SUDAN WATCH: October 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

ICC - France arrests Rwandan rebel leader Callixte Mbarushimana in Paris for war crimes committed in DR Congo’s Kivu province in 2009

ACTING on a warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC), French police arrested Callixte Mbarushimana, vice-president of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), on Monday, 11 October 2010, in his Paris apartment. He stands charged of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity in DRC in 2009.

The ICC alleges that Mbarushimana planned a series of crimes from his base in France with the intention of creating a humanitarian catastrophe, then extorting concessions of political power from the international community.

Almost two million people are internally displaced in eastern DRC’s Kivu provinces, in large part due to the activities of the FDLR.

Click here to read full story at Congo Watch, a sister site of Sudan Watch.



Photo: Callixte Mbarushimana, seen here in 2004 (AFP)

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

ICC: Darfur rebel leaders charged with war crimes and slaying of peacekeepers at Haskanita, N. Darfur, W. Sudan

ON Friday 22 October 2010, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a statement confirming that Darfur rebel group leaders Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus (Jerbo) are charged with, quote:
three war crimes (violence to life, in the form of murder, whether committed or attempted; intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, materials, units, and vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission; and pillaging) allegedly committed during an attack carried out on 29 September, 2007, against the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS), a peace-keeping mission stationed at the Haskanita Military Group Site, in the locality of Umm Kadada, North Darfur. It is alleged that the attackers killed 12 and severely wounded 8 soldiers, destroyed communications facilities and other materials and appropriated property belonging to AMIS.
Confirmation of charges hearing in the case against Banda and Jerbo to start on 8 December, 2010. The hearing was initially scheduled to start on 22 November, 2010.

Full story below.



Photo: Jerbo and Banda © ICC-CPI/ Toussaint Kluiters

Darfur rebel figures will not contest charges of killing AU peacekeepers: ICC
Source: Sudaneseonline.org /Sudan Tribune
Date: Wednesday, 20 October 2010. Excerpt:
(WASHINGTON) – Two Sudanese rebel leaders who stand accused of leading a deadly attack on African Union (AU) peacekeepers more than three years ago will not contest the charges at the confirmation hearing scheduled for next month, the prosecutor’s office at the International Criminal Court (ICC) said today.

Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus each face three counts of violence to life in the form of murder, war crime of attacking a peacekeeping mission and pillaging.

The two men allegedly commanded a 1,000-strong rebel force in the Sept. 29, 2007 attack, on the African Mission in Sudan (AMIS) base in Haskanita in North Darfur. They looted the camp of 17 vehicles, refrigerators, computers, mobile phones, ammunition and money.

The attack killed twelve soldiers and severely injured eight others who were mainly from Nigeria, Senegal, Mali and Botswana. It was the deadliest single attack on the peacekeepers since they began their mission in late 2004.

Banda was a senior military commander in Darfur’s rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) before he was dismissed during a bitter split among the movement’s governing elite in mid-2007. He went on to form a rival faction, the JEM Collective Leadership, with former JEM vice president Bahar Idriss Abu Garda. The latter appeared voluntarily before the ICC to answer charges relating to the same attack but the court declined to pursue those charges in February citing insufficient evidence to prove his criminal responsibility.

Jerbo on the other hand was a leading figure in the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM)-Unity faction before being removed later for unknown reasons.

The two suspects surrendered voluntarily to the ICC last June, almost a year after a summons of appear was issued for them in secrecy and appeared before a judge to be formally notified of the charges. Presiding judge Sylvia Steiner from Brazil set November 22nd as the date for a hearing to confirm the charges against the two men — a requirement before the case can go to trial.

The weekly briefing issued by the prosecutor on Wednesday revealed that his office and the defense made a joint filing before the Pre-Trial Chamber informing the judges of an agreement between the parties which may allow for a shortened confirmation hearing if the judges so decide.

"The parties agreed that the facts contained in the document containing the charges, which the judges are encouraged to consider, as being proven for the purpose of the confirmation hearing.....the Defence waived its rights to challenge the prosecution evidence, present its own evidence or contest the charges during the hearing. The approach agreed by the parties will involve a limited oral presentation by the Prosecution and the Legal Representatives for Victims as may be ordered by the Chamber," said the prosecutor’s office.

The prosecution described this approach as a "novel" one for the ICC and if approved by the judges "could save judicial time and resources".

"This agreement by the parties is limited to the confirmation hearing. In the event the Pre-Trial Chamber confirms the case for trial, the Defence may at that stage contest any of the charges".

Officials at the prosecutor’s office declined to comment on the new development when contacted by Sudan Tribune. [...]



Photo: Karim Khan (L), the lawyer for Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain (C) and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus (R), both suspected of having committed war crimes in Darfur, speaks at the International Criminal Court in The Hague June 17, 2010 (Reuters/ST)
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Confirmation of charges hearing in the case against Banda and Jerbo to start on 8 December, 2010
Source: International Criminal Court (ICC) /ReliefWeb/APO
Date: Friday, 22 October 2010
ICC-CPI-20101022-PR588
Situation: Darfur, Sudan
Case: The Prosecutor v. Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus
Today, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided to reschedule the confirmation of charges hearing in the case of The Prosecutor v. Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain (Banda) and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus (Jerbo) to Wednesday, 8 December, 2010, in light of developments that have occurred in the composition of Chambers and of the Court schedule, as well as of the number of courtrooms which are available to the Court. The hearing was initially scheduled to start on 22 November, 2010.

The confirmation hearing is held to ensure that no case goes to trial unless there is sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that the person committed the crime with which he or she has been charged. The suspects have the right to attend the hearing or, in their absence, be represented by counsel. Pre-Trial Chamber I decided that, should the suspects intend to waive their right to be present at the confirmation hearing, the written request to the Chamber in this regard must be submitted no later than Monday, 8 November, 2010.

