Archive for Monday, April 29, 2002

World Briefs

April 29, 2002

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Russia: Military hero, politician Alexander Lebed dies

Alexander Lebed, the gruff former general who helped defeat the 1991 hard-line Soviet coup, stave off a Communist challenge to Russian President Boris Yeltsin five years later and end the 1994-96 war in Chechnya, was killed Sunday in a helicopter crash. He was 52.

Lebed was fatally injured when the Mi-8 helicopter he was riding in hit a power line and crashed in foul weather in Krasnoyarsk, the austere and gargantuan Siberian region he had governed since 1998. At least seven others aboard were killed.

During the August 1991 hard-line coup against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, coup leaders ordered Lebed's troops to surround the Moscow stronghold where Yeltsin, the Russian president, was defying the coup. But Lebed refused to send in his forces.

In 1995, after a dispute with Yeltsin's defense minister, Lebed was forced to retire from the military. He was elected a member of the lower house of parliament later that year.

Germany: More details emerge about school killer

The teen-age gun enthusiast who killed 16 people and himself at his former school enjoyed violent computer games and kept his parents in the dark about his humiliating expulsion from school, police said Sunday.

Adding new details to the troubling profile of Robert Steinhaeuser, the 19-year-old behind one of the deadliest school shootings ever, investigators said that hours before his deadly rampage, he told his parents he was going to take a math exam. As he left the house, his mother wished him good luck.

"The parents thought he was going to school every day and was successfully moving toward his high school diploma," Police Chief Rainer Grube said.

Officials said Steinhaeuser, an expert marksman, walked into the building just before 11 a.m., used a bathroom to change into all-black clothing and a ski mask, then fatally shot 13 teachers more than a third of the faculty two teen-age students and a policeman.

Nepal: Security forces kill 28 Maoist rebels

Government forces attacked rebel training camps and hide-outs in the remote mountains of Nepal, killing at least 28 guerrillas over the weekend, the defense ministry said Sunday.

The latest government offensive came one day after a five-day nationwide strike ordered by the rebels ended Saturday. The strike shut down most of Nepal in the first two days, but businesses gradually reopened as people responded to the government's call to defy the rebels.

Guerrillas have waged an insurrection since 1996 in an attempt to topple the constitutional monarchy in the Himalayan kingdom and set up a communist state.

Rwanda: Tribal clashes intensify, leave scores dead

Fighting between rival tribesmen in northeastern Congo has left scores of people dead and injured during the last two weeks, a Ugandan army spokesman said Sunday.

Maj. Shaban Bantariza said Lendu militiamen, armed with assault rifles, machetes and bows and arrows, have killed "scores" of people from the smaller Hema tribe.

The attacks began early April, but intensified during the past two weeks on the hills and forests surrounding Lake Albert, around 44 miles east of the Ugandan border, Bantariza said.

The Hema and Lendu communities have fought periodically for decades over tea and coffee farms and cattle that form the backbone of the local economy.

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