United States Africa Command Public Affairs Office 27 March 2012 USAFRICOM - related news stories

Good morning. Please see today's news review for March 27, 2012. This new format is best viewed in HTML. Of interest in today's report: - Mali insurgents claim gains in North - Mali coup leaders partially reopen airport - Mali coup chief for talks with Tuareg - U.S. suspends aid to Mali in wake of coup - World Leaders praise Senegal runoff election - EU earmarks 9 Million Euros for Joint Military Operation against LRA - LRA nurtures the next generation of child soldiers U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs Please send questions or comments to: publicaffairs@usafricom.mil 421-2687 (+49-711-729-2687) Headline Date Outlet Wall Street Journal

Mali Insurgents Claim Gains in North 03/27/2012

DAKAR, Senegal--Hundreds of people demonstrated in Mali's capital seeking a return to democracy just days after disgruntled army officers overthrew the country's president, as a separatist insurgency in its vast desert north claimed it took more territory ...

Mali coup leaders partially reopen airport

03/27/2012

News24

Bamako - Mali's coup leaders said they are partially reopening the West African nation's main airport even as demonstrators marched in the capital to protest last week's putsch and demand a return to constitutional order.

Mali coup chief for talks with Tuareg 03/27/2012

Al Jazeera

Captain Amadou Sanogo, head of Mali's ruling military junta, has called on Tuareg fighters advancing in the north of the country to halt their campaign and hold talks. "We call on them already to cease hostilities and to come to the negotiating table as so...

UN senior official meets Mali junta leaders

03/27/2012

Xinhua News Agency

UNITED NATIONS, March 26 (Xinhua) -- UN senior official for West Africa Said Djinnit went to Bamako, capital of Western African country and met with Mali junta leaders last Friday, said UN spokesperson Eduardo del Buey here Monday.

Mali: 'AU determined to restore order to Mali'

03/27/2012

Africa Online

The African Union (AU) has expressed its determination to restore law and order to Mali, the Chairman of the AU Commission, Jean Ping, indicated on Monday at a meeting of the African Ministers of Finance, Economy and Planning in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian ...

U.S. suspends aid to Mali in wake of 03/26/2012 coup

CNN

Washington (CNN) -- The United States suspended a portion of its aid to Mali in light of last week's coup in the West African nation, the State Department said Monday. "We have now taken the decision to suspend our assistance to the government of Mali pend...

World Leaders Praise Senegal Runoff Election

03/27/2012

Associated Press

World leaders and international observers on Monday lauded Senegal's presidential runoff election, saying that the country's peaceful vote and its quick resolution provided hope in a region long beset by coups and strongman rule. In a surprise move just ho...

EU Earmarks Nine Million Euros for 03/26/2012 Joint Military Operation Against LRA

AllAfrica.com

The European Union (EU) has allocated EUR9m for humanitarian assistance to people affected by over two decades of the Joseph Kony-led Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) as part of the United Nations and African Unionbacked joint military strategy against the re...

LRA Nurtures the Next Generation of 03/26/2012 Child Soldiers

AllAfrica.com

The dilemma for Atati Faustin, 13, from Faradje in Haut-Uele District, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is that although he misses his younger brother - abducted into the ranks of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) two years ago - he is also ...

Eritrean leader says U.S. behind Ethiopia raids

03/27/2012

Reuters

ADDIS ABABA, March 26 (Reuters) - Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki accused the United States of plotting cross-border raids by Ethiopian troops, saying the two allies were out to divert attention from a festering border spat in the volatile Horn of Afric...

Ethiopian troops seize main rebel town

03/26/2012

News24

Mogadishu - Ethiopian forces on Monday seized the main base of the al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab insurgents in central Somalia, the latest stronghold the extremists have lost in recent months, witnesses said. Ethiopian troops and fighters from the pro-governmen...

Tunisia's Ennahda to oppose sharia 03/26/2012 in constitution

Reuters

TUNIS (Reuters) - The moderate Islamist Ennahda party, which leads Tunisia's government, will not back calls by conservatives to make Islamic law, or sharia, the main source of legislation in a new constitution, a senior party official said on Monday. "Enn...

Africa Review - How the Arab Spring 03/27/2012 led to a coup d'etat in Mali

Africa Review

So there has been a coup d'état in Mali. In Mali, of all places. Which has been, until recently, one of the more democratic, sensible and stable of West African countries. Our (Kenya) Minister for Foreign Affairs Moses Wetangula was caught up in it, having...

Tribal tensions leave 8 dead, 15 wounded in southern Libya

03/27/2012

CNN

(CNN) -- Eight people were killed and 15 were wounded on Monday in the city of Sabha in southern Libya when clashes erupted between two tribes, Deputy Interior Minister Omar Al-Khadrawi told Libyan state-run TV. He said the fighting began when a person fro...

South Africa: Zuma Highlights Need 03/26/2012 for Nuclear Terrorism Vigilance

AllAfrica.com

Pretoria -- President Jacob Zuma has stressed the importance of remaining alert to the risks posed by nuclear terrorism. Speaking at the Leaders' Working Dinner at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday, Zuma warned against complacenc...

U.S. Soldiers Observe Training at Moroccan Field Artillery Center

03/27/2012

U.S. Army Africa Public Affairs

MOROCCO, Mar 26, 2012 -- In order to help improve the security of Morocco, 20 members of the 15th Royal Artillery Group purchased approximately 60 armored vehicles called M109A5 howitzers through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.

United Nations News Centre - Africa 03/27/2012

United Nations News

Briefs

Service

- UN tribunal refers case of fugitive genocide suspect to Rwanda court - UN chief 'deeply concerned' over military clashes on Sudan-South Sudan border - With presidential poll now over, Ban urges Senegalese leaders to work together - Security Council co...

