From the Worldwide Faith News archives


From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Mon, 10 Feb 2003 17:56:35 -0800


P. O Box, 66878, 00800 Westlands, NAIROBI, Kenya.  Tel: 254-2-4442215,
Fax: 254-2-4445847, 4443241; Email: ,



AACC Poised For Peace And Reconciliation Role

NAIROBI (AANA) February 10 - Serious tension has developed between Somali 
war-lords and members of Somali civil society currently locked in peace 
talks in Eldoret, about 300 kilometres North-west of Nairobi, AANA/APTA has 

The tension is due to mistrust between the two groups. Accordingly, a 
meeting of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working for peace and 
reconciliation for Somalia has proposed that the All Africa Conference of 
Churches (AACC) should play a leading facilitator role.

They said AACC has a strategic significance as a continental body, with a 
wealth of experience in peace-making and reconciliation in Africa.

The proposal was made at the NGOs meeting on February 5, at the AACC 
headquarters here.

They proposed that AACC should invite some South Africans, familiar with 
the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), to come and share their 
experiences with NGOs involved in the Somalia peace process, to help ease 
the tension.

Speaking at an earlier similar meeting on January 27, Kenyan Ambassador 
Bethuel Kiplagat, whose NGO, Africa Peace Forum had organised the meeting, 
cited the famous Addis Ababa, peace agreement for Sudan, where AACC, 
alongside Geneva-based World Council of Churches (WCC) brokered peace for 
Sudan from 1972-1983.

Ambassador Kiplagat is the new mediator of the Somalia peace talks 
currently taking place in Eldoret, Kenya, under the umbrella of IGAD 
(Inter-Governmental Authority on Development).

Participants, who represented several NGOs (civil societies) involved in 
the promotion of peace and reconciliation in Somalia, also proposed that 
prominent Kenyan Somalis should be incorporated in the peace-making process.

The general feeling was that as part of the larger Somali community, they 
should be put on board.  Participants also proposed for the inter-faith 
involvement in the search for peace for Somalia.

"We call for this kind of involvement, taking into consideration that we 
are all men and women of the same God with one agenda - peace and 
reconciliation - for the wounded mother country of Somalia," stressed one 
of the participants.

The January meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Kunijwok Kwawang, the head of the 
AACC Research and Development Desk, and Mr. Paul Koku Adzor, AACC's 
Executive Secretary for Youth Desk.

The organisation's head of Information and Communication, Mr. Mitch Odero, 
chaired the February 5 meeting.

The next NGO meeting is scheduled for February 19.  Among the major 
organisations represented at the first and the second meetings were the 
Norwegian Church Aid, The Central Committee of the Mennonite and a British 
charitable organisation, Oxfam.

Meanwhile the peace talks in Eldoret have incurred a debt to the tune of 
US$3.7 million (Ksh 285 million). Kiplagat told a press conference that the 
talks might be moved to Nairobi, which has cheaper options for accommodation.

He also dispelled rumours that the peace talks had stalled, adding that 
"currently, six committees have been established and that they were meeting 
in groups, after which they will come to the plenary".

Reported By Osman Njuguna

Parties Sign Additions To Pact On Cessation Of	Hostilities

NAIROBI (AANA) February 10 - The government of Sudan and the Sudan 
People's  Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) have signed an addendum to the 
October 15, 2002 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cessation 
of  Hostilities.

The addendum, which entered into force immediately it was signed here on 
February 4, contains additional mechanisms that are expected to strengthen 
the implementation of cessation of hostilities.

It has been introduced to avoid further violations of the MOU, as witnessed 
recently during attacks in Western Upper Nile.

Among items contained in the agreement, are mechanisms to monitor, in 
particular, military activities of both parties.

Both SPLM/A and the Government of Sudan have agreed to notify in advance, 
the MOU Channel of Communications Committee (MOU Committee) "of all troop 
movements, including rotations, supply and re-supply of non-combat items".

Also, the parties have agreed to provide to the  MOU Committee, the 
identity and location of their troops including all allied forces and 
affiliated militia.

The agreement also puts the warring parties to task to allow a Verification 
and Monitoring Team (VMT), "free access to travel in and around areas where 
a complaint had been filed by any of the parties".

According to the agreement, the verification team may include personnel 
from a Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT).

Also, representatives of IGAD, Africa Union (AU), and observer nations 
(Italy, Norway, UK, and the US) will form part of the team. Members of both 
parties shall have the right to participate in such missions.

At the same time, the parties agreed to take immediate steps to ensure that 
any location taken over by any party in violation to the MOU since it came 
into effect (October 17, 2002), shall be immediately restored to the party 
that had control over such location prior to the violation.

In a joint communiqui released on the same date (February 4), both the 
Sudan government and SPLM/A agreed to take all necessary steps to effect 
voluntary return of all internally displaced civilians since last October 
17, when the MOU took effect.

They have appealed to  the international community "to facilitate the 
return of the displaced to their homes".

About 300,000  people have been rendered homeless in Western Upper Nile, 
since government attacks in the region intensified last December.

According to a statement released in Nairobi by the Sudan Relief and 
Rehabilitation Association (SRRA) on January 28, most of the displaced 
people are now wandering in swamps and forests without food, as they head 
towards Bahr-el-Ghazal region into Mayenjur, Twic and Gograil counties.

