June 13, 2006 in Nation/World

Africans settle border dispute

The Spokesman-Review
 

Nigeria agreed Monday to withdraw troops from an oil-rich peninsula to settle a long-standing border dispute with Cameroon.

Nigeria pledged to withdraw troops from the Bakassi Peninsula to fulfill a ruling in 2002 by the Netherlands-based International Court of Justice, which said the area belongs to Cameroon.

The accord, four years in the making, was shepherded by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The U.N. chief watched President Paul Biya of Cameroon and President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria sign the document in Manhasset, N.Y.

“Our agreement today is a great achievement in conflict prevention, which practically reflects its cost-effectiveness when compared with the alternative of conflict resolution,” Obasanjo said.

Under the agreement, Nigerian troops must withdraw from the peninsula in 60 days, he said.

The two African countries began marking out their border earlier this year after decades of wrangling.

CONAKRY, Guinea

Postponed exams anger students

Students infuriated by a postponement of exams protested in Guinea’s capital and another city Monday, with some throwing rocks and burning tires. The Red Cross said six people were killed during the demonstrations.

Carrying signs and placards, the high school students and their supporters halted traffic in Conakry as they blamed the government for failing to plan for exams, delayed because their teachers are on strike.

Three people were killed in Conakry suburbs and three more died in Labe, a town about 300 miles north of the capital, the Red Cross said without giving further details.

Police said more than 6,000 people protested in Conakry, but the number of demonstrators in Labe wasn’t clear immediately.

High schools in the West African nation postponed exams indefinitely after teachers went on strike last week for higher wages.

Havana, Cuba

Electricity cut off to U.S. diplomats

Cuba has cut off electricity to the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana, a dramatic escalation of a campaign of harassment of American diplomats, which includes allegedly poisoning a family pet and shutting off water.

Electricity to the U.S. Interests Section – not quite an embassy because Cuba and the United States do not have formal diplomatic relations – was cut off at 3 a.m. on June 5, said Ashley Morris, a State Department spokeswoman.

U.S. officials believe the cutoff was deliberate because, although electricity in Cuba is notoriously unreliable, no other buildings in the neighborhood have been affected.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Cuban officials have not responded to U.S. requests that power be restored. The mission has been using emergency generators to continue normal operations, including interviews with visa applicants.

Cuba’s harassment appears to have increased after the U.S. mission put up an electronic billboard in January that scrolled messages critical of the government. In response, the government erected flagpoles nearby to block views of the billboard.

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