Sunday, May 2, 2004

RWANDA

President threatens to deploy in Congo

KIGALI — Rwandan President Paul Kagame warned that he will send troops back into neighboring Congo if Rwandan insurgents continue attacking from bases there, state-run radio reported yesterday.

But Mr. Kagame dismissed U.N. claims that several hundred Rwandan soldiers were in eastern Congo on April 21, violating the terms of a peace deal that ended Congo’s five-year war.

Rwanda said its soldiers had not entered Africa’s third-largest country since pulling out in October 2002. Mr. Kagame accused the U.N. mission in Congo of providing false information, Radio Rwanda reported.



THAILAND

Leader defends push against militants

PATTANI — Thailand’s leader shrugged off international criticism of his government’s crackdown on suspected Islamic militants, saying in a speech to the nation yesterday that he had no choice but to use overwhelming force.

More than 100 militants — mostly young men wielding machetes — were killed Wednesday when they attacked police and army posts in predawn raids in three southern provinces. Three police officers and two soldiers also were killed.

On Friday, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights demanded that Thailand investigate the killings. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra responded with defiance, saying yesterday, “It is my job, and we can cope with this matter.”

FRANCE

Vandals desecrate Jewish cemetery

COLMAR — Vandals painted swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti on more than 120 headstones at a Jewish cemetery in eastern France, an act that drew the swift condemnation of the government.

French President Jacques Chirac called the acts “appalling and intolerable,” promising a tough crackdown on anti-Jewish violence after the vandalism on the cemetery in Herrlisheim.

Pierre Dreyfus, who heads the Jewish consistory in the region, said he thinks the vandalism was timed to coincide with the anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s suicide on April 30, 1945.

AFGHANISTAN

U.S. forces kill grenade thrower

KABUL — U.S. troops fatally shot a man who threw hand grenades at their patrol in southeastern Afghanistan, the Afghan and U.S. military said yesterday.

The attack occurred Friday in Khost, 90 miles south of the capital, Kabul, Khial Baz, the military commander for Khost province, told the Associated Press.

A U.S. military spokeswoman, Master Sgt. Cindy Beam, said an American soldier received “superficial wounds” and had returned to duty.

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