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United States Africa Command Public Affairs Office 12 July 2010

USAFRICOM - related news stories

TOP NEWS RELATED TO U.S. AFRICA COMMAND AND AFRICA Obama shouldn't get too close to Goodluck Jonathan (Guardian) (Nigeria) Following Yar'Adua's death in May, the Obama administration has chosen to be very vocal in its support for Nigeria's new president, Goodluck Jonathan. America quickly signed a bi-national agreement with Nigeria, the first with an African nation in decades. On Rwanda, Congo, and AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command (Digital Journal) (Pan Africa) An American feels compelled to study and speak out about U.S. military industries' dependence on the mineral wealth of southeastern D.R. Congo and northern Zambia to manufacture for war. US, Britain, Norway 'deeply concerned' on Sudan (AFP) (Sudan) The United States, Britain and Norway said Friday they were "deeply concerned" by Sudan's curtailment of human rights since April elections and voiced alarm about a deterioration in Darfur. New US charges against 11 suspected Somali pirates (Associated Press) (Somalia) A federal grand jury has returned new charges against 11 Somali men accused of separate pirate attacks on Navy warships, including allegations they had a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and assaulted federal officers. W Africa transit point for drugs (AFP) (West Africa) West Africa, beset by poor security, corruption, lawlessness and home to sprawling and remote desert, has become a key transit point for drugs smuggled from Latin America and destined for Europe. Phillip Heyl, chief of air and maritime security in the US Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, described West Africa as a "black hole". Bombers Strike in Uganda at World Cup Gatherings (New York Times) (Uganda) At least three bombs exploded Sunday in a synchronized attack on large gatheri ngs of World Cup soccer fans watching the televised final on outdoor projection screens in this normally peaceful capital, turning a boisterous night of cheering into scenes of death and panic.

Guinea presidential runoff due Aug. 1 (Associated Press) (Guinea) Guinea's Supreme Court says a runoff vote to choose the country's next president will be held Aug. 1. Liberia·s Minister of Information Denies Allegation Deputy Speaker Was Under House Arrest (Voice of America) (Liberia) Liberia·s Minister of health has refuted allegations that the country·s deputy Speaker has been placed under house arrest. Zimbabwe wriggles itself out of economic problems with China's support (Xinhua) (Zimbabwe) With virtually the whole donor community having shut its doors on assisting, Zimbabwe pull itself out of a decade-long economic meltdown, the country is counting on China's continued support in areas of trade and economic cooperation. UN News Service Africa Briefs Full Articles on UN Website y Darfur: conflict claimed more than 200 lives in June, UN-African mission reports y African youth get once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch World Cup final ² UN y UN sounds alarm on funding gap as rainy season gets under way in West Africa y Global recession should spur transformation of African economies ² UN official ------------------------------------------------------------------------UPCOMING EVENTS OF INTEREST: WHEN/WHERE: Tuesday, July 13, 9:00 a.m., Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies WHAT: The Cost of Conflict and the Economics of Peace WHO: Gary Milante, research economist for the World Bank; Raymond Gilpin, associate vice president of the Sustainable Economies Centers of Innovation; and Zoe Cooprider, U.S. project manager for the Institute for Economics and Peace Info: http://www.sais-jhu.edu/events/summer2010/conflict.htm WHEN/WHERE: Tuesday, July 13, 2:30 p.m., Center for Strategic and International Studies WHAT: Countdown to Sudan·s Referendum WHO: Major General Scott Gration, President·s Special Envoy to Sudan Info: http://www.sais-jhu.edu/events/summer2010/conflict.htm ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------FULL ARTICLE TEXT Obama shouldn't get too close to Goodluck Jonathan (Guardian)

