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TOP NEWS RELATED TO U.S. AFRICA COMMAND AND AFRICA Carson Says U.S. is Boosting Efforts to Back Peace (AllAfrica.com) (Pan Africa) U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson this week is visiting Addis Ababa for talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi before going on to Kampala, Uganda, for the African Union Summit next week. Prior to his departure, he was interviewed on a range of policy issues by AllAfrica's Reed Kramer. Africom, the Kleptocratic State and Under-Class Militancy (Pambazuka News) (Pan Africa) Since 2001 renewed religious riots, outbursts of alleged 'terrorism' in the Sahara-Sahel and northern Nigeria, and militant threats to African oil exports have spurred the US to establish US African Command (AFRICOM). Kampala blasts a consequence of faulty US foreign policy (The Citizen) (Pan Africa) We in East Africa, and Africa in general, ought to pose and think critically about how we may extricate ourselves from getting too deeply involved in the affairs of American foreign policy choices and processes that do not serve Africa·s interests. Sudan gov't condemns U.S. stance over al-Bashir's visit to Chad (Xinhua) (Sudan) Sudan government on Thursday condemned the U.S. stance over the visit of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to Chad and U.S. request of Chad to explain its stance for not arresting al-Bashir who is taking part in the Sahel and Sahara summit in N'djamena. Over 40 African Leaders to Attend AU Summit in Uganda (Voice of America) (Pan Africa) A top official with Uganda·s foreign ministry says several African heads of state and government will begin arriving Friday and Saturday to participate in the African Union (AU) heads of state summit scheduled to begin this Sunday. Guards for Somali Leader Join Islamists (New York Times) (Somalia) Somali officials acknowledged on Thursday that members of Somalia·s presidential guard had defected to the Shabab, the radical Islamist insurgent group that claimed responsibility for the recent bombings in Uganda that killed more than 70 people watching the final game of the World Cup.
Somali Refugees Fear Loss of Ugandan Haven (New York Times) (Uganda) Recent developments could endanger the attraction of Uganda as a precious transit point or final destination for the droves of people fleeing the many dangers of Somalia, including the brutality of insurgent groups like the Shabab. UN News Service Africa Briefs Full Articles on UN Website y UN official sees signs of progress on cooperation ahead of Sudanese referenda y In DR Congo, UN official pledges support to help displaced people return home y Security Council calls on Guinea-Bissau to improve rule of law ------------------------------------------------------------------------UPCOMING EVENTS OF INTEREST: WHEN/WHERE: Thursday, July 29, 8:15 a.m., Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars WHAT: African Growth and Opportunity Act Civil Society Forum 2010 ´A Decade of Progress in Bridging the U.S.-Africa Trade Gapµ WHO: Keynote Speakers include Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson, African Union* Info: http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=events.event_summary&event_id=629709 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------FULL ARTICLE TEXT Carson Says U.S. is Boosting Efforts to Back Peace (AllAfrica.com) Washington ³ Conflict in Sudan has been a thorny issue for President Barack Obama and his administration since he took office. This week, a leading voice for a more vigorous American approach declared, "U.S. policy is not contributing in a meaningful way to peace and justice in Sudan." John Prendergast, who worked on Africa conflict prevention at the National Security Council and the State Department during the administration of former president Bill Clinton, warned of potential consequences in a broadside critique issued by the Enough Project which he co-founded. He said that the administration's "largely hands-off approach to critical negotiations" is endangering prospects for peacemaking in Sudan's troubled Darfur region and for avoiding a return to the civil war that raged for more than three decades between the North and the South. Asked about Sudan during an appearance on the American network ABC, Vice President Joseph Biden said, "we're doing everything in our power" to make sure the referendum in January that will give southerners the chance to chose independence is
