|Saturday, April 1, 2000,
killings in Uganda
erupts on Japans island
suspends civilian flights
breaks ranks with govt over Elian
hits back at Republicans
increases forces in Kosovo
to honour Jews rescuers
Cult killings in Uganda
The police has arrested a district official in connection with the fire at the headquarters of the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God cult in Kanungu, Western Uganda, where at least 330 of its followers died.
This is the first arrest made in connection with the cult deaths in Uganda. At least 330 persons and perhaps 500 died at Kanungu and 395 bodies have been found buried in other cult compounds.
The police found 81 more bodies yesterday in Roshojwa in Bushenyi district at the home of a former cult member, Joseph Nyamwrinda, which was used as a meeting place.
In an interview broadcast yesterday from London, the Ugandan President, Mr Yoweri Museveni, accused district and regional officials of suppressing intelligence reports on the activities of the sect. The Assistant Resident District Commissioner, Robert Mutazindwa, who was formerly in charge of Kanungu, was picked up by the police this week and was being held for questioning.
He is held on suspicion about his role in the group and we hope that he will come out with evidence to help us in our investigation, said Mr John Kisembo, inspector-general of Police.
President Museveni said last week that he had heard reports that Mr Mutazindwa was a member of the cult and had suppressed negative reports about it. Those who hold Mr Mutazindwas title in Uganda also head the District Security Council.
There were also allegations that Mr Mutazindwa helped the cult attain charity status in 1993 and allowed the school at the Kanungu commune to reopen after it was closed down in 1998, when inspectors found pupils were maltreated, receiving inadequate nourishment and were subjected to hard labour.
Mr Nyamwrindas 80-year-old brother, who lived in the same compound and lost 18 of his relatives, claimed that he had no idea that anything sinister was going on. He said cult members moved in and out of the house and kept to themselves, communicating only in sign language.
After Joseph joined these people, he just ignored us, he said. I hated this group.
The police, which has a 20-strong team based in Western Uganda to coordinate the case, has come under criticism for its investigation of the deaths.
On Monday, it exhumed bodies from the garden of one of the cult leaders, Father Dominic Kataribabo, buried them again, and was forced to exhume them once more the next day when the pathologist arrived from the capital, Kampala.
We are not able to handle cases on this level. We are overwhelmed, the head of the Criminal Investigations Department, Mr Erasmus Opio, said.
We are not able to cope. That is why I would welcome any foreign assistance. We would be very willing to receive any help from abroad on this case.
There is still no indication why the cult turned murderous. But the fact that the bodies exhumed from all three sites had been killed within the past two months lends weight to the theory that the groups leaders decided to kill its members when their prediction that the world would end in the year 2000 failed to materialise.
In the wake of the massacre, the police has begun to crack down on some other religious groups. On Tuesday it dispersed 200 members of the Universal Apostolic Church for the Restless in Mukono, eastern Uganda, and arrested its leader.
We are now being alert, Mr Opio said. Any suspicions about a group and we have to investigate.
Volcano erupts on Japans island
DATE (Japan), March 31 (Reuters) The Mount Usu volcano erupted on Japans northern island of Hokkaido today, spewing a huge column of grey-black smoke and ash hundreds of feet into the air.
The eruption took place without sound, without any particular earthquake, said Tsutomu Kikuchi, an official in the nearby town of Toya.
Local officials were calling on residents to monitor the eruption closely from the safety of their homes and to respond calmly, he said.
Nearly 12,000 residents had already been evacuated from a widening region at the foot of the volcano and restrictions had been imposed several days ago prohibiting entry into such areas.
The snow-capped 732-metre volcano was shrouded by the billowing smoke from the eruption, which appeared to have blown out from one side of the mountain near its summit.
Thousands of earthquakes and tremors had been rumbling through the region since Sunday as the mountain prepared to blow its top.
Officials have warned of possible mudslides because snow blanketing the slopes of the cone-shaped mountain could melt rapidly in the event of an eruption.
Some 3,300 troops were already on standby, preparing food, water and blankets in case a full evacuation of the area became necessary, and 40 others were on reconnaissance missions around the mountain, including some in helicopters.
A Hokkaido government official said 55,000 persons living in five towns around the foot of the mountain, including the hot spring resort town of Toya, could be affected by an eruption.
Train services in the area had been disrupted but flights had not been diverted, officials said.
Mount Usu last erupted in 1978 after a series of earthquakes. Mudslides triggered by that eruption killed three persons.
Officials have also
warned that there is a chance that an eruption at Mount
Usu could mimic the deadly flow of superheated gas and
ash from Mount Fugen in Southern Japan in 1991, which
killed 43 persons.
Lanka suspends civilian flights
COLOMBO, March 31 (AFP) The Sri Lankan air force has suspended civilian flights from the embattled northern Peninsula of Jaffna after a military transporter crashed killing 40 persons, officials said today.
Civilian flights were stopped pending an investigation into yesterdays crash of a Russian-built Antonov AN-26 plane in northcentral Sri Lanka, the military officials said.
The plane was transporting troops out of Jaffna. It was owned by a private company and chartered by the air force which is hard-pressed for planes to maintain an air bridge to the peninsula.
