- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Thousands arrested after deadly unrest

ADDIS ABABA — Thousands of people have been arrested across this country after violent clashes in which police killed 36 persons, a New York-based human rights group reported yesterday.

The political unrest prompted Britain yesterday to suspend a planned $54.1 million increase in aid to Ethiopia, one of the world’s poorest countries. Human Rights Watch said student activists and opposition supporters were rounded up after last week’s fighting.

“Opposition rhetoric may well have contributed to last week’s unrest, but the government must take responsibility for the conduct of its own security forces,” said Georgette Gagnon, Human Rights Watch deputy Africa director. “The security forces have killed dozens of protesters and arbitrarily detained thousands of people across the country.”


Orphans near 8 million mark

LAGOS — The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced yesterday, on the World Day for the African Child, that the number of youngsters orphaned in Nigeria is close to 8 million and rising because of AIDS.

The World Day for the African Child, observed yearly on June 16, had as its theme this year “African orphans: Our collective responsibility.”

UNICEF spokeswoman Christine Jaulmes said Nigeria had about 7 million orphans in 2003 and added 800,000 in 2004. Of the total, about 1.8 million were orphaned by AIDS. The number of Nigeria’s orphans is expected to grow rapidly in coming years to 8.2 million by 2010, she said.


Conte’s ill health puts nation on brink

DAKAR, Senegal — Long implicated in West African wars, Guinea risks becoming the region’s next failed state, the International Crisis Group warns in a report.

“Getting it wrong in Guinea now could have disastrous consequences,” the Brussels-based think tank said, noting a faltering economy, the government’s failure to provide services and a resurgence of last year’s local uprisings. It recommended a greater focus on reforming institutions than on the succession to ailing dictator Lansana Conte.

A chain-smoking diabetic with multiple reported ailments, Mr. Conte could stay in power through 2010, thanks to a constitutional manipulation that got him re-elected in 2003. Should he fail to serve his full term, “there is little chance of the constitution being followed regarding succession, and a military coup is a strong possibility,” the crisis group said.

Weekly notes

Niger Delta militants yesterday kidnapped six contract workers of oil giant Anglo-Dutch Shell, a Shell official said. Two German and four Nigerian workers with the German company BetB were kidnapped near Warri by a group demanding “services such as water, good roads, schools, among others,” said the official, who demanded anonymity. Nigeria, Africa’s largest petroleum extractor, receives more than 95 percent of its foreign exchange from oil. … Burkina Faso’s finance minister yesterday hailed the Group of Eight’s cancellation of the external debt of his and 17 other nations, saying it was a long time coming for the world’s poorest people.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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