- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 12, 2009


Mother’s dying wish to rebel: Make peace

KAMPALA | The mother of one of Africa’s most notorious rebel leaders relayed one last wish for her son before her death Wednesday, according to a nurse at her deathbed: Make peace.

Norah Anek, 86, the mother of Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony, died after a long illness, said nurse Betty Akello, who was with her when she died. Her son heads the infamous Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which has waged one of Africa’s longest and most brutal rebellions, in northern Uganda.

“Moments before dying she said, ‘Tell Joseph Kony to make peace,’ ” Ms. Anek said, according to Ms. Akello.

Kony has led the cultlike LRA for two decades. The rebel group that has been blamed for tens of thousands of killings, mutilations and kidnapping children for use as soldiers and sex slaves.

The government of Uganda has been looking after Kony’s mother for the past 10 years as a way to induce him to stop fighting. Ms. Anek, who sometimes is called Norah Oting, told the Associated Press in a 2007 interview that her son was “costing us peace in northern Uganda.”


Judge allows trial to discuss torture

HARARE | Defense attorneys for a top prime minister’s aide can raise torture allegations at his trial, a judge ruled Wednesday in a case that has shaken Zimbabwe’s troubled coalition government.

Judge Chinembiri Bhunu also ruled that a weapons dealer can testify at Roy Bennett’s trial, setting the stage for lawyers to spar over his testimony and how it was obtained once the proceedings begin in earnest on Thursday.

The weapons case against Mr. Bennett, a top aide to Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, stems from allegations of a plot to topple President Robert Mugabe. Mr. Tsvangirai says the charges are baseless and part of efforts by Mugabe loyalists to undermine the coalition formed in February between the longtime rivals.

Mr. Bennett’s attorneys say weapons dealer Peter Michael Hitschmann, who is the main prosecution witness, was not only tortured but also did not implicate Mr. Bennett during his own trial.

Hitschmann was arrested in 2006 and initially accused of plotting to assassinate Mr. Mugabe. Mr. Bennett had not been linked to the case until his arrest in February.


Expulsions hit Darfur rape victims

KHARTOUM | Rape victims in Sudan’s Darfur region have lost vital medical and psychological support since Khartoum expelled aid agencies working against sexual violence this year, the United Nations and aid workers said.

A Sudanese minister on Wednesday dismissed the reports as “propaganda,” saying that there was no widespread rape in the region and that foreigners were free to come and investigate.

Sudan ousted 13 foreign aid groups and closed three local organizations in March after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Bashir to face charges of masterminding atrocities in Darfur.

Khartoum accused the groups of passing information to The Hague-based court, a charge they deny.

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