INSIDE THIS ISSUE In Focus HoA: Land & Sea North Africa Northeast Africa Syria ABOUT THE CFC
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May 8, 2012

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This document provides an overview of developments in the Mediterranean Basin and other regions of interest from 01 May —07 May, with hyperlinks to source material highlighted and underlined in the text. For more information on the topics below or other issues pertaining to the region, please contact the members of the Med Basin Team, or visit our website at

CFC publications are independently produced by Desk Officers and do not reflect NATO policies or positions of any other organisation.
The CFC is part of NATO Allied Command Operations.

In Focus: The Prosecution of a Somali Pirate By Britta Rinehard Somali Mohammad Saaili Shibin, the lead negotiator for the pirates on the MV Marida Marguerite and the yacht Quest was convicted after a two-week trial on 15 counts of piracy-related charges in a US federal court on 27 April. These charges included hostage taking, kidnapping and conspiracy relating to involvement in the MV Marida Marguerite and the SV Quest. According to US attorney Neil MacBride, Shibin’s conviction marks the successful prosecution of the highest-ranking Somali pirate ever brought to the United States. Shibin was among “an elite fraternity of pirate negotiators – the vital link to any successful pirate attack”. Without his skillfull negotiation, there would be no ransom, remarked MacBride. His sentencing is scheduled for 13 August 2012, where he could face life in prison, according to the Chicago Press Release Services. Pirating of the MV Marida Marguerite The MV Marida Marguerite, a Marshall Islands-flagged, German-owned chemical tanker, was en route from Mumbai to the Suez Canal on 08 May 2010, when pirate skiffs approached the ship and fired automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades before boarding the tanker. The pirates hijacked the ship and its crew 120 miles off the coast of Oman and forced the ship’s captain, Mahadeo Makane, to steer the ship towards Somalia. They anchored off the coast of Garacad, in Puntland’s Mudug region. The 22member crew included two Bangladeshi, 19 Indian and one Ukrainian. Details of the crewmembers’ ordeal were shared during Shibin’s trial. (continued on page 10)

For further information, contact: Med Basin Team Lead Linda Lavender The Mediterranean Team


Horn of Africa: Land & Sea
Britta Rinehard › Eritrea A report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) states that Eritrea is the world’s most restrictive nation for media, followed by North Korea, Syria and Iran. CPJ further found that these countries are among the ten countries most notable “for barring international media, putting dictatorial controls on domestic media and imposing” other restrictions on electronic recording and blocking of websites. In addition, there is often an absence of privately owned or independent media, as well as restrictions on the movements of journalists. CPJ further stated that Eritrea has denied access to foreign reporters and the government controls all domestic media. Ethiopia AP reports that Ethiopia expelled two Arabs after the two men visited the Grand Anwar Mosque in the capital and “disseminated materials and made inflammatory statements”. A Muslim religious leader in the Oromia region was arrested by Ethiopian security forces one week prior, accused of radical statements. An attempt by a group of Muslims to free him resulted in the deaths of four demonstrators and the wounding of 10 policemen. Ethiopia’s Federal Ministry has since issued a statement accusing the group of trying to declare jihad against the government. US President Barack Obama has invited four African leaders, including Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, to participate in a session on food security during the G8 leaders’ summit, reports Reuters. The working session will take place at Camp David on 19 May and the agenda includes discussion on food security concerns in Africa considering that the United Nations’ (UN) food price index, which measures monthly price changes for cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar,remains relatively high. Eskinder Nega, an imprisoned Ethiopian Journalist and blogger, was honoured with PEN America’s “Freedom to Write” award, states AP. Nega opened his first newspaper, Ethiopis, in 1993 and had been publishing articles critical of the government. The paper was open only briefly before being shut down by Ethiopian authorities. Nega was arrested on 14 September 2011 and a judge found him guilty on terror charges on 23 January 2012. He “could face the death penalty for advocating peaceful protests” in Ethiopia. Under Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism proclamation last year, the government has arrested almost 200 journalists and opposition politicians. In the last decade, “more journalists have fled Ethiopia than any other country in the world”, reports CPJ. On 04 May 2012, CPJ reports that Temesghen Desalegn, editor of Feteh, an independent Ethiopian newspaper, was sentenced to a fine of USD 113 and a suspended four-month prison term for contempt of judiciary charges. Feteh, published Nega’s courtroom statement from his hearing on 28 March, where he declared his innocence and questioned the “independence of the court and the fairness of the proceedings”. Kenya According to a 65-page Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, Kenyan Defence Forces and police arbitrarily arrested and mistreated Kenyan citizens and Somali refugees between November 2011 and March 2012 in the North Eastern province. These abuses were committed in response to attacks by militants suspected of links to al Shabaab who had attacked security forces as well as civilians. HRW asserts that instead of conducting an investigation of the attacks, the Kenyan Defence Forces and the police responded with violence against civilians in the area. HRW interviewed 35 Kenyan citizens and 20 Somali refugees in the Dadaab camp, all victims of the security forces’ abuse. According to the article, the victims report rape and attempted sexual assault, beatings, arbitrary detention, extortion, looting and destruction of property, and other forms of physical abuse. The HRW report also notes that Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops are accused of being involved in beating more than 115 civilians in Mandera, a town close to the Somali border. The Kenyan government has promised to investigate the abuses but no arrests on these allegations have been made. According to a 15 April 2012 UNHCR report, the Dadaab refugee camp now hosts 464,380 people, , Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, urges the international community, in cooperation with UNHCR, to help facilitate repatriation of Somali refugees, reports Shabelle Media Network (SMN). The president stated that they have hosted more than 630,000 Somali refugees in the Dadaab camp, which is a population that is not sustainable and creates a strain to the available resources. Kibaki said that the refugees can go back to areas free of al Shabaab and other safe areas in Somalia, thanks to the efforts of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Kenya Defence Forces and the TFG. Kibaki further calls on the international community to support the “Somali people to stabilize and reconstruct their country”. Somalia In order to increase security and expand TFG control outside the capital, the United States is stepping up its training of Ugandan troops who will join the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), reports Reuters. The United States assists in the funding of the AMISOM force and provides assistance to the transitional governmental institutions in Somalia. According to the UN the TFG’s mandate is ending on 20 August 2012, reports the UN News Centre. A committee of the Traditional Elders was formed to select the 08 May 2012 Page 2

