News Briefs 22 September 2017


Over 50 killed, thousands displaced in Somalia clashes

Dozens have been killed, and over 55 000 ethnic Oromos have fled from Ethiopia’s Somali region, after a week of clashes between Oromos and Somalis.

AP reported on Monday that Oromia’s regional government released a statement on Sunday detailing these developments following claims by Somali regional officials earlier this week that more than 50 people were killed in an attack against ethnic Somalis in the town of Aweday.

Some of the refugees have found safety in makeshift camps at a stadium in the city of Harar in the east, while others are camping out at police stations as aid agencies move in to provide humanitarian assistance.


Somalia: Cabinet Meeting Focuses on Country’s Neutral Stance Gulf Crises

Today, the council of ministers of the Federal Government of Somalia re-iterated Somalia’s decision in June 2017 towards the crisis in some of the Gulf States.

Somalia takes neutral approach with a view to solve the crisis in some of the Golf States through diplomacy and brotherly-hood manner.

The Federal Government of Somalia has successfully implemented an excellent working relationship with Federal member states that are part of the Federal Government of Somalia.


Democratic Republic of Congo

Dozens of Burundian refugees killed in DR Congo

Soldiers shot dead 36 Burundian refugees in clashes in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, officials said Saturday, prompting shock, outrage and a demand for answers from the United Nations.

A Burundian refugee said that more than 30 had been killed and at least 100 wounded in the violence in Kamanyola, in the eastern province of South Kivu, on Friday.

Maman Sidikou, the head of MONUSCO, the UN’s peacekeeping mission in the country, said in a statement Saturday that at least 36 refugees had been reported killed.

He also stressed that defence and security forces could resort to force “only as a last resort” and in accordance with international norms, and urged “the authorities to promptly open criminal investigations”.

The Citizen

US, EU slam DR Congo army for using ‘excessive force’

The United States and European Union on Wednesday urged Congolese security forces to refrain from using “excessive force” after soldiers fired on Burundian refugees last week, killing over 30.

“The US government is dismayed by the violence and death of more than 30 Burundian nationals and a Congolese soldier in Kamanyola, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

“We urge the security forces of the DRC to refrain from using excessive force”.

According to MONUSCO, the UN’s peacekeeping mission in the country, at least 36 refugees in Kamanyola, in the eastern province of South Kivu, were killed during violent clashes on Friday. A Congolese soldier also died.

Government spokesman Lambert Mende claimed on Saturday that many of those killed were members of an “armed group”.

The Citizen


Central African Republic

UN seeks more peacekeepers for Central African Republic

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic is requesting about 750 more troops to help fill a “security vacuum” worsened by the withdrawal of US special forces as violence surges again, according to a confidential cable obtained by The Associated Press.

The additional troops are needed in the southeast after the withdrawal this year of U.S. and Ugandan troops hunting the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels, according to the message from mission head Parfait Onanga-Anyanga to the UN’s head of peacekeeping operations in New York.

Hundreds of people have been killed since May and more than half a million people have been displaced as largely sectarian violence moves into parts of Central African Republic that were spared the worst of the fighting that began in 2013. International observers warn that the country is approaching the levels of violence seen at the height of the conflict in 2014.


UN mishandling Central African Republic abuse claims

A watchdog group is condemning the way sexual abuse allegations are being handled by the United Nations in Central African Republic.

The Code Blue campaign says it has obtained leaked case files that show “egregious mishandling” of misconduct allegations. It says in eight of the 14 cases it examined, fact-finders failed to even interview the alleged victims.

The campaign says in some cases investigators did not begin their work until at least a month after the reported abuse.



Sudan’s Al-Bashir collects arms in Darfur

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Wednesday pressed on with a government campaign to collect arms from tribes in war-torn Darfur where a devastating conflict has killed thousands and displaced millions.

Al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and war crimes related to the conflict in Darfur, is touring the region ahead of a US decision on October 12 on whether to permanently lift a decades-old trade embargo on Sudan.

