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Sudan: Govt. forces rape, wreak havoc in South Kordofan

23 February 2015 - 11:22am
Source: Radio Dabanga Country: Sudan

The Human Rights and Development Organisation (Hudo) has recorded a number of incidents of violence against civilians committed by government forces in the area of Kadugli, capital of South Kordofan, last month.

According to Dr Bushra Gamar, chairman of Hudo, recent attacks on civilians in the South Kordofani Nuba Mountains by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Popular Defence Forces (PDF), and other security troops have not been reported yet.

He told Dabanga in an interview on Sunday that the “second batch” of RSF militia fighters, who arrived at Kadugli at the end of January, is responsible for at least eight rape cases within four days. “The militiamen knocked on doors in the town, asking if there were any women in the house. They also pillaged many homes in the capital.

“The RSF fighters also plundered Kadugli’s En Neem market. The owners of eight groceries and 25 other shops were robbed of their merchandise, according to the police,” Dr Gamar reported. “The police ordered the RSF militia to return the stolen goods to the legitimate owners.”

He stressed that the most atrocious attack on civilians in the South Kordofani Nuba Mountains in February occurred in the village of Kadeer, 22 km northwest of El Abbasiya.

“A group of some 150 militiamen in uniforms of the army and the PDF, riding in 18 Land Cruisers, torched the houses of the about 600 villagers, on the pretext that they failed to retrieve their youth who allegedly joined the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North.

“Villagers Abdelmutalab Tibin, Radwan Eisa Ahmed, and Mohamed Ahmed Adam were wounded, and taken to El Abbasiya Hospital by security forces. The authorities prevented their families to visit them and take them to another place for treatment.”

Dr Gamar said that the continuing violence against civilians in the Nuba Mountains forced the authorities to transfer the militia batch to Nyala, capital of South Darfur, “where they committed more crimes”.

Ethiopia: Ethiopia Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin, 23 February 2015

23 February 2015 - 10:44am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Ethiopia, Sudan

Key Issues:

  • DRMFSS/ENCU called on nutrition partners to start new or expand existing emergency nutrition interventions based on the newly released nutrition hotspot woreda list.

  • 23,646 people in drought-affected Legahida and Salahad woredas of Nogob zone (Somali region) await water trucking support.

  • The Somali region WaSH Cluster is completing a rapid assessment to verify the reported acute water shortages in Deka Siftu woreda of Liben zone.

  • UNICEF requires an additional US$ 4.6 million to cover the funding gap to procure RUTF for the management of severely malnourished children in 2015.

  • FMoH needs an additional $24.5 million to cover costs for the planned national measles vaccination campaign in 2015.

South Sudan: South Sudan: Yida Population Statistics (as of 21-Feb-15)

23 February 2015 - 8:01am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: South Sudan, Sudan

TOTAL NEW REGISTRATION: 296

Newly registered HH: 100 Including - New birth: 42 (14%)

  • Minor: 202 (68%)

  • Female: 143 (48%)

  • Unaccompanied and separated children: 23 - Women at risk: 5 * All individuals with specific needs have been referred to concerned partners * An individual may have more than one specific needs

INACTIVE/CLOSURE AND REACTIVATION:

  • Died: 0 - Inactivation: 4 - Reactivation: 14 - Rejection: 1

South Sudan: South Sudan: Yida Population Statistics (as of 21-Feb-15)

23 February 2015 - 8:01am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: South Sudan, Sudan

TOTAL NEW REGISTRATION: 296

Newly registered HH: 100 Including - New birth: 42 (14%)

  • Minor: 202 (68%)

  • Female: 143 (48%)

  • Unaccompanied and separated children: 23 - Women at risk: 5 * All individuals with specific needs have been referred to concerned partners * An individual may have more than one specific needs

INACTIVE/CLOSURE AND REACTIVATION:

  • Died: 0 - Inactivation: 4 - Reactivation: 14 - Rejection: 1

South Sudan: South Sudan: Ajuong Thok Weekly Refugee Population Report (as of 21-Feb-15)

