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United States Africa Command Public Affairs Office 2 June 2011

USAFRICOM - related news stories

TOP NEWS RELATED TO U.S. AFRICA COMMAND AND AFRICA US general says no evidence Algeria backing Kadhafi (AFP) (Libya) The top US general responsible for Africa said Wednesday he had no evidence that Algeria has sent mercenaries to support the regime of Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi. CDS visits US Africa Command in Germany (Ghana News Agency) (Ghana) The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), Lieutenant General Peter Augustine Blay, has paid a five-day official visit to the headquarters of United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) in Stuttgart, Germany. House GOP Delays Vote on Libya (WSJ) (Libya) House Republican leaders on Wednesday abruptly canceled a vote on a resolution forcing U.S. withdrawal from Libya amid signs an unusual alliance of liberals and conservatives could approve the measure, indicating Congress's growing dissatisfaction with the extent of U.S. military operations overseas. NATO Extends Libya Air War (Radio Netherlands Worldwide) (Libya) NATO agreed Wednesday to extend its Libyan air war by three months and dismissed charges by Moamer Kadhafi's regime that the bombing campaign has already killed 718 civilians. UN Panel: Libyan Forces, Opposition Committed War Crimes (VOA) (Libya) A U.N. panel investigating the conflict in Libya says forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and opposition forces in the country have committed war crimes. Libyan rebels in a fight they don·t control (Washington Post) (Libya) As part of their mission in Libya, the United States and its European allies have unleashed a high-tech assault from the air, deploying AWACS spy planes, unmanned aircraft and sophisticated satellite systems. Many Civilians Have Been Killed in Disputed Region of Sudan (NYT)

(Sudan) Officials from the disputed Abyei area of Sudan said Wednesday that 116 civilians, including many children, had been killed last month when the northern Sudanese army seized Abyei. US says Somalia needs governance to defeat piracy (AP) (Somalia) A top U.S. commander Wednesday said piracy in Somalia can only be defeated if the international community helps restore governance in the poor, lawless African country. Growing Numbers of Young Children Wounded, Killed in Somalia (VOA) (Somalia) In the Somali capital Mogadishu, more and more children are becoming victims of the fighting between pro-government forces and the Islamist militia al Shabab. Africa's Green Revolution may be a long time coming (Christian Science Monitor) (Pan-Africa) It's tough to keep your eye on the long view when the prospect of famine is at the door. But that's what organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CARE, and the United Nation's World Food Programme are trying to do more and more. Public Information is Set Free As FOI Becomes Law (This Day) (Nigeria) Do you want to know how much Nigeria spends on importing petroleum products and who the contractors are? Simple. All you have to do now is write a letter to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to request the information. UN News Service Africa Briefs Full Articles on UN Website y Delegates to UN-backed gathering on Darfur endorse draft document on peace pact y UN official arrives in DR Congo to spotlight humanitarian crisis y Sudan: UN delivers food aid to thousands displaced by conflict in Abyei ------------------------------------------------------------------------UPCOMING EVENTS OF INTEREST: WHEN/WHERE: Thursday, June 2, 2011 - 09:00 - Thursday, June 2, 2011 - 0930-1130; U.S. Institute of Peace Headquarters B241, 2301 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20037 WHAT: High Stakes: New Reports on the Democratic Republic of Congo WHO: Laura Seay, Professor, Morehouse University, Blogger, TexasinAfrica; Joshua Marks, Central Africa Program Officer, National Endowment for Democracy; Tia Palermo, Assistant Professor, Stony Brook University Info: http://www.usip.org/events/high-stakes-new-reports-the-democratic-republiccongo

WHEN/WHERE: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 2:00 pm-3:30 pm; U.S. Institute of Peace Headquarters B241, 2301 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20037 WHAT: The Future of South Sudan: A Conversation with H.E. Vice President Riek Machar WHO: ‡H.E. Lt General Dr. Riek Machar, Vice President, the Government of Southern Sudan; Tara Sonenshine, Introduction, Executive Vice President U.S. Institute of Peace; David Smock, Moderator, Senior Vice President, Center of Innovation U.S. Institute of Peace Info: http://www.usip.org/events/the-future-south-sudan-conversation-he-vicepresident-riek-machar ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------FULL ARTICLE TEXT US general says no evidence Algeria backing Kadhafi (AFP) By Unattributed Author June 1, 2011 ALGIERS ³ The top US general responsible for Africa said Wednesday he had no evidence that Algeria has sent mercenaries to support the regime of Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi. "I have seen absolutely no reporting that indicates that Algeria is suporting the movement of fighters to Libya," General Carter Ham, who heads the US Africa command (AFRICOM), told journalists in Algiers. "To the countrary, Algeria has been suporting and strongly so regional security and countering terrorism," Ham added. Libya's National Transitional Council, an umbrella group for the various rebel forces fighting to topple Kadhafi, has accused Algeria of sending mercenaries to support the embattled dictator. Algeria has strongly denied the accusations. On his first visit to the country since taking charge of AFRICOM, Ham said his "command is commited to strengthening and expanding this relationship and working with Algeria in a number of areas regarding mutual security cooperation interests." Ham discussed the unrest in Libya and regional security with Abdelkader Messahel, Algeria's minister responsible for Africa and the Sahel, according to a statement from the Algerian foreign ministry. Ham also met with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

