January 17, 1996
Web posted at: 11:55 p.m. EST (0455 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States is granting a request from China and withdrawing a military attaché accused of spying in southern China.
"The United States has decided to have Lt. Col. (Bradley) Gerdes return to Washington permanently on January 19," spokesman Nicholas Burns said at a press conference Wednesday.
China said the U.S. Air Force colonel and Japanese air force Colonel Kenji Maetani infiltrated restricted military zones and obtained intelligence last week.
Gerdes, an assistant Air Force attaché based in Beijing, was detained on January 11 with a Japanese military attaché in Saixi, Guangdong Province, and held for 24 hours.
The U.S. State Department denies that Gerdes did anything covert.
Japan has also recalled its attaché. A foreign ministry spokesman in Tokyo said Maetani and Gerdes had unintentionally strayed into the military zone in a taxi during an official visit to the area.
MOGADISHU, Somalia (CNN) -- After fierce fighting overnight Tuesday, General Mohamed Farrah Aidid said his troops had captured the rival militia stronghold of Huddur. Sources said at least eight people were killed and seven others wounded.
Aidid said he invaded Somalia's third largest city after sundown Tuesday with a 400-strong militia and 30 technically trained soldiers as well as vehicles mounted with heavy weapons.
Huddur, located roughly 230 miles west of Mogadishu, has been the headquarters of the Rahanwein clan militia. Aidid ousted the group from Baidoa in September.
The expelled clan was reported to have moved south into the Somali National Front-controlled region. Thousands of Huddur residents fled into the countryside.
Aidid split from the United Somali Congress in 1991 and began a five-month battle against warlord Ali Mahdi Mohamed for control of Somalia. The fighting has left the city divided.
Also on Wednesday, a split was announced by several prominent members of the United Somali Congress led by Mohamed, who controls the northern half of Mogadishu. Both Aidid and Mohamed claim presidency of Somalia.
The breakaway members said they will set up their own political party.
PARIS (CNN) -- Algerian security forces have reportedly shot and killed 26 Muslim guerrillas in nine regions, including Algiers, during a six-day campaign.
The official Algerian news agency APS reported Wednesday that six guerrillas were killed in a farm just outside Gue de Constantine and in the Casbah district of Algiers in two separate operations Friday and Tuesday.
Eight of the other 20 rebels were shot and killed in the towns of Blida and Boumerdes between Friday and Wednesday.
Up to 50,000 people, mostly security forces and Muslim militants, have been killed in Algeria's civil war since 1992. The war broke out when government authorities canceled a general election which promised an Islamist victory.
MONROVIA, Liberia (CNN) -- Amid renewed fighting, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations arrived in Liberia Wednesday to discuss a way to end the country's civil war.
While ambassador Madeleine Albright met with peacekeeping and government leaders in Monrovia, rebels attacked peacekeepers in Todee, 37 miles away. The rebels, believed to be the ethnic Krahn faction of Roosevelt Johnson, were repelled by government forces.
"This country must not slide into the abyss of a devastating civil war again," Albright said. "The stability of West Africa is too important to permit a return to the power struggles of recent years."
The civil war has claimed 150,000 lives and displaced half of Liberia's 2.6 million people. A cease-fire signed in August 1995 has been repeatedly violated.
HYDERABAD, India (CNN) -- Indian political leader and former film star N.T. Rama Rao died of a heart attack early Thursday at the age of 73.
Rama Rao starred in hundreds of Indian films, usually in the role of a god, and was also the titular leader of India's leftist National Front alliance, a political alliance between his regionally-based Telegu Desam Party and the leftist Janata Dal.
After a bitter family feud last year, he was replaced as chief minister of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh by his son-in-law Chandrababu Naidu.
Rama Rao's Telegu Desam Party rose to power in state elections in December 1994.
He told Reuters last Wednesday that he planned to run in the general elections this April.
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres assured Palestinians on Wednesday that their first elections will take place as scheduled on Saturday, despite the guerrilla killings of two Israeli soldiers on Tuesday.
In a drive-by shooting, gunmen killed an Israeli army doctor and a medic near the West Bank town of Hebron. No one has claimed responsibility. Israeli security officials had warned such attacks were possible in the days before the elections.
About 700 candidates are vying for the 88 seats in the new Palestinian council.
ATHENS, Greece (CNN) -- A successor to former Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou will be elected on Thursday, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement leader said Wednesday. Papandreou resigned Monday. He had been hospitalized for eight weeks.
At least five candidates are expected to seek the office. By law, the ruling socialists have until Friday to replace the Papandreou, 76, who will retain his seat in Parliament.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Clinton administration is considering two steps to try to deal with the worsening humanitarian crisis in Burundi, where some estimates suggest 1,000 people are killed each week by warring Hutu and Tutsi factions.
One option under consideration is supporting a possible United Nations police or standby military force to protect relief workers. The support could be financial, material, and/or logistical.
Another option is establishing a new U.S. program to find and train "dependable" African armed forces that could act as a protection force.
Depending on U.N. recommendations, U.S. officials could announce final decisions next week.
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