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Conflict & emergencies

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Somalia: Explosion rocks Somali parliament

2012-11-07, Issue 605

A large explosion has rocked the Somali capital Mogadishu, killing one person, the AFP news agency reported, citing its own reporter who was at the scene of the blast. The cause of Wednesday's (7 November) explosion was not immediately clear. The blast, believed to be a car bomb set off close to the parliament, is the latest in a string of attacks in the war-ravaged Mogadishu.

Nigeria: Floods displace two million, kill 363

2012-11-07, Issue 605

More than two million Nigerians have been forced from their homes by this year's floods, officials say. The National Emergency Management Agency (Nema) says the heavy rains killed 363 people since July. The worst floods in five decades have affected many areas of the country - especially near the River Niger.

Mali: Summit in Abuja over intervention plan

2012-11-08, Issue 605

West African heads of state will meet in Abuja on Sunday to adopt a plan for their troops to recapture northern Mali from radical Islamists, the grouping said in a statement. Once approved by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) leaders, the strategy 'will then be transmitted through the African Union, before November 15, to the UN Security Council'.

Mali: African leaders prepare for north Mali assault with over 3000-strong force

2012-11-12, Issue 605

West African nations have agreed to send a 3,300-strong invasion force to take back northern Mali from Islamists. The agreement occurred at an emergency summit of ECOWAS, a bloc of West African nations that has been discussing military actions in Mali for the last several months.

Somalia: al Shabaab, squeezed in south, move to Puntland

2012-11-12, Issue 605

Somalia's al Qaeda-linked militants are moving north into the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, long regarded as a relatively peaceful area, after having been squeezed out of their strongholds further south, the president of Puntland said. Until now, Puntland has largely escaped the worst of the upheaval in Somalia, which has been deprived of an effective central government for the past two decades.

Uganda: Secret talks with Congolese rebels

2012-11-13, Issue 605

President Museveni has been in touch with the Congolese rebel group, the M23, and told them to stop fighting, Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga has revealed. Dr Kiyonga told the Sunday Monitor newspaper, in an exclusive interview, that secret meetings have been going on between Ugandan authorities and the rebels fighting President Joseph Kabila’s government, following a request by the Secretary General of International Conference for Great Lakes Region, Mr Ntumba Luaba. The revelation by the minister comes at a time when Uganda is fighting to clear its name with the UN, who, in a leaked report, accused Uganda of supporting the rebel group.

Kenya: Police hunts for suspects in police attack

2012-11-13, Issue 605

Police in Kenya say 42 officers are now known to have been killed in the deadliest attack on police in the country's history. The officers were chasing suspected cattle rustlers on Saturday when a gun battle broke out in the remote Samburu district. Some police were airlifted to hospitals in Nairobi for treatment but later died from their injuries.

Western Sahara: UN envoy warns against Western Sahara crisis

2012-11-14, Issue 605

The UN special envoy to Western Sahara says the Moroccan government and the Polisario Front rebels must resolve their dispute before lingering hostilities plunge the entire North Africa into renewed conflict. The Polisario Front fought a guerrilla war against Moroccan forces until 1991, when the United Nations mediated a ceasefire between the two sides with the agreement that a referendum would be held to determine the final status of the territory. However, the plebiscite has never been held.

Africa: 3,000 more US soldiers are on the way

2012-10-31, Issue 604

Army Times news service reported that the U.S. is expected to deploy more than 3,000 soldiers to Africa in 2013. They will be assigned to every part of the continent. Major General David R. Hogg mused: 'As far as our mission goes, it’s uncharted territory.' But the presence of US soldiers in Africa is nothing new, and even though Hogg is unwilling to admit it, the obvious mission is to lock down the entire continent.

Somalia: Experts warn war against Al Shabaab far from won

2012-10-31, Issue 604

They may have been routed from their stronghold of Kismayo, but the Al Shabaab militants could be re-grouping for a major assault on Kenyan and the African Union forces. Security analysts at the South African-based think tank – the Institute of Security Studies – are warning that the war against the terror group may be far from over. In a report on conflict prevention and risk analysis in Africa released last week, the Pretoria-based group says the celebration over the fall of Kismayo may have been premature.

Sudan: Sudan dismisses Israeli concerns on arms supplies

2012-10-31, Issue 604

Sudan dismissed as 'misleading' Israeli allegations it supplies arms to foes of the Jewish state and said there was no foreign involvement in a munitions factory Khartoum says was bombed by Israel. The poor Muslim East African country has long been seen by Israel as a conduit for weapons smuggled to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, via the Egyptian Sinai desert. Four people were killed after fire broke out a week ago at the Yarmouk arms factory in the south of Khartoum, and the following day Sudan said an Israeli air strike was responsible.

