In this week’s issue: The Enough Project reports that the LRA may be operating in Darfur to seek protection from the Sudanese military; UN Special Rapporteur recommended the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry in Burma; one of FARDC’s most abusive commanders continues to receive supplies from the UN
Weekly News Brief: March 6 to 12, 2010, compiled by Joshua Kennedy of GI-Net and the STAND E-team. To receive weekly news briefs, trivia, and a discussion guide, email email@example.com.
Areas of Concern
- Special Envoy to Sudan Gration stated that the upcoming elections in Sudan, preparations for next year’s South Sudan independence referendum may draw attention away from the most recent push for a peace agreement in Darfur.
- According to a report by the Enough Project, the LRA may be operating in areas of southern Darfur. Enough’s sources state that some LRA members have entered Darfur to seek protection from the Sudanese military.
- At least 18 people were killed in tribal clashes, supposedly over cattle in Jonglei state’s Akobo County.
- Fighting between the Abdalla Maharia and Misseriya tribes was reported near the West Darfur town of Nertiti last weekend. Between 15 and 21 people were killed in the fighting, which reportedly broke out due to a dispute over financial compensation for the previous death of a soldier. Renewed clashes were reported today.
- According to the Sudanese government, the country’s military is in control of the Jebel Marra plateau, although there are still reports of clashes between the government and the forces of the SLA under Abdul Wahid.
- The New Mon State Army, a smaller cease-fire militia operating in Mon State, will reportedly wage a guerilla war against the Burmese government if it is attacked.
- UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burma, Tomás Ojea Quintana, has recommended that the UN establish a Commission of Inquiry into war crimes committed in Burma. The Commission of Inquiry could be a first step in referring war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Burma to the International Criminal Court.
- The Burmese military wants a “yes or no” answer on the transition of the Kachin Independence Army into a border guard force. The Burmese government has set a March 15 deadline for the integration of ethnic ceasefire militias into the Burmese army as border guard forces.
- The Burmese government issued guidelines governing this year’s elections on Monday. The guidelines forbid members of religious orders and several key opposition figures from participating in the process. The guidelines also forbid political parties who do not expel members in prison.
- The U.S. has stated that the new guidelines ensure that the coming national elections will not be credible, but that it would continue to have conversations with Burma.
- Colonel Innocent Zimurinda, one of the FARDC’s most abusive commanders, reportedly continued to receive supplies from the UN, even after warnings that MONUC assistance to Zimurinda could make the mission complicit in war crimes. Zimurinda, a former CNDP officer, allegedly massacred civilians in early 2009 during the Kimia II operations and reportedly was still receiving supplies in December 2009.
- Global Witness accused former members of the CNDP of having greater control of mineral resources in the eastern Congo. The ex-CNDP soldiers are reportedly charging for access to mines and illegally taxing civilians in areas under their control.
- The Enough Project released a new report on the LRA threat to civilians in the northern Congo. The report states that the group remains operational in the Bas-Uele and Haut-Uele regions of northern Congo, but civilians are also at risk of extortion and targeting by members of the Congolese national army. Download the full report here.
- The U.S. is beginning to overhaul the training of more than 90,000 Afghan National Police officers in an attempt to rub out the corruption, bribery and extortion that has fueled the insurgency in the country. This may include sending officers abroad for advanced training.
- Iraqi civilians went to the polls to elect new members of parliament last weekend. The elections were marked with limited violence as at least 38 people were killed across the country
- Vote tabulation from the elections is still underway, with current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi showing strong performances.
- Three suicide bombings killed at least 45 people in the city of Lahore on Friday. This is the second bombing in Lahore this week, following an attack on a Pakistani military safe house.
- WFP will not give new contracts to three Somalis accused of diverting food aid to militants in the country. WFP has denied previous allegations that food aid has been funneled to insurgents.
- This week’s fighting in Mogadishu has killed at least 54 people as insurgents and government forces battled for control of the city. In response to the anticipated government counter-offensive, the city’s mayor has warned residents to leave the capital.
- General Fonseka will go on trial next week on charges that he engaged in politics while in uniform.
- The number of IDPs in Sri Lanka has dropped under 100,000. As of February 25, there are just over 99,000 people still in temporary camps in the northern part of the country, the bulk of which are located in the Vavuniya district.
Around the World
- The Nigerian government has charged 49 people with murder for their involvement in Sunday’s massacre of up to 500 people near the central city of Jos. It appears that the attack may be linked to retribution for an attack on a nearby town in January.
Central African Republic
- The start date for the ICC trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba has been delayed to July 5 to allow Bemba’s defense team to challenge the admissibility of war crimes charges. Bemba is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his actions during the CAR between 2002 and 2003.
- Guinea will hold presidential elections on June 27. Campaigning for the election will run from May 17 to June 26.