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Good morning. Please see today's news review for March 15, 2012. This new format is best viewed in HTML. Of interest in today's report: - 'Small footprint, high payoff': US Marines train Ugandan forces to face al-Shabaab - Somali Woman Shines in military Training Program - Islamists urge southern Somalia residents to fight government troops - US presses Sudan as Clooney voices outrage U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs Please send questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org 421-2687 (+49-711-729-2687) Headline Date Outlet Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System Associated Press (AP) BBC Focus on Africa Magazine Agence France-Presse (AFP) Washington Post - Online
'Small footprint, high payoff': US Marines train Ugandan forces to face 03/14/2012 al-Shabaab, LRA Somali Woman Shines in Military Training Program 03/14/2012
Islamists urge southern Somalia 03/14/2012 residents to fight government troops US presses Sudan as Clooney voices outrage Nigeria secret police says Briton, Italian hostages killed before failed rescue Central Africa: Regional strategy against LRA Suicide bomber kills 4 at Somali presidential palace Congolese warlord guilty in war crimes court's first verdict Kony Evades Capture in Central Africa Amid Internet Campaign 03/14/2012
03/14/2012 03/14/2012 03/14/2012 03/14/2012
Africa Online - Online Reuters Agence France-Presse (AFP) Bloomberg Businessweek
Militia turns British journalists over to Libyan government ICC finds possible mass graves in Ivory Coast Suspected Islamists block Red Cross convoy in Mali From Blank Page to Stocked Shelves, U.S. AFRICOM Research Library Opens in Stuttgart
03/15/2012 03/14/2012 03/14/2012
CNN Associated Press (AP) Agence France-Presse (AFP) USAFRICOM Public Affairs
Behind an unmarked white door, beside the Laundromat on Kelley Barracks, a library has been born.
United Nations News Centre - Africa 03/14/2012 Briefs
United Nations News Service
News Headline: 'Small footprint, high payoff': US Marines train Ugandan forces to face alShabaab, LRA | News Date: 03/14/2012 Outlet Full Name: DVIDS News Text: KAMPALA, Uganda — A thousand miles from the nearest major American base, about 30 U.S. Marines have been training a company of Ugandan soldiers for the fight against terrorism in East Africa since arriving in country, Feb. 3. Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force 12, the Marines' Sicily-based parent command, is tasked with sending small training groups into Africa to partner with local militaries in an effort to indirectly blunt the spread of extremist groups across the continent. The Uganda team of force reconnaissance, infantry, and combat engineering Marines first covered the use of a variety of weapons systems, marksmanship and field medicine, common soldiering skills Ugandan leaders say their men can use against the brutal Lord's Resistance Army. More specialized follow on training began March 5 and is designed to help the Ugandan field engineers counter al-Shabaab insurgency tactics in Somalia, where urban obstacles and IEDs reminiscent of the war in Iraq are common. ―We are answering a stated need by our African partners,‖ said Lt. Col. David L. Morgan, commander of SPMAGTF-12 and 4th Force Reconnaissance Company. ―Our mission in Uganda is yet another example of what this versatile force can do.‖ The task force has dispatched teams across a wide swath of Africa over the course of their six month deployment in support of Marine Forces Africa, sending anywhere from five to 50 Marines into partner nations for days to months at a time. The unit is among the first of its kind and the mission in Uganda is one of its last. From al-Shabaab to the LRA ―The soldiers on training will use the acquired knowledge in war-torn Somalia and in the hunt down of fugitive LRA commander Joseph Kony wherever he is,‖ said Ugandan People's Defense Force Lt. Col. Richard C. Wakayinja, a senior officer in the field engineering unit training with the Marines. The UPDF is simultaneously providing the bulk of the more than 9,000 African Union peacekeepers engaging al-Shabab in Somalia while also staying on the hunt for Kony and his
militia as they skirt the dense wilderness of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan. Their membership estimated to be in the hundreds, the cultist LRA is condemned by international human rights groups for a lengthy list of atrocities that includes mutilating living victims and forcing children into their ranks as either soldiers or sex slaves. The Obama administration ordered 100 combat advisers into central Africa last fall to aid in the hunt for their elusive Ugandan leader. Al-Shabaab, which officially became a part of al-Qaida's terrorist network in February, claims responsibility for the 2010 twin bombings in Kampala that killed 74 as they watched a World Cup final on television. The group also banned foreign aid agencies from Somalia as drought and famine ravaged the region last year. Mogadishu-specific segments of training are scheduled to go over common combat engineering skills used to harden occupied urban spaces against complex attacks involving dangers like sniper and rocket fire as well as how to blast through enemy obstacles and difficult terrain. Another major focus will be on how to find IEDs before friendly forces get too close, said US Marine Maj. Charles Baker, the mission officer in charge. ―We've got force reconnaissance and engineers here together, that gives you the route reconnaissance skills,‖ he said, adding that the U.S. government would provide the UPDF with engineering equipment and vehicles worth about $8 million. Shifting to a smaller footprint U.S. military officials say mission's like