United States Africa Command Public Affairs Office 11 May 2012 USAFRICOM - related news stories

Good morning. Please see below news review for May 11, 2012. Of interest in today's clips: -- Congo-Kinshasa: Victims of LRA Attacks Despair of Ever Returning Home -- Major Effort to Reduce Child Mortality Not Enough -- Somalia: Govt, Al Shabab Claim Victory Over Bay, Bakol Fighting -- Nigeria: Customs - FG Aproves N3 Billion to Curb Smuggling U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs Please send questions or comments to: publicaffairs@usafricom.mil DSN (314) 421-2687 or commercial +49-(0)711-729-2687 Headline Congo-Kinshasa: Victims of LRA Attacks Despair of Ever Returning Home Date Outlet

United Nations High 05/10/2012 Commissioner for Refugees

DUNGU, Democratic Republic of the Congo – Jules* lies in a hospital bed in a provincial town in north-east Democratic Republic of the Congo. Recovering from gunshot wounds to the leg and shoulder, he's a recent victim of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in...

Somalia: Gov't, Al Shabab Claim Victory Over Bay,Bakol Fighting

05/10/2012 Shabelle Media Network

HUDUR -- Both Somali government and the Islmaist militants of Al shabab officials have on Thursday claimed a major victory over a fierce battle took place on Wednesday Somalia's southern regions of Bay and Bakol.

Ghana: Major Effort to Reduce Child Mortality Not Enough

05/10/2012 IPS

ACCRA – Ghana has taken a major step towards reducing its under-five mortality rate by becoming the first African country to introduce two new vaccines for rotavirus and pneumococcal disease.

Nigeria: Customs - FG Aproves N3 Billion to Curb Smuggling

05/11/2012 Leadership

The Federal Government yesterday approved the sum of N3 billion for the procurement of two high speed boats for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to combat the huge economic drain and other threats caused by smuggling through the country's water ways.

Egypt's Rulers Make Limited Cabinet Reshuffle

05/10/2012 Reuters

CAIRO - Egypt's military rulers will replace four ministers in a limited cabinet reshuffle that will be announced officially on Thursday, the state MENA news agency quoted an unnamed official as saying.

Somalia to Unify Anti-Shabaab Forces

05/10/2012 Africa Review

The high-powered Joint Security Committee for Somalia Wednesday backed a plan to unify pro-government forces

fighting the militant Al- Shabaab and Al-Qaeda extremist groups.

African Union Meets over Relations with ICC

05/11/2012 Africa Review

The African Union legal experts are meeting in Addis Ababa to adopt a common position on the International Criminal Court.

Uganda Says Could Eject Oxfam over Land Grab Claims

05/11/2012 Reuters

KAMPALA - Uganda has threatened to kick out Oxfam after the British charity accused the government of complicity in violent land grabs for commercial gains, according to the interior ministry.

AU Moves to Take Over Hague Cases

05/11/2012 Daily Nation

The African Union is working to expand the mandate of its court of justice to enable it take over the International Criminal Court (ICC) cases facing top African leaders.

Nigeria: 'North Loses N25 Billion Daily 05/11/2012 Leadership to Boko Haram Insurgency'
Apart from human lives whose value cannot be stated in monetary terms, the northern region is losing no less than N25 billion on a daily basis to the activities of Boko Haram.

Ghana Inflation Hits One-year High of 9.1 Percent

05/11/2012 Reuters

ACCRA - Ghana's annual inflation broke above 9 percent in April for the first time in a year, with analysts predicting price rises in double digits again and further policy tightening.

United Nations News Center - Africa Briefs

05/11/2012

United Nations News Centre

- Libya nearing key moment in its democratic transition - Funding gap threatens efforts to assist millions facing hunger in Africa - Tunisia must prioritize right to education as it proceeds with reforms - Children in Mali suffering from triple disaste...

