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United States Africa Command Public Affairs Office 19 April 2012 USAFRICOM - related news stories

Good morning. Please see today's news review for April 19, 2012. This e-mail is best viewed in HTML. Of interest in today's report: -Morocco: Africom Commander, U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, Senior Officers Visit U.S Iwo Jima During African Lion Exercise -22 Soldiers Die in South Sudan-Sudan Border Battle -Nigeria: JTF Kills Four in Borno -Somalia: Suicide Bomber Attempts to Attack Anti-Terror Headquarters.

U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs Please send questions or comments to: publicaffairs@usafricom.mil 421-2687 (+49-711-729-2687) Headline Date Outlet

Morocco: Africom Commander, U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, 04/18/2012 AllAfrica.com Senior Officers Visit U.S Iwo Jima During African Lion Exercise
Off the Coast of Morocco -- The U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco, Sam Kaplan, along with senior members of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces and the commanding general of U.S. Africa Command, Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, spent an afternoon with members ...

22 Soldiers Die in South Sudan-Sudan Border Battle

04/18/2012

New York Times Online, The

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) -- Sudan's president threatened Wednesday to topple his rival government to the south, harsh words that could escalate the conflict between the two nations as they intensify clashes over their shared border.

Nigeria: JTF Kills Four in Borno

04/18/2012 AllAfrica.com

Maiduguri -- FOLLOWING the no retreat no surrender between members of deadly Boko Haram Islamic sect and the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, four persons - 3 armed robbers and 1 suspected Islamic Militant sect- were shot dead ...

Somalia: Suicide Bomber Attempts to Attack AntiTerror Headquarters

04/18/2012 AllAfrica.com

Baidoa -- A suicide bomber blew himself up in the capital of Bay region Baidoa killing one Somali anti-terror agent,

Radio Garowe reports.

West Africa: Urgent Action Needed to Address 04/18/2012 AllAfrica.com 'Cascading Crisis' in Africa's Sahel Region - Ban
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the global community to act quickly to address what he described as a "cascading crisis" sweeping the Sahel region of West Africa, where 15 million people have been affected by the drought and conflict-related ...

Ethiopian troops to soon leave Somalia; prime minister calls mission successful

04/18/2012

Washington Post - Online

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- Ethiopian troops fighting al-Qaida-linked militants in neighboring Somalia will soon return home, Ethiopia's prime minister said Tuesday.

Kenyan defence ministry seeks more funding

04/18/2012

Thomson Reuters - Africa - Online

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's defence ministry, which sent troops into Somalia in October to fight al Qaeda-linked rebels, has requested 12.5 billion shillings out of 21.5 billion extra total recurrent expenditure for the 2011/12 fiscal year.

South Sudan says repulses 04/18/2012 Reuters - Online Sudan army attack on Heglig
(Reuters) - South Sudan said on Saturday it had repulsed an attempt by the Sudanese army to retake a disputed oil-producing border area, extending a stand-off that has edged the two countries closer to a full-blown war.

US warns Boko Haram may 04/18/2012 France 24 - Online be planning attacks in Abuja
AFP - The US embassy in Nigeria warned on Wednesday that Islamist group Boko Haram may be planning attacks in the capital Abuja, including against hotels frequented by Westerners.

DR Congo: UN, AU envoys meet LRA victims

04/18/2012

Africa Online Online

New York, US - Senior UN and African Union (AU) officials have met with victims of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Dungu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to reassure them of their efforts to put an end to the atrocities perpetrated by the ar...

Nigeria: Better Living Conditions Will Check Terrorism - Shetima

04/18/2012 AllAfrica.com

Abuja -- Borno State governor, Kashim Shetima, yesterday in Abuja implored the federal and states governments to improve the living conditions of the poor to forestall insecurity and banditry in the country.

Libya may reshuffle government in next few weeks-spokesman

04/18/2012

Thomson Reuters - Africa - Online

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's ruling National Transitional Council is reviewing the work of some of the government's ministers and may choose to replace them, an NTC spokesman said on Tuesday.

Bissau shuts air and sea space, uncertainty grows

04/18/2012 Reuters - Online

(Reuters) - Frightened residents fled the capital of Guinea-Bissau on Monday and some stockpiled supplies after military chiefs shut the country's air and sea space following their coup four days ago.

AFRICOM Commander, U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, 24th Marine senior officers visit USS Iwo 04/19/2012 Expeditionary Jima during African Lion Unit exercise
The U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco, Sam Kaplan, along with senior members of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces and the commanding general of U.S. Africa Command, Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, spent

an afternoon with members of the 24th Marine Expeditio...

Moroccans, Marines Prep for US Marine Forces Final Exercise at Africa Lion 04/19/2012 Africa 2012
U.S. Marines of 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Battalion Landing Team, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Moroccan Armed Forces service members, teamed up to rehearse the final exercise for Exercise Africa Lion 2012 in Cap Draa, Morocco, April 16, 201...

