United States Africa Command Public Affairs Office 22 February 2012

USAFRICOM - related news stories

Good morning. Please see today's news review for February 22, 2012. This new format is best viewed in HTML. Features include icons and links to provide more options to the reader. Clicking on the text icon takes you directly to the full text of the story; the paperclip icon links to the article's original source; and the envelope icon allows you to email the article. Of interest in today's report: - Islamists attacks draw Nigeria and U.S. military closer - 175 Members of Kansas National Guard Return Home After Yearlong Deployment to HOA - UNDOC estimates cocaine trafficking generates some $900 million in West and Central Africa - Sudanese Government Rejects U.S. Conditions to Cancel $2.4 Billion in Debt - Talks on Somali Insecurity 'One Sided' U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs Please send questions or comments to: publicaffairs@usafricom.mil 421-2687 (+49-711-729-2687)

Headline Islamist attacks draw Nigeria and US military closer

Date 02/22/2012

Outlet Christian Science Monitor

With an Islamist militant group on a killing spree in its northern reaches, Nigeria would appear to be just the kind of country that the US military's Africom was designed to help out.

National Guard troops return from Africa

02/21/2012

Topeka Capital-Journal

About 400 people filled Hangar 662 of the 190th Air Refueling Wing's base at Forbes Field at noon Monday as they waited to welcome their soldiers home from a yearlong deployment.

Sudan: Govt Rejects U.S. Conditions for Debt Relief, Slams Washington's Policies

02/20/2012

AllAfrica.com

Khartoum -- The Sudanese government on Monday rejected the conditions attached by the United States to cancelling all of Khartoum's $2.4 billion debt owed to it.

UN: W. Africa cocaine trade generates $900M a year

02/22/2012

Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS--The U.N. agency that fights drugs and crime estimated that cocaine trafficking is generating some $900 million annually in West and Central Africa as South American cartels use the shortest route to transport drugs to Europe.

Talks on Somalia insecurity 'one-sided', say observers

02/21/2012

Thomson Reuters - Kenya

Somalia's famine may be over for now but, ahead of this week's London Somalia Conference, some observers of the country say the

international community needs to pay more attention to opening dialogue with al Shabaab militants as a means to stabilise the wa...

Somalia's al-Shabab 'forced whole classes to fight'

02/21/2012

BBC News Online/Interactive

Entire classrooms of Somali children - some as young as 10 - have been forced to fight for Islamist militants, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report says. An unprecedented number of children has been abducted over the past two years, HRW said.

Kenya army says Somali militants causing food 02/21/2012 crisis by blocking trade in southern Somalia

Associated Press

TABDA, Somalia -- An 80-year-old Somali woman fondly recalled her younger days. There was peace in Somalia then, and people in the town of Tabda in the arid scrublands of the country's south did not rely on the mercy of others for food.

Libya army says will intervene if no end to southeast clashes

02/21/2012

Thomson Reuters - Africa Online

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan government forces will intervene if clashes between rival tribes over control of territory in the southeastern corner of the country do not stop, the military chief said on Monday.

Lifting Africa from a mineral 'curse'

02/22/2012

The Christian Science Monitor

One of the world's great paradoxes is that Africa is abundant with minerals, such as cobalt, diamonds, and oil, and yet the average African's income has barely budged in decades. More than half of the continent's 1 billion people live on less than a dollar...

'Resurrected' Mugabe turns 88, to stay in power 02/21/2012

Reuters

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe turned 88 on Tuesday, joking about reports circulating for years of his imminent demise and vowing to stay in power despite international condemnation of his economic and human rights record.

Bend Airman Dies: 'Now He's Soaring With the Eagles'

02/21/2012

KTVZ-TV

WASHINGTON -- A Bend resident, remembered and mourned as a bright, polite young man who loved flying, was one of four U.S. Air Force airmen killed in a plane crash near an African base over the weekend, the Department of Defense confirmed Monday.

United Nations News Centre - Africa Briefs

02/22/2012

United Nations News Service

- Darfur patrol returns home safely after rebel blockade, UN-AU mission reports - Actress Mia Farrow launches UN-backed polio vaccination campaign in Chad - South Sudan: Japanese engineers join UN mission to build roads and bridges - Ban calls for boost...

News Headline: Islamist attacks draw Nigeria and US military closer | News Date: 02/22/2012 Outlet Full Name: Christian Science Monitor News Text: By Scott Baldauf, Staff Writer With an Islamist militant group on a killing spree in its northern reaches, Nigeria would appear to be just the kind of country that the US military's Africom was designed to help out. Launched in October 2008, the 2,100-strong US Africa Command ± based at Kelley Barracks in StuttgartMoehringen, Germany ± sends US Army trainers to the African continent. The personnel equip, assist, and train the armies of partner governments in information sharing, counterinsurgency, logistical support, as well as conducting joint exercises. Among the most eager participants are nations of the north African Sahel region, from Senegal in the west to Djibouti in the east, many of which face Islamist insurgent groups that appear to be growing in sophistication and violent capabilities. But dealing with a group like Boko Haram ± a violent Islamist group that has admitted carrying out a series of attacks in Maiduguri that killed more than 30 this week, and more than 200 since the beginning of the year ± will require more than a merely military strategy, experts say. Any successful strategy will require efforts to help Nigeria's poorer and weaker neighbors to patrol their own territory better, along with civilian efforts in Nigeria's own law enforcement and financial regulatory agencies to sniff out domestic support for the group, and to cut it off from its funding sources.