Nigeria: Zamfara villagers 'murdered'

2012-10-31, Issue 604

Gunmen have killed 20 people, including a traditional leader, in an attack on a village in northern Nigeria's Zamfara state, a local official has said. The attackers stormed Kaboro village and began shooting indiscriminately.

Africa: Africa Is Not Afghanistan

2012-11-01, Issue 604

General David Rodriguez has been nominated to be the next commander of AFRICOM. In this blog post on the Centre for Global Development site, Kate Almquist Knopf gives him a briefing on his new role. In one point, she writes: 'Africa is not a hotbed of terrorism, as some articles announcing your nomination claim, but we can help make it one by treating it as such. AQIM; al-Shabaab; Boko Haram; LRA; and the sundry homegrown violent extremist organizations in North Africa pose serious local and regional challenges, but they do not pose serious threats to our homeland. American kinetic responses are just as likely to engender threats to the US as to reduce them.'

Nigeria: Nigerian forces making Islamist insurgency worse, says Amnesty

2012-11-01, Issue 604

Human rights abuses committed by Nigeria's security forces in their fight against Islamist sect Boko Haram are fuelling the very insurgency they are meant to quell, Amnesty International said. The Amnesty report said Nigeria's security forces acted outside the rule of law and their brutal tactics could build support for Boko Haram outside its extremist core.

Libya: Militias clash in Libyan capital

2012-11-05, Issue 604

Rival Libyan militias fired guns and rocket-propelled grenades at each other in Tripoli on Sunday and set fire to a former intelligence building, one of the worst breakdowns in security in the capital since Muammar Gaddafi's fall. At least five people were wounded and a stray bullet entered a hospital in the heart of the city, where residents rushed to arm themselves, saying calls to police had gone unheeded. After more than 12 hours, the army moved in to restore order.

Nigeria: Military curfew slowly strangling Nigerian town

2012-11-05, Issue 604

A recent military curfew imposed on the violence-wracked north-eastern Nigerian town of Potiskum has not only made life unbearable for residents, but it has also reduced their chances of survival. Hundreds of civilians are living in fear in the town in Yobe State after the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, a sect that wants to impose Sharia law on the country, waged an assault there on 18 October, resulting in the death of more than 30 people. Dr. Bawa Abdullahi Wase, a senior research fellow on ethnicity, inequality and human security, told IPS that in a developing country like Nigeria a large number of people have to go out every day to look for food at markets and other places.

Kenya: Kenya among Africa’s top spenders on military

2012-11-05, Issue 604

Kenya has been ranked among the countries with the highest defence budgets in Africa, thanks to two decades of a steady increase in military expenditure. It is ranked seventh behind Algeria, South Africa, Angola, Libya, Nigeria, Egypt and Morocco, having surpassed Tunisia last year. The country spent Sh45.8 billion last year down from Sh47.7 billion the previous year but remained by far the highest in East Africa relative to its GDP, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), an independent research organisation. Algeria had the highest spending on defence at Sh736 billion followed by South Africa with Sh434 billion and Angola at Sh309 billion.

Uganda: US expects Ugandan peacekeepers to stay in Somalia

2012-11-06, Issue 604

The United States expects Uganda to keep its peacekeeping forces in Somalia, despite a threat to withdraw in protest at a UN report accusing Kampala of aiding rebels in eastern Congo, a senior State Department official said. The government in Kampala said it would pull out of peacekeeping missions in Africa unless the United Nations amends a report accusing it of supporting rebels in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

South Sudan: Aerial attacks increase in South Kordofan

2012-11-06, Issue 604

The month of October has seen a significant escalation of aerial bombardment by the Sudanese government in Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) controlled areas of South Kordofan. Nuba Reports journalists confirmed 102 bombs, double the 51 bombs dropped in September. Of these 102 bombs, 81 targeted civilians areas not under ground attack by either the Sudan People's Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) or Sudan government forces. Not a single bomb dropped into these civilian sites killed or wounded an SPLA-N solider, the intended target.

