Equatorial Guinea Installs New Government

Post Express (Lagos), 4 March 2001

Lagos—The new Prime Minister of the West African state of Equatorial Guinea, Candido Muatetame Rivas, has formed a new government, after the removal of his predecessor.

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema appointed Mr. Rivas following the resignation of the previous prime minister, Angel Serafin Seriche Dougan, who was blamed for creating a constitutional crisis.

Doungan's government was accused by President Nguema of failing to respect the opinion of the majority of the people of the country's interests.

Meanwhile, food aid has reached stranded refugees in Guinea for the first time for several months.

The UN's relief agency, the World Food Programme (WFP), says that a convoy of 11 trucks reached the Parrot's Beak area in southern Guinea.

United Nations officials described the delivery by local charities as a breakthrough.

Since fighting has broken out between Guinea and Liberian and Sierra Leonean rebels, hundreds of thousands of refugees have been trapped in southern Guinea.

The trucks, travelling in the first in a series of planned convoys, were carrying 58 tonnes of food destined for 4,000 people in three separate camps.

The Parrot's Beak area, which juts into rebel-held Sierra Leone, has been a no-go area for agencies.

The BBC's West Africa correspondent, Mark Doyle, says the area is one of the most dangerous places in the world with at least six armed factions operating there.

According to the WFP, the food has got through under the escort of the Guinea army.

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has been trying to move refugees further north to safety, but it has been unable to reach 135,000 Sierra Leoneans stranded in the Parrot's Beak.

There is a constant danger that fighting could flare up again and stop the aid effort.