AFRICA

Congolese Rebels Vow to Press On

KIGALI, Rwanda -- Congolese rebels said yesterday they will continue their fight to oust President Laurent Kabila despite their Rwandan allies' declaration of a cease-fire in the 10-month civil war.

Rwanda, which has backed the rebels with troops and equipment in southern and eastern Congo, began observing the cease-fire at midnight Friday.

The rebels have relied heavily on Rwandan troops, weapons, logistics and aircraft to advance across the broad savannah of southern Congo, where they fought intense battles last week outside the diamond center of Mbuji-Mayi. It was not immediately clear how the fighting could progress without Rwandan air and logistical support.

Sierra Leonean Rebel May Gain Freedom

LOME, Togo -- Sierra Leone is prepared to release the leader of the country's feared rebel movement as a gesture to improve peace prospects in the war-ravaged country, the justice minister said.

Justice Minister Solomon Berewa, who a day earlier said Foday Sankoh would be released only if a peace accord was reached, said the reversal was "the price to pay to bring lasting peace to Sierra Leone."

Peace talks between government officials and rebels had bogged down over the last two days in a dispute over whether Sankoh, the charismatic founder of the rebel Revolutionary United Front, would be freed. Sankoh was imprisoned two years ago and sentenced to death for treason in October.

THE AMERICAS

Panama Reinforces Border With Colombia

PANAMA CITY -- Panama reinforced police outposts on its Colombian border, a day after hundreds of villagers fled fearing violence between Colombian guerrillas and paramilitary bounty hunters. Panama's densely forested Darien Gap region on the border between Central and South America has been overrun by about about 500 rebels from Colombia's Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Meanwhile, Colombian President Andres Pastrana named a close political ally to replace the defense minister who resigned in protest at the government's handling of peace talks with Marxist rebels.

Latin Leaders Set for Summit With Europeans

MEXICO CITY -- Latin America will tell the European Union it wants to be treated as equals in politics and trade when 48 leaders from both regions meet in Brazil next month, Latin leaders declared at a summit here. Nine Latin American presidents and high-level representatives from five other countries in the region concluded the 13th Rio Group summit with a game plan for the upcoming transatlantic summit on June 28-29 in Rio de Janeiro.

ASIA

Indonesian Rebels Kill 9 in Ambush

MEDAN, Indonesia -- Separatist rebels shot dead nine Indonesian soldiers and police in the province of Aceh, the military said today.

Military officials in the Teuku Umar region, said 10 separatist rebels opened fire at a truck carrying troops and police yesterday in western Aceh's Setia Bakti district, 90 miles south of the provincial capital Banda Aceh.

Witnesses said the security forces had been on their way to Meulaboh town when rebels ambushed the truck and shot dead the police driver. The other troops and police then exchanged fire with the rebels.

Group Says Chinese Dissident Gets 4 Years

BEIJING -- A Chinese court has sentenced a dissident to four years in jail for posting leaflets demanding the government reverse its condemnation of the Tiananmen Square democracy movement, a rights group reported yesterday.

Zhang Youju's trial and sentencing came eight days before next Friday's sensitive 10th anniversary of the June 4 military assault that killed hundreds and ended the protests centered in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

Few Show Up for Indonesian Campaign Rally

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Campaigning for the ruling Golkar party fizzled when no one showed up for one rally and another drew 3,000 -- a fraction of the crowd that turned out a day earlier for a popular opposition leader.

The gathering paled in comparison to the turnout Friday for an opposition party headed by Megawati Sukarnoputri, the presidential front-runner. Hundreds of thousands brought the capital's traffic to a standstill in a show of support for the daughter of Indonesia's founding president, Sukarno.

Golkar, the party of former president Suharto, has drawn some crowds outside Jakarta but has kept a low profile in the sprawling metropolis of 11 million people. The vote is set for June 7.

EUROPE

Officers Injured in Clash in N. Ireland

PORTADOWN, Northern Ireland -- Police and British soldiers were attacked while keeping Protestants and Catholics from confronting each other at Northern Ireland's worst sectarian flash point.

The violence on Portadown's Garvaghy Road broke out during a march by youths from the Orange Order, a Protestant fraternal group, to the few Protestant-occupied streets on one end of the mainly Catholic road. Several officers were injured after being struck by bricks and rocks from both directions.

The Orange Order stages more than 2,000 marches across Northern Ireland annually, drawing intense objections from Catholics.

Turkish Leader Wants Security Court Reform

ANKARA, Turkey -- Reforming Turkey's heavily criticized security court system is at the top of the agenda for the new government, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said.

Ecevit's push for reform, announced one day after the cabinet was approved, could delay the treason case of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is scheduled to go to trial Monday before a security court.

FOR THE RECORD

WASHINGTON -- American and British jets fired on by Iraqi troops while the allies patrolled the southern "no-fly" zone attacked three Iraqi military sites, U.S. military authorities said.

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia -- The candidate of Slovakia's pro-Western government was favored to defeat former authoritarian prime minister Vladimir Meciar in a runoff in the country's first direct election for president. Official results were expected Sunday.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Kashmir is the core issue on which the future peace and stability of South Asia rests." -- Mushahid Hussain, Pakistan's minister of information.