viewed as free and fair. Biden's three-nation visit to Africa last month was largely dominated by discussions concerning Sudan, according to the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson, who accompanied the vice president to Egypt, Kenya and South Africa, where they watched the American team's World Cup match. Carson, the Obama administration's top Africa policymaker, this week is visiting Addis Ababa for talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi before going on to Kampala, Uganda, for the African Union Summit next week. Prior to his departure, he was interviewed on a range of policy issues by AllAfrica's Reed Kramer. In part one, he refutes the charges that U.S. government efforts to promote peace in Sudan are lagging. Excerpts: First, let me ask your impressions from being at the World Cup. The World Cup was an enormous triumph for South Africa and a tremendous image booster ² and not only for South Africa's capacity to organize and run a successful global sporting event but as an image booster for Africa as a whole. The South Africans should feel gratified by the way the Cup turned out. The stadiums were beautiful; the organization was extraordinarily good; there were no major incidents or mishaps; people from around the world were well received; the games ran on time, they were orderly. Probably the greatest damage done during the games was to people's eardrums with the vuvuzelas! One has to applaud this success. And the vice president devoted a lot of his time to Sudan? The trip was in reality an opportunity to focus on Sudan. The thing that featured prominently in all three stops was the impending referendum. In Sharm el-Sheikh, with President [Hosni] Mubarak of Egypt and with the foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and other senior Egyptian officials, he had major conversations about issues related to the Middle East and to the state of affairs around the world. But he spent a great deal of time talking about Sudan. In Kenya, the longest stop on that visit, he met a whole host of Kenyan officials and gave a very important speech at the Kenyatta Conference Centre. But he also had a lengthy meeting with Sudan's first vice president and the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, [who] brought with him to the meeting six other senior southern leaders. There was an extended discussion about the preparations underway in the south for the referendum which will be held on January 9, 2011. Then on to South Africa where one of the first things that the vice president did after landing was to speed directly from the airport to the home of the former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, where he engaged for nearly two hours on President Mbeki's role as the high representative responsible for Sudan issues in the African Union (AU). So the trip had a very heavy Sudan focus throughout.
What did the vice president mean when he said in the ABC interview that the United States is committed to a referendum that is viewed as free and fair? We are committed to the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended 20 years of violence between north and south. The agreement, signed in Naivasha in January 2005, calls for a referendum to be held on the 9th of January 2011. So we have only some five months and three weeks before that referendum is actually held. The United States, as the vice president said, wants to see the referendum carried out on time in an orderly, creditable, peaceful fashion in which the people of the south of Sudan are able to go to the polls and exercise their rights to say whether they want to remain as part of a unitary state or whether they want to have an independent state. We are encouraging both the government in Khartoum as well as the southern government in Juba to put in place a process that will be creditable. Our point person on all of this is Special Envoy Scott Gration. We have augmented our diplomatic representation in South Sudan in order to work more closely with the United Nations, with the government of South Sudan, with Thabo Mbeki, and with others who are working on this issue to ensure that everything is done to make the referendum go well. We have put a senior diplomat into our consulate in Juba, an officer who has tremendous experience, and we have augmented our diplomatic representation in the South by 10 individuals. We will increase our representation in the South to be able to monitor developments, to respond to requests and assist in the engagement process, and to be generally helpful to those who are responsible for organizing the process - to influence a positive outcome. What is the United States doing to prepare for the aftermath, to help avert a resumption of fighting? The best way to avoid catastrophe is to see a free, transparent and open referendum, to ensure that both sides are committed to accepting a credible process and a credible outcome. Second, it is to work on the resolution of the post-referendum issues: working out a solution to issues related to citizenship, wealth sharing and oil, demarcation of borders, and how international obligations are going to be handled amongst two states if the people decide that they want to have an independent southern state. What is important is not only having a successful referendum - and one which is accepted by everyone - but also that there be progress on post-referendum issues and that solutions that are acceptable to both sides are agreed upon. It is differences over these issues of citizenship, wealth sharing, demarcation, international obligations and
