CIVIL-MILITARY FUSION CENTRE
Review 05 February 2013
INSIDE THIS ISSUE In Focus North Africa Northeast Africa Horn of Africa
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This document provides an overview of developments in the Mediterranean Basin and other regions of interest from 22 January â€” 04 February 2013, with hyperlinks to source material highlighted and underlined in the text. For more information on the topics below or other issues pertaining to the region, please contact the members of the Med Basin Team, or visit our website at www.cimicweb.org.
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In Focus: Humanitarian Crisis: Tribal Conflict in Darfur By Jennifer Gadarowski and Trista Guertin Crisis Update
Humanitarian conditions within Darfur are once again deteriorating, as renewed fighting takes a heavy toll on the civilian population. Darfur has been the scene of conflict since 2003, when nonArab tribes took up arms against the Arab government in Khartoum. The region experienced a period of relative calm until recently, when clashes erupted between two Arab tribes on 05 January in the Jebel Amer gold mine area, near Kabkabiya, according to the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). Fighting between members of the Beni Hussein tribe and the Rezeigat tribe ensued after a Rezeigat leader, who is also an officer in Sudanâ€™s Border Guard, reportedly staked a claim in a gold-rich area within Beni Hussein territory. The continued clashes between the Beni Hussein and Rezeigat tribes have displaced about 100,000 people, prompting UN officials to warn that the crisis could become one of the biggest the area has experienced in years. Humanitarian access has been limited, as the fighting is taking place in an isolated area of Darfur, making it difficult for the aid agencies to reach the internally displaced persons (IDPs). The UN has subsequently reported that clashes between the communities spilled over into surrounding areas, resulting in the burning and looting of a number of villages, several deaths, and the displacement of thousands more, many of whom were in Jebel Amer to work in the mines. According to Amnesty International, the conflict has resulted in more than 200 casualties.
Economic, Political and Security Factors
Since the discovery of gold in Sudan last year, approximately 500,000 miners have joined a gold rush across the country. The Beni Hussein community has controlled the granting of lucrative mining licenses in Jebel Amer. The Khartoum government, which generated USD 2.5 billion from gold exports in 2012, wishes to exert greater control over the issue of mining licenses and export of gold in an effort to resuscitate its ailing economy. Sudan currently faces its most serious economic crisis Continued on page 6
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Algeria As former captives in the last month’s hostage crisis in Algeria have begun providing accounts of their experience, the objective of the hostile militants has become clearer, reports the New York Times (NYT). The captors did not seek to disable the gas plant and hold the hostages for ransom, but rather to detonate a very large explosion, causing significant damage to the plant and loss of life. Amenas gas plant executive Lotfi Benadouda said that he was singled out by the militants and was forced to restart the plant, which operators had shut down during the initial attack. Benadouda added that the militants wanted to move all the hostages to the factory and blow it up. However, they lacked the technical expertise to realise their objective. This plot seemingly justifies the Algerian government’s aggressive military response, but questions remain about whether the high death toll could have been avoided, according to NYT. Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal defended his government’s actions by saying “if you don’t terrorize the terrorists, they will terrorize you”. The four Algerian diplomats held captive in northern Mali since July 2012 are reportedly in a safe place, says Kuwait News Agency (KUNA). Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci announced the conditions of the diplomats to reporters after a parliamentary session on 03 February, but did not provide any further information. The Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) claimed responsibility for abducting seven Algerian diplomats last year; three of the hostages were released immediately.
Egypt Violence flared across Egypt on 25 January – the day marking the second anniversary of the revolution that led to the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak, informs Reuters. Approximately 61 civilians and 32 security officers were injured during clashes in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez, as police fired tear gas at protesters who were throwing rocks. Further protests erupted on 26 January in Port Said, after a court recommended capital punishment for 21 defendants charged with the deaths of at least 72 football fans during post-game riots one year ago. At least 46 people were killed over the past week in the city. President Morsi declared a state of emergency and deployed troops to the cities of Port Said, Ismailia and Suez on 28 January in an attempt to halt several days of violence, reports Reuters. Emergency measures include a daily curfew imposed on the three cities; however, residents have stated they will defy it. Cabinet ministers further authorised security forces to arrest civilians, who will subsequently be tried in civilian courts. The Ministry of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim issued an apology on 02 February after video footage of police beating a naked protester near the presidential palace was televised, reports NYT. The family of the victim, Hamada Saber, said he was originally coerced to say the officers had been trying to help him instead of attacking him. The office of the President issued a statement saying that it was “pained by the shocking footage.’ Ibrahim stated that once Mr. Saber was released from the hospital, he would invite him to the ministry’s offices to apologise in person, acknowledging that the conduct of the officers was “excessive” and that he had ordered an investigation. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Cairo on 04 February, marking the first visit of an Iranian president in nearly three decades, reports NYT. Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs stated, “Egypt is a very important country in the region and the Islamic Republic of Iran believes it is one of the heavyweights in the Middle East,” further adding, “we are ready to further strengthen ties.” Egypt received the first of four F-16 aircraft from the United States on 04 February, reports Israel National News. Egypt will receive a total of twenty aircraft from the US this year as part of the USD 1.3 billion in annual military aid provided to the country. While originally ordered by former President Hosni Mubarak, the jets will now be delivered to the current Muslim Brotherhood-led administration under President Mohammed Morsi.