Nigeria is the largest black nation, with approximately 150 million people. So it was little surprise that when Barack Obama became the first black president of the US, Nigeria's then-president, Umar Yar'Adua, attempted to visit him. A visit with Obama, arguably the most popular man on the planet at the time, would have benefited Yar'Adua, who faced questions about his health and competence as a leader. That visit never happened and instead the public relationship between Yar'Adua and Obama was practically nonexistent. A Nigerian news outlet indicated that Obama was unwilling to meet with the Nigerian leader because of a lack of democratic and human rights progress in the country. Instead, the American president chose Ghana as his first stop in sub-Saharan Africa, where he spoke sternly about democracy, good governance and leadership in a speech that was interpreted as a condemnation of Nigeria's leadership. Tensions were further inflamed when Yar'Adua's political party accused Obama of seeking to destabilise the then-president's government. Flash forward a year and, following Yar'Adua's death in May, the Obama administration has chosen to be very vocal in its support for Nigeria's new president, Goodluck Jonathan. On his first day in office, Jonathan was visited by the American undersecretary of state in what can only be interpreted as a show of support. America quickly signed a bi-national agreement with Nigeria, the first with an African nation in decades. Jonathan was also invited by Obama to attend a nuclear summit in Washington, DC, where he was heralded as an example of African democracy at work. Even the "terror prone" classification afforded to Nigeria after a citizen attempted to blow up a plane was soon scrapped, and Nigeria went from being on a list with the likes of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen, to being touted as an example of countries with USapproved enhanced screening technology. Unfortunately, America's support for Jonathan risks sabotaging him and even creating problems for the US and President Obama. While oil remains an important factor in the Nigeria-US relationship, America's military aspirations are equally a reason for the change in America's tune. In 2007, Yar'Adua had formally rejected a request by the Bush administration to house United States Africa Command (Africom) in Nigeria. However, now that Yar'Adua is no longer in power, the US has another opportunity to reintroduce Africom to the African audience. If Nigeria were to get on board, there is the likelihood that other countries will view the military command more favourably, thus paving the way for an Africa-based Africom headquarters. This could also prove beneficial to American private military companies that are expanding their presence in the region, and especially in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea.

These possibilities are even more likely now that the US has a black president. Although his popularity ratings have slipped in the US, Obama remains a very popular figure on the African continent. This popularity, coupled with the new treatment being meted out to Nigeria and its president, could increase the chance of a public declaration of support by the Nigerian government. It would be detrimental for Jonathan to be seen as an American puppet, a perception that has already taken root. In early 2010, American officials insisted on a change in the leadership of the Nigerian electoral body and its controversial chair, Maurice Iwu, was soon removed, fuelling concerns that the removal was at America's request. America has also proclaimed its support for a 2011 Jonathan ticket. If indeed Jonathan runs for president and wins, the credibility of this win will be diminished and America will be accused of tampering in the domestic elections of an independent nation. This would be detrimental not only to the resulting Nigerian administration but also to the credibility of the American government, which asserts that it hopes for true democracy in Nigeria and the region. In addition, obvious American support for Jonathan, a southern Christian, could reinforce negative religious and tribal divisions. Considering that many believe Yar'Adua, a northern Muslim, was snubbed by Obama, the new attitude towards Jonathan could foster the already widely held belief that America is anti-Muslim. Such an attitude, if further entrenched by opportunists, would destabilise any future Nigerian government and encourage intertribal friction in a country with over 250 different languages and groups. In 2010, a North African al-Qaida group offered to train Nigerian Muslims to kill Christians. This was during a period when socioeconomic, religious and ethnic tensions fuelled repeated fighting in the country's middle belt. If these and other negative possibilities were to come to pass, America's support could be interpreted as a failure of its Africa policy. This would not only weaken the African belief in Obama's leadership and vision for the continent, but make him prey to further foreign policy criticism by opponents at home. America's carefully crafted but public preference for Jonathan could very well serve to complicate Jonathan's position as president and even the possibility of him running again. It could also have repercussions for President Obama who can hardly afford more missteps considering the challenges he already faces at home. And, most significantly, such support could create more problems for Nigeria, a country recently listed as the 14th most failed state in the world, and, undoubtedly, with enough issues to deal with. -------------------On Rwanda, Congo, and AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command (Digital Journal)

