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Attacks on protesters carried out by infiltrators: TMC tells ambassadors

Sudan Tribune - Fri, 17/05/2019 - 04:17


May 16, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The Transitional Military Council (TMC) told Western ambassadors in Sudan that the attacks on civilians at the protest sites were carried out by "groups not belonging to the regular forces."

According to the Sudanese Foreign Ministry, the Council's spokesperson, Lt- Gen Shams al-Din Kabbashi and the Chairman of the TMC Security Committee, Mustafa Mohamed Mustafa met Thursday with ambassadors of the European Union, the United States and Canada and the United Nations Resident Representative in Khartoum.

The director of the Department of European and American Affairs in the ministry Siddiq Mohamed Abdallah said in a press statement that the head of the security committee briefed the Western diplomats on the circumstances surrounding the events on Monday and Wednesday and pointed out that it was "caused by groups not belonging to the regular forces."

The military council said it formed an investigation committee to identify the assailants.

At least eight people were killed and more than 100 injured on Monday when protesters were shot directly by regular forces trying to remove roadblocks set up by the sit-inners on the road.

Witnesses confirmed that the assailants were using SUVs and wearing the uniforms of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), but the militia leader denied the charge.

The assaults were repeated on Wednesday when at least 14 of the demonstrators were attacked by regular troops who attempted to remove the barricades. Also, witnesses said they belong to the RSF militiamen.

According to the Sudanese diplomat, the ambassadors posed some questions in this regard and were answered.

He explained that al-Kabbashi who is also a member of the TMC political committee briefed the ambassadors about the political developments in the country.

He spoke about the outcome of negotiations between the transitional military council and the forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change and the reasons that led to the suspension of negotiations between them in order to create the needed conditions for reaching a settlement on the issues for negotiation, as he said.

On Wednesday chairman decided to suspend the talks for three days saying they would resume discussions only when the barricades are removed.

In a related development, the British Ambassador to Sudan Ifran Siddiq said he met with TMC on Thursday for their explanation of the suspension of talks.

The "TMC claims environment not conducive given escalation: expansion of roadblocks, blocking of the railway line, worsening security and hostile statements from FFC (Forces for Freedom and Change)," Siddiq said in a tweet posted on Thursday.

The British diplomat added he urged the TMC to resume talks as soon as possible.

"Progress made was significant and it seemed strange to suspend (talks) at this point and risk losing all gains made. Delay also creates a vacuum that could lead to further instability," he stressed.

(ST)

Categories: Africa

Kiir calls to develop cooperation with Sudan

Sudan Tribune - Fri, 17/05/2019 - 03:05

May 16, 2019 (JUBA) - South Sudanese President Salva Kiir congratulated Sudanese people for the victory of their revolution and called to develop cooperation between the two countries.

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir arrives in Khartoum on September 3, 2013 (AFP Ashraf Shazly)

Kiir made his remarks during a speech before the transitional parliament on Tuesday 14 May where he spoke about the ongoing implementation of the peace process and his government efforts to ensure its successful achievement.

" I want to congratulate the Sudanese people for their victory and to express our solidarity with them" adding that "The people and government of South Sudan fully support the aspirations of the Sudanese people for a peaceful, democratic and secular nation".

He called to include the armed groups from Darfur, Kordofan and the Blue Nile in the transitional period stressing it provides an opportunity to achieve a comprehensive peace and to engender a new political dispensation in the country.

"The Republic of South Sudan, being a sisterly country offers to mediate among different actors to achieve a comprehensive peace in our sisterly country," he added.

The South Sudanese leader was referring to his offer to reconcile between the SPLM-N factions and to bring them to negotiate with Khartoum a lasting peace agreement.

Earlier this month, the SPLM-N led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu declined the reunification of the group and thanked President Kiir for his efforts stressing it was an issue on the vision not a difference between persons.

However, Kiir said the prospect of a democratic transition in Sudan is anticipated in South Sudan with hopes of peaceful relations between the two countries.

"Our two sisterly nations can prosper in collaboration and cooperation and my government shall do its utmost to ensure lasting peace between them," he emphasized.

Kiir who was the Sudanese first vice-president before the independence had always thanked al-Bashir saying he agreed to proceed with South Sudan's referendum for the independence in 2011.

Al-Bashir also helped Kiir during the negotiations on the revitalized peace agreement as he bridged the gaps between him and opposition leader Riek Machar.