SPMAGTF-12's could become more common place as troop levels in Afghanistan drop in line with an approaching 2014 combat mission end date. The 180-strong unit was formed over the summer of 2011 from Marine Forces Reserve units based across the country and equipped with two KC-130 Hercules aircraft to ferry teams to and from African countries. ―Because of the past ten years, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there haven't been a lot of forces available for Africa,‖ said Army Maj. Jason B. Nicholson, Chief of the Office of Security Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala and former Tanzania foreign area officer. SPMAGTF-12 has so far sent small teams into five African nations, including some threatened by a North African franchise of Al Qaeda attempting to spread its influence known as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb or AQIM. The small task force team working with the UPDF represents one of the first significant security cooperation missions undertaken by the DoD in Uganda, a nation more accustomed to State Department interaction. Undersecretary of the Navy Robert O. Work singled out the task force as a prime example of the type of ―low footprint, high payoff operations‖ the White House is seeking as a means of maintaining global defense postures as the Pentagon pledges to cut at least $450 billion in defense spending over the next decade. The Corps is slated to reduce its active-duty troop strength from the current 202,000 to 182,100, leaving the force with about 7,000 more Marines than it carried before 9/11. In Uganda and Africa in general, US officials say, less can still be more. A smaller U.S. force has the flexibility to move quickly, such as when a Djiboutian motor pool requested the task force's help while preparing to deploy their first units to Mogadishu only weeks before their departure date last December. Using a small group like the one in Uganda, said Nicolson, can also simplify the complex politics associated with deploying and hosting troops in a foreign nation. Army Gen. Carter Ham noted African nations' reluctance to host large numbers of U.S. troops as one reason for U.S. Africa Command's headquarters to
remain in Europe despite growing threats in Africa during testimony to Congress, Feb. 29. The speed and maneuverability of slender teams, however, comes at a cost. As they partner with the UPDF, the Marines' closest major source of U.S. support is Camp Lemonnier near Djibouti City, Djibouti. They and other task force teams operate, as unit leadership say, ―alone and unafraid,‖ leveraging their needs against local resources and the limited supplies they can bring with them. ―We've grown used to operating near a base that can supply us with what we need,‖ said Gunnery Sgt. Brian Rivero, staff non-commissioned officer in charge of the mission. ―Down here we've had to rely on the Ugandan economy for everything from food and water to medical care.‖ The task force is built around 4th Force Reconnaissance Company, based in Alameda, Calif. The special operations capable unit is suited for what's called ―deep recon,‖ whereby teams operate well behind enemy lines with little to no support. Their Uganda partnership is strictly a train and equip mission designed to allow the UPDF, widely considered one of the most professional militaries in the region, to stay on the lead. The Marines in Uganda are working on friendly turf far from hostile fire, but remain very much on their own. ―The complexity of this endeavor cannot be understated,‖ said Morgan. ―Despite the logistical challenges associated with acquiring the necessary ammunition and equipment for Ugandan forces, and complexities associated with operating in Africa, the men and women of the SPMAGTF have endured and created a superior program and partnership.‖ Future expeditions Marine leadership have grown to fear the specter of the Corps becoming a ―second land Army‖ with dwindling relevance after more than a decade of static fighting in the Middle East. SPMAGTF-12's missions on the continent could represent an early example of a long heralded Marine Corps return to globetrotting, quick reaction operations. Already, a separate Marine Air Ground Task Force is planned for the Asia-Pacific region with troops basing in Darwin, Australia. The Black Sea Rotational Force first stood up in 2010 and is tasked with similar regional security partnership missions with southern and central European countries. ―The Marines are very expeditionary,‖ said Nicholson, explaining why SPMAGTF-12 was especially suited for the Uganda mission. ―This group brings a unique set of people and a unique set of skills.‖ The task force teams will return to Sicily in late March before the second rotation, SPMAGTF 12.2, takes over and continues to send security and logistics cooperation teams into Uganda and other African nations taking up the fight against terrorism on the continent. During a week of marksmanship shoots in late February, Marine coaches followed their Ugandan counterparts closely, scrutinizing everything from foot placement to eye relief. They teach shooting and surviving by the numbers: ―acquire your target, focus on your front sight post, slow steady squeeze.‖ ―We used to think of ourselves as engineers, but now, after training with the Marines, we know we are soldiers first,‖ said UPDF 1st Lt. Martin Oorech. The lynchpin of the task force's doctrine of capacity building lies in the hope that the next time their students need to raise their rifles in combat, they won't need the Marines.
At the end of each training session the Marine speaking calls out an ―oorah‖ that is returned by dozens of UPDF troops in a uniform roar. The Ugandan soldiers then clap a quick rhythm and chant ―asante sana,‖ a Swahili thank you.
