The armed and civilian oppositionists signing the unity accord known as 'Sudan Call' in Addis Ababa on 3 December quickly triggered serious reactions. Three days later, the Khartoum regime arrested two signatories of the accord and threatened to 'eradicate' the opposition.
On 12 December, President Ernest Bai Koroma issued an edict banning all Christmas celebrations, especially the street festivals and masquerades for which Freetown is famous. On 25 December, soldiers will be deployed on the streets of the capital to enforce the ban. In Liberia, however, exactly four weeks earlier, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf announced that the goal was to ensure there were no new cases by Christmas Day. This marks a dramatic reversal of fortunes. With its apparently more robust state institutions, Sierra Leone appeared to be handling the crisis with greater confidence than Liberia.
It was only after the delegates had all trooped home from the ruling party's congress that President Robert Mugabe finally announced on 10 December his replacement for the purged Vice-President Joice Mujuru. Vilified and accused of treason and conspiracy to murder by politicians and the state media, Mujuru and her supporters in the cabinet were cast out of government and the Politburo.
CÔTE D'IVOIRE | LIBERIA
United Nations' investigators have warned the UN Security Council that Ivorian and Liberian fighters opposed to Côte d'Ivoire's President Alassane Dramane Ouattara are likely to multiply in the run-up to his country's elections next October. They could also cause serious tension between the two neighbours. There were lethal attacks in February and May, centred on the Ivorian villages of Fete and Grabo in Bas-Sassandra District.