(ST)

Categories: Africa

‘The time for action is now’ senior UN peacekeeping official says, urging support for regional force combating Sahel terrorism

UN News Centre - Africa - Thu, 16/05/2019 - 23:10
The five-year-old force working to stabilize Africa’s Sahel has shown great potential, but needs more support from the international community to reach full operational capacity, a top UN peacekeeping official said on Thursday, calling for enhanced political and economic solutions to help tackle the strife-torn region’s myriad challenges.
Categories: Africa

Sudan: UN chief calls for ‘positive momentum’ as civilian rule talks stall between military and opposition

UN News Centre - Africa - Thu, 16/05/2019 - 15:37
The UN Secretary-General has commended the progress made so far between Sudan’s military leaders and opposition forces towards agreeing a timetable for a return to civilian rule, following the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir just over a month ago.
Categories: Africa

UN condemns deadly attack on Burkina Faso church

UN News Centre - Africa - Sun, 12/05/2019 - 23:30
Senior UN officials, including Secretary-General António Guterres have voiced their outrage at a deadly attack on a Catholic church in the north of Burkina Faso on Sunday, during which six people were reportedly killed by gunmen. 
Categories: Africa

African elephants under continued threat of poaching, warns UN-backed report

UN News Centre - Africa - Fri, 10/05/2019 - 11:15
An updated assessment by a United Nations Environment Programme-administered treaty has confirmed that poaching continues to threaten the long-term survival of the African elephant.
Categories: Africa

DR Congo: Ebola claims over 1,000 lives, Guterres commits ‘whole’ UN system, to help ‘end the outbreak’

UN News Centre - Africa - Wed, 08/05/2019 - 21:56
Now in its tenth month, the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has claimed more than a thousand lives, prompting Secretary-General António Guterres to throw the support of “the whole United Nations system” into stemming the spread of the deadly virus.
Categories: Africa

Sahel crisis reaching unprecedented levels, warn top UN humanitarian officials

UN News Centre - Africa - Wed, 08/05/2019 - 20:42
Repeated and increasingly sophisticated armed attacks in the Sahel and food shortages linked to last year’s severe drought, have reached unprecedented levels, putting the future of a “whole generation” at stake, three top UN humanitarian officials said on Wednesday. 
Categories: Africa

Around 52 million in Near East, North Africa, suffering chronic undernourishment, new UN food agency report reveals 

UN News Centre - Africa - Wed, 08/05/2019 - 18:18
Hunger continues to rise as conflicts and protracted crises have worsened in the Near East and North Africa region (NENA), which is likely to affect food security for years to come, warned the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Wednesday. 
Categories: Africa

FROM THE FIELD: Faces and Voices of Conflict

UN News Centre - Africa - Wed, 08/05/2019 - 16:21
“I want the war to stop, I want to go home and I want to go to school” - the melancholy words of a 15-year-old Ola who has been caught up in the civil war in Yemen; her story is one of many which features in a photo exhibition called Caught in Conflict put on by the UN humanitarian affairs office (OCHA) in the United States.
Categories: Africa

UN and African Union in ‘common battle’ for development and climate change financing

UN News Centre - Africa - Mon, 06/05/2019 - 23:48
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for a “quantum leap” in funding for development and climate change for Africa, speaking to journalists on Monday, following the plenary meeting of the latest United Nations-African Union (AU) Conference, which took place in New York.
Categories: Africa

Cameroon: Clear ‘window of opportunity’ to solve crises rooted in violence - Bachelet

UN News Centre - Africa - Mon, 06/05/2019 - 23:05
The UN human rights chief on Monday welcomed Cameroon’s willingness to cooperate over finding workable solutions to “major human rights and humanitarian crises”, caused by months of serious unrest and violence across the west and north of the country.
Categories: Africa

FROM THE FIELD: New sensors protect vulnerable Malawians against deadly lightning

UN News Centre - Africa - Thu, 02/05/2019 - 17:09
The deadly threat of lightning strikes, as well as their damaging impact on a country’s development, has been recognized in a new project supported by the UN Development Programme (UNDP). 
Categories: Africa

Gains by Abyei interim force can help advance resolution of border issues between Sudan and South Sudan, UN peacekeeping chief says

UN News Centre - Africa - Wed, 01/05/2019 - 00:56
The United Nations security force for Abyei remains essential to stability in the border regions between Sudan and South Sudan, the UN peacekeeping chief said on Tuesday, proposing the creation of a civilian unit to support progress towards political resolution of the dispute between the neighboring countries, and requesting a six-month extension of its mandate.
Categories: Africa

