Freedom under fire

SUDAN Freedom under fire Source: Africa Confidential, 20 June 2019 As it tries to shoot down the democracy protests, the junta underplays the deepening splits in its own ranks Such was the horror wreaked by the Rapid Support Forces’ (RSF) massacre squad on 3 June that the tentative steps towards dialogue this week between the pro-democracy protesters and the junta have been greeted with some relief but low expectations in Khartoum. The inability or unwillingness of soldiers in the Sudan Armed Forces to protect civilians against murderous attacks by the RSF militia and armed operatives from the National Intelligence and Security Services, has ended activists’ hopes for an alliance with younger officers and their troops. It was the protection of those troops, some of whom exchanged fire with NISS operatives, that emboldened the activists to expand the sit in outside Alqidah al Amaah, the military headquarters in Khartoum, after 6 April. However, there are continuing reports of schisms within the ruling Transitional Military Council, arrests, detentions or banishments of dissident junior officers. A security source in Khartoum tells us that when some soldiers heard of the RSF and NISS plans to attack civilians at the sit in, they were told to stay in the barracks and that no arms would be issued to them. Some generals, either professional cadres or adherents to the now banned Islamist National Congress party, are said to see the deputy leader of the junta and RSF commander, Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, known as ‘Hemeti‘, as a useful figure in diverting attention from the army’s own political plans. Their aim is to set up an authoritarian regime, with...

UN to strengthen ties with Somalia: official

UN to strengthen ties with Somalia: official Source: XINHUAnet, Monday June 17, 2019 MOGADISHU (Xinhua) — A senior UN official expressed optimism about the state of political and economic relations between the world body and the Somali government. Bintou Keita, Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Department of Peace Operations, made the remarks after wrapping up her five-day familiarization tour of Somalia. Keita said her discussions with Somali officials focused on the participation of women in the country’s political process and economic reforms, and the relations between the UN and the government. “We discussed the vision around where the country has to be in the medium term, and it has a lot to do with political governance, the establishment of federalism as well as the economic situation, particularly the decision point for debt relief,” Keita said in a statement issued by UN Assistance Mission in Somalia. The Horn of Africa nation is lobbying international creditors to cancel its foreign debt, most of which was accumulated prior to the outbreak of the civil war in 1991. The Somali government maintains that debt relief will help the country invest its resources into reviving the economy and creating more jobs for its youthful population. In her meeting with Somali women leaders, Keita urged women to fight for their rights and vote for female candidates who vie for positions of leadership in order to increase their participation in the country’s decision-making process.Somali women activists have been lobbying members of the parliament to approve a pending electoral reform bill that would enshrine the 30 percent gender...

The US is pouring millions into Somalia

The US is pouring millions into Somalia Source: Washington Post, Tuesday June 18, 2019 By Max Bearak The Mogadishu Somali capital of the Mogadishu Somali capital. (Farah Abdi Warsameh / AP) MOGADISHU, Somalia – The US government’s top official in charge of foreign aid to Somalia’s capital on Monday to a large humanitarian assistance package, calling it a “necessary evil” for the drought-and-conflict-plagued country where the American military is committed in counterterrorism offensives for almost 30 years. Administrator Mark Green also reopened to the US Agency for International Development, or USAID, which was closed in 1991. In a meeting where he has echoed the skepticism of the Trump administration, Somalia off donor money. The package he announced Monday was $ 185 million, only part of this year’s total. Last year, USAID gave Somalia $ 441 million. “The purpose of USAID’s existence is to end up,” said Green , using a refrain that has become common among high-ranking American humanitarian officials since Trump’s election . The United States has been Somalia’s largest donor for a long time, but it’s not enough.The East African country is climate-driven and man-made calamity. Persistent drought and the brutal tactics of al-Shabab have left 1 in 5 Somalis homeless. About the same number in everyday life of food aid. Less than a third of the population is literate, and even fewer have access to clean water. Two-thirds of people under 30 are unemployed. In a testament to the country’s debilitating problems, the USAID announcement and a meeting of some of its local recipients is held within the fortified international airport. Many Somalis share the hope...

UN chief condemns terrorist attacks in Kenya and Somalia

16 June 2019 Peace and Security Source; UN News Center, 16 June 2019 The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, on Sunday condemned an attack that took place on Saturday in Wajir County, Kenya, in which at least eight police officers were killed when their car struck an improvised explosive device (IED), as well as a car bomb attack in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, in which at least eight people were killed. Dozens were injured in both terrorist acts, claimed by the armed group Al-Shabaab, which is particularly active in Eastern Africa. The attack in Kenya followed the kidnapping of three police reservists in Wajir County on Friday. Mr. Guterres expressed the solidarity of the whole UN with the Governments of the two countries, “in their efforts to fight terrorism and violent extremism”. He also expressed his deepest condolences “to the families of those killed and to the Governments and people of Kenya and Somalia”, and wished “a quick recovery to the...

South Suda: New Generation of Leaders Needed

South Suda: New Generation of Leaders Needed Source: Foreign Policy published on 14 June 2019 Foreign Policy published on 14 June 2019 a commentary titled “The Old Guard Are Killing the World’s Youngest Country” by Zach Vertin. The author argues that it will take a new generation of young leaders to prevail in South Sudan before it can become a successful state. 0 comments  Labels: IDPs, South...