Nigeria's military needs more than the kind of counterinsurgency training and equipment that the $300-million Africom has to offer, says J. Peter Pham, director of the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington. ³Nigeria's military is not under-resourced,´ says Dr. Pham, but other branches of the Nigerian government are, including law enforcement and financial intelligence. The Boko Haram problem must be seen as a regional problem, Pham says, since many of Nigeria's poorer neighbors have neither the capacity nor the money to adequately patrol their borders in the arid and underpopulated Sahel region, and groups like Boko Haram and the like-minded Al Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) take advantage of that weakness to move around fighters, weapons, and funding for their next attacks. ³When Boko Haram is using borders around Nigeria as a safe haven, the US military can help those other weaker countries around Nigeria to improve their own capabilities to patrol their borders and to deny Boko Haram a safe haven,´ says Pham. ³Boko Haram is not a group that can be bought off, like the Niger Delta rebels were, or beaten down, militarily,´ Pham adds. ³It's going to be a long process, like the drug war in Mexico, and not something that can be solved overnight.´ Latest attack kills dozens In the northern Nigerian town of Maiduguri, site of the latest attacks and the reported homebase of Boko Haram, military spokesman Lt. Col. Hassan Mohammed said that gunmen thought to be from Boko Haram had opened fire and set off bombs inside the town's fish market, killing more than 30 people. The attack followed the arrest of a suspected Islamist at the market last week. Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is a sin," aims to abolish Nigeria's secular democracy and replace it with an Islamic sharia government. Colonel Mohammed told Agence France Presse news agency that the military had arrived on the scene and "immediately came to the rescue of the situation and safely detonated three bombs planted by members of the sect and shot and killed eight members of the sect." During a visit with Nigerian military officials in the nation's capital of Abuja in August 2011, Gen. Carter Ham, the chief of Africom, discussed ways in which the US military could help Nigeria to confront its new internal threats. In an email interview with the New York Times, he wrote that he was ³greatly concerned about [Boko Haram's] stated intent to connect with Al Qaeda senior leadership, most likely through Al Qaeda in the lands of the Islamic Maghreb.´ General Ham, along with senior US intelligence officials, believes that Boko Haram has already established links with Al Qaeda. There are reports, for instance, that Boko Haram members made their way to Somalia after the Nigerian government's 2009 crackdown, which eventually killed Boko Haram's founder Mohammed Yusuf. It was after that initial exchange that Boko Haram changed its fighting tactics, and adopted suicide car bombings, such as its deadly attack on the UN's headquarters in Abuja that killed 18 people in 2011. In a Senate hearing, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper identified groups such as Boko Haram, Al Shabab, and AQIM as shared threats, both for Africa and for the United States. ³« across the Mideast and North Africa, those pushing for change are confronting ruling elites, sectarian, ethnic and tribal divisions, lack of experience with democracy, stalled economic development, military and security force resistance and regional power initiatives,´ Mr. Clapper said in a hearing at the Senate Select Intelligence Committee on Jan. 31. ³These are fluid political environments that offer openings for extremists to participate much more assertively in political life. States where authoritarian leaders have been toppled, like Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, have to reconstruct their political systems through complex negotiations among competing factions. But just as the instability of northern Africa presents challenges, it also presents opportunities for like-minded

governments to work together, Ham said during his 2011 visit. The US is interested in the Nigerian military ³simply because our two nations share great commonality of interest for security challenges. So, we look at the future and look at whatever can undermine the security in your country and in mine. We share a lot in common. So, in this visit, we are looking at opportunities to meet with Nigerian leaders to explore avenues for us to strengthen and improve on the existing partnerships between the armed forces of the US and that of Nigeria."
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News Headline: National Guard troops return from Africa | News Date: 02/21/2012 Outlet Full Name: Topeka Capital-Journal News Text: By Samantha Foster About 400 people filled Hangar 662 of the 190th Air Refueling Wing's base at Forbes Field at noon Monday as they waited to welcome their soldiers home from a yearlong deployment. Some waited with children in their arms, and some waited with flowers or signs. And when the troops filed into the hangar, they received a standing ovation complete with waving flags and cheers. The 175 National Guard members who returned stateside Monday were the second of three groups from the Kansas National Guard's 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery and 35th Military Police Company. They returned from a yearlong deployment to the Horn of Africa. Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the Kansas adjutant general, welcomed the soldiers and their family and friends, saying, ³It's a great day for Kansas as we welcome back the members of One-Six-One.´ Their mission in Africa was to complete stability operations in Africa to strengthen partner nation and regional security capacity for long-term regional stability, prevent conflict and protect U.S. and Coalition interests, the adjutant general's office said. They completed more than 50 military mentoring missions in nine African countries. The unit deployed March 2, 2011. Gov. Sam Brownback, who was in attendance, thanked the soldiers and their families for their service and sacrifice. ³We owe all of you a deep, heartfelt thanks,´ he said. ³God bless you all.´ Speechmaking was kept to a minimum, and the soldiers were released with a ³Job well done, mission complete, dismissed!´ As they broke ranks, beaming men and women in uniform rushed to kiss and hug their loved ones. For three Pittsburg-area brothers who were deployed together, it was good to be home with their families. Ethan, 20, Nathan, 20, and Bobby Maley, 23, are the three youngest of five brothers. They said it was nice for them to deploy together because they supported each other. But, they said, they sometimes needed a break from each other. Nathan said he was stationed in Kenya for six months while Ethan and Bobby were stationed in Djibouti. Nathan helped train Kenyan forces, while Ethan and Bobby both spent their tours performing port security and Quick Reaction Force duties. All three said they had positive experiences interacting with locals and experiencing African culture ² even enjoying a few photo safaris along the way. Their parents, Dale and Nancy, said it was difficult to have all three boys deployed at once, but they were glad their sons weren't deployed to a war zone. Both of their two older sons were in the National Guard, and one was