United Nations News Centre United Nations 04/19/2012 - Africa Briefs News Service
-Head of UN peacekeeping discusses cooperation with senior official of West African bloc -Ban voices concern over arrests of public officials in Mali -Meeting with LRA victims, UN and African envoys pledge continued support -Urgent action needed to addr...

News Headline: Morocco: Africom Commander, U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, Senior Officers Visit U.S Iwo Jima During African Lion Exercise | News Date: 04/18/2012 Outlet Full Name: AllAfrica.com News Text: Off the Coast of Morocco The U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco, Sam Kaplan, along with senior members of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces and the commanding general of U.S. Africa Command, Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, spent an afternoon with members of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group aboard the USS Iwo Jima, April 16, 2012, to learn about the unique capabilities of the amphibious assault ship and the Marines who operate from it. Also with the group were Marine Maj. Gen. Rex McMillian, commander of 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, and Marine Brig. Gen. Charles Chiarotti, deputy commander of Marine Forces Africa and Marine Forces Europe. The visit was part of a key leader engagement between Americans and Moroccans as the bilateral training exercise African Lion 12 comes to a close. Over the past 10 days, Marines from the 24th MEU have launched from all three ships of the Iwo Jima ARG to conduct a variety of training exercises with the Moroccan military, which included live-fire ranges, classes on weapons and tactics, and familiarization with the Marine Corps' assault amphibious vehicles. The visitors were picked up and brought out to the ship after a quick ride on two of the 24th MEU's MV-22 Ospreys. The commanders of the 24th MEU, Iwo Jima ARG and USS Iwo Jima hosted the ambassador and Moroccan officers for lunch while Ham, McMillian and Chiarotti ate with junior Marines and sailors on the mess deck. After lunch, the visitors gathered in the ship's hangar bay where Kaplan and Ham spoke a few words to the troops before speaking personally with dozens of Marines who waited to show off the weapons and equipment that enable them to accomplish the MEU's various missions. Snipers, mortarmen and assaultmen from the MEU's infantry component displayed rifles, rockets, mortars and optics, while artillerymen from 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, discussed their newest weapon, the 120 mm towed mortar system. Col. Frank Donovan, the 24th MEU commanding officer, grabbed an opportunity in the ship's well deck to explain the particulars of the MEU/ARG team's amphibious capabilities to Kaplan. "The ambassador represents the face of America in a foreign country," said Donovan. "Ambassador Kaplan created this opportunity to train with Royal Moroccan Armed Forces and,

as the first MEU to participate in Exercise African Lion, it was a great way to not only say thank you but also show him the capabilities and capacities of the Navy and Marine Corps expeditionary team." One of the key goals of Exercise African Lion is to promote partnership between each nation's militaries. With a long deployment still in front of him, the 24th MEU commanding officer expressed his gratitude to his Moroccan guests. "We're leaving Morocco with seven-and-a-half months ahead of us, better trained for what's ahead because of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces," said Donovan.
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News Headline: 22 Soldiers Die in South Sudan-Sudan Border Battle | News Date: 04/18/2012 Outlet Full Name: New York Times - Online, The News Text: KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) Sudan's president threatened Wednesday to topple his rival government to the south, harsh words that could escalate the conflict between the two nations as they intensify clashes over their shared border. As the international community pushed for a peaceful solution to the dispute, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir vowed to "liberate" the people of South Sudan, saying it was his country's duty to them. South Sudan broke away from Sudan in July after decades of civil war, creating the world's newest country. But the two never agreed on how to share the oil wealth found in the region between the countries, and the border was never fully demarcated. Fighting has intensified in the last several weeks amid fears the two sides could return to an all-out war. On Tuesday, soldiers from Sudan and South Sudan clashed at a river dividing their two countries, leaving 22 dead as fighting spread to a new area of the tense border. The river battle comes amid wider violence along the shared border around the oil town of Heglig, which South Sudan troops took control of last week. Sudanese aircraft have been bombing South Sudan's Unity State as a part of that fighting. Speaking to young members of his ruling party in Khartoum late Wednesday, the Sudanese president accused the ruling South Sudan People's Liberation Movement and its army of implementing an "external" agenda that don't serve its own people. Al-Bashir accused Juba of trying to topple his government and vowed to retaliate. "This situation makes it imperative upon Sudan to confront the challenge of the State of South Sudan to topple the government in Khartoum by working to liberate the Southern nationals," from the southern ruling party, he said. Al-Bashir is known for his tough rhetoric. His troops were surprised by the capture of the oilrich town and have vowed to reclaim it, but his government also is using diplomatic channels to try to resolve the issue. Mustafa Osman Ismail, a top adviser to al-Bashir, warned South Sudan that it must immediately withdraw from Heglig or face counterattacks. Ismail spoke in Ethiopia's capital, where he met with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and African Union officials.