On July 6, 2010, I spoke with Shanaaz Ebrahim, on Voice of the Cape Drive Time, about Rwanda, eastern Congo, and AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command. I gave particular attention to why I, as an American, feel compelled to study and speak out about this, and to U.S. military industries' dependence on the mineral wealth of southeastern D.R. Congo and northern Zambia to manufacture for war. The world's largest and most densely concentrated cobalt reserves are in the Katanga Copper Belt running from Southeastern D.R. Congo into Zambia. On September 7, 1980 a Scripps Howard News report, published in the Pittsburgh Press, said: "The United States has less than half the stockpiled cobalt it would need in wartime. That's bad news, but the Pentagon has worse. The cobalt on hand isn't pure enough. It would have to be refined for use in its most important military role: as an ingredient in making high-performance jet engines. The strategic stockpile managers think the nation should have 85 million tons of cobalt squirreled away for an emergency. The nation has 40 million tons. There's a similar shortage and quality problem in the U.S. stockpile of titanium, another metal used in aircraft manufacture. There are also shortages of chromium, tantalum, beryllium, and nickel, all of which are expensive and all of which must be imported. The problem with the cobalt in storage is that it was purchased in the 1950s when purity was not a major factor. -------------------US, Britain, Norway 'deeply concerned' on Sudan (AFP) WASHINGTON ² The United States, Britain and Norway said Friday they were "deeply concerned" by Sudan's curtailment of human rights since April elections and voiced alarm about a deterioration in Darfur. The three powers issued a joint statement as Sudan enters the final year of a 2005 peace deal that halted a 22-year north-south civil war, saying that a "tremendous amount of work" was needed to ensure stability moving forward. "We are deeply concerned at the actions of the Sudanese authorities since the election, which have further undermined civil and political rights, including the arrest of opposition politicians, journalists and peaceful protestors," the statement said. The three nations urged Sudan to "ensure a conducive political environment" in the run-up to the January 2011 referendum that will let southern Sudan decide its future status -- a key element of the peace deal. While the tenuous peace deal holds in southern Sudan, the western Darfur region has been torn by a separate conflict since 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against Khartoum and state-backed Arab militias.

The United States, Britain and Norway voiced alarm that the security situation "continues to deteriorate" in Darfur, with cease-fire violations by both the government and rebel groups. "We remain deeply concerned by the government of Sudan's use of aerial bombings and local militias," the statement said. "We urge all parties to end violence, commit to a sustained and permanent ceasefire, and engage fully and constructively in the AU-UN led peace talks," it said, referring to dialogue between Khartoum and Darfur is being brokered by the African Union and United Nations in Qatar. The United States, Britain and Norway form a so-called "troika" of powers on relations with Sudan. Britain was the vast African nation's former colonial power, while Norway is a major provider of aid. -------------------New US charges against 11 suspected Somali pirates (Associated Press) RICHMOND, Va. ³ A federal grand jury has returned new charges against 11 Somali men accused of separate pirate attacks on Navy warships, including allegations they had a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and assaulted federal officers. The latest charges add another possible mandatory life term for five defendants accused in the April 1 pirate attack upon the USS Nicholas off the coast of Africa. The six defendants accused in the April 10 attack on the USS Ashland face an additional charge of assault on a federal officer with a dangerous weapon, which carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison, plus other charges. All 11 men have remained jailed in the Norfolk area since late April on charges that included piracy, which carries a mandatory life term. All entered pleas of not guilty to the previous charges. The superseding indictment was handed up Wednesday and unsealed in U.S. District Court late Thursday. The defendants await a scheduled July 28 arraignment on the new charges in Norfolk. Most of the new charges involve the defendants in the alleged Nicholas assault. They include accusations the men were armed with the RPG and an assault on a federal officer with a dangerous weapon.

