In this week’s issue: Violence is escalating between Darfuri rebels JEM and the Sudanese police; the US has formally extended sanctions against Burma for another year; representatives from different industries met with the Department of State to discuss ensuring their minerals are conflict-free
Weekly News Brief, May 14 to 21, 2010, compiled by Joshua Kennedy of GI-Net and the STAND E-team. To received weekly news briefs, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Forces loyal to renegade South Sudanese General Athor clashed with government troops for the fourth time in two weeks, killing at least five soldiers. The ruling party of South Sudan (SPLM) claims that the National Congress Party has been backing General Athor and his troops. Athor again threatened to attack Bor town, causing some residents to flee the area.
- Sudanese security agents arrested Hussan al-Turabi, leader of the Popular Congress Party (PCP). The security agents also seized a print-run of his movement’s newspaper.
- Violence has been escalating between the Sudanese rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudanese police, since the suspension of peace negotiations two weeks ago. The most recent fighting was reported in the Daeen and Shaariya areas of South Darfur. Despite the fighting, the Darfur peace talks will reportedly resume in Doha during the last week of May.
- A group of LRA rebels have reportedly abducted two children in Nabaria village, Western Equatoria. Three Sudanese officials were also shot dead after their car was ambushed by the LRA and it appears that pockets of LRA rebels may have returned to Western Equatoria.
- Three aid workers, including a US woman and two Sudanese nationals, have been kidnapped near the town of Nyala, capital of South Darfur state.
- Chad refused entry to Khalil Ibrahim, the head of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), when he flew into the Chadian capital N’Djamena from Libya. After his party’s passport were destroyed, Ibrahim returned to Libya.
- Salva Kiir was sworn in as the first elected president of the Government of South Sudan on Friday, May 21.
- The United States has formally extended sanctions against military-ruled Burma for another one year, despite its policy of engaging the regime. Obama said the crisis between the US and Burma that resulted in the imposition of sanctions had not been resolved and therefore Burma’s actions and policies were hostile to US interests.
- Some leading members of NLD, who disagreed with the party’s decision to boycott this year’s general election, have founded a new political party, named the National Democratic Force, which will contest the polls. Aung San Suu Kyi said that the act of forming a new party by some of the NLD leaders is incompatible with the democratic process, according to her lawyer, Nyan Win, after meeting her on Friday.
- Around 1,000 members of several small militia groups will become border guard forces under Burmese military command after militia leaders reached an agreement with Lt-Gen Ye Myint, the Burmese junta chief of Military Affairs Security, at a meeting on Tuesday morning. The militia groups are primarily smaller forces aligned with the Shan State Army-South in the Tachilek district of Shan state.
- The Burmese military is using local forced labor to relocate people set to be displaced by the construction of dams on the Irrawaddy River.
- The United Nations issued a report on Friday naming the Burmese Army and two ethnic armed groups responsible for the recruitment of child soldiers over the past five years.
Democratic Republic of Congo
- Representatives from the electronics, automotive and manufacturing industry met at the Department of State to discuss ways to ensure that their supply chains do not contain conflict minerals.
- The head of the MONUC mission, Alan Doss, is set to retire at the end of this month when the UN reapproves the peacekeeping mission’s mandate.
- LRA atrocities in the northern DR Congo continue, and Human Rights Watch reports that at least 96 people were killed by the rebels near the town of Niangara between January and April.
- A suicide bomber killed at least 18 people in Kabul on Tuesday in an attack on a NATO convoy. At least 12 of the casualties were civilians; the other six were NATO soldiers.
- Maulana Mirajuddin, a local politician with a history of brokering deals between the Pakistani government and the Taliban, was shot on his way home in the tribal belt town of Tank.
- 12 people were killed when a bomb exploded in the northwestern Pakistani city of Dera Ismail Khan on Tuesday. While the bomb was targeted against police, it killed at least 9 civilians.
- The International Red Cross called Somalia the world’s most worrying humanitarian crisis, due to the scale of aid needs and way that insecurity limits relief efforts.
- 25 people were killed and fifty injured during fighting throughout the Somalia capital Mogadishu on Wednesday.
- International Crisis Group released a new report detailing emerging fractures among Somali insurgents, suggesting that there may be ways to use Somali nationalism to reconcile disaffected insurgents and discredit the radical ideology of Al-Shabaab.
Around the World
- A gun battle broke out in the Malagasy capital of Antananarivo on Thursday, wounding at least one civilian. The fighting appears to be between army units and a reportedly mutinous elite police force.
- Former Sri Lankan general Sarath Fonseka denied that the Sri Lankan army committed war crimes during the last days of the Sri Lankan civil war last year. Fonseka’s announcement appears to be in response to the recent International Crisis Group report that charged both the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE with the commission of war crimes last year and called for an international inquiry into the conflict’s final days
- Civil unrest in Bangkok has killed at least 53 people, mainly civilians, when the Thai army violently dispersed anti-government protests over the weekend. All of Thailand is currently under curfew as the military seeks to arrest protest leaders.