- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 24, 2009

SOUTH AFRICA

Country is safe, government says

CAPE TOWN | The South African government attempted to assure the public Wednesday that the country is safe, as United States government facilities remained shut for a second day amid an unspecified security threat.

“Obviously, the closure of the embassies is not something that is a good thing because it creates an impression that we are not a safe country,” government spokesman Themba Maseko said. “All citizens from other embassies in this country do and must continue to feel safe.”

The U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, consulates in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban and aid and development offices were shut down Tuesday after the State Department said it had received a “credible” threat against the embassy.

The U.S. facilities are expected to remain shut until at least Friday.

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the closure was a precaution.

RWANDA

Man accused of using aid for genocide

ARUSHA, Tanzania | A former Rwandan minister is accused of diverting funds from international donors to murderous militias during the 1994 genocide that killed more than 500,000 people, a prosecutor at a U.N.-backed court said Wednesday.

Augustin Ngirabatware was charged with genocide and crimes against humanity in October and pleaded not guilty.

But prosecutor Wallace Kapaya said he has proof that Mr. Ngirabatware stole money donated by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund as well as cash from several countries, including the United States.

The money was intended to go to the Rwandan Ministry for Planning, which Mr. Ngirabatware used to head, but Mr. Kapaya said that instead it was used to buy weapons and transport for the extremist Hutu militia known as the Interahamwe.

Mr. Ngirabatware is the son-in-law of Felician Kabuga, Rwanda’s most wanted genocide suspect. The U.S. government has offered a $5 million bounty for Mr. Kabuga’s capture.

TANZANIA

3 men face death in killing of albino

DAR ES SALAAM | Tanzania’s high court on Wednesday sentenced three men to hang for the murder of a 13-year-old albino boy, killed for his body parts in the country’s northwest, media and a rights group said.

At least 53 albinos have been killed since 2007 in the East African nation and their body parts sold for use in witchcraft, especially in the remote northwest regions of Shinyanga and Mwanza where superstition is rife.

Witch doctors say the body parts of albinos - who lack pigment in their skin, eyes and hair - bring luck in love, life and business.

One of the accused was found with two legs belonging to the 13-year-old, Matatizo Dunia, local radio said.

Authorities have arrested more than 90 people, including four police officers, for their involvement in the killings or trade of albino body parts.

The killings have sullied Tanzania’s reputation for relative calm in the region, and drawn condemnation from the United Nations and European Union.

In neighboring Burundi, at least 11 albinos have been killed since last year. So far 13 people have been convicted, including one who received a life sentence. Authorities in Burundi say people in Tanzania ordered the killings.

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