deployed to Iraq. ³I'm thankful they weren't deployed to a war zone,´ Nancy said. ³We would have worried too much.´ Now that they have returned stateside, the three will return to working in the oil fields and on neighbors' farms, they said. The battalion is headquartered in Wichita with subordinate units in Dodge City, Great Bend, Lenexa, Liberal, Hutchinson, Newton, Paola, Pratt and Topeka.
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News Headline: Sudan: Govt Rejects U.S. Conditions for Debt Relief, Slams Washington's Policies | News Date: 02/20/2012 Outlet Full Name: AllAfrica.com News Text: Khartoum ² The Sudanese government on Monday rejected the conditions attached by the United States to cancelling all of Khartoum's $2.4 billion debt owed to it. The debt relief proposal was submitted last week by U.S. president Barack Obama to Congress as part of his 2013 budget. But for Sudan to take advantage of the offer it must follow through on all remaining items of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) particularly with regard to post-secession negotiations with South Sudan. Khartoum must also satisfy U.S. Congress requirements including upholding human rights and fighting terrorism. Haj Magid Siwar, the head of the political mobilization bureau at the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Khartoum, said his government does not accept U.S. calling for allowing aid groups into rebel-held areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile in return for debt relief. He said that Washington has been dealing with Khartoum in a lot of "fooling" which led to the Sudanese government not trusting any of the promises put forward by the successive U.S. administrations on lifting economic sanctions and removing the country from the list of states that sponsor terrorism. Siwar downplayed visits by U.S. officials to Khartoum including congressmen saying it is not new for U.S. administrations "which disclaims all its political and ethical obligations". "If America is willing to improve relations with Sudan then we are more willing but we will not respond to lobby pressures and lobby groups" he said. Last week, the Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti said his country's relations with the U.S. are not able to progress because of divide between the administration and lobby groups. Karti stressed that Obama has adopted a policy seeking normalization with Sudan but pointed out that U.S. advocacy and lobby groups which harbor enmity towards Khartoum are actively working to undermine the administration's approach.
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News Headline: UN: W. Africa cocaine trade generates $900M a year | News Date: 02/22/2012 Outlet Full Name: Associated Press News Text: By Edith M. Lederer UNITED NATIONS²The U.N. agency that fights drugs and crime estimated that cocaine trafficking is generating

