This post was written by STAND’s Policy Intern Rosie Berman. Rosie is a junior at Clark University where she studies Political Science and Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
Two people were killed and more than a dozen injured in clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Mandalay, Burma’s second largest city. The violence was sparked when Buddhist gangs attacked Muslim businesses, cars, and a mosque with makeshift weapons, enraged after the alleged rape of a Buddhist woman by Muslim men. Mandalay is the home of the extremist Buddhist monk Wirathu, who appears to have been instrumental in spreading the rape rumors that led to the latest violence through his Facebook page.
Fighting between the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and the Burmese Army in Papun District killed one and wounded one. KNLA sources said the fighting broke out because government troops entered Karen controlled territory. The Burmese army said this incident would not derail the peace process between the Karen and the government, but that all local units would need to follow an agreed code-of-conduct for the sake of emerging peace in the country.
On July 3rd, a soldier from the Burmese army’s Marrawaddy outpost severely tortured an elderly Rohingya man on a new expressway that runs from the Maungdaw-Buthidaung highway to Ahngumaw Village in Rathedaung Township, Arakan State. A Maungdaw Township officer had recently issued an order prohibiting Rohingya from crossing or using the road. Individuals who disobeyed that order will be punished. Village doctors treating the victim say that both army personnel and Buddhist extremists frequently harass, torture, and rob Rohingya villagers with impunity.
Central African Republic
Ugandan troops hunting for fighters loyal to Joseph Kony in the Central African Republicclashed with Seleka fighters, resulting in casualties on both sides. The Ugandan army claims that Seleka is “in bed” with Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and accuses the CAR rebel group of forcing civilians to provide food and medicine to the LRA, and trading ivory and minerals with Kony’s troops. Seleka accuses the Ugandan mission in CAR of plundering the country of gold, diamonds, and ivory.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
On July 3, Dr. Jill Biden arrived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to highlight the importance of girls’ education and women’s participation in government, the economy, and civil society in accelerating economic development, improving health and educational outcomes, strengthening democratic governance, and fostering peace and security. Dr. Biden will meet with women entrepreneurs, political leaders, girl students, survivors of sexual assault and gender-based violence, and boys who were removed from armed groups. Her visit is meant to reinforce the US’s government’s commitment to assist women in their efforts to promote security, recovery, and growth in the DRC.
A UN Security Council committee blacklisted the Ugandan Islamist group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) for recruitment and use of child soldiers, killing, maiming and sexually abusing women and children, and attacks on UN peacekeepers. The group, which has been sheltering in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since the mid-’90s, would now be subjected to an arms embargo, asset freezes, and travel bans. Congolese officials hold the ADF responsible for the killing of at least 21 people in villages near Beni in North Kivu province in December.
The United Nations reports that more than 130,000 citizens of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been deported from Brazzaville, capital of the neighboring Republic of Congo. Additional UN reports say that deportees have suffered physical abuse, sexual violence, and other forms of ill treatment at the hands of Congo-Brazzaville’s police
South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, has called on African leaders to take a leading role in the resolution of his country’s crisis. Kiir made these remarks at the six corridor summit held in Kigali, Rwanda, which was attended by a number of regional leaders and heads of state. Kiir also pledged his administration’s full commitment to ensuring a speedy resolution to the conflict. “I wish to assure the region and the rest of the world that I am doing my best,” he said.
South Sudan’s Council of Ministers has passed an order that anyone who violates the curfew in Juba, South Sudan’s capital, will be shot dead if caught. The curfew, which lasts from 11p.m. to 6a.m. was imposed when the fighting broke out in December. Activists believe the new crackdown is a tactic to divert attention away from the real reasons people are committing crimes- desperation, poverty and insecurity- which have all been exacerbated by nearly seven months of conflict.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was invited to Qatar by Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. Over the course of two days, Bashir and Thani will exchange views on developing bilateral ties and discuss regional current events. Qatar has long been one of Sudan’s few political and financial backers. With conflict continuing in Darfur and Sudan’s economy increasingly troubled, Bashir will need what ever support he can get.
Three student activists detained by Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in Khartoum embarked on a hunger strike on Friday to protest a renewed detention period of three months. The activists were arrested on May 12 without charges, against the backdrop of student demonstrations at the University of Khartoum. The mothers of two of the students reported to Radio Dabanga that their sons had been tortured.
Pro-government militiamen have reportedly killed four students, and plundered the town of Kutum in North Darfur. The militias have also tightened their control on vital roads in the state, imposing fees and levies at the toll gates they have randomly set up. Their sharpened control of these roads has coincided with an uptake in violence, abductions and looting of vehicles.
Syrian government troops advanced in and around Aleppo on Monday in what appears to be an attempt to lay siege to rebel-held parts of the country’s largest city. An activist says that the aim of government forces is to try capture Aleppo’s northern district of Handarat to be able to further close in on rebels. The advance comes two months after hundreds of Syrian opposition fighters withdrew from parts of Homs that they had held for nearly two years despite a government blockade. Homs, once the center of the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, is currently under government control.
Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS/L) currently holds all of Syria’s main oil and gas fields. These include Syria’s largest oil field, the al-Omar, on the border of Iraq, and the Tanak oil field, which is located in the Sheiytat desert area in the east of Deir Ezzor. Al-Omar field has changed hands several times in the course of Syria’s three-year conflict. It was held by the al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front before Islamic State took it over.