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June 1 - 15, 2002


Part I – Sudan

1. Chronology

2. Southern Sudanese express reservations on the Danforth Report

3. SPLA to establish commercial bank

Part II- Northern Uganda briefs

Part III- Horn of Africa briefs

Part 1 – Sudan

1. Chronology

June 1, 2002: Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi urged all parties to the conflicts in Somalia and Sudan to make compromises in the search for peace in the two war-ravaged countries. "I call upon the warring factions to abandon their selfish interests and pursue national peace for the benefit of all the people of Somalia and neighbouring countries," said Moi while addressing the 39th anniversary of Kenya's attainment of self-rule in1963.

1: Sudan's ruling National Congress (NC) party welcomed Washington's appointment of a new charge d'affaires for its embassy in Khartoum and hoped relations would eventually be raised to the highest level. The party’s Secretary General for External Relations, Kamal al-Obied, said that the appointment of Jeff Millington was a "positive step" that could further better relations between the US and Sudan. The US State Department said that the appointment of Millington was a temporary one, but which was "somewhat more senior official than his predecessor," Raymond Brown.

1: The Sudanese government forces said they had captured oilfields in the southwestern province of Bahr Ghazal from the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). "The army took over the town of Macuac, on the road linking Wau to Gogrial in Bahr Ghazal Province, and beat badly rebel troops in the west of this region, a matter that secures the oilfields," Army spokesman General Mohamed Suliman Basher told the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA).

2: Forty-five Sudanese seeking jobs in Libya died on their way to the North African country after getting lost in the desert, SUNA reported. A statement issued by the regional government of South Darfur State, which borders Libya, said the Sudanese probably died of thirst and hunger. In February 18 men trying to reach Libya for work died of thirst and hunger after their truck broke down in the desert.

2: The SPLA dismissed as "propaganda" government claims to have dislodged its forces from areas near oilfields in the southwestern province of Bahr al-Ghazal. "They (the government) are trying to raise the morale of their forces who have been badly beaten by our forces in the Blue Nile and Western Upper Nile," said SPLA spokesman, George Garang. He said the government's claims "were empty propaganda" because Bahr al-Ghazal contained no oilfields.

3: Sudan’s opposition UMMA party suspended its dialogue with all the political groups in the country including the ruling NC party, the party spokesperson Sara Nugudallah told The Khartoum Monitor. The suspension of talks, according to Nugudallah was to give the party a chance to review its internal arrangements and evaluate its operations since the return of its chairman from exile, Sadiq al-Mahdi.

4: A Khartoum court convicted 33 students on charges of rioting and disturbing peace after they were arrested for allegedly celebrating the 19th anniversary of the founding of the SPLA. Eight were convicted in absentia, and the rest received a four-month suspended sentence each for rioting and three weeks in jail plus a fine for disturbing peace, court officials said. The students from Khartoum's Nileen University were arrested on May 21.

4: A joint meeting of donors to Sudan and aid agencies operating under the Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) umbrella came out with "a clear and unambiguous message" to all parties in Sudan to ensure "unimpeded humanitarian access to all populations in need". The principle of "unimpeded access to those in need" must be pursued vigorously and persistently by donors, the UN and NGOs, it concluded. In particular, these organisations should push for increased access to key locations in war-torn western Upper Nile (also known as Unity/Wahdah State) and to Eastern Equatoria, before the imminent arrival of the rainy season, which will hamper aid interventions, according to participants.

4: The Committee on International Relations at the US House of Representatives was due to hold a hearing on US-Sudan policy in the wake of developments in the Sudanese peace process. Senior US officials, independent experts and academics were expected to make statements during the hearing called by the chairman of the Committee, Henry J. Hyde, to help define steps towards peace in Sudan after the report to President George W Bush last month by the special US peace envoy to Sudan, John Danforth.

4: The Sudanese army and Popular Defence Forces (PDF) militias claimed military victories in Bahr al-Ghazal Province and in Blue Nile State. The army reported that it had destroyed SPLA camps in Sabun, on the Raga-Aweil road, and Miri, both in western Bahr al-Ghazal, according to the Republic of Sudan Radio in Omdurman. It also claimed military victories in Magok and Maryam, near Aweil in Bahr al-Ghazal and Makway town also in the area.