23 February 2015 - 7:54am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: South Sudan, Sudan

Weekly registration (15-Feb-15 to 21-Feb-15)

TOTAL NEW REGISTRATION: 402

Newly registered HH: 125 Including - New birth: 0 (0%)

  • Minor: 248 (62%)

  • Female: 220 (55%)

  • Unaccompanied and separated children: 39

  • Women at risk: 12

  • All individuals with specific needs have been referred to concerned partners

  • An individual may have more than one specific needs

INACTIVE/CLOSURE AND REACTIVATION:

  • Died: 0 - Inactivation: 0 - Reactivation: 3 - Rejection: 0

South Sudan: South Sudan: Ajuong Thok Weekly Refugee Population Report (as of 21-Feb-15)

23 February 2015 - 7:54am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: South Sudan, Sudan

Weekly registration (15-Feb-15 to 21-Feb-15)

TOTAL NEW REGISTRATION: 402

Newly registered HH: 125 Including - New birth: 0 (0%)

  • Minor: 248 (62%)

  • Female: 220 (55%)

  • Unaccompanied and separated children: 39

  • Women at risk: 12

  • All individuals with specific needs have been referred to concerned partners

  • An individual may have more than one specific needs

INACTIVE/CLOSURE AND REACTIVATION:

  • Died: 0 - Inactivation: 0 - Reactivation: 3 - Rejection: 0

Sudan: UNAMID Deputy Head meets local, community leaders in South Darfur

23 February 2015 - 7:24am
Source: UN-AU Mission in Darfur Country: Sudan

On 18-19 February 2015, as part of his familiarization visit to assess the situation on the ground, UNAMID Deputy Joint Special Representative (DJSR) Abdul Kamara met with community leaders in Graida and in Kalma camp for Internally Displaced People (IDPs), both in South Darfur.

In Graida, the DJSR accompanied by UNAMID Senior Officials interacted with community members including members of native administration, religious leaders, education and health committees as well as representatives of displaced communities. He thanked the community leaders for their support and maintaining cooperation with the Mission.

During the meeting, the leaders requested for provision of basic services including education, health care and UNAMID Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) for the construction of a bridge in the area and Community-based Labour-Intensive Projects (CLIPs), to cater for small projects that contribute to security and peace. “Our major role is protection of civilians, but it is most important that we work together to prevent conflicts,” DJSR said.

On his part, the Deputy Commissioner who was present during the interaction, reaffirmed his commitment to cooperate with UNAMID adding that life has returned to normal following the recent clashes between the Fallata and Masalit tribes. He also said that reconciliation committees have been formed to address the issue. The Commissioner requested the Mission’s assistance in the construction of a police station and water borehole in Dikka village that were destroyed during the tribal conflicts.

The DJSR also visited a centre where leaders of IDPs were attending a workshop on the Darfur Internal Dialogue and Consultation (DIDC). He explained that the DIDC process is a step towards peace and urged the Darfuris to participate in the dialogue and would continue to support it. He reiterated the Mission’s commitment to support peace initiatives in the region, especially those which come from the community itself citing an example of the recent dialogue organized by the Ageeds in Bulbul Abujazo village. “I encourage you to continue the dialogue and take it forward and spread the message of peace to the people of Darfur,” he said.

Similarly, DJSR Kamara met the community leaders from Kalma camp for displaced persons near Nyala, South Darfur, and listen to their concerns.

Sudan: Sudan: Arrivals from South Sudan | 15 December 2013 - 18 February 2015

23 February 2015 - 1:10am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: South Sudan, Sudan

Over 121,395 persons have arrived in Sudan from South Sudan

  • 78,214 persons have received humanitarian assistance (specific assistance only)

  • Sudan hosts an estimated 350,000 Southern Sudanese individuals following the separation of South Sudan from Sudan

  • Abyei PCA Box is estimated to have received 2,496 (IOM)

Sudan: Sudan: Arrivals from South Sudan | 15 December 2013 - 18 February 2015

23 February 2015 - 1:10am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: South Sudan, Sudan

Over 121,395 persons have arrived in Sudan from South Sudan

  • 78,214 persons have received humanitarian assistance (specific assistance only)

