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Afran : KENYA: James Otieno: "We must forget the past and go on"
on 2009/8/16 12:54:21

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NAIROBI, 11 August 2009 (IRIN) - Peace-building and reconciliation in Kenya have taken centre-stage following the 2008 post-election violence which killed at least 1,200 people and displaced more than half a million.

Many of those who took part in the violence were young. IRIN spoke to 17-year-old James Otieno in Nairobi's Mathare Valley slum; he was displaced and spent months in an internally displaced people’s camp.

"It was very bad here in Mathare. Luos and Kikuyus who had been living together before the elections started to fight each other. Mathare was very divided [along ethnic lines].

"The Luos controlled Mathare C and the Kikuyus Kosovo area. No one could cross to the other side. They would be chased, beaten or killed.

"I lived with my aunt in Mathare C since I lost my parents as a child. When things got very bad, we had to leave; we moved to camps.

"When the politicians started to talk [about forming a coalition government], things got better. Then there was Operation Rudi Nyumbani [a government resettlement plan in May 2008]. My aunt and I left the camps to come back home.

"It was hard at first; everybody was scared. We were not free. I could not even see my friends. But then calm returned to Mathare slowly. Russia [a local multi-tribal youth vigilante group] was formed. They patrol and provide security. I started to see my friends again. We played football and did things like before. I have friends from all tribes.

"I don’t like fighting. But we must forget the past and go on with the future. I don’t want any more violence. In 2012 [when Kenya is scheduled to hold general elections], I don’t want to see any more violence.

"These days, I help my aunt to brew and sell changaa [an illegal alcoholic drink] like we did before. This is our life. It is not a good life. That is why I want to be a photo-journalist. I like to take pictures.

"Last year, I was one of the winners of Shoot Nation, a competition organized by Plan UK. They showed our pictures in UN offices. My aunt was very proud. I want to be a professional photographer one day."

Afran : SUDAN: Tensions high, food short in Akobo
on 2009/8/16 12:53:25

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AKOBO, 11 August 2009 (IRIN) - Tensions have remained high in Akobo County of Jonglei State, Southern Sudan, a week after inter-ethnic clashes left at least 185 people, mainly women and children, dead.

"The Murle have attacked us, and the Jikany [Nuer] are stopping the boats from getting to us," John Tut, a Lou Nuer in Akobo said.

"We have to act as men to protect our people and fight back or they will continue to crush us."

Amid warnings of possible retaliatory raids, aid workers are also pointing to rising levels of malnutrition following significant displacement of people and the blocking of river access routes.

Akobo County Commissioner Goi Jooyul Yol said the 2 August dawn attack by the Murle occurred at Geni River in Mareng, 40km southwest of Akobo town. The women and children had camped in the area for three weeks trying to catch fish.

The leader of the Murle community, Chief Ismail Konyi, was quoted by the Sudan Tribune as calling for peace-building between the communities in Jonglei.

"If you ask who recently attacked the other in the area, you will only hear the name of [a community] because nobody is determined to go further and find out who was behind the raid and what actually caused that attack," he reportedly said in Juba.

"For any incident, there must be a cause and this cause, if not addressed, results into losing either lives of innocent people or properties."

Following the latest clash, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) warned that its ability to deliver much-needed supplies was being hampered by the violence.

"WFP and its partners have called on the government to put an end to inter-tribal fighting, which is endangering the delivery of humanitarian aid," UN spokeswoman Marie Okabe said.

Extra helicopter and airplane flights are bringing in food, but the supplies cannot meet the needs of the community. At least 19,000 people were displaced in April after earlier Murle attacks, while more are reported to have fled the recent attack.

"Food assistance is the number-one humanitarian need in Akobo, besides protection," said Michelle Iseminger, head of WFP in Southern Sudan.

The roads to Akobo are closed most of the year due to rains, while the main river route has been blocked at Nassir by the Jikany Nuer upstream from Akobo, who have also clashed with the Lou Nuer.

