Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ethiopian rebels: We handed over two aid workers we were holding | AHN

Members of an Ethiopian rebel group on Tuesday said they had released two United Nations employees to the food agency they work for near the border with Somalia.


The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) said in a statement the transfer of the World Food Programme workers took place on Monday.

The ONLF accused Ethiopia of trying to prevent transferring the workers to WFP.

“For almost a month the Ethiopian Army and security forces has set up many obstacles in order to stop all attempts by ONLF to hand over the two staff members. In order to safeguard the well-being of the workers, ONLF has decided to hand over the two workers outside Ethiopia,” the group said in a statement posted Tuesday on its website.

Recently, the group claimed that their fighters had rescued recently abducted staff working for the United Nations food agency after a fierce battle with Ethiopian military forces.

World Food Programme has not released any comments about the ONLF’s latest statement.

In May, the food agency said a driver working for WFP was gunned down and another staff member injured by unknown gunmen in the ethnic Somali region in eastern Ethiopia. It went on to say that two other employees were missing.

WFP provides food assistance to 4.5 million people in Ethiopia, including refugees and school children, in highly food-insecure areas.

This is the second deadly attack on a WFP humanitarian worker in less than a month to take place in the region.

However, the president of a Somali region under an Ethiopian protectorate, Abdi Mohmoud Omar, last month charged an Ethiopian rebel group with attacking and killing a driver and kidnapping others working for the U.N. food agency.

Omar said the ONLF rebel group is trying to block international relief agencies from reaching the Ogaden region to help drought-affected people.

He called for the international community to arrest ONLF officials abroad, accusing them of financing the armed guerillas.

Read more: http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/90052820?Ethiopian%20rebels%3A%20We%20handed%20over%20two%20aid%20workers%20we%20were%20holding#ixzz1Qckhzbs0

Monday, June 27, 2011

UN authorizes Ethiopian peacekeepers for Abyei -BBC News

Sudan: UN authorises peacekeepers for Abyei

More than 70,000 people have fled the fighting in Abyei
The UN Security Council has voted unanimously to send a 4,200-strong Ethiopian peacekeeping force to the disputed Sudanese territory of Abyei.
The force will monitor the withdrawal of Sudanese troops from Abyei, as well as human rights in the region.
A truck piled with looted items in the disputed Sudanese town of Abyei, 28 May 2011
Northern forces occupied Abyei in May, heightening tensions ahead of South Sudan's independence on 9 July.
Aid workers also report continued bombing in South Kordofan, which borders both Abyei and South Sudan.
The clashes have raised fears of a renewal of Sudan's 21-year, north-south conflict.
More than 170,000 people have fled the fighting in the two regions.
'Unauthorised elements'
The resolution establishes a new UN peacekeeping force, called the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei, or UNISFA.
It comes a week after northern and southern leaders signed a deal in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to demilitarise Abyei and let Ethiopian troops monitor the peace.
Sudan's ambassador to the UN, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, said northern forces would withdraw as soon as the Ethiopian troops had been deployed.
French UN ambassador, Gerard Araud, called the force's mandate "robust" .
The resolution also orders UNISFA to protect civilians and to "protect the Abyei area from incursions by unauthorised elements".
Humanitarian sources have told the BBC that five bombs were dropped from an Antonov aircraft on the village of Kurchi in South Kordofan.
Sixteen people were killed - including an eight-month-old baby and a three-year-old, they say.
The BBC has seen disturbing photos of the dead - in some cases their bodies torn apart by the bombs.
Northern forces have been accused of bombing parts of South Kordofan inhabited by ethnic Nubans, who largely supported the south during the civil war.
The fighting broke out after pro-southern groups were ordered to disarm after Ahmed Haroun was declared the winner of recent governorship elections.
Mr Haroun is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.
Over the weekend, Mr Haroun said the situation was now safe and people have started to return to their homes.
However, human rights group Amnesty International accused the authorities of forcing the displaced to go home despite continuing violence.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Clashes between Kenyan Ethiopian Somalis at least 10 killed in north Kenya clashes: police | Reuters

