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Good morning. Please see today's news review for April 23, 2012. This email is best viewed in HTML. Of interest in today's report -Kony-hunting soldiers face jungle threats -Rumble in the jungle as Ugandan army hunts Kony -Kony2012 Cover the Night fails to move from the Internet to the streets -South Sudan withdraws from oil field
U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs Please send questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org 421-2687 (+49-711-729-2687) Headline Date Outlet
Uganda Konyhunting soldiers 04/23/2012 USA Today face jungle threats
RIVER VOVODO, Central African Republic (AP) -- For Ugandan soldiers tasked with catching Joseph Kony, the real threat is not the elusive Central Africa warlord and his brutal gang. Encounters with the Lord's Resistance Army rebels are so rare that Kony hun...
Rumble in the jungle as Ugandan army hunts Kony
Sweat dripping from his unkempt beard, second lieutenant Kasim Lukumo halted briefly to point at the thick tangle of the central African jungle.
Kony 2012 Cover the Night fails to move from the internet to the streets
04/23/2012 The Guardian
The Kony 2012 Cover the Night campaign woke up to awkward questions on Saturday after activists failed to blanket cities with posters of the wanted Ugandan warlord, Joseph Kony.
South Sudan withdraws from oil 04/22/2012 News24 field
South Sudan's army said on Sunday that its troops faced fresh aerial bombardments from Sudan as they completed their pull-out from the flashpoint Heglig oil field.
Darfur: 4 UNAMID peacekeepers 04/22/2012 Africa en Ligne injured in ambush attacks
Khartoum, Sudan - Four peacekeepers from the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) were shot and injured while on patrol in Darfur, UNAMID said in a statement issued on Saturday. 'A UNAMID formed police unit patrol (FPU) from Togo was att...
Tuaregs Seized Regional Zeitgeist 04/22/2012 DefenseNews.com in Successful Coup
The insurgence, which seeks independence from the Malian central government, has been flaring up since the early 1960s, notably in the first half of 1990s and from 2007 to 2009. A nomadic people, the Tuaregs live in the Sahara and northern Mali and have lo...
Armed Libyans free kidnapped Tunisian petrol workers
04/22/2012 Xinhua News Agency
Libyan rebels freed 80 Tunisian petrol workers kidnapped since Monday, the official TAP press agency reported Wednesday, quoting an interior ministry communique.
Sudan oil infrastructure hit in border fight: monitor
Satellite images show a key part of the oil infrastructure in Sudan's contested Heglig region was destroyed during recent border fighting with South Sudan, a monitoring group said on Sunday.
Kenya: Fight Against Terror Intensified Kinuthia
The government has invested heavily to counter terrorism, Administration Police Commandant Kinuthia Mbugua said yesterday.
Nigeria: 11 ACN Members Matcheted as Thugs Disrupt Adefarati's Lecture
Former Labour Party (LP) chairman in Ondo State, Chief Olaiya Oni and another politician, Chief Wunmi Adegbomire, now both Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) chieftains, were high profile victims of attack by suspected political thugs who attempted to disrup...
Nigeria: Forces Kill Two Islamic Militants in Maiduguri
Nigerian Forces have yesterday shot dead two suspected Islamic sect members (Boko Haram) who allegedly attacked and killed five bakery workers Thursday morning in north eastern city of Maiduguri, Borno State, a Military official has said.
Kenyan pair dominate the London Marathon 04/23/2012 CNN with convincing wins.
Kenyan pair Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany won the men's and women's races at the London Marathon Sunday to serve notice of their gold medal credentials for the Olympics later this year.
3 US military personnel, 3 civilians killed in 04/23/2012 Associated Press car crash in Mali's capital
Three American military personnel and three civilians died early Friday in a single-car crash in Mali's capital, U.S. officials said.
Program Brings Together Northwest Africa Leaders and Partners
Special Operations Command Africa, 04/23/2012 Office of Public Affairs
Representatives from African partner nations Ghana, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, and Senegal participated in the Special Operations Command Africa- coordinated 2012 Flintlock Senior Leader Symposium hosted at the Kofi Annan International ...
Djiboutians, U.S. Personnel Attend Combined Joint Task 04/23/2012 Chebelley Clinic Force - Horn of Africa Grand Opening
Residents of Chebelley, members of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, and U.S. Embassy personnel came together to commemorate the completion of the Chebelley Clinic during a grand opening ceremony in Chebelley Village, Djibouti, April 19, 2012.
AFRICOM Connects with 04/23/2012 US Africa Command South Sudanese Military Chaplains
In the first Senior Leader Religious Engagement with the world's newest nation, representatives from U.S. Africa Command chaplaincy traveled to Juba to meet their South Sudanese counterparts, March 27-30, 2012.
United Nations News Centre Africa Briefs
United Nations News Service
-Security Council demands 'immediate' restoration of constitutional order in Guinea-Bissa -Ban notes South Sudan's announcement on withdrawal, urges talk -WFP resumes airlifts of emergency food in Mali -Kenya: UNAIDS welcomes High Court judgment on anti...
