In this week’s issue: at least 107 people have been killed in inter-tribal fighting in Darfur since March; officials warn that Burma’s elections will not be legitimate; Congress passed an act to address the ongoing LRA threat in Central Africa
Weekly News Brief, May 9 to 14, 2010, compiled by Joshua Kennedy of GI-Net and the STAND E-team. To receive weekly news briefs, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Areas of Concern
- The UN announced that at least 107 people have been killed in intertribal fighting in Darfur since March. The fighting, between the Misseriya and Rizeigat tribes, has taken place near Nertiti, West Darfur. Misseriya civilians have begun to flee the area to avoid the fighting.
- General George Athor, a renegade commander in South Sudan’s army, said government troops had clashed with soldiers loyal to him, leaving 53 dead and ending hopes of a negotiated end to his mini revolt. Athor has reportedly rebelled over the results of last month’s gubernatorial election in Jonglei State and called for its cancellation. Athor has also threatened to attack Bor town, the capital of Jonglei.
- The Southern Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) expressed concern over the limited time left to resolve the outstanding issues in the implementation of the 2005’s North-South peace deal that ended the 21 years of brutal civil war; they say that the two parties should resume the negotiations in implementing several contentious issues before the referendum takes place next January.
- Sudan’s justice minister has asked Interpol to arrest Khalil Ibrahim, the leader of Darfur’s most powerful rebel group, JEM, for planning an attack in Omdurman in 2008. JEM has retaliated by threatening an all-out war if Ibrahim is arrested.
- The Carter Center, which monitored the Sudanese elections last month, has questioned the accuracy of the results. The Center released a report questioning how the votes were tabulated, which one can read here.
- There have been reports that the Sudanese army and JEM rebels are building up their troops in the area around Shangil Tobaya, North Darfur.
- US Special Envoy to Sudan, General Gration, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday and warned that CPA implementation is behind schedule. Gration also stated that there have to be lessons learned from the recently concluded national elections in order to successfully carry out the upcoming South Sudanese independence referendum. Read Gration’s testimony here.
- Sudan is planning to re-conduct the census in Southern Kordofan to better define geographic constituencies, particularly those populated by SPLM supporters.
- The Foreign Minister of the Philippines said that sending foreign observers to the planned Burmese elections would be legitimizing a farce due to the restrictions put in place by the junta.
- Upon concluding his visit to Burma, Undersecretary of State Kurt Campbell said “What we have seen to date leads us to believe that these elections will lack international legitimacy.”
Democratic Republic of Congo
- UNHCR’s field offices in the CAR, DRC and South Sudan have recorded a rise in LRA attacks in the two countries over the last four months. UNHCR reported at least ten LRA raids in the CAR, which killed at least 36 and uprooted 10,000 more. Attacks by the LRA in South Sudan have centered on the Ezo area of Western Equatoria. In the DRC, the latest attacks took place during February in the Kpanga region.
- Congress passed the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act on Wednesday. The Act calls for more reconstruction funding for northern Uganda and assistance to address the ongoing LRA threat to Central Africa.
- The commander of U.S. Special Operations forces called for increased avoidance of civilian casualties in carrying out Special Forces raids in Afghanistan to avoid upsetting the local population. General Charles Cleveland said that raids were best conducted with precise targeting, timing and using local security forces.
- The Afghan government cancelled the operating licenses of 20 international NGOs, citing a two-year gap in reports filed with the Ministry of Economy.
- Civilian fatalities caused by NATO forces in Afghanistan are 76% higher in 2010 than they were in 2009. Over the first four months of the year, NATO figures estimate that 90 civilians were killed by coalition forces, compared to 51 killed at this time last year.
- More than 100 people were killed in a series of bombings across Iraq on Monday. The bombings were concentrated in Baghdad and the southern city of Basra, where a market and residential areas were targeted.
- The Ras Kamboni faction of the Hizbul Islam opposition group reportedly split with the wider Hizbul Islam movement in Somalia. Outside observers think that the split may be rooted in clan considerations by Ras Kamboni, formerly the strongest of the Hizbul Islam sub-groups.
Around the World
- At least eight people were killed when police fired on anti-government protestors in Bangkok.