1,000 members who will serve in the Constituent Assembly, which is tasked with drafting a new constitution, as well as in the new Parliament. On 01 May, AMISON, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the United Nations issued a warning that “individual groups are jeopardising the roadmap for ending the transition”, noting that those groups which do not comply or who actively obstruct the roadmap will be referred to the IGAD Council of Ministers, and that anyone obstructing the peace process could face sanctions and restrictions. The Somalia Roadmap was established in September 2011 and its implementation is in progress. UNICEF says it appealed for USD 289 million to deliver projects in Somalia in 2012 but has thus far only raised USD 30 million. In order to prevent more than 325,000 Somali children from dying due to malnutrition, they need to close their funding gap. Critical programmes such as water, health, nutrition, education and protection might have to be cut due to lack of funds. In addition, south and central Somalia remain insecure and many humanitarian actors are still banned by al Shabaab from working in that region. Citizens are still struggling with the aftermath of last year’s drought, poor rain and increase of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Farhan Jeemis Abdulle, a 27-year old journalist for Radio Daljir was killed near Galkayo on 02 May, writes Reporters Without Borders. Since 2007, more than 30 journalists have been murdered in Somalia. According to CPJ, Abdulle is the fifth journalist to be killed in Somalia this year, making it the second deadliest country for the media after Syria. On 03 May, dozens of Somali journalists met in Mogadishu to commemorate World Press Freedom Day, and remembered Abdulle, reports AP. The Bari regional football committee brought together about 280 youths from different districts to play football in Bosaso, in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, states Somalia Report. These districts are well-known pirate areas and volatile security situation. In addition to creating friendships, the goal of the tournament was to encourage the players to refrain from joining pirates. Somali Piracy Three Somali pirates, who were charged with fatally shooting four Americans on-board the yacht Quest in February 2011, might face the death penalty, writes AP (See also In Focus, “Prosecution of a Somali Pirates”). Bloomberg reports on comments made during a luncheon in London by Clay Maitland in regards to Somali piracy. Maitland is the managing director of International Registries, Inc. (IRI), the third largest vessel registry, which manages 2,634 Marshall Islandsflagged vessels. Maitland calls for a global convention for the Suppression of Piracy, “setting legal parameters for using lethal force and making arrests” and also enabling pirates to be tried at The Hague. India has allowed the Italian tanker Enrica Lexie to leave the country after being detained since February, when two Italian Marines aboard the vessel killed two Indian fishermen, mistaking them for Somali pirates, reports BBC. The two marines remain in custody on murder charges. The incident took place off the coast of India on the high seas and Italy maintains that that its forces cannot be charged under Indian law. Seven Indian crewmembers of the recently released Enrica Ievoli, arrived in Mumbai after four months in captivity, reports AP. The ship and its 18 crewmembers, comprising seven Indians, six Italians and five Ukrainians, had been hijacked on 27 December 2011 off the coast of Oman. Some of the Indian crewmembers recount their ordeal, providing details on the hijacking and their time in captivity. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is sponsoring the Piracy Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet (MMOWGLI) 2012 game, which is now available to invited experts from the maritime piracy field. The Naval Postgraduate School has developed the game with the goal of “building a community for long-term collaboration, exploring idea possibilities and comparing alternative action plans”. Gulf of Guinea Piracy The BW Rhine, a product tanker, and its 24 crewmembers were released on 04 May, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP). The tanker, which was carrying gasoline, was hijacked by pirates on 28 April, while at a patrolled anchorage off Lome, Togo. According to MarineLink, some of the fuel was siphoned. Global Piracy The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) states that the United Kingdom became the eighteenth Contracting Party. Although the UK is not located in Asia, it has a “strong interest in the regional maritime economy and supports fully the ReCAAP aims of enhancing multilateral cooperation among its members”. In order to effectively address the piracy and armed robbery issue in Asia, international cooperation is vital. Have a question on the Horn of Africa: Land & Sea? Submit an RFI or recommend a topic for future In Focus coverage. Contact us at or visit us online at
We look forward to hearing from you!

