Category Archives: Humanitarian Issues

Rwanda bans BBC Kinyarwanda broadcasts over film that questions the genocide

It might have been more honest of the BBC to say in this news story that the film has proved controversial among specialists on Rwanda and resulted in a formal written complaint to the BBC by a number of academics, journalists and people like Senator (for General) Romeo Dallaire.  It is not just the Kagame government that has doubts about the accuracy and balance of the film, I signed the letter of complaint as the film contains serious inaccuracies, very questionable interpretations and is highly selective in its use of  interviews and available evidence – anything that conflicts with its “untold story” is ignored or skated over. Poor journalism.  The BBC was also very short-sighted, as I put in a submission to the parliamentary foreign affairs committee some years ago, when it cut short-wave transmission to Rwanda and relied on local rebroadcasts. The Kagame government has no great adherence to freedom of the press and was bound to stop the BBC broadcasts whenever they were not in the interests of the government KS

BBC

Rwanda suspends BBC broadcasts over genocide film

Photographs of victims in the Kigali genocide memorialThere are numerous memorials around Rwanda to those killed in the genocide

Rwanda has suspended BBC broadcasts in the Kinyarwanda language with immediate effect because of a film questioning official accounts of the 1994 genocide.

The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (Rura) said it had received complaints from the public of incitement, hatred, revisionism and genocide denial.

At least 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus died in the genocide.

The BBC has denied that any part of the programme constitutes a “denial of the genocide against the Tutsi”.

On Wednesday, Rwandan MPs approved a resolution calling on the government to ban the BBC and to charge the documentary-makers with genocide denial, which is a crime in the country.

Those killed in the genocide are generally believed to be mostly members of the minority ethnic Tutsi group, and Hutus opposed to the mass slaughter.

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Rwandan genocide:

skulls on display in the Nyamata church
  • 6 April 1994: President Juvenal Habyarimana is killed when his plane was shot down on returning from peace talks with Tutsi RPF rebels
  • 7 April: It is not clear who is behind the shooting but it sparks the systematic mass killing of mainly Tutsis by extremist Hutu militia and military elements
  • April-July: An estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus are slaughtered
  • RPF denies accusations they killed thousands of Hutus as they marched through the country
  • July: RPF captures the capital, Kigali
  • July: Two million Hutus flee to Zaire, now DR Congo
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The BBC programme Rwanda, The Untold Story, includes interviews with US-based researchers who say most of those killed may have been Hutus, killed by members of the then-rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which has been in power since 1994.

The programme also included interviews with former aides of RPF leader President Paul Kagame, accusing him of plotting to shoot down the presidential plane – the act seen as triggering the slaughter.

BBC news reports recall how the genocide unfolded

He has consistently denied previous such accusations.

Rura said it had established a commission of inquiry to investigate the allegations it had received about the programme, after which further action may be taken.

The cabinet is meeting next week to discuss parliament’s recommendations.

The BBC broadcasts affected by the suspension are produced by the BBC Great Lakes service, which was initially set up in the aftermath of the genocide as a lifeline service.

Its first broadcast – BBC Gahuzamiryango, meaning “the unifier of families” – was a 15-minute transmission aimed at bringing together families who had been separated.  BBC

To: “Mr. Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC”

Posted by David Peterson on October 14, 2014, 2:58 am, in reply to “Telesur: Justin Podur on the Rwandan Genocide – very informative


Friends: In this copy of a formal letter of complaint to the BBC Two over their production and broadcasting of the October 1 documentary, “Rwanda’s Untold Story,” notice whom the signatories-doctrinal enforcers include: Linda Melvern, Romeo Dallaire, Gregory Stanton, Gerald Caplan, George Monbiot, Andrew Wallis.)

(For a copy of the documentary, see Jane Corbin and John Conroy, “Rwanda’s Untold Story,” BBC Two, October 1, 2014, as now posted to the Vimeo website. < http://vimeo.com/107867605 >)

Mr. Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC, Broadcasting House, Portland Place,
London. W1A 1AA

October 12, 2014.

Dear Sir,

We the undersigned, scholars, scientists, researchers, journalists and historians are writing to you today to express our grave concern at the content of the documentary Rwanda’s Untold Story (This World, BBC 2 Wednesday October 1), specifically its coverage of the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi.

We accept and support that it is legitimate to investigate, with due diligence and respect for factual evidence, any crimes committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and to reflect on the contemporary political situation in Rwanda. However, attempts to examine these issues should not distort the reality of the 1994 genocide. It is not legitimate to use current events to either negate or to diminish the genocide. Nor is it legitimate to promote genocide denial.