security issues which could be the source of post-referendum friction. We want to make sure that these issues are handled correctly. We have said to the South that we're prepared to help them find international advisers to help them work through these difficult questions. If they need advice from lawyers or economists or geologists who are expert on these issues, we might be able to provide some for them. By being present in the South, we can also serve a useful purpose by encouraging continued South-South cooperation and reconciliation. There have been points of friction between groups in regions of the South. We think we can be helpful in trying to get government officials to pay attention to anything that might internally cause friction. Many people question the North's intentions, and particularly their willingness to accept an independent south. What can the United States do to make sure the referendum outcome is implemented? It is important to trust, but verify. We know there have been times when it has appeared that there has been a reneging on agreements made, but it's absolutely important that as we come down to the wire, everyone move forward on the implementation of their aspect of the agreement. Those who fail to live up to their international obligations under the CPA will be judged harshly by history and probably judged harshly by the international community. -------------------Africom, the Kleptocratic State and Under-Class Militancy (Pambazuka News) West Africa was of secondary military-economic interest to the US in the mid-1990s, compared to North Africa (Libya) and the Horn of Africa, but continuing difficulties in Middle Eastern oil supplies encouraged the US to seek petroleum providers elsewhere the Caucasus, the south Atlantic ocean, and West Africa's oil rich Gulf of Guinea states, especially Nigeria. Twenty years ago China was just beginning to prospect in West Africa for business and construction contracts, and so was not viewed then as a serious contender for access to and control over important African resources as oil and gas (Obi 2008). Today, nearly 750,000 Chinese are resident in Africa; 300 million emigrants to Africa may be planned (Michel and Beuret 2009: 4-5). The terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre on 11 September 2001 opened US eyes to the strategic advantage of relatively 'safer' West and West-Central African, especially Nigerian, sources of high quality crude oil rapidly transportable across the Atlantic ocean to refineries in populous cities on the North American eastern industrial seaboard. This major shift in US policy regarding West Africa took place at a time when arms sales by the world's top arms exporters - the US,
Russia and Germany - rose by a further 22 per cent between 2005-2010 (Norton-Taylor 2010). Since 2001 renewed religious riots, outbursts of alleged 'terrorism' in the Sahara-Sahel and northern Nigeria, and militant threats to African oil exports have spurred the US to establish US African Command (AFRICOM) in collaboration with NATO's Special Forces (Keenan 2009). From 2006 onwards the US has carried out military and naval exercises in selected African states, including the Cape Verde archipelago proximate to oil blocks off Senegal, targeted for leasing to US multinational corporations (MNCs). AFRICOM was fully operational from 2008 (AFRICOM 2009; AFROL 2009a). The Pentagon appears to be intensifying plans in 2010, partnering with selected West African states (e.g. Senegal, Cape Verde, Ghana, Cameroon, Sao Tome and Principe, Mali, Niger), for further military exercises, training programmes and sales at discounted prices of modern fighter aircraft, automatic machine guns, and possible robotic aerial vehicles (US AFRICOM 2010). AFRICOM has in view certain locations in northern (e.g. Kano, Bornu, Bauchi, Yobe, Jos, Kaduna states), and southern Nigeria, principally the Niger Delta core oil producing states (Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta) as well as Lagos, the country's sprawling commercial capital - estimated population 15 million, headquarters of MNC oil corporations, banks, and major Nigerian companies as Dangote Ltd and new light industries in partnership with Chinese companies. Militarisation is taking place in selected West African states whose pre-industrial economies are still