UN, US appeal to Angola's Savimbi on election

International efforts intensified yesterday to convince former Angolan rebel chief Jonas Savimbi to accept the results of last week's elections and avert a return to war.

Following appeals to Mr. Savimbi by the United Nations Security Council and Washington to abide by peace accords signed last year, UN and international observers met Savimbi's National Union for the Independence of Angola (UNITA) and election officials to probe complaints of fraud.

The Sept. 29-30 vote was judged free and fair by the observers, who hoped it would seal the transition to democracy after 17 years of war between UNITA and the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). But Savimbi, trailing in provisional results behind the MPLA, cried fraud and on Monday withdrew his forces from a new unified Army.

The National Electoral Council stopped giving out results on Tuesday, but its last figures showed President Jose Eduardo dos Santos with 50.83 percent versus Savimbi's 39.39 percent.

Angolan Foreign Minister Pedero de Castro van Dunem (Loy) said Savimbi is welcome to join the national unity government so long as he accepts his party's defeat in last week's election. Nigeria's presidential primaries are on hold

Nigeria's return to civilian rule was in question yesterday after the country's military leader suspended political activity. Weekend primary elections were marred by charges of widespread fraud.

The National Electoral Commission has been ordered to investigate all allegations of "illegal use of wealth, intimidation, and other forms of electoral fraud," the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) said in a statement Tuesday. Political activity was suspended indefinitely for the review.

Military sources said Gen. Ibrahim Babangida was angered by the conduct of primaries, held in three stages last month.

This suspension occurs as a wave of violence has hit Lagos, Nigeria's biggest city, and other scattered areas. Since late July, scores of Nigerians, two Britons, and an engineer from the former Yugoslavia have been killed in incidents rooted in economic and emerging political problems.

Nigeria's debt-ridden economy has boosted urban unemployment to about 40 percent, according to bankers in Lagos. Rising crime has propelled many people toward poverty. Rwandans make progress in peace talks

Rwanda's government and rebels are making headway in fresh peace talks to end their two-year civil war after quarrels over powersharing last month, diplomats said yesterday.

Negotiations broke down last month after the rebel Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) refused proposals to join an interim government under President Juvenal Habyarimana. It demanded that a seven-person council rule the tiny central African nation for a transitional period before multiparty elections.

The RPF is demanding sweeping reforms in the legislature and judiciary. The rebels also demand that their forces be integrated into the national army and want thousands of refugees mainly from the minority Tutsi tribe to have the right to return home after living in exile for decades. Zaire's Mobutu calls for reconciliation

President Mobutu Sese Seko has called on all of Zaire's political groups to meet to defuse a developing crisis pitting his supporters against reformist Prime Minister Etienne Tshisekedi.

In a challenge to Mr. Tshisekedi's authority, troops under Mr. Mobutu's command briefly surrounded parliament on Monday to protect a rebel session of Zaire's National Assembly.

The Assembly, dissolved six weeks ago by a national pro-democracy conference, wanted to reconvene to debate a new constitution, a task the conference is supposed to perform.

Troops have also surrounded the central bank in Kinshasa and are ensuring that sacked Gov. Nyemba Shabani can get access to his offices. Tshisekedi, a longtime adversary to Mobutu who has been given the task of guiding Zaire to multiparty democracy, suspended Mr. Nyemba last week. He accused the governor of fueling rampant inflation by flooding the black market with bank notes.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.