News Headline: Mali Insurgents Claim Gains in North . | News Date: 03/27/2012 Outlet Full Name: Wall Street Journal News Text: DAKAR, Senegal—Hundreds of people demonstrated in Mali's capital seeking a return to democracy just days after disgruntled army officers overthrew the country's president, as a separatist insurgency in its vast desert north claimed it took more territory from the government. Pro-democracy protestors gathered Monday in Mali's capital, Bamako, to peacefully voice their opposition to Thursday's military coup. Monday was a national holiday commemorating the West African country's 1992 transition to democratic rule. Mali's two-decade attempt at democracy—rare in this region still dominated by military leaders—came to an end when junior officers, angry that the government hadn't done more to equip them to fight the insurgents, overtook Mali's presidential palace last Thursday. President Amadou Toumani Touré remains in hiding in a secure place, according to a government spokesman and to a top African Union official. Far to the north of the capital, in the vast desert region claimed by a separatist army, the government appeared to be losing control of Kidal, a strategic crossroads town. The spokesman for the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad, an insurgency of mostly ethnic Tuareg fighters—many trained and armed by Moammar Gadhafi's forces during last year's Libyan civil war—said his army has surrounded the town and that military leaders are negotiating Kidal's surrender. The town sits on a vital supply route to the largest two cities in Mali's northern half, Gao and the famed caravan city of Timbuktu. Malian army spokesman Lt. Col. Idrissa Traoré didn't return calls seeking comment on the rebels' movements. "We're encircling and asphyxiating the city until the army gives up," rebel spokesman Moussa Ag Assarid said. "After that, it will be the turn of Timbuktu and Gao. We're cutting off all the roads to these major cities." Despite the protests in Mali's capital, the country's new military leaders demonstrated growing confidence in their grip on power. Fears of a countercoup by President Touré's paratroopers had led the junta last week to close Mali's borders and shut the airport. But on Monday, military leaders announced a partial border opening and allowed daytime flights. "We're not comfortable with the situation, but they're taking care of Mali's problems and working with civil society and local authorities, so it's working," said Yeah Samaké, who had been a candidate in the April presidential election. The vote was canceled until "national unity and the integrity of our territory is re-established," coup leader Capt. Amadou Sanogo said when he took power last week. Mali's closest foreign partners have condemned the army takeover. Both the U.S. and France, Mali's former colonizer, have halted aid to the country, and the African Union has suspended Mali's membership. The United Nations Security Council on Monday asked army leaders to

cede power and hold elections. In an apparent effort to defuse foreign criticism, Capt. Sanogo has boasted of his ties to the U.S. military. Proficient in English, he trained in the U.S. on multiple occasions. At the base in Mali where he was stationed, U.S. troops have staged regular counterterror training exercises for operations intended to quell a local al Qaeda franchise. Public opinion on the coup appears divided in Mali; it is a top gold producer, but that has failed to make much of a dent in the country's poverty. Even as proceeds from gold extraction swelled government coffers—and pushed economic growth to 5.3 % last year—drought and insurgency have dealt heavy blows to rural populations in Mali and other countries in the region, particularly Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. "They anticipated the malaise that was in the society," Abdoulaye Niang, retired West Africa director for the United Nations, said of the soldiers who led the coup. "It could happen in many other places, I can assure you."
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News Headline: Mali coup leaders partially reopen airport | News Date: 03/27/2012 Outlet Full Name: News24 News Text: Bamako - Mali's coup leaders said they are partially reopening the West African nation's main airport even as demonstrators marched in the capital to protest last week's putsch and demand a return to constitutional order. Junta spokesperson Lieutenant Amadou Konare warned demonstrators to "exercise prudence" on Monday, which marked the 21st anniversary of the last coup in this nation of 15.4 million at the bottom of the Sahara desert. He also said on national television the airport would be partially reopened from 08:00 to 13:00. "The Malian airspace is open only for civilian transport from today," he said, without giving further details. Soldiers in Mali led by a middle-ranking US-trained officer, Captain Amadou Sanogo, surrounded the presidential palace on Wednesday and announced that night they were taking power in this vast and impoverished nation, likely disrupting plans to hold an election in April in which the incumbent, President Amadou Toumani Toure, was not going to run. He has not been heard from since the coup. About a thousand demonstrators, including members of youth movements and political parties, gathered in central Bamako on Monday to demand a return to constitutional order. Some of the youth groups threatened to march on state TV and radio headquarters, which are under the junta's control. In the end, they did not march on the building, which has been reinforced by mutinous soldiers. The crowd chanted "down with Sanogo" and "liberate the ORTM", referring to the public broadcaster. Security Several politicians addressed the crowd, including Soumaila Cisse, who was one of the favored candidates for the April 29 presidential elections, which are looking increasingly uncertain after the coup.

He said the military should return to protecting Mali, especially as Tuareg rebels are attacking towns in north Mali. "The army is already responsible for the security of this country, here in Bamako and in the north," he said. "We demand the constitution be respected and the constitutional timing for elections be respected also." Sanogo's ouster threatens the cause of democracy in a region prone to coups and jeopardizes Mali's standing at the heart of the Western-backed fight against Africa's thriving wing of alQaeda. In Washington, President Barack Obama's administration on Monday cut off American aid to the government of Mali after the coup, saying military and other assistance would only resume when the nation's democratic government is restored. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said US humanitarian and food assistance will continue for Mali's impoverished citizens. The European Union, the World Bank and the African Development Bank all have suspended aid because of the coup, and the African Union has suspended the country's membership. On Monday, the UN Security Council issued a statement that "condemns the forcible takeover" of Mali by mutinous soldiers. It called on them to "cease all violence and return to their barracks" and allow the country to go ahead with previously scheduled elections. "Soldier of democracy" The Security Council said the upheaval in Mali is compounding problems in the region caused by drought, food shortages and the influx of workers and fighters leaving Libya after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. Tuareg rebels formerly loyal to Gaddafi have taken advantage of the power vacuum to advance to the gates of the strategic northern town of Kidal. Government soldiers are deserting by the dozens while others are retreating without a fight amid disarray in the army command, a senior rebel commander told The Associated Press on Thursday. Sanogo insists that he acted on Wednesday to avert a national security crisis because the government was not providing the arms and ammunition needed to fight the rebels, who have killed scores of soldiers. Toure initially took power in a 1991 coup, but became known as the "Soldier of Democracy" because he handed power to civilians and retreated from public life. Years later he re-emerged to win the 2002 election and was re-elected in 2007.
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News Headline: Mali coup chief for talks with Tuareg | News Date: 03/27/2012 Outlet Full Name: Al Jazeera News Text: Captain Amadou Sanogo, head of Mali's ruling military junta, has called on Tuareg fighters advancing in the north of the country to halt their campaign and hold talks. "We call on them already to cease hostilities and to come to the negotiating table as soon as possible," said a statement on Monday. "Everything is negotiable except national territorial

