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ALL AFRICA NEWS AGENCY January 13, 2003 BULLETIN No. 01/03 (a)
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Wed, 15 Jan 2003 12:51:44 -0800
ALL AFRICA NEWS AGENCY January 13, 2003 BULLETIN No. 01/03 (a)
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Ethnic Cleansing Displace Thousands In Nile Region
KHARTOUM (AANA) January 13 - Sudan government has been accused of engaging
in ethnic cleansing operations in the vicinity of Talisman and Lundin oil
installations in western Upper Nile.
A senior official of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM), Taban
Deng Gai, who is currently in the affected area, confirmed that the
government launched a six-day offensive in Mayom and Leer counties last
December 31, involving approximately1,500 ground troops supported by
Among the villages reportedly destroyed are, Rubjich,, Rekyoul,
Gottong, and Giil, in Leer county. Others are Riak, Wangbith, Lingera,
Lowdong, Palwung, Ngopgai and Lare in Mayom county.
Gai says government troops burnt facilities of the World Food Programme,
and MSF- Holland in Lare. The most recent attacks took place when the
troops attacked villages around the town of Tam.
The SPLM official estimates that thousands of civilians have been displaced
from their homes and are now without food and shelter. Local officials are
still trying to determine the number of killed, wounded and abducted
civilians. Some of the wounded have been evacuated by the International
Committee of the Red Cross.
Since last June, Gai says, thousands of women and children have been
abducted by government soldiers from Western Upper Nile and transferred to
government controlled areas.
Last October, U.S. President George W. Bush, condemned the Government of
Sudan for acts of genocide, including low-intensity ethnic cleansing and
slavery in and around Talisman and Ludin oil concession areas.
Gai appealed to the American government to facilitate the delivery of
emergency aid to the displaced, and to condemn publicly, this latest wave
of ethnic cleansing.
An American led civil protection monitoring team is in Sudan, but according
to Gai, it has not yet responded to requests from the SPLM/A to send
investigators to witness the devastation.
The Sudan government has responded to the reports of its Western Upper
Nile offensive with a claim that the SPLM/A killed three construction
workers between Leer and Bentiu.
A Sudanese diplomat, Mohammed Ahmed Diirdeiry in addition complained that
the SPLM/A's protests against cease-fire violations constitute a violation
of an agreement that allegedly prohibits both sides from engaging in media
The next round of peace talks are due to begin in Machakos, Kenya on
January 15. (see related story - Page 4)
Reported by Makur Kot Dhuor
Disagreements Threaten To Derail DRC Peace Process
KINSHASA (AANA) January 13 - Intense infighting among rebel groups in
North-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is threatening to
jeopardise a ceasefire agreement signed between them last December.
Disagreements between the three main rebel groups namely, Movement pour la
Liberation du Congo (Movement for Liberation of Congo - MLC), Rassemblement
Congolais pour la Democratie-Nationale (Rally for Congolese
Democracy-National - RCD-N) and its splinter group Rassemblement Congolais
pour la Democratie - Movement de la Liberation (Rally for Congolese
Democracy - Liberation Movement - RCD-ML), have left their umbrella
organisation, Front for Liberation of Congo (FLC), in tatters.
The three rebel groups had on December 30 last year signed a ceasefire
agreement in Gbadolite following international pressure.
Jean Pierre Bemba of MLC, Rogers Limbala of RCD-N and Mbusa Nyamwisi of
RCD-ML agreed to pull back their troops from Beni to allow humanitarian
organisations to attend to displaced people. They did this under
pressure from UN security council.
The ceasefire stopped efforts of Bemba and Lumbala from removing Mbusa
Nyamwisi from Beni town but did not heal wounds. Spokesperson for RCD-N,
Siwenda Kahasa, said in Kampala recently that MLC and RCD-N want Nyamwisi
Kahasa alleges that Nyamwisi receives military support from the DRC
government and Lendu militia, and accuses him of being responsible for
shielding Rogers Kabanda, leader of a Ugandan rebel group operating from
eastern Congo, Allied Democratic Front (ADF).
It is becoming apparent that the Sun City power sharing agreement between
DRC President, Joseph Kabila, and the rebel factions did not address
territorial concerns in the north-east.
FLC controls North Kivu, Equatorial and Ituri provinces, which RCD-N,
RCD-ML and MLC share. But RCD-ML and RCD-N have wrangled over Watsa and
Isiro in North Kivu.
The events have once again put Uganda on the spotlight. A number of
opposition Members of Parliament, say that the unprecedented defence
expenditure by the government was apparently meant for operations in DRC
rather than fight an already weakened Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army,
a rebel group in northern Uganda.
Some foreign organisations are also accusing Uganda of running illicit
small arms trade in the region, blaming the country for being responsible
for the current infighting among the rebel factions in DRC.
Reported by Crespo Sebunya
A Former Prominent Kenyan Editor Dies
NAIROBI (AANA) January 13 - A former deputy editor of the Africa Press
Service (APS), Mr Mingusa Kosoro, died last Sunday night (January 5, 2003)
after a short illness. Africa Press Service is a precursor of the All
Africa News Agency/Agence de Presse de Toute l'Afrique (AANA/APTA).
Before joining APS, Mr Kosoro worked with The Target, a newspaper published
by the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) as a sub-editor in the
early 70s. His editor then was the late Bishop Henry Okullu.
A 1971 graduate of St Augustine University (formerly Nyegezi Publicity
Center) in Mwanza, Tanzania, Mr Kosoro worked in different editorial
capacities with the daily newspapers in Kenya until he resigned from the
East African Standard as its production editor in 1995.