Libya The United Nations special representative for Libya Tarek Mitri told the Security Council on 29 January that the military intervention in Mali may push armed groups into Libya, reports Associated Press (AP). He also expressed his concerns about the detention of approximately 7,000 people by anti-Gaddafi revolutionary brigades, adding that cases of torture still occur, but are greatly reduced. About 20,000 revolutionaries have been integrated into the Libyan army or police forces so far; however, there are still about 200,000 armed men remaining who “are not ready to get absorbed”, contributing to the instability in the country. As the second anniversary of the “February 17 Revolution” that ousted the former leader Moammar Gaddafi approaches, Libya faces a renewed risk of a “second revolution” due to the lack of reforms, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP). Authorities have placed security forces on alert ahead of planned protests on 15 February. The demands of opposition groups within the country include the ban of former regime figures from government offices, disbandment of armed militias and reforms of the higher education system.
05 February 2013
Mohamed al-Mufti, a former political prisoner under the Gaddafi regime, said that “[t]his movement is also politically motivated given their demands for federalism and the challenges posed to the decisions and choices of the assembly and the government”. Political activist Zahia Attia said that he “would stage a sit-in and organise peaceful protest marches to denounce the national assembly for its failure to make progress on issues like national reconciliation, allocation of resources ... and drafting of a constitution”. An illegal immigration detention centre in Benghazi was attacked and its administrative offices were torched on 02 February, reports Libya Herald. The attack came after the arrest of an unnamed man brought to the centre for his alleged involvement in human trafficking. The detention centre, situated close to the Ansar al Sharia headquarters, was stormed by over forty armed people, freeing the unnamed man and several other inmates. The prison was guarded by a Libyan Shield Two battalion, whose commander, Attia Amari, said that the guardsmen did not return fire on the attackers because weapons are generally not used at the centre, which he described as a civilian rather than a military facility. Source: BBC
Morocco received the first instalment of an USD 2.5 billion aid package promised to Morocco and Jordan in December 2011 by the Gulf Arab monarchies of Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, reports Reuters. The Arab monarchies seek to establish closer links with each other to avoid pro-democracy revolutions experienced in other countries in the region. Morocco relies heavily on foreign aid, as its economy was greatly impacted by the euro zone crisis. Moroccan authorities fear the recurrence of street protests calling for social and economic reforms, which were calmed by King Mohammed’s constitutional reforms, social spending and heavy security controls last year. The Moroccan government aims to improve the country’s GDP and GDP growth rate in 2013. Moreover, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a USD 6.2 billion credit line for Morocco in case of further economic deterioration. Morocco’s ruling Justice and Development Party (PJD) is pushing forward with reforms in subsidy and pension systems, reports AFP. According to Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane, the pension system is not functioning properly and will not be viable by the end of the decade. The government is planning to increase the retirement age from 60 to 67, as the number of people benefitting from the pension fund exceeds the current contributions. Moreover, the country is no longer able to cover the cost of subsidised fuel and staple goods. This cost has risen from 4 billion dirhams (USD 480 million) in 2002 to 50 billion dirhams (USD 6.1 billion) in 2012.