The government declined Friday to reveal specifics about the alleged assaults involving U.S. officials on both Virginia-based ships. An attorney for one of the Nicholas defendants labeled the new charges "piling on." "They've taken the same basic set of circumstances and charged them multiple different ways," William J. Holmes said. He also said he was not aware of any physical assault on a federal officer in the Nicholas encounter. An attorney for one of the Ashland defendants said he was perplexed by the assault charge. "I have no knowledge whatsoever about an assault on an officer," Robert B. Rigney said Friday. Calls to other defendants' lawyers by The Associated Press were not immediately returned. The Ashland defendants were captured in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia's pirate-infested coast, where the Navy ships were part of an international flotilla protecting shipping lanes. The new indictment outlines the alleged activities of the five defendants leading up to the encounter with the Nicholas. It states the men left Somalia in a seagoing vessel with two smaller craft attached, seeking a merchant ship. The defendants, armed with the RPG and assault weapons, launched the attack in the smaller craft believing the Nicholas was a merchant ship and fired their assault weapons, the indictment alleges. The indictment does not accuse the defendants of using the RPG. The five were captured after an exchange of fire with the crew of the frigate, west of the Seychelles. The new indictment includes previous charges ³ piracy, attacks to plunder a vessel, assault with a dangerous weapon ³ plus additional conspiracy and explosives counts. The new charges against the six Ashland defendants include assault on a federal officer with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy counts. Some of the Ashland defendants were seriously injured when their skiff was destroyed by 25mm rounds fired by the Navy.

Attorneys for the defendants have previously filed motions to dismiss the piracy charges, claiming the men never seized the Navy ships, and one attorney has sought to move the trial out of Norfolk because of its big military presence. Naval Station Norfolk is the world's largest naval base. Separate trials had previously been scheduled for September and October. -------------------W Africa transit point for drugs (AFP) Paris - West Africa, beset by poor security, corruption, lawlessness and home to sprawling and remote desert, has become a key transit point for drugs smuggled from Latin America and destined for Europe. The contraband is smuggled in on cargo planes and ships, fishing vessels and yachts by traffickers drawn by the almost non-existent policing in large parts of the coastline and poor air control in others. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a 2009 report that about 250 tons of drugs, worth about $11bn, was transported on the "A-10" - the name given by experts to the region which falls on the 10th longitude. Phillip Heyl, chief of air and maritime security in the US Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, described West Africa as a "black hole". "The entire West Africa is a transit area. There is no maritime security in Africa, period. And no serious radar capabilities. "It's ungoverned places. A black hole," he said, adding: "There is not very much maritime domaine awareness, no control over aircraft that fly in and out. Heyl, whose career spans more than three decades, said Colombian drug cartels notorious for their ability to adapt to new challenges - started using the region when increased air and maritime security in the Caribbean made it too hot for them to handle. They had used the Caribbean to sneak in drugs to the United States. Weak governments The UNODC said many traffickers turned to the sea, especially to islands off Africa's western coast.

"Most of the cocaine transiting the region appears to cross the Atlantic in large 'motherships', specially modified to carry multi-tonne consignments of the drugs," it said. "This cargo is then offloaded to smaller vessels along the West African coast," it added. The United States late June urged Guinea Bissau - an impoverished former Portuguese colony - to "root out" powerful military and civilian officials who its says facilitate drug trafficking. "The United States continues to be alarmed by indications that senior members of the armed forces as well as the civilian government are involved in narcotics trafficking," said a statement from the US embassy in Dakar. With weak government institutions, extreme poverty and an Atlantic coastline, the West African country has become a major transit point for South American cocaine headed for Europe. In early May, the US Treasury Department froze the assets of the country's naval and airforce chiefs due to what it said was their "significant role" in drug trafficking. In June, more than two tons of cocaine were seized from a little island off the coast of Gambia from a dilapidated hotel run by a Dutchman, who heads a fishing company with Venezuelan personnel. In the Sahara or Sahel it is fairly easy to land a plane undetected. In November 2009, the charred carcass of a Boeing 727 flown in from Venezuela was found in the Malian desert. Recently, shady South American businessmen have bought over hotels, warehouses, fishing companies, trading as well as transport firms in the region. French expert Alain Labrousse, whose books notably include "The Geopolitics of Drugs", said the region's ports were porous and underscored it was "impossible to control transshipments". Global intervention When there is increased international pressure on countries such as Gambia and Guinea Bissau to clean up their act, the "cartels adapt quickly and find new routes", in "neighbouring countries to serve as entry points", he added. However, there has been stepped up global intervention. Last month, an informationsharing centre opened in Cape Verde pooling European and US resources.

