- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 4, 2006

ETHIOPIA

Muslim riots mar Orthodox festival

ADDIS ABABA — At least four persons were killed and many were wounded in religious riots in western Ethiopia this week as Christians and Muslims clashed during a seasonal Orthodox festival.

In addition to the casualties, two Christian churches were set ablaze and about 100 people fled during unrest that flared on Sunday near the town of Jimma, about 305 miles west of this capital, a senior official with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church said yesterday.

“According to our reports, the Muslims told the Christians they can’t celebrate Meskel because it is their [Muslim] land,” he told Agence France-Presse. Meskel, “cross” in Amharic, is an Orthodox festival marking the arrival of spring. It follows the Ethiopian New Year that began September 11.

SOMALIA

Islamists vow war against peacekeepers

KISMAYO — Hundreds of Muslims took to the street of this key southern port yesterday, threatening holy war against proposed foreign peacekeepers.

A day after a militia allied to the country’s weak government said it would retake Kismayo from Islamists who seized it last week, at least 400 people marched through town to protest plans for a regional peacekeeping mission.

MALAWI

Madonna opens AIDS orphanage

LILONGWE — Pop diva Madonna arrived here yesterday to adopt an African child and fund an orphan center for 1,000 children, many of whom lost parents to AIDS. A fleet of cars and trucks specially flown in whisked her entourage to an undisclosed location after their private plane landed.

“She came straight from the plane, greeted the minister [of women and development] in the VIP lounge, then went straight to her car,” said Adrina Michiela, a government spokeswoman.

Weekly notes …

The U.N. war crimes tribunal for Rwanda said yesterday it is closing in on Felicien Kabuga, its most-wanted genocide fugitive, believed to be hiding in Kenya. An official with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) said the court was pleased with cooperation it is getting from Kenya in tracking down the businessman accused of financing the 1994 massacres. His “time as a free man is coming to an end any time now,” said ICTR deputy registrar Everard O’Donnell. … The U.N. World Food Program yesterday announced the creation of a global network of emergency aid depots to speed responses to humanitarian emergencies around the world. WFP said the five hubs — in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America — will be stocked with relief goods and equipment that could be delivered to crisis zones within 48 hours.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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