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Thirteen alleged coup plotters will appear on 6 April before a military court in Burkina Faso, state prosecutor Abdoulaye Barry said on Monday at a press conference.

"The investigations were closed on March 12, and the job of the investigating magistrate has ended," Barry said.

He said four of the 17 original suspects were released last Friday. "These persons are no more charged with the facts they were accused of," Barry explained without giving further details.

The other 13 - 11 soldiers and two civilians - face prison terms of five to 20 years for plotting against, and endangering the security of the state. The alleged master mind of the coup, Captain Luther Wali Diapagri, is also charged with "treason". He is accused of having received financial and logistical support from neighbouring Cote d'Ivoire and Togo. However, the government has failed to say if the support came from state officials in these countries.

"Investigations have shown the involvement of foreign countries and the facts are real," Barry said, adding that the testimonies of persons questioned by the authorities "have convinced us that there has been intelligence with foreign powers".

The coup attempt, which was revealed in September 2003, has caused a profound malaise within the army. Several of the alleged coup plotters belonged or had belonged to president Blaise Compaore's guard unit.


Secondary and primary schools across Burundi reopened on Monday after teachers suspended a strike that began on 5 January.

"We accepted to return to work for the love of Burundi's children, we wanted to prove our goodwill unlike the government which, instead of resolving teachers' problem, complicates it," Philbert Ngenzahayo, a representative of the National Council of Secondary Education Staff, said
on Monday.

However, he said the teachers would resume the strike if the government refused to accede to their demands for better wages and housing allowances.

"We want to take the whole nation, parents and children as witnesses, to understand that if the strike is resumed it will have been due to the unwillingness of the government," he said.

The cash-strapped government had promised salary increases. Ngenzahayo said the government must pay salaries for the period the teachers were on strike if another stoppage was to be averted.

On Tuesday, gendarmes arrested two leaders of the two main teachers' unions but released them after several hours.

The representative of the Union of Burundi Educational Workers, Eulalie Nibizi, and the leader of the Free Union of Burundi Education, Adolphe Wakana, were arrested after they held a meeting with striking teachers in the capital, Bujumbura, to evaluate the stoppage. The arrests followed a
meeting on Tuesday with parents, senior officials of the Ministry of Education and student representatives, during which President Domitien Ndayizeye ordered security forces to take action.

On 9 February, some 15,000 primary school teachers joined their 5,000 striking secondary school colleagues, putting at least one million children out of school countrywide.


Central African Republic (CAR) leader Francois Bozize marked on Monday one year since he seized power, as exiled former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide left Bangui for Jamaica.

Bozize ousted President Ange-Felix Patasse in a coup on 15 March 2003, ending six months of rebellion that left the northwestern part of the country devastated.

The celebrations included a military parade Bangui, the CAR capital, as well as the decorations of those of fought in Bozize's rebellion. Others who were not actively involved in the fighting were also decorated. These included Communications Minister Parfait Mbay, Mining Minister Sylvain
Ndoutingaye as well as Bozize's son, Jean-Francis Bozize.

The celebrations occurred as Aristide, who arrived in the CAR on 1 March, left for Jamaica via Dakar, capital of Senegal. He left aboard an aircraft charted by Jamaican Prime Minister Persival Paterson, who headed a joint US-Jamaican delegation.

Aristide was accompanied by his wife, bodyguards and close aides. CAR authorities have not commented on Aristide's departure. However, Mbay confirmed that Aristide had left for Kingston, Jamaica, and that he was free to return to Bangui any time.

Since Aristide's arrived, some political leaders and human right organisations had opposed the asylum granted to Aristide and demanded his immediate departure. Aristide was accommodated at the presidential palace in Bangui.

On Sunday, Aristide and his wife celebrated mass in the Roman Catholic cathedral in Bangui, his first public appearance in the CAR.


NAIROBI, 15 March (IRIN) - An international committee overseeing the two-year transitional process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has again expressed concern over the national unity government's continuing failure to undertake key actions, as well as the "climate of
mistrust that has taken root in the government and its various constituent bodies".

In a statement issued on Friday following a meeting with President Joseph Kabila and his four vice presidents, the International Committee to Accompany the Transition (known by its French acronym, CIAT) called on the leaders of the transition to undertake efforts to re-establish a spirit of trust immediately; pass legislation necessary for the holding of elections; install a national government administration and integrated police force; accelerate the process of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration, as well as the integration of a unified national military;
and to normalise relations with neighbouring countries.

CIAT also said it "deplored" the "dangerous rise of a general climate of intolerance" with regard to the UN Mission in the DRC, known as MONUC, in areas such as the Kivus, Ituri, Katanga and Kinshasa.

"Those responsible for these digressions will bear a heavy responsibility before the Congolese people and the international community," CIAT said.

CIAT comprises ambassadors accredited to the Congo, meeting under the presidency of William Swing, the UN secretary-general's special representative to the country.

A national power-sharing government was inaugurated on 30 June 2003,
ostensibly bringing an end to nearly five years of war, and leading to the holding of nationwide elections within two years.


Foreign ministers from member states of the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), who met in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on 12 March to discuss the Somali peace talks, have supported moving the talks into their third and final phase, a communiqué said.

The ministers declared phase two of the talks "complete", saying that "the process is now moving into the preliminary stage of phase three", the communiqué issued on their behalf by IGAD added.

They welcomed the Safari Park agreement of 29 January between the Somali groups and "endorsed the clarification to the interpretation of Article 30 of the Charter" given by Kenyan Foreign Minister Kalonzo Musyoka, who is also the chairman of the IGAD ministerial facilitation committee for the Somali peace talks.

On that date, the leaders of the various Somali groups signed what has been described as "a landmark breakthrough" agreement on a number of contentious issues that had earlier plagued the peace talks.

Musyoka's 17 February clarification stated that members would be selected "at the subclan levels by recognised political leaders comprising the Transitional National Government, the National Salvation Council, regional administrations, the Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council, the G8 and civil society organisations, and be endorsed by genuine traditional

The ministers appealed to Somali leaders who were currently in Somalia "to return to Nairobi immediately to participate in the remaining part of the peace process". They directed the IGAD facilitation committee "to bring all the remaining authentic traditional leaders from Somalia to Nairobi within the next one week".

A number of leaders walked out of the talks and have been holding meetings in the town of Jowhar, 90 km north of Mogadishu, to consider convening a parallel conference in Somalia. Others still in Nairobi have since expressed reservations about the talks.

The IGAD ministers also welcomed the recent UN Security Council statement ondemning those who were obstructing the peace process, and stressed that those persisting on the path of confrontation and conflict would be held accountable.

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