Weekly anb03206.txt #6

WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 20-03-2003      PART #6/6

* Somalia. Terror suspect arrested - 19 March: A Yemeni man accused of involvement in terror attacks in East Africa has been arrested in Somalia and flown to Kenya. Kenyan National Security Minister Chris Murungaru said the man was suspected of being a member of the al-Qaeda network. Earlier reports from the Somali capital, Mogadishu, said that a wounded man had been handed over to United States FBI agents. Al-Qaeda was blamed for last November's attack on Paradise Hotel near the Kenyan resort of Mombasa, which left 15 people dead. It was also blamed for the 1998 attacks on US embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam, in which more than 200 people died. Somalia has long been seen as a possible haven for al-Qaeda operatives. Its Transitional National Government has been accused of being associated with Islamic extremists, charges it vigorously denies. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 19 March 2003)

* Somalie. Présumé terroriste enlevé - Le 18 mars, six Américains en tenue civile mais armés, épaulés par des miliciens locaux, ont enlevé dans un hôpital de Mogadiscio un homme d'origine yéménite mais porteur d'un passeport sud-africain, soupçonné d'appartenir au réseau terroriste Al-Qaeda. L'homme a été emmené à bord d'un avion privé vers Nairobi (Kenya), où un autre membre présumé d'Al-Qaeda, en garde à vue, est interrogé sur plusieurs attentats terroristes en Afrique de l'Est en novembre 2002. (D'après Le Figaro, France, 20 mars 2003)

* Sudan. Footballers in bus crash - 13 March: Twenty-five people have been killed in a bus crash in Sudan, including the coach of one of the country's top football clubs. It happened when the Al-Merreikh FC football team's bus collided head-on with a minibus, about 60 km southeast of the capital, Khartoum. The footballers were on their way back to the capital after a first division football match at Kassala, near the border with Eritrea. Coach Siddeiq al-Umdah died along with two other players and the team's bus driver, according to Sudanese television. The Sudanese news agency, Suna, reports that 21 bodies have yet to be identified. Several other people from both vehicles were injured. Al-Merreikh FC is the only club in Sudan to have won the African Cup Winners' Cup in 1989. (BBC News, UK, 13 March 2003)

* Sudan. Politician arrested - 18 March: The authorities in Sudan have arrested the chairman of the opposition Justice Party. General Tawfiq Salih Abu Kadouk whose party has its stronghold in Darfur -- a region known as the "Wild West" for its lawlessness -- is a former general of the Sudanese army. A security source said that the general is being investigated in connection with a rebellion in Darfur last month against the government of President Hassan al-Bashir. The Justice party has strong links with Darfur, which borders Chad. The main politician behind the party -- a former state minister of justice -- hails from the region. The Justice Party has had very bad relationship with the ruling National Congress party in Khartoum. Three of its leaders were one time leading members of the government and ruling party but resigned last year accusing the National Congress of being corrupt and of being "too deformed to be reformed". (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 18 March 2003)

* Swaziland. Widows banned from being election candidates - Widows who have been bereaved within the past two years have been banned from running as candidates in this year's parliamentary election, enraging women's empowerment groups who are already bristling under cultural restrictions that regard Swazi women as legal minors. "You can say that when I read that widows will not be allowed into parliament, it made me so angry I was ashamed of being a Swazi," attorney Fikile Mtembu, former mayor of Swaziland's largest urban area Manzini, and a widow, told IRIN. "This is persecution of the highest order," she said. Chief Electoral Officer Robert Thwala was reported in the local media this week warning: "Widows will not be able to stand for elections to parliament. This is in keeping with Swazi tradition, where women must respect the proper mourning period." The Swaziland branch of the legal advocacy group Women in Law in Southern Africa is concerned that not only are thousands of capable women being denied the chance to run for office, but they are prevented from even casting ballots. (IRIN, Kenya, 12 March 2003)

* Togo. Exile to run in Togo poll - 13 March: The main opposition party in Togo, The Union for Forces for Change, has elected its exiled leader Gilchrist Olympio to contest presidential elections due this year. Mr Olympio who lives in France is likely to be pitted against his arch rival the long serving president Gnassingbe Eyadema. In 1992 Mr Olympio returned to the country, but his campaign motorcade came under fire which left five people in his entourage dead and 17 others including himself injured. Mr Olympio was prevented from taking part in last October's legislative elections because of a law which says candidates must live in the country. He says he will go back to Togo to contest this year's polls provided his security was assured, especially by the internationally community. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 13 March 2003)