  • Sudan hosts an estimated 350,000 Southern Sudanese individuals following the separation of South Sudan from Sudan

  • Abyei PCA Box is estimated to have received 2,496 (IOM)

Sudan: Sudan: UNHCR Operational Update for South Sudan, 12 to 19 February 2015

23 February 2015 - 1:04am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: South Sudan, Sudan

HIGHLIGHTS

The United States Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM) visited El Redis 1, Jouri and Al Kashafa in White Nile State this week with the UNHCR Deputy Representative as part of their mission to Sudan. The mission also met with the Deputy Governor and State Emergency Committee of White Nile State, confirming a pledge of USD 6.2 million for 2015.

Approximately 30,000 individuals have now been registered across 12 sites in both Jebel Aulia and Khartoum localities in Khartoum State, under the framework of the joint MoU between the Directorate General of Passports and Immigration (DPI) the Commissioner for Refugees (COR) and UNHCR. Distribution of corresponding identity cards is ongoing.

Population of concern

A total of 121,395 individuals

Sudan: Sudan: UNHCR Operational Update for South Sudan, 12 to 19 February 2015

23 February 2015 - 1:04am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: South Sudan, Sudan

HIGHLIGHTS

The United States Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM) visited El Redis 1, Jouri and Al Kashafa in White Nile State this week with the UNHCR Deputy Representative as part of their mission to Sudan. The mission also met with the Deputy Governor and State Emergency Committee of White Nile State, confirming a pledge of USD 6.2 million for 2015.

Approximately 30,000 individuals have now been registered across 12 sites in both Jebel Aulia and Khartoum localities in Khartoum State, under the framework of the joint MoU between the Directorate General of Passports and Immigration (DPI) the Commissioner for Refugees (COR) and UNHCR. Distribution of corresponding identity cards is ongoing.

Population of concern

A total of 121,395 individuals

Sudan: Sudan election campaign to start amid opposition boycott

22 February 2015 - 8:39pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Sudan

Khartoum, Sudan | AFP | Sunday 2/22/2015 - 15:34 GMT

by Tom Little

Campaigning for Sudan's presidential and parliamentary elections starts Tuesday with Omar al-Bashir facing little competition for the presidency, a multi-party boycott and the opposition and press facing mounting repression.

Incumbent Bashir is seeking reelection on April 13 in elections which are expected to extend his rule which began in 1989 when he seized power in an Islamist-backed coup.

The 71-year-old flew to the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, flouting the International Criminal Court's indictment against him for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

The visit is a pre-campaign boost to Bashir, giving him a valuable opportunity to say he is enhancing the country's standing.

"He will try to say that Sudan is no longer isolated from other Arab countries" when he returns from Abu Dhabi, said Khaled al-Tijani, a former newspaper editor.

Sudan has been under a US trade embargo since 1997 over allegations including rights abuses.

The ruling National Congress Party says it will hold its first rally on Tuesday in Khartoum, and when Bashir himself hits the campaign trail later that day on returning from the UAE he will face little real competition.

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has said 15 candidates will stand for the presidency, but most apart from Bashir have little traction with the public.

"The other candidates are not even well known by the people; they do not belong to the main political parties, so I think it's a one-man-show election," Tijani said.

The NEC says that 13,600,000 people out of a population of around 35 million have registered to vote, although it is unclear what percentage of eligible Sudanese this constitutes since there has not been a census in the country since 2008.

  • Opposition boycott -

Most of the mainstream opposition parties have announced they will boycott the elections.

These include members of the Sudan Call agreement, signed in Ethiopia in December to unite political parties opposed to Bashir, armed groups fighting for his overthrow and civil society groups.

Some have launched a petition calling on Bashir to stand aside -- dubbed "Irhal" or "Leave" -- which they admit can do little to obstruct the election.

"We are not saying that we want to stop people from going to vote, we are just allowing a forum for those who want to say 'no'," said Rabah al-Mahdi of Sudan Call's media committee.