The parts of the film which concern the 1994 genocide, far from providing viewers with an ‘Untold Story’ as the title promises, are old claims. For years similar material using similar language has been distributed far and wide as part of an on-going ‘Hutu Power’ campaign of genocide denial. At the heart of this campaign are convicted génocidaires, some of their defence lawyers from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and their supporters and collaborators. These deniers continually question the status of the genocide and try to prove – like the programme – that what it calls the ‘official narrative’ of the 1994 genocide is wrong. The BBC programme Rwanda’s Untold Story recycles their arguments and provides them with another platform to create doubt and confusion about what really happened.

Three of the untenable claims made in the programme are of the utmost concern: the first is a lie about the true nature of the Hutu Power militia. The second is an attempt to minimize the number of Tutsi murdered in the genocide, and the third is an effort to place the blame for shooting down President Habyarimana’s plane on April 6, 1994 on the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

First, the programme allows a witness to claim that ‘only ten percent of the Interahamwe (militia) were killers’. In fact, the majority of Hutu Power militia forces – estimated to have been 30,000 strong – were trained specifically to

kill Tutsi at speed, and indoctrinated in a racist ideology, part of genocide planning. There is eyewitness testimony by several militia leaders who cooperated with the ICTR.

Second, the programme attempts to minimise the number of Tutsi murdered, a typical tactic of genocide deniers. The false figures cited are provided by two US academics who worked for a team of lawyers defending the génocidaires at the ICTR. They even claim that in 1994 more Hutu than Tutsi were murdered – an absurd suggestion and contrary to all the widely available research reported by Amnesty International, UNICEF, the UN Human Rights Commission, Oxfam, Human Rights Watch, Africa Rights, a UN Security Council mandated Commission of Experts and evidence submitted to the ICTR and other European courts who have successfully put on trial several perpetrators.

Third, the film argues that the shooting down of the plane on April 6, 1994 was perpetrated by the RPF. This same story was promoted by Hutu Power extremists within a few hours of the president’s assassination and promoted ever since by génocidaires and a few ICTR defence lawyers.

The film pays no heed to a detailed expert report published in January 2012 by a French magistrate Judge Marc Trévidic. This contains evidence from French experts, including crash investigators, who proved scientifically that the missiles that shot down the plane came from the confines of the government-run barracks in Kanombe on the airport’s perimeter – one of the most fortified places in the country, and where it would have been impossible for the RPF, armed with a missile, to penetrate.

Within hours of the president’s assassination, in this carefully planned genocide, roadblocks went up all over Kigali and the Presidential Guard started to target every member of Rwanda’s political opposition. These momentous events are barely mentioned. The members of the Hutu and Tutsi pro-democracy movements were hunted down and killed, including Rwanda’s Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, and ten UN peacekeepers from Belgium who were protecting her. These opposition politicians separately threatened the Habyarimana regime for advocating power-sharing and paid for their courage with their lives. Ignored in this film are the Hutu Power attempts to divide the internal political opposition along ethnic lines. Political violence in the film is seen only in the context of a ‘civil war’ between the RPF and the Habyarimana government, a smoke screen, used then and now, to hide the systematic killing of Tutsi carried out by the Hutu Power Interim Government and its militia.

The film-maker, Jane Corbin, who presented the programme, even tries to raise doubts about whether or not the RPF stopped the genocide. The authority on this subject is Lt.-General Roméo Dallaire, the Force commander of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), and present in Rwanda throughout the genocide. Dallaire is categorical. ‘The genocide was stopped because the RPF won and stopped it’, he says. Corbin

ignores the testimonies of direct witnesses to what happened in 1994: Dallaire and his volunteer UN peacekeepers, Philippe Gaillard and the medics at the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Dr. James Orbinski of Médecins Sans Frontières. Years of research and writing by academics and other experts along with hours of films by journalists who work for the BBC – all of this eyewitness testimony is dismissed as if fraudulent.

In broadcasting this documentary the BBC has been recklessly irresponsible. The programme has fuelled genocide denial. It has further emboldened the génocidaires, all their supporters and those who collaborate with them. It has provided them the legitimacy of the BBC. Denial of genocide causes the gravest offence to survivors. For them, the genocide is not a distant event from 20 years ago but a reality with which they live every day.

The denial of genocide is now widely recognised as the final stage of the crime. One of the world’s preeminent genocide scholars, the US Professor Greg H. Stanton, describes ten stages in genocide: classification of the population; symbolization of those classifications; discrimination against a targeted group; dehumanisation of the pariah group; organisation of the killers; polarisation of the population; preparation by the killers; persecution of the victims; extermination of the victims; and denial that the killing was genocide.