Majority of the sufferers are women and children. "This is a serious 
development that  will lead to acute humanitarian catastrophe," said Mr. 
Elijah Malok Aleng, the Executive Director of SRRA.

Reported By Makur Kot Dhuor

AU Team Urged To Pay Attention To Rights Abuses

BUJUMBURA (AANA) February 10 - Amnesty International has appealed to 
African Union (AU) observers due to visit Burundi, to take note of human 
rights abuses by the government or rebel movements, especially the killings 
of unarmed civilians.

The observers are set to monitor the implementation of a ceasefire 
agreement signed in December 2002 between the government and rebel 
movements - National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for the 
Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD).

35 observers from AU are due in Burundi, to be followed by a larger 
monitoring force. Amnesty International is convinced the deployment of the 
international observation force will be instrumental in the implementation 
of the ceasefire agreement.

"The ceasefire agreement will mean virtually nothing to ordinary Burundians 
if the pattern of human rights abuses persists or even escalates," said a 
press release from the organisation.

The human rights agency believes it is important for the mandate of the AU 
force to include human rights protection and prevention.  In this regard, 
the organisation says: "The force must be given adequate resources, 
appropriate training and the political support to exercise this mandate, 
including comprehensive public reporting on human rights abuses."

Following a break in fighting between the government and CNDD-FDD last 
December, violence resumed in various parts of the country, mainly the 
central area around Gitenga and south-eastern border area in Ruyigi.

The fighting has resulted in killings of unarmed civilians, heightening an 
already critical humanitarian situation. Tens of thousands of people in 
these areas are reportedly displaced and without access to humanitarian aid.

Reports say between 20 and 30 unarmed civilians were extra-judicially 
executed by the government armed forces on January 20.

Amnesty International says the killings seem to have been in retaliation 
killing of 10 soldiers in an ambush by CNDD-FDD two days earlier.

An armed political group, PALIPEHUTU-FNL, which has not signed the 
ceasefire agreement, is said to be active around the capital, Bujumbura, 
regularly attacking and looting nearby districts.

Reported by Joyce Mulama

Frontline States To Form Peace Overseer Committee

ADDIS ABABA (AANA) February 10 - A committee to oversee the implementation 
of last year's Declaration on Cessation of Hostilities in Somalia, is to be 
set up with immediate effect, by foreign ministers of three frontline 
states on Somalia peace discussions.

The committee, agreed upon by ministers Kalonzo Musyoka of Kenya, Abdi 
Farah of Djibouti and Hamad Bashir of Ethiopia, will be entrusted with the 
responsibility of monitoring any violations of the declaration, and taking 
appropriate action.

The decision was reached at in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at a meeting during 
last week's African Union (AU) Summit (February 3-4).

The three ministers regretted that hostilities had escalated, and condemned 
violations of the declaration.

They noted that such hostilities jeopardised the peace process and 
undermined humanitarian assistance, and maintained that sanctions would be 
taken against all individuals and groups violating the declaration.

In a joint communiqui, the ministers called upon the conference delegates 
to be more pro-active and expeditious in the peace process.

They also urged the international community to live up to its commitment to 
the peace process and "not to entertain initiatives that would allow 'forum 
shopping', hence derailing the on-going peace process."

The AU summit was attended by most African Heads of State. Its agenda was 
to address the continent's many conflict flashpoints, among them Sudan, 
Somalia, Ivory Coast, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Reported by Joyce Mulama

Madagascar President Tells Churches To Play Frontline Role

NAIROBI (AANA) February 10 - The President of Madagascar, Mr Marc 
Ravalomanana, has called on churches in Africa to take a firm frontline 
role in addressing Africa's problems.

In an interview with AANA/APTA, Mr Ravalomanana, who is also the deputy 
president of his church, the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar, noted 
that Africa was teeming with millions of Christians who comprised the 
Church's extensive network.

As such, he added, the Church could take a lead where social mobilisation 
was needed in tackling Africa's problems.

Asked how he managed to maintain exacting tasks of his leadership in the 
Church and leadership of the country, he stressed: "I am first and foremost 
a Christian and I will always be a Christian.  I depend on God's grace to 
lead my people and in return therefore, I must also serve my Lord".

The president, who had made a stop over in Nairobi (January 26) on his way 
to Germany and Switzerland, also told an airport press conference that 
there was an apparent warming up of relations between his country and the 
Africa Union (AU).

This, he noted, followed last December (December 15, 2002) parliamentary 
elections in which his party - Tiako Mafagasikara (TM) - made a resounding 
victory, having scored 92 percent of the 156 parliamentary seats.

The president pointed out that a fact-finding committee of AU was in his 
country to gather facts and to report to the AU for the organisation's July 
meeting to make a decision on whether or not, to recognise his leadership.

He was met in Nairobi by Kenya's Minister for Lands and Settlement, Mr Amos 
Kimunya, a one time auditor of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC).

Present at the airport too was the Honorary Consul of Madagascar, Mr. Abel 
Rakotomalala, who is also the Chief of Protocol of the AACC.

Reported by Mitch Odero

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