- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 27, 2006

ALGERIA

Bouteflika comment marks amnesty’s end

ALGIERS — President Abdelaziz Bouteflika vowed yesterday to crush a lingering Islamic insurgency in tough remarks signaling that an expired amnesty aimed at ending years of violence is unlikely to be renewed.

“There is no alternative for residual terrorism but to disappear and vanish,” the leader of the North African oil-and gas-exporting nation told government officials. “We won’t feel at ease until [terrorism’s] final eradication.” Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni said recently that authorities could accept a rebel surrender despite the Aug. 31 end of the amnesty.

Algerian media had said Mr. Zerhouni’s comments and similar remarks by Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem could pave the way for Mr. Bouteflika to extend the pardon by decree. Only the president has the power to extend the amnesty.

ZAMBIA

Election official detained, released

LUSAKA — The main contenders in Zambia’s general election made a final pitch for support yesterday, even as the head of the elections commission was briefly detained.

President Levy Mwanawasa urged voters to reject the “fantasy” of his populist challenger, Michael Sata, in today’s election at a giant rally before the 6 p.m. end of campaigning.

Meanwhile, Dan Kalale, director of the elections commission, said he was briefly detained by police yesterday at Lusaka airport as he went to collect ballots flown in from South Africa. “They only let me go when I called [national police chief Efraim] Mateyo,” Mr. Kalale said.

Weekly notes …

Mohamed Rooble Gobale, a southern Somalian warlord, and about 300 of his militiamen defected to the country’s powerful Islamist movement yesterday in a new blow to the weak government. They turned over 14 heavily armed vehicles and various weapons at Kismayo, three days after that port city was seized by the Islamist gunmen. … Seasonal rains have eased a deadly drought in Kenya, but about 3 million people still need food aid, and urgent funds are required to help them, the United Nations said yesterday. It said the “long rains” from February to June in the drought-stricken north had reduced the number of people in need, but asked for $44 million to assist others for the next six months. “One rainy season isn’t enough to end this crisis,” the World Food Program said in a joint statement with the government in Nairobi.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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