News Headline: Uganda Kony-hunting soldiers face jungle threats | News Date: 04/23/2012 Outlet Full Name: USA Today News Text: RIVER VOVODO, Central African Republic (AP) — For Ugandan soldiers tasked with catching Joseph Kony, the real threat is not the elusive Central Africa warlord and his brutal gang. Encounters with the Lord's Resistance Army rebels are so rare that Kony hunters worry more about the threats of the jungle: Armed poachers, wild beasts, honey bees, and even a fly that torments their ears. A soldier crossing the Chinko river in the Central African Republic on Wednesday was drowned and mauled by a crocodile, spreading terror among hundreds of soldiers who must camp near streams because they need water to cook food. "A crocodile has just taken one of my men," said Col. Joseph Balikuddembe, the top Ugandan
commander of the anti-Kony force. He contorted his face, walked to a map and pointed to Chinko, one of several rivers that the Kony hunters have been stalking in hopes that the LRA might be there looking for water. But it is dry season these days, and the rivers are teeming with hungry crocodiles. This week's crocodile attack was the second in two months, highlighting the perils of trying to catch a rebel leader about whom so little is known and who could be anywhere in this vast Central Africa jungle. There have been no signs of Kony in a long time, and the soldiers whose goal it is to catch him are in fact more likely to be killed by elephants and snakes whose paths they cross. Even honey bees can be a serious menace when they are migrating. Soldiers told an Associated Press reporter who traveled with them through the jungles about a tiny black fly that persistently hovers around and even enters their ears, reducing their capacity for concentration. The soldiers can be seen shaking their heads violently, or desperately slapping their ears, but the flies keep coming in huge numbers. The soldiers look forward to night, when the flies go away. A crocodile attack last month on the banks of the Vovodo river left a soldier with horrific injuries all over his body. He was later taken into intensive care in a Ugandan hospital. "The man just survived that crocodile," Balikuddembe said. "It grabbed his leg and he poked it in the eyes. Then it left him, and as he ran away it came for his arm, then his buttocks." Most Ugandan soldiers here remain hopeful that Kony, who last month became the focus of international attention after a U.S. advocacy group made a successful online video seeking to popularize his crimes, can still be caught despite the challenges. Invisible Children's campaign wants 2012 to be the year Kony is caught, and the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor has said he thinks Kony will be arrested soon. Foot soldiers involved in the manhunt say much the same thing. They hope. Their optimism hinges on the vast amount of time and energy they've spent looking for Kony that it would be self-defeating to give up now. So every day they patrol the jungle for several hours, even if they have spent months without encountering anyone who remotely resembles the enemy. Sometimes they come across suspicious footprints, but it is impossible to tell if they are the LRA's or those of a cattle-keeping tribe called the Ambororo. "Who says it is easy to catch Kony? Let me tell you, Kony is not a grasshopper that's there waiting to be caught," said a Ugandan soldier, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to a reporter. On a search through the jungle on Thursday, some 60 Ugandan soldiers walked 16 kilometers (10 miles) without meeting a single person. The soldiers had hoped to find at least a pond at their final destination, but they found none and had to harvest stagnant water between rocks to prepare food. At such times, the last thing on their minds is Kony. Carrying their rations and arms on their backs, the soldiers moved through seemingly impenetrable forests, in which they have to cut down some trees and shrubs to make way. They then emerge to dry plains where the sun mercilessly beats down on them. Kony, who has waged a decades-long campaign of murder and the abduction of children without espousing any political ideology, in 2005 became the first person to be indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The warlord then attempted to negotiate peace with the Ugandan government, but in the end refused to sign the final peace agreement over concerns his security would not be guaranteed if he left the bush.
He has since navigated the region's porous borders, moving first to a forested national park in eastern Congo, where in December 2008 an aerial raid backed by American intelligence proved too late, and later to the Central African Republic. Last year President Barack Obama sent about 100 U.S. forces to help regional governments eliminate the LRA once and for all. There are American soldiers in the four African countries that have been terrorized by the LRA over the years: Uganda, South Sudan, Congo and the Central African Republic. Nzara, in South Sudan, is the "hub" of the entire military operation against Kony, and there are operational bases deep inside the Central African Republic in Djema and Obo. American troops stationed in South Sudan and the Central African Republic declined the opportunity to discuss their experience. Capt. Layne, who spoke for the rest of the group in Nzara, said they were under strict instructions not to talk to reporters, and even politely declined to give his first name. Ugandan officials said the Americans have been helping with logistics and surveillance. They are not involved in the physical tracking of Kony, leaving some Ugandan soldiers to wonder why the Americans are here at all. "Victory for us would be when we get Kony himself, (Okot) Odhiambo, Dominic Ongwen and other senior LRA commanders," Ugandan military commander Balikuddembe said. "Since there is no front line, it is hunting." Ugandan troops last encountered the LRA on March 8, when they engaged in a fight with about 30 rebels and injured one of them. That prisoner, and others captured or rescued before him, shared the kind of human intelligence that the Ugandan military depends on in the hunt for Kony. Ugandan officials now know that Kony's forces are vastly degraded and unable to stage largescale attacks, even if they have continued to attack civilians and conduct abductions in the Congo. Kony-hunters now know that the rebels move in very small groups and are always on the run. They also know that technology can only go so far in catching a rebel leader who now eschews it, instead using couriers to send out his messages. But the officials do not really know where Kony is, and some rank-and-file soldiers suspect he may be as far away as the Sudanese region of Darfur. "If we knew where Kony was exactly, we would have caught him," said Ugandan Pvt. Godfrey Asiimwe. "They give us coordinates for where the suspected enemy is, but by the time we get there he's already gone."