Mr Banda and Mr Jerbo are charged with three war crimes (violence to life, in the form of murder, whether committed or attempted; intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, materials, units, and vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission; and pillaging) allegedly committed during an attack carried out on 29 September, 2007, against the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS), a peace-keeping mission stationed at the Haskanita Military Group Site, in the locality of Umm Kadada, North Darfur. It is alleged that the attackers killed 12 and severely wounded 8 soldiers, destroyed communications facilities and other materials and appropriated property belonging to AMIS.

This case is the fourth in the situation in Darfur after the cases of The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Muhammad Harun (Ahmad Harun) and Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman (Ali Kushayb), The Prosecutor v. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir and The Prosecutor v. Bahar Idriss Abu Garda.

The suspects (Harun and Kushayb, and Al Bashir) in the first two cases remain at large. Abu Garda appeared voluntarily before the ICC on 18 May, 2009. The confirmation of charges hearing took place from 19 to 29 October, 2009. On 8 February, 2010, Pre-Trial Chamber I declined to confirm the charges against him.

The situation in Darfur was referred to the International Criminal Court by United Nations Security Council resolution 1593 on 31 March, 2005, under article 13(b) of the Rome Statute.

For further information, please contact Fadi El Abdallah, Associate Legal Outreach Officer, on +31 (0)70 515-9152 or at fadi.el-abdallah@icc-cpi.int

The ICC's activities can also be followed through YouTube and Twitter

Maanweg 174, 2516 AB The Hague, The Netherlands – Maanweg 174, 2516 AB La Haye, Pays-Bas
Telephone – Téléphone +31(0)70 515 85 15 / Facsimile – Télécopie +31(0)70 515 85 55
www.icc-cpi.int
Note from Sudan Watch Editor: I say, well done to the ICC for staying on the case and getting at the truth. Any attack on peacekeepers constitutes a war crime. Click on Haskanita label below to view related reports and photos in Sudan Watch archive.
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TOP ICC INVESTIGATOR DIRK FREIMANN

Top ICC investigator jets back, meets team
Source: The Standard, Kenya by Ben Agina and Cyrus Ombat
Date: Friday, 08 October 2010. Snippets:
Top International Criminal Court investigator, Dirk Freimann, a 43-year-old German, joined ICC in 2007 after serving his country’s police for 22 years and has led investigations in Georgia and Bosnia Herzegovina.

He was team leader for investigations against a rebel leader Idriss Abugarda of the United Resistance Front, who was accused of killing peacekeepers in Haskanita in Darfur, Southern Sudan, in 2007.

Abugarda was the first suspect to voluntarily appear before the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber 1 in 2009. He was, however, acquitted for lack of evidence.
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Further Reading

DARFUR CRIMES ATTORNEY ASSURES TO BRING PERPETRATORS TO JUSTICE

Report from: Radio Miraya
Date: Thursday, 28 October 2010 16:15
The General Persecutor of Darfur Crimes Justice, Adbul-Daim Zamrawi, has announced resuming investigations over all crimes committed in the region in the period between 2003 and 2010. In press statements after arrival in the town of Al-Fashir, Northern Darfur State; Zamrawi affirmed the commitment of the Ministry of Justice and achieve righteousness as it's imperative for security and stability.
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RADIO SILA IN GOZ BEIDA, EASTERN CHAD



Photo: Women in the Djabal camp in Eastern Chad listen in groups to Women's Crossroads on Radio Sila, a program produced by Internews. (Photo by United Nations)

  1. Internews - Articles - Radio Sila, Radio for Darfuri Refugees ...

    4 Jun 2007 ... One of them is Radio Sila in Goz Beida, and it broadcasts in Arabic and French, the two languages spoken by Chad's literate communities. ...
    Radio Sila, Radio for Darfuri Refugees, Broadcasts in Zaghawa, Masalit Dialects...

    Fiacre Munezero, an employee at Radio Sila. said that while he was in Goz Beida, the refugees in the camp would run after the car shouting in Arabic, “Radio! Radio!” ”We did not understand what they meant because they usually ask for food, medicine, clothes, and blankets,” he said. “We later learned that they wanted to listen to Radio Sila which is broadcast in the Masalit dialect, and they are looking for transistors,” added Munezero.

    www.internews.org/.../20070604_asharqalawsat_darfur.shtm - Cached - Similar
  2. In Chad, Locals Celebrate their Radio Station's Official Inauguration

    Officials at Radio Sila's inauguration. From left to right, the Sultan of ...
    Broadcasting from a container studio, Radio Sila is located in the trading city of Goz Beida, surrounded by the sprawling Djabal refugee camp and numerous IDP sites. Soon after its first broadcast, Radio Sila became the only means of mass communication and socialization for humanitarian organizations delivering aid and protection to populations fleeing the conflict in neighboring Darfur or border Chadian villages.
    www.internews.org/prs/2010/20100316_chad.shtm - Cached

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Uganda says Sudan aware of Kony's presence in Darfur - US's Natsios says Turabi's loyalists seeking to undermine referendum

JOSEPH Kony, leader of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) terrorist organisation, is hiding in Sudan's Darfur region after fleeing a pursuit by the Uganda army in Central African Republic (CAR), the army said on Friday.

"Joseph Kony is no longer in Central African Republic. He crossed into Sudan a few days ago but some elements of LRA commanded by Dominic Ongwen are still in CAR," Felix Kulayigye, defence ministry spokesman told a news conference.

