UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
Department of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Network
for West Africa
Tel: +225 21-63-35
Fax: +225 21-63-35
IRIN-WA Daily Media Update 30-97 of Events in West Africa, 15 August 1997
[As a supplement to its weekly roundups of main events in West Africa, IRIN-WA will produce a daily synopsis of international media reports on the region. IRIN issues these reports for the benefit of the humanitarian community but accepts no responsibility as to the accuracy of the original source.]
SIERRA LEONE - Kabbah to attend ECOWAS summit
President Alhaji Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, the ousted leader of Sierra Leone, is to head a Sierra Leonean delegation attending a two-day summit of the Economic Council of West Africa States (ECOWAS) scheduled to begin 27 August in Abuja, Nigeria. The situation in Sierra Leone is at the top of the summit agenda.
The ECOWAS Committee of Four on Sierra Leone, comprising the foreign ministers of Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Nigeria, have been meeting this week in Accra, Ghana to 'review their assignments' and pave the way for the coming summit. The meeting follows the breakdown of peace talks in Abidjan in late July when Sierra Leone's military leader, Major Johnny Paul Koroma announced that his regime would stay in power until 2001. Opening the two-day Accra meeting, Ghana's deputy foreign minister Victor Gbeho called for a speedy and successful end to the crisis. Yesterday (Thursday) an envoy from Guinean President Lansana Conte told Ghana's President Jerry Rawlings that a meeting scheduled between Conte and Koroma last week failed to take place. A delegation of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) from Freetown, led by former President Joseph Momoh, subsequently called on Conte to express regret about being unable to attend the meeting. Momoh told Conte that Koroma was still willing to meet with the Guinean president. Sources: BBC Monitoring, PANA & AFP.
SIERRA LEONE - UN may discuss sanctions
The United Nations Security Council may discuss the possibility of introducing sanctions against Sierra Leone's military government as early as Tuesday. Britain, which presides over the Council, intends to raise the issue next week, a diplomatic source told AFP. In a declaration dated 6 August the Council threatened unspecified "measures" would be taken against the AFRC if talks aimed at restoring the democratically elected government of President Tejan Kabbah were not resumed. ECOWAS also announced sanctions against the AFRC military government on 6 August. The UN statement supported the ECOWAS initiatives but stop short of full support of the sanctions which appeared to include humanitarian aid. Source: AFP.
SIERRA LEONE - Foreign minister returns to Freetown
One of the Sierra Leonean delegates at last month's failed Abidjan talks, Foreign Minister Paolo Bangura, met with Koroma at State House today after returning to Freetown last night. Bangura, who flew into Freetown on board a Sierra Leonean Army helicopter from Conakry, had been reported as having defected along with another Sierra Leonean representative who attended the Abidjan talks. Bangura told AFP that he had never left his job but was on an extended stay in Abidjan on personal matters. Bangura was a political science lecturer in the University of Sierra Leone before his appointment. Source: AFP.
LIBERIA - Peacekeepers redeployed
Force Commander, Major General Victor Malu has ordered the redeployment of ECOWAS peacekeeping troops (ECOMOG) throughout Liberia to "strengthen national security". The objective is to strengthen the borders of neighbouring countries, especially "troubled" Sierra Leone, and to reassure Liberian refugees in the area that the events in Sierra Leone would not spill over into Liberia, General Malu said. The force will also retrieve hidden caches of arms to make Liberia safer and to prevent the movement of arms from one country to another. Source: AFP.
General Malu also warned West Africa peacekeepers in Liberia against acts of indiscipline following an incident Monday when some of the Sierra Leonean contingent fired into the air to protest unpaid allowances. Malu made special reference to the incident and threatened serious penalties for unruly behaviour. Nigeria announced yesterday that it would pay welfare allowances of the 360 members of the Sierra Leonean contingent who have not been paid since last year. Source: Star Radio.
LIBERIA - Presidential nominees confirmed
Three candidates nominated for top government posts by Liberia's new president, Charles Taylor, were confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday. They are Foreign Minister Monie Captan; Planning Minister Sandra Howard and presidential Affairs Minister Ernest Eastman. Two others, Chief Justice designate Gloria Scott and Commerce Minister designate Bangale Fofana went before the Senate yesterday and two more, Peter Jallah of the Justice Ministry and Daniel Chea of National Defense are scheduled to appear today. In all, 19 candidates, including four from outside his own ruling party, have been submitted by Taylor. Source: Star Radio & AFP.