some $900 million annually in West and Central Africa as South American cartels use the shortest route to transport drugs to Europe. Yuri Fedotov, the head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that in addition to an upsurge in cocaine trafficking, West Africa is experiencing an increase in piracy, arms and human trafficking. He said South American drug cartels were not only exploiting poverty but a lack of border controls, weak law enforcement, and endemic corruption in West Africa to reach Europe. "The West African transit route feeds a European cocaine market which in recent years grew four fold, reaching an amount almost equal to the U.S. market," he said. "We estimate that cocaine trafficking in West and Central Africa generates some $900 million annually." That estimate is up from an April 2011 UNODC report that put the figure at $800 million for 2009. Fedotov said illegal drug consumption is also growing fast in the region, where there are now up to 2.5 million drug users. He said greater understanding is needed of the extent to which drug trafficking may be linked to piracy off West Africa's coast. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said there is growing concern about stability in West Africa and the Sahel region to the north because of the rise in organized crime, drug trafficking and piracy, a growing food crisis, the influx of weapons from the upheaval in Libya, and the reported links between insurgent groups, criminal groups and terrorist organization. "There is even fear that we could see in this region a crisis of the magnitude of the one in the Horn of Africa," Ban said, a reference to Somalia which remains a failed state, with the al-Qaida-affiliated militant group al-Shabab challenging a weak transitional government. He told the council that an assessment mission he sent in December to look at the effects of the Libya crisis on the Sahel "found that terrorist groups, such as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, have begun to form alliances with drug traffickers, and other criminal syndicates." "Such alliances have the potential to further destabilize the region and reverse hard-won democratic and peacebuilding achievements," the secretary-general warned. Benin's Minister of State for National Security Issifou N'Douro said the dispersal of Libya's arsenal and mass departure of Libyans following the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi "has considerably worsened the challenges that West Africa and the Sahel in particular are facing in terms of combatting organized transnational crime." The Libyan fallout has led to the growth and radicalization of rebel groups in the Sahel states and "a resurgence in pernicious forms of coordinated criminal activity" such as kidnapping with ransom demands and shootouts between security forces and insurgents with better weapons, he said. Togo's President Faure Gnassingbe, whose country holds the Security Council presidency this month and organized the meeting, said terrorist actions in Nigeria and the Sahel have added to West Africa and the Sahel becoming "channels for trafficking of all kinds." He proposed an International Contact Group on Organized Transnational Crime which would include interested countries to better coordinate material and financial help to the region and individual governments.
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News Headline: Talks on Somalia insecurity 'one-sided', say observers | News Date: 02/21/2012 Outlet Full Name: Thomson Reuters - Kenya News Text: By Katy Migiro Somalia's famine may be over for now but, ahead of this week's London Somalia Conference, some observers of the country say the international community needs to pay more attention to opening dialogue with al Shabaab militants as a means to stabilise the war-ravaged state. Years of anarchy since the fall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, combined with frequent drought and rampant inflation, have turned Somalia into one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. Much of the fighting now is between government forces and gunmen loyal to hardline Islamist group al Shabaab. ³Al Shabaab became much more unpopular because of its poor handling of the famine and its refusal to acknowledge that there were serious food deficiencies in the areas that they controlled,´ said EJ Hogendoorn, the International Crisis Group's Horn of Africa project director. Al Shabaab rebels have previously banned some U.N. and international aid agencies from working in Somalia. The rebels have blamed food aid for creating dependency. With half a billion dollars poured into feeding starving Somalis over the last six months, the situation has improved from level 5, famine, to level 4, emergency. But, as images of starving Somali children drop off the news agenda, humanitarian agencies look set to find it harder to raise the $1.5 billon they are asking for to support Somalia's recovery in 2012. ³This money will be wasted if there is no political solution in Somalia,´ said Hogendoorn. Finding a political solution for Somalia ± torn by two decades of conflict ± will be a steep task for delegates of the Feb.23 conference that will focus on politics, terrorism, humanitarian crisis and piracy in the country. But some say, in order to work on a solution, the conference should be open to all parties. ³The only people that they have called (to the conference) are on one side. I think, personally, they should have called al Shabaab on board,´ said Hamza Mohamed, a Somali filmmaker. ³They would have been trying to find a solution. I think they are strengthening one side of the war and hoping al Shabaab will disappear.´ AMISOM FORCE African Union peacekeeper forces, AMISOM, forced al Shabaab to pull out of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, in August. Now al Shabaab is now fighting a war on three fronts against AMISOM, Kenya and Ethiopia. The talks in London will also focus on paying for an expanded 18,000-strong AMISOM force, largely funded by the European Union. ³The African-international coalition envisages a military victory over the Islamists, creating the condition for a national political bargain,´ Alex de Waal, director of the World Peace Foundation, wrote on the website African Arguments, which is hosted by the Royal African Society and the Social Science Research Council. Some observers are critical of this plan. ³The strategy that the (Somali) government and international community are now employing to stabilise Somalia neglects reconciliation with the rebels and relies too much on external military muscle,´ wrote Afyare Abdi Elmi, assistant professor of International Affairs at Qatar University and Abdi Aynte, a Somali-American journalist, in

Foreign Affairs. ³The Somali government and its backers should instead focus on establishing a competent security sector and starting genuine negotiations with those rebels who are interested in a political solution ± and there are some.´ Mark Bradbury, an analyst with the Rift Valley Institute, said delegates at the conference could use the opportunity to learn from the past. ³It might be good to see at the London Conference some kind of acknowledgement among those present that policies they have pursued over the last few years have been partly responsible for creating the famine conditions in Somalia, some acknowledgements of those past mistakes and a commitment to rectify in the future,´ Bradbury said. This looks unlikely to happen. But history suggests that there is scope for the West to talk with al Shabaab. Britain's war with Northern Ireland ended through secret negotiations with the Irish Republican Army. And today, the United States is in talks with the Taliban. ³The legitimation of `terrorist' groups through talks can be a means to transform a conflict away from violence,´ said Harmonie Toros of the Department of International Politics at the University of Wales. Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was chairman of the Union of Islamic Courts, which Ethiopia and the United States ousted militarily in 2006, replacing it with the current Transitional Federal Government. ³Certain elements in the current Transitional Federal Government in Somalia were once on the wanted list so it's not impossible that ways can be found to talk with al Shabaab,´ said Bradbury. ³At some point, if those people retain any power in Somalia, they need to be brought into a political process.´
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News Headline: Somalia's al-Shabab 'forced whole classes to fight' | News Date: 02/21/2012 Outlet Full Name: BBC News Online/Interactive News Text: Entire classrooms of Somali children - some as young as 10 - have been forced to fight for Islamist militants, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report says. An unprecedented number of children has been abducted over the past two years, HRW said. Boys are often sent to the frontline to serve as "cannon fodder" to protect adult fighters - and girls used as "wives" for al-Shabab fighters. Al-Shabab controls many southern and central parts of Somalia. But forces allied to the UN-backed government last year pushed them out of the capital, Mogadishu. They have also been pushed back by forces from Kenya and Ethiopia, who engaged in heavy fighting with alShabab on Tuesday. A BBC correspondent in Somalia says the Ethiopians have captured a key military base - Bohol Bashir - about 50km (30 miles) from the central city of Baidoa. Earlier, six civilians were killed and 14 others were injured when their truck hit a landmine in the same area.

