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SIERRA LEONE: Priests threatened
Catholic priests critical of Sierra
Leone’s ruling Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) have received
anonymous death threats, a lay member of the church council told AFP on
Thursday. Church-goers were reportedly asked to pray for their clergy because
several priests had received threatening telephone calls in recent weeks.
According to AFP, the Catholic Church in Sierra Leone had offended the
AFRC by demanding the immediate restoration of President Alhaji Ahmad Tejan
Kabbah, who was ousted in a May coup by junior army officers. “These
threats have to come from the junta,” one Church official told AFP.
Meanwhile, Sierra Leone’s Inter-Church
Council also condemned the AFRC for the slow implementation of the Sierra
Leone peace plan, which allows for a return to civilian rule by 22 April.
Council president Llewlyn Rogers Wright told journalists all signatories
should show they were “sincere” about the accord negotiated in
the Guinean capital Conakry last October.
NIGERIA: Over 300 killed in kerosene
More than 300 people in Nigeria have
been killed in the past two weeks by explosions of lamps and stoves fueled
with highly inflammable adulterated kerosene, news reports said on Thursday.
Officials explained that kerosene mixed with petrol had found its way on
to the black market because of a shortage of petroluem products nationwide.
Managing director of state owned Pipeline Products Marketing Company (PPMC),
Alhaji Haruna Abubukar warned the public to be on the alert for black market
fuel. Earlier in the week, the government announced that it would
continue to import fuel because two of the country’s four oil refineries
were undergoing maintenance.
Vatican confirms papal visit in March
The Vatican on Friday confirmed in a
statement that Pope John Paul II would pay a two-day official visit to
Nigeria from 21 to 23 March, AFP reported. The Pope would visit Abuja,
federal capital, 514 km north of Lagos and Enugu, 350 km to the southeast.
He would also beatify a Nigerian priest. Earlier, news reports said that
Abuja was being readied to receive two million Roman Catholic pilgrims.
The Pope was invited by the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Nigeria.
His only other pilgrimage to Nigeria was in February 1982.
GHANA: Communal violence claims fifth
Communal violence between rival Muslim
sects in northern Ghana claimed a fifth victim this week, media sources
reported. Fighting between the Tijaniya and fundamentalist Al-Sunni sects
started last Friday in Wenchi, 320 km northwest of the capital Accra, in
a dispute over the ownership of a graveyard. According to Ghanaian radio,
the two sects have been in conflict over religious differences for two
SENEGAL: Union blocks pilgrimage
flights to Mecca
Air Afrique workers carried out their
threat to block Senegalese Muslims going on the hajj if they did not get
the contract to fly pilgrims to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, AFP reported on
Thursday. According to the news agency the Air Afrique workers’ union said
it would not service planes from Saudia Airlines which was awarded the
allegedly lucrative contract by Senegal’s transport minister earlier this
week. A union official rejected ministry claims that Saudia Airlines had
offered pilgrims cheaper fares.
Abidjan, 29 January 1998 17:15 gmt
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