4: Four Sudanese conscripts sleeping on the rail tracks were killed when a military train ran over them, a military spokesman said. Two others were slightly injured. The accident took place in Abu Eshar in central Gezira region, spokesman Ibrahim Shaqlawy said in a statement. The soldiers were on an overnight mission of guarding their training camp, located near the railroad.

5: A member of the international team monitoring a ceasefire in Sudan's central Nuba Mountains said that the truce was holding and could form the basis for a wider stop to fighting. "The ceasefire is working. There has not been any fighting...Indications are that both sides will extend the ceasefire," Thomas Jenatsch, spokesman for the Joint Monitoring Commission, told Reuters. He is one of 25 foreigners in Sudan to monitor the ceasefire deal signed by the Sudanese government and the SPLA in Switzerland in January.

5: Japan has earmarked US$2.28 million for Sudan's polio and measles eradication programme, the Japanese Embassy said in Khartoum. The mission said that 68 percent of the grant would be used to procure vaccines while the balance would cover other costs of the vaccination programme. The grant would be channelled through the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

5: Members of the US House of Representatives’ International Relations Committee lashed out at the Bush administration for blocking legislation aimed at cutting off oil revenues that Sudan is using to finance its war against the SPLA. Assistant Secretary of State Walter Kansteiner said the administration opposed a key part of the Sudan Peace Act that was overwhelmingly passed by the House of Representatives last June. The Act would bar investors investing in Sudan’s oil fields from raising capital in the US and from trading their securities on American capital markets.

6: The head of Vatican Radio, Cardinal Roberto Tucci, broadcast a highly critical attack on Sudan saying the country represented "the worst aspects of fundamentalism." "When Sudan is able to sell its oil it uses the money to run an war of extermination against the non-Islamic south of the country," said Tucci.

6: Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) foreign ministers meeting in Sudan later this month will counter an international campaign against Islam after the September 11 anti-US attacks, a senior Sudanese official said. "The Organisation of the Islamic Conference ministerial council will, in its meetings in Khartoum on June 25-28, stress many of the Islamic concepts, adopt a joint position towards the assault against Islam and will refute accusations directed at the faith," said Chol Deng, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

6: The UMMA party expressed reservations over the report of the US Envoy on Peace in Sudan, Senator John Danforth, which he presented to President Bush earlier this year. The party’s Chairman Sadiq al-Mahdi pointed out that his party had not accepted the claim that the Nuba Mountains was a Christian homeland saying that ethnically and religiously diverse groups inhabit the area.

7: An Indian government panel approved a proposal by the country’s national Oil and Natural Gas Corporation to acquire Canadian Talisman Energy Inc's 25 percent stake in Sudan’s Greater Nile Oil Project for US$750 million, officials told Dow Jones news service. The proposal was recommended to India's Cabinet Committee for Economic Affairs by the panel comprising top bureaucrats from several ministries.

7: Talisman refused to comment on news that India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation had won approval to bid US$750 million for its 25 percent stake in a Sudanese oil project, reported Reuters. "There's no confirmed sale. It's just a rumour," said Barry Nelson, spokesman for Talisman. "I can't say anything except what we've said, which is all our assets are for sale and we've received offers."

7: The head of a German human rights team, Ms Monika Brundlewsky urged Sudan’s warring parties to observe issues related to humanity and dignity, pointing out that the war and some cultures cannot be used for abusing rights of individuals, reported The Khartoum Monitor. Brundlewsky who is a member of Human Rights Committee in the German Federal Parliament -Bundestag made the remarks after her team ended a visit to Sudan during which they met with government and opposition officials.

8: Sudan’s opposition party, Popular National Congress (PNC) appealed for the release of its detained leader, Islamist Hassan Turabi. This was after he underwent a fourth eye surgery in 17 months. In a statement, the PNC condemned Turabi's continued detention as a "huge injustice," and called on authorities to release him on ethical and humanitarian grounds. Turabi, who is in his 70s, has been under house arrest in Khartoum since early 2001, when he forged a political alliance with the SPLA.

