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MOGADISHU, Somalia — As the United Nations Security Council and secretary general deliberate about whether Somalia is too dangerous for authorizing a larger peacekeeping force, United Nations officials on the ground say the country is facing the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa. In the last two months, the security situation in the capital city of Mogadishu has steadily deteriorated, forcing over 600,000 refugees to flee the city. One million have been displaced in a country of 7 million, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Camps along the road connecting the market town of Afgooye with Mogadishu alone have […]

Six members of the French charitable association L’Arche de Zoé — “Zoë’s Ark” — are presently being held prisoner in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad. They are charged by Chadian authorities with kidnapping. The six were arrested on Oct. 25 while preparing to “evacuate” from the country some 103 children who had allegedly been made orphans by the conflict in neighboring Darfur. As it turns out, however, the vast majority of the children were neither orphans nor from Darfur. Could a well-meaning humanitarian initiative have thus degenerated into simple crime? Rony Brauman, former president of the French NGO Médecins sans […]

Editor’s Note: The following is the final installment of Kurt Pelda’s diary of his recent trip to Darfur. To read the diary from the beginning, start here. The JEM and an Illiterate ColonelThe Last Wadi We get up at three in the morning, since we have a long voyage ahead of us today. The rebels are shivering and coughing. We wrap our turbans around necks, noses and mouths to protect us against the morning cold and the wind in our faces as we drive, leaving only a narrow slit for our eyes. The rebels push the truck to get it […]

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NAIROBI, Kenya — Somalia’s embattled transitional President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed was slated on Wednesday to nominate a successor to interim Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi, who quit last month during a spike in insurgent violence in the capital of Mogadishu that claimed hundreds of lives. The new prime minister faces a daunting task — holding together a fragile and unpopular government (based for security reasons in the northern town of Baidoa) while organizing security forces to fight alongside Ethiopian troops that have occupied Mogadishu since routing the hard line Islamic Courts regime last December. Local press reports indicate that former […]

LONDON — From the air, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo looks like paradise on earth, a palette of rich, red earth, rolling green hills and crystal-blue lakes under a panoramic sky that seems to stretch on forever. But on the ground, the grim reality of one of the world’s most volatile and perennially ignored regions shocks, with its morass of frightened civilians, bellicose and well-armed fighters and an intractable conflict that threatens to boil over again into war. If that occurs, it will boost an already tragically bloody decade’s death toll, estimated at more than four million people, vastly higher. […]

Editor’s Note: In March, Kurt Pelda, Africa Bureau Chief of the Swiss daily the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), traveled to eastern Chad on the border with the Sudanese crisis region of Darfur: a trip that was documented in a diary published in English on World Politics Review and that would see him eventually turning back from the border due to inadequate security conditions. In late October, Pelda returned to the region and crossed the border into Darfur, where he accompanied a Darfur rebel group. The diary of his trip was published on the NZZ Online in German, and World Politics […]

The inadequate international reaction to September’s premeditated attack on the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) base in Haskanita, which killed 10 peacekeepers, has renewed concerns about the prospects for a successful peacekeeping mission in Darfur. Optimists hope that the conversion of AMIS into a joint African Union-United Nations mission (UNAMID) will prevent a recurrence of incidents like Haskanita by strengthening the peacekeepers’ military capabilities. Already, however, severe problems have arisen with the planned transformation, which call into question UNAMID’s ability to change matters fundamentally. Current plans are for UNAMID to have almost three times the number of troops as […]

Editor’s Note: In March, Kurt Pelda, Africa Bureau Chief of the Swiss daily the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), traveled to eastern Chad on the border with the Sudanese crisis region of Darfur: a trip that was documented in a diary published in English on World Politics Review and that would see him eventually turning back from the border due to inadequate security conditions. In late October, Pelda returned to the region and crossed the border into Darfur, where he accompanied a Darfur rebel group. The diary of his trip was published on the NZZ Online in German, and World Politics […]