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News Headline: Rumble in the jungle as Ugandan army hunts Kony | News Date: 04/23/2012 Outlet Full Name: AFP News Text: ..Sweat dripping from his unkempt beard, second lieutenant Kasim Lukumo halted briefly to point at the thick tangle of the central African jungle. "See how difficult it can be to find someone here if they want to hide from you," Lukumo told AFP, as he adjusted the straps of his 30-kilo pack and the automatic rifle slung across his chest.
"You can't see more than just some few metres around and in front of you -- sometimes you can't see someone even when they are near." If there is a frontline in the hunt for Joseph Kony and his rebel Lord's Resistance Army, then Lukumo and the sixty other soldiers in 77-Juliet squad are on it. The unit is one of several dozen Ugandan army hunting squads -- backed up since late last year by 100 American special forces troops -- searching for any traces of the brutal rebel group in an inhospitable 400-kilometre stretch in the far eastern corner of the Central African Republic. For the past two months, 77-Juliet have trekked almost a thousand kilometres across an unpopulated wedge of land between two rivers --dense streches of jungle alternating with open patches of sun-scorched rocks -- where the Ugandan military believe Kony and his top commanders are hiding out. Waking before dawn each morning they pack up last night's camp before receiving the coordinates for that day's march from intelligence officers at the nearest base a 100 kilometres away. They usually face a march of some 20 kilometres (12 miles). The plan is to use the squads to constantly harry the rebels, who have splintered into small groups, denying them breathing space to regroup and resupply. And the Ugandan army says those tactics are paying off. "The man is weak -- he is feeling pressure and in a bad condition because he has no supplies, no food," captain Daud Muhamad, the commander of 77-Juliet, told AFP. He leaned against a towering tique tree, swatting away at the swarm of tiny flies buzzing ceaselessly around his head. Infamous for mutilating their victims and abducting children to use as sex slaves and porters, the LRA have terrorised the region for over two decades. Last month a video calling for the arrest of Kony, a former altar boy who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, became an unlikely Internet sensation. The Kony2012 film -- made by US advocacy group Invisible Children -- was watched by over 100 million people and the group has urged supporters around the world to put up posters of Kony in their cities this Friday night. Now the Ugandan army says the rebels in this area number just 120 fighters -- with another 100 women and abducted children. They have stopped attacking local communities and survive by feeding on wild yams or whatever animals and fish they can catch, the army says. But after more than 25 years waging a brutal insurgency, the LRA remain masters of evasion. "They have been told not to fight with us and that if they see us they should just run away -they are difficult to catch," said Muhamad. He has been part of the Ugandan operation chasing the LRA across three countries since the country's air force bombed the rebels' camps in Congo over three years ago. Since the start of the year small groups remaining close to the border with Congo -- where the Ugandan army does not have permission to operate -- have started attacking civilians again, prompting fears that the rebels could try to push south to Congo.
Recently the African Union announced it had set up a 5,000-strong force to combat the LRA and improve coordination between regional armies, but there is no evidence of the muchheralded taskforce on the ground. The Ugandan operation got a boost late last year from the world's most powerful military when 100 US special forces deployed to the region following a directive from President Barack Obama. In the forward base at Djema, roughly 150 kilometres from the border with South Sudan, a clean-cut captain makes brief small talk about local beer. But he refuses to answer any questions about the work the US troops are doing. Beyond that they are just seven names signed in the base's guest book. US officials have said that the troops -- most of whom are based in Uganda -- will help bolster the Ugandan forces where they need help most -- intelligence gathering and coordination and logistics. So far, the soldiers in 77-Juliet say none of the US troops have been out in the bush with them. But they communicate regularly with surveillance planes they say are flown -- sometimes at night -- by Americans and have seen their supplies and morale boosted in recent months. Joseph Balikudembe, the overall commander of the Ugandan operation, said the US deployment "added value" to the current operation. He hoped the mix of a weakened LRA, US intelligence and the Ugandan hunting squads on the ground could shift the balance definitively. "This combination can definitely help us weaken and hopefully eliminate the LRA -- we have to keep on working together to push on and end the threat," Balikudembe said at the main Ugandan operational base at Nzara in South Sudan. But while the US troops may help bolster the hunt, it is down to the Ugandan squads -slogging their way through perilous jungle rivers and crawling through vines -- to hunt the LRA on the ground, sometimes at a heavy price. On Wednesday a Ugandan soldier died after he was attacked by a crocodile, just weeks after a member of 77-Juliet was seriously wounded as he crossed a river. The death was the second of a Ugandan soldier hunting the LRA this year, after another one was killed in a shootout with rebels.
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News Headline: Kony 2012 Cover the Night fails to move from the internet to the streets |
News Date: 04/23/2012 Outlet Full Name: The Guardian News Text: The Kony 2012 Cover the Night campaign woke up to awkward questions on Saturday after activists failed to blanket cities with posters of the wanted Ugandan warlord, Joseph Kony. The movement's phenomenal success in mobilising young people online, following last month's launch of a 29-minute documentary which went viral, flopped in trying to turn that into real world actions.
