At least 31 arrested after coup attempt in Ivory Coast...

FOREIGN DIGEST

January 09, 2001

At least 31 arrested after coup attempt in Ivory Coast

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast - Ivory Coast's security services have arrested at least 31 people, including a Liberian, suspected of involvement in a coup attempt in which at least six people were killed in this West African nation, government officials said yesterday.

Interior Minister Emile Boga Doudou told a news conference that in addition to two members of the security forces who were killed foiling the overnight coup attempt, at least four and maybe more of the plotters were killed.

Government spokesman Mamadou Koulibaly said some of the weapons seized were of Russian origin, unlike those used by the Ivorian army, which might indicate that the coup had support from people in neighboring countries.

Mayor of Colombian town says he was ambushed

BOGOTA, Colombia - A prominent critic of the U.S.-backed war on drugs in Colombia said yesterday that he narrowly survived an ambush that wounded his bodyguard. Manuel Alzate, mayor of the town of Puerto Asis, said he didn't know who was behind the attack Sunday in the heart of southern Colombia's cocaine producing region.

The region has become increasingly dangerous as rival groups fight for control of the coca fields and the millions of dollars in revenue they bring. Only six weeks earlier, gunmen shot and killed the mayor of the nearby town of Orito.

Con artist allegedly `sells' land in Brazil's rain forest

BRASILIA, Brazil - An alleged con artist is selling huge tracts of government land in the world's largest rain forest to U.S. and European environmentalists, telling them the territory will be set aside for conservation, the government said yesterday.

Falb Saraiva de Farias, head of a nongovernmental organization called "Forever Green," allegedly has peddled falsified land titles for an Amazon territory nearly the size of Ireland, according to a federal investigation.

German town official could lose job for Christmas card

FRANKFURT, Germany - A town official suspended for using the words "Sieg" and "Heil" in a Christmas card said yesterday that he had not intended to invoke the Nazi battle cry.

Johannes Greve, who is fighting the mayor's efforts to fire him as public works director, said he used "Heil" in wishing friends and colleagues "well-being," and the term "Sieg" merely meant he was wishing them "victory" and success at work in the new year.

Ex-Communists accused of protecting war criminal

PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Two former top Communist officials have been charged with abuse of power for protecting a war crimes suspect from possible prosecution in the 1960s, an official said yesterday. The two men were indicted for protecting SS officer Werner Tutter from prosecution for crimes he committed in Czechoslovakia in 1944.

Russian mushroom-pickers reported killed in Algeria

ALGIERS, Algeria - Islamic militants murdered four Russians who were picking mushrooms in a forest, in the first killings of foreigners reported in Algeria for nearly two years, sources close to security forces said yesterday.

The North African country has been hit by a bloody Islamist insurgency in which more than 100,000 people have been killed since 1992.

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