8: The SPLA claimed seven children were injured in a bombing attack by government planes on the village of Muarakatiha in the country's Eastern Equatoria region. "Twelve bombs were dropped by a high-flying Russian-made Antonov plane on the village, injuring seven children, two seriously, and killing 30 cattle," SPLA spokesman Samson Kwaje told AFP.

8: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir vowed to end the country's 19-year-old civil war by the end of the year, whether it be through negotiations or arms, SUNA reported. "This year will be a year for peace whether through negotiation or through the military option," he said during a meeting with army officers in Qaisan, a town in the Blue Nile State, recently recaptured by the government forces from the SPLA. Bashir said the government armed forces "will continue their victories to spread security and stability all over the country."

9: Sudanese opposition groups criticised President Bashir for saying his government would obtain peace with the SPLA, even by force. "The regime's talk is counterproductive and a negative step that would take the crisis back to square one," the National Democratic Alliance, the umbrella group of Sudanese opposition movements, said in a statement faxed to AP.

9: The SPLA said it had recaptured the southern town of Kapoeta, which had been under government control since 1993. Speaking to AFP from Asmara, Eritrea, SPLA spokesman Yasser Arman gave no details on possible casualties but said that several tanks had been seized from the government, which has one of its three main southern army bases in Kapoeta located near the Kenyan border.

9: Sudanese emergency courts will try 92 people accused of involvement in ethnic clashes and armed robbery incidents which claimed scores of lives in western Sudan, the official Al Anbaa daily newspaper said. Though he gave no date, North Darfur State Governor and Security Mechanism Chairman General Ibrahim Suleiman told the daily that those who will stand trial include 49 men involved in the clashes between the Maalia and Rizaiqat communities in which 50 people were killed in May this year.

10: The peace initiative by the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will not bring about any fruitful results as long as it retains its old form of 1993, said President Bashir’s adviser on peace, Ghazi Salah Eddin. Eddin added that the forthcoming IGAD talks in Nairobi scheduled on June 17 would determine the fate of IGAD and the peace process in Sudan.

10: Kenya’s President Moi and his Sudanese counterpart President Bashir held bilateral talks in Rome, Italy concerning peace in the Great Lakes region. According to the Presidential Press Service (PPS) in Nairobi, the two presidents held discussions at the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) headquarters in Rome where both heads of state are attending a world summit on food.

10: Sudan's army acknowledged that the SPLA had captured Kapoeta town, but maintained government forces were still strongly positioned in the area. "The Sudanese army withdrew from Kapoeta city to other, alternative positions to contain the situation after heavy bombardment and continued (rebel) attacks," army spokesman Gen. Mohammed Bashir Suleiman told state-run Radio Omdurman. The SPLA said its forces captured Kapoeta, the capital of Eastern Equatoria province on June 9.

11: A Central committee member of the Sudan Communist Party (SCP), Suad Ibrahim Ahmed, told The Khartoum Monitor that the party had rejected an invitation from the ruling NC party to address political differences with the government. Mrs. Ahmed said that although the SCP was ready to engage the government in serious negotiations, it would contact dialogue only within the framework of the opposition NDA umbrella for the realisation of a comprehensive political settlement in the country.

11: Sweden's Scania AB (SCVA) said it has sold 200 trucks to Sudanese haulage company Raiba Trans. Financial terms weren't disclosed but the trucks will mainly be used for transport duties within Sudan's oil industry, and operate between Port Sudan and Khartoum. The first consignment of 25 trucks being built at Scania's plant in Zwolle, the Netherlands will be shipped in July, with deliveries to last into 2003.

11: Production at Sudan's Greater Nile Oil Project is expected to begin by the third quarter, a partner in the controversial project said. "It will come on stream by the third quarter of the year," Mohammad Johari Dasri, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Petronas Carigali said that initial production will run at 15,000 to 20,000 barrels a day. Petronas Carigali is the exploration and production arm of Malaysia's state oil and gas firm Petronas.

12: Nationals from countries accused by the US of supporting terrorism are barred from the Microsoft Certified System Engineering programme. The American Administration has ordered all its American Information Technology (IT) companies and institutions worldwide not to award the MCSE certificates to nationals of seven countries that were described as supporters of terrorism. According to the Netherlands-based Prometric Testing Centre (PTC), a leading worldwide provider of comprehensive technology-based testing and assessment services in IT, the American government has barred Syrian, Libyan, Iraqi, Iranian, Sudanese North Korean and Cuban citizens from obtaining MCSE certificates. Nevertheless, they are permitted to receive the MCSE training courses.

