War and Peace
U.N. human rights experts accused all armed groups in Congo's troubled northeastern Ituri province of war crimes and said Rwanda, Uganda, and the former Congolese government contributed to "the massive abuses," according to a report. At least 8,000 civilians were deliberately killed or were victims of the indiscriminate use of force in Ituri in 2002 and 2003 and more than 600,000 civilians were forced to flee their homes, according to investigations by the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo and other human rights groups.
A visiting United States Congressman on Monday hailed the humanitarian work being done by a 1,400-strong US task force in the Horn of Africa. The force is involved in health, water and infrastructure projects. "There is no question that it is very appreciated, from the head of state to the peasant persons and where they are drilling wells there is a profound appreciation," Donald Payne told IRIN in Djibouti.
The US troops based in Djibouti have since November 2003 provided medical support to 11,000 people, built schools and clinics and constructed water wells in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya, in addition to performing their usual military duties. "We talked to some [of] our military people that completed water projects, [and] how the villages adopted them as part of their family, part of their tribe, or held celebrations with goats being roasted on the completion of projects," Payne said. [Full story at: http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=42595 ]
The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), has welcomed a decision by the Eritrean government to reopen a supply route to the west of the country, which had been closed since March. The Asmara-Keren-Barentu road was closed following accusations by the Eritrean government that UNMEE forces were using the road to illegally monitor its troop movements. "UNMEE welcomes the decision of the government of Eritrea to open the road to UNMEE traffic," the mission said in a statement on Monday. "UNMEE feels that this step will further strengthen relations between the peacekeeping Mission and the Government."
The new UNMEE Force Commander, Maj-Gen Rajender Singh, was quoted in the statement, as saying the reopening of the road was a "positive step forward". Maj-Gen Singh, who took office last month promising to enforce the highest standards of discipline, added: "This opening of the road will go a long way in facilitating both the movement of administrative and operational convoys which would help the mission to effectively carry out it duties towards fulfilment of its mandate." [Full story at: http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=42593 ]
Ivorian opposition ministers and rebels have attended their first cabinet meeting after a four-month boycott. The ministers, including rebel leaderGuillaume Soro, left the power-sharing government after 120 people died during a banned opposition protest in March. A recent peace summit in Ghana made the resumption of the cabinet a priority for the country to return to
Angry residents of an informal settlement outside the central commercial town of Manzini have declared their neighbourhood a no-go area for Swazi police following a clash at the weekend between the security forces and political demonstrators. "The police invaded our homes [on Saturday] and beat up anyone they found inside. It is best they stay away to allow us to take care of our own affairs," said Philemon, a resident of Mbhuleni.
The United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) past Wednesday handed over security primacy for the Eastern Province to the Government of Sierra Leone at a colourful and emotional ceremony in the eastern provincial headquarters town of Kenema. It was the last of the country's three provinces to be handed back. The handover of security primacy by UNAMSIL will culminate in September when the Western Area, including the capital Freetown, is given back to the Government.