08 May 2012

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North Africa
Erin Foster › Algeria According to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) article, Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia spoke out against those calling for an Arab Spring revolt in Algeria and urged stability ahead of the 10 May national assembly elections. While Algeria experienced some protests in the crest of the Arab Spring in January 2011, the government mitigated widespread opposition by passing reforms and raising the minimum wage. Meanwhile, the anticipated victory of Islamist parties in the coming parliamentary elections would be more symbolic than ushering an era of change, says Reuters. The current secular government has been in power for the last 50 years and despite new reforms, the parliament continues to have limited influence over government policy. The “Green Alliance” or Islamist coalition of three parties including the Movement for Society and Peace (MSP), el-Islah, and Ennahda, is likely to gain a significant number of seats in the new parliament but it is considered a more moderate movement. The United Nations News Service reports that the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly and association, Maina Kiai, has called on Algerian authorities to ensure the protection of the freedom of association for the 10 May elections. Kiai expressed concern over Algerian Law 12-6 adopted in December 2011, which he says places restrictions on association and allows for vague interpretations of groups “in interference in the internal affairs of the country or contrary to national values”. In related election news, the Algerian government has extended an invitation to more than 500 international election observers to monitor the parliamentary elections, reports Magharebia. According to the article, there will be members from the African Union (200), Arab League (100), European Union (120), Organisation of Islamic Conference (20), UN (10) and two US non-governmental organisations (NGOs). According to EUbusiness, the head of the EU monitoring mission in Algeria has denied accusations of spying. Members of the mission, set to monitor legislative polls, have been accused by Abderrahmane Saidi of the Islamist Movement for Society and Peace (MSP) of overstepping their duties in asking questions unrelated to the election. Algerian intelligence has reportedly launched an investigation of two EU observers. Libya As of 06 May, Libya’s electoral commission announced that 330,000 people registered to vote for the country’s 200-seat constituent assembly, says AFP. Officials anticipate registrations to continue for the next two weeks ahead of the June elections. There are also plans to allow Libyans living abroad in Canada, Germany, Jordan, the UAE, the UK and the US to vote at Libyan embassies. Further, displaced persons in Libya will be able to vote in the cities where they currently reside. The assembly election is scheduled for June 2012, although officials have not announced the actual date. Reuters reports that security remains a problem as armed men forced the closure of a registration centre in Tripoli after demanding an extension for the registration of political parties. Meanwhile according to a separate Reuters article, the self-proclaimed Council of Cyrenaica is urging residents in eastern Libya to boycott the June 2012 general elections. The council says it advocates for fair representation of eastern provinces in the parliament. Amnesty International warns that the newly introduced Libyan Law 37 of 2012 criminalising the “glorification” of Moammar Gaddafi, his sons and senior leaders could be used to suppress freedom of expression in the country. Amnesty says that the law is reminiscent of other laws against freedom of expression utilised under the Gaddafi regime. Further, this law could restrict the growing media outlets in the country and create “prisoners of conscience”. In other news, the National Transitional Council (NTC) has published a new law that grants immunity to persons who fought against the Gaddafi regime as part of the 17 February revolution, says AFP. The law covers “military, security or civilian acts undertaken by revolutionaries”. Human rights organisations say that war crimes were committed by both sides during the 2011 revolution and all incidents need to be investigated. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), refugee families continue to struggle in post-Gaddafi Libya. UNHCR estimates that 6,700 refugees and 2,700 asylum-seekers from 20 different countries are registered with the organisation in Libya. However, this number is likely higher as Moammar Gaddafi ordered the organisation to stop new registrations in June 2010. UNHCR is now working with the interim government on an agreement to allow the resumption of registrations and to extend their monitoring and assistance programmes. Meanwhile, UNHCR estimates that there are currently 70,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Libya, according to an Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) article. Six months after the fall of Gaddafi, many are still afraid of returning home due to the persecution of minority ethnic groups. In a separate article, IRIN reports that local authorities in Benghazi and Kufra are detaining migrants both with and without documents, but they do not have the capacity to provide proper food and sanitation conditions. Further, the Libyan government has not taken control of detention centres so they are run by individuals without the mandate or training and whose management changes frequently. The UN Support Mission for Libya (UNSMIL) issued a statement expressing concern over three recent deaths at a detention centre in Misrata. The statement noted that the deaths were allegedly caused by torture. It further informed that there are allegations of torture by armed brigades in other detention centres in Tripoli, Zawiya, Zitnan and Misrata. UNSMIL urged the government to take immediate action to remedy the situation. The Supreme Security Committee of Misrata issued a statement condemning the abuses and calling for an investigation of the atrocities. 08 May 2012 Page 4

