Africa Theater

Nigeria: Fulani herders in bloody clash with farmers

Another sign of Nigeria's social breakdown—and similar tensions are reported from Ghana. From Xinhua, Jan. 9:

Six persons were killed at the weekend in a bloody clash between herdsmen and farmers in Korenganuwa village in Nigeria's northwestern state of Zamfara, the official News Agency of Nigeria reported on Monday.

Nigeria: 2,000 dead in ten years of pipeline blasts

A pretty astounding figure. But as we noted the last time it happened, in May: when resource hyper-exploitation co-exists with dire poverty, such incidents are absolutely inevitable. From IRIN, Dec. 28:

LAGOS - The Nigerian Red Cross has taken the lead in responding to the latest pipeline blast in Lagos on Tuesday that killed at least 269 people and left scores of others severely burned.

Somalia: "jihad" against Ethiopian forces opens

Fighting exploded between Islamic Courts Union (ICU) forces and the "official" Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia Dec. 20, just as the ICU's deadline for Ethiopian troops to quit the country or face a declaration of "jihad" expired. Rocket, mortar and machine-gun battles since have centered on the area around Baidoa where the TFG is based. But ICU leaders emphasize that they consider the real enemy to be the Ethiopian forces. "We are at war with Ethiopia, but not with the (Somali) government," ICU leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys told Reuters by telephone. (Reuters, Dec. 21)

French air-strikes in Central African Republic; Darfur crisis spreads

From The Independent, Dec. 15:

France yesterday defended recent fighter jet raids on towns bordering Sudan's Darfur region by claiming the aggressive action was aimed at preventing regional chaos.

Ethiopia: military atrocities against Anuak civilians

A press release from the International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) at Harvard, Dec. 13:

Retaliatory Attacks Also Kill Highlanders in Gambella Region
Cambridge, MA – Soldiers in the Ethiopian military have killed, raped, and otherwise abused hundreds of Anuak civilians in the Gambella region of the country, the International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) of Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program said today.

Somalia: Ethiopia grooming Puntland to fight Islamists?

The US and Ethiopia appear to be grooming the northern autonomous regions of Somalia—Puntland and Somaliland—as proxies to fight the Islamic Courts Union that controls the traditional capital, Mogadishu. So: should we be supporting this as a defense of freedom against Islamist totalitarianism, or opposing it as destructive imperialist meddling? Sound off, readers. From the independent Shabelle Media Network, Mogadishu, Dec. 7, via AllAfrica:

Somalia: 3,000 demonstrate against Ethiopia, US and UN

From Radio HornAfrik, Mogadishu, in Somali, Dec. 8 (awkward translation as provided by BBC Monitoring):

Somalia: Demonstration against deployment of foreign troops held in Mogadishu

[Presenter] A demonstration condemning the UN Security Council's decision to deploy foreign troops in Somalia took place in Koonis Stadium in mogadishu today. Aweys Fodey has the details.

[Fodey] The demonstration attended by people estimated to be more than 3,000 strongly opposed the deployment of foreign troops in Somalia. The demonstrators shouted: Allahu akbar and We will not accept foreign troops.

US backing Ethiopia's Somalia intervention?

Thousands of Somalis chanted anti-US slogans at an Islamist protest against a Washington-backed plan to send foreign peacekeepers to prop up the country's weak interim government Dec. 4. In a decrepit Mogadishu football stadium, Somalis shouted "Down with the USA!" as speakers accused the US and Ethiopia of planning to invade Somalia. (Reuters, Dec. 4) Meanwhile, an overview of reports from the region's press picked up by BBC Monitoring indicates this intervention may already be in the works.

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