Denial, the final stage, ensures the crime continues. It incites new killing. It denies the dignity of the deceased and mocks those who survived. Denial of genocide is taken so seriously that in some European countries it is criminalized. In 2008 the Council of the European Union called upon states to criminalize genocide denial.

The 1994 genocide of the Tutsi should be treated by all concerned with the utmost intellectual honesty and rigour. We would be willing – indeed see it as our duty – to meet with journalists and to debate in a follow up programme the serious inaccuracies in Rwanda’s Untold Story.

We hope that the BBC management will quickly realise the gravity of the genocide denial in Rwanda’s Untold Story. We call upon the BBC to explain how the programme came to be made and the editorial decision-making which allowed it to be broadcast. In the course of any internal BBC enquiry we hope all relevant documents from the This World archive and from senior editors involved in approving the programme will be released for study.

Rwanda’s Untold Story tarnishes the BBC’s well-deserved reputation for objective and balanced journalism. We urge the BBC to apologise for the offence this programme has caused for all victims and survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Signed

Professor Linda Melvern
Author, A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda’s Genocide; Conspiracy to Murder

Senator Roméo Dallaire Force Commander, UNAMIR

Professor Gregory H. Stanton President, Genocide Watch

Mehdi Ba
Journalist and Author

Bishop Ken Barham

Dr. Margaret Brearley Independent Scholar

Dr. Gerald Caplan
Author, The Preventable Genocide

Professor Frank Chalk
Professor of History/Director, Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, Concordia University, Co-author, ‘Mobilizing the Will to Intervene: Leadership to Prevent Mass Atrocities’ (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010)

Dr.Phil Clark
Reader in Comparative and International Politics, SOAS, University of London

Boubacar Boris Diop, Sénégal. Author, Murambi, the book of bones

Jean-Francois Dupaquier Author and Expert

Hélène Dumas,
Diplômée de l’IEP d’Aix-en-Provence (2003), Docteur en histoire de l’EHESS (2013)

Professor Margee Ensign
President, American University of Nigeria

Tim Gallimore
Independent genocide researcher

Peter Greaves
Former UNICEF staff member

Fred Grünfeld.
Emeritus professor in International Relations, Human Rights and the Causes of Gross Human Rights Violations, Universities of Maastricht and Utrecht, Netherlands. Author, The Failure to Prevent Genocide in Rwanda: The Role of Bystanders, 2007

Dr. Helen Hintjens
Assistant Professor in Development and Social Justice, International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) The Hague

Dr. Georgina Holmes
Lecturer International Relations,
University of Portsmouth/Royal Holloway, University of London

Richard Johnson
Author, The Travesty of Human Rights Watch on Rwanda

Eric Joyce MP

Ambassador Karel Kovanda (ret).
Czech Representative on the UN Security Council, 1994-95

Françoise Lemagnen
Chief Executive, Survivors Fund (SURF)

Ambassador Stephen Lewis.
Former Canadian Ambassador to the UN.

W. Alan McClue
Visiting Fellow, Bournemouth University/Cranfield University

Roland Moerland
Ph.D. Researcher and Lecturer in Supranational and Organizational Criminology, Department of Criminal Law and Criminology Maastricht University, The Netherlands

George Monbiot Author and Journalist

Jacques Morel
Author, La France au coeur du génocide des Tutsi (2010)

Barbara Mulvaney
International Law Consultant; Former Senior Trial Attorney – Bagosora et al., United Nations International Tribunal for Rwanda

Dr. Jude Murison
School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh

Peter Raymont
President, White Pine Pictures, Toronto, Canada

Professor Josias Semujanga
Professeur titulaire, Département des littératures de langue française, Université de Montréal, Quebec

Jonathan Salt
Managing Director of Ojemba Education

Keith Somerville
Senior Research fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London; Lecturer in Communications and Humanitarianism, Centre for Journalism, University of Kent

Patrick de Saint-Exupéry Author and journalist

Dr James M. Smith CBE CEO, Aegis Trust

Rafiki Ubaldo Journalist

Andrew Wallis
Author, Silent Accomplice: The untold Story of the Role of France in the Rwandan Genocide, I.B.Tauris, 2014

Lillian Wong, O.B.E.
British Chargé d’Affairs in Rwanda 1994-1995

http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1413251912.html

 

Nigeria – Boko Haram abductions continue

BBC

Nigeria’s Boko Haram ‘abducts more women and girls’

Boko Haram militants from a video released by the groupAccording to residents, a large group of insurgents attacked the two villages on Saturday

Dozens of women and girls from two villages in Nigeria’s north-eastern Adamawa state have been abducted by suspected militants, residents say.