An International Criminal Court (ICC) indictee, Kony often escapes into Sudan whenever he's pursued in CAR because the Ugandan army lacks the mandate to operate there, the army said.

Andrew Natsios, former U.S. special envoy to Sudan, on Tuesday said that elements within the Sudanese government loyal to the Islamist opposition leader Hassan Al-Turabi are seeking to derail the January 2011 referendum in order to avert what appears to be the likely separation of the South.

Natsios [U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan in 2006-7] who just returned from a trip that took him to South Sudan said that while president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and his 2nd Vice president Ali Osman Taha are "moderates", he pointed fingers at pro-Turabi figures within the regime who do not want the South to separate.

Full story below.

LRA's Kony now in Darfur-Ugandan army
Source: Reuters by Elias Biryabarema
Date: Friday, 29 October 2010 17:21:54 GMT
(KAMPALA) - Joseph Kony, leader of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, is hiding in Sudan's Darfur region after fleeing a pursuit by the Uganda army in Central African Republic (CAR), the army said on Friday.

The rebel group, which has waged a brutal insurgency for nearly 20 years, was ejected from northern Uganda in 2005 and has since roamed remote jungle straddling the borders of Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic.

The LRA is known for chilling violence including hacking body parts off victims, the abduction of young boys to fight and young girls to be used as sex slaves.

"Joseph Kony is no longer in Central African Republic. He crossed into Sudan a few days ago but some elements of LRA commanded by Dominic Ongwen are still in CAR," Felix Kulayigye, defence ministry spokesman told a news conference.

An International Criminal Court (ICC) indictee, Kony often escapes into Sudan whenever he's pursued in CAR because the Ugandan army lacks the mandate to operate there, the army said.

"We cannot pronounce ourselves on whether Kony receives any support from the Sudanese authorities but what we can confirm is that (the Sudanese) are aware of his presence on their territory and they've not done anything to chase him," he said.

The Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) has a forward operating base in Obo, CAR, where it has been fighting the LRA with U.S. backing since September 2009.

According to rights groups, the LRA has abducted hundreds of people in central Africa over the past 18 months and killed many of them, often by crushing their skulls with clubs.

Separately, Kulaigye said the army, the UPDF was committed to remaining neutral in Uganda's forthcoming presidential poll.

President Yoweri Museveni, a former guerrilla, has in the past been accused of using the army to intimidate the populace to vote for him and soldiers to facilitate vote rigging.

The commander of armed forces, Lt. Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, was quoted earlier this year in the local media as saying the army would crush the opposition if they engaged in violence.

"The job of ensuring security in elections is for the Uganda Police and the UPDF recognises that Uganda is a multi-party democracy and respects all the political parties and their leaders. We take no sides at all," said Kulaigye. (Editing by David Clarke and Myra MacDonald)
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The Lord's Resistance Army: The Hunt for Africa's Most Wanted



Photo: Mbonih Ndele Mari was abducted by the LRA outside Niangara and left for dead by them after they cut off her lips and her ears. She is now in a hospital in Niangara. Her children are being looked after by family close by. Source: pulitzercenter.org/Joe Bavier & Marcus Bleasdale



Photo: The Chief and elders of the village of Daqua perform local rituals to exorcise the spirits from former child soldiers. The children complain of aggressive dreams and nightmares involving fantasies and killing. They want to get any help possible to stop these thoughts. The local chief and witch doctors know there is stronger medicine and help available but as no NGO work in the area to help the children they do what they can to help. Image by Marcus Bleasdale. Democratic Republic of Congo, 2010.



Photo: South Sudanese children displaced by attacks by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in the town of Mundri, Western Equatoria state, where some 8,000 Sudanese have gathered fleeing the guerrilla raids. Credit: Photo by Peter Martell/IRIN
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INTERVIEW: Former U.S. special envoy says Turabi’s loyalists seeking to undermine referendum
Source: Sudan Tribune online
Date: Thursday, 28 October 2010 - excerpt:
October 27, 2010 (WASHINGTON) – The former U.S. special envoy to Sudan on Tuesday said that elements within the government loyal to the Islamist opposition leader Hassan Al-Turabi are seeking to derail the January 2011 referendum in order to avert what appears to be the likely separation of the South.

Andrew Natsios who just returned from a trip that took him to South Sudan said that while president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and his 2nd Vice president Ali Osman Taha are "moderates", he pointed fingers at pro-Turabi figures within the regime who do not want the South to separate. [...]

He also warned that any move to delay the vote by more than two weeks "could bring violence" to the region. Furthermore, he said that the Obama administration should be prepared to use its air force should the North attempt to invade the South or take over the oilfields.

Click here to read full story.
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ENOUGH'S POO-STIRRING

Without Sudan, it will be impossible to successfully confront the LRA
Source: CSMonitor.com by Ledio Cakaj, Guest blogger
Date: Wednesday, 27 October 2010 - excerpt:
Sudan has not been included in meetings to discuss ways to fight back against the Lord's Resistance Army. This is a missed opportunity, says Ledio Cakaj, a guest blogger from the Enough Project. ...
ON LRA, AFRICAN UNION OVERESTIMATES MILITARY MIGHT, LEAVES OUT KEY ACTOR
Source: Enough Project.org by Ledio Cakaj
Date: Wednesday, 27 October 2010 - excerpt:
CORRECTION: Enough learned that in fact the Sudanese embassy in Bangui sent representation to the meeting but that no high-ranking officials from Khartoum attended.
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Copy of insightful comment by Ibrahim Adam posted at above:
Ledio: you're simply poo-stirring against the Sudanese government, vis-a-vis the LRA regional insecurity issue, aren't you not?
If not, care to explain this patently absurd and contradictory statement in your post below?
"simply to press for potential Sudanese support to the LRA to end."
Thought not.
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Note from Sudan Watch Editor:
Heh. Poo-stirring. Well said, Mr Adams. I enjoy reading your comments.
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Photo: Villagers who have formed a local self defense force move during a training session in the village of Bangadi in northeastern Congo February 18, 2009. In the face of attacks and massacres by Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, who have slaughtered some 900 Congolese civilians since December, villagers in Bangadi have formed a self-defense force with locally made weapons and have twice repelled LRA attacks in recent months. (Credit: Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters/CSMonitor.com/Enough Project, 27 Oct 2010)

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shame on Sudan for executing people (Update 1)

WHERE are all the religious bods and human rights do-gooders when needed? Is the man in this photo being executed for adultery or for acting in self defence? He needs legal help, urgently. Shame on the countries that execute people.