He said the trip was intended to "ask those with influence" to persuade South Sudan to withdraw from Heglig. Ismail said al-Bashir called several heads of state and sent his foreign minister to South Africa to work on the issue. "Time is running short, and our army is also getting ready," said Ismail. He said Khartoum is under pressure from Sudan's public to liberate "the invaded territory" after South Sudan TV broadcast images of what he said are medical staff captured in Heglig. Al-Bashir said it is the responsibility of his government to rid the southerners from the ruling party in the south, The Sudan People's Liberation Movement, because it was his government that helped them seize power. "It was we who have contributed to empowering the SPLM in the South and therefore we are responsible before our people in the South to correct the mistake we have committed," he said. African Union mediator Thabo Mbeki urged the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to take action to stop the fighting between Sudan and South Sudan, warning that both sides are locked in a "logic of war" with hardliners increasingly in control. Security Council members promised to urgently discuss the crisis, including the possibility of sanctions, said U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, the current Security Council president. She briefed reporters about the former South African president's closed discussion with the council via videoconference. Rice said Mbeki told the council that Khartoum believes South Sudan is seeking regime change in its northern neighbor "and that if that is the case, then the objective of Khartoum would also be regime change" in the South. "Frankly, one would hope that that is rhetoric and not the objective or the purported objective of either side," Rice said. A Sudan foreign ministry official denounced Rice's comments Wednesday. "This means treating the culprit and victim equally," Foreign Ministry spokesman Omar Dahab said. He said the "aggression" by Southern Sudanese troops on the Heglig area was a "flagrant violation" of the U.N. charter. "It is the duty of the Security Council to find an end to the situation in Heglig," Dahab said. Tuesday's firefight began after a Sudanese soldier shot a South Sudan soldier who was getting water from the river, South Sudan government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin said Wednesday. In all, seven South Sudan soldiers and 15 Sudan soldiers died near the town of Meiram, along the border with Sudan's South Kordofan state and South Sudan's Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, he said. But even as border violence spread to new regions, Benjamin labeled the fight a "misunderstanding" and said he did not think violence would continue there.
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News Headline: Nigeria: JTF Kills Four in Borno |

News Date: 04/18/2012 Outlet Full Name: AllAfrica.com News Text: Maiduguri FOLLOWING the no retreat no surrender between members of deadly Boko Haram Islamic sect and the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, four persons - 3 armed robbers and 1 suspected Islamic Militant sect- were shot dead Tuesday in Maiduguri, Borno State. Spokesman of the JTF, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa confirmed the killing today on phone. He said the men of the JTF after a tip off raided a hideout of some suspected Boko Haram terrorists at about 5;30 am at Pompomari ward of the metropolis, which led to the killing of one of the sect members, even as he added that an AK47 Rifle and some explosives were recovered. And that in a related development, during an Operation Condone and Search conducted in Wulari metropolis, the JTF also arrested 13 suspected members of the sect who are now being investigated. Sagir stated further that the JTF after responding to a distress call in Gomari ward at about 2:18am engaged some armed robbers in a shoot out which led to the killing of 3 of the suspected armed robbers, pointing out that, items recovered from them include 1 pistol, a dane gun and 3 machetes. He therefore urged the general public to cooperate with the security agencies in their quest of tackling the Boko Harm and other insurgencies affecting the state.
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News Headline: Somalia: Suicide Bomber Attempts to Attack Anti-Terror Headquarters | News Date: 04/18/2012 Outlet Full Name: AllAfrica.com News Text: Baidoa A suicide bomber blew himself up in the capital of Bay region Baidoa killing one Somali anti-terror agent, Radio Garowe reports. The Al Shabaab agent whose name is still unknown, strapped explosives to his body and attempted to enter an anti-terror bureau in the city. According to local sources in Baidoa after failing to enter the headquarters the bomber clung on to an agent outside the bureau and detonated the explosives. The officer was injured severely in the bombing and was rushed to a Baidoa hospital where he died shortly after. The headquarters is located opposite a construction site for a UN compound in Baidoa and had both Ethiopian and Somali agents inside at the time of the bombing. "After the bomber failed to enter the bureau where both Ethiopian and Somali officers were he detonated himself, said Mohamed Samow a lieutenant in the Somali forces stationed in Baidoa. Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Abdiaziz Abu Musab who released a statement through the organization's radio said that they successfully carried out the operation killing both Somali and Ethiopian spies. The Al Shabaab terror organization vowed earlier this month that they would reclaim former strongholds and have carried out two attacks in the past week. Last week an IED was planted near a vegetable market in busy downtown Baidoa were people shopping for groceries many