News Headline: Congo-Kinshasa: Victims of LRA Attacks Despair of Ever Returning Home |

News Date: 05/10/2012 Outlet Full Name: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees News Text: By Céline Schmitt DUNGU, Democratic Republic of the Congo – Jules* lies in a hospital bed in a provincial town in north-east Democratic Republic of the Congo. Recovering from gunshot wounds to the leg and shoulder, he's a recent victim of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Orientale province. But at least he's alive and free. The LRA fighters have built up a reputation over the past two decades for random violence, including murder and rape, and for abducting people from the villages that they terrorize. In recent years they have fled their home bases in Uganda and moved to neighbouring countries, including the Congo and Central African Republic. In Jules's case, the LRA fighters came to his village with the dawn. "They arrived [in early April] at 5am and started shooting. I tried to run out of the house, but one of the LRA rebels entered and, without saying a word, he opened fire," the 55-year-old farmer said. The next thing he remembered was being in a UN peacekeeping base before being medevaced on a Médecins Sans Frontières plane to the town of Dungu, about seven kilometres to the south. He's been told he will have to spend several weeks recovering. But, like many other recent victims of LRA attacks in this corner of the country, he despairs of

ever being able to return home. Marie,* aged 36, had to flee her village at midnight. "I don't want to return. If the rebels come again, I will be forced to leave again," said the mother of five, whose village had also been attacked in 2009. The LRA looted and torched homes and abducted one man. The renewed attacks by the LRA in Orientale province since the beginning of this year have targeted dozens of villages and displaced more than 2,500 people, most of whom have fled to Dungu or nearby sites for internally displaced people (IDP), where they receive help from UNHCR and its partners. At least three people have been killed and 51 abducted, including 16 children. Attacks on Bagalupa village, related by 30-year-old Clementine,* followed a typical pattern. "We were sleeping when they arrived for the first attack. They entered from both sides of the village and started looting houses. People started crying and ran away," she said, adding that the villagers had spent a week in the bush. But just a few days after their return, the LRA attacked again, this time at sunset. "They started shooting to scare the army. Everyone in the village fled. We spent four days on the road to Dungu. We were walking during the day and sleeping at night in the bush." Clementine now lives with a host family in Dungu. "I don't want to go back," she said, echoing the concerns voiced by Jules and Marie and many of her fellow villagers. "I can't go back to my village," said Marcel, the Bagalupa village chief. "When I went there to check the situation, I came across LRA rebels on the road," he said, adding that they let him go. He said he would prefer to stay in Dungu and had asked the local authorities to give him a piece of land. Most of the newly displaced civilians in Dungu are living with host families. They rely on locals for humanitarian assistance. Some work in the fields for pay and others look for firewood to sell at market, but this is dangerous as they have to venture into the forest. "I welcomed these families into my house out of compassion. They are my brothers," said Barthelemy, who lives with his wife and four children in a single room home. They have taken in 12 displaced people from three families. While many people remain too scared to return to their villages, some have decided to go back to areas where there is now an army presence, including Bagalupa and Nangwakaza, the village that Marie fled from about a month before she talked to UNHCR. Simon* returned to Bagalupa, partly because he does not know where else he can stay. "We are scared," he admitted. "At night, we don't sleep in our homes, we sleep outside in the bush. When I am in the fields and I hear a small noise, I drop my hoe and run away." But long-term security is a concern for many of the displaced, including those who have found shelter in special IDP settlements in and around Dungu. Some of the people in the Bangapili site have been there since 2008, too frightened to return, even though living conditions are tough. "I am not happy to stay here, I would like to go back to my village [near the border with South Sudan]," said Charlotte,* who has been in Bangapili for the past four years. "But security has not returned," she added. Many people will only go back once they know that LRA leader Joseph Kony, who is being hunted by troops from the region backed by US special forces advisers, is dead or captured and his organization destroyed. "On that day, we will go out in the streets and sing. We will be so happy," said Angelique.