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News Headline: Somali Woman Shines in Military Training Program | News Date: 03/14/2012 Outlet Full Name: Associated Press (AP) News Text: A military instructor clad in fatigues and boots who barks out orders to men half her age has become the unlikely star of a European Union program to train thousands of Somali troops. Nearly 98 percent of the trainees in the six-month class being held in a remote Ugandan village are men, but it is 40-year-old Fatuma Hassan Noor, who returned for advanced training, who often gets mentioned in discussions of what the program can be proud of after its mandate expires in December. Western governments are injecting millions of dollars into a program that they hope will contribute to the stabilization of Somalia, and officials stationed here hope dedicated students like Noor, when they finally return home, can prove that the money was not wasted. Col. Michael Beary, an Irish officer who is in charge of the training mission, said he is not sending soldiers back to Somalia to defeat the militant group al-Shabab. Beary said he is instead trying to create disciplined soldiers who will return home with "a different attitude." The 608 Somali soldiers in the current class are being trained on good citizenship, women's rights and how to stop gender-based violence, as well as weapons training, first aid, mine detection and communication during battle. The 60 trainers in the village of Ibanda come from 12 European countries. The program has already trained 1,800 Somalis since 2010. The trainers say the mission is a small but vital contribution toward the creation of a professional army. "This mission is very successful," Beary said. "It is having a real effect on the ground." Noor is well-regarded because she was a member of the inaugural 2010 class but returned last year to train as a noncommissioned officer, a forward step toward her goal of practicing as an army nurse. This time, she came with her daughter, Amal Ahmed, who now says she is no longer afraid of a loaded AK-47. "We don't feel lonely when we are together," Noor said last week. The girl glanced at her mother and said: "We comfort each other. ... Some say my mother brought me here, but I tell them that I am strong enough to correct my mother when she is wrong." The mother and daughter presence on a camp dominated by men has infused some excitement into a program that is conditioned by fluid and often volatile events in Somalia, which has lacked a stable government since 1991. Al-Shabab is on the mind of everyone at the Bihanga camp where students train among structures built to resemble Mogadishu's ruins. But the trainers say they cannot afford to focus
on terrorists whose power is fading under pressure from foreign armies backing Somalia's transitional government. The class hopes to create good citizens. This thinking, missing in earlier sessions, is being practiced partly through what is called "training of trainers," courses in which a few fast-learning Somalis are taught skills they are expected to pass on. Noor is specializing in saving lives in combat, and these days she spends a lot of time training with rubber dummies. "She's good, very good," said Abdullahi Kula, a translator observing her teaching a class on CPR from a distance. Noor's teachers say they like her enthusiasm. "I met her the first day she arrived," said Portuguese Lt. Col. Mariano Alves, the camp's training commander. "She was very active. Immediately she asked me how life was here, how I was doing. She is a nice person." Noor is a private in the Somali army and the widowed mother of six children. She suspects she would be serving tea back home if she were not in the military. And she says she taught herself how to speak English, a skill that contributes to her popularity. "When I go back home the women will look at me and say, 'Look at her, she's 40 years old and we are 20,'" she said. "They will want to come here. But they can't speak English like me." Many of the Somalis here, who range in age from 18 to 40, are illiterate, and only 15 percent speak English. The trainers rely on a few translators to impart their lessons. Each of the trainees will get $100 for every month spent at the camp, but they can only receive the cash after completing the course. Trainers say the money does a lot to keep them motivated. "Like babies, they start by crawling, and then they start running," said Sgt. Godfrey Onio, a Ugandan who has helped train the Somalis since the mission started. European and Ugandan officials say they cannot control what happens after the Somalis return home. There have been defections in the past, with some frustrated trainees joining al-Shabab for better pay. Roberto Ridolfi, the Italian head of the EU delegation in Uganda, said any renewal of the military program would be predicated on what happens after the mandate of Somalia's transitional government expires in August. The diplomat recalled a recent trip to Bihanga, where he was introduced to trainees including Noor. He was impressed that the woman had returned for advanced training, and he thanked her. "It's a beautiful example," he said. "What the woman is doing is a good example of leadership."
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News Headline: Islamists urge southern Somalia residents to fight government troops | News Date: 03/14/2012 Outlet Full Name: BBC Focus on Africa Magazine News Text: Somalia's Al-Shabab fighters have urged residents of Afmadow District, Lower
Jubba Region, in the country's south, to join their insurgency against transitional government forces and their allies, UN-backed Radio Bar-Kulan reported on 12 March. According to the radio, Al-Shabab official Fu'ad Muhammad Kalaf, alias Shongole, said that it's essential for residents in the district to join the fight against the government and its backers. Islamists urge southern Somalia residents to fight government troops. "Fu'ad said if the residents don't join the fighting, the transitional government forces would capture new areas in the region," the radio reported. Al-Shabab, which recently joined Al Qa'idah, started calling on civilians to join the fight against transitional government forces after they started launching massive attacks against Islamist bases in the south and central regions of the country.
