In this week’s issue: fifty people were killed reportedly due to cattle raiding south of Nyala; Kachin Independence Organization troops are training opposition groups who refused to join Burma’s Border Guard Force; FARDC executed 49 civilians earlier this month in Congo
Weekly News Brief, April 16 to 23, 2010, compiled by Josh Kennedy at GI-Net and the STAND E-team. To receive news briefs, along with trivia and a discussion guide, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The United States, United Kingdom and Norway issued a statement commending the Sudanese people “for their engagement in a complex and lengthy polling process, and their increased civic participation over recent months.” However, they also acknowledged that these elections were neither free nor fair and did not meet international standards.
- Vote counting for Sudan’s elections started on April 16th. Although the process should take several days, current President Omar al-Bashir is expected to win another five years in office. The Sudanese reports that the election results will be released on Sunday.
- Several opposition groups in South Sudan accused the SPLA and the SPLM of tampering with ballots and intimidation during last week’s elections and this week’s ballot counting.
- Fifty people were killed in fighting between the Rizeigat and Al-Saada tribes that broke out north of Nyala on Tuesday. The fighting was reportedly due to cattle rustling.
- JEM warned of an imminent attack by SAF troops on their positions in the Jebel Moon area of West Darfur.
- The four kidnapped UNAMID peacekeepers will reportedly be released after the results of last week’s elections are announced.
- The president of Chad warned South Sudan against independence after the January 2011 referendum. He says that their independence will be “a disaster for Africa.”
- Three bombs killed 10 and injured 170 at the Burmese New Year water festival in Rangoon on Thursday. Army and police sources say that Sr.-Gen. Nay Shwe Thway Aung, Than Shwe’s grandson, was the target of the attacks, while a state newspaper blamed the attacks on exiled Burmese opposition groups utilizing terrorist tactics.
- US senator Judd Gregg has introduced a resolution calling on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to assess whether the Obama administration policy of engagement with the Burmese military junta has been effective in furthering US interests, asking the administration to strengthen sanctions and engage with regional governments and multilateral organizations to push for the establishment of democratic rule in Burma.
- Wa leadership recently met to discuss the Border Guard Force and the future of the United Wa State Army and decided once again to reject the BGF plan, following previous, unsuccessful attempts by the Wa leadership to negotiate with the SPDC.
- The New Mon State Party and the Kachin Independence Organization also declined the offer to integrate into the government’s border guard force.
- Kachin Independence Organisation troops are providing military training to people from the ethnic minority after the group refused to join the Burma Army’s Border Guard Force, and New Mon State Party leaders and soldiers are making preparations to travel to jungle bases in anticipation of an outbreak in hostilities between the Mon cease-fire group and the Burmese army.
- Mai Mai militiamen abducted 21 civilians returning from their fields in the Uvira area of South Kivu
- LRA attacks continue near the town of Niangara, Orientale province, killing three people and maiming one other.
- The African Association for the Defense of Human Rights reported that the FARDC executed 49 civilians in the town of Mbandaka earlier this month.
- NATO admitted its troops shot and killed four civilians when they opened fire on an approaching car. Three of the victims were teens and the other was a young police officer.
- The United States Pentagon has more than doubled the number of Special Forces operating in Afghanistan.
- More than 20 Taliban militants were killed last Sunday in a clean-up operation by NATO forces in Baghlan.
- Militants shot Kandahar’s deputy mayor as he prayed inside a mosque Monday night, killing him. The killing was one of many against government officials by the Taliban seeking to undermine regional stability.
- The Afghan government has postponed negotiations with Taliban officials until after President Karzai visits Washington in May.
- Security forces captured a top al Qaeda leader last Sunday, a move that was expected to be a major blow to the organization.
- A series of 12 bombs hit the Sadr City area of Baghdad killing at least 39 people on Friday. It is unclear what group was responsible for the bombings.
- The Pakistani military admitted that as many as 40 civilians may have been killed in an airstrike two Saturdays ago, an apology that contradicted earlier denials of civilian casualties. Local officials say those killed belonged to a pro-government tribe who had helped repel Taliban influence in the area.
- Eight people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked an emergency room filled with Shiite mourners last Friday.
- Two suicide bombers attacked refugees waiting for aid supplies in Kohat last Saturday, killing 41. A car bomb targeting a police station in the same region Sunday killed seven people and injured another 26.
- Another bomb detonated in a crowded marketplace in Peshawar on Tuesday killed 18 and injured 34 people.
- A recent spate of killings of anti-Taliban politicians in Swat Valley has raised concerns that the Taliban may be regrouping there. Meanwhile, reports indicate Taliban and al-Qaeda militants have relocated to North Waziristan after government offensives in South Waziristan.
- Al-Shabaab banned school bells in the southern town of Jowhar last week, saying they conflicted with Islam. Meanwhile, the Somali government threatened to close all radio stations that bowed down to Hizbul Islam’s threats and discontinued their broadcasts. Several radio stations defied the government’s wishes and shut down.
- Heavy fighting between government and AMISOM forces and rebel groups continued in Mogadishu through the week, with 20 people dying Sunday by bombs and shelling from both sides. Five beheaded bodies were also found in the streets of Mogadishu on Wednesday, with another 11 dead.
- The Somali government has asked the WFP to release food within its storages to feed hundreds of Somali IDPs in need of food.
- Both al-Shabaab and Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a claimed victory over their fighting in Somalia’s central region.
- Human Rights Watch released a new report on Somalia stating that all sides in the conflict are complicit in the commission of human rights violations against civilians including the indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas
Around the World
- The Continuity IRA claimed responsibility for a bombing outside of a police station in Northern Ireland that injured two people.
- An opposition activist was allegedly beaten to death at the hands of ruling party members. This is the second death in advance of this year’s Ethiopian national elections.
- Several grenades exploded in central Bangkok during anti-government protests, injuring almost 90 people. The protests are the latest round of tension between political parties in Thailand and there are fears that violent outbreaks could increase.