Photo caption: 'A man on death row waits for execution orders in the Bentiu prison in southern Sudan. He was having an adulterous affair with a woman whose husband eventually caught on. The husband stabbed him with a spear in the abdomen, a scar visible in this photo. He killed the man during the confrontation. Prison authorities expect that he will be executed in the coming month. Haunting to think that this is the last photo anyone will ever take of him.'

Credit: Photo and caption by Peter Muller posted to Facebook on Friday 22 October 2010. Click here to read the full story at Peter's blog. Click here to follow Peter on Twitter.

Copy of 3 comments posted at Peter's Facebook page re photo above:

By Shanjok Shan October 22:
is that the prison wall i think it can easily be penetrated ..

By Pete Muller Photography October 23:
it is the prison wall. Perhaps you're right, Shanjok, but he is shackled and quite emotionally defeated.

By Paula Muller October 23:
Boy, this is very tough. Life can really be hard. Maybe he wouldn't be defeated if he were sprung. But then you are hunted too................... Maybe not a great idea.
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Kalma camp IDP sentenced to death

A resident of Kalma IDP camp in South Darfur was sentenced to death by hanging on Sunday for allegations that he attempted to kill a supporter of the Doha peace process.

Hussein Hassan Abdel Kareem was arrested on July 22nd by a pro-Doha group in the camp who delivered him to the Sudanese security service. He was accused of being an anti-Doha activist inside the camp

The leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement, Abdal-Waheed faction Ibrahim Al-Hilu spoke to SRS from Paris describing the incident as injustice.

Click here for full story at SRS 26 October 2010.
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SHAME ON SUDAN FOR EXECUTING PEOPLE BUT PARDONING GENERALS

Pardoned Generals

On October 6, 2010, The President of the semi-autonomous Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) and Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), General Salva Kiir Mayardit, has issued an Executive Order, pardoning senior army officers who rebelled or fought against the SPLA forces before and after April’s elections. Among them were those of Major General Gatwech Chan, also known as Gabriel Tanginye, Lt. General George Athor Deng and Colonel Gatluak Gai. The presidential decree also urged those Generals to rejoin the ranks and files of the SPLA forces and move freely in the South. Kiir also said that the pardon will not come into effect unless the three officers unconditionally lay down their arms and rejoin the SPLA.

Major General Tanginye was accused by GOSS of causing military confrontations with the SPLA in 2006 and 2008, which left about three hundred people dead in the Upper Nile state’s capital of Malakal. General Athor and Colonel Gai have also rebelled and clashed with the SPLA in protest of the outcome of the gubernatorial elections in Jonglei and Unity states, respectively.

Click here for full story at oyetimes.com 14 October 2010.
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General Athor welcomes GOSS amnesty

The former SPLA Deputy Chief of Staff, the renegade General George Athor says he welcomes the GOSS Presidential amnesty directed at him and others.

On Wednesday last week, President Salva Kiir issued an executive order which grants an amnesty to four military officers - George Athor, Gabriel Tanginye, Gatluak Gai and Robert Gwang.

Click here for full story at SRS 11 October 2010.
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SPLA renegade general rejoins SPLA

The SPLA renegade General Dau Atur Jong, has rejoined the SPLA. Jong resigned from the SPLM after he lost the gubernatorial elections in Norther Bhar El-Ghazal state in April. He spoke to the press in Juba on Friday. ... Early this month, the president of GOSS Salva Kiir issued a decree pardoning the SPLA Generals who rebelled against the SPLA.

Click here for full story at SRS 25 October 2010.
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WHICH COUNTRIES EXECUTE THE MOST PEOPLE?

According to Wikipedia, a study done in 2005 found that the following countries did the most executions:
China (At least 1,770 executions)
Iran (At least 94)
Saudi Arabia (At least 86)
United States (60)
Pakistan (31)
Yemen (24)
Vietnam (21)
Jordan (11)
Barbarians. How many of those people executed were innocent, drunk, drugged, mentally ill, I wonder. Capital punishment (death penalty) is wrong, wicked, evil. Maybe that is why the only legal US source of sodium thiopental has refused to play any further part in executions. Click here to view an avalanche of shocking, barbaric, blood curdling comments at The Arizona Republic's article, 26 October 2010, "U.S. Supreme Court clears way for Arizona execution".
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UPDATE PUBLISHED ON SUNDAY 31 OCTOBER 2010:
Special courts in Darfur sentence nine individuals, including four children, to death
Source: Sudan Tribune
Date: Thursday, 28 October 2010:
From: African Center for Justice and Peace Studies
Contact: Osman Hummaida, Executive Director
Phone: +44 7956 095738 E-mail: osman@

(27 October 2010) - On 21 October, Judge Shegifa Ali Eshag of the Special Court in Nyala, South Darfur, sentenced a group of nine individuals allegedly affiliated with the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to death for a carjacking in Khour Baskawit, near Selia and Yaseen in South Darfur on 13 May 2010. Four members of the group are under the age of 18. The group was convicted under Articles 50 (offences against the state), 51 (fomenting war against the state), 168 (armed robbery), and 182 (criminal damage) under the Sudanese Penal Code of 1991.