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News Headline: US presses Sudan as Clooney voices outrage | News Date: 03/14/2012 Outlet Full Name: AFP / Agence France-Presse - Washington DC Bureau News Text: The United States on Wednesday urged Sudan to allow in food shipments immediately to avert a humanitarian disaster, as Hollywood star George Clooney accused the Khartoum government of war crimes. Throwing an unusually large media spotlight on the nine-month-old conflict in the South Kordofan region, Clooney testified before a Senate committee at which US officials warned that some 250,000 people could soon go hungry. Princeton Lyman, the US special envoy on Sudan, said the mountainous region was on track for "a major humanitarian crisis" due to persistent bombings by government forces that have impeded agriculture. The United States has told Sudan that it "must allow international humanitarian access and that the world can't stand by -- certainly the United States could not stand by -- and watch a crisis unfold if the government does not take action," Lyman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Four senators also proposed a resolution to demand that Sudan grant access. Senator Chris Coons, who heads a Senate subcommittee on Africa, said if aid does not come in, "innocent men, women and children will starve to death." Clooney traveled clandestinely several days ago to South Kordofan, a trip he first detailed Tuesday before a think tank in New York. He showed the packed Senate room a video of his visit including footage of a nine-year-old boy whose hands both appeared to have been blown off by shrapnel. The "Ocean's Eleven" star said he saw hundreds of people running to the hills or hiding in caves due to the omnipresent buzzing of the Antonov planes, from which Sudanese forces manually dump notoriously inaccurate bombs. "These people every single day of their lives have to deal with fear, not just of the future in terms of starving to death but actually actively being killed," Clooney told the Senate hearing. Clooney, a longtime activist seeking to end what the United States has called genocide in
Sudan's western Darfur region, said South Kordofan was "ominously similar." Clooney said President Omar al-Bashir and his aides are "proving themselves to be the greatest war criminals of this century by far." South Sudan became independent in July following two decades of war. Bashir initially won cautious international praise for accepting the secession. But a new conflict broke out soon afterward in South Kordofan and nearby Blue Nile state, with Khartoum fighting insurgents once allied to the former rebels who now rule South Sudan. Clooney urged Obama to send an envoy to China -- which has defiantly remained Khartoum's top partner -- as he said Beijing was feeling the pinch from a shutdown in oil shipments due to the rift between Sudan and South Sudan. Clooney had tried to pressure China over Darfur ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, saying it had a moral responsibility. But Clooney said Wednesday: "That doesn't really work; guilting people often doesn't." Clooney said China now had an economic incentive to work on Sudan and urged the United States to "use this window of opportunity before it gets too late." Sudan has bristled at the US pressure, including the postponement of a conference in Istanbul that would have sought economic support for Khartoum. Lyman acknowledged the need to address concerns by Khartoum, saying Sudanese leaders fear another breakup of the country and have "a deep suspicion of the motives of the international community" in pressing for access. "The US has repeatedly stressed to the government of South Sudan the need to end all support -- military, economic and logistical -- to armed groups aiming to overthrow the government of Sudan by force," Lyman said. Lyman also voiced guarded hope after an agreement brokered by the African Union for Bashir to travel soon to South Sudan for talks with his counterpart Salva Kiir.
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News Headline: Nigeria secret police says Briton, Italian hostages killed before failed rescue |
News Date: 03/15/2012 Outlet Full Name: Washington Post - Online News Text: ABUJA, Nigeria — The Briton and Italian kidnapped in Nigeria were abducted by a splinter cell of a radical Islamist sect and executed before a failed commando rescue operation, the nation's secret police said Wednesday. Nigeria's secretive State Security Service also said the mastermind of the kidnapping by members of a sect known as Boko Haram died in their custody after suffering gunshot wounds during his arrest before the raid. The statement by the secret police Wednesday comes nearly a week after the failed rescue operation March 8 by British and Nigerian commandos in Nigeria's northwest city of Sokoto. It also appears to try to absolve Nigerian authorities of any responsibility over the deaths of Chris McManus and Franco Lamolinara, who had been kidnapped in May 2011 and held for months before their execution.
―While the service commiserates with the families of the murdered expatriates, it wishes to reiterate that the long arm of the law will surely catch up with terrorists and perpetrators of evil wherever they are,‖ read the statement by the secret police, which has been unable to stop the growing violence surging across Nigeria's Muslim north. British officials also have blamed a splinter wing of the Boko Haram sect for the abductions, but a sect spokesman has denied the group's involvement. McManus was working for the construction company B.Stabilini when he was kidnapped May 12 by gunmen who stormed his apartment in the city of Birnin-Kebbi, about 110 miles (180 kilometers) away from Sokoto. Lamolinara also was abducted. A German colleague managed to escape by scaling a wall, but a Nigerian engineer was shot and wounded. A video released later showed the kidnappers claiming they belonged to al-Qaida and threatening to kill McManus and Lamolinara if their demands were not met. British officials worked for months trying to track down the men as rumors floated that they had been taken out of the country. In its statement, the State Security Service said three young men watched the McManus before the abduction. Information gathered led security forces to a house in Zaria in central Kaduna state on March 7, where forces shot and wounded Abu Mohammed, the mastermind of the kidnapping, the secret police said. A soldier was killed in that operation and apparently one sect member escaped, the service said. Another sect member led authorities to the Mabera neighborhood of Sokoto, where the hostages were being held, the secret police said. However, the statement said it was too late to save the hostages. ―Apparently acting on the directive of the member of the sect who escaped from Zaria, the guards murdered the hostages before the arrival of security forces,‖ the statement read. It remains unclear whether the men were executed the way described by the secret police, an organization which has issued statements in the past to absolve itself of operational failures. The service also said Mohammed died in custody from his wounds. Police and military officials often carry out so-called ―extrajudicial killings‖ of prisoners. On Wednesday afternoon, the secret police showed a group of journalists gathered at its headquarters in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, eight suspects they arrested in connection with the kidnapping. The police alleged that three served as the kidnappers' surveillance team, while the others took part in either the abduction or guarding the hostages. The men stood quietly as they appeared before journalists. Some bore brusies or bandages on their faces. The secret police did not comment on how the men suffered the injuries. It was unclear if the suspects had lawyers. Boko Haram, whose name means ―Western education is sacrilege‖ in the Hausa language of Nigeria's north, is blamed for killing more than 340 people this year alone, according to an Associated Press count. The commando raid has strained Britain's relations with Italy, though Britain's defense minister said Tuesday the diplomatic dispute had been settled between the two nations.