geared, as in the colonial era, to export raw materials with little value added to the advantage of Western and Asian industrialised economies. For example, partial modernisation in Nigeria reflects the country's status as a rentier state relying on oil revenues (Karl 1997). Its late emergence in the 1970s as West Africa's potential industrial power was aborted by a military regime in the mid-1980s, following pressure by international financial and trade institutions (e.g. International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organisation) that West African states remove tariff barriers on consumer and light industrial goods. An emerging Nigerian working class largely lost its economic base in factories producing clothing, shoes, matches, iron and steel products, buses, lorries, etc, that fostered class identity and action. Abortive economic modernisation in Nigeria, and Francophone Sahelian states such as Niger and Mali, seems to have sustained perceived 'traditional', i.e. customary community values and identities. Until recently, when mobilising in political protest subalterns did so, by and large, through religious or ethnic, rather than class, identities (c.f. Laclau 1977: 155 ff). Many dissident youth movements based on 'customary' ethnic and/or religious identities have a long tradition in rural communities; they seek to reclaim land, water, resource management, rental incomes, and to purify 'governance' in favour of just land reform and resource distribution (Parker & Rathbone 2007: 91ff) Yet militant groups may also be referred to locally by globalising tags that suggest
community familiarity with struggles elsewhere; for example, northern Nigerian communities nickname Islamic fundamentalists 'Taliban' or 'al-Qaeda', indicating (hearsay) knowledge of the US 'War on Terrorism'. Equally, there are stories of politically alienated educated young males training in al-Qaeda camps, though the 25 December 2009, Nigerian ('Detroit') suicide bomber's field training appears inadequate. When resisting repression, youth coalesce around kin-based ethno-religious and clan identities that cohere around two dominant poles - 'us, small people' (clients) and 'them, big men' (patrons/godfathers) (Ifeka 2001b, 2006; Smith 2007). The 'people'/'power' opposition draws on a repertoire of customary representations and practices (e.g. initiation rituals, war gods, charms against bullets, juju 'medicine', language, religious texts, shrines) that authorise subaltern militant organisation. More recently, since the return to democracy in 1999, the growth of poverty and shared meanings of suffering, and on-going political violence between rulers and ruled, is contributing to a revival of representations of class identity and consciousness that elderly working men, peasant farmers, traders, teachers and petty clerks knew in the 1970s. Adopting a political economy approach, I disaggregate that over-used neoliberal concept of 'the people' into social classes; that is, groups differentiated by their unequal relationship to the means of production (capital) and power as owners/workers, but who yet express their socio-political worlds through customary institutions of patronclientship. For example, subalterns and rulers construct the social formation in terms of unequal relations of power expressed in terms of relations between client (subordinate) and patron (dominant)- almost everyone is a patron and/or a client to someone else. Clientelistic relations cross cut but do not erase economic class divisions: For instance, on one level ministers and senior civil servants in command of the state and its revenues are the top patrons or men of mega-power, those lacking such access are their clients, but on another level middle ranking civil servants, company administrators, junior army officers are themselves patrons to many lesser others. Thus, power relations between patrons and clients defined in terms of upward and downwards informal and illicit flows of money/services constitute the country's 'real' political economy (Joseph 1987; Ifeka 2001a, 2006, 2009; c.f. Laclau 1977). Fundamentalist religious movements or ethnic nationalists may draw on a mix of 'traditional' cultural symbols as well as those of economic inequality ('big'/'small' men) to express under-class frustration and a strong desire, backed by force, for cleaner, more just governance with improved 'dividends of democracy' for the masses. -------------------Kampala blasts a consequence of faulty US foreign policy (The Citizen) The blasts in Kampala at two leisure joints when people were watching the World Cup final on television were a gross travesty of justice. Innocent souls were reluctantly sent to heaven or hell as they watched the peaceful soccer contest between two European nations staged on African soil.