---------------------CDS visits US Africa Command in Germany (Ghana News Agency) By Unattributed Author June 1, 2011 Accra, June 1, GNA ² The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), Lieutenant General Peter Augustine Blay, has paid a five-day official visit to the headquarters of United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) in Stuttgart, Germany. The visit from May 2-6, which was at the instance of AFRICOM, was to enable the CDS to attend training and logistics conference to consider the assistance AFRICOM could extend to GAF. A statement issued by the GAF Public Relations Directorate in Accra on Tuesday said the US military had a long history of cooperation with GAF. ´This is centred around training and logistics support for the professional development and training of personnel of GAF. ´It is therefore in the spirit of this cooperation and in furtherance of the cordial relations that already existed between the US and GAF that the CDS attended the conference,µ the statement added. The statement said at the end of the visit, AFRICOM pledged to provide training and logistics support valued at several millions of dollars for GAF between 2011 and 2013. The support pledged included provision of vehicles, communication equipment, road construction at Bundase Training Camp, repairs of naval boats as well as humanitarian assistance in some communities. The CDS was accompanied by Deputy Director General in-charge of Training at the General Headquarters, Directors of Training of the three services, his Military Assistant and Aide-de-Camp. The CDS and his team have since returned home. ------------------------House GOP Delays Vote on Libya (WSJ) By NAFTALI BENDAVID And SIOBHAN HUGHES June 1, 2011 WASHINGTON - House Republican leaders on Wednesday abruptly canceled a vote on a resolution forcing U.S. withdrawal from Libya amid signs an unusual alliance of liberals and conservatives could approve the measure, indicating Congress's growing dissatisfaction with the extent of U.S. military operations overseas.

The House had been scheduled to vote on a resolution by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio) requiring President Barack Obama to withdraw from Libya within 15 days. The measure cites the 1973 War Powers Resolution, which says the president must get approval from Congress if a military operation lasts 60 days or more. But at a closed-door meeting of House Republicans Wednesday, GOP leaders were surprised by members' strong concerns about the Libya operation. Some conservatives were prepared to support Mr. Kucinich's resolution, Republican aides said. The House is now expected to take action on Mr. Kucinich's measure on Friday, either by voting on it or setting a date for a vote. At the same time, Republican leaders are working to come up with alternatives that are less far-reaching than the Kucinich provision to allow lawmakers to vent their displeasure. The reaction to Mr. Kucinich's measure reflects a growing dissatisfaction in Congress with the extent of U.S. military operations overseas, in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Libya. These concerns have brought together liberals and conservatives in an unusual alliance. Last week, the House failed by a narrow margin of 204 to 215 to approve a measure that would have required an "accelerated" withdrawal from Afghanistan. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Jim McGovern (D., Mass.) and Justin Amash (R., Mich.), was backed by 26 Republicans, including Rep. Ron Paul (R., Texas). All but eight Democrats voted in favor. "I don't see it as a partisan issue," Mr. Kucinich said of his resolution. Many House members are concerned the White House is bypassing Congress's power in times of war. "If we do not challenge the president's usurpation of the war power, we are setting a historical precedent that is very dangerous," he said. Yet Republican leaders were concerned about another type of precedent if Mr. Kucinich's resolution were approved. Presidents, and many scholars, question the constitutionality of the War Powers Resolution. Beyond that, congressional leaders are wary of forcing the commander-in-chief's hand in the middle of a military operation. One possible GOP alternative to the Kucinich resolution would simply declare that Congress has not approved the Libya operation. In any case, no measure, including the Kucinich resolution, would have authority if it were not also approved by the Senate, and Senate leaders do not seem inclined to jump into the issue at this point. U.S. involvement in Libya was discussed extensively at Wednesday's meeting of the Republican Study Committee, which represents the most conservative Republicans. "We ought to send a very strong message to the president that he did not have the right

