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ALL AFRICA NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN No. 49/02 (a)
Worldwide Faith News <email@example.com>
Fri, 13 Dec 2002 20:06:46 -0800
ALL AFRICA NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN No. 49/02 (a)
December 16, 2002
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LWF Moves To Help People Fleeing Ivory Coast Conflict
GUELA, Guinea (AANA) December 16 - Lutheran World Federation LWF, a member
of Action by Churches Together ACT International, has been active in
providing humanitarian aid to people who are fleeing the conflict in the
Ivory Coast and crossing the border into Guinea.
On December 3, LWF/ACT distributed blankets to the newly arriving refugees
the border in Guela, Lola prefecture, following an agreement with the UN
High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR earlier the same day.
In total 220 family heads and 961 beneficiaries were served. In Lola,
another six bales of blankets were handed over to the Federation of the Red
Cross to cater for the returnees in transit who stay for one or more days
until they can find transport to their places of origin.
The border town, Guela, has seen a steady stream of returnees and refugees
arriving daily. Although the Guinean security forces check the new arrivals
for weapons, they have allowed people to pass through without problems.
Most of the people stop at the border for at least one night, as almost all
of them are arriving from Danane in the Ivory Coast on foot and are too
tired to continue their journey the same day.
While at the border, the LWF distribution team counted 300 people crossing
on the afternoon of December 3. The same day, the Federation of the Red
Cross had registered 315 Guinean returnees and 267 foreigners - 128
Ivorians and 95 Liberians.
Since November 29, at least 3,262 people had crossed the border at Guela.
Most of the people come from the Ivorian border town Danane or surrounding
villages. On November 28, rebels took Danane, although according to
eyewitnesses interviewed in Guela, the rebels had not targeted the
population, rather firing their guns into the air.
Aircraft, said to belong to the Ivorian government, arrived on December 6,
bombing Danane. People reported that the rebels hit one of the aircraft,
causing it to crash. The new arrivals are returning Guineans, as well as
Ivorians and Liberians.
There are also people from Mali and other West African countries amongst
those crossing. The Guinean authorities have not stopped other nationals
from entering Guinea, although the borders are still officially closed.
Some of the persons interviewed seemed very confused and disturbed. Most of
the people are physically in good shape, although they had passed the last
few days in the bush while walking the 75 km from Danane to Guela.
Some of the persons interviewed were separated from their families during
their flight and some expressed concern as to whether their family members
were still alive, as they had been separated during the bombing of Danane.
Agencies responding include the Guinean Red Cross and ICRC, registering
those arriving across the border and distributing high protein biscuits to
the family heads.
Although at first most people were drinking water from a little river that
is situated between the border check points, this had been resolved as an
International NGO installed a 5,000 litre "bladder tank" to treat water
from the river, providing safe drinking water for new arrivals.
The LWF/ACT Mental Health Team has been asked by the UNHCR Health
Co-ordinator to send a mobile metal health team to Guela to assist the new
arrivals who are traumatised by the events and are having difficulties
coping with their situation.
Compiled from Situation Reports filed by Elke Leidel,
Program Co-ordinator: Guinea Operations: LWF
Resource Conflicts Blocking Lasting Peace In Somalia
NAIROBI (AANA) December 16 - Control of resources and not the fight for
political supremacy could be at the centre of the decade-long Somalia's
civil war, a researcher at the African Centre of Technology Studies ACTS
According to Ibrahim Farah of ACTS, contrary to IGAD's perception of the
conflict in Somalia, research in Jubbaland has shown that it is competition
for control and access and to own deegaan,(whose nearest Western concept is
land tenure) that has articulated the conflicts to the national level.
In a research published in a book, Scarcity and Surfeit: The Ecology of
Africa's Conflicts, released recently at the ACTS, Farah says that
"understanding deegaan is important to understanding the anatomy of the
conflict as deegaan is important politically and socially to the Somali
The decade long civil war in Somalia has resulted in a breakdown of policy
and law governing the access to the use of and ownership of land and
resources in Somalia.