“We are asking people to surrender their arms voluntarily. Some are giving up their weapons but others are keeping them,” Bashir said at a rally in West Darfur.

“Very soon we will come and take away these arms that are not surrendered.”


Sudan’s Bashir reiterates pledges to develop Darfur region

In a speech delivered in South Darfur state, Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir Thursday reiterated his pledges to implement development and services projects in the region which has suffered from war since 2003.

To show that his government has restored its authority in the western Sudan region, al-Bashir’s tour takes place weeks before a U.S. decision on the permanent lift of sanctions on the country.

Speaking to the crowd in Gereida which hosts a big IDPs camp in South Darfur, al-Bashir recalled his electoral pledges and said that his government is ready to implement the development projects he mentioned in his programme.

“We are not merchants of votes and we are not lying to people like political forces that come to get votes in the elections and do not implement their programme after winning,” he said.

Sudan Tribune

South Sudan

South Sudan civilians pay police for protection

Residents of South Sudan’s capital say they are collecting cash to pay police unofficially to patrol their neighbourhoods, amid a crime wave and a cash crunch that means authorities often cannot pay their wages.

Robbers killed more than 60 people last month in Juba, twice as many as in July, according to the Community Empowerment of Progress Organisation, a civil society organisation in Juba that tallies violent incidents.

In one incident this month, around 50 gunmen in army uniforms attacked homes. Armed residents repulsed them and there were no known casualties, the organisation said. It was unclear whether the attackers were members of the security forces.


$670 needed for South Sudan refugees in Uganda: UN

More than $670 is urgently need if Uganda is to properly addresses the plights of more than one million South Sudanese refugees currently living in the country, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said.

Out of the 1.3 million refugees in Uganda, only 834 have been medically screened, leaving hundreds in dire need of medical attention, a response matrix on South Sudan released by UNHCR on Tuesday showed.

“61% of population [of refugees] are children under 18,” says the report.

Sudan Tribune

Western Sahara

New UN Envoy Horst Köhler to Make Official Visit to Morocco

Horst Köhler, the new Personal Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for Western Sahara, has announced his intention to visit Morocco, after conducting a series of meetings with stakeholders on the issue, according to a statement released September 17 by the UN.

Köhler, who officially took up his position on September 8 in New York, held several meetings and consultations this past Saturday, according to the UN’s press release.

“Köhler met with the Secretary-General [Antonio Guterres] and senior United Nations officials, representatives of the parties and neighbors, Member States and the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security,” said the statement.

Guterres “welcomed the intention of his Personal Envoy to travel to the region,” explained the communique, and “he stressed the importance of the visit to help re-launch the political process in a new spirit and dynamic, in accordance with Security Council resolution 2351 (2017).”

Morocco World News

A Saharawi Delegation Takes Part At UNGA 72nd Session

A Saharawi delegation led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Salem Ould-Salek, arrived in New York on the occasion of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly.

The Minister has held meetings with a large number of heads of delegation from countries participating in this session of the General Assembly, mainly in Africa, Europe and Latin America.

The Minister and the delegation accompanying him will hold meetings with other delegations in preparation for the discussions on Decolonization that will take place early next month in the framework of the agenda of the Fourth Committee.



New bride, his 14th, for Swazi King Mswati the Third

After weeks of speculation, Swaziland’s King Mswati the Third has officially unveiled a new bride: Siphelele Mashwama (19), daughter of a Swaziland Cabinet minister, Jabulile Mashwama.

The news was confirmed by royal festivities overseer Hlangabeza Mdluli.

The new bride is in currently in New York in the United States, where the king (49) is attending the United Nations general assembly.

City Press

Swazi Textile Workers Exploited

A trade union drive is underway in Swaziland to recruit workers in the kingdom’s notorious textile industry.

The Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA) has visited several factories across the kingdom.