The campaign aimed to plaster "every city, on every block" around the world with posters, stickers and murals of Kony to pressure governments into hunting down the guerrilla leader, who has waged a brutal, decades-long insurgency in central Africa. But paltry turnouts on Friday at locations across north America, Europe and Australia left cities largely unplastered and the movement's credibility damaged. "What happened to all the fuss about Kony?" said one typical tweet. "Kony is so last month," said another. Elissa O'Dell, 24, an activist in Los Angeles, put a brave face on the fact just her and two other volunteers attended the painting of a mural on an auto dealership off Santa Monica Boulevard. "It's just been us the entire day," she said on Friday. Another campaigner took photographs while an artist painted the mural, which said "Our liberty is bound together". "The point of Cover the Night is for our community of supporters to give something back, pick up trash, paint schools, some direct, local action," said O'Dell. So, where was everybody? "We didn't expect people here," said O'Dell. Supporters were to place posters in coffeeshops, fire and police stations and other locations. "The response has been terrific. Tomorrow people will wake up and see our posters everywhere." But on Saturday the boulevard, and according to reports the rest of LA and other cities, were largely free of Kony. The campaign also tanked on twitter. "Find the silence around #Kony'12 interesting. It's muted embarrassment from prior supporters, mixed with quiet smugness from detractors," said one tweet.
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News Headline: South Sudan withdraws from oil field | News Date: 04/22/2012 Outlet Full Name: News24 News Text: South Sudan's army said on Sunday that its troops faced fresh aerial bombardments from Sudan as they completed their pull-out from the flashpoint Heglig oil field. Juba seized the oil hub on April 10, claiming that Khartoum was using Heglig as a base to attack the South's oil-producing Unity State. Although South Sudan disputes it, Heglig is internationally regarded as part of Sudan. The South's 10-occupation met widespread criticism, including from UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who called it illegal. South Sudan's President Salva Kiir on Friday announced his forces would carry out "an orderly withdrawal" from the area. On Sunday, a Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) spokesperson said all southern troops had left. The SPLA "completed its withdrawal from Heglig yesterday" spokesperson Philip Aguer told AFP. But, he charged, as the withdrawal was ongoing, Khartoum's air force "continued bombing on the night of the [Friday April] 20th and in the morning of the 21st". The two sides have offered contradictory explanations for recent developments in Heglig.
On Friday, Sudan said its soldiers had "liberated" the oil field by force, despite, despite Kiir's earlier announcement of a withdrawal. The South Sudanese UN Ambassador Agnes Oswaha has said Juba decided to withdraw "because it does not wish to see a return to war". The Heglig violence was the worst since South Sudan won independence in July after a 19832005 civil war in which about two million people died. Not beneficial to China Tensions have gradually mounted over the disputed border and other unresolved issues, raising fears in recent weeks about concerns of a wider war. Continental and foreign powers have urged negotiation to avert further escalation, with US President Barack Obama on Friday calling on the two sides to "have the courage to return to the table and negotiate and resolve these issues peacefully". Kiir heads to China on Monday for an official visit to a country long-considered Khartoum's ally, although Beijing has developed closer ties with Juba, notably in the petroleum sector. "China's position on that issue is to promote dialogue and urge peace. It does not favour any side," said Li Guangyi, professor at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Xiangtan in central China. "Fighting is not only not beneficial to them [Sudan and South Sudan], it isn't beneficial to China either," he added. The African Union (AU), which has for years sought to broker a sustainable peace between the bitter rivals, on Sunday again called for "a complete cessation of all hostilities," and a swift resumption of talks. Both sides should consider their "responsibility towards their region, the rest of Africa and the larger international community," the AU statement said. Since the invasion, oil production at Heglig has been shut and facilities there were leaking. Each side accused the other of damaging the oil infrastructure, which accounted for about half of the north's production. South Sudan formally gained independence from Khartoum in July.
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News Headline: Darfur: 4 UNAMID peacekeepers injured in ambush attacks | News Date: 04/22/2012 Outlet Full Name: Africa en Ligne News Text: Khartoum, Sudan - Four peacekeepers from the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) were shot and injured while on patrol in Darfur, UNAMID said in a statement issued on Saturday. 'A UNAMID formed police unit patrol (FPU) from Togo was attacked by unidentified gunmen on 20 April just before noon while on a routine patrol,' the mission said in the statement, explaining that the team of 32 officers had been patrolling in the Sisi internally-displaced persons (IDP) camp and were returning to their base camp in Mourne, West Darfur, about 70 kilometres southeast of El Geneina, when men armed with AK-47 rifles
attacked them, injuring two FPU members. It said the patrol team withdrew towards the IDP camp while a UNAMID rescue unit, also comprised of Togolese FPU members, was called in to assist. The mission said that after the arrival of the rescue team, the combined units started to move back to Moume base and were ―ambushed again by gunmen who shot and injured two more FPU officers. The FPU team returned fire, but the perpetrators fled.‖ It said the teams then made their way back to base and the four wounded officers were evacuated by helicopter to the UNAMID Nigerian level 2 Hospital in EL Geneina, where they are in stable condition.