"There is a massive need, there are many people who are hungry and need to be fed," Yol said.

Feeding programmes

An extra outpatient feeding programme targeting children has been opened by aid agency Medair, which had been providing inpatient paediatric care in Akobo County hospital since June.

"Many children are suffering from malnutrition," said Eunice Kavoi, team leader for Medair in the area.

The aid agency is also setting up a water treatment centre but it is currently forced to fly in basic materials such as fuel and cement at high cost due to the difficulties of bringing supplies into Akobo by river or road.

"We fear the situation in terms of nutrition will get worse if nothing is done to fly in more food for the community," Kavoi added.

Engage, government urged
On 11 August, the US-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the Southern government and the UN to “step up their efforts” to provide protection.

"To protect civilians, the Southern government needs to engage over a sustained period with state and local authorities from the communities involved, and with youth leaders in the cattle camps who carry out the attacks, to address the root causes of the conflict," said Georgette Gagnon, HRW's Africa director.

"They also need to track warning signs of revenge attacks, and deploy security forces accordingly."

Southern Sudanese officials have promised security will be boosted and the river opened to ship in more supplies. "I am optimistic the river will be opened in the coming days," said Yol. "I have had fruitful talks and have been assured that the boats will be able to pass along the river soon."

Some boats with supplies were seen in Akobo on 7 August, coming from Ethiopia on separate river channels from the main route via Nassir.

However, despite official assurances, no boats have been reported to have moved past Nassir. Aid workers stress that more must be done to ensure supplies get through.

Afran : Somali pirates free Italian-flagged ship
on 2009/8/16 12:50:27

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11 Aug 2009
Somali pirates have released an Italian-flagged tugboat and its 16 crew members, four months after seizing the vessel in the Gulf of Aden.

Commenting on the news, the Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini expressed his satisfaction about the vessel's release and said that it was the result of exceptional work on the part of Somali authorities and Italian intelligence.

This is while news reports suggest that a ransom of USD 2 million was paid to the pirates in exchange for the release of the ship and its crew of 10 Italians, 5 Romanians and one Croatian.

The tugboat and its crew had been held hostage since April 11. The ship is reportedly being escorted by navy vessels and is on its way to Djibouti. Its crew members expect to be home by mid-August.

Last week, Somali pirates released a Malaysian tugboat, TB Masindra 7, and its 11 Indonesian crew members after a ransom of USD 2 million was paid to the bandits.

Piracy off Somalia, one of the world's busiest shipping areas, and other coasts of Africa has increased sharply over the past year, earning the pirates millions of dollars in ransom payments and pushing up maritime insurance rates.

Dozens of international naval ships are patrolling the waters off Somalia. However, they have not been successful in stopping pirate attacks.

Afran : Nigeria: Crack in Militants' Camp Widens
on 2009/8/10 18:47:50

Emma Amaize, Jimitota Onoyume and Daniel Idonor

10 August 2009
Port Harcourt — THE crack in the rank of militants further deepened, yesterday, with a statement from the Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC), an umbrella body of militants in the region which distanced the body from the recent action and pronouncements of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND).

The statement signed by Cynthia Whyte said some persons within MEND had become self-centered in the name of pursuing the struggle for the region. The statement which noted the right of Boyloaf to embrace the amnesty by the Federal Government reaffirmed the commitment of the JRC to the struggle of the region

"The JRC has no relationship whatsoever with the 'entity' tagged Gbomo Jomo. Our campaign is not driven by the despicable penchant of self seeking elements to arrogate to themselves virtual powers. We will not allow the struggle for the liberation and emancipation of the Niger Delta to be wholly hijacked by self-seeking elements. MEND is a clearing house. Jomo and some others hold the key to some of the storage boxes within that clearing house.

"We do not have any relationship whatsoever with that MEND even though we have a real relationship with commanders within its virtual structure.

"General Boyloaf is an outstanding hero of the Ijaw and Niger Delta struggle. The attempt to malign him and rubbish his name is the handiwork of a dubiously ungrateful cabal who have soiled their hands with filthy lucre which they have collected from a presidential aide.