integrity and the unity of our country." Sanogo had already said that he wanted to negotiate with the rebels, but he also has promised to give the army what it needs to halt the insurgency. It was anger among rank-and-file troops at the government's handling of the conflict that led to the coup. The junta has claimed its coup was sparked by the regime's perceived weakness in the face of the Tuareg rebellion. The fighters are being accused of taking advantage of the coup, and are negotiating with soldiers for a peaceful resolution in Mali's strategic northern garrison town of Kidal, according to representatives of the Sahara's nomadic Tuareg people. Kidal would be a major prize for the rebels, who relaunched their decades-old fight in midJanuary, led by battle hardened officers and troops who returned after fighting on the side of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. UN condemnation Earlier on Monday, the United Nations Security Council expressed deep criticism of the coup in Mali and added to international demands for the democratically elected government to be returned. The condemnation puts the Security Council in line with the African Union and other regional organisations and governments in opposing the soldiers who overthrew President Amadou Toumani Toure on March 22. A formal statement released by the council said the "fragile security and humanitarian situation" in the Sahel nations, several countries that stretch across northern Africa, had been "exacerbated" by the return of thousands following last year's uprising in Libya. "The Security Council strongly condemns the forcible seizure of power from the democraticallyelected government of Mali by some elements of the Malian armed forces," read the statement. The statement went on to demand that "mutinous troops" halt all violence and "return to their barracks. The Security Council calls for the restoration of constitutional order, and the holding of elections as previously scheduled". Also on Monday, the United States said it would suspend $60 to $70mn in aid to Mali but would continue to provide food and humanitarian assistance to the West African nation. "We have now taken a decision to suspend our assistance to the government of Mali pending a resolution of the situation on the ground," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters. Domestic pressure Domestically, leaders of the military coup face increasing pressure with Malian legislators and opposition figures seeking their departure as Tuareg rebels closed in on a key northern town. MALI CRISIS In the capital, Bamako, days after the coup, several hundred people gathered at a meeting of 38 political parties who announced the formation of a united front against the junta. "Our aim is clear, to get the junta to leave," said Soumaila Cisse, who would have been one of

the main presidential candidates in polls that had been planned for April 29 but were cancelled by the military rulers. "This coup d'etat is unconstitutional and we will not accept it," Cisse said on Monday. The National Assembly issued a statement demanding an immediate return to constitutional order, the opening of all borders, the release of all arrested government officials and for elections to go ahead as planned. In defiance of the coup, 14 government figures, including the prime minister and foreign minister, have begun a hunger strike over their detention at a military barracks outside the capital, which serves as the junta headquarters. "There are 14 of us in a room of 12 square metres, sleeping three to a mattress," said a message from one of the officials sent to the AFP news agency.
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News Headline: UN senior official meets Mali junta leaders | News Date: 03/27/2012 Outlet Full Name: Xinhua News Agency News Text: UNITED NATIONS, March 26 (Xinhua) -- UN senior official for West Africa Said Djinnit went to Bamako, capital of Western African country and met with Mali junta leaders last Friday, said UN spokesperson Eduardo del Buey here Monday. Djinnit, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for West Africa, participated in a joint mission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations which was dispatched to Bamako on Friday under the leadership of ECOWAS, del Buey told a daily briefing. The members of the mission met a delegation of the junta led by Captain Adama Diarra and spoke on the phone with Captain Amadou Sanogo whom they could not meet personally for security reasons, del Buey said. "They reiterated the appeal launched by the ECOWAS, the African Union and the United Nations for an immediate return to the constitutional order," said del Buey. "They also urged the junta leaders to guarantee the physical security of President Amadou Toumani Toure, as well as that of the other persons detained." Additionally, the delegation reiterated the attachment of the ECOWAS, the AU and the UN to Mali's territorial integrity, according to del Buey. Djinnit is expected to attend the ECOWAS summit, which will be held on Tuesday in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire in which ECOWAS heads of state will further examine the situation in Mali, said the spokesperson. Late last week, rebel Malian soldiers took control of the country and announced the dissolution of the Government led by President Amadou Toumani Toure. The UN Security Council Monday expressed its strong condemnation of the recent coup d'etat and called for order to be restored in the country.
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News Headline: Mali: 'AU determined to restore order to Mali' |

News Date: 03/27/2012 Outlet Full Name: Africa Online - Online News Text: The African Union (AU) has expressed its determination to restore law and order to Mali, the Chairman of the AU Commission, Jean Ping, indicated on Monday at a meeting of the African Ministers of Finance, Economy and Planning in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. 'What is currently happening in Mali is neither good for Mali nor for the continent, we can assure you, we are going to restore order there,' said Ping at the opening the annual meeting, organised by the AU Commission and the Economic Community for Africa (ECA). A military junta on Thursday overthrew the government of President Amadaou Toumani Touré, citing the president's inability to quell the Tuareg rebellion that has been raging since January in the northern part of the country. Reacting to the coup, the AU suspended Mali from the 54-member organization and threatened to apply sanctions, including travel bans on the coup plotters.
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News Headline: U.S. suspends aid to Mali in wake of coup | News Date: 03/26/2012 Outlet Full Name: CNN.com News Text: Washington (CNN) -- The United States suspended a portion of its aid to Mali in light of last week's coup in the West African nation, the State Department said Monday. "We have now taken the decision to suspend our assistance to the government of Mali pending a resolution of the situation on the ground," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters. "We want to see the elected government restored as quickly as possible." Three senior African diplomats stranded in Mali by last week's military coup have been safely evacuated, the African Union announced Monday. The foreign ministers of Kenya and Zimbabwe were flown out on an airplane provided by the government of Kenya, while the Tunisian secretary of state flew out with a group Tunisian nationals who lived and worked in Mali, the group said. The diplomats were in Bamako, Mali, for a meeting of the African Union's Peace and Security Council when the coup began, trapping them in the city, the group said. When African Union Commission chief Jean Ping spoke by telephone with Capt. Amadou Sanogo, the junta leader "promised to ensure the security and safe evacuation of the officials," the African Union said. Sanogo's soldiers usurped power last week, wresting control of the nation from President Amadou Toumani Toure. Ping also asked Sanogo about Toure's location and condition, the group said. He "reiterated the need to ensure his safety and the immediate return of the country to constitutional legality," it said. The United States is suspending assistance on a government-to-government level, Nuland said. Food and humanitarian aid, mostly administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development, would not be affected by the announcement, she said. The United States gives Mali's government roughly $140 million in aid each year.