Correspondents say the mine may have been laid by al-Shabab, which is trying to halt the advance of Ethiopian troops towards Baidoa, which is held by the Islamist group. 'Nowhere is safe' The use of child soldiers is not a new phenomenon in Somalia. What is different, HRW said in a report released on Tuesday, is the scale and violence of the forcible recruitment by al-Shabab since 2010. "Over the course of the last two years, al-Shabab has increasingly been forcibly abducting children - not only from their homes, but also from their schools and playing fields," HRW researcher Laetitia Bader told the BBC's Network Africa programme. "Nowhere is safe for children in Somalia any more," she said. The report is based on more than 164 interviews with Somali children - including 21 who had escaped from alShabab forces, as well as parents and teachers who had fled to Kenya. "Out of all my classmates - about 100 boys - only two of us escaped, the rest were killed," a 15-year-old boy told HRW. "The children were cleaned off. The children all died and the bigger soldiers ran away," he said of an incident that happened in 2010. Training camps More than 70 children described to the New York-based group how entire classrooms were abducted from their schools and taken to al-Shabab training camps. map Most spent up to three months in training camps, where they were used as domestic workers and taught to use weapons, including AK-47s, and how to throw hand grenades. While in the camp, children were also subjected to abuse - and made to witness the assault and killing of people alShabab considered enemies. Other children interviewed talked of "bodies of children littering the battle-fronts", Ms Bader said. The majority of children being forced to join al-Shabab are between 14 and 17 years old, but some are as young as 10, she said. The Somali transitional government was also criticised for not doing enough to end the own use of child soldiers in its ranks and those of its allies. Analysts say al-Shabab's military position has been weakened by recent gains by African Union troops, and Kenyan and Ethiopian forces. A major diplomatic push to restore stability in Somalia is underway - and the UK government is holding a conference in London on Thursday to try to find a political solution.
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News Headline: Kenya army says Somali militants causing food crisis by blocking trade in southern Somalia |

News Date: 02/21/2012 Outlet Full Name: Associated Press News Text: TABDA, Somalia ² An 80-year-old Somali woman fondly recalled her younger days. There was peace in Somalia then, and people in the town of Tabda in the arid scrublands of the country's south did not rely on the mercy of others for food. Khadra Muhamud Aden says food supplies to the area are running low because fighting between Kenyan troops and the al-Qaida-affiliated Somali militant group al-Shabab is blocking food from both the Kenyan border and the Somali port of Kismayo. Officials said Somalia's south is now in the beginning stages of a humanitarian crisis because its residents are not getting the needed supplies, and they urged more relief agencies to step in. ³We want the al-Shabab out of here for good. Life used to be so good. We used to have peace, could sleep at night. Now every day there are gunshots at night. Now when you sleep with fear because al-Shabab can come into your home and kill you,´ Aden said The Kenyan army blames al-Shabab for the blockage, and says that it is also slowing the army's advance toward Kismayo. Instead of fighting forward against the militants, troops are delivering food aid to those in need in an attempt to win favor in areas that were controlled by al-Shabab until recently. The Kenyan military knows that without winning over residents like Aden its troops will soon be seen as invading occupiers. Kenya sent hundreds of troops into Somalia in October to pursue al-Shabab militants whom it accuses for crossborder attacks and the kidnapping of 10 Kenyans and four Europeans, which threatened to destroy Kenya's tourism industry, a key source of revenue for the economy. Kenyan Lt. Col. Jeff Nyaga said the army needs help to meet the humanitarian needs of the people in the towns that are now controlled by the army. ³Before Kenyan Defense Forces came in most of the goods were coming from Kismayo. But as a punishment to their own people al-Shabab have not been allowing some of these goods to come from the port of Kismayo, precipitating a crisis,´ said Nyaga, who is leading operations in Tabda and the surrounding areas. Nyaga said some local aid groups have been supplying relief food, but that it has not been enough, and that international relief agencies are needed. Most international aid groups don't operate in southern Somalia because of safety concerns. He said piracy problems off Somalia's coast are also affecting international shipping lines. Brig. Johnson Ondieki, the head of the Kenyan ground force in Somalia, said the military's priority is to ensure that al-Shabab does not return to areas that Kenyan forces have secured. ³Time is not important to us, the most important thing is how best we can make secure the areas we have liberated,´ said Ondieki. Ondieki said that the Kenyan troops are fighting a militia that can melt into the population and re-emerge when Kenyan troops move forward. ³Our intention is to pacify, allow the political structure to take place and after the political structure takes control we will be able to proceed with our mission. And our mission remains to proceed up to Kismayo,´ Ondieki said. Ondieki said Afmadow, the second biggest town under al-Shabab control, was within reach of the Kenyan forces and that they can capture it soon. He said al-Shabab has been weakened after suffering heavy losses from Kenyan air and ground attacks. Meanwhile, the Somali government said that Ethiopian and pro-government troops seized two villages near the militant-held strategic town of Baidoa, the former Somali parliament seat. Mohamed Mohamud Sheikh Ibrahim,