of whom were women were killed. At least 12 were killed and over 18 people were injured. The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) alongside Ethiopia, Kenya and AMISOM forces have managed to force Al Shabaab from strongholds in southern Somalia. One hundred AMISOM forces have been stationed in Baidoa and 2,400 more are expected.
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News Headline: West Africa: Urgent Action Needed to Address 'Cascading Crisis' in Africa's Sahel Region - Ban | News Date: 04/18/2012 Outlet Full Name: AllAfrica.com News Text: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the global community to act quickly to address what he described as a "cascading crisis" sweeping the Sahel region of West Africa, where 15 million people have been affected by the drought and conflict-related crisis in the area. "I call upon the world to respond. Simply put, we must do more - and do it quickly," Mr. Ban said in an address to the Luxembourg Parliament. "Across the region, we see growing conflict and unrest, more people being displaced, rising food and fuel prices and severe drought. "The statistics are sobering: 15 million people are directly affected. More than 200,000 children died of malnutrition last year - and another one million are threatened right now," he added. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the food and nutrition crisis facing countries in West Africa's drought-prone Sahel region has continued to deteriorate at an alarming rate this year despite commendable early response efforts by governments and international aid agencies. The worsening food shortages and malnutrition have been compounded by conflict and insecurity. In his remarks to the Parliament, the UN chief said events in Libya have made an already difficult security and humanitarian situation even worse. "Many thousands returned home to the Sahel. Some were migrant workers, but others are armed fighters criminal elements bringing with them large quantities of light and heavy weapons and ammunition," he noted, adding that in Mali, the Tuareg rebellion in the north has uprooted at least 200,000 people. While neighbouring countries are assisting refugees who escape across borders, those who are internally displaced receive little help, he stated, adding that humanitarian agencies cannot access many parts of the region. "A multifaceted crisis demands a multifaceted response," stated Mr. Ban, who noted at the same time that international response plans across the region are less than 40 per cent funded. "And the crisis has yet to peak." UN agencies and partners last December appealed for $724 million to fund the humanitarian response to the crisis in the Sahel. Mr. Ban said that by acting decisively and with practical vision now, it will be possible to head off future crises. "Across the board, we need to think differently. If the cascading crisis in the Sahel demonstrates anything, it is the need to dig deeper to get at the root causes of conflict," he said.

Mr. Ban's visit to Luxembourg, the third leg of European trip that also took him to Switzerland and Belgium, is the first visit by a UN Secretary-General to the country since 1989. Earlier in the day, he had an audience with Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg and met senior political figures, including Prime Minister Jean-Claude Junker and Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn. The Secretary-General expressed his deep appreciation for the excellent cooperation between the UN and Luxembourg, according to information provided by Mr. Ban's spokesperson on the discussions, which also touched on issues such as Syria, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, the Middle East peace process and Sudan-South Sudan tensions. Speaking to reporters after these meetings, Mr. Ban noted that the overall cessation of violence in Syria has been "generally observed," adding that the country's leadership should exercise maximum restraint so that the cessation can hold. Mr. Ban is scheduled to submit a formal proposal to the Security Council by tomorrow for a UN supervision mission for Syria, where more than 9,000 civilians have been killed since the uprising began last year. The Council last weekend authorized the deployment of up to 30 observers as part of an advance team tasked with monitoring the cessation of violence. "It is the Syrian Government's responsibility to guarantee freedom of access and freedom of movement within the country for these observers," said the Secretary-General. "They should be allowed to freely move to any places where they will be able to observe the cessation of violence." Also today, Mr. Ban addressed the University of Luxembourg, telling students that they can make a difference, and that they personally can contribute to the UN's work for peace and to the world's development and human rights. "This United Nations is your United Nations. And this is your moment," he stated, adding that youth around the world are shaping events as never before. "All of us can mobilize for change. With our cameras and our sense of justice, we can be human rights monitors. With our access to information and our ability to put it online, we can hold authorities to account. With our social networks, we can push for progress."
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News Headline: Ethiopian troops to soon leave Somalia; prime minister calls mission successful | News Date: 04/18/2012 Outlet Full Name: Washington Post - Online News Text: ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia Ethiopian troops fighting al-Qaida-linked militants in neighboring Somalia will soon return home, Ethiopia's prime minister said Tuesday. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said regions of Somalia currently controlled by Ethiopian forces will be handed over to troops from Burundi, Kenya, Djibouti and Rwanda. The first three countries have troops in Somalia as part of the African Union peacekeeping force. Rwanda does not currently have troops in Somalia. Ethiopian troops moved into Somalia at the beginning of the year. Meles said the mission has accomplished very good results in fighting al-Shabab militants. He did not provide a timeline for such a withdrawal and handover. The aim of our involvement was to aide the (Somali) transitional government and help weaken