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News Headline: Central Africa: Regional strategy against LRA | News Date: 03/14/2012 Outlet Full Name: Africa Online - Online News Text: UN, Central African govts to meet on regional strategy against LRA - The UN and government officials from Central African countries will meet in Uganda next week to finalize a comprehensive regional strategy to combat the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), the rebel group that gained notoriety for its atrocities in Uganda as well as neighbouring countries. PANA learnt that the meeting, in the Ugandan city of Entebbe 22-23 March, is a follow-up to the one held in the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kinshasa, in January, when African countries affected by the LRA agreed to toughen measures against the group. Abou Moussa, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and head of the UN Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), said in a statement in New York on Wednesday: 'The meeting in Entebbe will also be in pursuance of the mandate given to UNOCA by the UN Security Council last year to develop, in cooperation with UN missions and the African Union, a regional strategy for international humanitarian and development assistance, as well as peace building in areas affected by the LRA violence.' 'I would like to reaffirm the support of the United Nations for the African Union's regional cooperation initiative against the LRA,‖ he said. 'After the meeting in Entebbe, one of the milestones of our commitment will be the presentation to the UN Security Council of the Secretary-General's report on UNOCA activities, including measures taken to combat the LRA and ensure development in the affected areas.‖ Last week, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed concern over the recent displacement of several thousand people as a result of fresh attacks by the LRA in DRC's north-eastern province of Orientale. After a lull in LRA raids in the second half of last year that resulted in improved security, new attacks on civilians have been reported in the territories of Dungu, Faradje, Watsa, Niangara, Bondo and Ango in Orientale. The fresh attacks have caused 3,000 people to flee their homes. There have been 20 new attacks in Orientale since the beginning of this year, with one person killed and 17 abducted, according UNHCR. The LRA carried out the worst of its atrocities in northern Ugandan in the 1990s, but had by 2004 largely been driven out of the area through a sustained military effort. However, remnants of the insurgency continued to attack civilians in South Sudan, the Central African Republic and DRC. The group is notorious for carrying out massacres in villages, mutilating its victims and abducting boys for use as child soldiers, while girls are forced into sexual slavery.
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News Headline: Suicide bomber kills 4 at Somali presidential palace | News Date: 03/14/2012 Outlet Full Name: Reuters News Text: MOGADISHU (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed at least four people inside the
presidential palace compound in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Wednesday, according to the police, the African Union and al Shabaab insurgents. While al Shabaab pulled out of the capital in August and African Union forces have been securing neighbourhoods vacated by the Islamist rebels, the coastal city remains prone to regular attacks by suicide bombers and roadside explosions. Reports of the number killed by the blast differed. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, saying one of its suicide bombers had killed 17 people and wounded 30. "What a victory, inside the so-called presidential palace, more explosions and bombers will follow," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, spokesman for al Shabaab's military operations, told Reuters. Paddy Ankunda, spokesman for the African Union's AMISOM peacekeeping force in Somalia, said four people, including civilians, had been killed and that there were no AMISOM casualties. Colonel Abdullahi Barise, police spokesman, told Reuters, five had been killed and 10 wounded by a suicide bomber. Abdirashid Mohamed Ali, national security adviser to the prime minister, and Ankunda both said the blast was near the front gate of the presidential compound near a building used by the parliament speaker. Since withdrawing from the capital, al Shabaab has come under increased pressure in the south and centre of the country from Kenyan and Ethiopian forces fighting alongside government soldiers and pro-government militias. The African Union's peacekeeping force in Somalia hopes to drive al Shabaab out of these regions by August, when the U.N.-backed government's mandate expires, Uganda's top army general said on Tuesday. The hardline Islamist group, which formally joined al Qaeda in February , has increasingly resorted to bomb strikes in the capital, underlining the continued insecurity in a country that has lacked strong central government since 1991. ..