Approximately half of that sum is dedicated to food humanitarian assistance, Nuland said. "I am expecting somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 (million) to $70 million in assistance will be suspended," she said. At the United Nations, the Security Council restated its condemnation of the coup, demanding that the junta "cease all violence and return to their barracks." "The Security Council calls for the restoration of constitutional order, and the holding of elections as previously scheduled," read a presidential statement from the council, issued Monday. Mali is seen by many Western governments as a crucial ally in the fight against the regional affiliate offshoot of al Qaeda. But it faces a new insurgency in the northern part of the country by Tuareg nomads, and the mutineers who ousted Toure accused his government of mishandling the uprising. The latest revolt took root in late 2011 but gained momentum in January, when the rebels began attacking towns in northern Mali. It has been further energized by an influx of arms and Tuareg fighters who had served under former Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi. In Monday's statement, the Security Council called for the rebels "to seek a peaceful solution through appropriate political dialogue." And it expressed "serious concern" about what it called "the insecurity and rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation" in the Sahel region of subSaharan Africa, which includes Mali and its neighbors. "The Security Council encourages the international community to provide support to resolve the crisis in Mali and the Sahel region based on an integrated strategy for immediate and long term needs, encompassing security, development and humanitarian issues," the council statement read. It said the crisis was being complicated "by the presence of armed groups and terrorist groups, and their activities, as well as by the proliferation of weapons from within and outside the region." The African Union suspended Mali's membership in the group following the coup, and the State Department has warned against travel to the country.
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News Headline: World Leaders Praise Senegal Runoff Election | News Date: 03/27/2012 Outlet Full Name: Associated Press News Text: World leaders and international observers on Monday lauded Senegal's presidential runoff election, saying that the country's peaceful vote and its quick resolution provided hope in a region long beset by coups and strongman rule. In a surprise move just hours after polls closed, President Abdoulaye Wade called his opponent Macky Sall to congratulate his one-time protege on the victory. Sall's elated supporters already had begun celebrating in the streets after early results showed him with a commanding lead. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said the peaceful Senegalese vote was a hopeful sign, days after Mali's longtime president was ousted in a coup launched by mutinous soldiers. "If there was ever any doubt, this election has proved that the foundation of Senegalese democracy is rock solid," he said. "This is good for the Senegalese people and also for our

sub-region, especially at a time one of our brother countries is facing grave challenges to constitutional order." Jonathan also praised Wade "for graciously accepting defeat, showing great maturity and statesmanship." U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke by telephone Monday with Sall and Wade and congratulated them and the people of Senegal "for the exemplary manner in which both rounds of the presidential elections were conducted throughout the country," U.N. deputy spokesman Eduardo del Buey said. Ban said the civic responsibility displayed by all political actors and civil society "was indicative of Senegal's strong democratic commitment," the spokesman said. The U.N. chief commended Wade "for his gracious and statesmanlike actions" and urged the outgoing and incoming presidents "to work together in the coming days in the interest of the country," del Buey said. French President Nicolas Sarkozy also commended the vote, which came after a violent election season that left at least six people dead. "It's very good news for Africa, in general, and Senegal, in particular," Sarkozy said on France Info radio. "When you see what's happening in Mali, it's a reason for hope for all of Africa." Wade's reputation took a nosedive when he announced last year that he planned to run for a third term even though he had revised the constitution to impose a two-term maximum. Some feared he would not step aside if opposition candidate Sall won Sunday's vote. However, state television reported only several hours after the polls closed that Wade had congratulated Sall. "The results coming in indicated that Mr. Macky Sall had won. As I had always promised, I called him Sunday night to congratulate him," Wade said in a statement that was released to reporters early Monday. No date has been formally set for Sall's inauguration as official results from the country's electoral commission are not expected until later in the week. Sociologist Hadiya Tandian said that Wade's concession washes away the wounds of a violent election season, which tarnished the country's reputation. "This is a great victory for Senegal — it shows the maturity of our democracy," Tandian said. "It shows that the Senegalese believe in their voter IDs, that a voter card can change something, can make a difference. It shows that our long democratic heritage continues to live in us day by day." At a midnight press conference at a Dakar hotel, Sall offered few details on the conversation he had with Wade earlier in the evening. Instead, he praised the voters and said he would be the president for all Senegalese. "Tonight, a new era begins for Senegal," Sall told the hundreds of journalists and euphoric supporters who crammed into the venue to hear him speak. Most voters simply spoke of hardships or the need for change rather than Sall's credentials when explaining whom they supported at the polls on Sunday.

Marieme Ousmane Wele, 55, said she had voted for Sall because the rising prices of basic goods have made her life increasingly difficult. "I sell cereal made from corn but the price of corn has really gone up. Now, I don't have many customers and it's becoming difficult to feed my own family," she said, as men sat nearby on plastic lawn chairs in the sand listening to news about the election on portable radios. Sall, 50, a former prime minister who ran Wade's last campaign in 2007, is a geologist by training who worked for years under Wade. The two, though, had a subsequent falling out and during the campaign Wade referred to Sall as an apprentice who had not yet taken in "the lessons of his mentor." Wade himself first took office in 2000 after his predecessor graciously conceded in a historic moment for Senegal. He easily won re-election in 2007, but has seen his popularity suffer amid soaring costs of living and unemployment. When he cast his ballot last month in the first round of balloting, some voters even booed him at the poll shouting: "Old man, get lost." Whereas most African countries began holding elections post-independence in the 1960s, the Senegalese first cast their ballots 164 years ago starting in 1848 when France gave its territory the right to elect a deputy to the French parliament.
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News Headline: EU Earmarks Nine Million Euros for Joint Military Operation Against LRA |

News Date: 03/26/2012 Outlet Full Name: AllAfrica.com News Text: Juba, Mar 26, 2012 -- The European Union (EU) has allocated EUR9m for humanitarian assistance to people affected by over two decades of the Joseph Kony-led Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) as part of the United Nations and African Union-backed joint military strategy against the rebels. The announcement was made during Saturday's official launch of the strategy in Juba, South Sudan, which was presided over by the country's vice-president, Riek Machar, Francisco Madeira, the AU special envoy for the LRA issue and Abou Moussa, the special representative to the UN secretary general, among other delegates. Under the initiative, a contingent of 5,000 soldiers, led by senior commanders from Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR) will embark on a mission to hunt down the elusive LRA leader, whose exact location remains unknown. Formed in Uganda in the late 1980s, the notorious LRA rebels have, for over 15 years, mainly targeted innocent civilians and the army. Following regional armies' offensive, the LRA moved to neighboring countries and massively killed, abducted and displaced thousands of the population. At the special session of the AU Assembly held on August 31, 2009, African Heads of states adopted a plan of action on the consideration and resolution of conflicts. This plan of action called upon African countries "to neutralize the LRA and bring an end to its atrocities and .destabilizing activities in the DRC, Southern Sudan and CAR". In 2011, the AU drafted a paper on the establishment of a regional task force (RTF) in the countries affected by LRA.

