War and Peace
AngolaThe World Bank (WB) on August 12 said it backed post-war reconstruction in Angola but emphasised the need for financial transparency. "The Bank is supportive of the government's economic recovery plans. However, it must be stressed that the transparent management of financial resources and combating corruption is crucial to any kind of reconstruction," WB spokeswoman in Luanda, Olinda Viera-Diaz, said. Viera-Diaz's comments followed a three-day visit by Calisto Madavo, the World Bank's vice-president for Africa to the oil-rich southern African country.
Earlier this month the rights group Global Witness alleged that over the past five years, at least US $1 billion had gone missing each year from the government's coffers. The figure represented about one-third of state income. Viera-Diaz also said the Bank had noted the urgent need to assist former rebel UNITA soldiers and their families.
"Following some very positive signs that the country is returning to stability, we expect to expand our presence in the country. We will continue to support the demobilisation and reintegration programme as well as the social action fund," she said. (Source: IRIN)
CongoA Rwandan genocide suspect, known as Jean-Baptiste Gatete, has been arrested in the Republic of Congo, a spokesman for the InternationalCriminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Kingsley Moghalu, said on September 12. Gatete - whose real name is Jean Nsengiyumva - was indicted by the tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania, for genocide and crimes against humanity, committed in 1994. As the former mayor of Murambi commune, he allegedly orchestrated the killings that took place in the southeastern prefecture of Kibungo. He was reportedly arrested on September 11 in the small village of Ngombe, north of the capital Brazzaville. According to the AP news agency, local authorities said he taught at a local college and was a leader of the local Rwandan community in exile. He had been living in Congo since 1996. Moghalu declined to comment on either the location or circumstances of his arrest until a "more appropriate" time. (Source: IRIN)
EthiopiaAt least one person was killed and many more wounded in three successive bomb blasts at an Addis Ababa hotel during celebrations to mark the Ethiopian New Year on September 11. According to the pro-government Walta Information Centre, the explosions occurred around 21:15 (local time) at the Tigray Hotel in the Piazza area of the city. The blasts came "in quick succession", one at the entrance to the hotel, another inside the building itself and the third on the street in front of the hotel. Medical workers at the capital's Black Lion hospital said one woman died on arrival at the hospital. She was one of four seriously injured people. Police are investigating the incident, and no one has yet claimed responsibility.
It is feared more people may be dead or wounded under the rubble of the hotel. The same hotel was the target of a grenade attack five years ago by the rebel Oromo Liberation Front. (Source: IRIN)
Guinea - Liberia - Sierra LeoneSecurity ministers from the Mano River Union countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone on September 11 renewed efforts to build peace in the sub-region by making operational, decisions taken at a sub-regional meeting in Morocco in April, officials said. They agreed, among other things, that a peace caravan comprising about 20 high-level officials from each of the three countries should tour their
common borders - "from Guinea to Sierra Leone to Liberia, and from Liberia- to Sierra Leone to Guinea" - in December.
President Lansana Conteh of Guinea, Charles Taylor of Liberia and Ahmad Kabbah of Sierra Leone agreed in Morocco to enhance border security, repatriate refugees, aid displaced persons and reactivate the Mano River Union for economic development.
In April the countries' foreign ministers held another meeting, shortly after the UN Inter-Agency Working Group called on them to "translate the spirit" of the Rabat summit into "positive momentum for peace in the sub-region. (Source: IRIN)
Mozambique-NamibiaCanada will contribute about US $900,000 for vital landmine clearance in Mozambique and support landmine victims in Namibia. The announcement was made in Mozambique during a visit by Susan Whelan, Canada's minister for international cooperation. "Landmines continue to plague the people of Mozambique and Namibia," Whelan said in a statement. "Landmines perpetuate poverty and are a major obstacle to sustainable development. Canada was the first country to ratify the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines and is committed to helping clear mines and prevent landmine injuries and death around the world."
The Ottawa Convention, launched in 1997, calls for a global end to the stockpiling, production and use of landmines. In July 2002, Angola, emerging from a long internal conflict, became the latest country to ratify the treaty, bringing the number of countries who have ratified to 125. (Source: IRIN)
SenegalEfforts towards a peaceful resolution of the Casamance conflict in Senegal moved a step forward on Wednesday when two government officials met officials of the armed Mouvement des Forces Democratiques de Casamance (MFDC). Minister of the Interior, Maj-Gen Mamadou Niang, and president of Ziguinchor Regional Council, Abdoulaye Faye, met MFDC leaders Sidy Badi and Abbe Augustin Diamacoune in the main Casamance town of Ziguinchor. Niang and Faye belong to a negotiating team set up by Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade in August.
Sources in Casamance said on September 11 that the meeting was an "ice-breaker" between the two parties, and could be followed by another in a few weeks' time. The MFDC's Secretary for Internal Affairs, Abdoulaye Diedhiou said that the movement had hoped the officials would have set a date for negotiations, but that that did not happen. The MFDC hoped that negotiations could begin by mid-October, and had suggested Guinea-Bissau as the most suitable location, he added.
Casamance, a region of southern Senegal separated from the bulk of the country by The Gambia, has witnessed a low-level conflict since 1982.Various accords in the past have failed to bring lasting peace. (Source: IRIN)
UgandaThe rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) on September 9 attacked another refugee camp in northern Uganda - the third such attack in just over two months - looting and displacing more than 6,000 Sudanese refugees, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said. The attack on the camp at Maaji in Adjumani District, followed an earlier raid on the same camp in July. On 5 August, the LRA attacked the Acholi-Pii camp in neighbouring Pader District, putting all its 24,000 resident Sudanese refugees to flight. The Ugandan authorities and UNHCR this week said they were finalising plans to resettle the Acholi-Pii refugees at safer sites in western and northern Uganda.
In the latest attack, a woman refugee was wounded and 19 other refugees were abducted by a group of about 80 LRA fighters, a UNHCR statement said. However, the LRA assailants hastily left the camp, abandoning their loot on evening of September 9, after the arrival of Ugandan government troops there.
The LRA, whose doctrines are rooted in Christian fundamentalism and traditional religions, has been fighting President Yoweri Museveni's government since 1987, with the aim of founding a government in Uganda based on the Biblical ten commandments. (Source: IRIN)