- - Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Vote-counting raises dissent, uncertainty

CONAKRY | Guinea’s presidential candidates are neck-and-neck at the polls, raising uncertainty and dissent in the West African nation.

Observers say there were irregularities in Sunday’s vote but that they are not significant enough to change the outcome of the ballot.

But the party of candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo said Wednesday it already is preparing to contest the results. Vice President Bah Oury’s party officials said they have discovered fictitious voting precincts and evidence of ballot stuffing.

The party also claims to have found an instance in which poll workers allied with their rival, Alpha Conde, used lemons to wipe off voters’ indelible ink, thus allowing them to vote a second time.

Guinea has not had an election deemed transparent in 52 years.


Death toll rises in Western Sahara

RABAT | Moroccan authorities raised the death toll from a police raid on a refugee camp in Western Sahara to 11 Wednesday, saying two more members of the security forces had died of their injuries.

Ten of those killed were police and the 11th an employee of the state-run phosphates bureau, according to Moroccan officials, who have denied knowledge of the disappearance of an anti-Moroccan activist.

The Polisario Front, which opposes Moroccan rule, also said 11 people died in the raid to clear 12,000 refugees from the protest camp Monday, but has indicated some at least were civilians.

Another 723 were injured and 159 went missing after the attack near Laayoune, the main town in the former Spanish territory annexed by Rabat, the Polisario said Tuesday.


11 arrested in coup plot

BANJUL | Gambian authorities have arrested 11 security officials suspected of being involved in an abortive coup attempt in 2009, top intelligence sources said Wednesday.

The arrests come four months after eight people, including the country’s former army chief and former deputy and intelligence chiefs, were sentenced to death by a court in Banjul for their involvement in the attempted coup.

Those arrested Wednesday include Ajatta Gibba, who was heading a probe into the plot, Lewis Gomez, director of internal security in the National Intelligence Agency and two men said to have been star witnesses in the case against the suspected plotters.

“These suspects are being held and currently helping investigators. They were rounded up early Wednesday after reports that they were also part of the 2009 abortive coup,” a top military officer told Agence France-Presse.

They have yet to be charged or brought before a court.

In July, eight top brass were found guilty of procuring arms from neighboring Guinea as well as two counts of conspiracy to commit treason for an alleged bid to overthrow the government of Yahya Jammeh, who himself seized power in a bloodless coup in 1994.

Army officers in the small West African country, nestled within Senegal, are often accused of plotting against the Jammeh administration.

Gambia is regularly accused by groups such as Amnesty International of illegal arrests and detentions of human rights activists and repression of the media.


President raps to win over youths

KAMPALA | He’s 65, he’s been president for more than two decades, and he’s Uganda’s newest rap star.

Facing a February election, President Yoweri Museveni has released a rap song and video that’s become a sensation in this East African nation, being played at dance clubs, on the radio and as a mobile phone ringtone.

Enthusiastic supporters at a rally in northern Uganda last week called for Mr. Museveni to perform “U Want Another Rap.”

Mr. Museveni chuckled, and obliged.

“You want another rap?” Mr. Museveni sang as his supporters danced. The lyrics aren’t exactly gangsta — they’re about making something out of nothing and getting ahead in life.

“Harvesters … gave me millet, that I gave to a hen, which gave me an egg, that I gave to children, who gave me a monkey, that I gave to the king, who gave me a cow, that I used to marry my wife,” Mr. Museveni rapped in a gravelly voice.

“The old man knows how to sing. He has come up with a good strategy to win youths in Uganda,” said Amos Opio, 24.

But some Ugandans who heard the song, including on YouTube, said in Internet postings that they would rather have new roads than new rap.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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