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Weekly News Brief: August 25-September 1, 2008


As the dust cleared, we saw the Government of Sudan’s attack of Kalma camp in Darfur left a few dozen dead and scores wounded. The day after, Sudanese Armed Forces continued to surround Kalma camp and the highest most recently reported death toll is at 45. Some of the wounded are said to had been evacuated, many wounded men had  reportedly refused to be evacuated.

The Darfur rebels, Minni Minawi, JEM , SLA-Abdel Wahid, have reacted angrily and publicly about the violence, while Omar al-Bashir remains unapologetic. The US Government has issued a statement condemning the attacks and calling for an investigation.

This attack happened the first day new UN Mediator Djibril Bassole was starting his job on the ground in Sudan, and he issued a call for a ceasefire. Many are saying this attack was the GoS’ attempt to gain ground militarily before Bassole begins new peace talks.


In light of the recent failure of the UN envoy to Burma in meeting top military officials and Aung San Suu Kyi, the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB), a government formed of Burmese political ex-patriots is petitioning the UN to exclude Burma from the GA sine the government is technically illegitimate.  

Washington observers acknowledge that democratic vice-presidential candidate, Joe Biden, has always paid special attention to Burma and spearheaded the recent Tom Lantos bill, strengthening the US embargo on Burmese gems.  It is not clear if he would use his position as VP to bolster his support for Burmese human rights. 

New Zealand has entered into a free trade agreement with ASEAN, of which Burma is a memeber.  This move has come under fire as supporting the Burmese military regime.


Fighting between the forces of General Laurent Nkunda and the Congolese Army (FARDC) erupted on Thursday as both sides exchanged mortar fire, marking the worst fighting since the signing of the January 2008 ceasefire. MONUC, the UN mission in DRC, is expected to launch investigations to determine which party was responsible for initiating the violence. UN Special Representative for DRC, Alan Doss, condemned the fighting and urged both sides to exercise restraint.

Officials from the UN, EU, and the Rwandan government met in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, on Wednesday to prepare for a meeting of the Joint Monitoring Group established by a communiqué issued by DRC and Rwanda in November 2007. The delegation discussed disarmament and repatriation of the Hutu extremist FDLR militia ahead of the Monitoring Group meeting, which will takes place in Kinshasa today.

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