LRA attacks and threats since 2008 have displaced a staggering 335,000 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most are still displaced. * Names changed for protection reasons By Céline Schmitt in Dungu, Democratic Republic of the Congo
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News Headline: Somalia: Gov't, Al Shabab Claim Victory Over Bay,Bakol Fighting | News Date: 05/10/2012 Outlet Full Name: Shabelle Media Network News Text: HUDUR — Both Somali government and the Islmaist militants of Al shabab officials have on Thursday claimed a major victory over a fierce battle took place on Wednesday Somalia's southern regions of Bay and Bakol. According to Ali Aden, Somali MP who is in the region told Shabelle Media that the allied forces (Somali and Ethiopians) have inflicted upon the militants of Al shabab a heavy and irreversible loss of life during the attack at Awdinle and Qansah-Dheere towns in Bay region, south Somalia. For their side, Al shabab officials who talked ta rebel-run local radio station rebuffed TFG's claim, saying that they have killed at least 10 Somali and Ethiopian combatants in their ambush attack on a convoy belonging to the coalition forces. Conflicting sides,Somaliagovernment and Al shabab rebel's claims could not be independent verified since there were no any further self-determining details.
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News Headline: Ghana: Major Effort to Reduce Child Mortality Not Enough | News Date: 05/10/2012 Outlet Full Name: IPS News Text: By Jonathan Migneault ACCRA – Ghana has taken a major step towards reducing its under-five mortality rate by becoming the first African country to introduce two new vaccines for rotavirus and pneumococcal disease. But a United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) official in the West African country says this measure will not be sufficient to meet the fourth United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to reduce the under-five mortality rate by two thirds by 2015. Currently, 80 children out of 1,000 do not make it past the age of five in Ghana. According to UNICEF, Somalia has the highest infant mortality rate, at 180 deaths per 1,000 live births, and Sweden and Finland have the lowest at three deaths per 1,000 live births. (source: http://www.childinfo.org/mortality_ufmrcountrydata.php). In order to achieve the fourth MDG, Ghana would have to cut its under-five mortality rate down to 40 deaths per 1,000. "Ghana is doing a lot, but I don't think it's enough," said Dr. Anirban Chatterjee, UNICEF's chief of health and nutrition in Ghana. He was referring to this country's efforts with the new vaccines and the Health Service's campaign to educate mothers on nutrition. "I think there is definitely scope and need for more improvement."

Rotavirus and pneumococcal disease are the leading causes of diarrhoea and pneumonia in young Ghanaian children. Together they account for close to 25 percent of under-five mortality and are behind only malaria as the leading causes of child deaths here. Now both the vaccines for rotavirus and pneumococcal disease are being given to young children before they reach four months of age. The measure is currently being rolled out across the country and to select hospitals in Accra. The GAVI Alliance, a public-private global health partnership, has helped fund the vaccines, which will be available for free to all Ghanaian children. More than 400,000 children in this country of 25 million people are expected to be immunised against both diseases. The two new vaccines are expected to prevent 12,000 pneumonia-related deaths and another 10,000 deaths from diarrhoea, said Dr. Antwi Adjei, head of the expanded programme on immunisation at the Ghana Health Service. On Apr. 26, Ghana's Health Minister Alban S. K. Bagbin said in a press statement that the new vaccines would give this country the extra push it needs to meet the fourth MDG by 2015. But for UNICEF, efforts to improve the nutritional health of children and provide them with vaccinations need to happen in tandem to reduce the under-five mortality rate. Chatterjee said malnourishment can sometimes double or triple the chances of dying from a condition like diarrhoea or pneumonia. "Malnourished children are more susceptible to contracting the disease, having severe forms of the disease, and also dying from the disease," he said. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a child's life is one way to prevent malnourishment in that crucial period. UNICEF has promoted the practice because it also helps create immunity to early childhood killers like pneumonia and diarrhoea. In Ghana, 63 percent of children are exclusively breastfed during that period, which is relatively high compared to other developing countries. However, many women do not breastfeed their children because they are not aware of the benefits, or they work in an environment – such as the informal sector – where it is difficult to do so. Adjei said that the Ghana Health Service has regular cooperation between departments such as vaccinations and nutrition. The service's various departments are currently meeting for Child Health Promotion Week to develop new strategies and programmes related to child health. One big challenge for the Ghana Health Service will be to reach all children with the rotavirus and pneumococcal disease vaccines. About 87 percent of children under one in Ghana have been immunised for tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, tetanus, hepatitis B, measles and several other childhood diseases. But reaching the last 13 percent has proven difficult. "Wherever a person is, we have a responsibility to reach them and vaccinate them," said Adjei. "Rising costs also make it more and more difficult." Some isolated communities around Lake Volta in central Ghana, for instance, can only be reached by boat. It is much more expensive for the Ghana Health Service to reach these small communities than to serve urban populations. A small number of Ghanaians also do not take vaccinations due to religious or traditional beliefs. Adjei said, for example, that the local Twi dialect has only one word for "medicine," and it does not differentiate between preventative vaccines and drugs used to treat diseases. He said it is difficult to overcome such beliefs.