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News Headline: Tuaregs Seized Regional Zeitgeist in Successful Coup | News Date: 04/22/2012 Outlet Full Name: DefenseNews.com News Text: The revival of the Tuareg insurgence in Africa is one of the most significant consequences of the Libyan civil war and the subsequent destabilization of Africa's Sahel region provoked by the fall of the Libyan government. On April 6, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), the new political and military group fronting the Tuareg insurgence, declared the independence of the Azawad, the region in northern Mali that ethnic Tuaregs consider their homeland, after they seized Kidal, Timbuktu and Gao, the three most important cities in north Mali. It was the culmination of a long-standing insurgence that resumed in January when Tuareg fighters who had fought with Moammar Gadhafi loyalists returned home and turned their weapons against the Malian government. The insurgence, which seeks independence from the Malian central government, has been flaring up since the early 1960s, notably in the first half of 1990s and from 2007 to 2009. A nomadic people, the Tuaregs live in the Sahara and northern Mali and have long requested more autonomy, accusing Mali of marginalizing them and focusing southward. Previous insurgencies have always finished with cease-fires, leaving the Tuaregs' wish list unfulfilled. This time, they have succeeded for three key reasons. First, the current insurgence is better-organized and better-armed, thanks to the weapons the fighters took home after serving with Libyans. According to local sources, they have heavy weapons including 82mm mortars, RPG-7, both anti-personnel and anti-tank, 73mm and 82mm recoilless guns, and ZSU-23 anti-aircraft guns mounted on pickups and used as fire support weapons. They are also said to have anti-tank missiles such as the Milan and AT-3 Sagger, and manportable air defense systems (MANPADS) such as the SA-7 Grail, and probably the latest variant of the Igla missile family named the SA-24 Grinch. The latter were reportedly shipped to Libya just before the civil war erupted. According to one Malian Army colonel, the Tuareg rebels have used heavier, more sophisticated weapons and demonstrated improved military organization in their attacks. The current MNLA commander, Bilal Ag Acherif, served as a colonel in the Libyan Army, as did several other MNLA members.
Gadhafi always used Tuareg fighters, as do other African countries, out of fear of a domestic military coup. The second reason the Tuaregs succeeded is the military coup in Mali that ousted elected President Amodou Toumani Tourè on March 22. Tuareg rebels quickly took control of Gao and Timbuktu after seizing Kidal as Malian Army troops pulled out and returned home. Third, the advance was helped by Ansar al-Dine, the radical Islamist movement that joined the MNLA in its effort to control northern Mali. Ansar al-Dine's contribution was decisive in the seizure of Gao and Timbuktu, where the Islamist group declared the imposition of Sharia law and forced women to wear veils. Ansar al-Dine is led by Iyad Ag Ghaly, a prominent figure in the Tuareg rebellion in the 1990s who is said to have links with al-Qaida; Ghaly's cousin leads a splinter group of al-Qaida in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). But the secular MNLA has always rejected charges it is linked to alQaida and has probably forged a tactical alliance with Ansar al-Dine to force Malian Army troops to leave the north of the country. An independent state in northern Mali could add to the instability already plaguing the region and serve as a safe haven for jihadists from Nigeria, Niger and Algeria, in much the same way that the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan in the 1990s let al-Qaida into the country. The international community is already concerned about AQIM's presence in the region, not to mention the whereabouts of weapons taken from the unguarded arsenals of the Libyan Armed Forces. According to several sources, these weapons have also appeared on the black market, and some may have fallen into the hands of terrorist groups. During the Libyan civil war, the Algerian government reported that a convoy of trucks had crossed the border from Libya carrying MANPADS and rocket-propelled grenades for AQIM. Other MANPADS may have also reached Somalia-based radical group al-Shabaab, as well as the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram. The NATO intervention in Libya was limited to airstrikes and did not include ground troops. It was not able to prevent this weaponry outflow. And the countries that signed up for the air attacks to oust Gadhafi opted not to carry out a stabilization mission thanks to economic crises at home. So as the conflict spreads farther south in Mali, chaos is increasing in Libya as local militias proliferate and seize control of territory, while the country's new central government proves unable to disarm them and restore order and stability. Pietro Batacchi is a senior analyst and head of the military affairs desk at the Rome-based Centre for International Studies, which advises the Italian parliament on foreign policy and security issues.
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News Headline: Armed Libyans free kidnapped Tunisian petrol workers | News Date: 04/22/2012 Outlet Full Name: Xinhua News Agency News Text: Libyan rebels freed 80 Tunisian petrol workers kidnapped since Monday, the official TAP press agency reported Wednesday, quoting an interior ministry communique. More than 150 Tunisians were abducted near the Libyan town of Zawiya since Monday by a
group of armed Libyan rebels, TAP reported Tuesday. The move came as part of a deal involving the release by Tunisian authorities on Tuesday of three Libyans charged with drug consumption in the city of Ben Guardane. The three Libyan men had been taken to the border crossing of Ras El Jedir and handed over to Libyan authorities. According to the statement, Tunisian authorities have been in contact with the rebels in order to "guarantee the security of the abducted workers and solve the crisis in a friendly way." Since the Libyan uprising that led to the overthrow and killing of Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi, the border area between both countries is rife with traffic of all kinds including arms and drug smuggling. Ten days ago, five Tunisian petrol smugglers were also arrested by Libyan rebels before being released two days later.