Farah says that although some NGOs are presently carrying out environmental
awareness programmes, most of these efforts give little attention to issues
such as rights and ownership of resources that underlie violent conflict.
He adds that because of the absence of central government in Somalia, the
centrality and importance of environmental issues remain a problem, and the
international humanitarian efforts are "making a Somalia that is heavily
dependent on relief and development assistance".
"Given the importance of land and resources to the livelihood of most of
the Somalis, as well as the relative power of different ruling groups, it
is essential that all peace building initiatives on Somalia consider the
role of ecology in the onset and duration of conflict", Farah says.
He adds that in order to keep conflict management institutions like IGAD
and other mechanisms vital and responsive, new strategies are needed that
are more than policy statements.
This, he says, calls for placing deegaan at the centre of these efforts as
doing so may uncover relevant tools and techniques to manage the Somali
conflict and prevent turmoil.
The study linking resource ownership and management to Somalia conflict was
commissioned in May 2001 and ran through till August 2002 and was funded by
the USAID, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
The research team was led by Ibrahim Farah and included Abdirashid Hussein
of WFP Somalia and Jeremy Lind of ACTS.
Reported by Henry Neondo
Botswana Leader Criticises UK NGO Over Bushmen
GABORONE (AANA) December 16 - Botswana President Festus Mogae has
criticised Survival International SI, a British non-governmental
organisation, for its "deliberate and malicious" campaign against his
government's handling of the relocation of the Basarwa people (Bushmen)
from the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve.
Mogae who was speaking at the opening of the first international mining
conference in Gaborone On December 3 said the organisation, which claims to
represent the rights of tribal minorities was deliberately misinterpreting
the government's policy and intentions on the relocations.
"Survival International has decided to deliberately and maliciously
misinterpret our policies and plans regarding the voluntary relocation of
Basarwa from the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve," said Mogae.
"The reality is that we are a democratic and open society which respects
the rule of law and human rights," the president added.
In 1997, the government of Botswana began relocating Basarwa community from
the dry game reserve where they were still leading primitive lives as
hunters and gatherers to modern settlements outside the CKGR.
"Survival has been threatened many times by companies and governments which
put profit before the tribal people's rights... However, we have not the
slightest intention of betraying the responsibility which for many years,
so many Gane and Gwi Bushman have asked us to shoulder," the director was
quoted as having said.
The move has however been met with strong resistance from the affected
residents and human rights organisations who claim that the government
wants to make way for a diamond mine.
This has been vehemently denied by the government and Dee Beers its
associate company in the exploitation of diamonds.
According to the British Guardian newspaper, De Beers has threatened to
take Survival International to court over its allegations that the removal
of Basarwa people was linked to its diamond prospecting activities in the
The December 3 edition of the Guardian quoted De Beers lawyers saying; "We
cannot ignore the sustained campaign against us and the misleading
information damaging the reputation of the company".
However, the organisation has remained defiant with its Director, Mr
Stephen Corry ,saying SI will not bow to pressure. "Survival has been
threatened many times by companies and governments which put profit before
the tribal people's rights," he said.
"However, we have not the slightest intention of betraying the
responsibility which for many years, so many Gane and Gwi Bushman have
asked us to shoulder," Corry was quoted as having said by the Guardian.
Gane and Gwi are the two settlements inside the CKGR with the largest
population of the Basarwa people. The Bushman have remained far behind
other tribal groups in economic emancipation.
Botswana is the world's fastest growing economy averaging 10 percent
annually. It is also the world's large diamond producer by quality.
The campaign by Survival International and other human rights organisations
is posing a threat to the country's economy as its diamonds may be labelled
The government has threatened to counter the campaign by Survival
International by adhering to the new diamond certification system.
"Botswana has taken a strong position against conflict diamonds. We have
consistently worked with other diamond producing countries, the diamond
industry and the international community with the framework of the United
Nations to come up with concrete and practical measures aimed at excluding
conflict diamonds from legitimate trade," Mogae told the conference.
A total of 150 participants attended the conference. The countries
represented included Australia, Chile, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania,
United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Reported by Kholwani Nyathi
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