ISIOLO, Kenya | Sat Jun 25, 2011 12:43pm EDT
(Reuters) - Clashes over control of grazing land and water sources in drought-afflicted northern Kenya killed at least 10 people on Saturday, police said.
Police and local leaders said the fighting occurred on the border between the Isiolo and Samburu districts, an area that is prone to drought and has been plagued by deadly clashes over resources in the past few years.
Marcus Ochola, the deputy police commissioner for Eastern Province, told Reuters six raiders and four local herders had been killed, more people had been wounded and the death toll might rise.
Civic leader Abdullahi Golicha also put the death toll at 10, split roughly between raiders and herders, and said the fighting was still going on so there could be more casualties.
The clashes were reportedly sparked by raiders from the Samburu community attacking Somali and Borana herdsmen.
In May, about 20 people died in fighting between raiders from Ethiopia and northern Kenyan tribesmen, prompting the two countries to tighten security along the remote frontiers.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sudan to block oil pipeline if south will not pay -BBC News

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has threatened to shut pipelines carrying South Sudan's oil if a deal on oil is not reached before it secedes in July.
He said either the south could continue to hand over half of its oil revenue to the north, or it could pay for using the north's oil infrastructure.
Mr Bashir warned that if neither was accepted, he would block the pipeline.
Three-quarters of Sudan's oil is in the south, but most pipelines, refineries and the main port are in the north.
Southerners voted for independence in a referendum in January.
'Three alternatives'
President Bashir made his threat in a speech at a rally in Port Sudan - the main oil export terminal - which was broadcast on national television.
"I give the south three alternatives for the oil," he said.
"The north is to continue getting its share, or the north gets fees for every barrel that the south sends to Port Sudan," he added.

Start Quote

The risk that the new country of South Sudan will fail as a state is high”
House of Lords Committee report
"If they don't accept either of these, we're going to block the pipeline."
The BBC's James Copnall in the capital, Khartoum, says oil accounts for about 98% of the south's income, so any reduction in the oil flow would be disastrous.
The government of South Sudan has floated the idea of building a new pipeline through Kenya or Uganda, but this would take several years, our correspondent adds.
Talks are continuing between northern and southern Sudan about oil and other vital pre-independence issues, including citizenship and the disputed border region of Abyei.
Last month, the northern army seized control of the disputed region of Abyei, but a deal was reached on Monday which will see it withdraw and be replaced by Ethiopian peacekeepers.
Southern Sudanese soldiers standing next to crude oil reservoir tanks at a field processing facility in Unity State (Archive shot November 2010)In the last six years the south has received around $11bn from its oil
A new report published by the House of Lords, the UK's upper chamber of parliament, highlights the many issues that will bedevil future Sudanese relations, including oil.
Abdullahi al-Azreg, Sudan's UK ambassador, told the committee preparing the report that Norway had been advising both sides on negotiations for the split.
"They have suggested a kind of financial transitioning in which Sudan - the predecessor state - will have 50% of the oil revenue, but this percentage will diminish to zero over six years," he said.
South Sudan's UK envoy Daniel Peter Othol said the south would consider its options, and that building an alternative pipeline through Kenya could take three years to complete.
"Some of our leaders say: 'We are not going to share the oil if the south becomes independent. We are only going to rent the pipeline,'" he said.
"Given the conditions attached to the revenue of the oil, the rent of the pipeline could be even higher. We have to see which way is better for the south to benefit from the oil."
The report - The EU and Sudan: on the Brink of Change - says that in the last six years the south has received around $11bn (£6.8bn) from its oil so far, but there is little to show for these revenues.
It also pointed to other obstacles the south will have to overcome - endemic poverty, corruption and the proliferation of weapons.
The report concludes that "the risk that the new country of South Sudan will fail as a state is high, even if the international community maintains the current levels of assistance and support".
Sudan: A country divided
Satellite image showing geography of Sudan, source: Nasa
The great divide across Sudan is visible even from space, as this Nasa satellite image shows. The northern states are a blanket of desert, broken only by the fertile Nile corridor. Southern Sudan is covered by green swathes of grassland, swamps and tropical forest.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

North, south Sudan agree to end conflict in Abyei VS

North, south Sudan agree to end conflict in Abyei

Supporters carry swords and animal skin "draqh" shields as they welcome Sudan's President Omar Al Bashir during his visit to Osaef town in Sudan's Red Sea state June 20, 2011.

Supporters carry swords and animal skin "draqh" shields as they welcome Sudan's President Omar Al Bashir during his visit to Osaef town in Sudan's Red Sea state June 20, 2011.