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News Headline: Sudan oil infrastructure hit in border fight: monitor | News Date: 04/22/2012 Outlet Full Name: Reuters News Text: Satellite images show a key part of the oil infrastructure in Sudan's contested Heglig region was destroyed during recent border fighting with South Sudan, a monitoring group said on Sunday. South Sudan seized Heglig, a border region which accounts for about half Sudan's 115,000 barrel-a-day oil output, on April 10, saying it was acting in self defence after Sudan launched a ground attack from the area. On Friday South Sudan, under international pressure to withdraw, said it was pulling out to create an environment for talks, and the Sudanese army later said it had "liberated" the area. South Sudan said its troops were bombed as they withdrew. The Satellite Sentinel Project, founded by Sudan activists including Hollywood actor George Clooney, said recent satellite imagery showed "an oil collection manifold" in the Heglig area had apparently been blown up. "The destroyed structure appears consistent with a collection manifold because of its shape and its location at the junction of multiple pipelines," it said in a statement, adding that a collection manifold connects piping systems together to divide or combine different flows of oil. "The destruction of this particular collection manifold would likely result in the immediate cessation of oil flow in the area," it said. The group said the images were captured on April 15, but it could not tell whether the damage was caused by aerial bombardment or ground action. It was not clear when the oil equipment had been damaged or by which side. Access to the remote border area is limited, making it hard to verify often contradictory statements from the two countries. Landlocked South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan after decades of civil war and became
independent in July, produces 350,000 barrels a day of crude, but shut down production in January in a row with Khartoum over payments for exporting its oil through Sudan. Oil is the mainstay of both countries' economies, providing South Sudan with about 98 percent of its state revenue. Since southern independence, the two sides have embarked on an increasingly bitter dispute over the demarcation of the border, southern oil export payments and the division of the national debt.
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News Headline: Kenya: Fight Against Terror Intensified - Kinuthia | News Date: 04/22/2012 Outlet Full Name: AllAfrica.com News Text: The government has invested heavily to counter terrorism, Administration Police Commandant Kinuthia Mbugua said yesterday. In an Interview with journalists during a tour of Malindi, Kinuthia said the legislation on Counterterrorism Act had also placed the country at an advanced stage in the fight against terrorism. "We are at an advance level in counter-terrorism which has been made possible by capacity building given to our officers," he said. The AP Commandant said currently, there were 10 officers who had gone to Botswana for extensive training on counter-terrorism. Mbugua said both the US and British governments have supported Kenya in the fight against the terror attacks adding that the government was in the process of equipping APs and the Kenya Police Marines. "The government is sourcing to shop for sophisticated boats and surveillance equipment to fight against terrorism," he said Mbugua said security personnel have been on higher alert since the Kenya Defence Forces invaded Somalia to fight the al Shabaab insurgence last year. Kinuthia said the security situation at the Coast was under control. "We were here last season to assess the security situation following the al Shabab threats and assured the public of their safety during the Malindi festival," he said. Mbugua, who was accompanied by senior AP Commanders, had earlier held a closed door meeting with the Malindi DO1 Joseph Chepkoni, OCPD Kiprono Langat and the DCIO John Ndung'u. "The security committee has assured us that they are doing all possible means to ensure the area is safe," he said. Asked about the missing gun which was snatched by suspected Mombasa Republican Council members he said those who took it were criminals and would to escape from the law. He ordered his officers to take care of their clothes firearms and desist from unlawful activity to ensure security is guaranteed. "We are meeting the officers to raise awareness on the importance of guarding their firearms," he said. Security personnel were also advised to apply the principals of Community policing and Public relations in order to succeed in their line of duties.
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News Headline: Nigeria: 11 ACN Members Matcheted as Thugs Disrupt Adefarati's Lecture |
News Date: 04/22/2012 Outlet Full Name: AllAfrica.com News Text: Former Labour Party (LP) chairman in Ondo State, Chief Olaiya Oni and another politician, Chief Wunmi Adegbomire, now both Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) chieftains, were high profile victims of attack by suspected political thugs who attempted to disrupt the 5th Memorial Lecture for Chief Adabayo Adefarati, former governor of Ondo State. Billed to start at 12 noon, the BTO Hall venue of the lecture became a war zone, as the thugs, with the Police at the scene doing nothing, attacked guests and visitors. As gun shots rent the air, many guests and politicians bolted and ran helter-skelter to escape. Many guests spilled into the streets, with some scaling the fence. Over 11 people were matcheted, most of who were believed to be Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) members. The event, planned to honour the former governor, was also anticipated to be one of the biggest political gatherings of ACN in the build-up to the October gubernatorial election, as all ACN governors were invited, with Governor Fayemi as guest speaker. But even the governor's convoy had to make a detour when informed of the volatile situation. Matchetes were freely used by suspected political thugs who kept screaming they had instructions to decimate some top ACN big wigs. Chief Adegbonmire, billed to be chairman of the event, was attacked by matchet-wielding thugs. Though he escapeed unharmed, his car was destroyed. "Adefarati does not deserve this. I don't know why the government should resort to violence to settle political matters. Attacking and matcheting people, especially political opponents, is not acceptable," Adegbomire complained. "The police here are defective and ineffective. They are not doing their duty. They acted as though they were part of a private army." Chief Oni was not that lucky. The rear windscreen of his white Toyota Camry 2009 model was smashed, as the assailants rained stones on him. He ran into the ambush as he drove into the venue. Chief Oni described the experience as "hell". Said he: "Stones, cutlasses and gun shots! This is thuggery not democracy. I was meant to be picked!" he alleged. The thugs chanted they were under instruction to attack visiting and home based ACN leaders. Chief Bisi Akande, the ACN national chairman, barely escaped with his life. His team was also attacked. "It was a very dangerous development. My effort to seek a resolution was aborted because the situation simply degenerated," he said of his ordeal.
