January 23rd, 2015

Weekly News Round Up (23/01/15)

News from HART

In a new blog post, Edwin O’Connell discusses the recent attacks in Nigeria and how they were not given enough importance: http://www.hart-uk.org/blog/nigerias-forgotten-caliphate/

 

Burma

  • “A spokesman for President Thein Sein has said he will raise with the Religious Affairs Ministry an inflammatory speech delivered by U Wirathu, a prominent member of the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion, in which he referred to a United Nations envoy as a “whore”.”
  • The Assistance Association of Political Prisoners (AAPP) welcomed the release of a prominent Rohingya Muslim doctor who was arrested while trying to calm rioters during sectarian violence in western Burma, but noted on Tuesday that scores of political prisoners remain behind bars.
  • “The Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), an alliance representing ethnic groups, said on Wednesday that a national peace accord is unlikely to be signed next month without further meetings between ethnic army representatives and the government.
  • “Médecins Sans Frontières-Holland (MSF) said on Tuesday that they had begun their re-entry into the restive Arakan State in mid-December, 10 months after the Burmese government banned them from the area when the group made statements that it had treated people it believed were injured during sectarian clashes.”
  • Burma’s government has accused ethnic rebels of trying to scuttle a nationwide peace deal, as tensions soar in the northern state of Kachin, where an activist said sporadic clashes between the army and insurgents have trapped more than 1,800 villagers.”
  • “Despite fighting between the government and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) having intensified in areas near Hpakant last week, causing thousands of civilians to flee and seek shelter in nearby churches.  Jade mining operations in northern Burma’s Kachin State will not be officially halted due to ongoing conflict in the area, according to a Ministry of Mines official.”

 

Nagorno-Karabakh

  • Between 11 and 17 January 1200 instances of ceasefire violations by the Azerbaijani side on the line of contact between armed forces of Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh were registered by the NKR Defense Ministry, with more than 12000 bullets fired.
  • The Armenian Defense Ministry reported that an Armenian soldier was killed on Saturday by the Azerbaijani side in the Tavush region of Nagorno-Karabakh as a result of a conflict on the border.
  • An Armenian serviceman was killed Monday night on the Karabakh-Azerbaijan contact line in the fire opened by the Azerbaijani side.
  • On Wednesday one Armenian serviceman was killed and another one wounded in an overnight conflict with Amerbaijani troops as the Azerbaijani forces made an attempt of “sabotage-reconnaissance” infiltration near Karvachar.
  • On the night of January 23 Azerbaijani troops violated the ceasefire about 320 times, during which more than 4000 shots were fired. During the NKR Defense Army’s retaliatory actions in response to an attempted penetration by the Azeri side 3 troops of the opposing side were killed. No causalities were registered on the Nagorno-Karabakh side.

 

Nigeria

  • “The Presidential Committee of Victims of Insurgency has said some individuals and corporate organisations who pledged financial assistance to the victims of Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east have not redeemed their pledges… Although the committee received pledges from notable individuals and key sector of the economy, up to about N50 billion, only N15 billion was redeemed.”
  • “A non-governmental group, the Northern Coalition for Democracy and Justice (NCDJ) on Thursday said it had commenced moves to file a case against presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari over the  2011 post election violence.”
  • “The North-west Zonal office, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Thursday said it recorded a total of 44, 398 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in 2014.”
  • “Two new camps have been established to house those fleeing into Maiduguri as a result of recent attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has revealed.
    With the two newly created camps, the number of such established camps are now 12 in the troubled Borno State.”

 

South Sudan

  • A top rebel commander in South Sudan has admitted that his forces killed unarmed Darfurian men in Bentiu last April. The commander tried to justify the act by the claim that these men were not unarmed civilians, but unarmed Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) fighters. While the commander was talking about 80 people, eye witnesses reported seeing about 250 bodies.
  • The United States Ambassador to South Sudan told the South Sudanese government that Washington will not support elections scheduled for June 2015, as Ambassador Charles Twining said they believed “there was not much time to organize the election, there was not much security for the organization of the election, and there was not much personnel to finance this election.” Despite the United States and other foreign countries refusing to support the ballot, the election is still prepared to be underway.
  • Tribal clashes on Tuesday near South Sudanese capital Juba have killed at least 11 civilians and left scores of people wounded.
  • South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, Chairman of the SPLM-In Opposition Riek Machar and Deng Alor Kuol, the head of a delegation of former political detainees, signed a deal on Wednesday in Arusha, aimed at “reunifying and reconciling” the three factions of the ruling SPLM. The exact structure of the leadership of the reunified SPLM is still to be discussed. The signatories agreed on the need for a transitional government in which the SPLM groups and other political parties will participate proportionately to establish lasting peace.  Puoch Riek Deng , a member of Machar’s opposition movement said rebels allied with Machar will probably reject the agreement as there are no provisions for Kiir to be removed as head of the SPLM.

 

Sudan

  • “The chief editor of the Sudanese Communist Party’s (SCP) al-Midan newspaper, Madiha Abdalla, has been interrogated by the prosecutor on charges of crimes against the state filed by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS).”
  • “The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) on Sunday claimed responsibility for the death of a commander in Sudan Liberation Army of Minni Minnawi (SLA-MM) by the name of Mohamed Hari near Orshi water tank in North Darfur state during an attack on rebel forces who were fleeing two areas recently recaptured.”
  • “Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir has given the green light for the release of the opposition leader Farouk Abu Issa and Human rights prominent activist Amin Meeki Mandi, the official news agency confirmed on Wednesday evening.”
  • “The opposition Sudanese Congress party said on Thursday that the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) prevented the privately owned Omdurman TV from broadcasting an interview recorded with party leader Ibrahim al-Sheikh two days before.”
  • “Four people were killed in North Darfur’s Tawilla and Um Baru areas as result of attacks carried out by militiamen riding on camels and horses.”

 

Uganda

  • Ugandan rebel commander Dominic Ongwen was on Tuesday transferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face war crimes charges. According to an ICC press release, Ongwen will receive a medical visit and “will appear, as soon as possible, before the Judges in the presence of a Defence Lawyer”. His transfer is a “major step for those affected by the LRA’s long history of crimes,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, while it is a challeng for the ICC to deliver fair and meaningful justice: Ongwen was abducted as a child, which is a war crime, however, the crimes he is charged with were committed as an adult.


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