From the Worldwide Faith News archives


From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Fri, 13 Dec 2002 20:06:46 -0800

December 16, 2002

AANA Bulletin is an ecumenical initiative to highlight all endeavours and 
experiences of Christians and the people of Africa.  AANA Bulletin is 
published weekly and, together with the French Edition - Bulletin APTA - is 
also available through e-mail.	For editorial and subscription details, 
please contact: 

AANA Bulletin	: Acting Editor - Mitch Odero		
Bulletin APTA: Edition en frangais, ridacteur intirimaire : Sylvie Alemba

All Africa News Agency
TEL : (254 2) 442215, 440224 ; FAX : (254 2) 445847/443241
E-mail :

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 
conflict diamonds.

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

Browse month . . . Browse month (sort by Source) . . . Advanced Search & Browse . . . WFN Home