Mali After an attempted counter-coup by forces loyal to former president Amadou Toumani Toure on 01 May, Mali’s military junta said it remained in control of the country in a television broadcast, says Reuters. In their televised statement, the military junta claimed foreign supporters had backed Monday’s counter-coup that was allegedly launched by members of the presidential guard known as the red berets. The junta attacked their main barracks in Djicoroni camp. At least 27 people have been killed in the fighting. Mali’s interim Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra denounced the recent counter-coup that sought to destabilise the country, according to AFP. He called for residents to remain calm and said that the country is secure with Malian security forces. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) released a statement from their 03 May meeting in Dakar, Senegal, threatening targeted sanctions against members of the junta if they “disrupt the process for the election of a new president”. The ECOWAS statement also called on the Malian interim government to finalise a road map outlining the process for new elections and restoration of constitutional rule. ECOWAS troops are on standby until requested to deploy by the interim government. The tomb of Muslim saint Sidi Mahmoud Ben Amar was attacked by what Timbuktu residents says was a group of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) fighters, reports Al Jazeera. Timbuktu has 16 cemeteries and mausoleums and 333 tombs for saints registered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Members of the religious community have called on the Islamic High Council of Mali to reject this attack on religious and cultural heritage while young Malians have vowed to stage sit-ins to protect remaining sites. Timbuktu is considered a centre of Islamic scholarship and has nearly 100,000 ancient manuscripts from as early as the twelfth century, explains AFP. Armed Islamist groups have threatened other attacks in the city heightening concern for the country’s cultural heritage. In related news, Malian security officials told AFP, that AQIM is recruiting fighters from North African countries to fight in northern Mali. There are an estimated 100 AQIM fighters from Algeria, Libya and Tunisia and the group is actively seeking fighters from Egypt and Morocco. Tuareg leaders and clerics are calling for foreign armed groups, including AQIM, Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) and Ansar Dine, to leave northern Mali and turn in their weapons, reports Magharebia. The religious scholars appeal for international assistance to rid the region of armed foreign groups. MUJAO has demanded a total of EUR 45 million (USD 59 million) in ransom for two European aid workers and seven Algerian diplomats that the group has taken hostage, reports the South African Press Association (SAPA). The group also called for the release of MUJAO prisoners being held by Algeria. Morocco According to Morocco’s Interior Ministry, it has broken up a ‘terrorist network’ connected with AQIM that was operating in several cities within the country, says AFP. The network was “led by a leading figure of the Mujahideen of Morocco” who had close ties with other international terrorist groups and had managed to smuggle weapons into the country. Nigeria Nigerian officials report that the cattle market in north-eastern Potiskum, Yobe state was the scene of a gun and explosives attack on 03 May, according to BBC. There is no word yet on who is responsible for the attack. Reuters reports that hospital officials attending to victims say that at least 56 people were killed by the gunmen. In other security news, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports that Nigerian security officials raided a Boko Haram base in Kano, which allegedly resulted in the death of the mastermind behind recent bombings on Christian worshipers. Chadian President Idriss Deby called for the creation of a regional force to assist Nigeria in fighting Boko Haram, reports The Nation. Deby stated that Boko Haram represents a regional security threat to the Lake Chad river basin. The Inspector-General of Police in Nigeria Mohammed Abubakar cited inadequate police funding as one of the biggest obstacles to combating Boko Haram. Meanwhile, there is growing concern © WWF that continued attacks by Boko Haram on Christians in Nigeria may fuel reprisal attacks on Muslims in Nigeria, says Christian Science Monitor. The situation may be at critical stage as senior Christian leaders are issuing “final warnings” to end violence or they would not be able to restrain the community’s response. Nigerian Vice President, Arc Muhammad Namadi Sambo, told Daily Trust that the government is still open to negotiations with Boko Haram and believes that dialogue is the only way to end the current violence. Tunisia President Moncef Marzouki has extended Tunisia’s state of emergency through the end of July 2012, citing risks to public order, reports AP. This was the sixth time, since unrest broke in January 2011, that the government has extended the measure. Under state of emergency, soldiers and police are allowed to fire on persons who refuse to stop for questioning. In other news, AP reports that a military tribunal in Sfax sentenced two Tunisian policemen to 20 years in prison for killing Slim Hadhri during a protest in 2011. The trial was the first military tribunal to rule on the death of a civilian during protests. Have a question on North Africa? Submit an RFI or recommend a topic for future In Focus coverage. Contact us at or visit us online at
We look forward to hearing from you!

