- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 5, 2005

SUDAN

SPLA officers granted military option

KHARTOUM — Defense Minister Bakri Hassan Saleh yesterday gave 369 officers from a variety of southern tribes the option of staying with Sudan’s army of the north or joining a new southern army that will be made up of Sudan People’s Liberation Army forces.

The SPLA, comprised of Christian and animist fighters from southern Sudan, signed a permanent cease-fire Friday with the Muslim government in the north, ending Africa’s longest civil war. The formal peace agreement is to be signed Sunday in Kenya, ending a civil war that began in 1983. The conflict was complicated by issues of oil, ethnicity and ideology.

“There will be some changes in the coming days because of the peace process,” the defense minister told the cheering officers. “You will have the opportunity to stay with us or go with the southern forces,” he added, but “we will be one rank, the government forces and the armed movement [SPLA].”

NIGERIA

2 admirals sacked in oil-tanker theft

LAGOS — A panel of senior naval officers dismissed two admirals from the service yesterday after a court-martial found them guilty of involvement in the disappearance of a seized oil tanker.

Rear Adms. Babatunde Kolawole and Francis Agbiti were sacked at a public hearing at the Apapa naval base here presided over by Rear Adm. Joseph Ajayi, Agence France-Presse reported. Agbiti was also demoted to commodore.

The two were found guilty of charges including conspiracy, alteration of service documents and passing false signals. A third defendant, Rear Adm. Anthonio Bob-Manuel, was cleared of all charges.

The Panama-registered MT African Pride was boarded and seized by a Nigerian naval patrol in October 2003 as the tanker was shipping 11,300 tons of crude oil from the waterways of the Niger Delta. Its crew of 13 mainly Russian sailors have been charged in a separate civil case.

KENYA

6,000 rats killed at Wakulima market

NAIROBI — Workers at Kenya’s main fresh food market killed about 6,000 rats and trucked away 800 tons of garbage in the first major cleanup there in 30 years, an official said Tuesday.

The Wakulima market, which supplies fresh food to most of Nairobi’s 3 million residents, was a public health hazard, with garbage piling up 7 feet deep in some places, said Local Government Minister Musikari Kombo. “Was I shocked? I was traumatized by the rot,” Mr. Kombo told the Associated Press.

City Council workers used 42,269 gallons of water in the scrubbing, Mr. Kombo said, adding that some traders who operated at the market for years were surprised to see pavement below the garbage.

Weekly notes

Three top officials from Malawi’s ruling party were charged with treason and jailed yesterday, two days after they turned up at a meeting with President Bingu wa Mutharika carrying guns. Attorney General Ralph Kasambara said lawmakers Alfred Mwechumu and Roy Coomsy, who is also deputy transportation minister, and former Minister Harry Thomson of the United Democratic Front were arrested Monday after their guns were confiscated during a routine security check. No trial date has been set. … Seven opposition candidates barred from running in next month’s presidential election in the Central African Republic rejected an offer yesterday by President Francois Bozize to reinstate three of them. The seven, whose candidacies were invalidated last week by the constitutional court, called for it to be dissolved for corruption and favoritism or for the tribunal to invalidate the president’s own candidacy if he refused to reinstate all seven.

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