The student-led movement to end mass atrocities.

Weekly News Brief, September 26 – October 3

Areas of Concern

·         The SLM accused the Sudanese government of killing 28 civilian in an attack against rebel positions around the North Darfur town of Meilit. The attacks were reportedly carried out by troops, militia as well as helicopters and Antonov bombers.

·         A peacekeeper was killed in an ambush near El Geneina on Tuesday, as six gunmen opened fire on a UNAMID convoy.

·         WFP completed its third round of food security monitoring in West Darfur, South Darfur and North Darfur.  The reports indicate that there is an increase in food security in North Darfur and South Darfur with a decrease in food security in West Darfur, primarily among resident communities. The reports also indicate that there were build-ups of troops around the town of Kutum, North Darfur.

·         WHO reported that morbidity and mortality reports remain within normal ranges.

·         An Egyptian FPU was deployed to El Fasher, bringing the total to 12 out of 19 mandated units.

·         Former US National Security Advisor Bud McFarlane has reportedly been hired as a lobbyist to improve the bi-lateral relationship between the US and Sudan. McFarlane has also reportedly met with National Security Advisor Jones and Special Envoy Gration.

Eastern Burma

·         The State Department released its new Burma policy on Tuesday, which will use diplomatic engagement and economic sanctions to pressure the Burmese regime while focusing on human rights, national reconciliation, and democracy in Burma.

·         Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), chair of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, chaired a hearing on US-Burma relations on Wednesday, specifically focusing on the effectiveness of economic sanctions and engagement in promoting human rights, democracy, and US interests. On Monday, before the meeting, Senator Webb (D-VA) met with Burmese Primer Minister Thein Sein in New York to discuss US-Burma relations.

·         The New York Times reported on Wednesday that illicit drug trafficking by ethnic minority rebel groups has increased along the Thai border. The United Wa State Army has reportedly sought to trade heroin for arms in Thailand.

·         The Burmese regime ordered 10,000 Chinese nationals to leave the Kokang region of Shan State on Friday. Local Chinese authorities demanded $41 million in compensation from the Burmese regime for damages during August’s conflict in the region.

Democratic Republic of Congo

·         According to the UN, the FDLR continues to control cassiterite and coltan mines in the Walikale area of North Kivu. The FDLR has turned the Walikale town of Walo Uroba into a security zone, and is also reportedly conducting a counter-offensive against the FARDC in Nyamilima.

·         FARDC soldiers in Ruzizi, South Kivu reportedly looted, raped and robbed civilians in the town of Kamanyola during the Kimia II operation against the FDLR.

·         The LRA attacked the town of Digba in the Bas-Uele district of Orientale province on Saturday, killing one civilian and abducting several people.


·         Gen. McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, officially requested to the Pentagon last Friday an additional 20,000 to 40,000 troops to battle insurgents in Afghanistan. His request includes different strategic options that may not include a troop surge. The White House is expected to review his request in the coming weeks.  

·         In an interview with CBS on Sunday, Gen. McChrystal said conditions in Afghanistan are getting worse and reiterated his focus on limiting civilian casualties, a key to winning the Afghan war.

·        American officials say the Taliban is expanding its attacks in northern and western Afghanistan thanks to their sanctuary in Pakistan. In a recent report to the Obama administration, Gen. McChrystal also accused the Pakistani ISI of supporting the insurgency in Afghanistan.

·        At least 12 civilians were killed on Tuesday after a bus hit a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan.

·        The UN recalled one of its top officials from Afghanistan after his comments calling for a complete recount of votes in last month’s fraud-ridden Afghan election.


·         Bombings across Iraq on Monday killed at least 18 people and wounded many others, including a bomb on a minibus that killed six. The attacks targeted both police and civilians.

·         A top U.S. commander raised questions about whether Iraq will be able to ensure its security as it tackles a budget shortfall and the departure of U.S. troops.

·         The International Committee of the Red Cross warned against complacency in Iraq, noting that civilians continue to be threatened by lingering violence.


·         At least 5 were killed and 40 injured in a suicide bombing at a police station in northwest Pakistan on Saturday.Another suicide car bomb that same day struck near a state-owned bank, killing 10 and wounding 91.

·         The Pakistani military is reportedly poised to attack the territory of South Waziristan, the center of Taliban activity in Pakistan.


·         Hizbul Islam and Al Shabaab, Somalia’s two main Islamist insurgent groups, are fighting for control of a southern Somali port which Al Shabaab unilaterally declared under its control last week. This latest incident highlights heightening tensions between the two groups.

·         Somalia’s president spoke to the UN General Assembly summit on Friday, accusing foreign fighters for much of the renewed fighting this year and pleading for international assistance.

·        UNHRC reported on Friday that 50,000 Somalis have fled into Kenya so far in 2009, with an average of 6,400 refugees arriving Kenya’s Dabaab camp each month.

·         The US is delaying food aid to Somalia over fears that the aid provided through WFP is being appropriated by Al Shabaab.

·         Al Shabaab publicly executed two men it accused of spying for the CIA and AU on Monday; this was the first such execution in the capital, Mogadishu. The TFG condemned the executions.

·         Somali government troops retook the central town of Beladweyne on Monday. Clashes between TFG forces and rebels broke out in Mogadishu and southern Somalia in the past week, killing 2. At least 145 people were killed in violence in Beledwenye, Kismayo and Mogadishu during September.

Sri Lanka

·         The Sri Lankan military confirmed that troops wounded two refugees fleeing a detention camp in on Saturday. Amnesty International first reported clashes at the camp last Thursday, saying a Tamil man was seriously injured trying to escape.

·         The UN’s Secretary-General’s representative for the human rights of IDPs toured Sri Lankan refugee camps last weekendand criticized the slow progress of screening rebels and releasing refugees and urged the government to give humanitarian aid workers access to the camps. 

·         At last week’s UN summit, Sri Lanka’s prime minister called on the UN not to interfere in the internal affairs of states. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, in private talks with the prime minister, warned that the Sri Lankan government risked creating “bitterness” among refugees not allowed to leave the camps or return home, and urged resettlement before the upcoming monsoon season.

Around the World
South Sudan

·         According to recent UN reports, more than 2,000 people have been killed in intertribal violence in South Sudan this year. A recent statement by UNMIS said that many of the raids have not involved cattle, but appear to be linked more to political developments.

Central African Republic

·         The LRA is reportedly in the southeast of the Central African Republic, where the group reportedly killed three Italian aid workers. The LRA is suspected of planning a move into Bahr al-Ghazal, Sudan.

East Africa

·         Oxfam launched a campaign to collect $9.5 million in donations to give aid to the 23 million East Africans facing severe hunger and destitution because of a severe, five-year drought.  Oxfam says the worst affected countries are Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda, though Sudan, Djibouti and Tanzania will also be affected

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