OAU blames Sudan for Mubarak attack

If the Sudanese government was in any doubt about its growing isolation, the latest stinging rebuke from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) can have left little room for misunderstanding.

Meeting in Addis Ababa on Monday, OAU ministers charged that Sudan had played a key role in the attempt to assassinate the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, in June while on a visit to Ethiopia. The ministers also urged Sudan - which denies involvement in the attack - to stop backing terrorism or giving shelter to "terrorist elements". Three Egyptian Muslim radicals, alleged to have taken part in the murder bid, are said to be among countless terrorists being harboured by Khartoum.

The pan-African body declared that the attack on the Egyptian leader represented a threat to Africa as a whole. One diplomat said Monday's session had turned into "an open trial of the Sudanese government".

Since it seized power in a military coup six years ago, the Khartoum regime has increased its efforts to export fundamentalist Islam to neighbouring countries. Eritrea broke off diplomatic relations early this year, charging that Sudan provided military training for an insurgency organisation, calledJihad Eritrea. Uganda followed suit in April because of Khartoum's support of the Lord's Resistance Army, a Christian fundamentalist group seeking to overthrow President Yoweri Museveni's government. The attempted murder was felt by Ethiopia to be a severe embarrassment.

n Khartoum - Thousands of students and civilians protested against the military government on Monday. Police tried to quell the demonstration with tear gas, AP reports.