Somalia's deputy prime minister and agriculture minister, told a news conference in Mogadishu that troops would capture Baidoa by Friday. Baidoa is a major base for al-Shabab. Residents in one of the two captured towns ² Yurkud ² said they saw tanks and trucks carrying Ethiopian troops arrive after a brief gun battle with al-Shabab fighters who vacated the village. ³Ethiopian troops are here now, al-Shabab have left a few hours ago,´ Yusuf Ali, a resident in the village, said by phone. ³Most of the residents fled because fears of fighting in the village, but the situation is quiet now.´ Residents in Baidoa said that bearded, masked men shut down businesses and ordered residents to join them, indicating military pressure is looming. Teenagers were reported to have been conscripted. ³Most of the businesses were closed and they took many of the town residents to the front line,´ Mahad Abdi Nur, a resident in Baidoa, said by phone. ³They warned that any men of fighting age who don't enlist will be punished.´
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News Headline: Libya army says will intervene if no end to southeast clashes | News Date: 02/21/2012 Outlet Full Name: Thomson Reuters - Africa - Online News Text: By Ali Shuaib TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan government forces will intervene if clashes between rival tribes over control of territory in the southeastern corner of the country do not stop, the military chief said on Monday. Clashes broke out about 10 days ago in the city of Al Kufra and have continued since, highlighting the challenge of policing the sparsely populated desert. Dozens of people have been killed, the tribes have said. The violence comes as Libya's ruling National Transitional Council is struggling to assert its authority across Libya as rival militias and tribal groups jostle for power and resources following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. Gunmen from the Zwai tribe have clashed with fighters from the Tibu ethnic group led by Isa Abdel Majid, whom they accuse of attacking Al Kufra backed by mercenaries from Chad, according to a security official from the Zwai tribe. The Tibu, however, said they were the ones to come under attack. Speaking to Reuters, armed forces chief Yousef al-Mangoush said an agreement between the two sides had been reached on Sunday, but further "more intense" clashes took place on Monday. He reported injuries, but did not give a figure. "The Defence Ministry and the army are warning that if the fighting does not stop, there will be decisive military intervention to put an end to the clashes," he said. He added military forces were in the area but so far had not intervened. He denied there was any foreign presence there and said the problems between the two tribes stemmed from the past and reconciliation was needed. In a text message to Reuters, Adelbari Idriss, a security official from the Zwai tribe, said a "large number" of people were leaving Al Kufra for other towns. He said the Zwai had stopped four cars carrying Chadian men. It was not immediately possible to independently verify his comments nor contact officials from the Tibu side. Asked about the report of families leaving Kufra, al-Mangoush said: "Yes, when there are clashes, civilians are afraid and leave their homes."

The Tibu are mainly found in Chad but also inhabit parts of southern Libya, Sudan and Niger, often criss-crossing unmarked desert borders. Abdel Majid's men supported the Libyan rebels during the 2011 uprising that ousted Gaddafi. In Al Kufra, tribal ties are far more powerful than they are on the country's Mediterranean seaboard. A tribal rebellion in 2009 was suppressed only after Gaddafi sent in helicopter gunships. The remote region is also a hub for smugglers taking advantage of the lawless borders of sub-Saharan Africa. The province surrounding Al Kufra is Libya's largest and borders Sudan and Chad.
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News Headline: Lifting Africa from a mineral 'curse' | News Date: 02/22/2012 Outlet Full Name: The Christian Science Monitor News Text: By the Monitor's Editorial Board One of the world's great paradoxes is that Africa is abundant with minerals, such as cobalt, diamonds, and oil, and yet the average African's income has barely budged in decades. More than half of the continent's 1 billion people live on less than a dollar a day. Where does all that mineral wealth go? Most of it is secretly divided up between greedy local elites tied to government and the foreign companies that extract and export the minerals. These deals help explain why nearly half of the world's most corrupt countries are in Africa. For 10 years, an effort that was begun by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has tried to end this ³paradox of plenty.´ It aims to shed light on the flow of money from foreign firms to mineral-rich states around the world. A special focus is on Africa, which ranks first or second in seven vital minerals, such as platinum. Its mineral exports are worth six times more than all foreign aid to the continent. The idea is that citizens can demand accountability from their leaders if they know where foreign payments, such as taxes and royalties, actually go. Bribery is more easily spotted. Potentially, fewer violent conflicts will engulf nations such as Congo over the issue of extracting natural resources. The effort, known as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, has so far been mostly voluntary and includes only a fraction of countries. While it has made progress in places such as Nigeria and Ghana, the EITI is largely failing. That has pushed Europe and the United States to move toward a mandatory rule that their oil, gas, and mining companies must disclose payments made to foreign governments. The West has long tried to improve public governance in Africa, such as tying foreign aid to policy reforms, especially ones that lessen corruption. Will this new effort work? The extractive industry in the US and Europe is fighting the move toward mandatory disclosure, arguing that it is difficult to define a mineral ³project´ or its geographic boundaries. The companies also claim that China and other countries won't follow suit, thus winning contracts over their Western competition. The rules are being drawn up, separately, by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the European Commission. (The US effort comes out of a provision in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law.) The fact that the two bodies are comparing notes will help provide a unified stand in setting a high moral bar for the world. Despite the potential economic losses, trade and business can only grow if more dealings are honest and open. And properly managed, mineral wealth in places like Africa can lift billions out of poverty. Right now, studies show