These poor souls were surely not to blame for whatever legitimate grievances elements of the Somali radical Islamic movement may have with the government of Uganda for agreeing to station troops in Somalia on the invitation of the African Union. It does not matter whether those killed and injured were Ugandans or Americans. They simply were not to blame for the set of foreign policy choices that may have led to Ugandan troops being stationed in Somalia. But in dealing with the aftermath of those deadly suicide bomb attacks, we in East Africa, and Africa in general, ought to pose and think critically about how we may extricate ourselves from getting too deeply involved in the affairs of American foreign policy choices and processes that do not serve Africa·s interests. The leaders of the AU and Uganda·s President Museveni ought to have resisted the temptation to get militarily involved in the affairs of Somalia without carefully reflecting on the consequences of such an involvement at the material time. They ought to have recognised that they were being sucked into the Somalia civil war quagmire only to end up acting as surrogates of USA hegemonic foreign policy interests. They ought to have sought to align themselves with patriotic Somali forces, including elements of the Somali Islamic movement, rather than aligning themselves and acting as a tool of faulty USA policy decisions and processes. It may be in USA interest to consider that all elements in the Somali Islamic movement, including the patriotic Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), are so-called terrorist radical Islamic fundamentalists who ought to be taken out. This cannot be in Africa·s interest. The misfortunes of post-colonial Somalia reflect on the misfortunes of much of postcolonial Africa. In an insightful study of the political history of Somalia published in 2008 by Swedish Defense Research Agency, titled Somalia: Failed State or Nascent States-System, the process by which the immediate post-colonial multiparty dispensation degenerated into a failed state is traced. Major-General Mohammed Siad Barre, ruled Somalia pretty much as King Leopold of Belgium had ruled so-called Belgian Congo, as a personal fiefdom! Barre had came to power on a wave of popular sentiment against the misrule and lack of headway in tackling mass poverty by postcolonial Somali leaders of the golden age of so-called multiparty democracy from independence in July 1960 to the day of the Barre coup in October 1969. However, he squandered that popular support away with his increasing reversion to dictatorial and personalised methods of resolving legitimate intra-societal rivalries and grievances. The regime, starting of by mouthing Marxist-Leninist slogans, ended up embracing USA hegemonic foreign policy stances that further drove popular Somali national sentiments into an Islamic revolutionary mould. No wonder, after the collapse of the post-colonial unitary Somali state, coupled with the external meddling by the USA in bitter and prolonged civil war that followed the
aftermath of the overthrow of the Siad Barre dictatorship, one eventually witnessed the emergent in 2006 of the popular Union of Islamic Courts (UIC). All independent observers of Somali political history agree that the emergency of the UIC was a ray of hope for the establishment a truly indigenous democratic dispensation in a united Somali republic ever since independence. The Union of Islamic Courts, modeled on principles similar to those underpinning the Revolutionary Islamic Republic of Iran, did stem the then alarming rising wave of crime and banditry in the poor neighborhoods in the north of the capital, Mogadishu. It slowly rose to assume control of the entire capital and large parts of south and central Somalia. The USA was not happy with this because forces in the Somali civil war that were US-backed were booted out Mogadishu. First Ethiopia, and later, Uganda, on socalled behalf of the AU, were hurriedly brought in to stop the Union of Islamic Courts from taking over the country and establishing another Islamic Revolutionary Republic close to oil wells in the Middle East. The sad Kampala ought not to be responded to by hastily beating jungle drums clamoring for more war. It ought to occasion careful reflection on how we may disentangle the AU foreign policy stance on Somali from misguided USA foreign policy interests. -------------------Sudan gov't condemns U.S. stance over al-Bashir's visit to Chad (Xinhua) KHARTOUM, Sudan - Sudan government on Thursday condemned the U.S. stance over the visit of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to Chad and U.S. request of Chad to explain its stance for not arresting al-Bashir who is taking part in the Sahel and Sahara summit in N'djamena. "Sudan government condemns the U.S. stance, which was expressed by the spokesman of the U.S. State Department, demanding the Chadian government to explain its stance for not arresting the president of the Republic besides demanding the president to turn himself to the so-called International Criminal Court (ICC)," said a statement by the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a copy of which was obtained by Xinhua. "The United States does not recognize the ICC. The U.S. has even reached agreements with other countries so as not to hand over any U.S. soldier or citizen to this court," the statement said. The statement added, "therefore, America's exercise of its hegemony and its demands for governments and countries of sovereignty to abide by the decisions of the ICC is just a political hypocrisy." The Sudanese Foreign Ministry further criticized U.S. silence towards the massacres and crimes committed by the Israeli entity.
