Nigerian Ruler Takes Tough Stance With Unions
NIGERIA'S military government ended speculation about whether it would drop treason charges against Moshood Abiola, the winner of the annulled June 1993 presidential elections, saying it had no plans to intervene in his trial.
The country's military leader, Gen. Sani Abacha, said he was dissolving the leaderships of two striking oil workers' unions and the national trade union federation.
His broadcast Wednesday left Nigerians convinced that his administration was ready to take tough action to try to end the country's worst political crisis since a civil war in 1970.
Leaders of the oil workers unions said yesterday they would press on with the strikes. The oil unions NUPENG and PENGASSAN have been at the forefront of labor stay-aways to try to force General Abacha's government to free Mr. Abiola. The umbrella Nigeria Labor Congress also staged a short-lived general strike to demand his freedom.
Abacha said administrators would be appointed to run the affairs of the two oil unions and the NLC. Last week, union leaders vowed to go underground and wage an offensive against the oil industry if they were banned. Japan to aid Rwandan refugees
PRIME Minister Tomiichi Murayama's Socialist Party agreed Wednesday to send Japanese troops to Africa to help Rwandan refugees. The Socialists have long opposed Japanese participation in United Nations missions, saying that would violate constitutional restraints on using force. But the party's top policymaker, Sukio Iwatare, said Japan could not ignore the plight of Rwandan refugees.
Meanwhile, in the French safety zone in Rwanda, soldiers of the defeated Rwandan Army threatened thousands of Rwandans to try to get them to flee to Zaire, UN and aid officials say.
The threats appeared to be part of an offensive by the ousted Hutu regime to make the country ungovernable under the Tutsi-dominated Rwanda Patriotic Front, which won the civil war last month. The ousted Hutu government is fueling rumors that RPF soldiers will kill refugees if they go home.
And in the camps in Goma, Zaire, Rwandan Army soldiers surrounded a UN warehouse and threatened to set off grenades if UN workers did not give them blankets and plastic sheeting.
UN staff and French soldiers negotiated with the Rwandan soldiers. Talks have dragged on with the military leaders on establishing a camp for the soldiers. Further south, 10,000 Hutu soldiers and militiamen remain exiled near Bukavu, Zaire.