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News Headline: Congolese warlord guilty in war crimes court's first verdict | News Date: 03/14/2012 Outlet Full Name: AFP - AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE - DIRECTION GENERALE News Text: The International Criminal Court on Wednesday convicted Congolese militia chief Thomas Lubanga of war crimes for conscripting children into his rebel army, the tribunal's first ever verdict. Lubanga, 51, was found guilty in The Hague of enlisting child soldiers as young as 11 to fight during a bloody four-year war in a gold-rich region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Rights groups hailed the verdict, saying it sent a strong message to other warlords still using
young children in their armies -- including fugitive Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony. "The chamber reached its decision unanimously that the prosecution has proved Thomas Lubanga guilty of crimes of conscription and enlisting children under the age of 15 and used them to participate in hostilities," presiding Judge Adrian Fulford said at the ICC, set up in 2002. "The evidence demonstrated that children endured harsh training regiments and were subjected to severe punishment," judge Fulford told a packed public gallery, which included Hollywood superstar Angelina Jolie. A goodwill ambassador for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Jolie is known for her strong stance against the use of child soldiers. First transferred to The Hague in 2006, the alleged founder of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) and chief commander of its military wing went on trial in January 2009. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges. Prosecutors told the court that militia under Lubanga's control abducted and conscripted children as young as 11 from their homes, schools and football fields to serve as soldiers, and that young girls were used as sex slaves. Lubanga will be sentenced at a later stage, the court said. He faces up to 30 years in jail or, if judges decide the crimes were exceptionally grave, life in prison. A date for sentencing was not announced. Lubanga will remain behind bars at the ICC detention facility in the nearby seaside Hague suburb of Scheveningen. The conviction is "a sign that impunity does not exist any longer," Human Rights Watch's international justice officer Geraldine Mattioli told AFP. "It shows that these type of crimes will not be tolerated anymore. It is a very important decision for the victims," added Sunil Pal, head of the legal section for the non-government groups' Coalition for the ICC. Alpha Sesay, international legal officer at the Open Society's Justice Initiative, said the ruling would send a strong message to others who used child soldiers in their army, including Uganda's Kony. Since earlier this month, Kony, leader of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), has been the subject of an intense online campaign to bring him to justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity. "This judgment will have an effect in Ituri (in the DRC). It will have the same effect in Uganda," Sesay said. Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo was to make a statement Thursday on the case. During the trial Lubanga's lawyers accused the prosecution of fabricating evidence with the help of intermediaries used to find witnesses, and claimed that individuals were paid to give false testimony. Judge Fulford also rapped the prosecution team under Moreno-Ocampo, saying it failed in some instances to verify testimony organised through intermediaries used by the prosecution's office in the DRC.
"The chamber is of the view that the prosecution should not have delegated its investigative responsibilities to the intermediaries," the judge said, adding that Moreno-Ocampo "should ensure that the risk of a conflict of interest is avoided for the purpose of an investigation". During 204 days of hearings, prosecutors called 36 witnesses, the defence 24, and three represented victims. The ICC has issued four arrest warrants for crimes in the DRC and is investigating seven cases, all in Africa. Two militia leaders, Germain Katanga, 33, and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, 41, who fought against Lubanga, are now facing trial on similar charges. Former UPC chief Bosco Ntaganda, a Lubanga ally, is yet to be arrested to face the court on war crimes charges.
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News Headline: Kony Evades Capture in Central Africa Amid Internet Campaign | News Date: 03/14/2012 Outlet Full Name: Bloomberg Businessweek News Text: March 14 (Bloomberg) -- Joseph Kony, the Ugandan warlord who's become the subject of a global social-network campaign, is evading capture amid tensions between Central African nations where his Lord's Resistance Army operates. Kony and his fighters fanned out across the Central African Republic, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo after fleeing northern Uganda six years ago. The armies of the four nations disagree about the threat posed by the LRA, slowing the progress to apprehend Kony, said Ned Dalby, a regional analyst at the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, an independent advocacy group. "A major problem facing the operation is the mutual mistrust between Congo and Uganda at both the political and military levels," Dalby said from Accra, the Ghanaian capital. "What's really needed is sustained institutional and multilateral pressure from western countries, the United Nations and the African Union on the governments of Uganda and Congo primarily, but also on the South Sudanese" and the Central African Republic. Kony, whose official age isn't known, has been on the run since being indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2005 on charges including murder, mutilation, rape and the abduction of 30,000 children for use as soldiers and sex slaves. In the two-decade rebellion in northern Uganda, the LRA rebels hacked villagers with machetes and burnt people to death in their huts at the instigation of Kony, who claims he is a prophet. Invisible Children The LRA and Kony were thrust into the public eye last week after a 30-minute video by San Diego-based Invisible Children went viral on the Internet through campaigns on social-media networks like Facebook and Twitter. The Kony2012 video, in which filmmaker Jason Russell attempts to explain Kony's actions to his four-year-old son, was viewed 76 million times on YouTube since it was posted on March 5. Invisible Children, which was created after the filmmakers visited Uganda in 2003, calls on supporters to lobby U.S. lawmakers and buy posters and bracelets to publicize Kony's name