"We paid two million (dollars) for it," an official at the US Africa Command said, referring to the Counter-Narcotics and Maritime Security Interagency Fusion Centre. "Nobody as enough money to do what has to be done in Africa: so we have to put the most of what we can together," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. -------------------Bombers Strike in Uganda at World Cup Gatherings (New York Times) KAMPALA, Uganda ³ At least three bombs exploded Sunday in a synchronized attack on large gatheri ngs of World Cup soccer fans watching the televised final on outdoor projection screens in this normally peaceful capital, turning a boisterous night of cheering into scenes of death and panic. The police said at least 23 people were killed, including one American, and projected that the death toll would rise. The bombs struck at 10:30 p.m. local time in the middle of the match between Spain and the Netherlands under way in South Africa, hitting a popular Ethiopian garden restaurant and a large rugby field in a different Kampala neighborhood where more than 100 people had massed to watch the game. Ugandan police officials said they suspected that the Shabab, a militant Islamic group in nearby Somalia, might have been behind the bombings. If so, it would be that group·s first attack beyond Somalia·s borders. But the police cautioned that it was premature to draw conclusions. ´We can·t rule anything out,µ said Kale Kayihura, Uganda·s police inspector general, at the scene of one of the attacks. ´This was obviously terrorism, from the way it was targeted at World Cup watchers in public places.µ Local journalists at a major hospital in Kampala said an unidentified number of American citizens were among the wounded, and Reuters reported that one American had been killed. The Shabab group, one of the more fearsome militias vying for power in Somalia, has repeatedly threatened targets in Uganda as well as in Burundi because both countries are major contributors to the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, a lawless nation in the Horn of Africa. The police said other suspects were former rebels in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo with connections to Uganda. The Ugandan capital is relatively safe and relaxed compared with other big cities in sub-Saharan Africa, and such bombings are extremely rare. But the city turned tense

and fearful early on Monday, as military vehicles and ambulances screeched through the streets. Outside the Ethiopian restaurant that was attacked, an outdoor cafe with lawn tables known as the Ethiopian Village, soldiers and onlookers watched side by side as rescue crews extracted the dead and the wounded from the wreckage. The police said the bomb appeared to have been placed under a dining table where a group of foreigners, including some Americans, had been sitting. At least 13 people were killed in that blast, and there were unconfirmed reports that at least four American expatriates were among the wounded at the restaurant. ´It was so loud,µ said a woman named Mami, one of the owners of the restaurant, which had become popular with soccer fans in the past few weeks because it showed the games on an outdoor projection screen. ´I am so confused. My God. My God. My God.µ Across the city, at the rugby field where hundreds had gone to watch the World Cup final on a large projection television screen, at least 10 people were confirmed dead, but witnesses said the number was higher. ´We were just watching football when the two bombs went off,µ said Brian Bomakech, a Ugandan fan at the field. ´So many people were hurt, so many people have died.µ In Mogadishu, the Somalian capital, Sheik Yusuf Sheik Issa, a Shabab commander, was quoted by The Associated Press early Monday as saying he was happy with the attacks in Uganda. The sheik refused to confirm or deny any responsibility by the Shabab, who are openly aligned with Al Qaeda. ´Uganda is one of our enemies,µ The A.P. quoted him as saying. ´Whatever makes them cry, makes us happy. May Allah·s anger be upon those who are against us.µ The bombings came two days after another Shabab commander, Sheik Muktar Robow, called during Friday Prayer in Somalia for militants to attack sites in Uganda and Burundi. In Washington, a White House spokesman, Tommy Vietor, said late Sunday that the United States was prepared to provide assistance to Uganda. ´The president is deeply saddened by the loss of life resulting from these deplorable and cowardly attacks, and sends his condolences to the people of Uganda and the loved ones of those who have been killed or injured,µ he said. --------------------