12: Sudan's non-oil exports for 2001 dropped to US$322 million from US$494 million in the year-ago period, a newspaper reported. Al-Ayam newspaper, quoting a finance ministry report, said oil and oil derivatives exports were at US$1.4 billion. The report did not give comparison figures for the oil exports.

12: Sudan said it might pull out of peace talks with the SPLA if the US did not pressure the rebels to surrender Kapoeta town captured by the group on June 9. Ahmed Dirdeiry, charge d'affaires at Sudan's embassy in Nairobi, said the attack on Kapoeta violated a US -brokered peace deal. "We are expecting the United States to ask the rebel movement to forego any military gains which it made," he told reporters. "If this legitimate demand from the government is not adhered to...we will have to think again about engaging with the rebel movement in any talks."

2. Southern Sudanese express reservations on the Danforth Report

By Jackson Khamis Jadden

Southern Sudan political organisations and figures have expressed firm reservations about the report submitted to US President George W. Bush in May on peace prospects in their war-torn country.

They said that the report authored by President Bush’s Special Envoy for Sudan, Senator John Danforth had smothered some of the contentious issues in the country’s civil war now entering its 19th year. And as such, peace might not be realised in Sudan despite the good intentions by the US.

"While the report of Danforth acknowledges the causes of the war and the suffering of the people of southern Sudan…USAP feels that significant portions of its contribution to a just peace in Sudan have been knowingly or unknowingly avoided by the Peace Envoy," said a statement issued early this month by USAP. The latter, which stands for the Union of Sudan African Parties is a grouping of southern Sudan political groups and is headed by Joseph Ukel who is also the Secretary General of the exiled opposition umbrella, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

What seemed to have irked the southerner leaders is what they termed as a lukewarm treatment by Danforth of the volatile issue of the right of self-determination by the southerners. In his report, the former US Senator, said that the issue of self-determination "would be strongly resisted by the Government of Sudan" which "would (also) wriggle out from its previous political commitments to self-determination." But USAP disagrees with such assessment arguing that all the political forces in the Sudan have agreed on the issue of self-determination.

"The general feeling of the southern populace is that if Danforth thinks he can resolve the Sudanese conflict without any recourse to self-determination, then he is not the right person for this task. No peace initiative can succeed to resolve this conflict without allowing the southern masses to exercise their right of self-determination," said Isaac Kenyi, the Executive Secretary of the Sudan catholic Bishops’ Conference Justice and Peace Department. Kenyi added that the southern Sudan issue "is so complex that …the most feasible approach to resolve the conflict is through a referendum on self-determination."

Dr. Toby Maduot, a veteran southern politician was adamant that any peace initiative regarding the Sudanese conflict must take into consideration the right of self-determination to be exercised by the southerners. "Without this, this conflict will only stop for a while and then erupt again. And when it erupts, it might be much worse than what it is today," he said.

Similar sentiments were voiced by Abel Alier, Sudan’s former vice president who said that the current war in the country was due to the fact that southern Sudanese had never been given the chance to express their own fate. "The armed struggle going on right now in the bushes of southern Sudan is itself an exercise of self-determination through a violence means. What we are saying now is that, we would like to exercise that right peacefully in order to avoid too much blood shed," said Alier.

In 1994, under the auspices of the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Khartoum and the SPLA signed a Declaration of principles (DOP) in which the government agreed with other southern political forces on the principle of self-determination. This culminated in the Khartoum Peace Agreement, which was signed in 1997 and which was enshrined in the county’s 1998 constitution.

Self-determination aside, southerners are also up in arms in the manner in which Danforth treated another contentious issue, that of religion and state in Sudan. They argue that he didn’t delve much on it thus leaving the ruling Islamic generals at liberty to continue with their vision of establishing a theocratic and Arab Sudan.

Danforth has stated in his report that the issue of religion and state has been discussed before by Khartoum and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and recommended that the matter be tackled politically. But the southern leaders insist that for peace to be realised in Sudan and the country to remain united, it is imperative that religion be separated from politics as spelt out in the 1994 IGAD deal.