"Fortunately for us these are isolated cases," he said. La General Hospital in Accra was one of the first institutions to offer the vaccines in the capital on Friday, May 4. About 40 mothers were gathered at the hospital with their crying infants in tow, as they waited for their turn for their children to be inoculated. Gladys Otabil was at La General Hospital with her two-month-old son Gabriel. "All I understand by the addition of the two vaccines is that they will protect my child from any disease and sicknesses," she said. Otabil added that she was also advised to breastfeed her son for the first six months of his life. The roll out will expand to other hospitals in Accra, and across Ghana, in the coming weeks
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News Headline: Nigeria: Customs - FG Aproves N3 Billion to Curb Smuggling | News Date: 05/11/2012 Outlet Full Name: Leadership News Text: By George Agba The Federal Government yesterday approved the sum of N3 billion for the procurement of two high speed boats for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to combat the huge economic drain and other threats caused by smuggling through the country's water ways. Information Minister, Mr. Labaran Maku who gave the hint while briefing State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting alongside his Finance and Works counterparts, Yerima Ngama and Bashir Yuguda said with this development, the threat which the incidence of smuggling poses to the manufacturing sector would be reduced. "In view of the above, and given the current security challenges posed by the rising rate of disruption of economic activities in the nation's maritime environment, Council approved the procurement of two new KND P.249 Aluminium High speed boats with back-up spare parts and training of crew members in favour of Messrs Kobus NavalDesign/Portplus Limited in the sum of N3,072,653,164.60, inclusive of 5 per cent VAT, with delivery period of 9 months, following a memo by the Coordinating Minister for the economy and minister of finance", he stated. Maku also disclosed that FEC approved the rehabilitation of Owerri-Umuahia road sections 1, 2 and 3 in Imo and Abia States in the sum of N4,207,774,864.51 (N4.2 billion) in favour of Messrs Zerock Construction limited, with a completion period of 24 months. The ministers said council took the decision after admitting that rehabilitating the roads which are already in a state of disrepair and in dire need of two bridges to ease trafick flow was necessary considering their socio-economic importance. FEC also approved the construction of two bridges along Auchi Polythecnic Ekperi-Agenebode Road in Edo in the sum N1,330,416,048.02 in favour of Messrs Niger Construction limited, with a completion period of 12 months.
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News Headline: Egypt's Rulers Make Limited Cabinet Reshuffle | News Date: 05/10/2012 Outlet Full Name: Reuters

