Bremer visits Mosul to meet with city council

THE top US official in Iraq went north yesterday, meeting with an American-installed city council in Mosul and surveying the challenges he faces in getting that ethnically volatile section of the country moving once again.

In Baghdad, one of Saddam Hussein’s most trusted generals, the former secretary of the feared Republican Guard, surrendered to US forces on Saturday, the US military said.

Kamal Mustafa Abdallah Sultan al-Tikriti, who is also Saddam’s cousin, became only the second top 10 figure from a US list of 55 wanted fugitives to be taken into US custody.

“He (Tikriti) surrendered to coalition forces early this morning in Baghdad,” US Central Command in Florida said in a statement, adding he was a member of Saddam’s “inner circle.”

Also in Baghdad, where US efforts to restore security have encountered obstacles and complaints, the military said its efforts to put Iraqi police back on the streets were working.

A survey of the capital’s 43 police stations by the Coalition Joint Task Force found 86 percent of the 8,200-strong prewar police force was back on the job.

Meanwhile, Paul Bremer, nearly a week into his tenure as Iraq’s civilian administrator, met yesterday behind closed doors with Mosul’s council.

That body was installed earlier this month by Mosul political figures under US supervision and billed as northern Iraq’s first step toward democratic self-rule.

The United States, as it consolidates control, is trying to make sure it supervises any armed groups in postwar Iraq.

More than 2,000 tanks and other military vehicles owned by the Iraq-based Iranian opposition group Mujahedeen Khalq have been turned over to the US Army’s 4th Infantry Division, US Central Command in Florida said Saturday.

The Mujahedeen Khalq, which opposes Iran’s clerical regime, agreed to disarm a week ago as part of an accord struck after US forces ordered it to surrender or face attack.

One soldier from the US Army’s V Corps was killed and three others were injured Saturday when a piece of unexploded ordnance blew up in Baghdad, the coalition said.

Plans to help Iraq’s children were moving forward. UNICEF director Carol Bellamy said that her agency has secured $70 million in pledges for an emergency six-month program. The organisation wants to raise $165m.

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