to do this unilaterally," said Rep. Dan Burton (R., Ind.), a co-sponsor of the resolution who attended the study committee meeting. At the study committee meeting, "there was overwhelming support for letting the president know that this is something that will not be tolerated again³putting our money and our troops and our into a conflict without complying with the War Powers Act," Mr. Burton said. Mr. Burton said that there was talk of advancing another resolution that would say that Mr. Obama exceeded his authority when he committed U.S. troops to Libya, but added he didn't feel that went far enough. "In my opinion, we need to send not just a letter to him saying you exceeded your authority³we need to send him a message that you cannot do it again," Mr. Burton said in an interview. When the full Republican caucus meetings [Thursday] morning, Mr. Burton will "try to convince leadership" to hold a vote on the Kucinich/Burton resolution. Even if Congress does not take action to restrict Mr. Obama's actions in Libya, lawmakers say their restlessness reflects the concerns of their constituents. "Everyone in my district comes to me and says, 'What are we doing there?' " said Rep. Jim Lankford (R., Okla.). The 60-day deadline for seeking congressional approval under the War Powers Resolution was May 20. Mr. Obama has said he supports a resolution by Sens. John Kerry (D., Mass.), Carl Levin (D., Mich.) and John McCain (R., Ariz.) approving the Libyan effort, but so far Senate leaders are showing no indication of bringing it to a vote. The issue is pitting leaders of both parties against a restlessness among their rank-andfile. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D., Md.), the second-ranking House Democrat, objected this week to Mr. Kucinich's resolution. "If that means not supporting the NATO allies who jointly undertook this enterprise, I don't intend to support that," Mr. Hoyer said Tuesday. Lawmakers have sought in recent weeks to signal their discomfort with the Libya operation in other ways. The House, in a 416-5 vote, said last week the U.S. cannot establish ground operations in Libya, something the president has said he would not do in any case.

Rep. Tim Scott (R., S.C.) said the military may be getting stretched too thin with three engagements. "I think at some point we need to figure out when we're getting out," Mr. Scott said regarding Libya. ------------------------NATO Extends Libya Air War (Radio Netherlands Worldwide) By Unattributed Author June 1, 2011 Hilversum ³ NATO agreed Wednesday to extend its Libyan air war by three months and dismissed charges by Moamer Kadhafi's regime that the bombing campaign has already killed 718 civilians. Hours after NATO-led aircraft launched new raids on Tripoli, ambassadors of the military alliance meeting in Brussels decided to renew the mission for another 90 days to late September. "This decision sends a clear message to the Kadhafi regime. We are determined to continue our operation to protect the people of Libya," said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. "We will sustain our efforts to fulfil the United Nations mandate" to defend civilians from Kadhafi's forces, he said in a statement, adding: "We will keep up the pressure to see it through." NATO, whose current campaign expires on June 27, has intensified its air raids in recent weeks with daily strikes on command and control bunkers in Tripoli to prevent Kadhafi from crushing a revolt that began in mid-February. Wednesday's decision would give individual nations time to prepare their contributions for the next 90 days, a NATO diplomat said. "There were very positive signs that nations will extend with the appropriate number of resources," the diplomat said. The Libyan government said Tuesday that the air war has so far cost the lives of 718 civilians and wounded more than 4,000. "Since March 19, and up to May 26, there have been 718 martyrs among civilians and 4,067 wounded -- 433 of them seriously," government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said, citing health ministry numbers which cannot be independently verified, Ibrahim said these figures do not include Libyan military casualties, a toll the defence ministry refuses to divulge.

NATO cast doubt on the Libyan claim. "We have no indications that that is the case," NATO deputy spokeswoman Carmen Romero told AFP, adding the alliance has no way to verify the claims because it does not have troops on the ground. "NATO is conducting its operations to implement the UN mandate to protect civilians with great care and precision," she said. "This is in clear contrast with the indiscriminate attacks of the Kadhafi regime on his own people." At a news conference in Tripoli, Ibrahim warned the departure of Libya's veteran leader, as demanded by NATO and the G8, would be a "worst case scenario" for the country. "If Kadhafi goes, the security valve will disappear," he said. "Kadhafi's departure would be the worst case scenario for Libya," he told reporters, and warned of "civil war." Soon after he spoke late on Tuesday, six powerful explosions rocked the centre of Tripoli, the target of more and more intensive air raids by NATO warplanes for more than a week, an AFP journalist reported. It was not possible to determine the targets. In its latest operational update, NATO said Wednesday its key hits included a vehicle storage facility and three surface-to-air missile launchers in Tripoli, among similar targets in Brega, Hun, Misrata, Mizdah and Zawiya. Ibrahim also denied that South African President Jacob Zuma, who met Kadhafi in Tripoli on Monday, had discussed an "exit strategy" with him. Zuma "never discussed any exit strategies as they have been described in the media," the spokesman said. The South African presidency said previously that Kadhafi would not leave Libya despite growing international pressure and intensified NATO strikes on his regime. "Colonel Kadhafi called for an end to the bombings to enable a Libyan dialogue. He emphasised that he was not prepared to leave his country, despite the difficulties," Zuma's office said in a statement.