The abductions have not been confirmed by the authorities, but residents say they took place a day after the military announced it had agreed a ceasefire with the Boko Haram group.

The government hopes the Islamist group will free more than 200 girls seized in April as part of negotiations.

Boko Haram has not confirmed the truce.

Following Friday’s ceasefire announcement, the government said further talks with Boko Haram were due to be held this week in neighbouring Chad.

A man poses with a sign in front of police officers in riot gear during a demonstration calling on the government to rescue the kidnapped girls from Chibok, in Abuja, on 14 October 2014. The government failure to secure the schoolgirls’ release has sparked mass protests

In a separate incident, at least five people were killed in a bomb blast at a bus station in a town in the northern state of Bauchi.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Hostage swaps

News of the new abductions came as MPs approved a $1bn (£623m) loan – requested by the president in July – to upgrade military equipment and train more units fighting the north-eastern insurgency.

But they asked the finance minister to give the chamber more details about how the external borrowing would be sourced.

Security already costs the country close to $6bn, roughly a quarter of the federal budget.

The abduction of the schoolgirls from their boarding school in Borno state sparked a global campaign to pressure the government to secure their release.

Borno is the group’s stronghold. It has been under a state of emergency, along with neighbouring Adamawa and Yobe states, for more than a year.

The villages that were attacked on Saturday – Waga Mangoro and Garta – are close to Madagali and Michika towns, which have been under the control of the Islamist militant group for several weeks.

Map showing Boko Haram areas of control in Nigeria

According to people in the area, a large group of insurgents attacked the villages, rounding up women and girls.

They forced them to harvest groundnuts on a farm, then abducted those who were teenagers or in their early 20s.

Communication with the affected area is difficult, which is why it takes time for news of attacks to filter out.

Other raids by suspected Boko Haram fighters were reported by residents in Adamawa and Borno over the weekend.

Since the state of emergency was declared in May 2013, Boko Haram has taken many women and children hostage and has agreed to some prisoner swaps.

The name Boko Haram translates as “Western education is forbidden”, and the militants have carried out raids on schools and colleges, seeing them as a symbol of Western culture.

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Who are Boko Haram?

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau speaking to the camera in a video the group released on 12 May 2014Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is the most wanted man in Nigeria
  • Founded in 2002
  • Initially focused on opposing Western education – Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009 to create Islamic state
  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria – also attacked police and UN headquarters in capital, Abuja

BBC

  • Some three million people affected
  • Declared terrorist group by US in 2013

Uganda-Central Africa – the problems in the hunt for Knoy and the lRA

Martin Plaut

Africa’s forgotten scourge: Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army

In the past year, Joseph Kony is said to have been responsible for killing 76 civilians and abducting 467. Despite the lack of international coverage, an African operation to kill or capture him continues. Martin Plaut talks to its leader, Brigadier General Sam Kavuma.

Joseph Kony, photographed in Southern Sudan in 2006. Photo: Stuart Price/AFP/Getty
Joseph Kony, photographed in Southern Sudan in 2006. Photo: Stuart Price/AFP/Getty

Once they were at the top of the African crisis agenda, but ebola, civil war in South Sudan and the atrocities of Boko Haram have driven them out of the headlines. It is hard to find a single mention of Joseph Kony or his murderous Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the international media.

Yet they have not gone away. The charity Invisible Children, which tenaciously tracks the LRA says that it killed two people in the last month and abducted 26 more. In the past year Kony is said to have been responsible for killing 76 civilians and abducting 467. Behind these cold statistics is a trail of shattered lives: of villages living in terror and women too frightened to go to the fields to plant or harvest.

Kony, and his killers, are now hunted across a vast area of Central Africa. “There are probably no more than 100 fighters with Kony,” says Brigadier General Sam Kavuma, who is leading the African operation to kill or capture him. But the general is under no illusion about the scale of the problem. The LRA is dispersed over South Sudan, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. It is an area approximately the size of western Europe and General Kavuma has only around 1,500 troops at his disposal.

Despite this, the general is optimistic. “Kony is no longer fighting – he’s hiding and trying to survive,” he told the New Statesman in a phone interview.

The General’s Regional Task Force should be far larger. The African Union mandate provides for a brigade-size operation of 5,000 troops, drawn from Uganda, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Congo (pdf).