so he can be captured by the end of the year. In October, the U.S. sent 100 combat-equipped forces, including special operations personnel, to Central Africa to assist Uganda's army in capturing Kony. Wizard of the Nile The LRA rebellion began after Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni came to power in 1986 by overthrowing Tito Okello, an ethnic Acholi. The LRA blames Museveni's forces for purging the army of Acholi people, the majority of whom make up the LRA. According to abductees, Kony is inspired by the Ten Commandments and exhorts child soldiers to kill and maim in the name of the Bible, Matthew Green said in his 2008 book, The Wizard of the Nile, which chronicles the hunt for Kony. The rebel leader made abductees undergo "purification" rituals by his priests that would protect them against bullets from Museveni's forces, according to Green. Uganda's government forced the rebels to flee into neighboring countries in 2006, ending the insurgency in the north. Museveni, who won re-election last year, has since focused on rebuilding the economy of Africa's largest coffee exporter. Uganda is set to become Africa's newest oil producer this year when Tullow Oil Plc begins pumping crude and gas from Lake Albert Basin. Museveni sent forces into Central African Republic, South Sudan and Congo to help combat an estimated 300 LRA fighters. In December, Ugandan forces left Congo, where a small group of about 30 rebels remain, according to that country's army. Threat to Civilians "The LRA is not a spent force," Matthew Brubacher, a UN official working on dismantling the LRA, said by phone on March 12 from Goma in eastern Congo. "They may have diminished in size, but they retain the capacity to regenerate themselves and they retain the capacity to be threat to the civilian population. Historically they've taken advantage of any lull in military operations to expand their force." The four Central African nations have failed to collaborate effectively to capture Kony. At a Sept. 30 meeting between the countries' military generals, a Ugandan official said the LRA's survival in Congo was partly due to "a lack of trust" between the two countries' forces, according to a copy of the minutes of the meeting. The Congo government asked Ugandan forces to leave the country because the LRA no longer represented a military threat there, according to the minutes. Root of Mistrust "We've done our job," Jean-Claude Kifwa, a Congolese army general, said in an interview in Congo's capital, Kinshasa, yesterday. "We've addressed the problem. Kony is not here in Congo. He's not Congolese, and I can't go hunt him in another country." The root of the mistrust between the two countries stems from years of war in the 1990s and early 2000s when Ugandan forces invaded Congo and supported a rebellion against the Congolese government, Dalby said. That's "still fresh in the Congolese mind," he said. LRA attacks in Congo have increased since Ugandan troops left the country three months ago, forcing more than 3,000 people to flee their homes in northeastern Dungu since February, according to the UN Refugee Agency. "This month they've been stopping people along the roads, stopping small merchants and
stealing from them," Father Benoit Kinalegu, head of Dungu's Diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace, said in a phone interview. Kony2012 Video Uganda still has military forces in Central African Republic and South Sudan hunting for Kony, Uganda's government spokesman Fred Opolot said in an e-mailed statement on March 12. The Kony2012 campaign, which has won support from celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie, may put pressure on the U.S. and regional governments to ramp up efforts to combat the LRA. Criticism from Uganda's government that the video contained factual inaccuracies and questions raised by viewers about Invisible Children's motives, haven't detracted from the campaign's popularity. "Having pressure from the U.S. helps, so countries don't withdraw their commitment," Ida Sawyer, a researcher with Human Rights Watch in Congo, said in an interview yesterday in Kinshasa. "The hope is that U.S. military advisers will improve intelligence gathering and analysis, and help regional governments act quickly and effectively to arrest Kony."
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News Headline: Militia turns British journalists over to Libyan government | News Date: 03/15/2012 Outlet Full Name: CNN.com News Text: London (CNN) -- A pair of British journalists held by a Libyan militia have been handed over to the central government, British government sources said Wednesday in what one called a possible step toward their freedom. Nicholas Davies and Gareth Montgomery-Johnson were seized in late February, along with the Libyans who accompanied them, according to Human Rights Watch. Libya's transitional government had been trying to get the militia to hand over the two men, the group said. The British sources said the men have now been transferred to the transitional government. Libyan militias 'out of control' Libya uprising one year later "We are pretty hopeful this is a prelude to their release," one of the sources, who asked not to be named while discussing sensitive issues, told CNN. Some militias that established themselves to fight former dictator Moammar Gadhafi have remained intact and outside government control since Gadhafi's government fell in August. The Saraya Swehli militia accused the journalists, who work mainly for Iran's state-run Press TV, of lacking proper immigration paperwork. The group told Human Rights Watch that it did not have faith in the central government, an HRW official told CNN in February.
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News Headline: ICC finds possible mass graves in Ivory Coast | News Date: 03/14/2012 Outlet Full Name: Associated Press (AP) News Text: ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Investigators with the International Criminal Court may have found mass graves in a western Ivory Coast town, a court official said Wednesday,
where rights groups say fighters loyal to the president killed hundreds of people amid postelection violence last year. "We have confirmed some locations in which we think ... there are mass graves," said Amady Ba, who said a crime-scene expert and medical-legal photographer came to the West African nation to investigate the area around the town of Duekoue. Rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have said the massacre was committed by forces loyal to President Alassane Ouattara. Former strongman Laurent Gbagbo was sent to the international court last year to face charges of murder, rape and other crimes allegedly committed by his supporters after he refused to cede power to Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of a 2010 election. The U.N. says at least 3,000 people died during the months-long power struggle and that atrocities were committed on both sides. Ba said the process was "scientific," and evidence still needed to be confirmed. Ba said the court is investigating the "most serious crimes" committed during the past decade of violence in Ivory Coast. Judges at the Hague-based court expanded an investigation in Ivory Coast in February to cover atrocities dating back to 2002, when an attempted coup by northern rebels ignited a civil war. He said the investigators had gathered testimony from victims, witnesses, human rights groups and the national commission of inquiry that pointed to grave crimes in Duekoue. The United Nations mission in Ivory Coast has said that more than 1,000 people were killed in the country's west during the postelection violence, some 500 of those in Duekoue. Amnesty has said the U.N., which has a base in Duekoue, failed to do more to prevent killings, which it claims were carried out by forces loyal to Ouattara. In July, The Associated Press reported that Ouattara's forces also murdered up to 47 people on the Cavally River bordering Liberia, most of whom drowned by throwing themselves in the current to escape the killers. Among the dead was a handicapped woman in a wheelchair, who could not run away. She was raped before being killed. None of Ouattara's forces have been charged. Ba said the international court had "not yet" looked into the massacre on the Cavally River. "We are still in the process of investigating crimes," he said.