In London, The Guardian newspaper reported former members of Britain's Special Air Service (SAS) working for private security companies were in Misrata -- the main rebelheld city in western Libya -- advising the rebels and supplying information to NATO. The former soldiers were in Libya with the blessing of Britain, France and other NATO countries, and were gathering information about the location and movement of Kadhafi's troops and passing it on to NATO's command centre in Naples, military sources told The Guardian. Defence ministry officials denied the private soldiers were being paid by the British government and insisted it had no combat troops on the ground. The Guardian said the soldiers were reportedly being paid by Arab countries, notably Qatar. Reports of their presence emerged after Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera on Monday showed video footage of six armed westerners talking to rebels in Misrata. -------------------------UN Panel: Libyan Forces, Opposition Committed War Crimes (VOA) By Unattributed Author June 1, 2011 A U.N. panel investigating the conflict in Libya says forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and opposition forces in the country have committed war crimes. The report, published Wednesday by three U.N.-appointed experts, says the violations committed by pro-Gadhafi forces were severe enough to also constitute crimes against humanity. They said violations by opposition armed forces, however, were not severe or widespread enough to be considered crimes against humanity. Last month, the chief prosecutor the International Criminal Court requested arrest warrants for Libyan leader Gadhafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and Intelligence Chief Abdullah al-Senoussi for alleged crimes against humanity. Libyan officials dismissed the ICC request, saying the court has no jurisdiction in the country. The U.N. report came the same day that NATO extended its military mission in Libya for 90 days. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the move is meant to send a clear message to the Gadhafi government that the pressure to oust him will continue.

The current NATO mission, comprising of airstrikes and enforcement of a no-fly zone, would have ended in late June. The extension carries it to September. Meanwhile, in the rebel-held eastern city of Benghazi, witnesses say a large blast has damaged the Tibesti hotel. The hotel is where foreign diplomats holding talks with rebel leaders stay while in the city. There were no immediate reports of casualties. Also Wednesday, another high-ranking Libyan official announced that he has parted ways with the government. Oil Minister Shukri Ghanem said in Rome that he has left his country and his job but has not yet decided if he will join the anti-Gadhafi rebels.

Last month, Libyan officials denied reports that Ghanem had defected in Tunisia, saying instead that he was abroad on business. His announcement in Rome comes two days after eight Libyan army officers held a news conference there to say they had left Libya's government forces. U.S. State Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to the United Arab Emirates next week for a meeting of the 22-nation Libyan Contact Group. Earlier this month, the group agreed to set up a fund to help provide Libyan rebels with food, medicine and military supplies in the areas under their control. --------------------------Libyan rebels in a fight they don·t control (Washington Post) By Sudarsan Raghavan June 1, 9:48 PM BENGHAZI, Libya ³ As part of their mission in Libya, the United States and its European allies have unleashed a high-tech assault from the air, deploying AWACS spy planes, unmanned aircraft and sophisticated satellite systems. But in the rebels· operational command center in eastern Libya, there are no television screens beaming satellite images, no detailed maps with Global Positioning System coordinates. They don·t even have a direct phone line to their NATO counterparts. So when a rebel officer on the front line called in one recent morning in need of help, Brig. Gen. Abdulsalam al-Hasi had little choice. He walked down the corridor and asked the American and European advisers in his command center to request a NATO airstrike ³ and then prayed for quick action. ´Sometimes they are late, very late,µ said Hasi, shaking his head. The episode highlights an inescapable dilemma facing the rebel military. After more than three months of stalemate, the rebels· quest to remove Gaddafi from power depends almost entirely on a NATO force that they do not control and that insists its

mandate is restricted to protecting civilians. Rebel commanders can only ask NATO for help, then wait and hope. A few weeks ago, there was virtually no coordination between the rebels and NATO. The situation has since improved, rebel commanders acknowledge. But top rebel military officials say the still low level of coordination and lack of resources means they are being left out of key decision-making in a war they launched. ´We·re talking to them through their switchboard,µ Hasi said. ´There·s no direct line. It·s like ordering room service.µ The rebel officers complain that NATO has not posted a liaison officer in the command center. Hasi and his team do not speak to the AWACS controllers to coordinate airstrikes, and they get little feedback from their NATO counterparts. ´We have no contact with anyone except those people that are next door,µ Hasi said. ´We need more contact with NATO. We need more of everything.µ But even as he complained, Hasi was wary of criticizing NATO too much. He knew the rebels· hopes of overthrowing Gaddafi, who has been in power for 41 years, hinged on attacks by the alliance·s forces. ´Mostly, they are doing good. They are improving,µ he said. Confines of a mandate NATO officials say their decision to keep the rebels at arm·s length was deliberate. ´For us, it·s all about not wanting to contravene or jeopardize the U.N. mandate that we·re following,µ said a NATO official in the alliance·s headquarters in Brussels, speaking under NATO ground rules that he not be named. The U.N. resolution authorizing military action in Libya speaks only of protecting civilians from attacks by Gaddafi·s forces, he said. ´We cannot be [the rebels·] air power,µ the official said. ´This was a popular public uprising, and it has to unfold that way, in a natural way. It·s not for us to do any more in terms of support.µ The grumblings from top Libyan rebel military officials come as NATO intensifies its air campaign against Gaddafi·s forces to break the stalemate. Battle lines are shifting rapidly and expanding to areas in the mountainous western region. France and Britain