The names of the adults sentenced to death are:
Aboalgasim Abdalla Abubakar, 30 years old, Masaalit Tribe
Hassan Eshag Abdalla, 20 years old, Zagawa Tribe
Adam Altoum Adam, 40 years old, Zagawa Tribe
Mohamed Adam Eisa, 28 years old, Zagawa Tribe
Alsagig Abakar Yahya, 20 years old, Tungour Tribe

The names of the four children are:
Ibrahim Shrief Yousef, 17 years old, Birged Tribe
Altyeb Mohamed Yagoup, 16 years old, Zagawa Tribe
Abdalla Abdalla Doud, 16 years old, Gimr Tribe
Abdarazig Daoud Abdelseed, 15 years, Birged Tribe

The application of the death penalty to a child is forbidden by Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Sudan is a state party. Notwithstanding its international commitments, domestic law in Sudan continues to make provisions for the application of capital punishment for children. Although Article 36 of the Interim National Constitution (INC) of 2005 restricts the use of the death penalty for individuals under the age of 18, it does not exempt children from application of the death penalty in the event of “serious offences”, namely hudud crimes. Under the 1991 Sudanese Penal Code, certain hudud offences, including armed robbery, are capital crimes. The 2004 Child Law of Sudan attempted to rectify this gap in compliance with international law by restricting juvenile executions in principle and recommending maximum sentences. However, the Child Law fails to fully protect children by defining a child as a person under 18, unless “they have reached maturity under other applicable law”. This opens the door to application of Article 9 of the Sudanese Penal Code of 1991 which allows for persons to be considered adults if they have attained puberty. Despite amendments made to the Child Law on 29 December 2009, this gap in who may be sentenced to death was never remedied.

In this case, the four minors sentenced to death had given their actual ages to the registry, but the court tried them as adults pursuant to medical examinations while they were in custody that determined that they were over 18. There is no specialised permanent medical committee or standard procedure for assessing age, and in remote areas the medical committee is often presided over by a medical assistant rather than a doctor. Even when a doctor does conduct the examination, no medical tests are undertaken and the assessment of the child’s age is based upon physical appearance, and is thus more estimation than scientific assessment. Though the government of Sudan has argued before that in practice no juvenile is ever actually executed and minors are sentenced in order to collect diya, it can still be argued that the act of sentencing a child to death in light of the mental anguish imposed is in and of itself a rights violation, even if the sentence is never implemented.

In addition to the penalty, it appears that a number of procedural irregularities may have undermined the rights of these children. The Child Law of 2004 established specialized courts and juvenile detention centres, but the minors were tried in the same court as the rest of the group, violating their right to a fair trial under Article 34 of the INC. The case has been appealed, and will be tried by the Chief of Judges in South Darfur rather than an Appeals Court (which would be presided over by three judges) due to procedural regulations of the Special Court. The Special Court which convicted the group is distinct from the Special Criminal Court on the Events in Darfur established in 2005 following the opening of the ICC’s investigation into Darfur. In this case, the Special Court refers to a local court mandated since 1997 to prosecute cases of armed robbery and hijackings. Though the media frequently reports trials as being heard solely by the “Special Court” the two are not analogous and function separately; in this case, this is significant as the Special Courts for Darfur receive significantly more judicial monitoring and oversight.

The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies condemns the use of the death penalty in all cases, particularly when imposed against minors, as this is a clear violation of international law. In addition, there are worrying suggestions that the death penalty is being applied in this case as a tool to suppress ethnic minorities and against individuals who are viewed as being against the Sudanese state. In light of the insecurity in Nyala as of late, it is also possible that the group is being used as an example. The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies calls on the Ministry of Justice to review the cases of the group and conditions under which they were sentenced, and to re-try those under 18 in a specialized juvenile court.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

CAR: "LRA is now a terrorist organisation like Al-Qaeda" - ICC Ocampo: "Violence it is not a ticket to power, but to The Hague"

THE African Union (AU) is helping four nations in central Africa build an international army to corner cross-border guerrillas in the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

This new army, with soldiers from Uganda, Sudan, Central Africa Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) will pursue the LRA across borders. AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamara says it's an encouraging plan that the AU will back.

At a meeting held 13-14 October 2010 in the CAR aimed at promoting a joint approach to the LRA, participants agreed to take steps to have the LRA classified as terrorists, rather than rebels, by the AU.

This would give affected countries greater access to international funds and require increased levels of judicial cooperation.

The representatives from Uganda, DR Congo and Sudan met in Bangui, CAR on Wednesday 13 October and Thursday 14 October, along with Kenya, where they also agreed to step up joint military action.

"Participants agreed to the following concrete measures: the creation of a joint centre of operations, the creation of a joint taskforce to lead actions against the LRA, and the deployment of joint border patrols," the AU said in a statement.

Ministers from the four countries affected by LRA attacks decided to establish the joint brigade - which would be backed by the AU - to go after the rebels.

They said they would also set up a joint operations centre, which would facilitate the exchange of information and intelligence.

The plan also envisages joint border patrols. All this would be co-ordinated by a special AU representative.

A diplomatic source contacted by the BBC says the plan also relies on Nigeria and South Africa - the only two African nations that have the logistical capacity to bring the plan to fruition.

This announcement is the first step towards the long-awaited creation of a mobile brigade that the AU can call on in times of trouble, the BBC World Service's Africa editor Martin Plaut says.