Shabab insurgents. And it has been successful, Meles told the country's parliament. Meles said Ethiopian forces have met little military resistance in Somalia, although al-Shabab has claimed to have carried out several deadly attacks against the Ethiopian troops. He also told parliament that Ethiopia would not become involved in a war with archrival Eritrea. Last month Ethiopian troops moved into neighboring Eritrea and attacked three military camps in response to militant attacks on tourists inside Ethiopia.
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News Headline: Kenyan defence ministry seeks more funding | News Date: 04/18/2012 Outlet Full Name: Thomson Reuters - Africa - Online News Text: NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's defence ministry, which sent troops into Somalia in October to fight al Qaeda-linked rebels, has requested 12.5 billion shillings out of 21.5 billion extra total recurrent expenditure for the 2011/12 fiscal year. The government also plans to reduce development spending by 17.3 billion, with 9.9 billion cut from money allocated to the office of the deputy prime minister and ministry of finance, supplementary budget estimates - released on Tuesday - show. The rise in defence funding had been expected as the Kenyan army fights al Shabaab insurgents in neighbouring Somalia. "The overall amounts are small, and financing should not pose a problem. But from the perspective of Kenya's debt ratios already being reasonably high, this won't be especially comforting," said Standard Chartered's Africa research head Razia Khan. "What is unfortunate is that it looks like development spending is being cut to make way for recurrent expenditure, with a large chunk of that being defence spending," she said. The latest estimates for recurrent expenditure also show a 6.1 billion rise in funding for teachers, who ended a pay strike in September after reaching agreement with the government. The main loser on recurrent expenditure, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, had its budget for the fiscal year that ends on June 30 chopped by 4 billion shillings. Kenya holds its next general elections in March 2013.
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News Headline: South Sudan says repulses Sudan army attack on Heglig | News Date: 04/18/2012 Outlet Full Name: Reuters - Online News Text: (Reuters) - South Sudan said on Saturday it had repulsed an attempt by the Sudanese army to retake a disputed oil-producing border area, extending a stand-off that has edged the two countries closer to a full-blown war. South Sudanese troops wrested control of the Heglig oilfield from Sudan on Tuesday, prompting widespread condemnation from global powers and vows of retaliation from Khartoum. The Sudanese army said late on Friday its forces were advancing on Heglig, vital to Sudan's

economy because a field there accounted for about half of its 115,000-barrel-a-day oil output. The fighting has halted that portion of its output, officials say. "They tried to attack our positions around 40 milesnorth of Heglig last night but it was contained," South Sudanese Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin told Reuters. "Heglig is (still) under our control," he added. Sudanese army spokesman Al-Sawarmi Khalid did not answer his mobile phone when Reuters attempted to call him on Saturday. The fighting has brought the former civil war foes closer to a resumption of full-blown conflict than any time since the south seceded in July, and struck a blow to Sudan's already struggling economy. The Sudanese pound hit a historic low on the Khartoum black market as people fearing the economic fallout of the conflict rushed to convert savings into dollars, money traders said. Sudan already had lost about three quarters of its oil output when South Sudan seceded, driving up the cost of imports and fuelling food inflation. Landlocked South Sudan shut down its own output - about 350,000 barrels a day - in January after failing to agree how much it should pay to export crude via pipelines and other infrastructure in Sudan. Juba now says it will withdraw from Heglig only if the United Nations deploys forces to monitor a ceasefire. The crisis has all but killed hopes that the two countries would be able to reach a swift agreement on partition-related issues through African Union-brokered talks. Khartoum pulled out of the negotiations after the south seized Heglig. Since the south voted for independence from Sudan last year, the two sides have failed to resolve issues including the position of the 1,800-km (1,200-mile) border, division of the national debt and status of citizens in each other's territory. The two sides fought one of Africa's longest and deadliest civil conflicts. Some 2 million people died in the war, rooted in disputes over ideology, religion, ethnicity and oil. (Additional reporting and writing by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Michael Roddy)
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News Headline: US warns Boko Haram may be planning attacks in Abuja | News Date: 04/18/2012 Outlet Full Name: France 24 - Online News Text: AFP - The US embassy in Nigeria warned on Wednesday that Islamist group Boko Haram may be planning attacks in the capital Abuja, including against hotels frequented by Westerners. "The US embassy has received information that Boko Haram may be planning attacks in Abuja, Nigeria, including against hotels frequently visited by Westerners," an emergency message to US citizens on its website said.

"The US government has no additional information regarding the timing of these possible attacks. The Nigerian government is aware of the threat and is actively implementing security measures." It gave no further information on the threats. A police spokesman told AFP "we are not aware of any special threat of attacks by Boko Haram or any individual or group." "However, police are ever ready and prepared to deal with any situation and security threat to Nigerians and foreigners living in Abuja or any other parts of the country," said Olusola Amore. The US issued a similar message in November that drew harsh criticism in Nigeria. No attacks occurred in Abuja in the wake of the November warning. A US diplomat at the time however said the warning was based on specific and credible information, adding that the embassy had no choice but to warn American citizens. Boko Haram has carried out scores of attacks, mainly in Nigeria's predominately Muslim north, that have killed more than 1,000 people since mid-2009. It claimed responsibility for the August suicide bombing of UN headquarters in Abuja which claimed at least 25 lives. The group's deadliest attack yet occurred in the northern city of Kano in January, when coordinated bombings and shootings left at least 185 people dead. Despite heavy-handed raids and a number of high-profile arrests, Nigerian authorities have appeared unable to stop the attacks. An attempt to hold indirect talks between Boko Haram and the government in March collapsed after a mediator quit over leaks to the media and the Islamists said they could not trust government officials. Authorities blamed the deaths of a British and an Italian hostage in northwestern Nigeria in March on a faction of Boko Haram. A spokesman for what is believed to be the main branch of the group however denied any involvement. US Ambassador to Nigeria Terence McCulley recently urged Nigeria to focus on development in its impoverished north as well as security to bring an end to an onslaught of deadly attacks blamed on Boko Haram. Analysts say poverty and frustration in the north have pushed young people toward extremism. Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and largest oil producer with some 160 million people, is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian south. The oil-producing south is wealthier and more educated, stoking resentment in the north.
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News Headline: DR Congo: UN, AU envoys meet LRA victims | News Date: 04/18/2012 Outlet Full Name: Africa Online - Online