The regional task force headquarters for the joint military operation will be located in Yambio, the provincial capital of South Sudan's Western Equatoria state, which borders the DRC. INFRASTRUCTURAL CHALLENGES As the anti-LRA operation kicks off, officials in South Sudan government have already expressed skepticism of the process, allaying fears of the poor security road networks in the region, which could hamper effective movement and coordination among the troops. The vice-president appealed for humanitarian assistance, which he said, should accompany the military actions, outlining a series of economic benefits associated with some of the areas currently affected by the LRA war. He specifically cited Western Equatoria state, which is reportedly a hub for minerals, food crops and fruits. He further assured the UN and AU delegations of the political will to ensure that security roads in the area are opened up in order to boost the movement of troops involved in the operation. The AU, its special envoy on LRA issues said, will employ a military, social and humanitarian approach in the joint military operation, although he did not divulge much detail on how long the operation will remain active. "We have no time frame. This operation can end tomorrow or next week provided our mandate to capture Kony and end the rebellion is successful," Madeira told Sudan Tribune in separate interview. Since the launch of operation lightening thunder in 2008, the LRA, has reportedly killed more than 2,000 people, abducted at least 4,000 and displaced over 400,000 people in various parts of Uganda, South Sudan, the DRC and CAR. Mousa on the other hand described the launch of the joint military strategy as a major step in regional efforts to end the 26-year old insurgency. "My office will not relent its efforts in the struggle to end the LRA rebellion and bring its leaders to justice," the UN special representative said. The joint military strategy, he added, will take into account key elements, involving arresting the LRA leader and bringing him to justice, civilian protection, provision of humanitarian assistance and developing long term development plans in areas worst affected by the insurgency. Copyright © 2012 Sudan Tribune. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
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News Headline: LRA Nurtures the Next Generation of Child Soldiers | News Date: 03/26/2012 Outlet Full Name: AllAfrica.com News Text: Faradje, Mar 26, 2012 -- The dilemma for Atati Faustin, 13, from Faradje in HautUele District, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is that although he misses his younger brother - abducted into the ranks of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) two years ago - he is also afraid of being reunited with him. "I want my brother back," he told IRIN, "but if I see him I would run. I am scared of him. I feel like he has died."

Displaced with about 1,300 people from the nearby village of Kimbinzi in 2008 following repeated LRA attacks, and relocated to Ngubu, a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) on the outskirts of Faradje, he has not yet encountered him, but others in the community have dishevelled, with dreadlocks, and carrying an AK47 assault rifle and a panga. Kimbinzi is about 7km from the camp and occasionally some villagers return under a military escort provided by Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) to till the fields, as crops planted on land provided for them close to the River Dungu are routinely destroyed by hippos. Only young men return (during daylight hours) to Kimbinzi in a phenomenon described by relief workers as "pendulum movement" - women and children stay in the relative safety of Ngubu. Joseph Kony's LRA is thought to have kidnapped more than 30,000 children from the Central African Republic, DRC, South Sudan and Uganda in a 25-year transnational conflict. Captured boys are forced into child soldiering and girls are used as sex slaves or babysitters ('tingtings'). Ugandan aid worker George Omoma has tracked the carnage left in the LRA's wake across three countries, where children are not so much collateral damage, as the focus of LRA activity. "Kony tells his people that it is not you [adults] that will overthrow the [Ugandan] government, it is the children. He wants to create a new generation of the LRA," Omoma told IRIN. Omoma is in Dungu helping to establish a rehabilitation centre for child victims of the LRA by the Catholic Church and NGOs Sponsoring Children and the San- Diego-based Invisible Children. When operations start later this year, the facility will be able to provide accommodation, counselling, training and education to hundreds of former child soldiers and abductees. Joyce Neu of the Carter Center had a three-hour meeting with Kony and his senior command on 24 February 2000 in Nsitu, Sudan, and although he "did not admit to having abductees in the LRA... Sam Ottoa [now known as Sam Kolo] let slip references to 'the children' three times, each time he quickly corrected it with 'our brothers'," she told IRIN. Kolo, an LRA political officer, headed negotiations with Betty Bigombe in 2004, but became a Kony assassination target. He escaped with Bigombe in a helicopter the UN provided her with to conduct another round of negotiations. He now lives in Gulu, Uganda. A February 2004 report by the Refugee Law Project, Behind the Violence: Causes, Consequences and the Search for Solutions to the War in Northern Uganda, provides the rationale for Kony using children as "a vital resource" for his war. LRA activity in Uganda ended in 2006. Haunted by the LRA As in other conflicts where child soldiers have been used "they are easily malleable to whatever purpose Kony wants, and are very quick to obey his orders" and "forcing children to kill their friends or family members in front of other abductees instills fear into them and discourages them from escaping," the report said. "The LRA views nine to 12-year-olds as the most desirable combatant age-group." The LRA views nine to 12-year-olds as the most desirable combatant age-group Josephine Inopayngba, 27, a counsellor in Dungu for former child soldiers and LRA abductees, told IRIN the fear instilled by LRA methods haunt their victims long-after they have escaped or

been released by the armed group. She said an escapee from the LRA made pregnant by rape "told me she wanted to kill her child at birth. I told her the child is innocent. She said kids kill their parents and she was afraid the child would grow up and kill her." Inopayngba said in her experience in the past two years as a counsellor, three families had refused to accept their children back after they had become child soldiers: "They cannot understand it is the fault of the LRA, not the child." The initiation of child soldiers, she said, involves practices like executing other abductees. "They will ask them [porters] if they want to take a rest and if they say 'yes' they will allow one of the children to kill them." Justin Minanbu, 15, was kidnapped by the LRA from South Sudan 14 months ago, escaped nine months later and has spent the past five months living with a host family in Dungu while his relatives are traced. Both of his parents are dead. He was used as a porter and a servant for an LRA commander. "I was beaten often by the commander with the flat side of a panga, for any mistakes. Like if the fire was not good," he said. Two of the group of eight LRA fighters he travelled with were child soldiers aged about 13 and they were "good to me. Sometimes the commander would order them to punish me and they would beat me. But after that we would play like friends," Minanbu said. Joseph Angoyo, chief of Aba's hospital, about 20km south of the South Sudan border, told IRIN under the supervision of an official from the DRC intelligence service, "the longer the captivity, the worse the condition". Angoyo said the hospital treats about 10 former abductees a month and many are suffering from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), mainly syphilis he said. The youngest victim he had treated for an STD was a seven-year-old girl. Breeding child soldiers Dominic Ongwen has risen through the ranks to become the LRA's most senior commander in the DRC and is the armed group's most notorious example of a kidnapped boy forced into child soldiering and who is now wanted for crimes against humanity and war crimes by the International Criminal Court. Sam Otto Ladere has appeared on the radar with a similar personnel history to Ongwen. He commands a group of 17 fighters falling under the command of Vincent Okumu Binany in the DRC. Matthew Brubacher, political affairs officer working with the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC's (MONUSCO's) Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation, Reintegration and Resettlement (DDRRR) unit, and an LRA specialist based in the eastern DRC city of Goma, told IRIN Ladere was abducted at a young age from a village west of Gulu. "Ladere is one of the up and coming commanders. He is very trusted. This was evidenced by his being placed as chief of intelligence after Maj-Gen Acellam Ceasar was suspended following the execution of Lt-Gen Vincent Otti on 2 October 2007, even though Ladere was only a captain," he said. DDRRR is working on a radio message on their FM network to try and lure him out of the bush. Omoma said former abductees and child soldiers had told him of Ladere's brutality.

