Things just got worse for Halima, a displaced woman I found nursing burns from a militia attack in Darfur six months ago. Security is at a premium for war-scarred Halima and tens of thousands of other refugees hunkering down in squalid camps studded across war-torn Darfur in western Sudan. Just days after the African Union extended its limp mandate in the blood-soaked region unil mid-2007, its poorly equipped troops — deployed to protect Halima and others — are now running scared. They could be attacked anytime by Khartoum-sponsored Arab militias, the “Janjaweed,” or bands of quicksilver rebels, the other side [...]
BOUAKE, Ivory Coast — Officially, Ibrahim Ouattara, 32, is a nonentity in his country of birth. He has neither a passport nor an identification card to prove his citizenship. Should the resident of this central rebel-held city wish to change his status, Ouattara said he faces a Kafkaesque struggle because no one can apply for their identity papers outside of their town of residence. That requires all the paperwork to be sent to Abidjan, more than 300 kilometers away. There, he said, the bureaucracy inevitably leaves one item behind before sending it on for processing to another town where the [...]
Last month’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the largest meeting of African and Chinese leaders in almost half a century, underscored Beijing’s growing interest in Africa. The attendees included Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premiere Wen Jiabao, as well as 48 African heads of state. The official purpose of the summit was to promote “friendship, peace, cooperation and development.” While much of the media’s attention has naturally focused on the expanding economic ties between China and Africa, Beijing’s increasing political and military presence on the continent also warrant greater attention. Sino-African commercial relations clearly have been booming. Trade rose 35 [...]
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