News Text: New York, US - Senior UN and African Union (AU) officials have met with victims of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Dungu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to reassure them of their efforts to put an end to the atrocities perpetrated by the armed group. A UN statement made available to PANA in New York Wednesday quoted the UN Special Representative for Central Africa, Mr. Abou Moussa, as telling the victims: 'Our greatest wish is that you return home and that you continue to go about your normal activities. We will all continue to work to achieve this objective.' It said the meeting was held in Linakoyo, near a base of the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO). 'We are aware of all your problems, and we will increase awareness among different stakeholders to find a lasting solution for you,' Mr. Moussa said. According to the statement, Mr Moussa and the Special Envoy of the AU for the LRA issue, Francisco Madeira, met with representatives of 168 displaced families in Dungu, who told them about their 'unbearable living conditions, including lack of drinking water and difficulties sending their children to school'. They also had a working meeting with UN agencies and non-governmental organizations in the region to examine how to strengthen cooperation and coordination between the AU forces that will soon be deployed in Dungu, and the Congolese and UN forces already on the ground. It noted that Mr. Madeira formally introduced Uganda's Colonel Dick Prit Olum, the Chief of the Regional Intervention Force authorized by the AU to track down LRA leader Joseph Kony, and his men. 'The Ugandan military officer was was appointed to contribute with all his experience and military expertise to neutralize all the criminals who threaten your life,' the AU envoy said. The statement disclosed that after Dungu, the two officials went to Obo, in the southeast of the Central African Republic (CAR), where they will meet with the CAR and Ugandan soldiers who are currently participating in anti-LRA operations, with the support of a military unit from the US. In late March, they visited the headquarters of the Regional Intervention Force, located in South Sudan. Established in November 2011 by the AU Peace and Security Council, the Force is part of renewed efforts against the LRA. Formed in the 1980s in Uganda, the LRA has mainly directed its attacks against Ugandan civilians and security forces. It then exported its activities to Uganda's neighbouring countries, with practices that include the recruitment of children, rapes, killing and maiming and sexual slavery. Since the beginning of this year, more than 4,200 people have been displaced as a result of LRA activity in DRC's Orientale Province, where Dungu is located.
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News Headline: Nigeria: Better Living Conditions Will Check Terrorism - Shetima | News Date: 04/18/2012

Outlet Full Name: AllAfrica.com News Text: Abuja Borno State governor, Kashim Shetima, yesterday in Abuja implored the federal and states governments to improve the living conditions of the poor to forestall insecurity and banditry in the country. Speaking at the opening of an International Security Awareness Summit on Terrorism and Other Related Crimes, tagged "National Security: Our Shared Obligation", the governor disclosed that the poor living condition of the less privileged in the society was part of the reasons they were more susceptible to carrying arms and threatening the peace and security of the nation. Consequently, he called on government officials and the political elite to shun acts of enriching themselves alone and take steps towards empowering and improving the living conditions of the poor as a panacea to checkmating growing insecurity in the country.
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News Headline: Libya may reshuffle government in next few weeks-spokesman | News Date: 04/18/2012 Outlet Full Name: Thomson Reuters - Africa - Online News Text: TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's ruling National Transitional Council is reviewing the work of some of the government's ministers and may choose to replace them, an NTC spokesman said on Tuesday. Mohammed al-Harizy declined to say which ministers were under review or whether the prime minister was among them, but said there could be a reshuffle in the next few weeks. "There is a discussion over the performance of some of the ministers in the government and a possibility that some ministers will be changed," he told Reuters on Tuesday. "But no decision has been made." If it went ahead, it would be the second reshuffle of Libya's interim government since its creation. Last November, Prime Minister Abdurrahim al-Keib was brought in to deal with the tricky task of managing the transition from civil war to democracy. He chose a new cabinet which began to integrate former rebel fighters into a new national army and to build new government institutions from scratch. But the NTC has been looking into the activity of ministries, including the health ministry run by Fatima al-Hamroush, which has been hit by scandal. On April 7, the NTC was forced to halt a ministry of health scheme to pay compensation to people who fought in last year's uprising against Muammar Gaddafi because the programme turned out to be corrupt. The ministry had spent 1.8 billion Libyan dinars in less than three months, the NTC discovered, and some of the money had been doled out to people who were dead or who had never even fought in the uprising. Earlier this year, the same ministry also had to cancel another programme meant to provide free overseas medical care for the uprising's wounded after it turned out to be riddled with fraud too.

