- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 20, 2009

CONGO

Rwandan troops chase Hutu rebels

KINSHASA | More than 1,500 Rwandan troops crossed the border into eastern Congo on Tuesday to join Congolese forces in an effort to oust Hutu rebels who participated in Rwanda’s genocide and have long been at the heart of the region’s conflict, officials said.

Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende said that the Rwandan forces arrived Tuesday morning and that the joint military operations would last 10 to 15 days.

Congo and Rwanda have agreed to step up efforts against the Rwandan Hutu FDLR militia that has long destabilized the region. Neither country has been able to eradicate the Hutu rebels since they fled to Congo in 1994.

POLAND

Prime minister fires justice chiefs

WARSAW | Poland’s prime minister dumped his justice minister and three other top-ranking justice officials Tuesday after an outcry over the apparent suicide of a man imprisoned on accusations of kidnapping and murder.

Donald Tusk said he accepted the resignation of Justice Minister Zbigniew Cwiakalski a day after the death of inmate Robert Pazik, who was found hanged with a bedsheet in his prison cell Monday morning.

Mr. Pazik was the third man thought to have committed suicide out of a group convicted in the 2001 kidnapping and murder of Krzysztof Olewnik, the son of a wealthy businessman.

The 2001 kidnapping and murder of Mr. Olewnik has long held the attention of the Polish public. Many Poles, including Mr. Olewnik’s family, feel that those who directed the crime remain at large, and Mr. Pazik’s suicide sparked new accusations of police and political incompetence.

GUANTANAMO BAY

Court adjourns; its future uncertain

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba | A military judge adjourned the Guantanamo Bay war crimes court just before President Obama was sworn in Tuesday, leaving open the possibility that the hearings might not resume.

The judge, Army Col. Patrick Parrish, dismissed the court until Wednesday “unless otherwise ordered,” a nod to the possibility that the Obama administration might suspend the military trials as it wrestles with how to proceed with its plan to close the prison that now holds about 245 men on suspicion of links to terrorism, al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Mr. Obama has said he will close Guantanamo, and many expect he will suspend the widely criticized war-crimes trials created by former President George W. Bush and Congress. Mr. Obama’s nominee for attorney general has said the so-called military commissions lack sufficient legal protections for defendants and that they could be tried in the United States.

PAKISTAN

Afghan supplies to bypass militants

ISLAMABAD | Russia and neighboring Central Asian nations have agreed to let supplies pass through their territory to American soldiers in Afghanistan, lessening Washington’s dependence on dangerous routes through Pakistan, a top U.S. commander said Tuesday.

Securing alternative routes to landlocked Afghanistan has taken on added urgency this year as the United States prepares to double troop numbers there to 60,000 to battle a resurgent Taliban eight years after the U.S.-led invasion.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani army said it had killed 60 militants in a stepped-up offensive close to the Afghan border, a lawless region considered a likely hiding place for Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders. Washington has long urged Islamabad to take the fight to the insurgents sheltering there.

U.S. and NATO forces get up to 75 percent of their “non-lethal” supplies such as food, fuel and building materials from shipments that traverse Pakistan.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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