In this week’s issue: the International Crisis Group releases a report warning of wider conflict in Sudan, ethnic ceasefire militias in Burma increase opium production to purchase weapons, and the Lord’s Resistance Army threatens a repeat of last year’s Christmas massacre in DR Congo
Areas of Concern
- Bahr Idriss Abu Garda will reportedly accept the decision of the ICC judges and is prepared to face a possible indictment for an attack on AU peacekeepers at Haskinita in 2007.
- International Crisis Group released a new report on Sudan, stating that with the upcoming elections and the continuing crisis in Darfur, Sudan is under threat of a wider conflict. At this moment, the role of international actors is crucial, and progress needs to be made on: legal reforms, referendums for South Sudan and Abyei, a Darfur peace agreement including provisions related to the national elections and how two independent Sudanese states would relate to each other after a possible independence declaration. Read the full report here.
- A delegation of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom held a press conference with Congressmen Wolf, Payne and Smith, where they argued that the Obama administration’s policy of engagement with the Sudanese government is not working and that the government should alter its policy towards Sudan, with the President taking a stronger role in the policy.
- Ethnic ceasefire militias in Shan State have reportedly increased opium production to purchase weapons in the event of renewed hostilities. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, opium cultivation has increased by 11% this year, with Shan State supplying 95% of Burmese opium.
- The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army is reportedly involved in human trafficking where they sell migrant workers crossing the Burma-Thai border to fishermen along the border.
- Vijay Nambiar, currently serving as Chief of Staff to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will reportedly succeed Ibrahim Gambari as the U.N. Special Envoy to Burma
- Human Rights Watch released a new report detailing human rights violations in eastern DR Congo since the beginning of the anti-FDLR Kimia II operation. Since January, more than 1,400 civilians have been killed in the east, including numerous instances of reprisal attacks carried out against civilians by members of the FDLR and FARDC.
- According to Alan Doss, political head of MONUC, the Kimia II operation will reportedly end on December 31, 2009. Doss said that the operation’s political goals had been fulfilled, but the FDLR remains a threat to peace in eastern DR Congo.
- The Congolese army continues to attack the FDLR in North Kivu, with fighting reported in the Masisi, Walikale and Lubero regions of the province.
- The LRA has threatened to repeat its Christmas massacres of 2008, reportedly targeting villages near Ngirimo, Bangadi and Niangara in the northeastern DR Congo and threatening that the LRA will ‘celebrate the holidays’ with the villagers. There is limited protection in the region from LRA attacks, due to a lack of peacekeepers and abuses committed by FARDC soldiers against the local populace.
- According to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, security force members were involved in the bombings that killed more than 100 people in Baghdad last week. Al-Maliki charged that at least 45 members of multiple agencies were complicit in the car bombings.
- The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq released its report on human rights violations in the country, noting that civilians remain the main victims of indiscriminate shelling, shooting, suicide bombings and other atrocities. UNAMI reports that 1,841 civilians were killed in the first six months of 2009, compared to 6,787 reported by the Iraqi Ministry of Health and 2,340 documented by Iraq Body Count.
- Fighting in Pakistan continues in the Orakzai and Kurram districts of the FATA, in addition to the ongoing army offensive in South Waziristan. There have been no reports of civilian casualties, likely due to a ban on journalists in the region.
- A car bomb exploded in the market of Dera Ghazi Khan in Pakistan’s Punjab province, killing 27. On Friday, insurgents targeted a Mosque in the town in the Lower Dir region of the FATA. GI-NET considers both of these attacks as examples of targeting civilians for tactical gain.
- The most recent U.S. drone attack killed fifteen people in North Waziristan, including seven people that the Pakistani government deemed as foreigners.
- Al-Shabaab banned UN Mine Action from operating in southern Somalia, accusing the group of undertaking the work of previously banned organizations as well as disrupting peace and justice.
- A gun battle broke out between factions of Hizbul Islam insurgents south of Mogadishu, reportedly over the public execution of criminals in the country.
- Alleged comments by Sri Lankan general Sareth Fonseka earlier this week appeared to suggest that Sri Lankan soldiers executed LTTE rebels when they tried to surrender in May. On Monday, General Fonseka denied his remark and stated that there were no surrender attempts made by the LTTE.
Around the World
- Sudan’s two main political parties reportedly came to an agreement on the terms of the north-south referendum. The deal reported allows for independence of South Sudan so long as at least 60% of registered voters turn out and at least 51% of the population votes yes.
- The Sudanese government has announced plans to crack down on opposition demonstrations in the interest of national security, stating that the opposition parties are seeking to topple the government.
- The former head of Guinea’s Presidential Guard, Abubaker Diakite, admitted to shooting junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara. Diakite reportedly fired at Camara in response to a plan to have Diakite face the consequences of the September 28th massacre in the Guinean capital of Conakry.
- Human Rights Watch released a report stating that the massacre on September 28 was likely a crime against humanity and that the attacks may have been planned in advance.
- Former Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan has been charged with genocide by the Extraordinary Chambers of in the Courts of Cambodia, the UN-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh. Samphan’s charges relate to the mass killings of Vietnamese and Cham Muslims under his rule.