- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Separatist leader meets with officials

ABUJA — The head of an armed separatist movement that has threatened Nigerian oil installations was in talks in the capital yesterday with government officials, Information Minister Chukwuemeka Chikelu said.

“Asari Dokubo, in particular, and perhaps some other leaders of the Niger Delta have been in Abuja discussing with our security officers and others. … It is normal,” Mr. Chikelu told reporters after a Cabinet meeting. His statement was the first confirmation that Alhaji Dokubo Asari, who heads the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, had come to Abuja for talks.

Meanwhile on the Niger Delta, the army announced an offensive and round-the-clock patrols against armed gangs considered a risk to oil installations and multinational companies operating in Africa’s leading oil-producing country.


AU to reinforce Darfur deployment

NAIROBI, Kenya — The African Union plans to send “several thousand” more troops to Sudan’s troubled Darfur region, where it already has deployed military observers and a modest protection force, an AU source told Agence France-Presse yesterday.

“We are going to send several thousand soldiers,” the AU official said, adding that the deployment would be carried out with the agreement of all parties concerned, including the Sudanese government.

The AU has 156 military observers monitoring a cease-fire in Darfur, where an armed rebellion countered by government-backed militias has spawned what the United Nations describes as a humanitarian crisis.

“The AU is going to move forward very quickly,” he said, without specifying a date.


Over 300,000 aliens ousted from gem area

LUANDA — More than 300,000 foreigners have been deported from Angola as part of a crackdown on diamond traffickers begun nine months ago, police said.

The joint police and army operation that has focused mostly on people from the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been criticized by U.N. agencies and human rights groups, which say women and children have been raped and forced to walk long distances without food or water.

“A total of 300,000 migrants who were involved in illegal diamond exploitation have been repatriated during the two first phases of Operation Diamond and 4,877 in the third phase,” Deputy Police Commander Paulo de Almeida told public television.

Weekly notes

South Sudan rebel leader John Garang said yesterday that Africa’s largest country could fall apart unless the government stops dragging its feet over a peace deal. The government and rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement are to meet in Kenya on Oct. 7 to conclude an accord aimed at ending 21 years of fighting in the south of the oil-producing nation. … Britain yesterday underscored Namibia’s commitment to carry out land reform in accordance with the law as it made a $180,000 donation to the program. Land reform is a touchy issue in southern Africa since the ousting of thousands of white farmers in Zimbabwe four years ago.

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