Kony has taken many wives. At the Juba peace talks in 2006 it was estimated he had about 80 wives and it is unknown how many children the rebel leader has fathered. "I don't know how many Kony kids are active in the LRA, probably quite a few. There are a few bush kids now that were born and bred in the LRA. They are pretty wild when they come out as they have never known civilization," Brubacher said. [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ] Copyright © 2012 UN Integrated Regional Information Networks. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
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News Headline: Eritrean leader says U.S. behind Ethiopia raids | News Date: 03/27/2012 Outlet Full Name: Reuters - Online News Text: ADDIS ABABA, March 26 (Reuters) - Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki accused the United States of plotting cross-border raids by Ethiopian troops, saying the two allies were out to divert attention from a festering border spat in the volatile Horn of Africa. Addis Ababa, Washington's main ally in the region, said it attacked military bases used by rebels inside Eritrea e arlier this month. The incursion followed a raid by an Eritrea-based rebel group into Ethiopia's remote Afar region in January in which five foreign tourists were killed and two kidnapped. Last week's attacks were the first on Eritrean soil that Ethiopia has admitted to since the end of a 1998-2000 war that claimed 70,000 lives and left a border dispute unresolved. Eritrea says there have been others. "We have seen several attacks, not just one. We prefer not to talk about it and don't intend to be involved in provocations," Isaias told Eritrean state TV in an interview late on Sunday that was later broadcast on the Internet. "The military incursions were plotted by Washington with the aim of diverting attention from implementing the boundary commission's decision," he said. The U.S. embassy in the Eritrean capital of Asmara denied it had been involved in the attacks. "The United States was not involved in the March 15 attack by Ethiopian forces inside Eritrea, contrary to media reports that have circulated in and outside of Eritrea," the embassy said in a statement. "The United States categorically rejects any allegations that it planned, participated in, or supported the attack." Ethiopian officials could not be reached for comment. The Hague-based boundary commission awarded the border village of Badme to Eritrea in 2002, but Ethiopia has yet to conform with the ruling, insisting on further negotiations on its implementation.

The United Nations has called for restraint between the two neighbours, saying bilateral tensions risked undermining efforts to foster security and stability in the region. MISSILES AND SANCTIONS In Sunday's interview, Isaias said the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency had "fanned up" Ethiopia's incursion to divert global attention from the 10th anniversary of the border ruling and its implementation. He also accused Washington of masterminding the sanctions that the U.N. Security Council imposed on Eritrea in 2009 and 2011, alleging it had provided funds and weapons to Islamist insurgents in Somalia - charges that Eritrea flatly denies. "Proxies implement the U.S.' misguided agenda in the region. These unjustified sanctions against Eritrea reflect this agenda," Isaias said. Ethiopia, a key ally in the United States' global war on Islamist insurgents, has deployed troops inside Somalia to fight al Qaeda-linked militants. Isaias routinely claims Washington sided with Eritrea's arch-foe during the border war for "geostrategic reasons". In a leaked cable from the U.S. embassy in Asmara, former U.S. ambassador Ronald McMullen said Isaias feared the U.S. would try to kill him by firing a missile on his residence in the coastal city of Massawa. The cable also showed that Isaias believes Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi tried to have him killed in 1996 when an aircraft that Meles offered for his travel caught fire during a flight.
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News Headline: Ethiopian troops seize main rebel town | News Date: 03/26/2012 Outlet Full Name: News24 News Text: Mogadishu - Ethiopian forces on Monday seized the main base of the al-Qaedalinked Shabaab insurgents in central Somalia, the latest stronghold the extremists have lost in recent months, witnesses said. Ethiopian troops and fighters from the pro-government militia Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa seized El Bur town, some 150km south of the Ethiopian border, after a brief fire fight. "Ethiopian troops have taken positions inside and outside the town, but most of the residents fled before they arrived," said Abdukadir Sahal, a resident. The loss of the town tightens the net on the hard line Shabaab, who are facing attacks on multiple fronts by regional armies. "There was brief exchange of gunfire on the outskirts of town but al-Shabaab fled... there are Ethiopian troops with armoured trucks, pulling heavy artillery weapons," Sahal added. "There was no fighting inside El Bur, but al-Shabaab fighters are not far away," said Ahmednur Fodade, another resident.

Ethiopian soldiers in battle trucks began the advance on El Bur at the weekend, bolstering allied fighters from Ahlu Sunna at the central Somali town of Dhusamareb, before pushing on some 100km south. El Bur is the fourth Shabaab stronghold to be seized by the Ethiopian forces, who deployed into lawless Somalia in November, after Kenya also sent troops into southern Somalia to battle the ruthless militia. The Shabaab abandoned bases in the anarchic capital Mogadishu in August after their fouryear bloody insurgency failed to topple the Western-backed Somali government, protected by a contingent of African Union troops. Lost two key towns The AU force is currently made up of some 10 000 soldiers from Burundi, Djibouti and Uganda, while Kenyan troops are due to integrate into the force. However, while the Shabaab have lost key towns recently, they still remain a serious threat, especially as they continue a bloody campaign of suicide and mortar attacks. Shabaab spokesperson Ali Mohamud Rage, speaking earlier on Monday before the fall of El Bur, said defiantly that the insurgents would not give up their fight. "The mujahedeen fighters will not be deterred from implementing Islamic Shari'ah in Somalia and to defeat the Christian invaders - we will continue fighting and the enemy will be defeated God willing," Rage told reporters. Two decades of lawlessness has seen the Horn of Africa nation carved up between multiple armed groups and extremist militia like the Shabaab. Somalia has had no effective central government since president Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled in 1991. Ethiopia's latest incursion is the second in five years. They toppled an Islamist movement after deploying in 2006, but they withdrew in 2009 after the group's hard line fighters - the Shabaab mounted a bruising guerilla war.
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News Headline: Tunisia's Ennahda to oppose sharia in constitution | News Date: 03/26/2012 Outlet Full Name: Thomson Reuters - Africa - Online News Text: TUNIS (Reuters) - The moderate Islamist Ennahda party, which leads Tunisia's government, will not back calls by conservatives to make Islamic law, or sharia, the main source of legislation in a new constitution, a senior party official said on Monday. "Ennahda has decided to retain the first clause of the previous constitution without change," Ameur Larayed told Radio Mosaique. "We want the unity of our people and we do not want divisions." The party has not formally announced its final position. A constituent assembly, elected in October, is hashing out a new constitution as part of