News Text: CAIRO - Egypt's military rulers will replace four ministers in a limited cabinet reshuffle that will be announced officially on Thursday, the state MENA news agency quoted an unnamed official as saying. The ministers are for higher education, culture, manpower and parliamentary affairs, MENA said. Egyptians begin voting in two weeks' time in their first presidential election since Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February 2011. The polls could bring into government members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been calling for the replacement of the cabinet.
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News Headline: Somalia to Unify Anti-Shabaab Forces | News Date: 05/10/2012 Outlet Full Name: Africa Review News Text: The high-powered Joint Security Committee for Somalia Wednesday backed a plan to unify pro-government forces fighting the militant Al- Shabaab and Al-Qaeda extremist groups. The team, comprising representatives from the United Nations, African Union, Intergovernmental Agency on Development (Igad), United States and the United Kingdom, agreed that the forces would now all operate under the command of the Defence ministry. Mr Huessein Arab Issa, the defence minister in the country's Transitional Federal Government told the media after the meeting that it was time to centralise operations of the various groups fighting under the TFG's banner. The minister said those at the meeting that seats every two months called on the international community to help Somalia establish military camps to be used by the unified forces. Somalia prime minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali supported the plan saying there was little need to have forces operating outside the central command of the government army. The Committee's overall objective is to jointly coordinate efforts in support of Somalia's security institutions.
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News Headline: African Union Meets over Relations with ICC | News Date: 05/11/2012 Outlet Full Name: Africa Review News Text: The African Union legal experts are meeting in Addis Ababa to adopt a common position on the International Criminal Court. The meeting that ends on Friday, is also expected to deliberate on the continent's own Court of Justice, based on the AU summit decisions of January 2012. A statement from the AU said: "The purpose of this meeting is to expand the jurisdiction of the African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples' Rights so that it can deal with international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes as well as trafficking in hazardous wastes, illegal exploitation of natural resources and corruption."

Soon after, there will be a meeting of Justice ministers from May 14-15 at the same venue. The meeting comes after ICC refused AU's requests to transfer the trials of several African suspects to the continent. They include Sudanese President Hassan Omar Al-Bashir and four Kenyans accused of war and crimes against humanity. Next week's meeting will also be attended by Africa's attorney generals and will review the legal experts' proposal, then make a decision to be endorsed at the next AU summit. The latest move by AU could aggravate its recent friction with ICC. The President of the ICC Assembly of State Parties, Ms Tiina Intelmann, was currently in Addis to observe the sessions. Mr Ben Kioko, the head of AU's legal council, said the meeting aimed at enabling Africa to deal with its own legal issues in a multi-layer continental legal frame work without contradicting the international norms. If Africa adopted a common position on ICC, analysts believe, it would greatly compromise the continent's loyalty to ICC and could aggravate the disagreements between the Hague-based court and the continent. Thirty three out of 121 ICC members are African states, some of which have threatened to withdraw their membership as part of their protest against "ICC's selective justice" system.
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News Headline: Uganda Says Could Eject Oxfam over Land Grab Claims| | News Date: 05/11/2012 Outlet Full Name: Reuters News Text: By Jocelyn Edwards KAMPALA - Uganda has threatened to kick out Oxfam after the British charity accused the government of complicity in violent land grabs for commercial gains, according to the interior ministry. The ministry has told Oxfam and the Uganda Land Alliance, they will lose their operating licenses if they do not retract and apologise for accusations that more than 20,000 people were evicted to make way for an international forestry company. "(This) has ... generated unnecessary malicious attacks against the person of the president and brings the presidency into disrepute in a manner that is inconsistent with national laws," the ministry's National NGO Board said in an undated report on an investigation into the organizations. A retraction of the accusations, made in a September report, and apologies to the president and the ministry are preconditions for the two charities to keep their licences and the work permits of their staff, the board said. Veteran President Yoweri Museveni's government says the people evicted had encroached on national forest reserves.