"It is the height of ingratitude for anyone to try to undermine General Boyloaf. If he wants amnesty like any other, he should go for it. What is good for the goose is also good for the gander."...

Afran : Mauritania: France condemns bombing
on 2009/8/10 18:41:50

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Posted on Monday 10 August 2009

Murtala Mohamed Kamara, AfricaNews reporter in Freetown, Sierra Leone
The French authorities have condemned a suicide bombing at its embassy in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott which left three people injured. No group has so far claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack but Mauritanian authorities point fingers at Al-Qaeda with network in North-West Africa.
Mauritania map
According to a BBC report, the suicide bomber had been wearing a belt packed with explosives which he detonated at 1900 GMT outside the embassy leaving him dead instantly and three other embassy staffs injured.

A statement by the French Foreign ministry condemning the attacks said "France reiterates its determination to fight against terrorism together with the authorities and the people of Mauritania."

The once peaceful North West African country of Mauritania has witness violence in recent times. Reuters quoted a senior Mauritania security official as saying that "An attempted suicide bombing is a new event in Mauritania, we have to be wary of this new type of threat."

The official who spoke on condition of anonymity according to the news agency said "From now on we will have to take extra security measures, but even so, there is no such thing as zero risk."

Al-Qaeda in the Magreb has been active in recent times. The group has held hostage of several Westerners and were responsible for killing of senior security officials in that region. A terror expert said the group cannot be ‘overlook’ in the fight against world terror.

Afran : Madagascar: Rivals to form unity gov`t
on 2009/8/10 18:40:02

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Posted on Monday 10 August 2009
Sam Banda Junior, AfricaNews reporter in Blantyre, Malawi
Political rivals of Madagascar - President Andry Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomana - are reported to have agreed to form a unity government during a meeting which started last Wednesday in southern Africa's Mozambique. Media reports say Ravalomanana currently in South Africa has agreed to return home.
army in madagascar
Ravalomanana has since pledged to help resolve the crisis in the southern African nation.

The deal to form the unity government is said to have been brokered on Saturday and that the talks continued on Sunday with the meeting discussing the power sharing administration. AfricaNews reporter said this is expected to be good news for the country as well as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as peace will now prevail.

Media reports said that the two leaders agreed a power sharing deal having met for the first time since Ravalomanana was ousted in March. He has since been in exile.

Some analysts have since said that the agreement by the two rivals to form the unity government would help bring back investors in the country who were threatened by the violence.

The southern African country has been rocked up in political violence following Ravalomanana’s ouster as president by Rajoelina in March backed by the army. SADC brought the two leaders together through its appointed representative and peace keeper, former Mozambican president Joachim Chissano. Madagascar’s former presidents Didier Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy were also part of the meeting.


Apart from the unity government, the two leaders are also said to have agreed to hold elections within 15 months. Rajoelina was quoted recently as saying that the elections would be held by the end of 2010.

A Reuters report was quoted as saying that a national unity government would be set up and comprise a prime minister, three deputy prime ministers and 28 ministers.

"They agreed the transition period will not exceed 15 months ... and will end with elections under international supervision that will lead to the restoration of democratic institutions and stability in Madagascar," the statement said.

Since his ouster, Ravalomanana has insisted that he was the legitimate president whereas Rajoelina said he was the president and accused the former president of corruption and abuse of office.

The meeting however, is said to have cleared Ravalomanana of all these charges.

Afran : Jesse Jackson visits Ivory Coast
on 2009/8/10 18:38:39

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Posted on Saturday 8 August 2009
Kingsley Kobo, AfricaNews reporter in Abidjan, Ivory Coast
American civil rights activist and Baptist minister, Reverend Jesse Jackson will be paying a four-day visit to the Ivory Coast on August 10. Although invited privately by a youth movement, COJEP, Jackson's visit will be assuming a national status due to the programme cut out for him.
Ivory coast map
According to organiser Blé Goude Charles, Jackson would be given a popular welcome at the airport by thousands of youths.

