Weekly anb10244.txt #7

WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 24-10-2002      PART #4/7

* Egypt. El Alamein veterans remember dead - 19 October: Veterans who fought in one of the most important battles of the Second World War have returned to remember their deceased comrades in an emotional ceremony. Soldiers from all sides of the Battle of El Alamein, a bitter 12-day fight in the autumn of 1942, made the journey to Egypt to honour those who died 60 years ago. About 150 retired servicemen, many now in their 80s, attended the ceremony of remembrance at the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in the desert. Almost 90 former soldiers came from Britain -- the majority in uniform -- to salute the memory of their friends who died as young men in the fierce desert war. They served in General Bernard "Monty" Montgomery's Eighth Army. German and Italian troops who served in the routed Afrika Korps were also expected at the ceremony. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 19 October 2002)

* Egypte. Procès d'islamistes présumés - Le 20 octobre, vingt-trois Egyptiens et trois Britanniques, accusés d'appartenir à un groupe islamiste interdit, le Parti de libération islamique, ont plaidé non coupables à l'ouverture de leur procès devant un tribunal d'exception. Amnesty International a exprimé son inquiétude à la suite d'informations indiquant que les ressortissants britanniques avaient été torturés. (Libération, France, 21 octobre 2002)

* Eritrea. Relations with USA deteriorate - The Eritrean government has reacted furiously to criticism from the US State Department which has called on the Eritrean government to release two local employees of the US embassy in Eritrea who have been in detention since last year. It also urged the Eritrean government to grant them an open and fair trial and to "respect fundamental human rights". The Eritrean released a statement which said it totally rejected the State Department's position, and called on it to refrain from unwarranted intervention. The statement also accused the previous Clinton administration of employing the CIA to seek to unlawfully change the government in Asmara, during the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 21 October 2002)

* Ethiopia. "Peacekeepers' security is not threatened" - 19 October: Ethiopia has reacted strongly to United Nations assertions that the security of peacekeepers stationed in the region has been seriously threatened by Ethiopian villagers and militia. The Ethiopian ministry of information issued a statement accusing the UN peacekeeping mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (Unmee) of putting out one-sided and distorted information. Officials were angry about reports earlier this month that UN troops overseeing the ceasefire that ended a 30-month territorial war were threatened by armed villagers and militia along the disputed border with Eritrea. The UN said its peacekeepers working in Aromo were surrounded and threatened by 50 to 60 armed villagers and some 10 militiamen. In their statement, Ethiopian officials said: "The Unmee office has distortedly revealed to the media what should have been initially dealt with between the pertinent Ethiopian authorities and Unmee." (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 19 October 2002)

* Ethiopia. Explosion in a school - 21 October: Police in Ethiopia are investigating an explosion in a classroom at a school in the capital, Addis Ababa. The blast, which took place at Kokebe Tsibah Primary School, is reported to have injured 28 pupils, three seriously. Ethiopian police say the blast was caused by a grenade. which was brought into the school by a student. The classroom was covered in blood and students' shoes and text books littered the room, AP news agency reported. There were 59 pupils in the classroon aged between nine and 12. Police spokesman Haile Abebe said a hand grenade held by a 10-year-old pupil exploded at 1035 (local time). They are now investigating the incident. (BBC News, UK, 21 October 2002)

* Kenya. Ministers linked to clashes - 18 October: A report has recommended that prominent current and former Kenyan ministers be investigated for their alleged roles in tribal clashes. The clashes took place in the run-up to elections in 1992 and 1997 and left thousands dead. The report was submitted to the government in 1999, but only released today after a court ordered the government to make its findings public. The judicial report names current ministers: Nicholas Biwott, Julius Sunkuli and Maalim Mohamed. It also names four former ministers, including William ole Ntimama, who resigned last week to join the opposition National Rainbow Coalition, as among those who should be investigated. Government critics say that the clashes were organised by powerful individuals to force opposition supporters to flee constituencies where the ruling Kanu party faced close election contests. Senior officials in the provincial administration and the police force have also been mentioned as having either incited people to violence, or turned a blind eye when the violence erupted. Hundreds of thousands of people fled their homes in Rift Valley, Central and Western Kenya and on the coast. Launching the report compiled by a commission headed by Justice Akilano Akiwumi, Attorney General Amos Wako insisted that people mentioned in the report should not be presumed guilty, until a court of law ruled that they were indeed guilty. He told reporters that 11 years after what was then referred to as ethnic cleansing started, investigations were still continuing. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 18 October 2002)