"The world has never heard before America demanding Israel to commit to the international law or the decisions of the international legitimacy, instead, America always rejects any decision by the UN Security Council condemning the Israeli violations," the statement added. The Sudanese Foreign Ministry called on the free nations and governments to stand in the face of the U.S. hegemony. "Sudan government maintains the right to respond to the American stance in a way that preserves dignity and sovereignty of Sudan together with dignity of its president and leadership," the statement added. In the meantime, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry in its statement praised the stance of the Chadian government and President Idris Deby Itno and the Chadian people who warmly welcomed the Sudanese president. The United States on Wednesday called on Chad to meet its obligations to the ICC. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley earlier said the U.S. left it to the government of Chad to explain why it did not arrest al-Bashir. On March 2009, the ICC issued an arrest warrant against al- Bashir, accusing him of committing war crimes in Darfur. The Sudanese president on Wednesday arrived in the Chadian capital of N'djamena to take part in the summit of the Sahel and Sahara grouping in his first visit to a country signatory to the ICC statutes. Chad said it would not arrest Omar al-Bashir during his current visit to its territories. Chadian Minister of Interior Ahmed Mohamed Bashir said his country recognized the ICC, but added that Chad was a sovereign state that does not take its decisions according to decisions by international organizations. -------------------Over 40 African Leaders to Attend AU Summit in Uganda (Voice of America) A top official with Uganda·s foreign ministry says several African heads of state and government will begin arriving Friday and Saturday to participate in the African Union (AU) heads of state summit scheduled to begin this Sunday. Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary James Mugume said Ugandans expect the African Union to take a firm stance against the recent twin-bombings in the capital, Kampala.
The attacks, which were inspired by the hard-line Somali insurgent group, al-Shabab, killed over 70 people including foreign nationals who were watching the finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. ´The foreign ministry and the organizing committee, working with the AU commission, have been ready for the last one month. And we started the meeting on Monday with the permanent representatives. Yesterday and today (Friday) we are having a meeting of the Executive Council. So, we are ready,µ Mugume said. Described by Washington as a terrorist organization with strong links to Al Qaeda, alShabab has been battling almost daily the internationally backed Somali government. The group has refused to recognize President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed·s government and has vowed to overthrow the administration and implement the strictest form of the Sharia Law. Analysts expect the escalating conflict in Somalia as well as a possible troop surge in that restive country to be high on the agenda for discussion. Permanent Secretary Mugume said that over 40 heads of state and government have confirmed that they will attend the 15th ordinary session of assembly of African heads of state and government summit. ´In the agenda of the assembly, they will be looking at the report of the AU Peace and Security Council. And in that report, there will be issues to do with Somalia, Sudan and other conflict areas in Africa. The Council, I think will be looking at the bombings in Kampala on July 11th by the al-Shabab,µ Mugume said. Observers say the official theme for the summit which is "Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in Africa" has been overshadowed by the heightened security following last week·s Uganda bombings. Uganda·s government sharply condemned the twin bombings and has re-assured the African heads of state and government as well as other delegates scheduled to attend the summit of their safety. Mugume said the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will also be focusing on security issues on the sidelines of the AU summit. ´There will be a meeting of what they call EASBRIG (East African Standby Brigade), one of the five standby brigades that is part of the new AU Peace and Security (structure) which includes the Peace and Security Council and the standby force. So, we