But the civil war in the Central African Republic has meant it has provided General Kavuma with not a single soldier, while the fighting that erupted in South Sudan last December has also reduced its support. One of Uganda’s three battalions was also withdrawn to prop up South Sudanese President, Salva Kiir, in his dispute with his rival, Riek Machar (pdf).

Joseph Kony – once a Ugandan church choir boy – has been the scourge of central Africa for more than two decades. Drawn from the Acholi people of northern Uganda, the LRA has used abduction and murder to further its ends and maintain its operations. Kony himself is notoriously canny and wary – characteristics that have allowed him to survive all these years despite the international efforts to kill him.

President Obama established the elimination of Kony as one of his African goals and recently increased the support given to this operation. Several CV-22 Osprey long range, high speed helicopters, plus 150 Air Force Special Operations troops and airmen joined the search.

In the end, though, the problem of the LRA is likely to require a political solution. “We know that 80 per cent of LRA fighters have been abducted themselves,” says General Kavuma. Talks have been tried in the past, but are ruled out for the present. Kony has used previous negotiations and ceasefires to regroup and re-arm his forces. “The Acholi leaders have sent messages to their people to defect and come home,” the general says and this is paying dividends. “Two months ago we had over fifty defectors, including women and children.”

This strategy has American backing from the 7th Military Information Support Battalion. Radio stations have been established to broadcast appeals to the fighters; half a million leaflets have been dropped from the air. Even aerial loudspeakers have been deployed to try to persuade LRA fighters to lay down their weapons and come out of the bush.

This has been a long and a deadly war. Ugandan troops serve for up to two years before going home. General Kavuma has a good reputation and is said to have transformed the African troops into an effective fighting force. But divisions in South Sudan and the Central African Republic have sapped the operation. The LRA is said to be hiding in Kafia Kingi, one of the areas claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan. Kony may still receive backing from Khartoum, although the General says he has no evidence of this.

The fighting is unlikely to end soon. It is simply too low on the international agenda to receive sufficient resources. As one well-informed observer put it: “The LRA is a forgotten force in a forgotten part of the world.” MP

Mozambique – Renamo’s election strategy and use of violence

ISS

Renamo’s renaissance, and civil war as election strategy

In 2009, the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) recorded its worst ever showing in an election. Its candidate, rebel leader Afonso Dhlakama, was trying so hard to play the respectable politician, yet he received only 650 679 votes (16,41% of the total). This was, astoundingly, over 300 000 votes fewer than he had garnered in the 2004 poll.

At the same time, Renamo won just 51 seats in Parliament, down from 91 seats in the previous session. By anyone’s estimation, it was a catastrophic showing for the party that had effectively invented opposition politics in the country. It had fought to end the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique’s (Frelimo’s) de facto one-party state both during the country’s bloody civil war (which only ended with the 1992 peace agreement), and in the post-civil war democratic elections that followed thereafter.

It seemed as if Dhlakama and his Renamo movement were a spent force. Incoherent and disorganised, and dogged by its dodgy historical links to the apartheid government in South Africa, the party had lost ground not only to the ruling Frelimo but also to the young upstarts of the Movement for Democracy in Mozambique (MDM). The MDM, a breakaway faction of Renamo, had sprung up to claim 8,59% of the electorate.

The very next day, Dhlakama hit the campaign trail

Of course, Renamo cried foul, alleging that the election was rigged and initially refusing to recognise the results. But its leaders must have known that the sheer scale of the drop in support indicated that the real problem lay within its own ranks. If Renamo were to remain relevant – if they were to seriously compete for power in 2014, and for a share of Mozambique’s impending oil and gas boom – then something needed to change.

And so the party returned to doing what it does best: no, not electoral politics, but armed resistance. In 2012, Dhlakama began to resurrect his fighting force, re-establishing a military base in the Gorongosa region and arming Renamo veterans. By October 2013, he was confident enough to rip up the ceasefire that had ended the civil war in 1992. ‘Peace is over in the country,’ said a Renamo spokesperson. These weren’t just words: Renamo launched deadly attacks on targets such as police stations and highways, resulting in dozens of deaths (both military and civilian). The civil war was back, albeit at a far lower intensity.

At the same time, Renamo announced that it would boycott the upcoming municipal elections in November 2013, decrying the politicisation of the electoral system and the blurring of lines between Frelimo and the state (both valid criticisms). It made good on this threat, and its absence allowed the MDM to make significant gains in many of the country’s most important municipalities.

Renamo, it seemed, were weaker than ever before. ‘Dhlakama has backed himself into a corner from which there is no obvious exit,’ wrote veteran Mozambique researcher Joseph Hanlon in late 2013, a conclusion shared by most analysts. But Dhlakama found a way out.