Rabah, the daughter of Sadiq al-Mahdi who heads the opposition Umma Party, also said the campaign was a "forum for those who want to say no" to the vote.

Despite facing few real challenges, the government still appears anxious.

In November, it announced an offensive against its armed opponents on Sudan's peripheries, particularly in the troubled western region of Darfur.

Insurgents there have been battling Khartoum's Arab-dominated government since 2003, complaining of marginalisation, and Bashir is wanted by the ICC for alleged war crimes during the conflict.

Government military operations are also under way in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan areas, where Bashir faces another insurgency.

In the capital, the powerful National Intelligence and Security Service has targeted the media ahead of campaigning, seizing the full print run of 14 newspapers on February 16 in one of the biggest press crackdowns of recent years.

Two days later it seized another four titles.

NISS agents regularly seize papers publishing articles they deem to be unsuitable, but those they confiscated on Monday this time included pro-government titles.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders said that with the elections looming, "such actions are likely to recur".

"The government seems to want to suppress any reporting that could give rise to a debate," RSF said in a statement.

tl/srm

© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

Sudan: Drinking water crises in West and South Darfur

22 February 2015 - 10:02am
Source: Radio Dabanga Country: Sudan

The displaced, living in Murnei camp in Kereinik locality, West Darfur, are suffering from a drinking water crisis for a year. In El Jeer district, in South Darfur’s capital of Nyala, people complain about an acute lack of water since one month.

“The people have to walk 2 to 4km to collect water from the Azum, Bari, and Marnago valleys, since the paper pipes crashed one year ago,” the Murnei camp coordinator told Dabanga.

He said that most of the displaced do not own beasts of burden to carry the water. “We filed several complaints to the national WEST organisation, responsible for maintaining the water facilities, to no avail.”

South Darfur Water Corporation

In Nyala’s El Jeer district, the price per barrel rose from SDG6 ($1) to SDG12 within one month,” member of El Jeer Popular Committee, Ali Mohamed Sharif, reported to Dabanga.

He said that despite an increase of the monthly water tariff to SDG51 ($8.50) by the South Darfur Water Corporation, nothing has been done to restore the provision of water in the district. “We have submitted a written complaint, but it seems that no one cares about it.”

“The Water Corporation is spending the people’s money unlawfully,” he added.

Sudan: UNAMID Deputy Head attends peacebuilding workshop for community leaders in South Darfur

21 February 2015 - 11:45am
Source: UN-AU Mission in Darfur Country: Sudan

On 16 February 2015, UNAMID Deputy Joint Special Representative (DJSR) Abdul Kamara, attended the opening ceremony of a two day peacebuilding workshop in Bulbul Abu Jazo village, Al Salaam locality, South Darfur. The initiative sought to bring peace and peaceful coexistence in the locality using the Ageeds (kin warriors) and the Hakamats (traditional female singers) who have promised to support peace efforts in their community.

The workshop was organized by UNAMID’s Civil Affairs Section in collaboration with members of UNCT and Nyala University’s Peace Centre, and was attended by representatives of the Ageeds and their Hakamats, state officials, local authorities; members of native administration; community leaders and civil society organizations representatives from Dimso, Buram and Bulbul localities in South Darfur. The workshop deliberated on the causes of and solutions to tribal conflicts in South Darfur.

Addressing the participants, the DJSR called on the Darfuris to work together to end the conflict in the region that has lasted for more than ten years. “There cannot be a military solution to the Darfur conflict; a solution must be found through dialogue and negotiations,” he added.

He commended the community leaders for this initiative, which he described as an indication of their commitment to achieve peace and stability in Darfur, and reassured them of UNAMID’s commitment for lasting peace in the region.

The Commissioner of Nyala North, Alhady Issa Saeed, commended the Mission’s efforts in promoting peace and security in the region and called for more efforts to address tribal conflicts. “We need to address concerns among the different tribes in a peaceful manner through dialogue and negotiations,” he said.