Tunisia's transition after popular protests ousted authoritarian leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali last year, sparking the Arab uprisings elsewhere. Religious conservatives, including the third largest party in the constituent assembly, have called in recent weeks for the constitution to include sharia as the key source of legislation. Secularists oppose the move, which they say will open the way for the religious right slowly to impose its values on what had been one of the Arab world's most secular countries. Rachid al-Ghannouchi, the leader of Ennahda, which occupies over 40 percent of seats in the assembly, promised before the election that his party would be satisfied with the existing first clause of the constitution, which identifies Islam as the religion of state but does not specifically refer to sharia. However, he said a month ago that Ennahda was debating the idea of including sharia and had yet to reach a conclusion. Ennahda's stance on the role of religion in government will have a huge impact on the constitution that finally emerges, and has the potential to either inflame or defuse growing political polarisation between Islamists and secularists. In recent weeks opposition parties have exerted considerable pressure on Ennahda to clarify its position on the issue. The group, which has promised not to impose the veil on women, or ban alcohol or the payment of interest, has gone some way to allaying secularist fears. But two large protests in as many weeks by Salafis demanding an Islamic state in Tunisia have raised fears that conservatives would seek to impose their will. Investors fear that calls for an Islamic state will deter tourism, a major foreign currency earner for Tunisia's economy. The constituent assembly can make the new constitution law if a big enough majority supports it. Otherwise it must go to a referendum.
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News Headline: Africa Review - How the Arab Spring led to a coup d'etat in Mali | News Date: 03/27/2012 Outlet Full Name: Africa Review News Text: So there has been a coup d'état in Mali. In Mali, of all places. Which has been, until recently, one of the more democratic, sensible and stable of West African countries. Our (Kenya) Minister for Foreign Affairs Moses Wetangula was caught up in it, having (ironically) been attending a meeting of the African Union's Peace and Security Council at the time. And the question is now, of course, just what the AU will do to handle the situation. Part of the problem in handling the situation is that popular opinion in Mali is, reportedly, not entirely unsympathetic to the part of the army that's taken over. Malians have been upset for quite a while with what they see as the state's ineffective handling of the conflict in the north.

There have been too many deaths of both soldiers and civilians. Too many villages and towns have fallen into the hands of the insurrection — reportedly a combination of Tuareg secessionists and deserters from Libya. More broadly, the coup d'état should make us think about another set of questions. It is now over one year past the much-vaunted ―Arab Spring.‖ But what really has been the result? Instability Electoral processes in Tunisia and Egypt have shown the strength of Islamist parties — pushing to the side not only older and more secular opposition political parties (supporting both more left and more pro-women's rights policies). But also, more importantly, pushing to the side the youth — who were at the heart of the Arab Spring. Their motivations — more freedom, more employment, more opportunities to earn livelihoods — do not seem to have translated into post-Arab Spring political agendas. In Egypt, they are back on the streets. And Libya is being torn down the middle — with demands for secession being met with proposals for decentralisation. The joke has become a cliché: the Arab Spring has become the Arab Winter. Meanwhile, arms and deserters have flowed across the Sahara into Mali. With the consequences coming to a head with this coup d'état. But they've also moved into northern Nigeria, where we saw towards the end of last year, the sudden scaling up of Boko Haram's activities and, like the Tuareg secessionists, the explicit linking of their activities with those of Al-Qaeda. There is no serious prospect of a military takeover in Nigeria — I think Nigerians have long ago exhausted themselves on that front. But the instability across the Sahel is putting pressure on all Sahelian states, as well as all the sub-regional and regional mechanisms intended to handle conflict. What can most of us do beyond starting where we're at — but trying to situate where we're at in the bigger picture? On the roots: What does youth unemployment mean to us? Where is it driving young Kenyans politically? Towards ethnic and religious militia that appear to hold out the promises both tangible and intangible? Or towards forms of organisation that speak to addressing their disenfranchisement through the accepted political process? What will those militia and other forms of organisation be doing as we move into our own electoral process? What will our amoral political parties and politicians be trying to do with them? What will the state be doing to them?

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News Headline: Tribal tensions leave 8 dead, 15 wounded in southern Libya | News Date: 03/27/2012 Outlet Full Name: CNN.com News Text: (CNN) -- Eight people were killed and 15 were wounded on Monday in the city of Sabha in southern Libya when clashes erupted between two tribes, Deputy Interior Minister Omar Al-Khadrawi told Libyan state-run TV. He said the fighting began when a person from one tribe was killed and his tribesmen suspected the killer to be from the other tribe. Al-Khadrawi said the situation is very dangerous in Sabha. "We are watching the situation closely. The chief of staff of the armed forces is working (on) sending a force from the army there to prevent the conflict from growing." Social media videos surfaced showing heavily armed men shooting while heading down a street shouting "God is great." Al-Khadrawi told Libyan TV the situation in Libya is fragile and very dangerous. "We came out of a very big crisis; weapons are widely spread in the country. Now all people in Libya have access to these weapons," he said. The Libyan government has been unable to control Tripoli International Airport since August 2011, when fighters from the Libyan town of Zintan claimed it during the fall of Tripoli. The fighters refused to hand over the airport to the government during a scheduled ceremony on Sunday. They have demanded jobs and positions in airport management, demands the government is refusing to meet, Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur said Monday on his Twitter account. "The government pledged to provide jobs for the revolutionaries of the Zintan Brigade, but in positions the government decides after they hand over the airport unconditionally," Abushagur said. For months,Tripoli residents have been complaining about revolutionary fighters from Zintan and Misrata who came in for the liberation of the capital and have not left. Sunday's scheduled airport turnover was not the first failed attempt. In an interview in February, the interior minister said the airport would be handed over within two weeks. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report.
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News Headline: South Africa: Zuma Highlights Need for Nuclear Terrorism Vigilance | News Date: 03/26/2012 Outlet Full Name: AllAfrica.com News Text: Pretoria — President Jacob Zuma has stressed the importance of remaining alert to the risks posed by nuclear terrorism.