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News Headline: Nigeria: Forces Kill Two Islamic Militants in Maiduguri | News Date: 04/22/2012 Outlet Full Name: AllAfrica.com News Text: Nigerian Forces have yesterday shot dead two suspected Islamic sect members
(Boko Haram) who allegedly attacked and killed five bakery workers Thursday morning in north eastern city of Maiduguri, Borno State, a Military official has said. Field Operations Officer of the Joint Task Force, JTF, in the state, Colonel Victor Ebhaleme confirmed the incident on telephone yesterday. He said " the suspeted boko haram Islamic sect were killed in a shoot out with the military" "As soon as we got information that a bakery was attacked by suspected boko haram members where five people were shot dead, we immediately reinforced security in and around the area. We conducted a thorough search in the area which inconvenienced the suspected members who started shooting in a bid to escape before they were shot dead by my men." Colonel Ebhaleme said. Ebhaleme said there was no casualty on the side of the military and assured residents of their safety noting that "we are more that ever ready the crush Boko Haram." He said items recoverd from thosr killed, according to Colonel Ebhaleme include " 2 AK 47 riffles with 20 rounds of ammunition."
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News Headline: Kenyan pair dominate the London Marathon with convincing wins. | News Date: 04/23/2012 Outlet Full Name: CNN News Text: Kenyan pair Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany won the men's and women's races at the London Marathon Sunday to serve notice of their gold medal credentials for the Olympics later this year. The race also acted as a trial race for selection for the Kenyan team for the London Games and Kipsang and Keitany were impressive winners on both counts. Kipsang, who has run the second fastest time of all time, finished over two minutes clear of a class field to win in two hours, four minutes and 44 seconds -- just four seconds outside the course best set by compatriot Emmanuel Mutai in winning last year's race. Fellow Kenyan Martin Lel outsprinted fellow former London champion Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia for second place to seal his place for the Olympic marathon which will take place over many of the same roads in the capital in August. Keitany led a Kenyan sweep of the podium places as she defended her London title with a commanding performance. Her time of two hours, 18 minutes and 36 seconds was a new Kenyan record. 2011 world champion Edna Kiplagat finished second, more than a minute adrift with world silver medalist Priscah Jeptoo a further 24 seconds behind in third. Behind the elite runners over 37,000 started the 32nd staging of the famous race which finishes on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace. Prince Harry was at the finish to present trophies to winners.
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News Headline: 3 US military personnel, 3 civilians killed in car crash in Mali's capital | News Date: 04/23/2012 Outlet Full Name: Associated Press News Text: Three American military personnel and three civilians died early Friday in a singlecar crash in Mali's capital, U.S. officials said. U.S. Africa Command said in a statement that the cause of the crash remains under investigation. In Washington, a U.S. defense official said one of the three Americans was from U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, and the two others were assigned to U.S. Special Operations Command. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the deaths had not been officially announced. The military personnel were in Mali as part of a U.S. special operations training mission that was suspended after last month's coup overthrew the country's democratically elected president. In recent years, the U.S. military has been helping train Malian troops in counterterrorism tactics to fight al-Qaida-linked militants who have established bases in Mali's northern desert.
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News Headline: Program Brings Together Northwest Africa Leaders and Partners | News Date: 04/23/2012 Outlet Full Name: Special Operations Command Africa, Office of Public Affairs News Text: Representatives from African partner nations Ghana, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, and Senegal participated in the Special Operations Command Africacoordinated 2012 Flintlock Senior Leader Symposium hosted at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, in Accra, Ghana from March 24 through March 30, 2012. The senior-level strategic symposium, which included participants from Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States, was designed to synchronize northwest African efforts to address terrorism throughout the region. "One of our greatest lessons during this counter-terrorism symposium is that a truly effective campaign against insecurity must involve partnerships between civilian and military actors in the execution of every operation," said Colonel Kelly Alexander, Commander of Joint Special Operations Task Force Trans-Sahara. This symposium sought to foster unique collaboration and coordination among participants while improving information sharing across the Trans-Sahara region. Attendees included representatives from not only military branches, but included police forces, civilian ministries and agencies involved in security operations. "This symposium is a unique opportunity to bring together senior military and civilian officers in an interactive session that provides them with the tools to reflect and develop strategies on how to engage in multinational cooperation," said Major General (Retired) Mastin Robeson, the
symposium senior military mentor. "It provides an opportunity to develop a better understanding of the dangers of violent extremist organizations and their tactics." Participants initially focused on understanding regional threats, including the effects of Libyan regime change across the region; and violent extremist organizations' tactics, techniques, and technologies, leadership, and ideologies. As the symposium progressed, they were able to focus on developing joint civil/military approaches and targeted messaging campaigns to counter terrorist threats. As a preventative program, this event addressed specific threats to national and sub-regional security across the Trans-Sahara: terrorism, trafficking in humans, weapons, drugs, and religious extremism. Leading African civil-military thinkers, practitioners from security focused sub-regional organizations, and military mentors led participants in identifying interagency and regional mechanisms to counter these threats. To date, symposiums like these have brought together more than 800 west African armed forces and civilian security sector leaders through its country-specific, regional, senior Leader, and Flintlock cooperation programs, which focus on common threats and approaches to stability, governance, and development in west and north Africa.
