- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 7, 2005


Gasoline prices doubled again

HARARE — President Robert Mugabe’s government doubled fuel prices yesterday for the second time in 10 weeks, a decision likely to send living costs soaring further in the crisis-ridden southern African state.

Zimbabwe has suffered erratic fuel supplies since 1999 because of a foreign-currency crisis. Rodrick Kusano, corporate-affairs manager at oil company Shell Zimbabwe, said the government has agreed to more than double the price of gasoline to 22,300 Zimbabwean dollars per liter, about $1 per quart.

The fuel crisis has worsened in recent months. Many stations have had no fuel for weeks on end, and even public-transportation operators have stopped operating their vehicles. This week’s increase is likely to trigger sharp rises in transportation costs, a major component of consumer spending.


Africans denounce Sarkozy comments

DAKAR — African organizations yesterday denounced French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy’s handling of the plight of immigrants in France after housing fires in Paris last month that killed 24 persons of African origin.

After the blazes, Mr. Sarkozy ordered police to close premises occupied by squatters in the French capital, raising concern about the relocation of such tenants. Africans rejected Mr. Sarkozy’s remark in an interview Aug. 30 that “by accepting these people to whom, unfortunately, we can’t offer work or housing, we find ourselves in a situation where we have these tragedies.”

Mohammed Smida, an official of the Association of Tunisians in France, said the solution is to build sufficient group housing. The housing crisis has affected not just illegal immigrants, he said, but those with papers and paying rent also have been victims of the recent fires.


Militia backed by Ethiopia advances

MOGADISHU — Heavily armed militiamen have entered the Somalian provisional capital of Jowhar from neighboring Ethiopia to back the embattled government of President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, officials said yesterday amid fears of new conflict.

The militias arrived overnight Tuesday in Jowhar, about 55 miles north of Mogadishu, the capital, from Mustahili, an Ethiopian border town where they were trained by the Ethiopian army, Somalian officials said.

Rival sides in the divided Somalian government confirmed the entry of the fighters, but disagreed on the purpose of their deployment. Those allied to parliament Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheik Aden and the powerful warlords who control Mogadishu said the fighters back Mr. Yusuf, who is supported by the Ethiopian government.

“Yusuf has endorsed actions that are treasonable,” parliament spokesman Omar Hasi Aden told Agence France-Presse in Mogadishu.

“The idea is to ignite fresh violence … . Somalia is on the brink of renewed violence,” added Mr. Aden, who was colonel in the regime of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, ousted in 1991.

Weekly notes

A Rwandan court has ordered the arrest of an army general accused of involvement in the country’s 1994 genocide. Maj. Gen. Laurent Munyakazi was taken into custody after witnesses told a “gacaca” court — set up to collect evidence about the genocide — that he was involved in killing people taking refuge in churches in the capital, Kigali. … Malawi’s president, Bingu wa Mutharika, announced a minor Cabinet reshuffle yesterday, dropping former opposition figure Gwanda Chakuamba from the Cabinet. A presidential statement in Lilongwe said Mr. Chakuamba had been replaced by Sidiq Mia as minister of irrigation and water development.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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