- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 22, 2006

SOMALIA

U.S. seeks surrender of 3 terror suspects

NAIROBI, Kenya — The top U.S. diplomat for Africa yesterday called on the leaders of the Islamic militia that now controls Somalia’s capital to turn over three men accused of being al Qaeda terrorists.

Jendayi Frazer, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, told journalists that the three al Qaeda suspects thought to be in Somalia “are of the highest, highest priority in terms of capturing.”

She said U.S. policy around the world was to work with anyone willing to provide information that would help capture members of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist group.

SOMALIA

Sudan to mediate for neighbor’s peace

MOGADISHU — Sudanese President Omar Bashir is expected to lead talks today between Mogadishu’s new Islamist rulers and Somalia’s interim government in talks to head off new war in the Horn of Africa nation, both sides said yesterday.

Tensions have risen since the Islamists defeated U.S.-backed warlords on June 5 and went on to seize a strategic swath of Somalia.

The Sudanese leader is expected to lead talks in Khartoum, but Somalia’s government said it would not meet with the Islamists directly. Instead, it “will agree after their meeting with the Sudanese president on when and where to hold talks inside Somalia,” spokesman Abdirahman Dinari told Reuters.

SWAZILAND

Education in doubt for orphans, poor

MBABANE — More than 69,000 orphaned or poor children in Swaziland may have to give up school because the government has not paid their fees, the head of a national teachers association said yesterday.

The southern African kingdom allocated the equivalent of $8.3 million in its last budget to educate 69,500 destitute pupils and orphans, including those who have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS, but has not paid the money, Charles Bennett told Agence-France Presse.

“If the money is not paid by Friday … we told the pupils that they must not bother with coming to school on June 26 because the schools can no longer afford to operate … without their share coming from government,” he said.

Mr. Bennett said schools are being sued by suppliers for not paying their bills in Africa’s last absolute monarchy.

Weekly notes …

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao arrived yesterday in South Africa on the highest-level visit in 50 years, saying he hopes to strengthen ties between the two giants of the developing world. “I am visiting South Africa to strengthen China-South Africa friendship, enhance mutual political trust, expand cooperation of mutual benefit and promote common development,” Mr. Wen said. The two countries are to sign a nuclear-cooperation pact today and discuss the thorny question of textile imports from Beijing. … Namibia began a three-day, mass-vaccination campaign yesterday during the first polio outbreak in more than a decade, which has killed at least 15 persons and infected 96. President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who was inoculated at State House in Windhoek, told his countrymen to do likewise: “Have it done. It is very important for our health.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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