He says that although the AU statement only mentions the LRA, there are suggestions that this brigade could provide a blueprint for cross-border operations against al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, which is currently plaguing areas of Mali and Mauritania.

According to a news report by Press TV (see copy below) the LRA has headed for Darfur region in Sudan, amid calls for their arrest on charges of war crimes, an archbishop says. Excerpt:
The Catholic Archbishop Juan José Aguirre Munos of Bangassou city in southeast of Central African Republic announced that the LRA have recently attacked the town of Birao in the northeast --which borders Darfur -- of the country.

"I know for a fact that the largest group of LRA fighters has left the area in my diocese to head north. Among them is probably their leader, Joseph Kony," a Press TV correspondent quoted the archbishop as saying on Friday, 15 October 2010.
Source: See reports below.
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Five Noteworthy Quotes
"LRA rebels to be given 'terrorist' status" -African Union (Source: AFP report, 17 Oct 2010 - see copy below).
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"The LRA is now a terrorist organisation like Al-Qaeda. Thus, it is urgent today to put an end to the atrocities of this rebellion." -CAR Defence Minister Jean-Francis Bozize at African Union session on 14 October 2010 in Bangui, CAR. (Source: AFP report, 14 Oct 2010 - see copy below).
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"The worst enemies of Africa are African themselves. Those who pick up guns, munitions and other deadly weapons to killed citizens pretending saving the people from injustice or dictatorship.
But how many innocent people killed before to get to power and sometime never? These LRA, Al Qaeda in north Africa and all the rebel movement and any other thieves, bribery, embezzlement culprits have to be hunt down from Africa." -Anonymous commenter (Source: Comment at AFP report, 14 Oct 2010 - see copy below).
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"Kenya's case is a signal that if you produce massive violence it is not a ticket to power, but to The Hague." -ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo (Source: Daily Nation report, 22 Oct 2010 - see excerpt below).
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"Governments which shall come to power through unconstitutional means shall not be allowed to participate in the activities of the Union." -Article 30 on Suspension, African Union, Constitutive Act done at Lomé, Togo, 11 July 2000. (Source: International Law, 03 October 2010 www.dipublico.com.ar)
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VIOLENCE IS NOT A TICKET TO POWER, BUT TO THE HAGUE

According to a report by Daily Nation published Friday, 22 October 2010, the International Criminal Court (ICC) is working towards using the Kenyan case as a deterrent to other African countries against use of violence as a means of getting into power. Excerpt:
Already, officials from the ICC have been to Guinea, which is planning its elections, and Cote d'voire to impress upon the leaders to hold peaceful elections.

"Kenya's case is a signal that if you produce massive violence it is not a ticket to power, but to The Hague," the ICC prosecutor said.

Mr Ocampo, however, admitted that he is working against 'strong elements' who still perpetuate the idea that committing atrocities is a way of gaining power.
Read full story at Daily Nation, 22 Oct 2010, reprinted today at Kenya Watch:"Kenya: Four to Stand Hague Trial Over Poll Violence This Year"
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THE LRA IS NOW A TERRORIST ORGANISATION LIKE AL-QAEDA

Ugandan rebel group threatens expanded violence in Darfur
Source: Catholic Culture.org
Date: Thursday, 14 October 2010. Excerpt:
The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the armed group that has waged a campaign of terror and human-rights violations beginning in northern Uganda and spreading through central Africa, has now set its sights on the already troubled Darfur province of Sudan, an African archbishop has warned.

Archbishop Juan José Aguirre Muños of Bangassou in the Central African Republic told the Fides news service that LRA troops have attacked towns in his country, and now are headed north toward the uncontrolled border of Sudan. The LRA has long been involved in skirmishes in southern Sudan, near its original stronghold in northern Uganda. The move westward into Darfur could exacerbate the bloodshed that already plagues the province.

The LRA, which was originally regarded as a rebel group in Uganda, is led by Joseph Kony, who will face multiple human-rights charges before an international court if and when he is apprehended.

Bishop Muños reported that the LRA troops headed toward Darfur include a number of child soldiers. The group has made a practice of kidnapping children from the towns it raids and pressing them into service in combat.
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'Uganda's LRA heads for Sudan's Darfur'
Source: Press TV
Date: Friday, 15 October 2010 7:39AM:

Photo: Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA)
The Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has headed for the already restive Darfur region in Sudan, amid calls for their arrest on charges of war crimes, an archbishop says.

The Catholic Archbishop Juan José Aguirre Munos of Bangassou city in southeast of Central African Republic announced that the LRA have recently attacked the town of Birao in the northeast --which borders Darfur -- of the country.

"I know for a fact that the largest group of LRA fighters has left the area in my diocese to head north. Among them is probably their leader, Joseph Kony," a Press TV correspondent quoted the archbishop as saying on Friday.

"In recent months, the LRA have attacked towns like Yalinga, then continuing north up to Birao, located in the far northeastern part of the country, on the border with Sudan's Darfur region," Munos stressed.

Meanwhile, Uganda's New Vision newspaper reported on its website Kony has entered the troubled Darfur region of Sudan.

“He is in Darfur, he crossed two weeks ago into southern Darfur,” said army spokesperson Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye was quoted on Thursday.
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UN agency sounds alarm over terror campaign by rebels in central Africa
Source: UN News Centre
Date: Friday, 15 October 2010:
The United Nations refugee agency today expressed concern over population displacement resulting from attacks perpetrated by the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in the Central African Republic and neighbouring countries.

The latest raid occurred in the town of Birao in the north of the Central African Republic (CAR) last Sunday, during which the rebels abducted a number of girls, looted property and set shops on fire, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Adrian Edwards told reporters in Geneva.

