- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 17, 2006

NIGERIA

Lebanese worker seized near oil site

PORT HARCOURT — Police said a Lebanese construction worker was kidnapped in Nigeria yesterday in defiance of a government order for security agencies to crack down on a wave of abductions in Africa’s top oil producer.

Armed men seized the man from his car on a road close to the border between Rivers and Bayelsa states in the southern delta, the sixth kidnapping in two weeks. “A Lebanese working for Homan Engineering was kidnapped at Mbiama this morning,” a Rivers state police spokeswoman said.

The abduction brought to 17 the number of foreign oil workers seized this month. Nine have been released. On Tuesday, President Olusegun Obasanjo announced a crackdown on violence and hostage-taking, concentrated in the oil-producing Niger delta.

SUDAN

Darfur solution called failure

LONDON — The Darfur peace agreement and the African Union are failing the people of Darfur, Amnesty International said yesterday as the U.N. Security Council prepared to discuss a mandate for a peacekeeping force to protect civilians in Darfur.

“The international community must admit that no solution has been offered to those suffering in Darfur. On the contrary, things are getting worse,” said Kate Gilmore, a deputy secretary general of Amnesty International. “What the people of Darfur need now is an international peacekeeping force with the power to put a stop to the killings, to the raping and to the displacement,” she said.

Amnesty International observers have just returned from eastern Chad, where they spoke with refugees who recently fled Darfur. Their reports indicated that most people in western Darfur are effectively prisoners in camps and towns, with most of the area still controlled by Janjaweed militias.

Weekly notes …

The death toll from the latest floods in Ethiopia rose to 364 yesterday after rescuers discovered 170 more bodies floating on the swollen Omo River, raising to nearly 900 the total feared dead from heavy rains in the east and south of the Horn of Africa nation this month. “Under the circumstances, it is expected that more bodies will be discovered,” said Inspector Daniel Gezahenge, spokesman for the southern regional police force. The presidents of South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe officially opened a new border crossing yesterday, which was another step toward creating the “world’s largest animal kingdom” — a huge park spanning the three countries.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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