Eventually, Renamo’s intransigence and the threat of even more violence forced the government to the negotiating table – although critics say the government should have acted much sooner to nip the Renamo threat in the bud. Anxious to deal with the situation before the presidential elections, President Armando Guebuza allowed Renamo to extract several key concessions. These included greater representation for Renamo in state institutions, especially the armed forces; reform of the electoral system to make it harder to rig elections in Frelimo’s favour; and a general amnesty for Dhlakama and his supporters.

The new peace deal was concluded on 5 September 2014, with Guebuza and Dhlakama shaking hands in a ceremony in Maputo. The very next day, Dhlakama hit the campaign trail.

At this point, the odds were still stacked against Dhlakama and Renamo. With little over a month before the polls, his opponents had enjoyed a substantial head start on campaigning. And surely Mozambicans would not take kindly to political groups that make their demands at the barrel of a gun: that threaten to plunge the country into civil war if they don’t get their way.

Renamo rallies were chaotic and disorganised, but still people came

In fact, the opposite was true. Everywhere Dhlakama went, he received a hero’s welcome. Unlike Frelimo rallies, where crowds were lured by the promise of free merchandise and celebrity entertainment, Renamo rallies were chaotic and disorganised. But still people came, and waited for hours just to get a glimpse of the man who had somehow turned himself into a beacon of hope for the huge sections of society that feel marginalised by Frelimo’s length rule.

‘Dhlakama has won admiration by apparently forcing Frelimo to make political concessions it has been resisting for decades. He even seems to be enjoying – perhaps unjustly – much of the credit for the peace that has come just in time for the election. Emerging from hiding only after the peace agreement was signed was a clever move that brought his supporters out in droves to welcome him as a hero,’ wrote journalist Cait Reid for African Arguments.

Far from being Renamo’s death knell, its resumption of hostilities was a political masterstroke. It was able to depict itself as the party that was able to take real action to defend its principles, which it argued were for the good of Mozambique as a whole. Dhlakama’s rhetoric on the campaign trail echoed this, and emphasised values such as tolerance and unity, which contrasted sharply with Frelimo’s either-with-us-or-against-us approach.

Oddly enough, by pulling out of the democratic process, Renamo was able to demonstrate its commitment to it; at least as far as its constituency is concerned.

The election results bear this out. Although the final results have yet to be released, provisional results and a parallel count from the Electoral Observatory of Mozambique give Renamo about 32% of the presidential vote – double their proportion from 2009. Regardless of this feat, Renamo are challenging the results and alleging that the vote was tampered with. It is a dramatic return to form, and positions Renamo once again as the most serious challenger to Frelimo’s electoral stranglehold. As unlikely as it may seem, Renamo’s return to the bush had proved to be a most effective campaign strategy.

It is also useful when it comes to negotiating the terms of Renamo’s future democratic engagement. On Sunday, Dhlakama declared the election a ‘charade.’ He warned that while he was committed to peacefully negotiating his differences with Frelimo, he couldn’t necessarily control his angry supporters – thus leaving the threat of violence hanging in the air as he voiced his demand for a government of national unity along Kenyan or Zimbabwean lines. Given Renamo’s history, and the new evidence of the strength of its support base, Renamo remains a threat that Frelimo can’t afford to ignore.

Simon Allison, ISS Consultant

Nigeria – 45 more girls kidnapped near Madagali

Leadership

45 Girls Abducted In Madagali Fresh Attack

| 1 Comment

Boko Haram insurgents have launched an offensive in Waga Mongoro village sandwiched between Gwoza town of Borno State and Madagali town
of Adamawa state where they abducted about 45 girls, local sources in the area disclosed.  Leadership

ICC warns Kenya against leaking Kenyatta trial information

BBC

ICC cautions Kenya on Kenyatta media leaks

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta leaves after attending the Mashujaa Day (Hero's Day) celebrations at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, on 20 October 2014.Mr Kenyatta was elected in 2013, despite facing charges at the ICC

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has warned Kenya’s government against leaking information from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s case to the media.

Mr Kenyatta became the first serving head of state to appear at an ICC hearing earlier this month.

He denies charges of crimes against humanity, including inciting violence after Kenya’s disputed 2007 polls.

But the court says it is concerned over the Kenyan government’s ability to ensure confidentiality of the case.

In a report released on Tuesday, the ICC’s Trial Chamber V specifically referred to the leaking of details of a confidential request from the ICC judges to help freeze or seize President Kenyatta’s assets.