South Sudan: South Sudan Crisis Situation Report No.75 (as of 20 February 2015)

21 February 2015 - 10:27am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: South Sudan, Sudan

Highlights

● The national “Back to Learning” campaign was launched this week. 50 per cent of the children to be reached -some 200,000 children - are in the three conflict affected states of Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile.
● Needs assessments are being conducted in the counties surrounding the Bentiu PoC to determine needs and organize response.
● Bentiu PoC has seen a new influx of people during January 2015, with a trend of 525 individuals per day in January compared to 325 people arriving per day in December

4.1 million People to be assisted by the end of 2015

2.5 million People facing crisis/emergency levels of food insecurity Jan-Mar 2015

1.5 million People internally displaced by conflict since December 2013

$529 million Pledged at Nairobi conference for response to South Sudan crisis

Situation overview

Missions/assessments: On 19 February, the humanitarian country team traveled to Unity State to assess poten- tial relocation areas for displaced people. Similar visits will be conducted to other locations in coming days. Part- ners continued needs assessments in areas surrounding the Bentiu PoC site. A needs assessment was finalized in Kauch, Guit county, Unity identifying an estimated 15,000 people displaced who are in need of livestock health support, food aid, health support, and education services.

Security situation: In Bentiu PoC, Unity State, vandalism of humanitarian facilities was of concern. In Akobo, in Jonglei State there were reports of youth mobilization in the town. In Lakes State, shootings were reported in Ma- kiriric village and Mabor Akan cattle camp, Rumbek East.

Health and psychosocial: Since January, a total of 62 deaths were reported in displacement sites - this is below the emergency threshold. Health partners reported six deaths during the week, with acute respiratory infec- tion (ARI/pneumonia) the leading cause of morbidity. ARI is the major cause of illness among displaced people, fol- lowed by malaria and acute watery diarrhea. ARI is on the rise, while malaria is declining. Protection partners have noted an increase in negative coping strategies especially among young men in displacement sites.

Education: The national “Back to Learning” campaign was launched this week. While this is a national campaign 50 per cent of the children to be reached (200,000 children) are in the three conflict affected states. The initiative aims to bring into learning children who were out of school due to the ongoing conflict, as well asother factors. The initiative will provide an integrated package including educational supplies, teacher trainings and establishment of temporary learning spaces, ensuring WASH in schools, and other activities.

Sudan: Danish NGO compensates Bor villagers for loss of houses in mine clearance

20 February 2015 - 1:34pm
Source: Sudan Tribune Country: Sudan

February 19, 2015 (BOR) – A Danish aid group has paid at least $13,200 in compensation after 15 houses were accidently destroyed by a fire during a mine clearing exercise in Makol Cuei village in Jonglei state’s Bor.

The incident occurred on 13 December 2014 when a mine action team was destroying a number of small arms and ammunitions collected in Bor over a period of time.

Jack Michael Campbell, technical advisor for Dan Church Aid, told Sudan Tribune in Bor that one of the unexploded ordinances had bounced out of the burning pit and landed outside, causing a 3km bush fire to spread to the nearby village, destroying 15 tukuls (traditional houses).

Campbell said the aim of the exercise had been to collect and destroy ammunitions and small arms to make the area safer for surrounding villagers.

He said aid workers had gone to the village following the incident to talk to the community and discuss compensation for the owners.

An amount of 2,790 per tukul was subsequently agreed after consultations with local chiefs and the community.

“The community sat and calculated the amount of money they needed to build one tukul and they gave us this amount of money to pay per house,” said Campbell.

He said Dan Church Aid regretted the incident and the unintentional destruction of houses.

Jok Alier, Bor county coordinator for the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC), who acted as a witness to the payment to house owners, said the compensation was essentially a cost-sharing arrangement between the owners and the Dan Church Aid.

“The compensation that we give was not a full compensation. It was a kind of cost sharing. [The] community took responsibility to do some part of work, providing labour to reconstruct their houses, while Dan Church Aid took take care of the most expensive part of the work,” said Alier.

(ST)

Sudan: Danish NGO compensates Bor villagers for loss of houses in mine clearance

20 February 2015 - 1:34pm
Source: Sudan Tribune Country: Sudan

February 19, 2015 (BOR) – A Danish aid group has paid at least $13,200 in compensation after 15 houses were accidently destroyed by a fire during a mine clearing exercise in Makol Cuei village in Jonglei state’s Bor.

