- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 11, 2006


4 African presidents to discuss Darfur

LIBREVILLE, Gabon — The presidents of Sudan, Gabon, Nigeria and Senegal will hold a summit on the Darfur crisis in Khartoum on Tuesday, a spokesman for Gabonese President Omar Bongo told Agence France-Presse yesterday.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir will host Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr. Bongo and Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade. The meeting, proposed by Mr. Wade, was announced Saturday.

Mr. Obasanjo warned Tuesday of a developing “genocide” in Sudan’s western region of Darfur and urged Khartoum to accept a U.N. role to help overwhelmed African peacekeepers there. The United States and some aid agencies have termed the Darfur crisis a genocide, but this is thought to be the first time an African leader has used the word.


Warlord suspected of having al Qaeda ties

NAIROBI, Kenya — The shadowy military commander of the Islamist movement that is advancing across southern Somalia has begun to go public and is arousing concern among diplomats and counterterrorism analysts, who say he is an extremist with links to al Qaeda.

As the rebels seize town after town, Aden Hashi Ayro is increasingly taking a public role, and it may be a signal that radicals in Somalia’s Islamic movement are gaining the strength to put their anti-Western, anti-modern stamp on that country.

Mr. Ayro, who is in his mid-30s, is said to have received al Qaeda training in Afghanistan. He has been linked by U.N. officials to the slayings of 16 persons, including British Broadcasting Corp. journalist Kate Peyton. Counterterrorism officials also think he was involved in a plot — never carried out — to bring down an Ethiopian airliner.


Cash-strapped WFP halts food aid

LISBON — The U.N. World Food Program suspended its distribution of food aid to more than 400,000 people in Angola last month because of a lack of funds, a spokesman told the Lusa news agency yesterday.

“Our operations have been suspended because of a lack of financial resources to get help to those in need,” WFP’s spokesman in Angola, Manuel Cristovao, told the agency. The WFP has 17 tons of foodstuffs in storage but lacks the means to distribute it in the former Portuguese colony, he said.

It needs the equivalent of U.S. $6.2 million to restart its operations in Angola, which is recovering from a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002, he said. The agency sought international donor support in July to continue its activities in Angola but got no reply.

Weekly notes …

Burundian peace mediators announced the formation of a much-delayed truce commission in Bujumbura yesterday, but the introductory meeting was marred by the absence of the country’s last active rebel group. The National Liberation Forces said it would boycott the joint verification and follow-up committee until one of their nominees to the panel, arrested this year, is released from prison. … Police in Antananarivo, Madagascar, have arrested six protesters demanding the reopening of an airport closed to prevent the return of a would-be presidential candidate from exile, the opposition said yesterday. Former Vice Prime Minister Pierrot Rajaonarivelo had planned to return from more than four years of exile in Paris on Saturday to the opposition stronghold of Toamasina, but the government ordered the port town’s airport shut. Mr. Rajaonarivelo is considered to be the only politician capable of seriously challenging President Marc Ravalomanana in the Dec. 3 election, but he must register by Saturday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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