The request was issued under seal, however, the Kenyan authorities filed public documents in 2013 referring to the request, which Mr Kenyatta’s lawyers later apologised for.

Details of the request later resurfaced in Kenyan media in April and September this year, in what the court described as “a pattern of information contained in confidential filings being leaked to the media, in some cases even before the filings have been notified to the chamber”.

It subsequently issued a “formal caution” to the Kenyan government, noting “cumulative inattention to the taking of appropriate measures to ensure the confidentiality of proceedings”.

Mr Kenyatta is facing five charges relating to ethnic violence after the 2007 elections that left some 1,200 people dead and 600,000 displaced – the worst violence in Kenya since independence in 1963.

On 8 October, he was summoned to appear at an ICC “status conference” – a pre-trial hearing.

But correspondents say the case has reached deadlock, with the prosecution accusing the Kenyan government of withholding vital evidence and the defence saying that without evidence, there should be no trial.  BBC

Nigeria – Boko Haram split as peace talks continue

Punch

Peace talks split Boko Haram into two groups

 

Members of Boko Haram sect

Following the ceasefire deal the Federal Government entered into with Boko Haram, the violent fundamentalist sect has split into two. While one faction wants peace, the other doesn’t.

It was gathered on Sunday that the Federal Government might have entered into the ceasefire with the faction interested in the cessation of hostilities in the North-East.

A reliable source in government told The PUNCH in Abuja that the leaders of the pro-peace faction of the sect , were the ones who took part in the negotiations with representatives of the Chadian, Cameroonian and Federal Government in Ndjamena, Chad last week.

Federal Government and Boko Haram representatives are expected to fine tune the details of the ceasefire at another   meeting in Ndjamena on Tuesday.

Our source said he believed that the attacks on Shafa in Borno State and Sina, Adamawa State on Friday, could have been carried out by the faction not be interested in ending the violence.

He said “The Boko Haram faction that carried out the attack is the one that wants the insurgency to continue. It is made up of   hardcore elements who believe their goal of imposing Sharia on the whole country has not been achieved and for them, the violence must continue until they win the war or perish in their quest.”

There had been reports of disagreements among the top members of the sect following the clamour by some of its commanders for an end to the insurgency.

A yet to be verified report had said that unknown sect members died a few weeks ago in a shoot-out between the pro-peace and the pro-Jihad factions.

The military is however keeping its side of the peace deal by suspending all hostilities against the insurgents,The PUNCH learnt.

This, according to a top military source, was a direct outcome of a directive issued by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh.

Badeh had on Friday ordered the   suspension of all on-going aerial and ground offensives against the sect.

Our source, who pleaded not to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the issue, said the military did not consider the latest attacks     as a violation of the ceasefire.

He explained that it was very likely that the operatives of the terrorist cells who carried out the attacks were not aware of the peace deal.

The source said, “One cannot say the peace deal has been violated; it is the nature of most terrorist organisations to act that way, and it should be expected because they have several layers of operation.

“They have such a long chain that it takes time for them to communicate with the top unlike the military where you are very quick communication channels.

“Another thing is that each of the cells operates independent of the other. So those who carried out the attacks in the villages in   might not even be aware of the deal.”

He however   explained that security forces would not allow the other faction to exploit the peace deal to violate the security and safety of the people.

It was learnt that while the security forces would not be on the offensive, sustained efforts would be made to prevent crimes from being committed against the people.

The PUNCH gathered from another source that the military had ensured the suspension of aerial and land offensive in compliance with the CDS’ directive to give peace a chance.

He said, “We will not be watching any violation of the security and safety of our people, we will not be on the offensive but we won’t allow crimes to be committed.

“The air operation is suspended for the duration of the ceasefire; we will not be on the offensive; we really need to comply with the peace agreement at least to give peace a chance.”

Investigations   confirmed that soldiers have remained in their areas of deployment in the North-East.

Another security source warned that soldiers would be left with no option than to act if attacked.

He said while the troops fighting the terrorists   learnt of the ceasefire from the media, they were awaiting briefing from their commanders.

He said, “This is ceasefire does not say pull back soldiers; so soldiers have not been pulled back. It is logical, if soldiers are attacked, they would fight back; they won’t sit and watch but soldiers have not gone for any operation since the ceasefire.”

Efforts to speak with the Director Defence Information, Maj. Gen Chris Olukolade,on the latest developments did not succeed as calls to his mobile telephone line did not connect.

But other sources in government said that the   government was still expressing cautious optimism in its dealings with   the sect.

