Friday, January 23, 2004

FRENCH JOURNALIST'S ASSASSIN GETS 17 YEARS -- AMIN AND OBOTE SOLDIERS DEMAND COMPENSATION
The assassin of a Radio France Internationale journalist was sentenced to 17 years in prison. A military tribunal in the Ivory Coast commerical capital Abidjan handed down the sentence to Théodore Seri, who was convicted of fatally shooting RFI reporter Jean Hélène. Sergeant Seri had admitted grappling with Helene but had denied that the fatal shot was fired from his gun. Analysts fear that the verdict will further inflame anti-French feelings in Abijdan, which have already by fanned by the pro-government hate media and militias.

Now, the ridiculous. Soldiers during the Idi Amin and Milton Obote horror shows are demanding $470 million from the government, reports The East African. UGANDAN SOLDIERS who served under the governments of former presidents Milton Obote and Idi Amin but went into hiding after the late dictator was overthrown in 1979 have sued the government over unpaid salary arrears for 23 years amounting to Ush918 billion ($470 million), the weekly notes. Although the soldiers found themselves out of work after the Tanzania-backed invasion of Uganda saw Amin flee into exile, they were never officially dismissed by the government and now say they want their terminal benefits, gratuity, pension, food rations, clothing, travelling and professional allowances, interest as well as substantial damages and costs of the suit. They also want the court to order the government to issue their discharge certificates. These are the men who ensured the barbarous reigns of Amin and Obote.

A pan-African peace force is one step closer, claims The Daily Mail and Guardian. The plan to muster a continental peacekeeping force follows persistent criticism that the African Union, formerly the Organisation of African Unity, has too often stood idle as millions perished in some of Africa's deadliest civil wars. African leaders will give final approval for the force at an AU summit in Libya next month. For the first time its 40-year history, the AU sent a group of peacekeepers -- mainly from South Africa, Ethiopia and Mozambique -- to help defuse a rebellion in Burundi. The proposed force, which has garnered support from international leaders, is expected to include up to 10 000 troops.

Liberia's interim leader has warned his countrymen against 'jungle justice. Gyude Bryant warned the country's main rebel movement on Wednesday not to let its husband-wife leadership split grow into violence, saying UN forces would respond. "We will not allow the Lurd problem spilling into the communities and growing into larger things," Bryant said on Wednesday, referring to the main rebel group's decision to replace its leader with his wife.

Much to the chagrin of the Mugabe regime, Zimbabwe's leading independent paper is again publishing. The Daily News, the country's only independent daily, appeared on the streets on Thursday after a several month absence. It was shut down in September by the regime. In the lead story of the limited eight-page issue, the Daily News said state lawyers had conceded in court that police had no legal basis to occupy the paper's offices and printing press in the capital, Harare.

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