The incident occurred on 13 December 2014 when a mine action team was destroying a number of small arms and ammunitions collected in Bor over a period of time.

Jack Michael Campbell, technical advisor for Dan Church Aid, told Sudan Tribune in Bor that one of the unexploded ordinances had bounced out of the burning pit and landed outside, causing a 3km bush fire to spread to the nearby village, destroying 15 tukuls (traditional houses).

Campbell said the aim of the exercise had been to collect and destroy ammunitions and small arms to make the area safer for surrounding villagers.

He said aid workers had gone to the village following the incident to talk to the community and discuss compensation for the owners.

An amount of 2,790 per tukul was subsequently agreed after consultations with local chiefs and the community.

“The community sat and calculated the amount of money they needed to build one tukul and they gave us this amount of money to pay per house,” said Campbell.

He said Dan Church Aid regretted the incident and the unintentional destruction of houses.

Jok Alier, Bor county coordinator for the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC), who acted as a witness to the payment to house owners, said the compensation was essentially a cost-sharing arrangement between the owners and the Dan Church Aid.

“The compensation that we give was not a full compensation. It was a kind of cost sharing. [The] community took responsibility to do some part of work, providing labour to reconstruct their houses, while Dan Church Aid took take care of the most expensive part of the work,” said Alier.

(ST)

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Lord’s Resistance Army Update (20 February 2015)

20 February 2015 - 9:42am
Source: Small Arms Survey Country: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Uganda

Describes events through 12 February 2015

Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander, Dominic Ongwen, reportedly surrendered to a group of former Séléka rebels on 5 January 2015, near the town of Sam Ouandja in the Central African Republic (CAR). Mr. Ongwen is one of five LRA commanders indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity. With the exception of Kony, the three other ICC indictees are believed to be dead. On 1 February 2015, the Ugandan army declared it had uncovered the remains of Okot Odhiambo, Joseph Kony’s longtime deputy, also indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The two other ICC-indicted commanders, Vincent Otti and Raska Lukwiya, were reportedly killed in 2007 and 2005 respectively. Mr. Ongwen made his first appearance in front of an ICC judge on 26 January. He declared that he was abducted at 14 years of age and was forced to fight in the LRA.

The story of Mr. Ongwen is a reminder of the complex nature of the LRA conflict. Like the majority of fighters, he was abducted as a young child, forced to fight and brainwashed into staying in the LRA ranks. The complexity of his case, and the conflict at large, was also evident in recent interviews with people in northern Uganda, many of who pointed out the lack of protection from the Ugandan government which allowed the LRA to abduct children such as Mr. Ongwen.

In a 20 January statement, the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative said that Mr. Ongwen should not be ‘punished twice,’ but should instead undergo traditional cleansing and healing procedures known as Mato Oput (reconciliation) in Acholiland, Mr. Ongwen’s place of birth. Not all LRA-affected communities agree. The ‘Association of Victims of Violence Committed by the LRA’ in Obo, CAR, is seeking to bring a legal case against Mr. Ongwen. Under the current ICC indictment Mr. Ongwen faces charges for a May 2004 attack on Lukodi IDP camp in Northern Uganda where at least 41 people were killed and many more were injured. There is no indication from the ICC that charges for crimes committed outside of Uganda will be added to Mr. Ongwen’s ICC case.

Mr. Ongwen’s surrender was far from simple. In a private statement he alluded to collaborating with Sudanese hunters, whom he referred to as Janjaweed, who in turn handed him over to former Séléka commander Mounir Ahamat, who operates under the command of Zakaria Damane, the leader of the former CAR rebel group UFDR (Union des Forces Démocratiques pour le Rassemblement). Mr. Ahamat told the Associated Press he was initially unaware of Mr. Ongwen’s real identity and the fact that the US State Department had designated a bounty of USD 5 million for information leading to Mr. Ongwen’s capture. It is unclear if the US government will pay the sum to the Mounir Ahamat. In May 2014 President Obama placed sanctions against key leaders of the Séléka.

