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Published 30th April 2004

Vol 45 No 9


Sudan

Mass murder

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Ten years after Rwanda's genocide, the NIF regime kills and displaces tens of thousands of civilians in Darfur – with impunity

Civilians in Darfur continue to die as a result of the National Islamic Front regime's ethnic cleansing and in the absence of serious diplomatic pressure. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has warned that international military intervention might be required to stop the slaughter in Darfur, while senior UN officials refer to the NIF regime's scorched earth policy as 'genocide' or 'ethnic cleansing'. Yet last week the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNOHCHR) in Geneva again refused to recommend strong action against Khartoum and suppressed its own highly critical investigation, which found that government agents had killed, raped and tortured civilians. On 23 April, the NIF exploited anti-Americanism to defeat a call from the United States and European Union to reinstate a Special Rapporteur (SR) on Human Rights. At 2003's annual session, Khartoum had successfully lobbied for the removal as SR of the German lawyer and former Interior Minister Gerhard Baum, an obvious candidate for enquiries in Darfur. The OHCHR has lost much of its remaining credibility. African members voted as a bloc; South Africa persuaded Khartoum's Eritrean foe to vote against an SR; Uganda alone broke ranks by abstaining (AC Vol 45 No 5); some African diplomats confided that they were unhappy.


Algerian bullets

Late last month, an Ilyushin-76 aircraft with clear Algerian air force markings unloaded ten tonnes of ammunition at Abéché airport, 170 kilometres from Chad's border...


Troubled isles

As the nation drifts quietly towards the polls, trouble looms offshore

As Tanzania this week celebrates 40 years of Union between the mainland and the islands of Zanzibar, the race to succeed President Benjamin Mkapa after next year's elections has be...


Bingu the favourite

Opposition splits, not political merit, will help the UDF win the presidency –again

By most measures, the governing United Democratic Front (UDF)have little hope of winning the national elections on 18 May. President Bakili Muluzi's UDF government has presided ove...


Disappearing food

The government may turn away foreign food aid as part of its ruthless election strategy

An internal United Nations' memorandum describes Zimbabwe's latest crop projections as 'complete nonsense' and 'quite impossible.' That's no surprise. Fanciful agricultural forecas...


Brazzaville breakdown

As the President boosts his family's power, the ruling coalition is cracking up

The peace process has run out of steam, key politicians remain in exile, and veterans in the ruling Parti Congolais du Travail (PCT) increasingly resent the dominant role of member...



Pointers

Future shock

The new integrated army, created to solve political problems, is not much use for military tasks such as peacekeeping. Its First Brigade, whose 190 Belgian and twelve French instru...


Locking up the Minister

Finance Minister Christopher Kuruneri is the first of President Robert Mugabe's big guns to go to gaol, where police can hold him for a month before bringing him to court. On 24 Ap...


Plot news

Plot accusations are common in Guinea. Yet the latest charges of plotting, levelled against former Prime Minister Sidya Touré and the deputy army Chief of Staff, Colonel Mam...