Oxfam confirmed receiving the ministry's report and its Uganda country director, Ayman Omer, said the charity would respond within an agreed time frame. Deo Tumusiime, a spokesman for the Uganda Land Alliance, said it and Oxfam had been summoned by interior minister Hilary Onek on April 26 but that there were no grounds for an apology. "We do not really see any need to apologise because there are issues on the ground that we think need urgent attention," Tumusiime told Reuters on Wednesday. "People have lived on this land for quite some time and have now been chased away." Interior ministry officials were unavailable for comment. Oxfam published in September a report entitled Land and Power which also detailed alleged land grabbing in Indonesia, Guatemala, Honduras and South Sudan. The report said that 22,500 Ugandans living in the Kiboga and neighbouring Mubende districts had been thrown out of their homes to make way for UK-based New Forests Company (NFC). Residents told Oxfam the security forces were deployed in 2010 to enforce the evictions, on occasion setting fire to homes and crops and in some cases beating and imprisoning people. The Oxfam report said NFC had planted or harvested timber on 27,000 hectares (66,690 acres) in Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique and Rwanda on what had been classified as "underutilised" or "degraded" land, and deals in those countries had encompassed 90,000 hectares (222,230 acres).
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News Headline: AU Moves to Take Over Hague Cases | News Date: 05/11/2012 Outlet Full Name: Daily Nation News Text: The African Union is working to expand the mandate of its court of justice to enable it take over the International Criminal Court (ICC) cases facing top African leaders. Attorneys general from the union are currently working on amendments that will expand the jurisdiction of the African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples' Rights to deal with international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Legal experts from AU member states are currently gathered in Addis Ababa to finalise Africa's common position on the ICC. Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, former public service head Francis Muthaura and radio presenter Joshua Sang are Kenyans awaiting trial at the ICC over crimes against humanity charges. For the past two years, President Kibaki's wing of the coalition has put up a spirited fight to have the cases against the four suspects brought for trial at home. The campaign waged in court and through diplomacy has largely been unsuccessful. The AU effort also comes two weeks after President Kibaki successfully lobbied his peers in East Africa and secured a resolution that the jurisdiction of the regional court be expanded to cover crimes against humanity.

Then the Kenyan cases will be referred to the court. During the AU summit in January, member states decided to form a common position on the ICC cases facing African leaders, including President Omar el Bashir of Sudan. African Justice ministers and attorneys general are also scheduled to meet early next week to review experts' proposals on the ICC cases and their decision will be tabled in the next AU summit. Mr Ben Kioko head of AU's legal council said the meeting aims to enable Africa to deal with its own legal issues without contradicting international norms. The meeting of legal experts in Addis Ababa is an exercise to review a draft model law on universal jurisdiction for international crimes proposed by the AU Commission.
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News Headline: Nigeria: 'North Loses N25 Billion Daily to Boko Haram Insurgency' | News Date: 05/11/2012 Outlet Full Name: Leadership News Text: Apart from human lives whose value cannot be stated in monetary terms, the northern region is losing no less than N25 billion on a daily basis to the activities of Boko Haram. This disclosure was made by Alhaji Ahmad Rabiu, chairman of the Conference of Northern States Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, in an exclusive chat with LEADERSHIP yesterday in Abuja. According to Rabiu, who is also the president of the Kano Chamber of Commerce, businesses that used to thrive in the night hours do not exist anymore due to the palpable fear that pervades the northern states these days. Kano State, he said, is fast losing its status as the city of commerce. "What started in Maiduguri is fast catching up with all of the northern region and the business community is very worried," he lamented. "We realised that when you have boxed people into a corner, they are not able to operate during the business hours of the night. At night, we don't do anything and most of the business activities of the day are also having their push in the night. Most supermarkets close at 6pm because of fear of security breach. More than 50 per cent of economic activities happen at night; they don't happen these days or they have been pushed to the lowest and, in a month, you are looking at a loss of about N700 billion," said Rabiu, adding, "now, the effect of these is, you are looking at all the components of loss - that activities have not taken place, capital has been eroded. As the situation of weakening the future revival is occasioned, chances of revival are becoming more unlikely as time goes on and chances of returning to the former situation we were also threatened. "So when you put all these things together you find that the loss is insurmountable, but we, in our estimation, going by certain indices, put the losses at N25 billion daily. And insecurity in Kano State is threatening businesses and sending away companies." "Not too long ago - I think in 2008 - an agency of the United Nations put the figure of commercial motorcyclists operating in Kano at two million. Given that the minimum return each