Global: From Sudan to cyber, secret war with Iran hots up

2012-11-06, Issue 604

From a suspected Israeli airstrike in Sudan to cyber warfare in the Gulf and a drone shot down over Israel, the largely hidden war between Iran and its foes seems heating up and spreading. 'In many ways, it's reminiscent of the Cold War, particularly the proxy conflicts,' says Hayat Alvi, lecturer in Middle Eastern politics at the US Naval War College. 'But unlike in the Cold War, there are now a much larger number of asymmetrical warfare techniques. Most of this is happening behind the scenes, but in the modern world we are finding it difficult to keep them secret for that long.'

Sudan: Starvation warfare in South Kordofan’s Nuba Mountains

2012-10-24, Issue 603

As the humanitarian crisis unfolds in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, international humanitarian organizations have not been able to assess the nutrition and food security situation in these areas until now. For the first time since 2011 - when the government of Sudan banned all international humanitarian aid organizations from operating in the two state -an independent rapid food security and nutrition assessment has been conducted in South Kordofan state. The findings of the assessment, released by the Enough Project in a report, are alarming.

Sudan: Fire blamed on Israeli bombing

2012-10-24, Issue 603

Sudan has accused Israel of bombing a military arms factory, threatening retaliation after a resulting fire killed two people and injured a third. 'We think Israel did the bombing,' Culture and Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman told a news conference. 'We reserve the right to react at a place and time we choose.'

Mali: No Mali offensive against rebels 'until 2013'

2012-10-24, Issue 603

Western officials say a planned military push to reclaim northern Mali from armed rebel groups is unlikely to begin before next year - despite concerns about an escalating 'terrorist' threat posed by the fighters there. Proposals for an offensive by Mali's forces, supported by troops from neighbouring nations and other African Union states - but not Western countries - are to be discussed at a meeting of African officials in Addis Ababa. An international plan is being finalised to help Mali's weak interim government take on the groups, including armed Islamist groups and Tuareg rebels, that have become the de facto rulers of the country's north following chaos prompted by a military coup in March.

Nigeria: Potiskum residents continue to flee

2012-10-25, Issue 603

In spite of the assurances by the Joint Task Force to bring additional troops to beef up security in Potiskum, Yobe, residents have continued to flee the town en mass. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that residents are fleeing the commercial town to other states and Local Government Areas, following series of explosions and gun attacks in which no fewer than 13 people have been killed.

DRC: Gold 'now top conflict mineral in DRC'

2012-10-25, Issue 603

Gold is now the primary source of income for armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and is ending up in jewelry stores across the world, according to a report published on Thursday by the Enough Project.

Nigeria: Bomb attack hits northern Nigerian church

2012-10-29, Issue 603

A suicide bomber has driven a vehicle packed with explosives into a Catholic church in northern Nigeria, killing at least eight people and wounding more than 100, triggering reprisal attacks that have killed at least two more, according to officials. The attack happened in the Malali neighbourhood of Kaduna, a city on the dividing line between Nigeria's largely Christian south and mainly Muslim north, where religious rioting has killed hundreds in recent years.

Egypt: Is Egypt about to bomb Ethiopian dams?

2012-10-29, Issue 603

As experts from Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt met to discuss an under-construction Ethiopian hydropower project, a Wikileaks report stated that Cairo authorities reached an agreement with Khartoum to build an airbase in Sudan, to launch attacks on the Addis dams. Although denied by Cairo, the information allegedly from the Texas-based global intelligence company, Stratfor, is a stark reminder of the high stakes involved in Nile Basin politics.

DRC: Heavy fighting breaks out in east

2012-10-29, Issue 603

Government troops and unidentified rebel forces clashed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo Sunday, military officials said. Heavy weapons fire could be heard after 9:00 pm (1900 GMT) at Sake in North Kivu region, about 30 kilometres (20 miles) west of the city of Goma, officials and residents said. A regional military official confirmed the fighting to AFP but could not identify the rebels.

Kenya: Politician's death prompts Kenya violence

2012-10-30, Issue 603

Violent protests have erupted in Kisumu, western Kenya, following the murder of a prominent local politician. A senior police officer, who requested anonymity, told the AFP news agency on Monday that three people 'died from either burning or suffocation after teargas was lobbed into a hardware shop they were hiding in'.

Sudan: Rebels in Sudan's Darfur say they shelled state capital

2012-10-30, Issue 603

Rebels in Sudan's Darfur region said on Sunday they had shelled a state capital, in a rare attack on the government stronghold where international peacekeepers are also based. The government did not immediately comment on the report and the claim could not be immediately independently verified. War has ravaged Darfur since rebels took up arms in 2003, complaining the central government had neglected the region. The United States and the International Criminal Court accuse Sudan's government of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur.

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