have sent attack helicopters to launch more precise strikes against Libyan government forces. NATO announced Wednesday that it was extending its mission in Libya by 90 days, a largely symbolic move that nevertheless suggested no imminent letup in the military pressure on Gaddafi·s forces. But with no troops on the ground, NATO might increasingly need to rely on the rebels to coordinate pinpoint attacks. ¶We have nothing· The command center is inside a brown, one-story building on a large governmentowned campus. Rebel officials requested that the exact location not be revealed for security reasons. On one end of the corridor is Hasi·s spacious office; on the other end is a room in which the Western advisers work. Hasi·s team of analysts works in between. Rebel commanders declined a request to interview the Western advisers, whom they refused to identify. Hasi said the advisers include Americans, British, French, Spaniards and Qataris, most of whom appear to have a direct line to NATO officials in Brussels. Officers from the CIA and special operations troops from Britain, France and other allies are also thought to be working on the ground with the rebels. Hasi·s analysts field phone calls from all over Libya, collecting information on movements by Gaddafi·s forces, accounts of deaths, and pleas for fuel and other assistance. They try to ensure that the reports are accurate, and, if there·s an emergency, such as the threat of an imminent strike by government forces, they alert Hasi, who relays the information to the Western advisers. Analyst Omran Senussi, 29, a former civil engineer, said he and his team are always concerned about the safety of civilians and rebel fighters. Since NATO strikes began in mid-March, there have been at least two ´friendly fireµ incidents, which killed more than a dozen rebel fighters. ´We have to move very carefully,µ Senussi said. An official at NATO·s operational headquarters in Naples said information from the rebels did filter up to the alliance·s command. ´Various allies have people on the ground and are working with the Transitional [National] Council,µ he said, referring to the body established by opposition leaders in their de facto capital, Benghazi. ´Those guys do pass information back up to us. . . . That may be a little less than some people would like,µ he said, but NATO had thought it was important to draw clear lines.

But that could change. The official said NATO was discussing whether to send a liaison team to Benghazi. For now, though, Hasi and other Libyan rebel commanders insist that NATO is not listening to them closely enough and that it is not sharing intelligence it gets from other sources. ´NATO receives information from everyone. We are the official operational command center of the Free Libyan Forces,µ Hasi said. Like other Libyan military officials, Hasi defected shortly after the populist rebellion erupted Feb. 17. Before the revolution, he was a top commander in eastern Libya, in charge of the nation·s special forces. A short, sturdy man with gray hair, Hasi speaks English, often peppered with jokes. But he does not mince words when talking about the state of the rebels· military. ´We have nothing. We are starting from a big zero.µ Hasi said that the rebel fighters need more advanced reconnaissance technology and that they lack critical equipment, including long-range radios, armored vests and avionic infrared binoculars. He does not even have enough four-wheel-drive vehicles, he said. But sometimes he gets what he wants. A little more than two hours after he walked down the hall, Hasi received a call from the field commander near the front line between the towns of Ajdabiya and Brega. Hasi quickly flashed a smile and nodded. NATO had come through with swift assistance. As the commander had reported, ´I can hear the planes.µ --------------------Many Civilians Have Been Killed in Disputed Region of Sudan (NYT) By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN and JOSH KRON June 1, 2011 JUBA, Sudan ³ Officials from the disputed Abyei area of Sudan said Wednesday that 116 civilians, including many children, had been killed last month when the northern Sudanese army seized Abyei. The figures were the first attempt at calculating the death toll from the incursion, Abyei officials said, and did not include soldiers and policemen also killed in the fighting, which set off fears across Sudan that a larger conflict may be looming.