* Kenya. Fin de la grève des enseignants - Les enseignants des établissements publics du Kenya reprendront, le mardi 22 octobre, le chemin de l'école, mettant ainsi un terme à une grève entamée il y a 29 jours en raison d'un différend sur les salaires. Le syndicat a décidé de lever son mot d'ordre de grève "dans l'intérêt des enfants". Après des négociations le vendredi, les pouvoirs publics ont accepté de commencer à appliquer la hausse des salaires de 200% promise en 1997. Le syndicat veut continuer à faire campagne pour les droits des enseignants. (D'après PANA, Sénégal, 21 octobre 2002)

* Kenya. NARC's candidate - 22 October: Mwai Kibaki, the official leader of the opposition in parliament, will be the candidate for an alliance of more than 12 parties known as the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC). The ruling KANU party has already announced President Moi's nominee, Uhuru Kenyatta, as its candidate, which prompted a wave of defections of senior ruling party figures. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 22 October 2002)

* Kenya. Candidat unique de l'opposition - L'opposition kényane, regroupée dans une alliance, a nommé l'ancien vice-président Mwai Kibaki candidat commun à l'élection présidentielle de cette année. M. Kibaki, 71 ans, a été professeur d'université, député, ministre des Finances et vice-président. Il a été nommé le 22 octobre par la Coalition nationale Arc-en-ciel (NARC) qui regroupe le Parti de l'alliance nationale du Kenya et le Parti démocratique libéral. M. Kibaki devra faire face au candidat de la KANU, Uhuru Kenyatta. (PANA, Sénégal, 22 octobre 2002)

* Liberia. Worn Bank notes crisis - Liberia is struggling with a rebellion in the north and northwest of the country, but another crisis has broken out that is making life much harder for Liberians. Business people now refuse to take "mutilated" banknotes. In Liberia today, you cannot be sure how much money you have in your pocket as some of the notes may be rejected for being in a poor state. Business people, from roadside peddlers to supermarkets, do not accept banknotes that are slightly torn, let alone those that are "mutilated". Daily, housewives return angry and frustrated from the market, complaining that they could not buy goods because their notes were refused. The "mutilated" banknotes issue is so serious that families have had to go hungry for days while keeping bundles of slightly damaged notes. Hospitals, cinemas, petrol stations, drugstores, clinics and restaurants -- all adhere to the practice. As a result, even street beggars are now reluctant to accept worn banknotes since they, too, cannot use them anywhere. There are no coins in circulation at the moment. The local currency was introduced in 1999, in five, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Liberian dollar denominations. The money was meant to replace the two distinct currencies that existed each on one side of Liberia when the country was divided on factional lines, with the armed faction of President Charles Taylor controlling one side. Central Bank Governor Elie Saaleby this week warned people not to refuse "mutilated" notes, but it is not the first time the governor has issued a warning without success. (BBC News, UK, 17 October 2002)

* Liberia. Archbishop probes nun killings - The head of Liberia's Roman Catholic church ordered an investigation into the slayings of five American nuns during the West African nation's brutal 1990s civil war. Sisters Mary Joel Kolmer, Barbara Ann Muttra, Agnes Mueller, Shirley Kolmer and Kathleen McGuire were killed in October 1992 when rebel fighters led by warlord Charles Taylor -- now Liberia's president -- were besieging the capital, Monrovia. The sisters were members of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ order, based in Ruma, Illinois. Collectively, they had more than 50 years of service in Liberia, a nation founded by freed American slaves in 1847. At a commemorative service on 20 October for the nuns, Monrovia's Archbishop Michael Francis said he has named a three-member commission to investigate the killings. Findings will be forwarded to Rome, he said. The nuns "came to serve our people in the fields of education, health care and pastoral concerns," Francis said."They were killed because they served their neighbours." (CNN, USA, 22 October 2002)

* Libye/France. Une normalisation en bonne voie - Le 18 octobre, le ministre français des Affaires étrangères, M. Dominique de Villepin, a effectué une visite en Libye, où il a rencontré le colonel Kadhafi, ainsi que son homologue M. Chalgham et le secrétaire du comité populaire libyen de l'Unité africaine, M. Triki. M. Chalgham dirigera le 21 octobre à Paris la délégation libyenne aux travaux de la commission mixte franco-libyenne, qui ne s'est plus réunie depuis près de 20 ans. (Ndlr.: Le 21 octobre, M. Chalgham a été reçu par le président Chirac). Avec M. Triki, le ministre français a notamment examiné les possibilités d'une coopération franco-libyenne dans le domaine sanitaire en Afrique et d'une conférence internationale sur les investissements en Afrique conjointement organisée par la France et la Libye. (D'après PANA, Sénégal, 19 ctobre 2002)