08 May 2012

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Northeast Africa
Angelia Sanders › Egypt Following protests on 02 May that left 11 dead, more protestors took to the streets of Cairo on 04 May to denounce military rule and demand a handover of power, reports al Jazeera. Troops responded with water cannons and rocks to disperse crowds trying to reach the defence ministry. The Muslim Brotherhood, several pro-democracy groups, including ‘April 6’, said they would join the protest alongside the ultra-conservative Salafi movement. Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports that the 04 May clashes resulted in two deaths which included one solider. In response to the protests, the military ordered the detentions of 300 people and imposed overnight curfews from Friday to the morning of Monday, 07 May. In an attempt to resolve the crisis, a delegation of Members of Parliament (MPs) met with Egypt’s military rulers on 06 May. Al Masry al Youm reports that Secretary General of the Presidential Elections Commission Hatem Bagato announced that the commission asked organisations from 40 countries to monitor the presidential elections. Permits would be granted to the foreign organisations no later than 07 May. According to al Ahram, only 60 local organisations have applied to monitor the elections. This is the smallest number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) requesting to observe elections in recent years and is attributed to recent government procedures to stop the flow of foreign funding of NGOs. During the 2010 parliamentary election, 400 Egyptian NGOs monitored the elections. Egypt Independent reports that Liberal reformist candidate and former Arab League chief Amr Moussa is leading in the presidential polls with 39% of participants’ votes, followed by former Muslim Brotherhood member Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh with 24.5%. Total, a French multinational oil and gas company, has withdrawn from a USD 6 billion deal with Egyptian PetroChemicals Holding Company (ECHEM) that would have provided 10,000 employment opportunities, reports al Masry al Youm. The deal between the parties was to produce propylene and polypropylene in Suez and is believed to have been withdrawn because of political tension and unrest in Egypt. In other economic news, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has stated that Egypt must do more to secure a USD 3.2 billion loan from the IMF in addition to identifying other sources of funding. Egypt state news source MENA reports that Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz stated on 05 May that the Saudi Ambassador to Egypt would return to Cairo within 48 hours. An Egyptian delegation travelled to Saudi Arabia to smooth tensions between the two countries that had escalated over the last two weeks. The tensions were a result of protests that occurred outside the Saudi Embassy in Cairo as a result of Saudi Arabia’s arrest of Egyptian lawyer Ahmed el Gezawi on 17 April. Plan International, a child rights organisation, has expressed concern about a new marriage law proposed by the Egyptian parliament that would lower the permitted age for girls to marry from its current age of 18 to 14 years. The organisation believes early marriage is a violation of human rights and a harmful traditional practice that is a form of sexual violence against children, particularly young girls. South Sudan According to the Sudan Tribune, a leaked confidential report by the World Bank states that South Sudan is headed for an economic collapse in response to the shutdown of oil production earlier this year (see In Focus: Sudan Oil Dispute) which constitutes 98% of the government’s revenue. It is expected that there will soon be a “sharp” drop in the influx of hard currency and that once citizens realize that their currency lacks value, there will be a run for dollars. The report predicts that once this run begins, “the currency will almost certainly collapse” states the World Bank’s Director of Economic Policy and Poverty Reductions Programs for Africa Marcelo Giugale. An analysis of South Sudan’s foreign reserves shows they could be depleted by July 2013 “at which point state collapse becomes a real possibility”. Giugale further stated that an economic collapse “could result in social and political fragmentation, unrest and instability”. Fighting between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army North (SPLM-N) rebels and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in South Kordofan continues to cause large numbers of people to flee into South Sudan, reports the Sudan Tribune. On 02 and 03 May, over 600 people arrived at the Yida refugee camps in Unity state, South Sudan. Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and Samaritan’s Purse (SP) reported that they had admitted more than 100 children into their treatment centre for malnutrition. The World Food Program (WFP) has warned that clashes on the border could plunge the region into widespread food insecurity as people continue to be displaced. WFP spokeswoman Elizabeth Byrs stated that “the recent food security and monitoring system assessment indicates malnutrition rates among children under five have reached levels above the global acute malnutrition-rate emergency threshold”. The relief agency CARE also states that there is a growing food crisis in South Sudan that has the potential to deteriorate further as the rainy season approaches. Claudia Futterknecht, CARE’s country director in South Sudan explains: “The rains cut people off from vital services, 08 May 2012 Page 6