Photograph by: Stringer, Reuters

NEW YORK — North and south Sudan signed an agreement Monday to end fighting in Abyei and to demilitarize the disputed border town under the supervision of Ethiopian peacekeepers.
Envoys from the two sides in Sudan informed the United Nations Security Council in New York of the agreement, which called for demilitarizing the oil-rich region where the presence of troops from the north and south would be banned.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the agreement signed in Addis Ababa, which included setting up an administration and police service. Ethiopian peacekeepers will be deployed to police the area.
"The secretary general pledges the full support of the United Nations to the parties in facilitating its implementation," Ban said in a statement.
He urged north and south Sudan to fully co-operate with the African Union in reaching agreement on "all outstanding issues related to the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement and post-secession arrangement, and to reach an immediate cessation of hostilities in Southern Kordofan State and provide their full co-operation to humanitarian agencies in meeting the needs of the affected population."
The 2005 agreement ended two decades of fighting between the north and south. Representatives of north and south Sudan attended the council meeting in New York, which was convened to discuss the flare-up in fighting in recent weeks between the two sides. They informed the council that an agreement had been reached to end the fighting in Southern Kordofan, in the Nuba Mountains in central south Sudan.
The agreement to end the fighting in Abyei was reached under the mediation of South Africa's former president, Thabo Mbeki, and Haile Menkarios, the UN special envoy for Sudan. Mbeki and Menkarios briefed the Security Council through video conference on the latest developments.
During the meeting, the United States said it will ask the council to deploy an interim security force to Abyei, where armed confrontations between northern and southern Sudan have wreaked havoc on civilians.
The interim force would be necessary if the UN mission is to be withdrawn when South Sudan becomes a sovereign nation on July 9, seceding from the Khartoum government in the north.
Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Washington planned to submit a draft resolution to the Security Council for the interim force. The UN mission in Sudan is composed of 10,000 military and civilian personnel, monitoring a north-south ceasefire since 2005.
The oil-rich Abyei straddles the border between north and south Sudan. Fighting in recent weeks has sent tens of thousands of civilians fleeing the region seeking relief in UN-led camps.
Unlike south Sudan, which held a referendum in January to secede from the north, Abyei failed to vote on its future.

Read more:http://www.vancouversun.com/news/North+south+Sudan+agree+conflict+Abyei/4976515/story.html#ixzz1PrxFWdpw

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Zoweri Museveni Is giving up on Somali intervention

<p>Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni attends a program with world leaders to discuss world hunger during the 63rd United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York September 24, 2008. REUTERS/Eric Thayer</p>
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By Barry Malone and Justin Dralaze

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Somalia's feuding government should be given another year to fight Islamist rebels or its battlefield gains may be undone and peacekeepers may have to pull out, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said.

The mandate for Somalia's latest transitional government expires in August but the president and speaker of parliament, who covets the top job, are at loggerheads over what should happen then.

"It seems to us that the win-win situation for all parties seems to be an extension of the transitional federal Institutions for a period not exceeding one year," Museveni, whose army contributes more than half of a 9,000-strong African Union peacekeeping force propping up the government, said.

Augustine Mahiga, the special representative of the U.N. secretary-general, said the idea has wide backing in the region.

"It is a proposal that has been supported by Burundi as a troop-contributing country. It has also been voiced by Kenya and there was a similar sentiment yesterday expressed by Djibouti," Mahiga told reporters.

Museveni, who was speaking on Thursday at a meeting of the International Contact Group for Somalia, warned that holding elections could open the door again for the rebels.

"This may allow the extremists to re-organise and cause problems, and also undermine the battlefield gains we have made. We can't allow to be in that situation," he said.

Museveni's troops form the backbone of a peacekeeping force that is all that prevents al Shabaab rebels toppling an administration plagued by corruption. Central power has effectively only stretched as far as the territory held by the peacekeepers, known as AMISOM, since 2007.

"If the current system collapses, or if it is seriously undermined, we can have no justification to stay in that situation. We will leave Somalia," Museveni said.

Al Shabaab, seen as al Qaeda's proxy in the region, controls large parts of the country and pockets of the capital, and diplomats say that if foreign donors and Somalia's neighbours were to turn their back on the nation it could become a launch pad for attacks further afield.

The group struck the Ugandan capital, Kampala, last year, killing 79 people in its first attack outside Somalia.

Museveni said al Shabaab were "idiots".

"(They should) go and play those foolish games in the Middle East and not here," he said.

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