* Madagascar. Vers les législatives - L'AREMA, le parti de l'ex-président malgache Didier Ratsiraka, présentera des candidats aux prochaines législatives annoncées pour le 15 décembre, a fait savoir son secrétaire général. Bien que le parti juge cette date "prématurée", vu le manque de préparation, il veut relever le défi. "Nous présenterons des candidats, si les impréparations administratives et matérielles restent dans des limites raisonnables, si les règles du jeu démocratiques sont respectées, et si la communauté internationale accompagne le pays dans le processus démocratique en cours", a-t-il affirmé. - Par ailleurs, le dernier Premier ministre de l'ex-président malgache Didier Ratsiraka, M. Tantely Andrianarivo, a été incarcéré, le 21 octobre, à la prison d'Antananarivo notamment pour usurpation de fonctions, détournement de deniers publics, recel de malfaiteurs et atteinte à la sûreté de l'Etat. Les poursuites judiciaires contre les barons du régime déchu semblent ainsi se poursuivre, notent les observateurs dans la capitale malgache, qui y voient une violation des négociations et accords de Dakar. Au total, ils sont au nombre de 83 "détenus de sécurité", comme les appelle le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge, dont les procès devraient s'ouvrir bientôt, notamment "avant les élections législatives", selon un responsable de la justice malgache. (PANA, Sénégal, 17-22 octobre 2002)

* Malawi. Opposition leader granted bail - 21 October: Opposition leader Gwanda Chakuamba, who is facing defamation charges, is released on bail, today, when a magistrate rules the government does not have sufficient grounds to hold him. Chakuamba, leader of the main opposition Malawi Congress Party, was arrested on 20 October after the government alleged that he impersonated President Bakili Muluzi by signing the president's name to a controversial letter on statehouse stationery. The opposition leader was arrested along with his personal secretary, Grace Mhango. Parliamentarians Demster Chikhawo and George Lowe were arrested this morning. The opposition dismisses the charge as a political ploy and say the country's constitution prevents the arrest of a parliamentarian while Parliament is in session. The arrest comes amid a government crackdown on opponents of a constitutional amendment that would allow Muluzi to run for a third term when his second five-year term expires in 2004. On 18 October, Parliament expelled two ruling party lawmakers who had declared their opposition to the amendment, which was narrowly defeated in July and is expected to be resubmitted to Parliament. The letter police accused Chakuamba of writing reportedly spelled out strategies for ensuring the passage of the amendment. It appeared to be signed by Muluzi. (CNN, USA, 22 October 2002)

* Maroc. Droits de l'homme en islam - Un colloque international sur les "droits de l'homme en islam" s'est ouvert le 17 octobre à Rabat à l'initiative du centre culturel saoudien en collaboration avec la faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines de Rabat. Parmi les thèmes inscrits à l'ordre du jour du colloque, qui doit durer deux jours, figurent les déclarations islamiques des droits de l'homme, l'universalité de la religion musulmane, la particularité des droits de l'homme dans la charia et les droits des non musulmans en islam. (AFP, France, 17 octobre 2002)

* Maroc. Mouvement d'officiers libres - Un comité d'action des officiers libres des forces armées a fait son apparition au Maroc. Dans un communiqué transmis cette semaine à la presse étrangère, ses signataires --de jeunes officiers anonymes opérant au Sahara occidental, selon des sources françaises -- dénoncent "le pouvoir des généraux en place et de certains officiers supérieurs" qui puisent "dans les caisses des différents corps d'armée (...) au détriment des troupes et des hommes qui ont subi une constante détérioration de leur niveau de vie en caserne". Menaçant de "passer à l'action directe", le groupe demande au roi Mohammed VI de prendre en considération leurs revendications "pour le bien et l'avenir des Forces armées royales". Celles-ci incluent la mise à la retraite des patrons actuels de l'armée, un contrôle rigoureux des dépenses sociales des armées, la libération et l'intégration des officiers condamnés pour avoir dénoncé la corruption au sein de leurs unités. C'est la première fois qu'un mouvement des officiers libres apparaît au Maroc. (Le Monde, France, 18 octobre 2002)

* Maroc. Islamistes: non au gouvernement - Le lundi 21 octobre, la seule formation islamiste représentée au Parlement marocain, le Parti de la justice et du développement (PJD), après avoir pris connaissance des développements concernant la formation du futur gouvernement, s'est déclarée "non concernée" à y participer. Mais le conseil national du PJD, qui s'est réuni dimanche, s'est dit prêt à tenir une nouvelle réunion "en cas de développements consistants" à ce sujet. Lors du scrutin du 27 septembre, le PJD a obtenu 42 des 325 sièges que compte la Chambre des représentants, se positionnant comme la troisième force politique du pays. (PANA, Sénégal, 21 octobre 2002)

Weekly anb1024.txt - #4/7