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News Headline: Suspected Islamists block Red Cross convoy in Mali | News Date: 03/14/2012 Outlet Full Name: AFP / Agence France-Presse - Washington DC Bureau News Text: Suspected Islamists turned back an International Committee of the Red Cross convoy, tearing down its flag, as it tried to enter Tessalit in northeast Mali, a source said Wednesday. Tessalit was seized on Sunday by Tuareg rebels following weeks of fighting with the Malian army which says it operated a strategic retreat.
"Our team, which was heading Tuesday for Tessalit, was prevented from entering by armed Islamists. The team returned to Gao," the source close to the ICRC told AFP. "Our goal was to bring help to civilians," said the source, who did not wish to be named. An armed Islamist group, Ancar Dine, led by a powerful Tuareg rebel fighting for autonomy in northern Mali, has called for the national imposition of Sharia law in a video seen Tuesday by AFP. "It is an obligation for us to fight for the application of Sharia (Islamic law) in Mali," said Cheikh Ag Aoussa, a spokesman of Ancar Dine, which means 'Defenders of Islam' in Arabic. Ag Aoussa is the right-hand man to Iyad Ag Ghaly, who is shown in the 13-minute video inspecting fighters and leading them in prayer. Ag Ghaly was one of the most prominent figures of a Tuareg rebellion in the 1990s and is thought to have links with a branch of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) which is led by his cousin Hamada Ag Hama. Tuareg rebels, many of whom recently returned from fighting for fallen Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, in mid-January struck up their decades-old battle for autonomy for their nomadic desert tribe. Mali and neighbouring Niger experienced similar uprisings in the 1960s, 1990s and early 2000 with a resurgence between 2006 and 2009.
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News Headline: From Blank Page to Stocked Shelves, U.S. AFRICOM Research Library Opens in Stuttgart | News Date: 03/14/2012 Outlet Full Name: USAFRICOM Public Affairs News Text: STUTTGART, Germany, Mar 14, 2012 — Behind an unmarked white door, beside the Laundromat on Kelley Barracks, a library has been born. Ring the doorbell, and Command Librarian Karen Filkil will buzz you in. Open the door, and you'll find shelves of books, displays of military journals, and an oversized black couch and armchairs. Welcome to the budding U.S. Africa Command Research Library. U.S. AFRICOM, created just five years ago, draws from all branches of the military. When new arrivals land at the command's headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, they are coming from posts all over the world. More often than not, soldiers, civilians, and contractors don't arrive with a deep expertise in Africa. The new U.S. AFRICOM Research Library was created to provide valuable resources and tools related to Africa. "My job here is to make people smart about Africa and let them know where they can go -- or obtain for them -- information about Africa," Filkil said. As manager of the new library, Filkil has spent the past year building a collection and preparing the space. The room was previously used as storage space for donations for annual Pfennig Bazaar, an annual rummage-sale extravaganza organized by the German-American Women's Club. When Filkil first saw the space, it had concrete floors, holes in the walls, and a light bulb hanging from the ceiling.
The library is still waiting on posters, a flat-screen TV to show current news out of Africa, and three computers with DSL lines. A DVD collection, with such movies as "Hotel Rwanda," is in the works. But already, the library has come a long way. Filkil assembled nearly 1,000 volumes relating to Africa, mostly non-fiction with a sprinkling of novels. Subjects include history, sociology, philosophy, leadership, plus travel guides and maps. She's drawn from AFRICOM's reading lists and sought out recommendations for books and journals. She's still seeking input. Books can be checked out by anyone who works at the command. The library is not connected to the MWR library on Patch Barracks in Stuttgart or Army Europe Libraries. It's registered with the Department of Army program as a special library. Don't expect the fancy scanning devices yet; you'll need to sign form DA-3161 "Request for Issue and Turn-In" to take home a book for three weeks. Filkil brings a vast knowledge of libraries to Stuttgart, Germany. She has been a librarian since 1979 and a military librarian since 1989. She was the post librarian at U.S. Military Community Activity (USMCA) Baumholder and USMCA Garlstedt and the special services librarian at the then-joint headquarters U.S. Air Forces Europe (USAFE) / U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) Warrior Preparation Center in Einsiedlerhof, Germany. She comes to U.S. Africa Command after spending the last 10 years at the Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. That deep experience helped her navigate the steps toward ensuring the U.S. AFRICOM Research Library was part of the Federal Library Community. Under that umbrella, the library receives more benefits and access to a shared ordering system, which smoothes out the acquisition process. Filkil also knew not to dabble in the Dewey Decimal Classification, the typical way libraries organize books. In a library with such a specific focus, she explained, most of the books would all start with the same numbers. Better to go with the Library of Congress Classification. The U.S. AFRICOM Research Library will be hosting a grand opening later this year. For now, anyone who works at AFRICOM can stop by for research assistance or to browse the collection. Just ring the doorbell on the unmarked door next to the Laundromat.
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News Headline: United Nations News Centre - Africa Briefs | News Date: 03/14/2012 Outlet Full Name: United Nations News Service News Text: In landmark ruling, ICC finds Congolese warlord guilty of recruiting child soldiers 14 March – The International Criminal Court (ICC) today found Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo guilty of recruiting child soldiers, in a landmark ruling hailed by United Nations officials as an important step in the fight against impunity.
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