Congolese Town Seized by Rebels

BUKAVU, Congo -- Renegade troops captured this strategic town Wednesday, setting off a crisis that could threaten the transitional government and a peace process that ended five years of war. The rebel officers complained of mistreatment by regional commanders.

Congo's president, Joseph Kabila, accused Rwandan troops of helping rebellious soldiers seize the eastern trading town on Rwanda's border. He vowed to fight back, raising fears of renewed warfare between the two countries. Rwanda denied any involvement.

The loss of Bukavu would be the biggest setback to the government since it was set up a year ago to end the civil war. About 3.5 million people died in the conflict, mainly through disease and famine.

At least 10 people were wounded in the fighting, said Lucia Alberghini, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Bukavu. Civilians looted two barges loaded with 300 tons of food aid, the U.N. World Food Program said, adding that unconfirmed reports indicated looters also raided a U.N. warehouse containing 1,000 tons of food.


* KABUL, Afghanistan -- Three foreign medical workers and two Afghans were killed when their car was ambushed in northwestern Afghanistan, police and an aid agency said. A spokesman for the Taliban militia asserted responsibility for the attack. The workers, from the group Doctors Without Borders, were ambushed in Khair Khana, a village in Badghis province 340 miles west of Kabul, the provincial police chief said. The assault was the deadliest on foreign aid workers since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Taliban in late 2001.

* MIRANSHAH, Pakistan -- An Afghan reporter held incommunicado for more than a month after entering Pakistan was freed, officials said. Sami Yousafzai, a regular contributor to Newsweek magazine, was arrested on April 21. Foreigners are not allowed into the tribal region bordering Afghanistan without permission.


* ISTANBUL -- As many as half of the women in Turkey are victims of domestic violence in a society where honor killings are still practiced against women, Amnesty International said in a report.

"Husbands, brothers, fathers and sons are responsible for most of these abuses. Sometimes they are acting on the orders of family councils who decide the punishment for women deemed to have infringed traditional codes of behavior," said Christina Curry, an Amnesty researcher. She estimated that as many as 70 women were killed each year for "dishonoring" their family.

* ANKARA, Turkey -- Kurdish guerrillas attacked troops in southeastern Turkey a day after rebels announced an end to a five-year unilateral truce, the Anatolian News Agency reported. One soldier was wounded.

* RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Suspected militants shot at U.S. military personnel in Saudi Arabia, adding to fears of instability that have sent oil prices to record highs.


* ALGIERS -- Insurgents ambushed a military convoy in eastern Algeria, killing at least 10 soldiers and wounding 45 in the deadliest attack this year, medical officials said. The attack was apparently carried out by the Islamic Salafist Group for Call and Combat.

-- From News Services