Peace on Earth?: A year of massacres, coups and resolution of long-running conflicts

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The Independent Online
JANUARY

Middle East: Off-duty Israeli soldier opens fire in Hebron, wounding five people; Israeli warplanes bomb suspected Hezbollah strongholds in southern Lebanon; Israel and the Palestinians sign a pact on pullout from Hebron and parts of the West Bank.

Russia: Moscow completes troop withdrawal from Chechnya.

Sri Lanka: Separatist Tamil rebels launch major attacks on two northern military camps in Sri Lanka, killing 60.

Algeria: a car bombing and an armed attack on a village outside Algiers kill at least 66 people; attackers slit the throats of 45 people in villages south of Algiers; gunman kills the leader of Algeria's largest labour union.

FEBRUARY

Sri Lanka: Tamil rebels attack two government military bases, killing at least 48 people.

Albania: Parliament declares a state of emergency.

Middle East: Jordanian soldier opens fire, killing seven Israeli school girls on a field trip to the Jordan River.

MARCH

Zaire: Rebels take control of Kisangani, the third largest city.

Albania: US Marines evacuate hundreds of foreigners trapped by the insurgency. A boat carrying Albanians seeking refuge in Italy strikes an Italian navy ship and sinks.

Middle East: Israeli bulldozers begin carving up an east Jerusalem hilltop as work starts on a Jewish neighbourhood. Palestinian protest in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Papua New Guinea: More than 2,000 civilians riot in Port Moresby, against government contract with a British mercenary group to quash a nine-year rebellion on the island of Bougainville. Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan, resigns.

Disarmament: President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin hold summit in Helsinki and agree to slash their nuclear arsenals.

APRIL

Middle East: Jewish seminary students kill a Palestinian in Hebron, sparking riots in which troops kill two Palestinians.

Zaire: President Mobutu Sese Seko declares a state of emergency.

Peru: Peruvian troops storm the Japanese ambassador's mansion in Lima, and rescue 72 hostages held for four months. All 14 rebel captors, two soldiers and one hostage die.

MAY

Zaire: Mobutu gives up power after 32 years. Zaire's new leaders rename the nation the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Laurent Kabila is sworn in as president.

India/Pakistan: The countries leaders meet for the first time in four years and agree on measures to ease tension between their countries.

Afghanistan: The Taliban captures Afghanistan's northern provinces and drives warlord Rashid Dostum into exile.

Sierra Leone: Rebel soldiers led by Army Major Johnny Paul Koroma topple elected president in a bloody coup.

Europe: President Yeltsin signs a security agreement with Nato and pledges to no longer target Russia's nuclear weapons at Nato.

JUNE

Congo: Republic of Congo's government soldiers battle former president General Denis Sassou-Nguesso's 5,000-strong "Cobra" militias.

Cambodia: Pol Pot, ailing leader of Khmer Rouge, is captured and his 30-year guerrilla movement is over. Second Premier Hun Sen launches a coup d'etat.

JULY

Europe: Nato invites Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to join the alliance.

Cambodia: Hun Sen holds a Cabinet meeting and declares himself the country's sole master. Pol Pot is put on trial.

Bosnia: Nato holds first raid to capture Bosnian war crimes suspects, seizing three Bosnian Serbs and killing another.

Middle East: A double suicide bombing in crowded Jerusalem market kills 15 people, including the two bombers, and injures more than 150;

AUGUST

Algeria: Attackers massacre at least 300 villagers in Rais. Attackers slash to death another 47 people south of Algiers.

SEPTEMBER

Middle East: Suicide bombs rip through a mall in Jerusalem, killing seven and wounding 192. Hamas claims responsibility. Israel freezes handover of West Bank land; Lebanese guerrillas and soldiers attack an Israeli commando unit in southern Lebanon, killing at least 11.

Egypt: An Egyptian military court convicts 72 Islamic militants of subversion and sentences four to death; Gunmen open fire on a tour bus outside Cairo's Egyptian Museum, killing nine and injuring 50.

Disarmament: 89 states approve text of treaty on global ban on land mines, but US refuses.

Algeria: Armed men raid an Algerian village, killing at least 200 people.

OCTOBER

Congo: The UN orders its human rights investigators out of Congo until the government permits investigations of alleged massacres.

Middle East: Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas, returns to Gaza Strip after being freed by Israel in exchange for two Mossad agents; Israel releases nine Palestinian prisoners as part of a swap.

Disarmament: American Jody Williams and her International Campaign to Ban Landmines win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Iraq: Baghdad bars two US arms inspectors from entering the country.

NOVEMBER

Europe: Greek and Turkish prime ministers agree summit to implement a US-brokered, non-aggression pact.

Iraq: Iraqis turn back UN weapons inspection teams with American experts; UN votes to condemn Iraq and slaps a travel ban on selected Iraqi officials; UN withdraws all arms inspectors. They return after a Russian-brokered deal.

Egypt: Gunmen open fire on tourists outside a temple near Luxor, killing 68 and injuring 24.

DECEMBER

Bangladesh: Government and rebel negotiators sign an accord ending 22- year separatist wars.

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