He would then participate beside President Laurent Gbagbo at the opening ceremony of COJEP’s convention, which has for theme: “Resolution of African Conflicts by Africans – The Ivorian Scenario”, according to state media, RTI

Next on his programme, Jackson would hold a meeting with the country’s religious leaders at Saint Paul Cathedral in Plateau before leaving for Krindjagbo, headquarters of a local tribal kingdom, few miles away from capital city Abidjan, where a traditional ruler would confer a chieftaincy title on him.

Michael Jackson, during his 1992 visit to the Ivory Coast, was also honoured with a similar title at Krindjagbo.

Closing his visit, Jackson is expected to address a stadium gathering at Yopougon, north of the city.

Mr Goude told reporters that Jesse Jackson was chosen by Ivorian youths because his personality is “a symbol of the long journey of Blacks towards freedom, which culminated in the election of Barack Obama as US 44th president.

Afran : Mauritania: Bomb blast at French Embassy
on 2009/8/10 18:37:07

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Posted on Monday 10 August 2009
Kingsley Kobo, AfricaNews reporter in Abidjan, Ivory Coast
A suicide bomber has blown himself up outside the French embassy on Saturday in the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott.
The young man, a negro-Mauritanian, was dressed in boubou – a traditional loose outfit, and was wearing a belt packed with explosives which he detonated as two Frenchmen, who are employees at the embassy, jogged by, AFP reported.

The Frenchmen, slightly hurt, were immediately rushed to the hospital. Another victim was a Mauritanian lady, who was also passing by. She received minor injuries, but doctors say she is doing fine.

Mauritanian authorities, who have commenced investigations, say the French embassy was certainly the bomber’s target, although no damages were done to the building.

The bomber died in the blast, his body ripping across the street according to eyewitnesses. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which is coming only three days after Mohamed Abdel Aziz was sworn in as president.

Last June, a US aid worker was killed in Mauritanian by a group linked to Al-Qaeda, which operates in several north-western African states.

Afran : Namibia: Sixth uranium dual listing for NSX
on 2009/8/10 18:35:09

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Posted on Monday 10 August 2009
Tom Minney, AfricaNews reporter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The listing bell rang at the Namibian Stock Exchange last week for the listing of West Australian Metals Limited (WAM) on the NSX's Development Capital Board (DevX).
It is the sixth uranium producer to be listed for trading on the NSX, according to industry website www.africancapitalmarketsnews.com, and it is also listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (www.asx.com.au, where it is listed as WME).

WAM is exploring for uranium and in 2006 acquired 80% of Marenica uranium project, with an inferred resource of about 34 million pounds of uranium oxide, just north of the Trekkopje uranium mine in the western desert Erongo Region which is being developed by French giant Areva.

Namibia is the fourth largest producer of uranium in the world, supplying 7%-10% of the total. This could rise driven by increased, in turn caused by rising uranium prices as the world takes keener interest in alternative energy sources which do not have global warming impact. WAM is the sixth dual-listed uranium producer on the NSX.

The company has pledged investment of AUD 8 mln ($6.7 mln) and could start production in 2012. Namibia is becoming a major uranium producer and WAM CEO John Young reported in local press at the listing ceremony to attribute the company's interest in Namibian uranium to the stable regulatory and political environment, as well as the high prospects of discovering both primary and secondary uranium deposits.

“This is one of the best places to explore, certainly in Africa, if not in the world," he is reported to have said. He said the mining project would have only positive effects on the surrounding communities and minimal environmental impacts. The company also intends some Black Economic Empowerment transactions and currently reportedly employs five Namibians.