ATUSWA’s Bongani Ndzinisa told local media that workers in the textile industry had been neglected. The Swazi Observer reported (11 September 2017), ‘He disclosed that the union had already conducted an assessment which indicated that the workers were faced with numerous challenges which affected their livelihood.

‘Ndzinisa said they were in the process of encouraging workers to join the union, after which they will be writing to the various factories to demand recognition.’



Zimbabwe financial crisis deepens, inflation ‘on the march again’

Zimbabwe’s fiscus, unable to meet significant foreign debts, nor provide cash for some crucial imports, was sinking fast this week as the black market rate for US dollars and other hard currencies such as the South African Rand, were roaring ahead invoking unhappy memories of 2007/8 when the economy shut down and a trillion Zimbabwe dollar note would not buy a loaf of bread.

The majority of transactions are now electronic with the value of price marked goods significantly higher in real terms then if the purchase was made in US dollars, South African Rands, or even the locally printed currency known as Bond Notes which were introduced into the economy by the Reserve Bank a year ago and cannot be used outside Zimbabwe.

Bond Notes, supposedly backed as a loan from the Cairo-based Afreximbank, and which are supposed to have the same value as US dollar notes which this week with a sudden escalation of the black market rate are about 35 – 40 percent lower in real value when they are available.


Zimbabwe’s shady police roadblocks reflect its failing governance

In Harare, it is sometimes said, nothing is what it appears to be. This is certainly the case with the city’s omnipresent police roadblocks, which give the impression of efficient police maintaining order on the roads.

The roadblocks are in fact little more than an officially authorised shakedown of the public and a means by which Zimbabwe’s broke government seeks to fund a massively under-resourced police force. Numerous violations of the country’s laws occur in the process, and the roadblock dynamics neatly encapsulate, at a micro level, many aspects of Zimbabwe’s broader mis-governance.

The source of the problem is a decision to allow the police to retain the fines they collect. This creates an incentive for the over-regulation of traffic and inducement to find as many motorists as possible guilty of traffic offences, real or imagined.

Defence Web




Africa in General

Mugabe Calls on Trump to Trumpet Peace, Dislikes Return of ‘Biblical Giant Goliath’

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe took the stage at the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, and used part of his time to preach peace to U.S. President Donald Trump, urging him to be a trumpet for peace, not damnation.

“May I say to the United States President, Mr. [Donald] Trump, please blow your trumpet. Blow your trumpet in a musical way towards the values of unity, peace, cooperation, togetherness, dialogue, which we have always stood for and which are well written in our very sacred document and charter of the United Nations,” said President Mugabe.

He added that the values of peace and unity is what the U.S. should guide the world with, “and not by the promise of our damnation,” which President Mugabe said the world would resist.

Voice of America

Sudan, South Sudan Sign Deal to Boost Oil Output

Sudan and South Sudan have signed a deal to open direct trade along the border and increase production in the oil fields in South Sudan that are currently not functioning, in an agreement that will serve as an economic lifeline to both countries.

Both Sudan and South Sudan desperately need the oil and revenues, so the agreement would likely work, analysts told Al Jazeera.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, but it has been a bloody road to establishing a stable government whose budget is dependent almost entirely on oil. In December 2013, civil war broke out when President Salva Kiir Mayardit sacked the cabinet and accused Vice President Riek Machar of instigating a failed coup. The civil war ended in 2015—officially—but clashes persist.

Oil Price

Kenya court blames election commission for botched vote

Kenya’s Supreme Court on Wednesday placed the blame for last month’s annulled presidential vote firmly on the country’s election committee, in its full ruling detailing the judges’ decision.

Deputy chief justice Philomena Mwilu described “disturbing, if not startling, revelations” about the conduct of the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and singled it out for ignoring a Supreme Court order to open up its computer servers after opposition allegations of hacking.

“Our order of scrutiny was a golden opportunity for the IEBC to place before the court evidence to debunk the petitioner’s claim,” Mwilu read from the court’s detailed judgement on Wednesday.