- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 26, 2007


Four mountain gorillas fatally shot

KINSHASA — Four mountain gorillas were fatally shot and two went missing in the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s eastern North Kivu region, conservationists said yesterday.

The four dead animals were found on Sunday by park rangers 47 miles north of the regional capital, Goma, the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation told Agence France-Presse. Two others went missing the same day.

The mountain gorillas are a main tourist attraction in the Virunga park, where poaching of wildlife is endemic.


U.S. professor shot, woman kidnapped

YENAGOA — Armed robbers shot a U.S. professor and a security guard in the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt yesterday, the latest violent incident in the anarchic oil-producing Niger Delta.

Michael Watts, a Berkeley, Calif.-based analyst on oil-related violence in the delta, was in a hospital with bullet wounds in the hand after a newspaper office he was visiting came under attack, one of his friends said.

The security guard, a Nigerian, was also in a hospital with bullet wounds.

The incident came the morning after suspected ransom-seekers kidnapped the mother of the speaker of the state house of assembly in neighboring Bayelsa state.


Red Cross evicted from Ogaden region

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopian authorities have ordered the International Committee of the Red Cross to pull out of the volatile Ogaden region for reputedly interfering in political issues, officials said yesterday.

The eastern region is also known as Somali and shelters an ethnic Somali rebellion — the Ogaden National Liberation Front — on which the government is trying to keep a lid.

The aid agency is accused of falsely claiming that the Ethiopian army was blockading aid in the region.

Earlier this week, the United Nations’ food agency said that military operations against the rebels were slowing down the delivery of humanitarian aid.


Ruling party routs opposition in vote

YAOUNDE — Veteran Cameroonian President Paul Biya’s ruling party routed the opposition in parliamentary elections over the weekend, provisional results showed Tuesday, but his main opponents denounced the ballot as a sham.

Mr. Biya’s Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement secured a crushing majority of 152 of 180 National Assembly seats, up from 149 in the previous legislature, with the outcome of seven seats yet to be announced.

Extra security forces deployed in Santa, a town in the northwestern heartland of the main opposition Social Democratic Front, as tension mounted over delays in the announcement of results that local observers said put the SDF ahead there.


Strikers march for democracy

MANZINI — Thousands of striking public sector workers brought Swaziland’s second city to a standstill yesterday as they took to the streets to demand the introduction of multiparty democracy.

Schools and government factories were closed, while hospitals and banks were forced to run skeleton services during a strike called by the country’s main trade union body to denounce the current system of government, which ensures that absolute power resides in the hands of King Mswati III.

Unions and rights groups are hoping that their show of strength will lead to a dismantling of the traditional tinkhundla system of government under which Mswati retains full executive, legislative and judicial powers.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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