* Togo. Marche interdite - Le 15 mars à Lomé, des jeunes de l'opposition togolaise, regroupés au sein de la Nouvelle dynamique populaire (NDP), ont défié les forces de sécurité en tentant d'organiser une marche de protestation interdite par les autorités. Empêchés par un dispositif impressionnant, les manifestants ont érigé des barricades et enflammé des pneus, mais le calme est revenu dans l'après-midi. Les jeunes voulaient réclamer la restauration de la Constitution et du code électoral (modifiés récemment), et la liberté d'opinion et d'expression pour tous les partis politiques. Créée le 16 janvier, la NDP affirme vouloir oeuvrer pour "une véritable démocratie au Togo". (PANA, Sénégal, 15 mars 2003)

* Tunisie/Soudan. Accord sur la sécurité - La Tunisie et le Soudan ont signé un accord de coopération en matière de sécurité, à l'occasion d'une visite effectuée à Tunis par le ministre soudanais de l"Intérieur, a-t-on appris le 18 mars de source officielle tunisienne. Le document porte notamment sur la coopération en matière de "lutte contre la criminalité sous toutes ses formes et l'échange d'expériences et de données". (AP, 18 mars 2003)

* Uganda. Tea industry unprofitable - 13 March: Uganda's small but once-buoyant tea industry has become desperately unprofitable, the Uganda Tea Association (UTA) has announced. Over the past decade, Uganda has trebled production, in an effort to diversify away from its traditional reliance on coffee. But prices at the market in Mombasa, Kenya, where most Ugandan tea is sold, have fallen sharply. Now, says UTA head Isaac Munaabi, the cost of producing Ugandan tea and transporting it to Mombasa is 23% higher than the wholesale selling price. Mr Munaabi laid most of the blame for the industry's woes on Ugandan electricity, whose high price and erratic supply make producing tea in Uganda more expensive than in neighbouring Kenya. But he also acknowledged that the industry had been badly run, and was especially starved of investment during the 1970s. Ugandan producers have spent over $200m since the 1970s on upgrading their production, Mr Munaabi said. But more investment is needed, in particular some $56m to reclaim 3,000 hectares of nominally tea-growing land from the bush. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 13 March 2003)

* Ouganda. Nouvel évêque de Kabale - Le pape a accepté la démission de l'évêque du diocèse de Kabale, Mgr Robert Gay, Canadien, âgé de 76 ans, a-t-on appris le 15 mars au Vatican. Jean Paul II a nommé comme son successeur Mgr Callistus Rubaramira, prêtre du même diocèse, né en 1950 et ordonné prêtre en 1975. (D'après Misna, Italie, 15 mars 2003)

* Uganda. Ambush in the north - 17 March: Eight people have died in a brutal ambush by suspected Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels near the town of Kitgum in northern Uganda. There have been frequent attacks on civilians in recent days despite the fact that the LRA has announced a ceasefire. But this latest attack is the most serious since their announcement and comes just as the two sides are trying to talk peace. At 1100 local time a pick-up vehicle was ambushed by suspected LRA rebels on its way from Agoro, near the Sudanese border, to Kitgum. Ten kilometres away from Kitgum they opened fire on the vehicle. According to eyewitnesses the passengers were then shot at close range before the vehicle was set ablaze. According to the chief superintendent at Kitgum government hospital, eight died in the attack - four completely burnt corpses have been carried to the hospital while four others remain in the vehicle burnt beyond recognition. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 17 March 2003)

* Uganda/Rwanda. Tension mounts - 17 March: Uganda has warned Rwanda against fighting a "proxy war" in Congo RDC. This follows a Rwandan threat to send its troops back into unless Uganda also withdrew. Tension has been mounting following fighting in and around the north-eastern town of Bunia, where Uganda sent reinforcements after driving a small rebel group out of the town. The former allies have already clashed on several occasions on Congolese territory during the five year DR Congo conflict. The Congolese are alarmed that the drums of war are sounding just as the organisers of the Congolese peace process announced a "final ceremony" for the end of the month. "If Rwanda attacks us directly we shall fight them ourselves," said Ugandan Defence Minister Amama Mbabazi in a statement. "If they attack us using proxies, we shall fight those proxies," he said. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 17 March 2003)