He was immediately appointed editor of the Kenya Farmer Journal, published
by the Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK), where he served until 2001,
when he opted to venture into business and media consultancy.
It was during the same year that he served as a relief acting editor for
AANA when the English editor was on leave. Funds are being raised through
donations to enable his burial in Western Kenya.
Expressions Of Hope As Sudan Talks Set To Resume
MACHAKOS (AANA) January 13 - The second round of Sudan peace negotiations
between the government and the rebel Sudan Peoples' Liberation
Movement/Army (SPLM/A) are expected to resume here on January 15.
The talks went on recess in November last year, with both sides emphasising
their commitment towards achieving a just and comprehensive peaceful
atmosphere in the Sudan at the earliest time possible.
SPLM/A spokesman, Samson Kwaje, has said his side is ready for the
resumption of talks.
During this round of talks last October, the two parties had signed a
temporary ceasefire seeking to end military activity in the country as long
as the talks were on.
The negotiations, which are being held under the auspices of the
Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), are expected to come up
with a final word on power sharing and permanent ceasefire.
But about a week and a half ago, tension mounted as SPLM/A accused the
Khartoum government of violating the temporary ceasefire agreement by
sponsoring attacks on villagers in the oil fields of the Western Upper Nile.
"We are afraid that this may affect the talks because when the two parties
meet, the atmosphere will be tense and this is not good for negotiations,"
said one Sudanese in Nairobi, who asked for anonymity.
He said that the people of Sudan were tired of the war and were hungry for
a lasting peace.
There was confusion as to whether the change of governments in Kenya would
affect the peace process, but the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kalonzo
Musyoka, underlined that the new government would continue from where its
predecessor left in negotiations over the Sudanese conflict.
In his inaugural speech on December 30 last year, Kenya's new President
Mwai Kibaki said his government would support and facilitate all positive
efforts to resolve the conflicts in the region and other troubled spots in
Reported by Joyce Mulama
Minority Groups Pressure Govt To Stop 'Tribalism'
GABORONE (AANA) January 13 - A coalition of cultural pressure groups, the
Multicultural Coalition of Botswana (RETENG), has stepped up pressure on
the government to repeal sections of the country's constitution that were
last year condemned by the United Nations as discriminatory.
The coalition is made up of groups fighting for recognition of minority
languages that have been marginalised since Botswana's independence from
Britain in 1966.
RETENG is campaigning for the repealing of laws that were identified by a
2002 United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
(CERD) report, which accused the government of Botswana of discriminating
against minority tribes while promoting Tswana speaking groups.
The report blamed Sections 77,78 and 79 of the country's constitution,
which it pointed out, violated the CERD Convention.
"The Committee is concerned by the discriminatory character of certain
domestic laws, such as the Chieftainship Act and the Tribal Territories Act
(from Section 77 to 79), which only recognise the Tswana speaking tribes,"
said part of the report.
Botswana recognises English and SeTswana as its two official languages. It
is mandatory for everyone to learn the languages from primary school level,
a situation that has fuelled strong resistance from minority tribes who
argue that this will lead to the extinction of their indigenous languages.
The cultural groups have also extended their campaign to include demands
for cultural, social and economic recognition as well as political rights.
As part of efforts to bolster its advocacy, the coalition towards the end
of last month held a fundraising gala, where various advocates of minority
rights expressed their concerns.
"RETENG's position is that the amendment of Sections 77 to 79 of the
constitution should bring about the recognition and representation of all
tribes in Botswana on an equal basis, and that the Chieftainship Act and
the Tribal Territories Act be amended accordingly to achieve equality,"
said Professor Lydia Nyati-Ramahobo, a minority rights activist and
lecturer at the University of Botswana.
The Multicultural coalition is made up of Lentswe la Batswapong, Tsoa/Kua
Cultural Group, Qonyati Cnsha, Society for the Pomotion of IKalanga
Language, Kamanakao Association, Herero Mbanderu Youth Association, Chelwa
Ya Shekgalagari, Cisiya Nkulu Trust, First People of the Kalahari, Babirwa
Cultural Group and Manxotai Youth Group.
While Botswana still remains a peaceful country, a tribal conflict is far
from being a remote possibility as tribal groups increasingly grow
impatient of the government's perceived reluctance to review the offending
More vocal and sometimes militant groups such as the Kamanakao Association,
which represents the Wayeyi tribe in the northern part of the country, and
the Society for the Promotion of the Ikalanga Language (SPILL), have in the
past taken the government to court over the constitution.
This forced the government to set up a Commission of Inquiry two years ago
that led to a Draft White Paper on proposed amendments to Sections 77,78
The suggested amendments were, however, heavily criticised by
organisations representing the Tswana speaking tribes, forcing the
government to delay their implementation.
The coalition has made it clear that it is willing to work with the
government to correct the imbalances within the confines of the law.
"RETENG aims to work with the government to ensure the implementation of
the recommendations of the report of the United Nations Committee on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of August 2002," said
Political analysts have warned that the government risks losing its
international standing as one of the most democratic in Africa if it did
not act immediately.
"That Botswana has not followed in the footsteps of Rwanda, Burundi, the
Democratic Republic of Congo or Sudan is a sign that its people are
tolerant. But it should be noted that their tolerance has been stretched
too far and if the government fails to handle the tribal debate with care,
things may just explode," said David Seisa, a respected political analyst
Indeed, this is becoming imminent as the country draws towards general
elections next year. Some groups have started aligning themselves with the
opposition in the hope that the government will be spurred into addressing
their concerns in the fear of losing crucial votes.
Tswana speaking tribes make more than 80 percent of the country's
population of 1.6 million.
Reported by Kholwani Nyathi
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