- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2007

UGANDA

Army accused of rights abuses

KAMPALA — The Ugandan army tortured and unlawfully killed civilians while carrying out a disarmament program in the country’s troubled Karamoja region, an international human rights group said Tuesday.

According to a report based on 50 interviews with witnesses by U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, Ugandan soldiers opened fire on children — killing three — crushed homesteads with armored personnel carriers and severely beat men during the army’s law-enforcement operations.

The army denies violating anyone’s human rights.

CONGO

Ebola outbreak confirmed by WHO

GENEVA — The World Health Organization said yesterday that five cases of the deadly Ebola virus had been confirmed in Congo, after dozens of people succumbed to an unidentified illness in recent months.

The five cases of the viral hemorrhagic illness were confirmed in western Kasai in the center of the vast African country, WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told journalists in Geneva.

Ebola causes the patient to bleed under the skin and in severe cases, from the mouth, ears and eyes. The virus, which has no known cure, is highly infectious for those who come into contact with a victim’s body fluids. The current Ebola epidemic had claimed 166 lives out of a total 372 cases since April 2007.

SUDAN

Violence threatens Darfur peace talks

NYALA, Sudan — Ongoing violence in Sudan’s Darfur region threatens to undermine peace talks planned for October between Khartoum and rebel groups, a British minister said as he toured the war-torn area on Tuesday.

British Foreign Office Minister for Africa Mark Malloch Brown made the remarks as the African Union said it was deeply concerned about “fierce fighting” in the Darfur town of Haskanita.

The timing of the attack, seven weeks before planned peace talks and four days after a visit to Sudan by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was “very alarming,” the AU added.

SOUTH AFRICA

Two killed in plane crash

JOHANNESBURG — A small plane crashed yesterday south of Johannesburg killing two persons and injuring 23 in an accident involving several vehicles on the ground, police and the emergency services said.

Police spokesman Lungeno Dlamini said the aircraft with two persons on board crashed in Eikenhof, south of Johannesburg.

“The pilot died at the scene and the passenger was seriously injured. There were three cars involved and a truck. The driver of one of the cars died at the scene,” Mr. Dlamini said.

ZIMBABWE

Mugabe auditions as rock star

HARARE — Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is 83 but his musical debut, “Beitbridge,” is being broadcast every hour on each of Zimbabwe’s state radio stations.

Government sources say the song is the brainchild of the ministry of information.

It also features a Zimbabwean singer called Nonsi and takes its name from a border town in southern Zimbabwe. Mr. Mugabe’s lyrics are not the stuff of rock legend, but an unnamed announcer at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation told the ZimOnline Web site that the song was being treated by bosses “as second only to the national anthem.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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