will be also looking at the possibility of implementing the EASBRIG « and that will also look at the possibility of handling the issue of Somalia,µ Mugume said. -------------------Guards for Somali Leader Join Islamists (New York Times) NAIROBI, Kenya ³ Somali officials acknowledged on Thursday that members of Somalia·s presidential guard had defected to the Shabab, the radical Islamist insurgent group that claimed responsibility for the recent bombings in Uganda that killed more than 70 people watching the final game of the World Cup. The defection of some of the president·s best-trained men is the latest setback for Somalia·s beleaguered transitional government, which has lost important pieces of territory in the past few days. Insurgents are now 300 yards ³ a rifle shot away ³ from the presidential palace. The Shabab gleefully introduced three former members of the presidential guard at a news conference in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on Wednesday. The soldiers said they quit working for the government because it was being protected by African Union peacekeepers, who they said were killing Somali civilians with indiscriminate shelling. More than 6,000 African Union peacekeepers are in Mogadishu to help protect the government and stabilize Somalia, but they are coming under intensifying criticism for firing mortars and heavy guns into crowded neighborhoods. African Union officials have said that they are responding to enemy fire and that they try to avoid civilian casualties. But the Shabab are exploiting the issue of heavy shelling in an attempt to turn the Somali public against the peacekeepers, who are from Uganda and Burundi (two mainly Christian countries, in contrast to Somalia, which is nearly all Muslim). Shabab officials have also used the shelling as a rationale for bombing a nightclub and an outdoor gathering of fans in Uganda during the final game of the World Cup this month, in a synchronized attack that has put the entire region on high alert. Somali government officials had initially denied that any of the presidential guard had defected. But on Thursday, Abdullahi Ali Anod, head of the presidential guard, told Somali radio stations: ´The soldiers who joined the Shabab asked us permission to leave and visit their families, which they had not visited for so long, but later we were informed they defected.µ The United States has helped arm the Somali government forces and pay their salaries. But that has not stopped a stream of defectors ³ and American-bought weapons ³ from flowing to the Shabab, who have grown increasingly close to Al Qaeda.
The Shabab and their allies rule much of Somalia, with the transitional government controlling a small slice of Mogadishu. Government officials concede that if it were not for the African Union peacekeepers, the government would quickly collapse. In Uganda on Thursday, police officials said 20 suspects who had been arrested in connection with the bombings had been released. Judith Nabakooba, a police spokeswoman, said that several suspects remained in custody and that Shabab and Qaeda ´links are there, but we cannot confirm it.µ She also said a Ugandan rebel group based in eastern Congo might have been involved. -------------------Somali Refugees Fear Loss of Ugandan Haven (New York Times) Mr. Uleh, 34, said he was kidnapped in Somalia last year by the Shabab, the militant Islamist insurgent group that claimed responsibility for blowing up two gatherings of soccer fans in Uganda during the final game of the World Cup this month, killing 76 people and putting East Africa on high alert. Mr. Uleh·s captors tied his legs and arms behind a chair, he said, and beat him. After being freed, Mr. Uleh said he donned a woman·s burqa, pretended to be a mother carrying a baby in her arms and made his way past rebel checkpoints to Somalia·s capital, Mogadishu, before catching a flight out. He arrived here in Uganda·s capital, Kampala, last year, joining tens of thousands of other Somalis who have fled decades of violence back home, to come live in a country diplomats and United Nations officials call a refugee·s paradise. Now that paradise is under threat. Since the attacks, the military and police presence has heightened, some travelers from the Horn of Africa have been turned away at borders and changes to asylum protocol have put Somalis like Mr. Uleh on edge. Adding to the anxiety among refugees, an agency working here to help resettle them in the United States abruptly left the country, raising fears that hundreds had been stranded. The developments could endanger the attraction of Uganda as a precious transit point or final destination for the droves of people fleeing the many dangers of Somalia, including the brutality of insurgent groups like the Shabab. According to the United Nations, Somalia produces the third most refugees in the world, behind Afghanistan and Iraq, and Uganda is a natural haven for them.