Tunisia Tunisia increased security at oil and gas sites in the southern part of the country as a result of the war in Mali and the recent gas plant attack in Algeria, reports AP. In related security news, Tunisia also renewed the state of emergency, which was put in effect after the fall of long-time President Zine al Abidine Ben Ali, for one more month, reports the Daily Star. Both internal unrest and the clashes with militant groups on borders were cited as reasons for renewal. Tunisian police, who protested outside the Prime Minister’s office for better pay, equipment and protection from rising Islamist militancy threat, said they do not have adequate resources to fight against al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and domestic radical Islamists with access to Libyan weapons. Since the fall of the former leader Ben Ali, Tunisia is increasingly “sinking into Islamism”, reports al Monitor. Salafism has emerged as an influential force shaping public opinion, especially in socially disadvantaged areas of the country. Minister of Defense Abdelkerim Zbidi said last November at the opening of a National Defense Institute (IDN) meeting that poverty creates “a favorable climate for the emergence of organized crime as well as extremist Islamist movements that threaten the stability of the region”. Furthermore, low levels of economic and social progress, combined with 23 years of oppression, enabled Islamist groups to gain power in the 2011 elections. However, the Islamist Ennahda party – despite its claims of working to solve such problems – remains ineffective in the wake of Salafist violence in the country. The government has been accused of reportedly bending to the violence originating from the Kasserine region, where the terrorists find refuge and organise their attacks, says al Monitor.
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05 February 2013
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Cross Border Issues between South Sudan and Sudan Talks between South Sudan’s Salva Kiir and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir broke down in Addis Ababa after the two presidents met for the second time during the month of January, reports Sudan Tribune. The meeting was to discuss the implementation of the 2012 cooperation agreement; however, South Sudan says Bashir has placed new demands regarding the demilitarised zone and the composition of the Abyei Legislative Council as pre-conditions. Further complicating the strained relationship between the two nations, South Sudan accused Sudan of carrying out airstrikes in their side of the disputed border areas, killing one soldier. Sudan denies the claims.
South Sudan South Sudan relieved 35 senior officers of their ranks, including 6 deputy chiefs of staff and 29 major generals, on 21 January in the largest shake-up of the military since gaining independence in 2011, reports BBC. The Minister of Information stated that the move was to transform the army by bringing younger officers into top posts, denying that the restructuring was in any way related to rumours of a coup attempt.
The World Bank has announced plans to build a 960 km road connecting north-western Kenya to the capital of South Sudan, Juba. The road, which is will cost approximately USD 1.3 billion, will help to forge economic relations between the two countries. The project is to be funded by international donors, with contributions from both governments. The World Bank country director for South Sudan, Bella Bird, stated that the poor road conditions severely restrict the movement of goods and people. Both countries view improvements to the road network as beneficial and a high priority, contributing to the non-oil based sectors of the South Sudanese economy, while benefiting the development of north-western Kenya. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced on 22 January that it will establish a new refugee camp in the near future in Unity State to accommodate the continued flow of refugees from Sudan and to elevate some of the overcrowded conditions in the inundated settlement at Yida. The new camp will be located in Ajuoung and will accommodate 20,000 refugees. UNHCR indicates the government has guaranteed safety, as well as access to adequate resources such as water and land. UNHCR plans to establish other camps, also within Unity State, to accommodate up to approximately 110,000 refugees. Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reports that it has treated almost 4,000 patients as an epidemic of hepatitis E is sweeping through refugee camps in Maban County. To date, 88 people have died as a result of the outbreak, including 15 pregnant women. Initial cases of hepatitis E were diagnosed in June 2012 in three camps, and the death rate has steadily increased. MSF reports that since mid-January, a further 41 cases of the disease were diagnosed in Doro camp. Dr. José-Luis Dvorzak, MSF Medical Coordinator in Maban County, has stated that MSF is doing everything it can to treat those infected; however, there is no cure for the virus and he predicted the outbreak will continue, killing many more people.
