- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 25, 2006

SOUTH AFRICA

4 in fatal whipping walk free after trial

TZANEEN — The family of a South African man who died after being tied to a tree and severely beaten on a farm reacted furiously yesterday after his four attackers walked free from court.

Farmers Gerhardt Vorster and Jacobus Botha, security guard Johannes Badenhorst and farmworker Lucky Manenzhe were accused of killing Allan Rapatsa by smashing his head against a tree stump and whipping him on a farm in Limpopo province last October. After a magistrate ordered the murder charges be downgraded, the four pleaded guilty to assault and were fined about $1,300 each.

Mr. Rapatsa, who was black, was seized by the group on suspicion of stealing copper cables from the farm near the town of Tzaneen. The cables were never found. Magistrate Vic Smit said there was no proof the group had intended to kill Mr. Rapatsa. The hearing in Tzaneen came a year after a white South African farmer was jailed for life for feeding a black worker to lions.

NIGER

Arab nomads being expelled to Chad

NIAMEY — Niger announced yesterday a plan to swiftly expel tens of thousands of nomadic Arabs back to Chad, saying they pose a violent threat to local people in a border region.

“The Mahamid Arabs will be escorted to the frontier by soldiers, but their evacuation will be conducted peacefully,” Interior Minister Mounkaila Modi told Agence France-Presse, and members of parliament of Arabic origin said the operation had already begun.

Part of the community of cattle herders and camel owners that has roamed Niger’s southeastern border area for more than 30 years, the Mahamid fled their native Biltine region north of Abeche in eastern Chad during terrible drought in 1974. They were later joined by others fleeing conflict in Chad and Sudan.

GUINEA

EU now willing to resume aid

CONAKRY — The European Union is prepared to resume aid to Guinea, lifting a freeze it imposed in 2004 for unacceptable governance, Louis Michel, EU commissioner for development and humanitarian aid, said yesterday.

Mr. Michel, on a one-day visit to Conakry, told reporters there that in view of the EU’s “extremely favorable impression” of developments in Guinea, it “is completely prepared to resume its cooperation.”

“The efforts made by the government and the substantial progress made to carry out the essential part of what was agreed … with the EU are naturally having a very positive influence on my position,” he said. Among the EU requirements to resume aid included dialogue with the opposition and allowing a free press.

Weekly notes …

Hundreds of historic properties across England are to be investigated to determine whether they had links to the trans-Atlantic slave trade, English Heritage announced yesterday. The organization has begun a wide-ranging research at the 400 properties it maintains to see what connections they may have to slavery, which was abolished in Britain 200 years ago next year. … A 30-year-old Ghanaian man could be jailed for up to five years for writing his wife’s paper during a science exam, police said yesterday. Kofi Ochere and wife Christiana Yeboah, 28, a teacher, had both registered for the exam in a suburb of Accra, but Mr. Ochere, who did not need the qualification, offered to write his wife’s paper while she wrote his.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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