France says Guinea leader a ‘suspect’
PARIS | France suspects Guinea’s military leader Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara took part in a decision to carry out a bloody crackdown on opposition protesters, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Wednesday.
“The least we can say is that we strongly suspect the interim president to have … taken part in the decision,” Mr. Kouchner told the French parliament’s foreign affairs commission when asked about Capt. Camara’s role.
U.N. officials and human rights groups say more than 150 people were killed Sept. 28 when Guinean troops opened fire on an unarmed crowd gathered in a stadium in Guinea’s capital Conakry to protest against Capt. Camara’s rule.
The junta in Conakry said 56 people died and admitted that a dozen had gunshot wounds, but added that others were trampled in a stampede.
Militants threaten to resume attacks
ABUJA | Nigeria’s main militant group on Wednesday said it would resume attacks against Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry once a cease-fire expires later this month.
A cease-fire declared in July by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is due to expire at the end of next week.
“In this next phase, we will burn down all attacked installations and no longer limit our attacks to the destruction of pipelines,” the group said.
But the umbrella militant group has been severely weakened by President Umaru Yar’Adua’s amnesty program, which expired on Sunday.
Thousands of gunmen, including all prominent commanders linked to MEND, surrendered their weapons to the government in return for clemency.
Annan warns of unrest
NAIROBI | Kenya must speed up the pace of reforms if it is to avoid a repeat of the violence that followed the disputed 2007 elections, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who mediated an end to the unrest, said Wednesday.
“Kenya cannot afford a recurrence of the crisis and violence that engulfed it after the 2007 elections. But that is a serious risk if tangible reform is not achieved,” Mr. Annan said.
The East African country has in recent weeks come under criticism by the international community concerned at the pace of implementing institutional and legal reforms agreed on in a power-sharing deal between President Mwai Kibaki and former opposition chief Raila Odinga - now the prime minister.
“Kenyans are concerned that the window of opportunity to deliver reform is rapidly closing,” Mr. Annan told reporters at the end of a three-day visit.
Presidential run by leader opposed
ANTANANARIVO | Madagascar’s opposing political factions have agreed to retain the coup leader as head of the transitional government starting Wednesday but will not allow him to run in presidential elections, mediators said.
African Union envoy Ablasse Ouedraogo said late Tuesday that coup leader Andry Rajoelina will lead the transitional government until an election is held.
Mediators converged in Madagascar this week to hold a third round of talks aimed at smoothing over the post-coup political turmoil.
The mediators also appointed two key Cabinet posts on Tuesday, installing Emmanuel Rakotovahiny as vice president and Eugene Mangalaza as the new prime minister, replacing Monja Roindefo.