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News Headline: Djiboutians, U.S. Personnel Attend Chebelley Clinic Grand Opening | News Date: 04/23/2012 Outlet Full Name: Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa News Text: Residents of Chebelley, members of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, and U.S. Embassy personnel came together to commemorate the completion of the Chebelley Clinic during a grand opening ceremony in Chebelley Village, Djibouti, April 19, 2012. Chebelley village members celebrated with singing and dancing before, during and after the ceremony. "The military, the State Department and United States Agency for International Development cooperated in the construction of this facility with the help of the ministry of health and the local folks as well," said Mark Mitchell, USAID country representative. Mohamed Robleh Dirieh, Chebelley Village chief, said before the clinic was completed, there was no permanent healthcare available. The village relied on a medical technician who drove into the village every Wednesday, saw patients during a 3-hour time period, then would leave. Because of this and the remote nature of the village, there was a need for permanent healthcare providers living in Chebelley. Mitchell said the new clinic is scheduled to be open seven days a week. "Fortunately, with the design o f this clinic, the nurse practitioner and the midwife both live in the facility, so it really facilitates caring for the people," said Mitchell. The clinic is responsible for the care of 600 to 700 people living in the village and surrounding area. Mitchell hopes the clinic will serve at least 1,000 people yearly.
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News Headline: AFRICOM Connects with South Sudanese Military Chaplains |
News Date: 04/23/2012 Outlet Full Name: US Africa Command News Text: In the first Senior Leader Religious Engagement with the world's newest nation, representatives from U.S. Africa Command chaplaincy traveled to Juba to meet their South Sudanese counterparts, March 27-30, 2012. Colonel Jerry Lewis, the U.S. Africa Command senior chaplain; his assistant, Sergeant First Class Frederick D. Murphy; and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa senior chaplain Captain Gerald Hutchinson met with chaplains with the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), including senior chaplain Lieutenant Colonel Elijah Kuek, during several days of discussions and outreach. U.S. Africa Command often provides support to African nations that are developing official organizations and structures, as part of the U.S. mission toward a safe, stable, secure Africa. The SPLA chaplains are unusual among militaries. No formal chaplain corps exists, yet clergy in South Sudan have been moved on their own to fill the special role of military chaplains. Many of the current SPLA chaplains in South Sudan served initially as soldiers, explained Lewis. After they left the military, they became ordained in their respective churches and then returned to serve in a new role within the military. "It shows the power of the spiritual life they have: To take the initiative, go back into the military and minister to the needs there," said Lewis. When South Sudan split from Sudan last year, religious differences were one of many issues. South Sudanese largely follow traditional religions or Christianity, while Sudan is made up of primarily Sunni Muslims. Most SPLA chaplains are Protestant Christian; SPLA has no Muslim chaplains. Whether and how SPLA will create a chaplain corps is one of many questions as South Sudan nears it first anniversary. SPLA is the military arm of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), the group that pushed for South Sudan's independence and is now the major political party. This kaleidoscope of transformations means many procedures and structures must be crafted from the very beginning. Buildings must be built; the SPLA chaplains themselves have erected mud huts to serve as chapels. Lewis and his fellow AFRICOM chaplaincy representatives are available as support for the SPLA chaplain leadership, as their group evolves. Chaplains have served within the U.S. military since 1775. Lewis and his colleagues can draw on a deep well of knowledge to pass along to their South Sudanese counterparts. "We share how we're constructed: Here's our doctrine; here's our policy," explained Lewis. "How can we help you adapt it to your culture?" Lewis is careful to point out that every culture is different. He realizes that the South Sudanese must find the best way forward for them. "We would never say we're better or we're best. Instead, we work at slowing down and listening -- and that's a keyword -- listening to what they really desire." The dialogue between the two nations' military chaplains will likely continue with more visits later this year. In the meantime, Lewis and his AFRICOM colleagues based in Germany lean on a network for logistical help in maintaining connections on the continent. Major Sean McClure, chief of Office of Security Cooperation (OSC) of U.S. Embassy of South Sudan, was critical to the recent trip, Lewis said.
"He's doing an exceptional job," Lewis said of McClure. "On behalf of all of the OSCs, they become pivotal to the success of all our events at AFRICOM." The South Sudan trip was the first for the chaplain leadership at AFRICOM, but, Lewis hopes, certainly not the last. The country is the youngest in the world, and AFRICOM representatives will be continually providing assistance. "It's amazing to start trying to help someone at ground level," Lewis said. "And the joy of that is not only to help them but to encourage them to make those steps and walk through it."
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News Headline: United Nations News Centre - Africa Briefs | News Date: 04/23/2012 Outlet Full Name: United Nations News Service News Text: Security Council demands 'immediate' restoration of constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau 21 April – Raising the possibility of targeted sanctions, the United Nations Security Council today demanded the immediate restoration of constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau, as well as the reinstatement of the West African country's legitimate government. Ban notes South Sudan's announcement on withdrawal, urges talks 20 April – Taking note of South Sudan's announcement that it is withdrawing from the oilproducing region of Heglig in Sudan, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged the Governments of both countries to resume negotiations immediately under the auspices of the African Union High-Level Panel to resolve their outstanding differences. WFP resumes airlifts of emergency food in Mali 20 April – The World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that the airlift of emergency food had resumed in Mali, where an estimated 1.2 million people are in need of assistance. Kenya: UNAIDS welcomes High Court judgment on anti-counterfeit law 20 April – The lead United Nations agency dealing with the global HIV/AIDS response commended today the High Court of Kenya for a ruling on an anti-counterfeit law that will safeguard access to affordable generic medicines. UN official stresses importance of international support for anti-LRA efforts 20 April – A United Nations official today spoke out on the importance of sustained international efforts to bring the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) to justice.
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