WAM dual listed 448,740,896 fully paid shares, which closed at N$1.27 on 4 August - adding some N$567 mln ($71 mln) to the total market capitalization - and up 7 cents by the close of trading on 5 August. The listing was sponsored by IJG Securities (Pty.) Ltd.
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Afran : Malawi: Women MPs coerced to vote
on 2009/8/10 18:28:59

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Posted on Monday 10 August 2009
Frazer Potani, AfricaNews reporter in Lilongwe, Malawi Photo: Malawi's speaker of parliament
Some female members of parliament of Malawi have disclosed that their political parties influenced them to speedily approve the controversial minimum age for marriage for women at 16 years.
Malawi's speaker
The women legislators made the admission at a women’s forum in Lilongwe organized by Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) last week which drew some female parliamentarians from various political parties in the country to interact with members of the press.

“In Parliament we are free to make decisions on issues but we do it with our political parties in mind to avoid some embarrassments,” said Otilia Jere, a Democratic Progressive Party MP.

“We thought the bill will include 18 years as a minimum age for marriage for women in the country,” added Jere also Deputy Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology.

Another DPP legislator Dilia Kankhwani said most female parliamentarians voted for 16 years minimum marriage limit because they were coaxed by other contents in the said bill. “The 16 years age limit was just part of the bill because it contained several issues in it,” said Kankhwani.

Asked why the female legislators did not fight for the amendment of the marriage age limit for women in the country, the parliamentarians were silent at the forum. The female legislators’ admission that they approved for the marriage limit without seriously considering its implications on the girl child in the country comes after Health Minister Moses Chirambo and his deputy Theresa Mwale expressed concern on the matter.

The two cabinet members who were part of the approval of the marriage age, said it would have a negative impact on government’s efforts to reduce the country’s high maternal mortality rate to save lives of women dying from child birth complications.

Afran : Madagascar political transition accord signed
on 2009/8/9 19:04:49

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09 Aug 2009
Leaders of Madagascar's main political movements have signed a transition blueprint, ending months of crisis on the island nation.

An accord and an accompanying transition charter foresee a transition period of 15 months during which legislative and presidential elections should be held under international supervision, according to UN mediator Tiebile Drame.

Madagascar has become increasingly isolated since Marc Ravalomanana was forced to abandon the presidency and flee in March following riots that left over 100 dead, with the international community pushing for a return to constitutional order and suspending the bulk of its aid to one of the world's poorest states.

Ravalomanana, who took part in the internationally-backed talks, indicated that under the terms of the accord he will not personally take part in the agreed political transition.

Ravalomanana said however that he would return home to Madagascar under the terms of the accord, which grants him an amnesty from a corruption conviction.

He has been living in exile in South Africa since fleeing Madagascar in March following the riots, handing over power to the army, which then transferred it to his rival Andry Rajoelina.
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Afran : Kenya expels Eritrean diplomat after clinton visist
on 2009/8/9 19:03:58

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08 Aug 2009
Kenya expels an Eritrean diplomat for alleged security reasons a day after the US Secretary of State visited the country and accused Asmara of destabilizing the region.

Quoting officials, Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper said the Kenyan government had deported the Eritrean diplomat on Friday.

"There are two cases involving Eritrean nationals who were deported on security-related grounds," the paper quoted an immigration department spokesman as saying.

The Nation did not name the envoy, and said the other Eritrean was a businessman who was expelled a month ago.

Eritrea denies supporting militants in Somalia, and in turn accuses the United States of causing more bloodshed in the failed Horn of Africa nation by sending tons of weapons and ammunition to the Somali government.

On Thursday, Hillary Clinton had warned that the US would take action against Eritrea if Asmara did not stop supporting the Somali insurgents, including al Shabaab, Kenyan media reported.
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Afran : Niger leader wins 'unlimited' presidency chances
on 2009/8/9 19:02:58

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07 Aug 2009
The people of Niger have voted in favor of a constitutional reform giving President Mamadou Tandja unlimited chances at the country's leadership.

On Friday, the country's electoral commission said initial results from the related referendum had shown 92.5 percent popular approval of the reform, Reuters reported.

The 71-year-old president has ruled the country since 1999, winning the post twice through 'free and fair' elections. Tandja's second term ends on December 22.

The Tuesday event, though, witnessed military suppression of opposition protests aimed at preventing public access to the polling stations.