This, it was learnt, was the reason behind its decision to refrain from making a categorical statement on the ceasefire since the news broke on Friday.

A top official, who pleaded anonymity, said   the government has so far decided to keep a dignified silence to “see how the matter plays out during the week.

This, according to him, was the reason why the government was not surprised about the attacks after the ceasefire agreement became a public knowledge.

He said, “The government does not want to jump into the fray. It is true that discussions are ongoing but the government is watching the situation critically.

“The thinking is that once the process scales through, the government will make a public pronouncement.

“Hopefully, once the Tuesday meeting is successful, the government will talk. For now, we are watching events.”

Efforts to get the reaction of the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, did not yield result of the time of filing this report.

Sect captures another Borno town, beheads six

On Sunday, members of the sect   captured another Borno community, Abadam, after laying siege to it.

They also beheaded six people along the Biu – Garkida Road in the state.

It was gathered from security sources that the insurgents, numbering 100, invaded Abadam   on Friday night and took it over on Sunday morning.

They said the heavily armed terrorists arrived in the town in a convoy of about 50 Toyota Hilux vehicles and motorcycles.

They however did not give a casualty figure but a resident told journalists in Maiduguri on the telephone that he saw six corpses, including that of his friend, while fleeing the town.

He said, “Boko Haram gunmen entered Abadam on Friday night and shot at any resident in sight   for almost two days until the early hours of Sunday when many of us started to flee to   our farmlands, bushes and border areas of Bosso in Niger Republic.

“I escaped by crossing River Kumadugu to Diffa   and from there, I boarded a bus to Damasak before arriving in Maiduguri today (Sunday).

“Among the people killed was my friend. My parents and other relations I believe are still in the bush and I do not know their state as I   speak to you .”

The resident added that there was no security presence in the town throughout the period of the attack.

Another resident also told   journalists   that the sect members, as in other places they had captured, hoisted their black and white flag in three strategic locations in the community.

He lamented the possibility of the town, being declared an Islamic Caliphate.

Some     communities in the state under the control of the sect are Dikwa, Gwoza, Marte, Damboa, Banki, Bama, Wulgo, Kirenowa.

Our correspondent in Borno State also gathered that the insurgents   beheaded six people on the same road   where the Emir of Gwoza, Idrissa Timta, was killed a few months ago.

The Executive Director of Stefanos Foundation, Mr. Mark Lipdo, said on Sunday that the terrorists left the bodies of the slaughtered victims   lying on the road   for a long time.

He said the son to one of the victims was injured by the insurgents when he attempted to remove   his father’s body from the scene.

Lipdo said, “Information says in spite government ceasefire agreement with the insurgents,   six innocent civilians were held hands bound and slauterered on the Biu Garkida Road of Borno State on Friday.”

The BringBackOurGirls group, has however asked the Federal Government to continue to secure lives and properties of Nigerians in the areas under Boko Haram attacks.

It also urged the government to maintain a delicate balance in its negotiation with the sect.

The spokesman of the group, Rotimi Olawale, said the government should have   asked for the release some of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls as a proof that the negotiation was being done with the real Boko Haram leadership.

Olawale said, “For us in the BringBackOurGirls, the government needs to maintain a delicate balance in its negotiation with Boko Haram because the recent statement credited to principal secretary to the President says the negotiation is still going on.

“I think they should continue to negotiate with Boko Haram on that platform and secure the release of all those abducted.

“The initial question would be, is the government negotiating with the right group? I don’t know, government needs to take necessary caution.

“For me, the first thing would have been for the group to release some of the girls, so that we can be assured that they are the right group.”

Senator cautions FG

The   lawmaker representing Borno Central Senatorial District in the Senate, Ahmed Zannah, has   advised the Federal Government to be cautious in implementing any ceasefire with   Boko Haram.

Zannah,   in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Maiduguri on Sunday, said the government must exercise high level of wisdom and discretion in dealing with the issue.

He said, “I do not think it is true, because Boko Haram insurgents are still attacking communities in Borno. The insurgents attacked villages in both northern and southern Borno on Saturday.”

Zannah said if the ceasefire was real , the insurgents would not have attacked the villages.

When contacted, the Borno State Government declined comments on the issue.

However, a media associate of Governor Kashim Shettima, Isa Gusau,   told journalists on Sunday that the governor had no comment on the issue.

He said, “Governor Kashim Shettima has no comment on the issue for now. Shettima, whose state has been at the centre of Boko Haram attacks since 2009, says he has no comment for now over the reports, but he will speak at the appropriate time.”

Copyright PUNCH.