Acuil Akol, the Abyei administration·s finance minister, said that the death toll was tabulated by surveying leaders of the area·s traditional Dinka chiefdoms, and that the number was most likely a low estimate. He said that the fighting also drove tens of thousands of people into the bush, with many now sleeping in the open, exposed to torrential downpours. ´They are traumatized and terrified,µ Mr. Akol said. United Nations officials said that several waves of looters had pillaged Abyei and that there was even a market in town now for looted goods. The northern Sudanese military sent thousands of troops and militiamen into Abyei on May 21 after repeated clashes between northern and southern Sudan forces. Both sides claim the area, and with southern Sudan gearing up to declare independence on July 9, military action around the contested border has intensified as the date draws near. The African Union said Tuesday that the north and south had struck a deal to defuse tensions along the border. But on Wednesday, northern Sudanese officials were backing away from the idea. ´There is no comprehensive agreement about such case of the border,µ said Rabie A. Atti, a Sudanese government spokesman. ´Up to now, there is nothing agreed upon.µ The Obama administration on Wednesday dispatched its top counterterrorism official, John O. Brennan, to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, where he ´underscored President Obama·s deep concern over the continued presence of Sudanese armed forces in Abyei and urged a rapid and peaceful resolution to the crisis,µ the White House said in a statement. Also on Wednesday, United Nations officials said they were preparing withdrawal plans for hundreds of United Nations employees and millions of dollars of equipment from northern Sudan, because the government in Khartoum has demanded that the United Nations mission entrusted with monitoring Sudan·s border leave by July 9. According to one United Nations official, there is a plan to hire 250 barges to cart away United Nations equipment, which would be floated down the Nile River from Khartoum to Juba, the capital of southern Sudan, where the new United Nations mission is expected to be based. But there are complications to operating in southern Sudan. United Nations officials have complained that soldiers from southern Sudan·s armed forces routinely attack aid convoys traveling through rural areas. Col. Philip Aguer, a spokesman for the southern

forces, did not directly dispute this, saying, ´if it has happened that is completely a wrong action,µ and that it is ´uncommon.µ The southern military is under pressure on a number of fronts. The northern Sudan government had given southern-allied forces until Wednesday to pull out of all contested areas north of the internal border. On Wednesday, officials in Blue Nile state, home to several thousand heavily armed southern-allied soldiers, said there had been no clashes. ´So far it is okay,µ said Malik Agar, Blue Nile·s governor. But, he added, ´there is a deaf dialogueµ and ´we are ready to defend ourselves.µ --------------------US says Somalia needs governance to defeat piracy (AP) By Unattributed Author May 31, 2011 KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia ³ A top U.S. commander Wednesday said piracy in Somalia can only be defeated if the international community helps restore governance in the poor, lawless African country. Adm. Robert Willard, chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, said navy patrols alone cannot stop the hijacking of ships if pirates' bases onshore are allowed to operate without interference. The international community is spending millions of dollars a day maintaining a flotilla of warships to protect key shipping lanes off East Africa. "The organizers, the funders are the central problem ... but the international community has been unable to determine how to tackle the problem onshore," Willard told a regional forum in Malaysia. "Clearly, one thing is to help Somalia recover from being the ungoverned state that it is," he said. "Unless the international community goes to the root, and not the far end of the problem, it won't be solved." Somalia has not had an effective government since 1991, when warlords overthrew a longtime dictator and then turned on each other, plunging the country into chaos and anarchy. A transitional government, established in 2004 and backed by about 9,000 African Union troops, has been fighting Islamist insurgents. Last year, pirates seized 53 vessels and captured a record 1,181 hostages, almost all of them off the Somali coast. Some 30 ships and more than 600 hostages are still in pirates' hands.

Pirates are becoming increasingly violent in retaliation to navy interference in their multimillion dollar trade. Earlier this year pirates killed four American hostages while U.S. Navy warships were shadowing the hijacked yacht, the first time pirates had done that. The U.N. Security Council last month demanded that Somalia's feuding president and parliament reach agreement quickly on holding elections by August when the mandate for the country's transitional government ends. Somali lawmakers ³ who in February unilaterally extended their own mandate by three years ³ have been vowing for months to hold a presidential vote despite the president's objections. The president wants to extend his term for a year without a vote. -----------------------Growing Numbers of Young Children Wounded, Killed in Somalia (VOA) By Joe DeCapua May 31, 2011 In the Somali capital Mogadishu, more and more children are becoming victims of the fighting between pro-government forces and the Islamist militia al Shabab. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the number of weapon-related casualties at the city·s three main hospitals reached a new peak last week. Of the nearly 1600 casualties, 46 percent were under age five. Many ways to wound a body ´Beginning of May, we found the increase in the number of casualties under five and mortalities under five. The main types of injury are burns and shrapnel, blast injuries and bullets,µ said Dr. Omar Saleh, a WHO trauma surgeon. Many of the burns are third degree. Children suffer from disfiguring scars and infection over much of their bodies. One child had a bullet in his head. ´His body,µ said Saleh, ´is half paralyzed and he·s under five years old. It is a tragedy there.µ Injured children cannot be treated the same as injured adults. ´That was the main reason actually why I went to Mogadishu,µ he said, ´Usually, children under five, they have special physiology and anatomy different than adults. And that·s why there should be a different approach.µ