The parties also rejected the reference by Danforth that to southern Sudanese as being composed of " a dozen politico-tribal factions" saying this description "tallies with GOS (Government of Sudan) propaganda which depicts Southerners antagonistic tribal groups who cannot rule themselves, if left alone and therefore, need the north as a godfather to control them." Instead, they pointed that ethnic diversity has been what has unified the southerners in their war against marginalisation in the country. " We embrace political, cultural and democratic pluralism and we would prefer a dozen political parties rather than a single authoritarian, theocratic system," said the USAP statement.

It also opposed Egypt’s involvement in the Sudan’s peace process saying that Cairo is a stakeholder and is, therefore, not a neutral broker. "Egypt is on record for having rejected the right of Self-determination for southern Sudanese in order to maintain the status quo in the Sudan and that is, Arab-Islamic hegemony. This is evident in its leaving out the right of self-determination and separation of religion from state in the Joint Egyptian-Libyan Initiative (JELI)." The JELI came to force in 1999 and seeks to address the issue of reconciliation between Sudan’s northern opposition parties and the government. However, it totally ignores the north-south conflict.

During his tour to Sudan early this year, Danforth met political leaders of northern Sudan but did not meet the political leaders of southern Sudan in Khartoum something that hasn’t gone down well with USAP. Therefore, said the statement, "Danforth did not reap the opportunity that might have straightened out some issues at that particular moment."


3. SPLA to establish commercial bank

By Matthias Muindi

Forty-year-old Pauline Chol smiles as she talks of a dream she has had for the past 10 years: investing in her war-torn homeland, southern Sudan. Marooned in her cramped house in Nairobi, the mother of three talks excitedly of her desire to buy shares in the first commercial bank in southern Sudan. "I have the money ready. It is US$100 and I know it is just the beginning," she told AFRICANEWS.

Yes, it is going to be a new start for the war-torn region if plans goes as envisaged. Come the end of this month, the rebel-held southern Sudan will have its first commercial bank operating by June and a new currency will follow two months later. Senior financial officials of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) told AFRICANEWS that the New Sudan Pound (NSP) not controlled by Khartoum will be introduced in August to replace a motley of local and foreign currencies currently operating in southern Sudan.

According to Dr. Lual Deng, a former senior economist with the World Bank in Washington and the African Development Bank, now in charge of the Banking and Currency Committee in the SPLA’s Ministry of Finance: "The aim of the bank is to facilitate business transactions in the liberated areas (rebel-held) since the banking system collapsed years ago." He added: "Local business people are being forced to rely on financial institutions in Uganda and Kenya. That is what we want to solve."

To be known as the Nile Commercial Bank (NCB), the institution has a capital base of US$1 million split in 50,000 shares valued at US$20 a share. The shares will be offered to interested individuals, families and institutions with the minimum number being five. The bank will be owned by Nile Credit Management Ltd (NCM), a private company registered in February this year in Kenya and which has Kenyan and Sudanese directors.

It will be housed in premises previously occupied by a defunct former government bank, the Unity Bank in Yambio, a town located near the border of the Central African Republic (CAR). Deng says Yambio was chosen due to its immense agricultural potential, links with important trade routes in the CAR, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. It is also safe from attacks by government forces, which were routed from the area in 1990.

Yambio has another advantage: Internet access. Together with Rumbek, which lies in central Bahr el Ghazal, the towns are the only ones in southern Sudan with reliable, fulltime Internet, which has become an important communication tool in a region cut off from the rest of the world by war and lack of telecommunication and transport infrastructure.

No single shareholder can hold more than 25 percent of the total shares. Such a requirement stalled efforts by SPLA authorities to acquire majority shares. The rebels now hold 20 percent of the total shares. As of May, there were 100 individual who had purchased shares worth US$100,000, while two institutional shareholders, the Yambio County and the Institute of Development, Environment and Agricultural Studies (IDEAS), a Yambio based technical institute have indicated they want to acquire theirs.