In that case, the government discovered it was picking up the airfares, medical and hotel bills of people who had simply obtained faked documents saying they were wounded.
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News Headline: Bissau shuts air and sea space, uncertainty grows | News Date: 04/18/2012 Outlet Full Name: Reuters - Online News Text: (Reuters) - Frightened residents fled the capital of Guinea-Bissau on Monday and some stockpiled supplies after military chiefs shut the country's air and sea space following their coup four days ago. As uncertainty in the small impoverished West African state grew, former colonial power Portugal denounced what it called an "absolutely illegitimate military coup" and said it had dispatched a military force in case it became necessary to evacuate its citizens. The prospect of Portuguese planes and warships appearing off the coast prompted GuineaBissau's military chiefs to shut the country's air and sea space to all unauthorized traffic. "Nonobservance of this measure will imply a military response," a communiqu announcing the move said. Ordinary people appeared to be bracing themselves for the worst as it became clear that last week's coup - in which soldiers seized the country's civilian leaders and cut short a presidential election - had created an unpredictable power vacuum. With Guinea-Bissau's army leaders appealing for calm, banks and government offices shut down in the dilapidated coastal capital Bissau and travelers - loaded with luggage and children - packed the bus station seeking transport to what they believed would be safer locations in the interior. "I'm worried there's going to be a war. So I'm going to my village, at Sao Domingos, I'm leaving with my five children," Djenabou Bari, a housewife in her 40s, told Reuters. Foreign governments and organizations from around the world have roundly condemned the latest putsch by the country's notoriously unruly military, which has a history of revolts and uprisings. It has more recently been accused of involvement in drug-smuggling. A high-level delegation from the West African regional grouping ECOWAS was due to fly into Bissau to tell military leaders their actions were "unacceptable". Military sources said the ECOWAS delegation would be authorized to enter the country. Since soldiers arrested interim President Raimundo Pereira and former prime minister and presidential front-runner Carlos Gomes Junior in an overnight putsch on Thursday, GuineaBissau's military chiefs have been struggling to put a credible administration in place to run the country. Gomes Junior was unpopular with military chiefs because he backed an initiative to downsize the bloated Guinea-Bissau army. SECOND COUP TO ROIL THE REGION On Sunday, the military said it had formed a "national transition council" with some of the country's political parties, though the main PAIGC party refused to participate in what it called the army's "unconstitutional" initiatives.

The military has asked the political parties to organize a transition to fresh elections. In a sign of protest, workers stayed away from government offices on Monday. "The government doesn't exist and in such a situation we have no bosses," Estevao Gomes, secretary-general of the main UNTG union said. It was the second coup in West Africa in a month following a military takeover by military officers in Mali on March 22 that dealt a setback to efforts to consolidate democracy in a region still rent by ethnic and religious faultlines. Mali's coup leaders have now handed back power to a civilian president. It remains unclear whether the armed forces in Guinea-Bissau - who have studiously avoided presenting individual leadership "faces" in public - could effectively run a country whose main export is cashew nuts and where most citizens live on less than $2 a day. "What will they be running? They're holding a whole country hostage," one Bissau-based diplomat said. "It's them against the world," another diplomat said. At the weekend, the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP), which counts Guinea-Bissau among its members, backed the idea of a U.N.-mandated intervention force for Guinea-Bissau to be formed with the cooperation of the African Union and the European Union. (Additional reporting by Axel Bugge in Lisbon; Writing by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Andrew Osborn)
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News Headline: AFRICOM Commander, U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, senior officers visit USS Iwo Jima during African Lion exercise | News Date: 04/19/2012 Outlet Full Name: 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit News Text: The U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco, Sam Kaplan, along with senior members of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces and the commanding general of U.S. Africa Command, Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, spent an afternoon with members of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group aboard the USS Iwo Jima, April 16, 2012, to learn about the unique capabilities of the amphibious assault ship and the Marines who operate from it. Also with the group were Marine Maj. Gen. Rex McMillian, commander of 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, and Marine Brig. Gen. Charles Chiarotti, deputy commander of Marine Forces Africa and Marine Forces Europe. The visit was part of a key leader engagement between Americans and Moroccans as the bilateral training exercise African Lion 12 comes to a close. Over the past 10 days, Marines from the 24th MEU have launched from all three ships of the Iwo Jima ARG to conduct a variety of training exercises with the Moroccan military, which included live-fire ranges, classes on weapons and tactics, and familiarization with the Marine Corps' assault amphibious vehicles. The visitors were picked up and brought out to the ship after a quick ride on two of the 24th MEU's MV-22 Ospreys.

