- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 7, 2008


Government claims control of capital

N’DJAMENA — Chad’s government is in total control of the country after fending off a rebel offensive, President Idriss Deby said yesterday as France’s defense minister flew in to show his support.

Making his first public appearance since rebels attacked the capital N’Djamena at the weekend and besieged his presidential palace, Mr. Deby accused the president of neighboring Sudan, Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan al-Bashir, of backing the rebel offensive.

Sudan denies it is involved.

France, which has warplanes and more than 1,000 troops in its former colony, initially said it was “neutral” as fighting raged at the weekend, but later threw its support behind Mr. Deby.


Foreign ministers to discuss violence

NAIROBI — East African foreign ministers arrived in Kenya yesterday for a meeting the opposition has threatened to demonstrate against, while the rival sides hammered away at talks to end the postelection crisis.

The opposition has threatened more street protests if the government holds today’s planned meeting of the seven-nation, regional bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), whose rotating chairmanship is now held by President Mwai Kibaki.

Kenya’s government is banking on good will in African diplomatic circles — earned from years as a continental peacemaker — to win support for its view that the opposition should challenge the vote in court, not in the streets.

IGAD issued a communique last week that backed that position, while supporting the talks. The opposition argues that Kenya’s institutions are too flawed to do the job.


Computer imports to be taxed

ABUJA — Nigeria plans to slap duties on old computers imported for spare parts because much of the excess material is later dumped and causes toxic waste, Information Minister John Odey said yesterday.

Nigeria has a growing market for computers, especially affordable ones, and there is a strong local culture of patching things up to keep them working for many years.

Currently, importers can ship in old computers then they are then gutted for spare parts and the unwanted bits are thrown away.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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