Air transportation is vital because the main land access to the region is held by Tamil Tiger guerrillas who are fighting for an independent homeland in the islands northeast.
The military action in halting civilian flights comes on top of an order by Civil Aviation authorities grounding Antonov aircraft operated by local private airlines for regional cargo services.
Meanwhile, The government has appointed a four-member committee, comprising Defence personnel, to investigate the cause of yesterdays crash of the Russian built AN-26 plane.
The Defence Ministry said the crash occurred due to a technical fault.
It was the second Antonov series aircraft involved in a crash within one week.
Gore breaks ranks with govt over Elian
WASHINGTON, March 31 (Reuters) Cuban President Fidel Castro raised the stakes in a tug-of-war drama over shipwreck survivor Elian Gonzalez, while Vice-President Al Gore broke ranks with the Clinton Administration over the boy.
Elians father wants his six-year-old son who survived a migrant smuggling voyage to the USA in which his mother died back in Cuba, but Cuban exiles back the boys Miami relatives who are under pressure to give him up if they lose a court appeal for Elian to be given political asylum.
The four-month custody battle revolves around whether the boy should grow up with his father in Castros Communist Cuba or with his relatives in the USA.
A lawyer for the father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, yesterday started the process of securing a visa for him and other family members to try to win custody, while Mr Castros government said its surprise proposal for a 31-member delegation to take charge of the motherless boy was non-negotiable.
It should be absolutely clear ... that the presence of the boys, the teachers, the psychologists and the psychiatrists, and the specialist medical personnel needed for the recovery and reinsertion of Elian to his family is non-negotiable, a government statement said.
With Mr Castro making elaborate preparations, Mr Gore broke with the White House by urging Congress to pass a Bill to make Elian and his immediate family permanent U.S. residents, a move political analysts said was aimed at securing him votes in Florida in Novembers presidential election.
In Miami, the U.S. Government delayed until next Tuesday any move to remove Elian from the custody of his Miami relatives. Talks between lawyers and immigration officials resume on Monday.
Sharifs relatives hopeful
ISLAMABAD, March 31 (UNI) All the accused in the PIA hijacking conspiracy case, including deposed Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are optimistic about their fate even as the trial court is scheduled to give judgement on April 6.
According to the lawyers of the deposed Prime Minister, who met Mr Sharif in the Karachi jail along with his friends and relatives, they found all the accused happy and optimistic about their fate.
The accused were of the view that the first ray of the sun on April 6 would bring them good news and were hopeful that they would be released honourably, the lawyers said.
The lawyers of Mr Sharif and his family members remained with Mr Sharif for more than two hours. The relatives of all other accused were also present with them.
Meanwhile, according to a report received here from Jakrata, the Chief Executive Gen Parvez Musharraf, when asked to comment on press reports that Mr Sharif might be released, said at a press conference that he could not put the cart before the horse.
Let the court give verdict, only then I will decide my line of action, he said, adding that he was not a vindictive man.
Clinton hits back at Republicans
WASHINGTON, March 31 (PTI) US President Bill Clinton has hit back at Republicans for accusing him of failing to make India and Pakistan agree to sign the CTBT, saying the refusal by the Senate to ratify the treaty has resulted in the loss of his leverage.
Charging the Republicans, who dominated the Senate, with having no guilt and shame, Mr Clinton told the Democratic National Committee here yesterday: I cannot imagine a reason for the USA not to sign the CTBT unless you believe that we will be more secure because you think we can always win any arms race....
So, it is okay if everybody else starts to get in the nuclear business as well, he added.
Referring to the
Republican criticism, Mr Clinton said: I noticed a
member of the other party in the Senate was criticising
me for going to India and Pakistan because I did not get
anything for it. That is, they did not agree to
sign the CTBT or to the other efforts that I am making to
try to stop them from building up nuclear weapons.
USA increases forces in Kosovo
WASHINGTON, March 31 (Reuters) The USA said it was sending extra reconnaissance troops to Kosovo and tanks to Macedonia after rising tensions following the activity of ethnic Albanian guerrillas in southern Serbia.
Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon yesterday said 125 special US reconnaissance troops were being sent from Germany to help patrol the border between Kosovo and the Presevo valley in Serbia, where NATO commanders fear a possible resurgence of fighting between Albanians and Serbs.
He also said 14 tanks and six artillery pieces were being sent to a US armoured company in Skopje, Macedonia, partly to serve as a deterrent along the border with Serbia.
UN to honour Jews rescuers
NEW YORK, March 31 (DPA) Countries, whose diplomats shielded Jewish people and helped them escape Nazi persecution during World War II, will be honoured next week for the first time at the United Nations, it has been announced.
Representatives from 24
countries known for contributing to assisting the Jews
will take part in the ceremony, including the ambassadors
of Poland and Turkey, who personally helped rescue groups
of Jews from being sent to gas chambers in Germany.
bomber kills 37
marriage shocks Nepal
point to sexual orientation
files harassment suit
station in Edinburgh
Tower of Pisa
now leans less
ordered to quit
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