* Zimbabwe. Commonwealth ban extended - 16 March: The Commonwealth has announced that Zimbabwe's suspension from the organisation which was due to expire this week has been extended until the end of the year. Leading African members of the Commonwealth had argued in favour of Zimbabwe's immediate readmission. Zimbabwe was originally suspended in March last year after Commonwealth observers reported violence during the presidential elections. The extension of Zimbabwe's suspension for at least another nine months is a significant setback to President Robert Mugabe and will encourage the opposition. In recent weeks, it has appeared that the diplomatic tide has been turning in President Mugabe's favour, despite the desperate political and economic situation in Zimbabwe. Two key African leaders, South African President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, have argued that sanctions against Zimbabwe should be lifted and that it should be allowed back into the Commonwealth. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 16 March 2003)

* Zimbabwe. Suspension du Commonwealth prolongée? - Le Zimbabwe, déjà suspendu depuis un an des réunions ministérielles du Commonwealth, le restera pour neuf mois supplémentaires, jusqu'en décembre 2003, a annoncé le 17 mars le secrétaire général de l'institution, M. McKinnon. Le gouvernement du président Robert Mugabe avait été exclu pour un an des réunions ministérielles du Commonwealth le 19 mars 2002, à la suite des conclusions d'observateurs internationaux mettant en exergue de sérieuses anomalies dans les élections qui avaient permis au dirigeant d'être élu. Pour la nouvelle mesure, M. McKinnon a dit s'appuyer sur la recommandation des trois pays (Australie, Nigeria et Afrique du Sud) chargés de revoir le statut de membre du Zimbabwe. Mais les diplomates du Nigeria et de l'Afrique du Sud ont indiqué que leurs pays n'étaient pas en faveur du renouvellement des sanctions. Le Haut commissaire du Zimbabwe en Grande-Bretagne a déclaré que la suspension était nulle et non avenue, et que M. McKinnon n'avait pas autorité pour prononcer une telle mesure. (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 18 mars 2003)

* Zimbabwe. Strike shuts down the main centres - 18 March: Most factories and shops have closed in response to an opposition-called strike. However, some banks and government offices have remained open. The army has been deployed following some violence in the Harare suburb of Epworth. The strike was called by the opposition Movement for Democratic Chance. The police, backed by army helicopters and armoured cars, have arrested 63 protestors nationwide. 19 March: Shops and industries on Zimbabwe's main cities remain closed for a second day of the strike. Security is tight ahead of a march into central Harare planned for today. 20 March: The MDC has vowed to escalate mass action to force President Mugabe's government to reform or to leave office. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 20 March 2003)

* Zimbabwe. L'opposition appelle à l'action - Dans des messages publiés dans la presse le 16 mars, le principal parti d'opposition, le Mouvement pour le changement démocratique (MDC), a appelé à une action pacifique de masse contre le gouvernement à partir du 18 mars. La police a cependant déclaré illégale la grève générale prévue par l'opposition, arguant que celle-ci ne l'en avait pas informé, comme il est requis par la loi. Le pays connaît une situation économique catastrophique, avec un fort taux de chômage, une inflation record et des pénuries alimentaires et d'essence. Le MDC accuse aussi le gouvernement de violer les droits humains et de réprimer les opposants. - Le 18 mars, au moins 63 personnes ont été arrêtées au premier jour de l'"action de masse". L'appel à la grève du MDC a été suivi dans tout le pays. Plusieurs personnes, notamment des policiers, ont été blessées lorsque des incidents ont tourné à la violence. - Le 19 mars, l'action de masse sous forme d'arrêts de travail est entrée dans sa deuxième et dernière journée. La majorité des grandes entreprises, supermarchés et banques de la capitale sont restés fermés. Le nombre des personnes arrêtées est monté à 120. (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 20 mars 2003)

Weekly anb0320.txt - #6/6 - THE END

Un homme meurt chaque fois que l'un d'entre nous se tait devant la tyrannie (W. Soyinka, Prix Nobel litterature)
Everytime somebody keep silent when faced with tyranny, someone else dies (Wole Syinka, Nobel Prize for Literature) *
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