War In The Balkans: Wars Around The World - Battles rage unseen from Africa to Asia

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The Independent Online
THE CONFLAGRATION in former Yugoslavia and the tide of refugees it has created has become the focus of international media attention. But, away from the cameras, there are dozens of wars going on around the world today, and 30 million displaced people living on aid handouts as a result.

Virtually unreported now are the hostilities of the last policing action by the West against what it considered an errant power. Yesterday allied planes pounded targets in Iraq, and Baghdad claimed US planes struck at the town of Afaj, south of the Iraqi capital, injuring two civilians.

Adversity has brought Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevich together. There are regular contacts between the military hierarchies of the two countries and some Serbian anti-aircraft tactics are based on the Iraqi experience.

Israel and its client, the South Lebanon Army, are enmeshed in Lebanon in a conflict against Hizbollah guerrillas that frequently spills over into Israel itself.

Islamist militants are also in action in Algeria, where rebels and the government have been blamed for massacres of civilians. Government troops yesterday regained control of a guerrilla stronghold east of Algiers after an offensive in which 50 rebels and 16 soldiers were reported killed.

In Sudan, where Islamists form the government, there has been civil war since 1983. The latest victims of the conflict are three Sudanese government officials and a Red Crescent worker who were killed by the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army after being taken captive.

In Kashmir, Muslim separatists are fighting to expel Indian forces. Eleven civilians and four rebels were killed yesterday in clashes with police and army.

In Angola, a ceasefire has all but broken down and this week heavy fighting has been taking place in Malanje, gateway to the capital, Luanda, with both government and rebel forces claiming successes.

In the past few days forces loyal to the Sierra Leone government have retaken the strategic diamond town of Segbwema from rebels. Here, however, there are hopes of a settlement, with the government agreeing to let the detained rebel leader, Foday Sankoh, meet his supporters.

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