Sudan The United Nations (UN) has reported that continued fighting between two Arab tribes in Darfur has displaced more than 100,000 people, informs BBC. The two tribes have been clashing since early January over a gold mine in the north of the Darfur region. While the UN stated that it had delivered 600 tonnes of food and non-food items to assist the internally displaced persons (IDPs), it warns that most of the IDPs are living in “appalling conditions”. Please see this week’s In Focus for further information. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on 31 January that it had forfeited its voting rights at the UN; Sudan owes the UN USD 1 million in arrears but needs only to pay USD 347,879 to reinstate its rights. The head of the Foreign Relations Committee at the Sudanese parliament, Mohamed al-Hassan al-Amin, dismissed the importance of the suspension, and stated that barring Sudan from voting was “not an innocent” move and was “politically motivated”. The New Dawn Charter gained further support amongst opposition groups with the signature of Yousef al-Koda, leader of the Islamic Wasat (Central) Party, who has, joined rebel groups and other political parties calling for the overthrow of President Bashir through “political and armed struggle”. The head of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) Malik Agar, and al-Koda released a joint statement confirming the charter was signed in Uganda. The charter stresses the importance of a united Sudan and the freedom of expression and religion, and calls for the rule of law, an independent judicial system, a peaceful transfer of power, democracy and a federal system. 05 February 2013
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Horn of Africa Trista Guertin › firstname.lastname@example.org
In a “rare show of dissent against what Human Rights Watch describes as one of the worlds’ most repressive regimes”, as many as 200 soldiers carried out a day-long mutiny on 21 January in the Eritrean capital Asmara, reports Bloomberg. The soldiers entered the Ministry of Information building that houses state television, taking its occupants hostage, and forcing a state media staffer to read a list of demands which included the release of political prisoners and the implementation of a 1997 constitution. The siege ended when government troops loyal to President Isaias Afwerki surrounded the ministry building and the mutineers released their hostages. Precise details concerning the mutiny were difficult to ascertain; however, an Eritrean human rights activist cited in the article says the soldiers were not senior personnel, but new conscripts who were frustrated with the situation in their country. Exiled Eritrean activists claim there is increasing dissension within the military, particularly as economic hardships grow. One activist stated, “Economic issues have worsened and have worsened relations between the government and soldiers in the past few weeks and months”. Sources within the country claim the president has ordered the arrest of senior military officers and politicians in response. Meanwhile, the government dismissed claims that the soldiers had attempted a coup calling it instead a protest and that any reports of an attempted coup were “wishful thinking”.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn was elected chairperson of the African Union (AU) on 27 January during the 20 th Ordinary session of the Assembly of African Heads of State and Government. Dessalegn replaces current AU chair Boni Yayi, President of Benin. Dessalegn promised to uphold the responsibilities of the position, saying there are a number of priority issues that need the attention of the AU in what will be the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity, the predecessor of the AU. “This year we have a lot of work to do to mark the Golden Jubilee of our organisation, sustain Africa’s growth momentum, strengthen our partnership with the rest of the world, adopt the strategic plan for our union for the periods 2014-2017”, he stated. Ethiopia signed an agreement with South Sudan on 24 January to enhance security along their shared border, reports Sudan Tribune. Senior army officers from the two countries met in Ethiopia to develop a plan for augmenting regional security measures, in particular defusing the threat of armed groups and controlling the illegal movement of people in shared border areas.
In the run up to the 04 March election in Kenya, the government warned international journalists against publishing articles that “have a polarizing effect”, reports AP. Government spokesman Muthui Kariuki told the reporters, “We will set you on fire before you set us on fire.” Kariuki blamed both the media and pollsters for the 2007 post-election violence, in which 1,000 people were killed and 600,000 were displaced. The Kenyan government is trying to prevent a repeat of violence this March. In related news, the top two candidates for the office of the president were officially registered on 30 January by Kenya’s electoral authority, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). The commission cleared current Prime Minister Raila Odinga and running mate, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, as candidates for the Coalition for Reform and Democracy. The IEBC has also sanctioned presidential candidate Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and vice presidential candidate William Ruto as Jubilee Alliance candidates. However, Kenyatta and Ruto have been charged by the International Criminal Court for allegedly organising the postelection violence in 2007, and will be tried in April in The Hague, according to the AP wire. A Kenyan High Court blocked the government’s attempt to forcibly relocate urban refugees to the Dadaab refugee complex on 23 January. The government had originally issued an order on 18 December that all Somali refugees in the country must move to camps. The court will first hear a suit against the relocation filed by the Kenyan non-governmental organisation (NGO) Kituo Cha Sheria that challenges the government’s plan to force refugees and asylum seekers currently residing in Thika Municipal Stadium to Dadaab. Human Rights Watch has called the forcible relocation a violation of refugees’ right to freedom of movement. The Kenyan Red Cross Society (KRCS) has suspended its activities in the Dadaab Refugee Camp after one of their ambulances was fired upon several times by gunmen in the camp on 28 January. The KRCS had been providing humanitarian services in the world’s largest refugee camp over the past year, despite a number of other NGOs suspending their services after two Médecins Sans Frontières staff were kidnapped while working in the camp in 2012.
Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon launched an Independent Task Force on Human Rights to address rampant human rights abuses in the country, and the culture of impunity associated with them. The task force, launched on 05 February, will investigate the broadest range of human rights abuses, including the organised killing of journalists and sexual violence against women. Somalia was designated one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in 2012, during which fourteen journalists were killed. A Somali court on 05 February issued a one-year prison sentences to a woman who claimed she was raped by security forces. A reporter who interviewed her was issued the same sentence. The judges presiding over the cases ruled that the woman had made false accusations and had also insulted the government, basing their decision on medical evidence that the woman was not raped. Human rights groups claim the case was politically motivated because the woman had accused security forces of the assault. 05 February 2013
Continued from page 1 in decades, marked by depleted foreign exchange reserves – a result of losing three-quarters of its oil production after South Sudan became independent in 2011. Oil revenues were the main source of income for Sudan’s national budget and for foreign currency needed to purchase crucial imports. Relations with South Sudan further deteriorated in January after talks held in Ethiopia between the two countries’ leaders failed to resolve issues that would have seen oil exports from the South resume in the near future. The Beni Hussien tribe has accused the government of supporting the Rezeigat tribe and supplying them with weapons. Amnesty International has also corroborated reports that members of Sudan’s security forces have been involved in the goldmine attacks. Gunmen reportedly driving government vehicles opened fire on civilians in the mainly Beni Hussein area of Kabkabiya using heavy weaponry. Amnesty International’s Africa director, Audrey Gaughran, said, “[t]he Sudanese government should immediately investigate the reports that its security officers are involved in attacks against civilians and ensure they are not involved in any further attacks”. According to Mukesh Kapila, a UN spokesperson, “as a result of government intervention, the tribes had reportedly agreed to cease hostilities and engage in a reconciliation conference planned for this Thursday, 17 January.” However, despite the signing of a government-brokered truce, attacks continued for several days and tensions remained high. Militiamen blocked roads into the area, creating shortages of essential food items and reportedly causing the deaths of vulnerable children and elderly people. UN observers have been prohibited from accessing the area.
The massive displacement has impacted neighbouring towns where the IDPs have sought refuge; in El Sireaf, the largest group of IDPs, approximately 65,000, has forced the closure of all public buildings, including schools, to provide shelter. “Many of these people are living in the open in appalling conditions,” states a report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). UNAMID delivered more than 600 tonnes of humanitarian aid to the IDPs in El Sireaf, by 01 February, dispatching another 100 tonnes on 03 February. The peacekeeping mission is also providing logistical support and security escorts to humanitarian workers within the northern Darfur villages of Kabkabiya, Abu Gamra, Saraf Omra, and El Sireaf. Many non-food items (NFIs) have also been provided by OCHA, the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). NFI packages included plastic tarps, sleeping mats, blankets, water purification equipment, jerry cans, and mosquito nets.
Local IDP camps, already struggling with limited resources, are further stressed with the increase in newly displaced citizens. The camps recently received an influx of IDPs in December 2012 due to alleged air strikes and armed attacks by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF). As such, already dire conditions in IDP camps, such as Nifasha camp in North Darfur, were exacerbated by the new arrivals. On 19 December 2012, a ‘blue helmet patrol’ was sent to Dalma and Dady villages to verify local reports of air strikes. They were denied access by the SAF outside the town of Shangil Tobaya, in North Darfur. The UN-AU mission said “UNAMID calls on all parties involved to keep civilians out of harm’s way and to grant the mission unrestricted access and freedom of movement across Darfur”, and added that “continued fighting could lead to a catastrophic humanitarian situation for the displaced civilians in North Darfur”. UNAMID also received reports of alleged looting, rape, and SAF airstrikes from several villages including Kunjura, Hashaba, Tibadiyat, Masal, and Namira. UNAMID stated “While the scope of displacement is to be determined and allegations of air strikes are yet to be verified, the mission is nevertheless concerned about the safety of civilians and the humanitarian situation in these IDP camps” adding “increased displacement results in the deterioration of the overall humanitarian situation within the camps due to already limited resources and supplies”. State media sources reported on 03 February the Beni Hussein tribe and the Rezeigat tribe had reached another agreement to end the fighting. However, the decade-long insurgency against Khartoum has been further compounded by inter-Arab violence, banditry and tribal wars, exacting a heavy toll on the civilian population. Currently, there are more than one million people living within IDP camps in Darfur. An estimated 300,000 people have died in the conflict since 2003, according to the UN. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and other Sudanese officials on charges of war crimes. Bashir continues to deny the charges and refuse to recognise the court’s legitimacy. The government maintains that only 10,000 people have been killed by the conflict since 2003.
ENGAGE WITH US 05 February 2013
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