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EGYPTIAN POLICE PAY PRICE FOR ABUSE — Two Egyptian police officers were convicted Monday for their abuse of a Cairo bus driver, raising some hope among Egyptians that impunity for the country’s security forces could become a thing of the past. The two officers — Capt. Islam Nabih and Corp. Rada Fathi — each received sentences of three years. While their representatives indicated the officers would appeal the sentence, few expect the decision to be overturned given the damning evidence. The officers detained, beat and sodomized 22-year-old Emad Mohammad Ali in January 2006 before releasing him without charge. They recorded […]

Editor’s Note: In March, Kurt Pelda, Africa Bureau Chief of the Swiss daily the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), traveled to eastern Chad on the border with the Sudanese crisis region of Darfur: a trip that was documented in a diary published in English on World Politics Review and that would see him eventually turning back from the border due to inadequate security conditions. In late October, Pelda returned to the region and crossed the border into Darfur, where he accompanied a Darfur rebel group. The diary of his trip was published on the NZZ Online in German, and World Politics […]

Editor’s Note: In March, Kurt Pelda, Africa Bureau Chief of the Swiss daily the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), traveled to eastern Chad on the border with the Sudanese crisis region of Darfur: a trip that was documented in a diary published in English on World Politics Review and that would see him eventually turning back from the border due to inadequate security conditions. In late October, Pelda returned to the region and crossed the border into Darfur, where he accompanied a Darfur rebel group. The diary of his trip was published on the NZZ Online in German, and World Politics […]

The collapse of Sudan’s national unity government caught Sara Anihiri*, 24, completely off guard. When the Halifax, Nova Scotia, resident and Dalhousie University graduate student learned of the departure from the Sudanese government of cabinent members from the ex-rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, she, like others in the Sudanese diaspora, feared the worst. “Are people going to go again to war?” Her thinking was hardly unreasonable, given the historical animosity between the Muslim north and the multireligious south. For 21 years, the Khartoum Government fought the SPLM, destroying much of southern Sudan and leaving about two million people dead while […]

Editor’s Note: In March, Kurt Pelda, Africa Bureau Chief of the Swiss daily the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), traveled to eastern Chad on the border with the Sudanese crisis region of Darfur: a trip that was documented in a diary published in English on World Politics Review and that would see him eventually turning back from the border due to inadequate security conditions. In late October, Pelda returned to the region and crossed the border into Darfur, where he accompanied a Darfur rebel group. The diary of his trip was published on the NZZ Online in German, and World Politics […]

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — Leaders of West African nations could barely contain their glee in mid-October when the World Trade Organization announced it had upheld a previous ruling declaring the United States has not done enough to cut back its subsidies to cotton farmers. The ruling stems from Brazil’s 2002 complaint to the WTO that U.S. farm supports depress world prices and create undue harm to Brazilian cotton farmers. Brazil’s president Luiz Ignacio Lula Da Silva was visiting Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, when the ruling was made public. He continued to portray the issue of cotton subsidies in terms of the […]

Editor’s Note: In March, Kurt Pelda, Africa Bureau Chief of the Swiss daily the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), traveled to eastern Chad on the border with the Sudanese crisis region of Darfur: a trip that was documented in a diary published in English on World Politics Review and that would see him eventually turning back from the border due to inadequate security conditions. In late October, Pelda returned to the region and crossed the border into Darfur, where he accompanied a Darfur rebel group. The diary of his trip was published on the NZZ Online in German, and World Politics […]

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BURMA JUNTA ACCUSED OF USING CHILD SOLDIERS: Human Rights Watch claimed Oct. 31 that the Burmese army is forcibly recruiting children as young as 10 to make up for a dearth of adult recruits. Burma’s military junta and the country’s various militia groups have long been accused of employing child soldiers, but Wednesday’s HRW report “Sold to be Soldiers: The Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers in Burma,” says increased military action, combined with higher rates of desertions and lower numbers of willing adults, has resulted in a de facto marketplace for child soldiers. “Military recruiters are literally buying and […]

Editor’s Note: In March, Kurt Pelda, Africa Bureau Chief of the Swiss daily the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), traveled to eastern Chad on the border with the Sudanese crisis region of Darfur: a trip that was documented in a diary published in English on World Politics Review and that would see him eventually turning back from the border due to inadequate security conditions. In late October, Pelda returned to the region and crossed the border into Darfur, where he accompanied a Darfur rebel group. The diary of his trip was published on the NZZ Online in German, and World Politics […]

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