IRIN Update 625 of events in West Africa
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Network
for West Africa
Tel: +225 21 73 54
Fax: +225 21 63 35e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
NIGERIA: Kebbi Christians petition senate over Sharia
Christians in Kebbi have petitioned Nigeria's senate over plans by Governor Adamu Aliero to introduce Islamic law in the northern state, the Guardian reported.
The chairman of the Kebbi State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. James Audu Manga, warned the governor at a news conference in Abuja on Monday to shelve the planned introduction of Sharia or risk mass protests from Christians, 'The Guardian' reported.
NIGERIA: Jigawa State sets up committees to prepare for Sharia
The house of assembly of the northern Nigerian state of Jigawa has set up three preparatory committees following the adoption of a motion seeking the introduction of the Sharia in the state. The planning, enlightenment and execution committees have three months in which to submit their reports.
COTE D'IVOIRE: ECOWAS delegation expected
A delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was expected on Tuesday in Abidjan for talks with the new ruling Comite National de Salut Public (CNSP), news organisations announced.
The visit was decided at a meeting which the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council held on 29 December in Bamako, Mali, to discuss the overthrow on 24 December of the government of President Henri Konan Bedie. The Council, made up of the foreign ministers of 10 countries, "strongly condemned the military coup d'etat in Cote d'Ivoire," according to its final communique.
It called on the CNSP to set up a transitional government tasked with organising free and fair elections so as to re-establish constitutional legality and democratic institutions by June 2000. It asked the CNSP to free all political detainees, guarantee their safety, allow humanitarian organisations access to detention centres, and guarantee human rights throughout the country.
The meeting also agreed that the delegation, led by the chairman of the Mediation and Security Council and including ECOWAS Executive Secretary Lansana Kouyate, would go to Abidjan to inform the new authorities of the Committee's decisions.
The ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council comprises Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.
COTE D'IVOIRE: New cabinet by weekend, CNSP says
Local radio reported Cote d'Ivoire's ruling Comite National de Salut Public (CNSP) as saying that a new cabinet would be ready by the end of this week. The CNSP met on Monday with the leaders of political parties, which were asked last week by CNSP head General Robert Guei to propose candidates for posts in a transitional government. According to media reports, 11 of the 21 posts in the new government have been reserved for political parties while the rest will be occupied by the military and civil society.
LIBERIA: Diplomatic missions in arrears
The capacity of Liberian diplomatic missions to function is being severely affected by nearly US $30 million in arrears accumulated over a decade, PANA quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying on Thursday. Liberia has some 26 missions in various countries, mainly in Africa. Almost all have huge debts for rent, utilities and communications, and risk eviction, PANA said.
LIBERIA: New opposition party formed
A new opposition party, the New Democratic Alternative of Liberia (New DEAL), was officially formed on Monday in Liberia, AFP quoted party sources as saying. In its founding resolution New DEAL decried corruption and lack of accountability and promised to "promote accountability and honesty".
LIBERIA: Taylor invites rivals to return home
President Charles Taylor has invited two of his former civil war foes to return from exile and help rebuild the country. Liberian state radio said Taylor extended the invitation to Alhaji Kromah and George Boley but made no reference to another former faction leader, Roosevelt Johnson, whose forces were involved in a major shootout with government troops in September 1998.
CHAD: Human Rights body calls for peace talks
Chad's Alliance of Human Rights Associations has called on the government and anti-government forces to begin talks on ending fighting in the north of the country, Gabonese Africa No.1 radio reported on Sunday.
The Mouvement pour la Justice et la Democratie au Tchad (MJDT), led by former defence minister Youssouf Togoimi, has been fighting government forces in the northern region of Tibesti since 1998. A government delegation spent 47 days in 1999 in the north trying, in vain, to meet with Togoimi.
Late in December, 13 armed political groups formed a new alliance against Deby, calling themselves the Coordination des Mouvements Armes et Politiques de l'Opposition (CMAP). However, the MJDT did not join the CMAP.
The Alliance of Human Rights Associations also called for a national conference on the armed forces and the judiciary as well as for a similar forum on solving problems expected to affect the country in the coming years.
NIGER: New prime minister sworn in
Niger's new prime minister, Hama Amadou, was sworn in on Monday before the national assembly in Niamey, the official Voix du Sahel radio reported.
In his inaugural address, Hama said: "Our people are experiencing untold suffering, beginning with poverty, continuing with sickness, and very often followed by famine. "Our country's financial situation is disastrous. The state coffers are utterly empty."
Niger's president is Tandja Mamadou, who won the second round of presidential elections on 24 November.
EQUATORIAL GUINEA: Fires sweep through Malabo neighbourhoods
A fire that started on Monday in the poor high-density district of Campo Yaounde in the Equatorial Guinean capital, Malabo, destroyed some 40 homes but claimed no lives, AFP reported, quoting police sources.
The fire, which raged for three hours into Tuesday, was the second in as many days in Malabo. The police said a cigarette butt or fire cracker was its likely cause. The conflagration was put out by soldiers in a nearby base since the city's sole fire tender, at the airport, did not have enough to water to intervene.
On Saturday, a fire in the Malabo neighbourhood of Los Angeles destroyed 15 homes.
//CORRECTION// ATT. subscribers, Please note that the item titled 'Former opposition leader returns from exile' published in the IRIN-WEST AFRICA Weekly Update 52, should read as follows:
COTE D'IVOIRE: Former Prime Minister returns home
Former Ivoirian Prime Minister Alassane Dramane Ouattara was welcomed by chanting supporters at the Felix Houphouet Boigny International Airport when he returned from France on Wednesday.
Ouattara, who heads the Rassemblement des Republicains (RDR), had remained in France for about three months, during which top members of his party had been imprisoned and a warrant issued for his arrest.
All political prisoners have been freed and the warrant annulled by a court following the overthrow of the government of President Henri Konan Bedie in what Ouattara said, was "not a coup d'etat".
"This is a revolution supported by all the Ivorian people," the BBC quoted him as saying. "The previous regime was a dictatorship, so the changes that have taken place have helped to liberate the country and given the prospect to build a democracy."
Abidjan, 4 January 2000; 17:20 GMT
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