The County, which owns the designated headquarters, intends to exchange these for shares. Deng says the Sudanese Diaspora and a number of local Sudanese and foreign NGOs have also expressed interest. He adds that they’re also looking for insurers to safeguard an investment, which according to him is being keenly watched by the SPLA as a model for future financial institutions in southern Sudan.

But it will take more than words to make the bank idea work as it has been the pipeline since 1997 when a group of southern Sudanese economists called for the creation of economic structures to lure investors in secure rebel-held areas plus also create credit avenues for enterprising local businessmen.

Although it is still early to assess its operations, the bank claims that it will offer the usual banking services: savings and current accounts, foreign exchange transactions, and credit facilities. But financial analysts argue that is a bit ambitious as the institution will be located in an area considered a war zone by the outside world. Further, little data indicates that the area’s economic activities are sophisticated enough to warrant a commercial bank.

It is not surprising that Cliff Muluku, the Kenyan financial consultant contracted to oversee the setting up of the bank isn’t that euphoric. "A lot remains to be done," he told AFRICANEWS. Indeed, he is for the idea of a micro-finance institution first before a fully pledged commercial bank comes into existence. "The market situation down there (Yambio) cannot sustain a modern bank. There is a lot that is lacking to ensure the sustainability of such an institution," says Muluku.

He further argues that the idea works only if the investors get appropriate support from organisations working in southern Sudan. "This is a commercial investment. It is not a donor or social project that will survive on subsidies. The people concerned need to get returns." Close to a billion dollars is spend annually in southern Sudan by the various relief agencies.

The fact that there is no central bank to regulate and supervise financial deals doesn’t encourage despite claims by Deng that the institutional framework for the establishment of such a facility has already been completed.

Obsolete local currencies and foreign ones which local people use their transactions have muddied the waters further. In Yambio and its environs, the Uganda Shilling and the Old Sudanese Pound, which the Sudanese government replaced a few years ago with the Dinar, are the preference. And in the areas bordering Kenya and Ethiopia in the southeast and east respectively, the Kenya Shilling and the Ethiopian Birr call the shots. Elsewhere, in the areas around Rumbek, the headquarters of the aid community in southern Sudan, it is the US dollar, the Kenya Shilling and Old Sudan Pound, which hold sway. Northern Bahr el Ghazal like most other areas bordering government-controlled territory is under the grip of the Dinar. Deng says the bank will deal with monetary confusion by "seeking to harmonise these currencies until we have one of our own."

The SPLA’s financial mandarins are confident that the rebels have the economic resources and political credibility to establish its own currency, but Muluku thinks otherwise. "Under what legal political entity will such currency operate under?" he poses adding that a legally accepted currency can only be established by an internationally recognised political entity like a state.

"Southern Sudan as an independent political entity is only recognised by its inhabitants. And even though Khartoum has no control over it, the rest of the world still views it as part of Sudan." With such in mind, Muluku calls for a dollarisation of the financial dealings until the country’s political crisis are sorted out.

Added to this could be a formalisation of the use of the Ugandan and Kenyan Shillings as mediums of exchange. The latter, he says, would assist in the setting up of correspondent banks in Kenya and Uganda, two countries with huge Sudanese exiles.

Whatever the case, Muluku is firm that southern Sudanese need a custody and payment system that could assist them in their financial dealings. "People have cash there but they just move around with it as there are no banks," he says. But Deng suggests that NCB could actually start as the central bank until other banks are set up. "The SPLA can then set up a real central bank." But at the moment, that doesn’t bother Pauline who is only keen to do something for her unstable homeland. " I know it will work and people will appreciate it," he says.

Part II- Northern Uganda briefs

June 1, 2002: About 80 Sudanese are crossing into Uganda daily and settle in camps in the northern part of the country, The Monitor newspaper reported. Already, there are approximately 150,000 Sudanese living in the resettlement camps in northern Uganda, World Food Programme (WFP) official Edward Kallom was quoted by the paper as saying. A WFP project to resettle the Sudanese refugees has been underway since March when Ugandan troops with permission from Khartoum started operations to deal with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in the area.

4: Defence ministers of Uganda and Sudan are expected to meet soon to further assess the Ugandan army's " Iron Fist" operation against the LRA rebels in southern Sudan, Ugandan media reported. Ugandan army spokesman Shaban Bantariza was quoted by the New Vision newspaper as saying that the two defence ministers will meet again "very soon to accomplish their mission" which aims at speeding up the Ugandan army success against the rebels.