corruption in mineral-rich states only adds to poverty and conflict ± or what is called the ³resource curse.´ Transparency and accountability in the mineral industry can only be valuable if a country has private watchdog groups, including a free media, to track the money. The World Bank and other aid sources can help build up such groups at the same time as the West changes its disclosure rules for mineral deals. Companies in the West have come to accept their countries' antibribery laws. They should welcome an effort to extend such anticorruption behavior to Africa and other resource-rich countries.
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News Headline: 'Resurrected' Mugabe turns 88, to stay in power | News Date: 02/21/2012 Outlet Full Name: Reuters News Text: By Cris Chinaka HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe turned 88 on Tuesday, joking about reports circulating for years of his imminent demise and vowing to stay in power despite international condemnation of his economic and human rights record. Mugabe said he was in tip-top shape in an interview with state radio, and made no reference to media reports that he is receiving treatment for prostate cancer in Singapore. "I have died many times. That's where I have beaten Christ. Christ died once and resurrected once," the devout Catholic Mugabe told the radio broadcaster. "I am as fit as a fiddle." Mugabe charmed world leaders with his wit and intellect in the early years of his rule, when a relatively rich Zimbabwe was praised for its education and social systems. But he has since become a pariah in the West, blamed for running the economy into the ground and for massive human rights abuses to keep his grip on power. Mugabe, one of Africa's longest-serving leaders, said his party ZANU-PF would choose his successor at the right time, but he had no intention of stepping down for now. "Our members of the party will certainly select someone once I say I am now retiring, but not yet," he said in a separate interview with state TV. "At this age I can still go some distance, can't I," Mugabe said, laughing, clapping his hands and rocking in his chair. Asked whether his party still had anything more to offer after more than three decades in power, Mugabe said ZANU-PF's signature policies remained the defence of political independence and the pursuit of black economic empowerment. Critics say ZANU-PF has helped ruin one of Africa's most promising economies with its seizures and distribution of white-owned commercial farms, and its more recent drive to force foreign-owned firms to transfer majority shareholdings to Zimbabweans. Mugabe has shared power with his long-time foe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, over the last three years after violent and disputed elections in 2008. Mugabe has been nominated as ZANU-PF party's candidate and intends to run in an election he wants held this

year. That would be a year ahead of schedule under the power-sharing deal which also calls for a new constitution to be drawn up and approved ahead of the poll. "It's not a secret that there is grumbling in the party over his decision to go on and on, but those seeking to succeed him are not strong enough to challenge him," said Eldred Masunungure, a political science professor at the University of Zimbabwe. "They are stuck with him for better or worse, and the attitude in ZANU-PF appears to be - lets hope for the best," Masunungure said. A June 2008 U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks last year said Mugabe had prostate cancer that had spread to other organs. His doctor urged him to step down in 2008, according to the cable. Mugabe, who has ruled the southern African state since its independence from Britain in 1980, chaired a cabinet meeting on Tuesday. Presidential officials said he would celebrate his birthday at a family dinner at his home in Harare. ZANU-PF is planning a celebration rally in eastern Zimbabwe on Saturday.
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News Headline: Bend Airman Dies: 'Now He's Soaring With the Eagles' | News Date: 02/21/2012 Outlet Full Name: KTVZ-TV News Text: WASHINGTON -- A Bend resident, remembered and mourned as a bright, polite young man who loved flying, was one of four U.S. Air Force airmen killed in a plane crash near an African base over the weekend, the Department of Defense confirmed Monday. The four were killed Saturday when their U-28 aircraft was involved in an accident near Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Africa, officials said. The cause of the accident is under investigation, officials said. Killed were: Capt. Ryan P. Hall, 30, of Colorado Springs, Colo. He was assigned to the 319th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla. Capt. Nicholas S. Whitlock, 29, of Newnan, Ga. He was assigned to the 34th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla. 1st Lt. Justin J. Wilkens, 26, of Bend, Ore. He was assigned to the 34th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla. Senior Airman Julian S. Scholten, 26, of Upper Marlboro, Md. He was assigned to the 25th Intelligence Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla. The plane crashed near Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, home to the United States' only major military base in Africa, according to the military publication Stars and Stripes. The crash occurred about six miles from Djibouti International Airport, according to U.S. Africa Command. All four U.S. military personnel on board the U-28 aircraft were killed, AFRICOM reported. ³U.S. military personnel were dispatched to the scene to provide immediate response assistance and secure the crash site,´ an AFRICOM news release stated.