The commanders of the 24th MEU, Iwo Jima ARG and USS Iwo Jima hosted the ambassador and Moroccan officers for lunch while Ham, McMillian and Chiarotti ate with junior Marines and sailors on the mess deck. After lunch, the visitors gathered in the ship's hangar bay where Kaplan and Ham spoke a few words to the troops before speaking personally with dozens of Marines who waited to show off the weapons and equipment that enable them to accomplish the MEU's various missions. Snipers, mortarmen and assaultmen from the MEU's infantry component displayed rifles, rockets, mortars and optics, while artillerymen from 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, discussed their newest weapon, the 120 mm towed mortar system. Col. Frank Donovan, the 24th MEU commanding officer, grabbed an opportunity in the ship's well deck to explain the particulars of the MEU/ARG team's amphibious capabilities to Kaplan. "The ambassador represents the face of America in a foreign country," said Donovan. "Ambassador Kaplan created this opportunity to train with Royal Moroccan Armed Forces and, as the first MEU to participate in Exercise African Lion, it was a great way to not only say thank you but also show him the capabilities and capacities of the Navy and Marine Corps expeditionary team." One of the key goals of Exercise African Lion is to promote partnership between each nation's militaries. With a long deployment still in front of him, the 24th MEU commanding officer expressed his gratitude to his Moroccan guests. "We're leaving Morocco with seven-and-a-half months ahead of us, better trained for what's ahead because of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces," said Donovan.
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News Headline: Moroccans, Marines Prep for Final Exercise at Africa Lion 2012 | News Date: 04/19/2012 Outlet Full Name: US Marine Forces Africa News Text: U.S. Marines of 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Battalion Landing Team, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Moroccan Armed Forces service members, teamed up to rehearse the final exercise for Exercise Africa Lion 2012 in Cap Draa, Morocco, April 16, 2012. Starting at their encampments, U.S. Marines and Moroccan soldiers boarded helicopters, flew to the target objective and worked bilaterally to eliminate a simulated enemy threat. "The entire goal of this exercise is to be able to combine forces, integrate and complete a mission using both countries' style of tactics," said Lance Corporal Samuel-Jesse Landry, a squad automatic weapon gunner with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, BLT, 24th MEU. "I think we did that." The multinational force was cooperating days prior to the rehearsal and was able to complete the mission in less than 15 minutes. Landry thought this was important, not only for the final exercise to be a success, but for success in future operations. "Maybe one day down the road, since we're allies, we'll need to cooperate and lean on the Moroccans' expertise in a real world mission," he said.

Sergeant Justin B. Orange, squad leader, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, BLT, 24th MEU, added he would be glad if he had the opportunity to work alongside his Moroccan counterparts in the future. "They're a good fighting force, and we've had a good time out here training with them," he said. "They've picked up quickly on the things we've taught them, and they actually showed us how they embarked and departed from helicopters." Landry said the experience he's had with the Moroccan service members at Cap Draa was a memorable one. "I've never been out of the U.S., I've never seen big sand dunes, and I've never communicated with people from another country, so this is definitely something I can tell stories about," Landry said. "Not many people can say they've ever done the things I've gotten to do here." AL-12 is a U.S. Africa Command-sponsored, Marine Forces Africa-led exercise involving various types of training including command post, live-fire and maneuvering, peace keeping operations, an intelligence capacity building seminar, aerial refueling/low-level flight training, as well as medical and dental assistance projects. The annual exercise is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's military tactics, techniques and procedures.
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News Headline: United Nations News Centre - Africa Briefs | News Date: 04/19/2012 Outlet Full Name: United Nations News Service News Text: Head of UN peacekeeping discusses cooperation with senior official of West African bloc 18 April The United Nations top peacekeeping official had discussions with a senior official of the sub-regional bloc of West African States on issues of mutual interest between the two organizations, including how to better work together, during a visit to the region this week. Ban voices concern over arrests of public officials in Mali 18 April Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced concern over a fresh wave of arrests of high-ranking public officials in Mali, at a time when numerous efforts are being undertaken to help the country overcome the various challenges it is facing. Meeting with LRA victims, UN and African envoys pledge continued support 17 April Senior United Nations and African Union officials met last week with victims of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Dungu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to reassure them of their mobilization to put an end to the atrocities perpetrated by the armed group. Urgent action needed to address cascading crisis' in Africa's Sahel region Ban 17 April Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the global community to act quickly to address what he described as a cascading crisis sweeping the Sahel region of West Africa, where 15 million people have been affected by the drought and conflict-related crisis in the area. UN rights chief condemns Sudan's bombing of civilian areas in South Sudan 17 April The top United Nations human rights official today condemned Sudan's indiscriminate bombing raids that resulted in civilian casualties in South Sudan and urged the two countries' governments to halt the escalating violence along their border areas.

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