“The LRA’s campaign of terror against civilians has intensified since September,” with attacks in the CAR, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and southern Sudan, he said.

Northeastern DRC has seen at least six attacks and three ambushes in the last few weeks, all in Haut Uélé district. In a single village, Nambiongo, 21 people were killed and were 2,500 displaced, while fear prompted 2,000 people to flee Dungu, the district headquarters.

In southern Sudan, the LRA also attacked the villages of Ribodo and Nahua in Western Equatoria state on 4 September, killing eight people and displacing 2,600.

So far this year, the group, whose origins are in Uganda, has carried out more than 240 deadly attacks against civilians in the countries where it is active. At least 344 people have been killed.

People living in remote villages are often the victims of the group’s violence, including indiscriminate killings, abductions, rape, mutilation, looting and destruction of property.

Insecurity and poor infrastructure hamper the carrying out of needs assessments and the delivery of aid to affected communities. Many people are traumatized and too scared to return to their farms to cultivate their land, rendering them dependent of humanitarian aid, according to UNHCR.

“This means they will continue to depend on outside help for the foreseeable future,” Mr. Edwards said.

Since December 2008, the LRA has murdered 2,000 people, abducted more than 2,600 and displaced over 400,000, UNHCR said. An estimated 268,000 remain displaced in Orientale province in northeastern DRC, over 120,000 in Western Equatoria in southern Sudan and 30,000 in the southeast of the CAR.

There are also more than 24,000 civilians who have been forced into exile.

UNHCR assists those uprooted by LRA violence by providing emergency shelter, healthcare and psycho-social counselling. The agency supports host communities with water and sanitation facilities.
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Central Africa says 'fight LRA like Al-Qaeda'
Source: AFP (reprinted by StarAfrica.com)
Date: Thursday, 14 October 2010 16:05 GMT:
The Central African Republic called Thursday for the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) to be treated and fought like Al-Qaeda, in an appeal made at an African Union meeting.

"The LRA is now a terrorist organisation like Al-Qaeda. Thus, it is urgent today to put an end to the atrocities of this rebellion," Defence Minister Jean-Francis Bozize told AFP at the conference in the capital Bangui.

The meeting, which began on Wednesday and was being attended by other countries affected by LRA activity, "aims to evaluate the security, economic and humanitarian aspects of the LRA presence" in the CAR, Bozize said.

The LRA emerged in 1998 in northern Uganda as a rebel movement dedicated to overthrowing the east African country's government and establishing a regime to uphold the Biblical Ten Commandments.

Today however it is infamous for atrocities against civilians, including massacres, and has moved from Uganda to South Sudan, the CAR and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Its leaders are wanted for war crimes.

CAR Foreign Minister Antoine Gambi told AFP that "for us, LRA elements are terrorists exactly like Al-Qaeda. The international community must not be stingy with the means to help Centrafrica to get rid of the insecurity created by this rebellion."

At the opening of the meeting, President Francois Bozize denounced the "incursions, pillage, massacres, rapes, hostage takings and villages that are systematically burned down" by the LRA in four regions of the poor landlocked country, national radio reported.

"I formulate the hope that this session will end in proposals and solutions adequate (to deal with) this recurring question," Bozize said.

The Bangui meeting was attended by representatives of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan -- all affected by the rebel group founded by Joseph Kony.

There were also delegates from Kenya, which is the current president of the AU Peace and Security Council, according to a document of the pan-African organisation.

Also present were members of regional organisations, humanitarian bodies and the United States, the document said.

The AU wants to "show the solidarity of the continent with the CAR and places the emphasis on shared responsibility faced with the LRA issue," AU Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra said, quoted by national radio.

"This session should come up with audacious conclusions that orient us towards action against the LRA," Lamamra said.

In December 2008, the Ugandan army launched a surprise offensive against the LRA in the far northeast of the DR Congo. The operation failed to capture Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, and neutralise the LRA, which reformed in several groups.

Since 2009, Ugandan soldiers have been hunting down the LRA in the CAR with the Bangui government's approval, but the rebels still manage brutal attacks against civilians and take hostages as forced labour.

On Wednesday, the International Crisis Group research institute stated that it believed that Kony is in Darfur in west Sudan. Sudan has not authorised Uganda to pursue Kony in Darfur, according to the ICG.

Comment on this article
President 14/10/10 16:22:

"The worst enemies of Africa are African themselves. Those who pick up guns, munitions and other deadly weapons to killed citizens pretending saving the people from injustice or dictatorship.
But how many innocent people killed before to get to power and sometime never? These LRA, Al Qaeda in north Africa and all the rebel movement and any other thieves, bribery, embezzlement culprits have to be hunt down from Africa."
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CAR, DR CONGO, SUDAN AND UGANDA WILL FORM A BRIGADE TO PURSUE THE LRA

LRA rebels to be given 'terrorist' status: African Union
Source: AFP
Date: Sunday, 17 October 2010. Excerpt:
LIBREVILLE — Central African countries plagued by the brutal rebellion of the Lord's Resistance Army are working to reclassify the group as terrorists, the African Union said on Saturday.

At a meeting this week in the Central African Republic aimed at promoting a joint approach to the LRA, participants agreed to take steps to have the LRA classified as terrorists, rather than rebels, by the AU.

This would give affected countries greater access to international funds and require increased levels of judicial cooperation.

The group has killed about 2,000 people in the last two years, and displaced more than 400,000, according to the UN.

Representatives from Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan met in Bangui on Wednesday and Thursday, along with Kenya, where they also agreed to step up joint military action.

