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Weekly News Brief: September 15-22, 2008

In this week’s  news:

large-scale conflicts continue between the Janjaweed/Sudanese Army and the Darfur rebel groups – Burmese opposition leader ends her hunger strike – and the fresh fighting breaks out between the Congolese Army and a Laurent Nkunda’s armed forces. Read on for more…



Large-scale attacks started last week between the Sudanese Army/Janjaweed and Darfur rebels spilled into this week, with renewed bombing and heavy fire. Thousands of vulnerable civilians are feared to have been displaced by the recent fighting. The renewed fighting has severely restricted humanitarian access to displaced Darfuris, as many NGOs become victim to the insecurity.

Meanwhile, the UN Peacekeeping force UNAMID is facing more challenges: UNAMID, which was supposed to have over 26,000 personnel, now only has 9,000, and will likely have fewer than 13,000 "blue berets" by the beginning of 2009.

The question of the International Criminal Court’s potential indictment of Sudanese President Bashir continues to be played out on an international script.


Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi has accepted food deliveries, halting what many considered a hunger strike. Suu Kyi had declined food since the middle of August.

There are rumors that younger democracy activists may be arming themselves in anticipation of a future demonstration against the ruling military junta, in a sign that the opposition may be changing what have largely been non-violent tactics.


Fighting continued on Saturday between General Laurent Nkunda’s forces and the Congolese army in eastern DRC, prompting intervention from MONUC, the UN peacekeeping mission in the country.

On Wednesday, a UN-proposed disengagement plan was approved by the Congolese government, which provides for all sides to return to positions held prior to the recent violence.

According to the UN, the recent instances of violence have displaced nearly 100,000 people. Reports also emerged that humanitarian clinics have been comprehensively looted by all combatants in the fighting.

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