STAND has decided to highlight the most important events of the past week by using pictures of important moments, meetings, and life throughout our conflict zones. We have pictures going over events in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Syria, Burma, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan.
DRC: Talks between the Congolese government and M23 stalled this week, just days after M23 announced an imminent breakthrough in its negotiations with Kinshasa. The two sides have settled on terms for eight of twelve articles in a peace agreement between them, and agreed to reconvene in the near future to resolve the final four. The United States denounced this break in negotiations, blaming the rebels for intentionally holding up the peace process.
DRC: Two helicopters belonging to the UN peacekeeping force in the DRC came under fire at different points in the last week from M23-held territory. Mary Robinson, UN special envoy to the Great Lakes Region, condemned the attacks, blaming them on M23, though the rebels deny any involvement.
Mozambique: In Mozambique, Renamo, a former rebel group and the largest opposition party cancelled its peace accord with the current government in power. The current party in control of the nation, Frelimo has attempted to maintain control as Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama has initiated a campaign of violence. The ongoing confrontation stems from demands on electoral reform.
Mozambique: The deteriorating security situation in the nation has raised serious concerns of a backslide into civil war. This Monday ,Frelimo the party in control, attempted to preserve it’s legitimacy by attacking a Renamo base. Conversely, the outcome has been a full declaration of war from Afonso Dhlakama. Renamo spokesman Fernando Mazanga states, “Peace is over in the country… The responsibility lies with the Frelimo government because they didn’t want to listen to Renamo’s grievances.”
Syria: The Geneva II peace conference for Syria, meant to take place in late November, has been running into troubles as of late. The mainstream Syrian opposition, the National Coalition, has said it will not attend the talks without the removal of President Assad and several other conditions being met. The other conditions included safe passage in beseiged areas, the release of detained men, women and children, and setting a fixed timetable for all the phases of negotiation. President Assad stated in a recent interview that he does not “see any obstacles to being nominated to run in the next presidential elections”, indicating it would be unlikely for him to step down any time in the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, the core group of the the National Coalition’s international support group Friends of the Syrian People expressed support for the opposition group to attend Geneva II on October 22. This core group, termed the ‘London 11′, put forward a communiqué on Tuesday endorsing several of the Coalition’s key demands, including the removal of President Assad and his associates.
Syria: According to a classified report from the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Syria has become “by far the most attractive location for jihadists.” On Tuesday, the al-Qaida-linked group Jabhat al-Nusra, or Nusra Front, battled the regime’s army to retain control of a Christian town they had stormed the day before. Opposition activists reported that the town, Sadad, was stormed for strategic reasons, as it is located next to several weapons depots and the Nusra Front rebels used the opportunity to seize medical supplies from its hospital. Sadad is located in central Syria between two of Syria’s major cities, Homs and Damascus. Jihadist rebel groups and government forces also clashed in the east of Syria in the city of Deir Ezzor. The militants reportedly executed 10 government soldiers after taking several neighborhoods of the city last Friday. A senior military intelligence officer, Major General Jamaa Jamaa, was also killed in Deir Ezzor city.
Burma: In Burma, nine separate explosions in cities across the country have left 3 people dead and 10 injured in the last two weeks. One bombing in particularly garnered international attention when an American woman was injured as a result of the blast while staying in a luxury hotel in downtown Yangon. Several people tied to the bombings have been arrested. The Myanmar police claim that the explosions were aimed at scaring away foreign investors. When the country was ruled by a military dictatorship, bombings were more common with the government blaming disenchanted rebel groups while others blamed the government itself.
CAR: The United Nations is scheduled to send troops to the Central African Republic in an effort to restore security and stability. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon recommended 560 troops to be sent to CAR. The UN Security Council is expected to endorse the security force on Friday.
CAR: A recent survey conducted by the United Nations Children Fund indicated that most children in the Central African Republic have not returned to school since the conflict started in December 2012. According to UNICEF, seven out of 10 students are currently out of school. 65 percent of schools examined in CAR are said to have undergone looting and destruction.
South Sudan: According to the UN news centre, a recent cattle raid in Jonglei State has resulted in several deaths and dozens seriously injured. Cattle raids have been on the rise in Jonglei as different factions vie for a greater influence in the region. Cattle is the primary source of wealth and income for a majority of Southern Sudanese citizens. A spokesperson from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) stated that they “wish to convey its deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the attacks.” The mission went on to say that a follow-up investigation is being carried out to find those accountable, however, as conflict continues to rage within Jonglei and numerous other Southern Sudanese states cattle raids like this will persist.
The weekly Education and Policy Update is brought to you by:
Cara Reichard (DRC)
Colleen Fonseca (Emerging Conflicts)
Samuel Reichman (Syria)
Alexander Colley Hart (Burma)
Sagal Hashi (Emerging Conflicts)
Baylen Campbell (Sudan, South Sudan)