LIBERIA - New passports printed/call for policy review
Liberia's ministry of foreign affairs has announced that it has printed new passports to 'avoid the embarrassment and scandals' experienced over the past years. The new passport will be sold at US$ 20 each. The old passport will remain valid until the end of the year. The new foreign minister, Monie Captan, also announced this week that he is calling for a review of Liberia's foreign policy, including the streamlining of the country's foreign missions. Source: Star Radio.
MALI - Leaders charged with death of policeman
Ten leaders of Mali's main radical opposition have been charged with causing the death of a Malian police officer who was attacked after allegedly infiltrating an opposition rally. Opposition leaders were rounded up last Sunday - a day after the rally - and charged on Thursday with 'violence and assault and battery leading to the death of a person.' Among the accused are Almamy Sylla umbrella, opposition leader and former interior minister, Mohamed Lamine Traore, head of the Movement for Independence, Renewal and African Integration, Youssouf Traore of the Union of Democratic and Popular Forces and Mountago Tall, president of the National Congress of Democratic Initiative. The opposition leaders refused to recognise the court's competence. If found guilty they could face between five and ten years hard labour. The charges come one week after a meeting between newly re-elected President Aplha Oumar Konare and leaders of the radical opposition to defuse tensions resulting from the oppositions boycott of the elections. Source: AFP.
TOGO - Opposition members attacked
Unidentified assailants threw tear-gas canisters at the residence of the former Togolese prime minister Edem Kodjo late Wednesday night. The attack occurred as Kodjo and his guests was leaving the house. No injuries were reported. Kodjo is president of the opposition party, the Togolese Union for Democracy (Union Togolaise Pour la Democratie - UTD). According to an official communique of the UTD, the gas was allegedly thrown from a vehicle belonging to the national police. The head of police, Takougnandi, said the police were not informed of the incident until the following day - a delay which "surprised" him. He said the house guard's statement indicated that the assailants rode a motorcycle and that a vehicle resembling a police car had in fact passed the house just prior to the incident.
Kodjo was nominated prime minister by President Gnassingbe Eyadema in April 1994 and resigned in August 1996 after the opposition lost its majority in Parliament. Source: AFP.
In a separate incident, the leader of the main opposition party, the Action Committee for Renewal (Comite d'Action pour Renouveau -CAR), Yaovi Agboyibo, was assaulted by unknown assailants on Tuesday. The assault occurred in the Be-Gbenyedji neighbourhood of Lome, a densely populated area. Agboyibo was returning from a function at the residence of the US ambassador when his car was attacked. The driver was knocked unconscious and the assailants took off with the vehicle. An official CAR statement did not indicate if Agboyibo or his wife sustained any injuries. Source: PANA.
TOGO - Opposition continues boycott of Assembly
The Togolese parliament on Tuesday elected 17 new members to the National Human Rights Commission (Commission Nationale des Doits de l'Homme du Togo - CNDH). Togo was the first African state to create a Human Rights Commission, establishing the CNDH in 1987. However, the nomination hearings took place without the participation of the opposition, which holds 32 of the 81 seats. According to the leader of the main opposition party, CAR, the constitution states that such nominations require a consensus of two-thirds of the Assembly vote to be officially ratified. CAR also boycotted previous nomination hearings for members for the Constitutional Courts and the head of the Audiovisual and Communications Department.
Zeus Abjavon, the vice-president of the second largest opposition party, UTD, said his party refused to participate in the hearings as they were not informed as to how the nominees were selected. The UTD holds five seats in the Assembly. According to the government, candidates were proposed by several agencies including professional associations (law professors, lawyers, judges and doctors), the Togolese Red Cross, human rights associations, women's rights organisations, unions, religious councils and traditional chiefs.
The ruling party the Movement of Togolese People (Rassamblement du Peuple Togolais), which holds 42 of the Assembly seats, said the opposition should bring its concerns to the Assembly instead of boycotting it. Source: AFP.
LIBYA - Move for closer ties with landlocked Africa
Libya has announced that it will open its ports to landlocked Sahelian countries and urged other regional states to do the same. During the opening of a mini-African summit when he conferred honours on the visiting leaders of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger, Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said that closer relations must be developed between all African countries in order to face modern challenges. Sources: Libyan TV via BBC Monitoring.
Abidjan, 15 August 1997
[Via the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for West Africa (IRIN-WA) Reports mailing list. The material contained in this communication may not necessarily reflect the views of the UN or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts from this report should be attributed to the original sources where appropriate. For further information: e-mail email@example.com, Tel: +225 217367 Fax: +225 216335.]
------- Message-Id: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Fri, 15 Aug 1997 19:21:48 +0100 From: UN DHA IRIN - West Africa <email@example.com> Subject: IRIN-WA Daily Media Update 30-97, 15 August 1997 97.8.15
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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