Saleh conducted training programs at two of the major hospitals in Mogadishu, which included preparing children for surgery, special surgical techniques, post operative follow-up care and maintenance. Because a child·s body is not fully developed, care must be taken when administering drugs. ´The doses should be calculated carefully, otherwise they will die from the treatment itself,µ he said. Worst cases ´Usually, those third degree burns are a big challenge. They need a lot of transfusions. They need antibiotics. They·re liable to infection, the wound infects, and then septicemia and they die from infection,µ he said. Some children have lost an arm or a leg. ´Imagine a child under five years old who loses his hand or his leg. How is he going to live afterwards?µ None of the children are expected to be transported to other countries for special care or reconstructive surgery. Saleh said the children·s families are too poor to pay for that. However, his training classes for Somali health workers did include skin grafts, cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Why so many kids? There·s a simple reason why so many children are being wounded now in the Somali capital. ´People live in Bakara market. The fighting now in Mogadishu is in Bakara market« one of the cheapest areas in Mogadishu. So imagine the IDPs [internally displaced persons] after the drought«. They come back to Mogadishu to Bakara market and they take their chances just to be able to live there. If some family was killed or something, the next day you·ll find another family staying there,µ said Saleh. The trauma surgeon said international help is needed to fund Somalia·s battered health care system. He said about $60 million has been requested, but so far, only about $16 million has been given by donors. ´This fighting in Mogadishu is far from over. It·s going to continue for some time and we need the international community to pay attention to what·s happening to do something,µ he said.

The WHO said that since the beginning of 2011 about 4,000 people injured in the Somali conflict have been admitted to the capital·s three main hospitals. --------------------Africa's Green Revolution may be a long time coming (Christian Science Monitor) By Gregory M. Lamb June 1, 2011 It's tough to keep your eye on the long view when the prospect of famine is at the door. But that's what organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CARE, and the United Nation's World Food Programme are trying to do more and more. The old adage seems to have truth in it: Give people a fish, they eat for a day. Teach them to fish, and they can feed themselves for a lifetime. The Gates foundation is committed to spend $1.7 billion to alleviate the underlying conditions that create poverty and hunger in Africa, says an Associated Press story. But it may take two decades or more to bring its work to fruition. RELATED: Think you know Africa? Take our geography quiz. "It takes years and years to shift the system," says Roy Steiner, deputy director of global development for the Gates foundation. "Giving food to people is certainly necessary when there's a crisis," he said. "But these people don't want to be depending on outside charity. And, frankly, who is going to pay for all of that food being given?" The "fishing poles" that it and other relief agencies are trying to provide include more drought-tolerant seeds, better fertilizers, educating farmers on better farming techniques, and helping them get their crops to market more easily. Agriculture has come under the spotlight as world population grows along with concerns about how changing climates may affect food production. A report released yesterday by the aid agency Oxfam, called Growing a Better Future, "warns that spiraling prices and endless cycles of regional food crises will create millions more hungry people unless we transform the way we grow and sell food." It predicts that the price of basic foods such as corn could more than double in the next 20 years. What's needed in Africa is the kind of Green Revolution seen in other parts of the world in the 20th century. Whether genetic-modification of plants will be a key part of the answer in Africa remains to be seen (see "How science could spark a second Green Revolution"). The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, led by African scientists, economists, and business leaders, helps small farmers, especially women, improve their farming methods. It's just one effort receiving aid from the Gates foundation.

-----------------------Public Information is Set Free As FOI Becomes Law (This Day) By Idowu Sowunmi 1 June 2011 Abuja ³ Do you want to know how much Nigeria spends on importing petroleum products and who the contractors are? Simple. All you have to do now is write a letter to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to request the information. Within seven days, you are entitled to a response. If not, you can take NNPC to court and get an order to compel the corporation to reveal the information. It may even get better: if any NNPC official attempts to destroy or doctor the records, he or she will be liable to a criminal prosecution, which may result in a one-year prison term. Welcome to the age of Freedom of Information in Nigeria where many files marked "top secret" by government officials can now be made available to ordinary Nigerians under the Freedom of Information Act, which was signed at the weekend by President Goodluck Jonathan after passage by the National Assembly last week. This is expected to promote transparency and accountability in government. The Bill was sent to the president on May 27, 2011 and he assented to it in 24 hours, thereby ending a long, tortuous journey that started on December 9, 1999 when it was first gazetted. It was the oldest legislation in the works in Nigeria's legislative history. Under the Freedom of Information Act 2011, any Nigerian is free to apply to a government institution to request access to public information and records. If this application is not granted in seven days, it would amount to refusal, except the institution seeks additional seven days because of the volume of the records requested. If the request is to be turned down, the public institution must state the reason under the law. The refusal letter must contain the name, designation and signature of every official involved. Failure to respond within the stipulated number of days would amount to a denial of access, which is punishable with a fine of N500,000, according to Section 5(7) of the Act. Section 10 prescribes a minimum of one year imprisonment for any officer or head of any government or public institution "to which this Act applies to wilfully destroy any records kept in his custody or attempt to doctor or otherwise alter same before they are released to any person, entity or community applying for it".

