- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Mugabe slams Britain, critics in opposition

HARARE — President Robert Mugabe accused the opposition yesterday of trying to foment anarchy as this troubled southern African nation marked the 27th anniversary of independence from Britain.

In a keynote speech at a packed football stadium here, Mr. Mugabe fired a fresh broadside at his foreign critics, including the former colonial power, and accused opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of being a puppet of the West.

Opposition groups accusing Mr. Mugabe, 83, of wrecking the economy and trampling citizens’ rights said the state of the nation shows there is no reason to celebrate, but Mr. Mugabe said he would deal firmly with “conspirators” trying to oust him.


Adoption by Madonna wins her plaudits

LILONGWE — Her taking a year-old boy away from a life of poverty in an orphanage may have raised hackles elsewhere, but for people here, Madonna is a heroine with her heart in the right place.

Eight months after she began the process to adopt little David Banda, the U.S. singer returned to this impoverished southern African nation this week not only with her latest charge but also her biological daughter Lourdes.

The number of orphans is growing rapidly in Malawi, where the AIDS pandemic has not only claimed the lives of many parents but also of relatives who could have taken the babies in.


Troops accused of murdering civilians

KINSHASA — Government troops fatally shot dozens of unarmed civilians, some while they prayed, in a violent repression of protests by a religious sect early this year, U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said yesterday.

More than 100 people, mostly civilians, were killed on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 when Bundu Dia Kongo, an opposition-allied religious group, demonstrated against reputed fraud in regional governor elections in western Bas-Congo province.

“In some cases soldiers ‘hunted down’ the injured, following their blood trail before executing them,” Human Rights Watch said in a report submitted to a Congolese parliamentary inquiry and distributed publicly yesterday.

The violence was among the worst in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since elections held last year. The election then was intended to crown a peace process after a 1998-2003 war and related humanitarian crisis that have killed about 4 million people.

Bundu Dia Kongo supporters beat 10 police and military police officers to death with sticks and clubs, including one as he was being treated in a medical clinic, Human Rights Watch said. Members of the group also killed two civilians, it added.

Weekly notes …

Morocco is constantly on guard after a spate of suicide bombings in the Atlantic port city of Casablanca, a government spokesman said yesterday. Communications Minister Nabil Benabdellah clarified that he was misinterpreted earlier as saying the country was in a “state of extreme alert,” adding that the country is in the same state of alert against terrorism that it has been in recent weeks. …Rwanda has filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice at The Hague, the United Nations’ highest tribunal, over a French judge issuing arrest warrants against close associates of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame. Kigali contends the arrest warrants issued as part of an investigation into the death of Mr. Kagame’s predecessor “violate [Rwanda’s] sovereignty and curtail its capacity to function freely and normally as a sovereign state.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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