like medical care, food and clean water. So many people already don’t have enough food and the rains will make this situation worse”. The Inter Press Service (IPS) reports that a coalition of civil society groups in South Sudan have called on the UN peacekeeping mission (UNMISS) to withdraw its support of a disarmament campaign in Jonglei state. The government began the campaign on 12 March with citizens given the opportunity to voluntarily hand over weapons. The coalition released a report documenting alleged abuses committed during the voluntary phase of the campaign which included: simulated drowning, tying young men to trees and beating them, and clashes between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and members of the ethnic Lou Nuer community who resisted disarmament. The commander of the 15,000 member SPLA disarmament force, Gen. Kuol Diem Kuol, told political and traditional leaders that the SPLA would start killing raiders who targeted civilians and that SPLA forces would remain in Jonglei state “as long as there continue to be threat to disarmed communities”, reports the Sudan Tribune. As of 01 May, the disarmament is mandatory. Sudan President Omar al Bashir said on 06 May that the Sudanese economy is facing “difficulties” but has “not failed”, reports AFP. The IMF had forecasted that Sudan’s real gross domestic product would decline by 7.3% this year after South Sudan became independent. Additionally, an international economist has estimated that the damage to the Heglig oil field during the fighting with South Sudan depleted oil revenues by a further 20%. Heglig comprises half of Sudan’s daily national output. Sudan reported that the Heglig oil field has been repaired and has started pumping oil though it could take months to return to full production. Reuters reports that the dispute with South Sudan over oil transit fees has resulted in an approximately USD 2.4 billion gap in Sudan’s public finances. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that Sudanese government forces “are conducting indiscriminate bombings and abuses against civilians in the Nuba Mountains area of Southern Kordofan”, a region of Sudan along the southern border. Based on interviews conducted in mid-April 2012, it was reported that residents experienced almost daily aerial bombardment in addition to arbitrary detentions and sexual violence against women. Witnesses indicated that these attacks occurred in mostly civilian areas where there was no apparent military target or presence of rebel fighters at the time of the attacks. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that they received confirmation from the government of Sudan (GOS) that an earlier deadline imposed on the relocation of 12-15,000 South Sudanese would not be enforced, given that a firm departure plan was in place. GOS has stated that it will help facilitate an IOM airlift of the stranded South Sudanese from Khartoum to Juba. According to BBC, in an effort to improve relations with donors, Malawi’s new President Joyce Banda has said she does not want Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir to attend the African Union meeting being held in Malawi in early July. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges relating to the Darfur conflict. According to the Telegraph, Ugandan forces commander General Aronda Nyakairima said that he “found credible” a captured Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fighter’s report that the LRA’s leader, Joseph Kony, was recently in South Sudan. Nyakairima said military officials had not found LRA fighters with Sudanese weapons. The military spokesman, Col Felix Kulayigye, stated that “Kony has always been a pawn in the Khartoum chess game over South Sudan”. Sudan has denied ever supporting the LRA. Conflict between South Sudan and Sudan The UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously backed a US drafted resolution calling on Sudan and South Sudan to unconditionally withdraw troops to their own territories and immediately halt the current violence. Additionally, both sides must return to negotiations within two weeks and reach an agreement within three months on outstanding issues. If either side fails to abide by the terms, “additional measures” could be taken which could include sanctions. According to the Sudan Tribune, a number of opposition parties in Sudan have called on the government to accept the resolution; however, AFP reports that there are those within the Sudanese government who oppose the plan. Al Jazeera reports that the African Union’s seven-point plan, which is supported by the UNSC, to restart negotiations over South Sudan and Sudan’s shared border, citizenship issues and oil revenue sharing was accepted by South Sudan and Sudan, though Sudan has insisted on retaining the right to self-defence. South Sudan and Sudan have already accused each other of defying the UN Security Council resolution, reports the Sudan Tribune. South Sudan’s army spokesperson, Philip Aguer, reported that six bombs were dropped on their base in Panakuach, Unity State by the Sudanese. The spokesperson of Sudan’s foreign ministry, Al-Obayd Adam Marawih, attributed attacks made by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) in South Darfur and East Darfur to the South Sudanese since Khartoum says that SPLM-N is still part of SPLA.

Have a question on Northeast Africa? Submit an RFI or recommend a topic for future In Focus coverage. Contact us at or visit us online at
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08 May 2012

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Linda Lavender › Governance Parliamentary Election On 30 April, Reuters reports Syrian authorities were in the final preparations for the 07 May parliamentary elections. The multi-party elections for 250 parliamentary seats are the first to be held in 40 years. Al Jazeera reports that nine political parties have been created in Syria and that a total of 7,195 candidates have registered for the elections. In the past, only parties affiliated with the ruling National Progressive Front (NPF) were able to field parliamentary candidates. According to the Guardian, many polling places located in areas of high violence remained closed and overall, turnout was reported as poor. Meanwhile, opponents of President Assad’s regime claim that the new constitution, which was approved by referendum in February 2012 and calls for the elections, is illegal and they have demanded that Assad relinquish power. One potential voter told Reuters, “I hope the candidates would be the right people in the right place in order to respond to the citizens needs”. Opposition figures encouraged voters to boycott the upcoming elections calling them a cynical attempt by President Assad to hold on to power in the country, according to AP. Experts concur with the opposition, stating they foresee little changing politically in Syria because of the elections. As polls opened across the nation, security was tight, with reports of sporadic violence in Deir Ezzor, Damascus and Idlib, reports CNN. One of the many political parties emerging to participate in the upcoming elections is Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, reports Reuters. Over the past 14 months of unrest in the country, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has had a growing influence on the Syrian National Council (SNC). According to the article, the Brotherhood has been financing the Free Syrian Army defectors now headquartered in Turkey, and working to channel money and supplies to fighters in Syria. Opposition sources indicate that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood still has work to do in order to gain support from inside the SNC, where a number of clerics, activists and rebels are wary of the implications of being linked to the Brotherhood while the Brotherhoods support seems to be on the rise within the city of Homs, Hama and the rural province of Idlib. The Ceasefire Despite growing scepticism from the international community, Kofi Annan’s spokesperson Ahmed Fawzi, addressing a United Nations briefing in Geneva, said that the six point peace plan is on track, reports Associated Press (AP). According to Fawzi, negotiations are occurring separately, encouraging both opposition and Syrian forces to fully comply with the ceasefire. Fawzi noted that “there are small signs of compliance”. However, most observers and diplomats caution that the Annan plan has done little to reduce bloodshed. The UN observer team has approximately 50 members on the ground as of 04 May and an additional 250 are expected by the end of the month. Reuters explains that the city of Hamas has been damaged by the months of shelling from Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s security forces. With the presence of UN monitors, citizens of the city have emerged from their homes to share stories of “hardship and horror” at the hands of their government. The three-week-old ceasefire agreement, brokered by Annan, has stopped the worst of the violence but daily shootings continue to occur, according to Homs residents. Major General Robert Mood, who is heading the UN monitors, states that the observers seem to have had a “calming affect” and that government forces appeared willing to abide by the conditions of the ceasefire, according to the article. In related news, Reuters reporters accompanied a UN monitoring convoy to Douma, where they encountered checkpoints at every street corner, an army presence and three Syrian tanks that had not been withdrawn from towns as outlined in the Annan ceasefire plan. In fact, three tanks were hidden under sheets at various locations throughout the town. UN monitors documented the situation. Finally, US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner expressed concern that terrorist and extremist groups such as al Qaeda may seek to exploit Syria’s unrest, reports the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). Noting that the Syrian opposition has adopted “al Qaeda” type attacks against the regime’s institutions and employees, Toner urged all parties to abide by Annan’s plan to halt violence. Meanwhile a Syrian army offensive against a number of towns and villages in eastern Syria along the Iraqi border has resulted in heavy fighting between opposition and government troops, according to AP. On 06 May, the opposition reported that the city of Deir al Zor, located along the Euphrates river had at least five army tanks positioned on each street leading to a roundabout , and was the “flashpoint” that caused the clashes. Reuters reports that the continued instability within Syria has Western countries concerned over the security of chemical weapons stockpiles held by the Assad regime. Syria is believed to house the world’s largest weapons stockpile which includes mustard gas and the nerve agent VX, according to Reuters. Chinese officials have confirmed a meeting with Syria’s opposition leader, Burhan Ghalioun during his visit to Bejing, according to 08 May 2012 Page 8

