High Turnout in Mozambique Vote
A big turnout is being reported in Mozambique as people queue to vote in an election for a new president, parliament and regional assemblies. The BBC’s Jose Tembe in Maputo says there is an air of excitement – a marked difference to 2004 when only 34% of those eligible cast their vote. The campaign has been dominated by the emergence of a new political party. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8329125.stm
Somalia President Escapes Surprise Attack
Somalia’s president escaped an opportunistic attack by Islamic militants Wednesday as deadly fighting erupted in the center of Mogadishu, officials said. Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was returning from a trip to Yemen when insurgents began firing mortars, resulted in a clash with African Union peacekeepers, the president’s director of communications told CNN. “The Islamic insurgents were just guessing the arrival of the president so they started firing mortars, just to send a kind of their regular violent message that they are around,” said Abdulkadir Barnamij. http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/10/28/somalia.shelling.president/index.html
Guinea Forces ‘Planned Crackdown’
A deadly crackdown on protesters in Guinea in September was “premeditated and pre-planned at the highest level”, Human Rights Watch has told the BBC. Soldiers deployed at the sports stadium where protesters had gathered blocked the exits before systematically killing and raping protesters, the group says. Activists say 157 people were killed but officials say far fewer died and claim most were trampled to eath.
Jail Terms for ‘Angola-Gate’ Guilty
Arkadi Gaydamak, a Russian-born Israeli businessman and Pierre Falcone, his French associate, have been sentenced to six-year jail terms for organising the illegal trafficking of weapons to Angola. Gaydamak, who fled France before the trial, and Falcone were among 42 politicians, businessmen and members of the Paris elite accused of defying a UN embargo to arm the Angolan government during a civil war in the 1990s. Charles Pasqua, France’s former interior minister, was handed a one-year jail term on Tuesday for his involvement in the case dubbed “Angola-gate”. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2009/10/20091027144327509993.html