Ebola situation worsening in DR Congo, amidst growing ‘funding gap’ UN health agency warns

UN News Centre - Africa - Tue, 30/04/2019 - 22:44
Strengthening both security and the Ebola response effort is essential to contain the growing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), UN health agency’s officials said on Tuesday, following a visit to the epicentre of what is already the worst outbreak in the country’s history.
Categories: Africa

UN aid teams scramble to reach ‘most remote places’ cut off by Cyclone Kenneth in Mozambique

UN News Centre - Africa - Tue, 30/04/2019 - 17:34
With heavy rains expected to continue in the coming days across northern Mozambique, access to the most remote areas affected by Cyclone Kenneth “remains difficult” the UN warned on Tuesday.
Categories: Africa

Libya: UN mobilized to support thousands uprooted by Tripoli clashes, renews call for humanitarian truce

UN News Centre - Africa - Tue, 30/04/2019 - 17:07
Since fighting broke out on the edge of Libya’s capital, Tripoli, earlier this month, over 42,000 people have been displaced and thousands are believed trapped in the city’s southern outskirts. As UN humanitarian teams work around the clock to provide life-saving assistance, human rights chief Michelle Bachelet stressed on Tuesday the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire, and humanitarian corridor for civilians.  
Categories: Africa

Bringing justice to the people: how the UN is helping communities deal with disputes in remote and dangerous areas

UN News Centre - Africa - Mon, 29/04/2019 - 16:33
Justice can be hard to come by in countries hit by conflict. To ensure that communities can settle disputes, and see criminals lawfully punished, UN peacekeeping missions support mobile courts, which travel to places where no regular court exists.  
Categories: Africa

Central African Republic: Don’t Reward Warlords

HRW / Africa - Thu, 25/04/2019 - 04:27
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From left to right: Sidiki Abass, Mahamat Al Khatim, and Ali Darassa.

© Human Rights Watch; © Edouard Dropsy for Human Rights Watch; © 2016 CNC

(Nairobi) – Prosecutors in the Central African Republic should investigate militia leaders recently awarded government positions.

On March 24, a presidential decree named the armed groups leaders Ali Darassa, leader of the Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (Unité pour la paix en Centrafrique, UPC), Mahamat Al Khatim, leader of the Central African Patriotic Movement (Mouvement patriotique pour la Centrafrique, MPC), and Sidiki Abass (also known as Bi Sidi Souleymane), commander of a group called Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation, or 3R, as special military advisers to the prime minister’s office. All three have led armed groups responsible for widespread atrocities in recent years, including war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. These posts were granted as a concession to the armed groups under a peace accord signed in February 2019 in Khartoum, Sudan.

“Ali Darassa’s appointment as a military adviser for the area where his men may have committed war crimes should not be used to give him immunity from investigation into the UPC’s abuses,” said Lewis Mudge, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Against this backdrop, senior United Nations and African Union officials should make clear to all the victims of UPC abuses that there can be no lasting peace without justice for those heinous crimes.”

On April 15, in Bambari, Darassa participated in a ceremony presenting future members of special mixed units. The units will incorporate both national military and rebel fighters. This ceremony was attended by the UN Under-Secretary General of Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix; the AU’s Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smaïl Chergui; and the country’s prime minister, Firmin Ngrebada. Human Rights Watch has documented serious abuses by the UPC since 2014, when the group took control of the town of Bambari, in the center of the country, including targeted killings of civilians, extrajudicial executions, attacks on displacement camps, and rape.

Percée remarquable dans la mise en oeuvre de l'accord de paix en #RCA avec cette visite conjointe #UA -#UN et Premier Ministre à Bambari et premieres retrouvailles des FACA,anti balaka et UPC dans cadre Unités Mixtes de Securité. pic.twitter.com/GuUwr24m7v

— Amb. Smail Chergui (@AU_Chergui) April 15, 2019

Fighters under Al Khatim’s command have committed war crimes, including attacks on civilians, since 2015 when his group, which controls territory in the center of the country, was created. He was named military adviser for special mixed units in the center north zone.

Abass’s 3R group has killed civilians, raped, and caused large-scale displacement in the northwest zone since 2015. Abass was named military adviser to special mixed units in the northwest zone.

The appointments were made in line with a peace accord, negotiated by the AU during 18 months of talks with 14 armed groups and the central government, often while the groups continued their brutal attacks on civilians. The accord seeks to “definitively eliminate” the causes of the conflict and promote national reconciliation and calls for some fighters from armed groups to be incorporated into “special mixed security units,” which would also include members of the country’s national security forces. Armed group leaders promised to end “all hostilities and forms of violence.”