Speaking at the Leaders' Working Dinner at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday, Zuma warned against complacency. "We should remain vigilant of the continued risks posed by nuclear terrorism, the illicit nuclear network and criminal acts, and the use of nuclear or other radioactive material for malicious acts. "We can, through a co-operative approach in the relevant multilateral organisations, effectively deal with these risks," he said. Zuma noted that leaders were meeting at the summit with the common objective to achieve a world free of weapons of mass destruction, and in particular nuclear weapons. "In our desire to create a forum to raise awareness on nuclear security; we cannot ignore the reality that only the verifiable and irreversible elimination of nuclear weapons will ultimately prevent the use of such weapons," he added. Zuma also noted the necessity to fully implement relevant international legally binding obligations on nuclear security and nuclear safety. Such an approach proved invaluable when South Africa hosted the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup. "Let me take this opportunity to thank the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Government of the United States of America for their assistance in facilitating the implementation of nuclear security measures at the different World Cup venues, thereby contributing to its great success," he said. On the issue of highly enriched uranium (HEU), Zuma acknowledged that HEU and separated plutonium required special precautions, adding that South Africa had taken such precautions. "Our international legally binding obligations on nuclear disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation allow for the enrichment of uranium for peaceful purposes only, irrespective of the enrichment level. In this connection, South Africa has adopted a policy on the beneficiation of our mineral resources, including uranium." South Africa believes that the focus on minimising the use of HEU in peaceful applications, which represents a tiny fraction of HEU used for military purposes, should come to fruition in the long outstanding negotiations on a fissile material treaty, he added. These negotiations should commence in the Conference on Disarmament without further delay. "Going forward, we believe that the best approach would be to address the issues of nuclear safety and nuclear security in a coherent manner. Therefore, our future emphasis should be on supporting the work on nuclear safety and security undertaken by existing multilateral organizations such as the IAEA," he said.
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News Headline: U.S. Soldiers Observe Training at Moroccan Field Artillery Center |

News Date: 03/27/2012 Outlet Full Name: U.S. Army Africa Public Affairs News Text: MOROCCO, Mar 26, 2012 — In order to help improve the security of Morocco, 20 members of the 15th Royal Artillery Group purchased approximately 60 armored vehicles called M109A5 howitzers through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program. At the request of the Royal Moroccan Field Artillery Training Center, an artillery tactics militaryto-military exercise was executed in the cities of Fes and Guercie, March 4-10, 2012 to help provide the Moroccan soldiers with training on the maintenance, safety and firing of the M109A5 system. Two soldiers from 1st Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, out of Fort Sill, Oklahoma, volunteered to observe and provide subject matter expert guidance on the artillery training. First Sergeant Kurt Douglas, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, and noncommissioned officer in charge of the exercise, said the mission was split between lectures on various topics regarding the M109A5 and live fire exercises at the Royal Moroccan Field Artillery Training Center. The fire exercises included forward observer procedures, fire direction center procedures and gun line crew drills. Douglas said the soldiers of the 15th RAG performed like consummate professionals, making it seem like they have been firing the M109A1, A2 and A3 systems for decades. "They fully understand all gunnery concepts and developed effective techniques that ensures they achieve accuracy, thus demonstrating the mastery of gunnery concepts and techniques ,but they are not able to execute some key tasks due to lack of associated equipment," Douglas said. Major Tyrone Martin, executive officer, 1st Bn., 17th FAR, and the officer in charge of the mission, said despite the 15th RAG's very limited budget, they have created innovative solutions for things U.S. Soldiers take for granted. "They have a passion for artillery that we all should want to have. As they do not have the same technology as we are use to, they have a mastery of field artillery gunnery that sometimes I believe we take for granted due to our technology," Martin said. "They approach field artillery much like we do, with the same doctrine and concepts in equipment, however their experiences and strategic objectives allow them to see the same event differently." Douglas also agrees this training with the 15th RAG provides allows him to see the same event through a different set of eyes. "Training with another country always challenges our existing paradigms and viewpoints in regards to our profession as professional field artillerymen. They approach field artillery much like we do, with the same doctrine and concepts in equipment," Douglas said. "However their experiences and strategic objectives allow them to see the same event differently. This will only make us better." The Moroccan soldiers expressed a strong interest in building and continuing current partnerships as well as creating new ones. "This event built upon an already established close relationship between the two countries' field artillery professionals. The Moroccans closely resemble our own field artillery doctrine as many of their officers have attended our Captains Career Course," Martin said. The M109A5 howitzer is an armored vehicle that is easily customized for specific mission requirements. It is the most common support weapon of maneuver brigades of armored and

mechanized infantry divisions.
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News Headline: United Nations News Centre - Africa Briefs | News Date: 03/27/2012 Outlet Full Name: United Nations News Service News Text: UN tribunal refers case of fugitive genocide suspect to Rwanda court 26 March – The United Nations tribunal trying key suspects implicated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda today ordered the case of an indicted suspect who remains at large be referred to the Rwandan High Court for trial. UN chief ‗deeply concerned' over military clashes on Sudan-South Sudan border 26 March – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is deeply concerned about the military clashes in the border region of Sudan and South Sudan, and calls on their Governments to fully respect and implement the agreements they have already reached on security, border monitoring and the disputed area of Abyei, Mr. Ban's spokesperson said today. With presidential poll now over, Ban urges Senegalese leaders to work together 26 March – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the outgoing President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, and Macky Sall, the reported winner of the presidential run-off poll, to work together in the coming days in the interest of the country. Security Council concerned over situation in Sahel region, condemns Mali rebellion 26 March – The Security Council today voiced serious concern over the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Africa's Sahel region, saying that the presence of armed and terrorist groups, as well as the proliferation of weapons in the area, have exacerbated the problem. Investing in agriculture most effective way to eradicate poverty in Africa – UN 26 March – With the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) just three years away, a senior United Nations official today emphasized that spending on agriculture is the most effective type of investment for halting poverty in Africa.
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