A safety board investigation has been initiated to determine the exact cause of the incident, the command said. The airmen were part of a special operations team drawn from units based in Hurlburt Field, Fla. Specialist Ryan Whitney of the 1st Special Operations Wing told The Associated Press that initial indications are that the plane did not crash because of hostile fire. The plane was conducting an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission, he said. A statement from U.S. Africa Command called it a "routine" flight. Amy Oliver, public affairs director of the Air Force 1st Special Operations Wing, said the single-engine, fixed-wing U-28A was returning from a mission in support of the Afghanistan war. Camp Lemonnier lies only miles from the border with Somalia. Brad Stankey was one of Wilkens' instructors at the High Desert Soaring Club, and he has some fond memories of their time together. "One thing I'll remember about Justin is, he never wore shoes," Stankey recalled Monday. "He always wore flipflops or sandals, and even when he came home from leave, once he was out of his military boots, he was right into his flip-flops. So we were always giving him a hard time about being in the airport with no shoes." "He was very intelligent, very friendly, very trustworthy and reliable -- the kind of young person who would be very impressive to everybody," Stankey added. "There were those of us in the glider club that were sure he was going to be a general some day." After graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2009, Justin was well on his way to becoming the leader everyone thought he'd be. "He had so much ahead of him, and that's the tough part," Stankey said. "He came out to the airport, and him and I flew together during Christmas -- and that ended up being our last flight together. "We didn't know that it would be. We figured we'd have many more flights." Stankey said Wilkens had a knack for being in the air and truly learning about aviation. "Sometimes when we'd be flying, we'd get joined up by hawks and eagles, and they would come over and fly with us," he recalled. "And that's one of the best memories I have with Justin -- being able to fly with these birds in our bird and getting up close to them. And that's an experience I'll never forget with him and now he's soaring with the eagles." Wilkens, who was home-schooled in Bend, was the son of Jim and Sharon Wilkens. His grandparents told NewsChannel 21 Monday that Justin's parents were headed to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where their son's remains are being returned. Katie Skipworth said Wilkens took up flying and became an instructor before heading off to the Air Force Academy. "He (Wilkens) was a fine young man," said Lyle Hicks, Jake's Diner owner, who knows many of the area's veterans through programs to support them. Mike Keeley's son, Josh, was Justin's best friend growing up. He told news partner KBND on Monday that the two boys were inseparable, and both went into the military. "Justin was the nicest, polite kid," Keeley recalled. "It sounds trite, but it's the truth. I can't remember him saying one negative thing. He always called me Mr. Keeley -- I couldn't get him to call me Mike."

"He loved my son unconditionally, and that was reciprocated by my son as well," he added. When he was 19, Josh Keeley died in a car crash six years ago, so his father said he knows something of the pain the Wilkens family is dealing with. "I cannot describe to you in so many words, other than just to say what they are experiencing now is just raw pain," Keeley told KBND. "The only thing that is sustaining them is their faith, and they are comforted in that at least the boys are together at this point." They all attend Bend's First Baptist Church, and offered the family their condolences and support after learning of Justin's death.
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News Headline: United Nations News Centre - Africa Briefs | News Date: 02/22/2012 Outlet Full Name: United Nations News Service News Text: Darfur patrol returns home safely after rebel blockade, UN-AU mission reports 21 February ± A 55-person patrol of the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur returned to its home base today after the team had been blockaded for nearly two days by armed rebels in the northwest of the troubled Sudanese region. Actress Mia Farrow launches UN-backed polio vaccination campaign in Chad 21 February ± The United States actress and humanitarian advocate Mia Farrow has helped launch a United Nations-supported polio vaccination campaign in Chad, a country which holds the second highest number of registered polio cases in the world. South Sudan: Japanese engineers join UN mission to build roads and bridges 21 February ± A Japanese engineering contingent has arrived in South Sudan to join the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the young country and help build roads and bridges in areas with very little basic infrastructure. Ban calls for boost in efforts to fight organized crime in West Africa and Sahel 21 February ± A rise in transnational organized crime, drug trafficking and piracy are threatening peace and stability across West Africa and the Sahel, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, calling for an increase in regional efforts to tackle this issue. Fight against cholera in DR Congo remains in need of funding ± UN 21 February ± Efforts to combat the spread of cholera in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) remain underfunded, the United Nations humanitarian office reported today, saying the lack of access to potable water is the single most important cause of recurring outbreaks of the disease in the country.
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