Guinea presidential runoff due Aug. 1 (Associated Press) CONAKRY, Guinea ² Guinea's Supreme Court says a runoff vote to choose the country's next president will be held Aug. 1. The second round had originally been scheduled July 18, but the Supreme Court has needed more time to sort through fraud complaints. Court spokesman Robert Guilao made the announcement in a statement over state radio late Saturday. According to preliminary results from the June 27 first round, former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo garnered about nearly 40 percent of votes cast, compared to just over 20 percent for longtime opposition politician Alpha Conde. -------------------Liberia·s Minister of Information Denies Allegation Deputy Speaker Was Under House Arrest (Voice of America) Liberia·s Minister of health has refuted allegations that the country·s deputy Speaker has been placed under house arrest. A BBC report Saturday said Mr. Togba Mulbah had been placed under house arrest for allegedly ordering the beating of a policeman. According to the report the deputy speaker had been placed under house arrest for allegedly ordering the beating of a policeman. The report said Mr. Mulbah denied the allegations. However, Liberia·s Minister of Information, Cletus Sieh told Nightline·s Akwei Thompson the deputy speaker had not been placed under house arrest. Sieh said Mulbah had been called to a scene where the police had stopped a truck driving without lights. He said some men who had accompanied the deputy speaker to the scene beat up the police officer. ´Based on that, the police went to his home to get a statement from him since he is the deputy speaker and they did not want to just drag him to the police station, the minister explained.µ Sieh said the matter will be investigated. -------------------Zimbabwe wriggles itself out of economic problems with China's support (Xinhua) HARARE, Zimbabwe - With virtually the whole donor community having shut its doors on assisting, Zimbabwe pull itself out of a decade-long economic meltdown, the country is counting on China's continued support in areas of trade and economic cooperation.

Although China is not giving money for free, Zimbabwe realizes that it may be the only ally, for the time being, which can assist it paddle through some of its problems in joint ventures that present win-win opportunities to locals and their foreign partners and increase industrial capacity utilization. China has over the past few years supported Zimbabwe's land reform program, including extending a 200 million U.S. dollar concessional buyers' loan whose repayment period it recently extended from five to eight years and provided humanitarian support during the 2008/9 cholera epidemic. Zimbabwe has also benefitted immensely from projects being undertaken under the auspices of the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), through which China is provided two primary schools and a hospital in rural Marondera at Mahusekwa growth point. China's support under FOCAC is more robust in the agriculture sector and is building an agriculture demonstration centre at Gwebi Agricultural College to help boost yields. It has also dispatched agricultural experts and other volunteers to Zimbabwe to assist the project.However, Zimbabwe now sees a bigger window of opportunity in joint ventures and wants Chinese companies to partner locals in the exploitation of resources. So far, Chinese companies have entered into joint ventures with local partners in the production and processing of tobacco and rice.China has also taken a keen interest in supporting agricultural production on the continent as a way of supporting its own economy and to cater for its growing middle class. State-owned China Tobacco has already gone into contract tobacco farming with locals, boosting production and generating higher incomes for the local community. Zimbabwe is also keen on value addition so that finished goods generate more income. To that extent, Chinese companies are exploring prospects with more Zimbabwean counterparts in the planting, processing and exporting of tobacco and cotton. -------------------UN News Service Africa Briefs Full Articles on UN Website Darfur: conflict claimed more than 200 lives in June, UN-African mission reports 11 July ² The joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur today reported that 221 people lost their lives in the war-torn Sudanese region due to armed conflict and criminality in June, the vast majority of deaths being attributed to intertribal fighting.

African youth get once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch World Cup final ² UN 11 July ² Twenty young Africans will get the chance of a lifetime to watch the final match of the soccer World Cup in South Africa today, thanks to a United Nationsbacked scheme seeking to raise awareness of how young people can help to combat urban poverty. UN sounds alarm on funding gap as rainy season gets under way in West Africa 9 July ² The rainy season is under way in West Africa and has already caused deadly flooding, but no aid has come in to help the region·s countries, sparking the concern of the United Nations humanitarian arm. Global recession should spur transformation of African economies ² UN official 9 July ² The global recession should spur African nations to shift towards greater industrial capacities, improved infrastructure and expanded ties with regional partners and developing countries outside the continent, a senior United Nations official has stated.