of these cyclists make to the owners is N500 daily, it pre-supposes that, that sector alone is contributing, at minimum, between N1 bn - N2 bn daily. Yet, there are tens of such sectors; some even bringing more money to the economy. Now, they make far less because they must close by 6pm every day." While commending the efforts of the Goodluck Jonathan administration at fixing the infrastructural problem, he said the governors of the northern states have a responsibility to tackle the security challenge in the region. Quit if you can't end sect's activities, Arewa youths tell northern governors A pan-northern youth movement, Arewa Youth Forum (AYF), yesterday told governors of the northern region to "leave the stage" if they cannot chart a road map on how an amicable resolution could be reached between members of the Boko Haram sect and the federal government. The Forum, which specifically pointed fingers at the chairman of the Northern States Governors' Forum and governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, stated that the activities of the Boko Haram sect has crippled the economy of the region under the very watchful eye of the governors. Rising from an emergency meeting in Kaduna where crucial issues affecting the region and Nigeria in general were discussed, the AYF said "we would soon mobilize youths to pray for the peace and progress of the region", even as they appealed to all aggrieved groups in the region to embrace dialogue because, compared to other parts of the country, the north has continued to deteriorate due to the guerilla warfare in parts of the region that, for now, appear to have defied solution". The national president of the AYF, Alhaji Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu, said they read with mixed feelings remarks credited to the Niger state governor on how he was able to rid his state of the presence of terror groups, but, unfortunately, he deliberately or otherwise failed to pass on such a formula to his other colleagues in the region so that peace would be entrenched. The group lamented that since the crisis began and has continued unabated, hundreds had lost their lives while property of inestimable value have been destroyed, leaving the north so unattractive for local and foreign investments. He described as sad the fact that even businessmen of northern extraction preferred to invest and establish businesses elsewhere instead of the north as was recently exemplified by Dangote, pointing out that in a situation where the governors under the leadership of Babangida Aliyu continued to watch helplessly as such a crisis situation continued to unfold in the region, the best thing is for Governor Aliyu to give way to a much more robust and proactive person who could pave the way for a genuine dialogue so that peace could reign in the region. AYF's Gujungu said: "Maiduguri is now a no-go area - nothing is going on there and nobody wants to go there because of the atmosphere of uncertainty. Kano is in the headlines on a daily basis and can be described as a theatre of guerilla warfare. In Yobe, even animals are not spared as over a hundred were recently ambushed and massacred. Kaduna is not free despite being fortified by all kinds of security. In the southern part of Kaduna, innocent persons have been killed by unknown gunmen. Plateau is now a case study for students of sectarian violence. "And yet Governor Babangida Aliyu is there taking pride in what he could not accomplish while things are going on smoothly in other parts of the country. It's high time he allowed others with

foresight to be at the helm of affairs in the Northern Governors' Forum because northerners and other Nigerians are tired of empty rhetoric laced with deceit and half truths." The AYF also expressed sadness over alleged insensitivity on the part the leadership of the Northern Governors' Forum in leaving one of the surviving legacies of late Sardauna Ahmadu Bello, the New Nigerian newspaper, to be under lock and key for several months, saying the workers deserve to be treated like human beings and should not be allowed to die in abject poverty and misery.
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News Headline: Ghana Inflation Hits One-year High of 9.1 Percent | News Date: 05/11/2012 Outlet Full Name: Reuters News Text: By Kwasi Kpodo ACCRA - Ghana's annual inflation broke above 9 percent in April for the first time in a year, with analysts predicting price rises in double digits again and further policy tightening. Ghana pulled inflation down from peaks over 20 percent in 2009, paving the way for a series of interest rate cuts. But inflation has since plateaued and the central bank has boosted interest rates in part to offset inflationary pressures. The latest rise was sparked by the weakness of Ghana's cedi currency which has slid this year as the country sucked in imports to fuel its buoyant economy, projected by the IMF to grow 8.8 percent in 2012. The cocoa-and-gold-rich West African economy, now an oil producer too, has also seen international interest in its bonds, especially from foreign investors looking for higher yields. The pace of inflation in April rose to 9.1 percent from 8.8 percent in March, acting government statistician Philomena Nyarko told a news conference in Accra. "(...) the depreciation of the cedi has obviously impacted the inflation print," Nyarko said. She said non-food items led the overall increase with an 11.7 percent rise. The figure was the second monthly rise in inflation in a row, and brings Ghana further away from its 2012 inflation target of 8.5 percent, although the Bank of Ghana said inflation remained in its 6.5-10.5 percent target band. "We are within our projections because we always work with plus or minus two points in setting these projections," Bank of Ghana Deputy Governor Kofi Wampah said. If the bank's efforts to stabilize the cedi failed inflation risked hitting double-digits in coming months, analysts said. Any moves by the central bank to counter inflation with rate hikes could renew interest in the country's bonds by raising yields, they added. The country of more than 24 million people is scheduled to hold a presidential election in December, in which President John Atta Mills will tout the country's economic progress in his bid for a second term. DOLLAR DEMAND