The accord is vague on steps needed to ensure post-conflict justice and does not mention specific judicial processes, or recent efforts to promote justice in the country, though it recognizes the role impunity has played in entrenching violence. The Special Criminal Court, a new court in the domestic system mandated to try war crimes and crimes against humanity, was established in recognition of the cycles of impunity that have driven conflict in the country and formally began operations in 2018. The court has significant support from the UN, including the international peacekeeping force on the ground since September 2014, known as MINUSCA.

Activists and victims have expressed deep concern that the agreement will be used to sideline justice for past crimes.

In 2014, the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened investigations into crimes committed in the Central African Republic since August 2012. The court arrested two leaders of the anti-balaka militias that were parties to the conflict, Alfred Yékatom and Patrice Edouard Ngaissona, in late 2018.

The current crisis began in late 2012, when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted President François Bozizé and seized power through a campaign of violence and terror. In response, anti-balaka groups were formed and began carrying out reprisal attacks on Muslim civilians in mid-2013.

Victims of crimes committed by the UPC, MPC, and 3R have expressed anger and frustration to Human Rights Watch since the new posts were announced.

“How could the government and the international community dare to nominate and install this man as an official?” a 30-year-old survivor of a rape by a UPC fighter told Human Rights Watch. “How could they promote and validate someone whose men killed, raped, burned villages, and tortured the population? I have lost the strength and hope to try to seek justice because Darassa is now charged by the state with my security.”

A 45-year old man from Ngakobo, an area that has seen repeated UPC attacks on civilians at a displacement camp, told Human Rights Watch that UPC fighters had threatened civilians in the Boykotta area in the last two weeks. “We were always told Darassa would face justice, but now the person whose men killed us is charged with our security?” he said. “It is not logical.”

In February 2017, Darassa and the UPC left Bambari in response to a MINUSCA request. UPC fighters are alleged to have shot at UN peacekeepers in 2015, which may constitute a war crime under international law. Fighting broke out between peacekeepers and UPC fighters in January 2019, when UPC fighters killed two policemen outside of Bambari ahead of a visit by the country’s president. The fighting resulted in a UN attack on a large UPC base at Bokolobo, 60 kilometers south of Bambari.

On April 19, the Central African government and MINUSCA issued a news release stating that although Darassa is a special adviser, he has not been given an official security role for the town of Bambari. The news release also states that the mixed units, when operational, will be under the command of the national army.

MPC fighters participated in an egregious attack in October 2016, when they killed at least 37 civilians, wounded 57, and forced thousands to flee a camp for displaced people in Kaga-Bandoro, where some 7,000 people were living, after being displaced by fighting in the region. Fighters destroyed at least 175 homes in the neighborhoods around the displacement camp and destroyed at least 435 huts in the camp itself.

In 2016, Human Rights Watch documented the killing of scores of civilians and received reports that 3R fighters raped at least 23 women and girls in Koui sub-prefectures in Ouham Pendé province. Attacks on civilians and nongovernmental organizations continued into at least 2017.

The installation of Darassa in his official capacity in Bambari and the appointments of Al Khatim and Sidiki is difficult to reconcile with the principles of the Bangui Forum, the conclusions of national consultations held in May 2015, Human Rights Watch said. Its declaration states that “no amnesty” would be tolerated for those responsible for and acting as accomplices in international crimes. The forum brought together more than 800 representatives of community and other nongovernmental organizations, political parties, and armed groups from across the country. It recognized that the lack of justice in the Central African Republic since 2003 was one of the main causes of successive crises.

“The Bangui Forum made it clear that the way forward for peace in the Central African Republic is to say no to impunity, and that should be respected,” Mudge said. “These militia leaders should be investigated with the intent to prosecute based on the evidence, and the national government, the UN, and the AU should strongly support efforts to hold key figures responsible for these crimes to account and make justice a reality for victims.”

Categories: Africa

Three Members Of Sudan's Ruling Military Council Resign

ModernGhana News - Thu, 25/04/2019 - 03:40
Three members of Sudan 39;s ruling miliary council resigned Wednesday after it said it reached agreement on most demands with protest leaders who have called for a million-strong march to demand a civilian government. The 10-member military council had invited the protest leaders for a meeting after the leaders suspended talks with the a ...
Categories: Africa

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