"Participants agreed to the following concrete measures: the creation of a joint centre of operations, the creation of a joint taskforce to lead actions against the LRA, and the deployment of joint border patrols," the AU said in a statement. [...]



Photo: An armed fighter of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) stands guard (AFP)
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Four African nations crack down on LRA
Source: BBC News online
Date: Saturday, 16 October 2010 - excerpt:
Four African nations have agreed to form a joint military force to fight Lord's Resistance Army rebels, the African Union says.

It says the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Uganda will form a brigade to pursue the militants.

The LRA, which originated in Uganda 20 years ago, has recently mounted deadly attacks in all four countries.

It now targets towns some 1,000km (600 miles) away from Uganda, the UN says. [...]

The action plan to fight the LRA was agreed at Friday's high-level meeting in Bangui - the capital of the Central African Republic, the AU said in a statement. The statement did not mention figures, but a brigade is commonly though to include at least 1,000 men.

Ministers from the four countries affected by LRA attacks decided to establish the joint brigade - which would be backed by the AU - to go after the rebels.

They said they would also set up a joint operations centre, which would facilitate the exchange of information and intelligence.

The plan also envisages joint border patrols. All this would be co-ordinated by a special AU representative.

A diplomatic source contacted by the BBC says the plan also relies on Nigeria and South Africa - the only two African nations that have the logistical capacity to bring the plan to fruition.

This announcement is the first step towards the long-awaited creation of a mobile brigade that the AU can call on in times of trouble, the BBC World Service's Africa editor Martin Plaut says.

He says that although the AU statement only mentions the LRA, there are suggestions that this brigade could provide a blueprint for cross-border operations against al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, which is currently plaguing areas of Mali and Mauritania.
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Central Africa Nations to Form Anti-LRA Fighting Force
Source: Voice of America (voanews.com) by Adrian Edwards in Dakar
Date: Thursday, 21 October 2010:



Photo: The leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, left, and his deputy Vincent Otti sit inside a tent Sunday 12, 2006 at Ri-Kwamba in Southern Sudan. (AP)
The African Union is helping four nations in central Africa build an international army to corner cross-border guerrillas in the Lord's Resistance Army.

Since 1987, a Ugandan band of Christian guerrillas has slipped past borders, killed thousands throughout central African villages, and waged what is today one of the continent's longest-running conflicts -- and that conflict isn't going to end, the African Union says, until the region's militaries can assemble a single, multinational army to fight it.

That's exactly what Central African heads of state signed up to do this week at a conference in Tripoli, where delegates drafted plans for an international anti-guerilla fighting force.

This new army, with soldiers from Uganda, Sudan, Central Africa Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo will pursue the Lords Resistance Army across borders. AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamara says it's an encouraging plan that the AU will back.

Lamara says the plan of action heads of state adopted in Tripoli calls on Central African countries to redouble their efforts. It also seeks to establish a coordinated military plan towards the objective of finally neutralizing the LRA, he says. This plan will put an end to their atrocities and destablizing activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Southern Sudan, and the Central African Republic.

The blueprint calls for military assistance from two of the continent's most experienced armies, Nigeria's and South Africa's. It also calls for cross-border intelligence sharing, and for AU support in tracking the maneuvers of Lords Resistance soldiers.

The guerilla faction operating out of Uganda's rural West has been attempting to overthrow Central African governments, Uganda's in particular, and transform the region into a Christian theocracy, with laws based on the biblical ten commandments.

But in the past two years alone, the sect has been accused of killing 2,000 people, and abducting another 2,600, in attacks that the U.N. Human Rights Council says were often orchestrated with child soldiers.

This year has been no less violent, U.N. spokesperson Adrian Edwards says.

"So far this year, the Ugandan rebel group has carried out more than 240 deadly attacks," Edwards said. "At least 344 people have been killed. In most cases these attacks are on vulnerable, isolated communities, with indiscriminate killings, abductions, rape, mutilation, looting and destruction of property."

The International Criminal Court maintains a crimes against humanity arrest warrant against on the LRA's leader, Joseph Kony.

On Thursday, Central Africa Republic defense minister Jean-Francis Bozize asked the international community to classify the guerrillas as a terrorist organization, like al-Qaida, he said.
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LRA And Ambororo Nomadas A Threat In WBGS
Source: SRS - Sudan Radio Service
Date: Friday, 22 October 2010:
(Wau) – Insecurity is increasing in Western Bahr al Ghazal state due to the presence of Lord’s Resistance Army and Ambororo nomads.

The commissioner of Wau County, Luka Anthony Ubur expressed his concerns to SRS on Thursday over the security situation in the area.

[Luka Anthony Ubur]: “Western Bahr El Ghazal state has been a very safe place ever since. But now there are cases of rising insecurity. Along the part which is neighboring Western Equitoria State, there is a lot of disturbance from activities of the L-R-A. They entered in the border between us and Raja in Kor Hajer and are now causing trouble. The presence of Ambororo is also a threat to our people.”

That was the commissioner of Wau County, Luka Anthony Ubur speaking to Sudan Radio service in Wau on Thursday.
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Further Reading



Photo: One of the world's most wanted rebel chiefs, Joseph Kony of the Lord's Resistance Army, (L) is seen shaking hand with southern Sudan's vice president Riek Machar (R) in this image taken from Reuters TV in Nairobi, May 24, 2006. (Reuters TV/CSM)

CAN A JOINT MILITARY FORCE DEFEAT THE LRA?
See comments (24, so far) posted at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/africahaveyoursay
Source: BBC World Service online - Africa HYS team
Date: Monday, 18 October 2010
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THOUGHT OF THE DAY

From Forbes.com

"All true love is founded on esteem."
-George Buckingham

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