United Press International (UPI). Ghalioun arrived in China on 06 May with the objective of ending the revolt in Syria and will meet with Foreign Ministry officials who have thus far refused “to go along with calls on the Syrian government to ease up its attacks on rebel cities”. China, along with Russia, vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for an end to attacks on peaceful protestors. Security In Aleppo, Syrian forces opened fire on thousands of protestors following the 04 May killing of four protesting university students on the Aleppo University campus, according to National Public Radio (NPR). Activists reported that the protests were the largest since the start of the Syrian uprising which began in March 2011. “The people are incensed by what happened at the university”, said Mohammed Saeed, an activist. CNN reports that cities and towns across Syria held protests in reponse to the university students’ deaths. According to opposition activists, the protests have resulted in at least 37 deaths. According to Annan’s spokeperson Ahmed Fawzi, “the Annan plan is on track and a crisis that has been going on for over a year is not going to be resolved in a day or a week”. Fawzi acknowledged that there are no significant indications that the opposition and Syrian government parties are in compliance with the peace plan. AFP states that Syrian troops used teargas on thousands of protesters who took to the streets of Damascus to mourn slain protestors. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights indicated that the most recent protests were held after bombings that rocked Damascus and Aleppo on 05 May. The bombings came just two days before parliamentary elections. AFP reports that some activists are accusing the Syrian regime of conducting the attacks in an effort to stop funerals in the aftermath of 30 anti-regime protestor deaths earlier in the day on 05 May. Since the tenuous ceasefire took effect 12 April, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that over 600 people have been killed. The Independent reports an explosion at a carwash in the outskirts Aleppo killed five people on 06 May. The article suggests that the business was linked to pro-Assad armed groups. According to UPI, analysts suggest Aleppo’s recent anti-government protests in a city understood to be a government stronghold could potentially have significant implicationsregarding the governments support in the city. Humanitarian Affairs Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reports that in the wake of clashes between Syrian and oppostition forces, the humanitarian situation in the Barzeh neighbourhood of Damascs is “appalling”. Local Coordination Committees (LCC) indicated that that the Syrian security forces are not allowing food, ambulances or medical staff into affected areas. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Update No. 3, “Syria Regional Response Plan”, indicates that two new locations for Syrian refugees have been identified in Al-Ramtha, Jordan. The “Cyber City” building will accommodate up to 600 Syrian refugees while King Abdullah Park will host up to 800 people. According to the report, the first geographical coordination meeting took place in Ramatha, Jordan. Attending the meeting were government officials, local government officials, UN partners and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in the region. Additionally, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) are rehabilitating shelters to improve living conditions for displaced Syrians in Lebanon. In Iraq, UNHCR and the Iraqi Directorate of Displacement and Migration (DDM) continue to coordinate with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and relevant local authority structures regarding food and non-food rations to families at Domiz camp. UNHCR Erbil will be holding a meeting shortly with all UN agencies, NGOs and international NGOs to discuss services at the current Domiz refugee camp, which shelters fleeing Syrians. According to the update, there are nearly 69,000 Syrians in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey who are registered as refugees or are awaiting registration.