7: Ugandan Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Moses Ali ordered the establishment of a police post in the Kiryandongo refugee settlement in northern Uganda where refugees from Sudan’s Acholi and Lotuk ethnic groups are being accommodated. The move followed a clash between refugees from the two communities in western Masindi District during which three people died and 1,500 others were displaced.

8: President Yoweri Museveni vowed that the Ugandan military would shortly wipe out the LRA rebels. "The Ugandan army deployed in southern Sudan to carry out search and destroy operations against the LRA is faced with a new enemy and bad terrain but victory against the rebels will soon come," Museveni told journalists in Kampala. He added that his army had killed 66 rebels in fighting along the Atip River inside Sudan and had nearly captured LRA leader Joseph Kony in the battle that broke out when the rebels came down from their mountain hideouts to fetch arms.

11: An estimated 200 LRA rebels crossed into northern Uganda from southern Sudan, local media reported. The rebels raided Awer village in Palabek sub-county and killed one person and abducted an undisclosed number of civilians. Ugandan army spokesman Shaban Bantariza was quoted as saying that the rebels entered Uganda through Lokung, Lamwo County, Kitgum district.

Part III - Horn of Africa briefs

June 1: Ethiopia said an independent riling on its border with Eritrea on April 13 is ambiguous and contains errors. Hence, Addis Ababa has called for "interpretation, correction and consultation" regarding the decision. An Ethiopian foreign ministry spokesman told IRIN that the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC), which issued the ruling in The Hague, had made mistakes in identifying the confluence of key rivers, used to mark out the new border. Eritrea dismissed the document as the "latest ploy" by Ethiopia "to undermine the border ruling".

4: One of the first Islamic courts to be set up in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, was officially turned over to the Ministry of Justice of the Transitional National Government (TNG), according to Information Minister Abdirahman Ibbi. The court, also known as the Shirkole Islamic Court, was one of the first to be set up in the mid-1990s in south Mogadishu along clan lines, in response to spiralling crime rates. Islamic courts in Mogadishu played a dual role: dealing with criminals as demanded by Islamic law and providing protection to civilians.

4: The President of the self-declared South West State of Somalia, Hasan Muhammad Nur Shatigadud, failed to visit Ethiopia despite the fact he was expected to visit the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Shatigadud is also chairman of the Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA) hosts the anti-Mogadishu opposition grouping, Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC), which is backed by Ethiopia.

5: Following the deaths of 10 Somali refugees from malnutrition and disease, the local authorities in north-eastern Kenya allowed aid workers to set up three supplementary feeding centres, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported. Construction work on the first centre, near the town of Mandera, is set to begin soon, a UNHCR spokesman said in Geneva. This centre will cater for 5000 refugees at a nearby makeshift camp along the volatile Kenya-Somalia border area. The other two centres, to be set up in Mandera itself, will meet the supplementary feeding needs of the local population and refugees living with family and friends.

6: Opposition parties in Ethiopia condemned the government for the shootings in the southern town of Awasa, claiming that 38 people were killed and not 15 as reported by the federal authorities. One opposition leader, Beyene Petros said that "brutal force" was used against people demanding basic rights, after fighting broke out on May 24 when 3,000 demonstrators protested plans to change the status of Awasa, which is the capital of the Southern Nations and Nationalities State, currently administered by the local Sidama ethnic group.

10: Ethiopia is to be the headquarters for the newly formed Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism for the regional body, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Ethiopia’s State Minister for Information Netsannet Asfaw told IRIN this was an important step and one that the country deserved. The early warning and response system is designed to tackle conflicts in the Horn of Africa and will primarily focus on Somalia and the peace process in Sudan.

11: An international human rights organisation criticised Ethiopia's use of "lethal force" against civilians. In a statement, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the Ethiopian security forces last month killed "at least 15 and perhaps as many as 38 farmers" demonstrating against a change in the administrative status of Awasa, the capital of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's Regional State. "The Ethiopian government must urgently establish clear restraints on the use of lethal force against civilians," HRW said.

Contact: Matthias Muindi, Editor, Africanews-Sudan

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