While Mr. Ongwen’s surrender could encourage further defections in LRA ranks, there have been no such developments of note so far. The current military operations against the LRA, spearheaded by the Ugandan army with US support, badly needed the positive publicity created by Mr. Ongwen’s surrender. According to various sources in eastern CAR, the local population has grown increasingly frustrated with the Ugandan soldiers, who they regard as having overstayed their welcome. Entering its sixth year, the Ugandan army presence in southeastern CAR has not led to a swift end to the LRA. There have been continuous accusations that Ugandan soldiers engage in illicit activities and harassment of the local population including young women. Most recently, a Ugandan soldier based in Obo was accused of raping a 14-year old girl in February 2015.

LRA violence in the region continued in January 2015. A particularly violent attack attributed to the group, took place on 25 January 2015 in Raga county, Western Bahr el Ghazal state, South Sudan. It remains unclear if the violence was related to a spate of attacks in Raga during January 2015 including the killing of at least one fisherman in Sopo, south of Raga, and the killing of one SPLA soldier on 15 January 2015. The attack of 25 January left 13 people dead. The victims were part of a convoy sent to investigate the violence in Sopo. SPLA spokesperson Philip Aguer told Anadolou Agency that the LRA carried out the attack, that three journalists were among the dead and the commissioner of Raga county was badly injured. The commissioner had accused the LRA of committing the 15 January attack, taking place between Raga and Boro Medina. The last previously recorded LRA attack in Raga took place in September 2011.

In CAR, LRA attacks were sporadic and low-intensity, continuing the trend of most of 2014. There were reports of hunters falling into LRA ambushes in Obo, Mboki, and Rafai throughout January 2015. At least one person was killed in the vicinity of Obo, according to the LRA Crisis Tracker, an online platform that documents LRA violence in CAR and DRC. A large number of people were abducted on 29 January 2015, 20 km south of Nzako, in Mbomou Prefecture in what was initially suspected to have been an LRA attack. This was due to the fact that a large LRA group was based in the vicinity of Nzako for the best part of 2013 and 2014. But it appears local bandits may have been responsible.

As was the case for most of 2014, LRA violence is most significant in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). There were reports of lootings this January in Sambia, Faradje, Nagero and Bamangana in Province Orientiale’s Haut-Uele district. Most LRA attacks have been registered in Haut-Uele in recent years, including a 15 January 2015 assault on an army barrack near Duru where the LRA killed at least one Congolese soldier. Local sources confirmed that a group of 13 armed men stormed the village and attacked the army stationed there. A local radio reported a separate LRA attack near Bili, Bondo territory, in Oriental’s Bas-Uele district where on 15 January an LRA group abducted 12 people.

Recent sightings of large LRA groups moving from CAR into DRC have stoked fears that DRC will see increased attacks in 2015. Local sources claimed that in early November 2014 an LRA group of 54 armed men crossed from Mboki, CAR, to northeastern DRC. A month later, a larger group of 70 men and 60 women followed the same path into DRC. It is possible that LRA groups are moving to DRC to escape the Ugandan army forces based in CAR, who are not allowed by local authorities to operate on Congolese territory. There are also unconfirmed reports that Joseph Kony has tasked some of the LRA groups entering DRC with supplying him with elephant tusks secured in DRC’s Garamba National Park.

In terms of overall force strength, there are some 180 fighters of Ugandan origin left in the LRA ranks. At least 100 armed men are non-Ugandan in addition to 250 unarmed women and children. These estimates are based on testimony from recent LRA combatants. In a private statement, Dominic Ongwen also supplied similar figures. He said that there were close to 200 LRA members in DRC, including more than 110 fighters. Mr. Ogwen said that about 90 armed men are based in Darfur, Sudan.

