AFRICA UPDATE

By

Mandela, Buthelezi urged to meet

The South African government appealed to the country's most powerful black leaders yesterday to hold a quick peace summit after more than 15 people were killed in weekend political violence.

Law and Order Minister Hernus Kriel said political expediency appeared to be the only obstacle to a meeting between Nelson Mandela, president of the African National Congress (ANC), and Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, leader of the rival Zulu-based Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).

Recommended: Mandela on kids and family: Top quotes

Mr. Kriel urged Mr. Mandela and Mr. Buthelezi "to meet as rapidly as possible to end the violence."

Police said at least 11 people were killed in Johannesburg's Alexandra township and four near the Natal town of Wartburg over the weekend.Kriel said the killing in Alexandra, one of the country's most volatile townships, indicated that the upsurge in violence in Natal could be spreading to Johannesburg's industrial hub.

Natal, where more than 60 people have died in a week of fighting between the ANC and the IFP, has been a focus of United Nations and other international mediation.

President Frederik de Klerk has repeatedly appealed to the rival leaders to meet an settle their differences over South Africa's transition to multiracial democracy.

Mandela wants to meet Buthelezi in multilateral talks with all signatories to a national peace accord signed last year. Buthelezi said he would not attend such talks until he had met personally with Mandela. Angolan capital shelled despite UN cease-fire

Sporadic gunfire flared yesterday in Luanda, the capital of Angola, hours after a United Nations-brokered cease-fire took effect. Four days of clashes have left the capital in chaos and Angola on the verge of a return to civil war.

More than 1,000 people have died in fighting between government forces and the rebel National Union for the total Indepedence of Angola (UNITA), Angolan State Radio said yesterday.

A machine-gun battle raged for about an hour after a police armored car shelled UNITApositions in Luanda's diplomatic quarter before dawn. Explosions and gunfire were also heard to the east of the capital.

Tensions had been escalating since UNITA lost the nation's first free elections in late September to the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), with which it had fought a 16-year civil war. UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi contends that the elections were rigged, but UN officials failed to find evidence of cheating upon investigation of the charges.

Neither side received at least 50 percent of the vote, thus creating the need for a runoff. The elections were held under a 1990 peace accord to end a civil war that killed roughly 350,000.

The speed with which the cease-fire was worked out Sunday with UN, US, and Portuguese mediation, suggested that both sides wanted to step back from the brink of renewed nationwide conflict. The situation outside Luanda remained unclear. During Sunday's fighting, government forces pounded UNITA positions with mortar and machine-gun fire. Several of Savimbi top aides were reported dead or wounded yesterday. Rebels advance on Monrovia, Liberia

Liberian rebels fired mortars on the capital's airport yesterday, killing civilians as a Nigerian plane brought in reinforcement for the West African peacekeeping forces.

Meanwhile, Monrovia's Roman Catholic archbishop blamed rebel leader Charles Taylor for the slaying of five American nuns over the weekend.

The World Health Organizations says that more than 50 civilians have died during a two-week-old siege on Monrovia, which is swollen to twice its prewar population of 400,000 by refugees from outside the capital.

Taylor's forces control most of Liberia, while Monrovia is defended by a seven-nation West African military force that intervened two years ago to try to end the country's civil war.

Taylor's forces have infiltrated the northeastern suburbs, sending thousands of people to the city center. Airlines have stopped flying to Monrovia. Taylor vowed Saturday that he would isolate the capital by shelling the airport and seaport.

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...