All public institutions are compelled to keep records and information and organise them in a way that is accessible to the public. The Act states some exemptions to the rule - namely information that could compromise national security and the conduct of international affairs. Also exempted from public access are records that could expose trade secrets, trade party intrusion into contractual negotiation process, test questions, architectural and engineering designs, research materials under preparation, legal practitioner-client relationship, health worker-patient relationship and journalist's confidential source of information. Also exempted are records for international use of organisation that could interfere with law enforcement and fair trial or amount to intrusion of privacy or exposure of a confidential source. However, if a court deems public interest to be more paramount in these instances, the information may still be made available to the applicant. A statement from Presidency Tuesday said the FoI Bill was signed by Jonathan on Saturday to show his support for the law expected to help transform the country. The signing of the law was obviously done outside the klieg lights as newsmen were not part of the signing ceremony. The statement said: "President Goodluck Jonathan has signed the Freedom of Information Bill 2011 into law. "The Bill, which was passed by the outgoing National Assembly was conveyed to the Presidency on Friday, May 27, 2011. President Jonathan assented to it on Saturday, May 28. "The objective of the Act is to make public records and information more freely available and to also protect public records and information to the extent consistent with the public interest and protection of personal privacy. "The Freedom of Information Act also seeks to protect serving public officers from any adverse consequences of disclosing certain kinds of official information without authorisation, and to establish procedures for the achievement of these purposes."

The Newspaper Proprietors' Association of Nigeria (NPAN) Tuesday commended the timely assent in a statement signed by the President of the association, Mr Nduka Obaigbena, who is also the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of THISDAY Newspapers. He also commended the leadership of the outgoing National Assembly, civil society groups, media, labour, other groups under the canopy of the Freedom of Information Coalition, and the general public for their dedication to the cause of an informed citizenry, which is the bedrock of democratic practice. He urged Nigerians to avail themselves of the opportunities offered by the Freedom of Information Act, to enhance transparency and good governance and to work towards achieving a zero tolerance for corruption and impunity. Responding to the news Tuesday, the Nigeria Guild of Editors, in a statement signed by its president, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye, commended the president for keeping to his words. He said the media "has expanded the frontiers of press freedom for Africa's most vibrant press. No more will it be permitted for the journalists to hurry to press with half truth and misinformation when they can officially verify their facts". Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State said the signing is a "victory for all Nigerians who waged relentless war to entrench transparency in governance". Commenting on the development, Chairman of Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-governmental Affairs, Senator Smart Adeyemi, said the signing of the FoI Bill, was a testimony that the President has kick-started his transformation project for Nigeria. Highlights: ‡ Any Nigerian can apply for access to public records and information. ‡Any institution that fails to provide the information required would be fined N500,000 ‡An applicant can sue the agency that refuses to release information. ‡Certain information can be withheld if it could compromise national security, give away a confidential source, be injurious to international affairs, intrude privacy, expose trade secrets etc ‡Nevertheless, a court may compel the release of such information if the national interest is considered to be more paramount ‡If any public officer destroys or doctors public records before making them available, he risks criminal prosecution and imprisonment of a minimum of one year ‡There shall be no liability for a public officer who makes the information available under the Act. The applicant is also not liable ------------------------UN News Service Africa Briefs

Full Articles on UN Website Delegates to UN-backed gathering on Darfur endorse draft document on peace pact 1 June ² United Nations-backed inclusive consultations on the conflict in the Sudanese region of Darfur has ended in the Qatari capital, Doha, with delegates voicing support for a draft document that will form the basis of a permanent ceasefire and a comprehensive peace agreement. UN official arrives in DR Congo to spotlight humanitarian crisis 1 June ² A top-level United Nations humanitarian official started a five day visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today, ´aiming to draw international attention to one of the world·s most serious and chronic humanitarian crises.µ Sudan: UN delivers food aid to thousands displaced by conflict in Abyei 1 June ² The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today it has provided food aid to more than 45,000 people who were displaced from Sudan·s disputed Sudanese area of Abyei during the recent fighting that culminated in the taking over of the territory by Government troops.