalty if convicted in a case that has been heavily criticized abroad.

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