It has one of the most liberal refugee policies in Africa, granting approval to virtually all asylum applicants from the region, except Rwanda, which seeks to have its refugees returned. Here in Kampala, Somalis have built a flourishing and assimilated community, selling sheep, fixing cars, running restaurants and playing soccer in a neighborhood that many here call Little Mogadishu. Mr. Uleh himself dresses more like a trendy nightclub D.J. than an impoverished refugee, and thousands of Somalis here are in the middle of an applications process to be resettled in the United States. The World Cup was supposed to be a celebration for Somalis, too, as one of the tournament·s official songs was performed by a popular Somali-born rapper, K·Naan, making him a hero to many young Somali men. But then, in the second half of the final game, three explosions ripped through two popular sites where fans were watching. The Shabab claimed responsibility a day later, and for Uganda·s Somali community, a new reality was soon ushered in. The police stopped registering new refugees immediately after the attacks. The process has since reopened with new regulations and there has been a surge in registrations, but community leaders said they believed that there were many who were too timid to come forward. They say a chill has descended on the once friendly streets of Kampala. Last week, an Eritrean man was beaten to death by a mob that apparently thought he was Somali. Community leaders say more than 20 Somalis have also been arrested from the neighborhood, including a popular businessman, and many more have been picked up and questioned. ´We have stepped up vigilance in all corners, but our people are very hospitable,µ said Musa Ecweru, Uganda·s state minister for disasters. ´We don·t want xenophobia here. There is a lot going on at the moment.µ Refugees in Little Mogadishu have a larger worry lurking in the back of their minds ³ the dream of America. Last week, the Joint Voluntary Agency, which processes resettlement applications of refugees on behalf of the United States government, picked up and left the country days before a major interview session. Refugees say they do not know why.
´I just hope they come back,µ said Ahmed Adam, 21, who is one of hundreds who was supposed to be interviewed last week. American officials confirmed the agency·s withdrawal, describing it as a temporary move because of the attacks. Security has been beefed up in town, and more than 60 agents from the F.B.I. are in the country investigating the bombings. What they find could have a major impact on how liberal the environment for Somalis in Uganda remains. ´Resettlement of refugees to the United States is a lengthy process,µ said Joann Lockard, a spokesperson for the State Department in Uganda. ´At this time, the July 11 attacks have not altered the process for Somali refugees in Uganda from the U.S. perspective.µ The United States resettles thousands of Somalis to America every year. More than 50,000 have been resettled since fiscal year 2004 alone, according to the State Department. From the perspective of some of the Somalis in Uganda, veterans of refugee life, the attacks are another setback in a long and unpredictable line of interviews, security checks and bulletin-board announcements. Ali Mohammed Muse, 28, is one. He and his mother fled from Somalia to Uganda in 2004, and she was soon resettled to the United States. At his refugee camp in Uganda, Mr. Muse worked as a youth leader and soccer coach. Now he lives in Little Mogadishu, hoping to be reunited with his mother in Seattle. But Mr. Muse fears that the terrorist attacks have dented his chances, and shakes his head helplessly. ´I don·t know why, but I feel like I am guilty,µ he said. ´Maybe I look like one; maybe I have the same name.µ -------------------UN News Service Africa Briefs Full Articles on UN Website UN official sees signs of progress on cooperation ahead of Sudanese referenda 22 July ² The two parties to the peace pact ending the north-south civil war in Sudan have shown a genuine willingness to cooperate on arrangements for an upcoming referendum on whether the south should secede, despite understandable tensions between them, a senior United Nations official said today. In DR Congo, UN official pledges support to help displaced people return home
22 July ² The United Nations refugee chief is visiting the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where he has pledged assistance and support for civilians uprooted by fighting to return to their homes and rebuild their lives. Security Council calls on Guinea-Bissau to improve rule of law 22 July ² The Security Council today voiced concern at the current security situation and threats to constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau, and stressed the need for the Government and people of the West African nation to work towards stability and the rule of law.
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