The opposition had urged a boycott on the plebiscite and said Tandja had pulled the same card as many aging African leaders, refusing to step down in his twilight days. They also said he stood to benefit from the recent exploration deals, which target Niger's oil and rich uranium resources.
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Afran : US 'partner, not patron' of Africa, says Clinton
on 2009/8/9 19:02:14

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05 Aug 2009
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has begun her tour of seven African nations by stressing Washington's desire to become a 'partner' of Africa.

Clinton arrived in Kenya on the first leg of her tour on Wednesday, launching a surprise video message by US President Barack Obama, addressing the continent.

"To all Africans who are pursuing a future of hope and opportunity, know this: you have a partner and a friend in the United States," said Obama whose father was born in Kenya.

The 11-day trip, which comes just three weeks after Obama visited Ghana, is to emphasize the importance of Africa for the Obama administration.

Meanwhile, opening the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in Nairobi, Clinton said that Washington wants to be a “partner, not patron” of Africa.

Stressing on the importance of issues such as investment, corruption and human rights, the top official warned that Africa's economic progress would depend on good governance.

"True economic progress in Africa will depend on responsible governments that reject corruption, enforce the rule of law, and deliver results for their people," Clinton said.

She also told the forum, which was attended by Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, that "investors will not be attracted to states with failed or weak leadership; crime and civil unrest; or corruption that taints every transaction and decision."

Her remarks were a reference to Kenya, a top Washington ally in Africa, which has been condemned for its failure to implement key points of a power-sharing deal that ended a deadly electoral violence last year.

The AGOA initiative -- a program which provides some 40 sub-Saharan nations with preferential access to US markets -- has been widely criticized for its inability to provide basic needs for Africans who are mostly suffering from extreme poverty.

While still in Kenya, Clinton is also to meet Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, whose interim government is struggling with insurgency.

Clinton is next expected to fly to South Africa, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, followed by Liberia and the Cape Verde.
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Afran : Clinton praises Zuma's insight on Africa
on 2009/8/9 19:00:45

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08 Aug 2009
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has met with South African President Jacob Zuma as both countries expressed willingness to improve strained bilateral ties.

The two officials met in the coastal city of Durban on Saturday.

Clinton, who was expected to press Zuma for help in Zimbabwe, praised insight shed on regional issue by the leader and described the meeting as "helpful."

"He gave his views on regional issues from Zimbabwe, Somalia, and Sudan. His advice on these issues was extremely helpful," she said adding that US President Barack Obama was determined to open a new chapter in the countries' cooperation.

"In both countries there are two new administrations which are taking that relationship a level higher. That is what we are trying to do," Zuma said after the 45-minute long meeting with Clinton, who is on an 11-day trip to the continent.

On Friday, Clinton said the huge number of Zimbabwean migrants in South Africa proved failure on part of the leadership in Harare.

She stressed that Johannesburg could play a key role in convincing Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to honor the terms of the power-sharing agreement singed with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Clinton's seven-nation tour of Africa comes amid Obama's new policy of involving the continent in regional and global scene.
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Afran : US seeking foothold in Somalia
on 2009/8/9 18:59:35

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06 Aug 2009
The United States signals deeper involvement in Somalia, revealing a new plan to double its military supplies to the Horn of African country from 40 to 80 tons.

The Somali transitional government's soldiers who are already receiving military training from the US in Djibouti are to receive double the amount of arms and ammunition, a US State Department official disclosed on condition of anonymity.

The US military has a base in Djibouti, where the Somali soldiers are being trained, he said.

Meanwhile, the State Department Spokesman Robert Wood said, "We are obviously going to look for ways that we can help to support that government to eventually help bring stability to that region, which is an important US foreign policy goal."

Earlier in Nairobi, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged "very strong support" for Somalia's transitional federal government in a meeting with President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

Clinton also called Eritrea to stop supporting the Al-Shabaab gunmen, who are fighting the transitional government for control of the impoverished country.