Mr. Ongwen stated that on 14 December 2014 he met Kony in an undisclosed location in Darfur. This piece of information is consistent with reports from researchers and non-governmental organizations claiming that Kony has been hiding in areas near Darfur, Sudan. The most recent report came from Resolve, an American NGO, stating that Kony spent a long time in 2013 and part of 2014 in the Kafia Kingi enclave, a disputed area between the two Sudans but under the de facto control of the Sudanese Armed Forces. Sudanese officials have consistently denied knowledge of LRA camps in areas under their control.

20 February 2015

World: Japan Donates US$31.5 million to 2015 IOM Humanitarian Operations

20 February 2015 - 6:21am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Ghana, Guinea, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, World

Japan - The Japanese Government has committed additional funds to support IOM’s operations in the face of increasingly complex humanitarian crises.

From its “supplementary budget FY2014,” the Japanese Government will avail a total of US$31.5 million to support IOM activities for vulnerable migrants, internally displaced persons, returnees and affected communities.

The funds will support life-saving and recovery activities as well as contribute to increasing the capacity of various governments to manage complex migration flows and to cope with displacement resulting from natural disasters and conflicts.

In Afghanistan funding will be used to provide assistance to vulnerable Afghan returnees from Iran and Pakistan and to build local capacities of communities of return through return of skilled nationals.

A significant amount (USD 22,360,000) has been allocated towards IOM programmes in African countries including Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Djibouti.

IOM’s programmes in these countries aim to increase the resilience and human security of vulnerable displaced populations and host communities, as well as build the capacity of government officials in integrated and coordinated border management.

In support of IOM’s continuous efforts in the Ebola response, the Japanese funds will look to improve Ebola prevention among migrants and border communities in Guinea and neighbouring countries.

In Ghana the assistance will increase migrant, mobile population and border community preparedness and response to Ebola. In Cote d’Ivoire, the funds will build the capacity for health and border management officials who are managing the Ebola outbreak.

The funding will provide much needed support to the regional response to the Syrian crisis, in addition to aiding vulnerable communities in conflict-affected areas in Yemen.

In Ukraine, Japanese funding will help IOM to improve access to basic services and livelihoods in selected communities of the Donbass region.

Funding will also go towards repair and reconstruction of centres for disabled children in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Japanese government in the past has supported IOM’s humanitarian and recovery activities including the delivery of immediate live saving relief, community stabilization and early recovery activities, as well as emergency return and reintegration assistance for migrants caught in crises.

For more information, please contact

Yuko Goto
IOM Tokyo
Tel: + 81-3-3595-0108
Email: iomtokyo@iom.int

Sudan: Sudan reiterates refusal to postpone general elections

19 February 2015 - 11:12pm
Source: Sudan Tribune Country: Sudan

February 18, 2015 (NYALA) – The Sudanese government has reaffirmed that presidential and parliamentary elections will be hold in April denying any intentions to postpone it.

Sudan’s minister of justice, Mohamed Bushara Dousa, said in press statements in Nyala on Wednesday the postponement of elections is “impossible” even if a consensus among political parties has been achieved to that effect.

He pointed that constitutional amendments to delay elections should have been made at least two month prior to the end of parliamentary deliberations, wondering about the legal grounds for delaying elections.

The Sudanese minister stressed that the decision to boycott elections is a personal one, saying no party has the legal right to prevent the people from casting their ballots.

On Sunday, Sudan’s National Elections Commission (NEC) announced that polling in the coming elections will take place from 13 to 15 April while vote counting will begin on 16 April.

The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) rejected calls by Sudanese opposition to postpone the general elections until after the national dialogue and formation of a transitional government and insists that it is a constitutional requirement that must be met.

Last week, the opposition alliance of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) and the opposition Reform Now Movement (RNM) launched two separate campaigns for poll boycott.

In another context, Dousa announced the release of all prisoners of public right at Kass prison, calling upon residents to maintain security in south Darfur state.

The governor of South Darfur state, Adam Mahmoud Jar al-Nabi, for his part, announced that all courts will be opened on Wednesday in order to achieve justice, pledging to resolve the electricity problem in the locality of Kass, 86 km west of South Darfur capital, Nyala.

Dousa is currently visiting South Darfur within the framework of a campaign for promoting juridical work in the state.

(ST)