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(continued from page 1) One of the crew, the Ukrainian Oleg Dereglazov, testified that he was led to believe by the pirates that Captain Makane was dead. The Somali pirates also threatened to kill Dereglazov with a knife and tortured him by placing a plastic bag over his head, nearly suffocating him. Dereglazov also testified that he “was hung from a meat hook inside the ship’s freezer while half-clothed and that he also had his feet and hands tied together for hours under the hot sun”. During his almost eight-months in captivity, Dereglazov kept a diary of his ordeal. Under oath, the vessel’s captain identified Shibin as the pirates’ ransom negotiator onboard the MV Marida Marguerite and provided further details on the torture that he and his crew endured. Makane added that the hostages were questioned by their captors about the value of the cargo and about the ship’s owner. Special privileges, such as contact with family members and free access to roam the vessel, were given to one crewmember who cooperated with the pirates. The captain testified that Shibin was onboard the vessel for most of their captivity. In the audio-taped ransom negotiations, which took place by phone and were played in court, Shibin portrayed himself to the ship owner’s negotiator as the alias “Ali Jamal”, claiming to work for a human rights non-governmental organisation (NGO) and looking out for the well-being of the hostages. In efforts to place pressure on ship-owners, in the hopes to expedite ransom payment, Shibin told the shipowner’s negotiator that pirates had started to torture the hostages. However, the captain testified during the trial that he and his crew were not tortured initially, as Shibin had claimed. Initially, the shipping company offered a ransom payment of USD 812,000. The pirates rejected the offer, claiming that they were spending USD 700 to 800 a day on supplies for the pirates and hostages and remained firm in their initial ransom demand of USD 15 million. Negotiations were lengthy and the vessel and its crew were eventually relocated by the pirates from the coastal cities Garacad and Habo to the pirate-stronghold in Hobyo. The hostages had been told “that the crew would be handed over to the terrorist organization al Shabaab and shot and killed” if their ransom demands were not met within 24 hours. In December 2010, the parties agreed on a ransom of USD 5 million for the release of the vessel and its crew. As directed by the pirates, the money was divided equally into five bags and a small chartered aircraft dropped the bags in the water, near the MV Marida Marguerite. The hostages and the vessel were released on 28 December 2010. Pirating of the Yacht Quest The sailing vessel Quest and its four American crewmembers were hijacked by 19 Somali pirates on 18 February 2011, about 190 nautical miles off the coast of Oman. Four US Navy warships responded to the incident. When they located the yacht, naval officials began negotiations with the pirates, two of whom boarded the USS Sterett, a US guided-missile destroyer, to further negotiations. The following morning, the Sterett was fired upon by the pirates onboard the Quest with a rocket-propelled grenade. According to Navy Vice Admiral Mark I. Fox, “gunfire erupted from inside the cabin of the Quest. Several pirates appeared on the deck of the Quest and moved up to the bow with their hands in the air in surrender.” The yacht was boarded by US special operations forces, who killed two of the pirates and discovered the four dead Americans in addition to two dead Somali pirates. The remaining 15 suspected pirates were detained. “One person was released by authorities because he is a juvenile”. The other 14 pirates were brought to Norfolk, Virginia. Three of them are facing the death penalty for the fatal shooting of the four Americans and eleven pirates have pleaded guilty and been sentenced to life in prison. According to the Virginian-Pilot, Shibin was identified by the Somali pirates onboard the Quest as their land-based, lead negotiator. The pirates had given the US Navy Shibin’s phone number and declared Shibin to be the party authorised to negotiate on their behalf. Shibin told FBI agents that he was asked by pirates to be their negotiator. Shibin conducted research on the Quest and he used his cell phone to look for information on Jean and Scott Adam, owners of the yacht in order “to determine the amount of ransom to demand”, reports the Wall Street Journal. James Broccoletti, Shibin’s attorney, maintains that because Shibin was arrested in Somalia he“contends the case should have been prosecuted in Somalia. He has said Shibin’s case is unique from other pirates the United States has prosecuted because he was arrested in Somalia, not on the high seas”. According to the Virginian-Pilot, Shibin was arrested in April 2011, when FBI agents and the US military hunted him down in Somalia. Countries continue to be hesitant to prosecute pirates. Concerns over legal implications, domestic political repercussion due to human rights, possible claims of asylum, as well as the high costs involved, play a role in their reluctance to prosecute. Currently nine out of 10 suspected pirates held captive by international naval forces are released without trial. This method is often referred to as “catch and release”. Somalia’s capacity to prosecute and imprison pirates remains weak. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has been “supporting efforts to detain and prosecute piracy suspects” in the region, as evidenced by Kenya and the Seychelles. UNODC funds supported the construction of a prison in Hargeisa, Somaliland and in March, 17 convicted Somali pirates were transferred from the Seychelles to the new prison. Currently, there are about 1,000 pirates that have been detained worldwide.
Britta Rinehard is the Horn of Africa and Piracy Desk Office at the CFC. She has ten years experience in the transportation sector and holds an MA in International Studies. Ms. Rinehard was in attendance for portions of the Shibin trial.

ENGAGE WITH US 08 May 2012

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