This while the US is accused of conducting over flights, causing panic among the Somalis. Washington has also carried out a number of airstrikes on Somalia, in which civilians lost their lives or suffered injuries.
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Afran : Opposition condemns US-Somalia talks
on 2009/8/9 18:58:27

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07 Aug 2009
The Somali opposition leader has condemned the recent meeting between Somalia's President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys who is also the Chairman of Hisbul Islam said that the meeting would not help resolve the differences between the opposition and the government which have been involved in a bloody fight against each other, Press TV correspondent reported on Friday.

Earlier, Clinton vowed very strong support for Somalia's transition federal government in her meeting with President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in Kenya.

Clinton told Sharif the United States was prepared to meet his request for unspecified assistance.

Washington has been shipping the Somali government supplies of arms and ammunitions to fight against insurgents.

A US State Department official said on Thursday that the US planned to double the amount of arms and ammunition.

The opposition leader also threatened to increase attacks against the US-backed government.
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Afran : Somali president seeks more int'l aid
on 2009/8/9 18:57:23

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08 Aug 2009
Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed has sought more international help to battle militants after meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

On Thursday, Clinton pledged strong support for Ahmed's fragile administration during a meeting with him in Nairobi.

She also warned that Washington would take action against Eritrea if it did not cease support for Somali rebels.

A day after the meeting, the African country's president said his government, which controls only parts of the capital Mogadishu, needed more help from overseas in order to beat the militants.

"The Somali government alone cannot bring a solution to the mayhem these groups are causing," Ahmed told Reuters in an interview.

"If we don't confront them with the assistance of the world, the situation may turn into an uncontainable security threat."
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Afran : 17 dead in Somalia's tribal clashes
on 2009/8/9 18:55:56

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09 Aug 2009
At least seventeen people have been killed and over thirty others injured in clashes between two regional clans- both involved in piracy- over tribal rivalry.

A fierce gun battle erupted on Saturday night in the lawless state on the Horn of Africa in which tribesmen from two adversary clans engaged in a full-blown conflict over the rape of a girl and land disputes.

The two clans, located in the eastern coastal region of Haradheere, have reportedly stepped up their hostilities that have caused a throng of local residents to flee the area.

Each tribe frequently launches pirate attacks on foreign ocean-liners from remote areas around the town of Haradheere demanding increasing ransoms from international shipping operators.

Somalia has become the quagmire for piracy and other criminal acts ever since the country's former dictatorial regime was toppled in 1991 highlighting the failure of interim governments.

A projected 17,000 Somalis have been killed and an estimated 250,000 others have been internally displaced over the past two years alone in the ongoing civil war that has crippled the poverty-stricken nation.

The country is mainly controlled by anti-government al Shabaab rebels who have been targeting international and national peace-keeping forces in order to obtain more leverage in negotiations with foreign governments.

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Afran : Niger to be ruled by unlimited power
on 2009/8/9 18:55:04

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07 Aug 2009
Niger's current president wins a controversial referendum with 92.5 percent of the votes to change the country's constitution and extend his authority.

Mamadou Tandja, 71, in power since 1999 will now have unlimited mandates and will be the sole holder of executive power for probably a life time.

The Friday turn-out was 68.26 percent or around 4.1 million votes, Commission Chief Moumouni Hamidou announced late on Friday.

The vote beefs up his power to stay beyond the December 22 end of tenure. He will head the army, name the prime minister and have complete control of the cabinet.

Tandja has consistently claimed that his bid to cling to power is to fulfill 'the will of the people'.

Niger, the world's third largest uranium producer has abundant oil, but does not have a senate.

Tandja ran into stiff opposition from both the parliament and the constitutional court in his bid to extend his rule. He dissolved both, declared an emergency and began to rule by decree. He rejected the 1999 constitution limiting presidential mandates to two terms.

The opposition has denounced the vote as Tandja's 'coup d'etat'.

The European Union has threatened Niger with economic sanctions and the Economic Community of West African States regional bloc, which Tandja once headed, has threatened similar measures.

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