Archive for Saturday, June 14, 2003


June 14, 2003



French troops move to protect city

French troops moved Friday to the outskirts of Bunia as fresh tribal fighting broke out in the troubled northeast Congo city where members of an international peacekeeping began arriving two weeks ago.

The clashes began near Hoho, three miles south of Bunia, after as many as 100 gunmen from the Lendu tribe tried to advance on Bunia, which is controlled by a faction of the Hema tribe known as the Congolese Union of Patriots.

At right, a Congolese Union of Patriots fighter stands in front of destroyed huts Friday on the outskirts of Bunia.

The French troops in Bunia, numbering about 400, are the first part of a 1,400-strong international force called in to reinforce 750 U.N. peacekeepers.


Meeting to focus on MIA recovery efforts

The United States, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos will meet for the first time to discuss working together to locate and repatriate soldiers who remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, a top U.S. official on recovery efforts said Friday.

More than 1,850 Americans still are missing from the war, while Vietnam estimates up to 300,000 of its communist soldiers remain unaccounted for. A count has never been given for missing South Vietnamese forces who sided with the United States.

The meeting -- in October in Bangkok, Thailand -- will focus on the teamwork necessary to locate the missing, said U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Jerry D. Jennings, who oversees prisoner of war and missing in action affairs.

Jennings made the announcement during his third visit to Vietnam since being appointed to the position in 2001.


Suspect arrested with nuclear material

Working closely with U.S. agents, police in Thailand arrested a man Friday who was trying to sell them radioactive material that could be used to make "dirty bombs."

Police did not say if the man was suspected of having terrorist connections, and U.S. officials said the material was not destined for weapons to be used against Americans, as originally suspected.

Thai police met Narong Penanam, 44, in the parking lot of a Bangkok hotel, where he gave them a metal container that he said contained uranium, police Col. Pisit Pisutisak said.

Narong -- who said he got the material from neighboring Laos and that his contacts there had more -- was expecting to sell it for $240,000.

An analysis of the material revealed it was not uranium but an industrial material suitable for making dirty bombs, which spread radioactive chemicals over a wide area.

Narong was charged with illegal possession of nuclear materials, punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of $240.


Liberian parties meet for cease-fire talks

Liberia's warring parties tried to hammer out details of a cease-fire Friday, while medics struggled to treat growing numbers of casualties in Liberia's rebel-besieged capital.

Government officials said days of fighting had left at least 300 dead.

"We are making very good progress. We are hopeful of signing a cease-fire document tomorrow," said Mohamed Ibn Chambas, executive secretary of the regional bloc arranging the peace conference in Akosombo, 75 miles northeast of Ghana's capital, Accra.

Liberia's main insurgency group, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, has surrounded Monrovia, the last stronghold of Charles Taylor, in its strongest drive yet to drive the warlord-turned-president from power.

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