The cedi has fallen more than 14 percent against the dollar so far this year to a record low of 1.876, according to Reuters data, as the expanding local economy avidly seeks dollardenominated imported goods, such as oil, machinery, electronic equipment and food. The Bank of Ghana hiked its key interest rate by one percentage point in April to 14.5 percent in an effort to support the cedi. It also said it will reintroduce short-term bills, change bank reserve requirements, and require 100 percent cedi cover for vostro balances - held by local banks on behalf of foreign banks - to help stabilize the cedi. "Arguably, the recent measures put in place (...) all represent a more significant tightening than adjustments to the policy rate alone," said Razia Khan at Standard Chartered. "Nonetheless, we think more policy tightening will be required as a signal of the Bank of Ghana's intent to maintain tight policy," she said. Samir Gadio of Standard Bank said more monetary policy tightening could push long-term bond yields up. Ghana's most recent three-year bond auction was oversubscribed at an average yield of 14 percent. "From a foreign investor perspective, this will eventually generate attractive re-entry points into the bond market at the 3- and 5-y tenors," he said. Meanwhile, cedi weakness could trigger new increases in the pace of inflation, potentially pushing it back into double-digits. The cedi weakened slightly on Wednesday to 1.8703 cedis to the dollar, from 1.8695 on Tuesday. "A likely upward adjustment in petroleum prices in the next few weeks - again largely as a result of cedi depreciation - and a probable rise in cost of credit due to the recent and continuing rise in market interest rates will combine with other factors to push inflation towards double digits," said Kobla Nyaletey from Barclays Bank Ghana. Ghana adjusts retail fuel prices routinely to reflect the cost of imports, and weakness in the cedi has raised cedi-denominated import costs for foreign goods. Ghana's consumer prices posted a 1.6 percent monthly increase, the largest since January.
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News Headline: United Nations News Center - Africa Briefs | News Date: 05/11/2012 Outlet Full Name: United Nations News Centre News Text: Libya nearing key moment in its democratic transition, says UN envoy 10 May – Libya is nearing a key moment in its democratic transition with upcoming elections, the United Nations envoy for the North African country said today, while adding that the polls are just one part of a process that requires addressing key issues such as ensuring public security and promoting human rights. Funding gap threatens efforts to assist millions facing hunger in Africa – UN official 10 May – A major funding gap is threatening efforts to boost food security and development in the Sahel region of West Africa and in the Horn of Africa in the east, a senior United Nations official warned today.

Tunisia must prioritize right to education as it proceeds with reforms – UN 9 May – An independent United Nations expert today urged the Tunisian Government to ensure that human rights, especially the right to education, are kept at the heart of the historic reforms taking place in the North African nation. Children in Mali suffering from triple disaster, warns UNICEF 9 May – The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is warning of grave violations of child rights in northern Mali, where they are confronted not just by the food crisis in the wider Sahel region but also by displacement and the effect of an armed rebellion. Secretary-General recommends gradual drawdown of UN mission in Liberia 8 May – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has recommended that the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Liberia be reduced gradually by about 4,200 troops in three phases between this year and 2015, when it will have a residual presence of approximately 3,750 soldiers.
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