Africa Theater

Nigeria's Sokoto Caliphate gets new sultan

From the BBC, Nov. 2:

A new Sultan of Sokoto, the spiritual leader of Nigeria's 70m Muslims, has been announced.

Colonel Muhammadu Sada Abubakar, 53, is the younger brother of Sultan Mohammadu Maccido, who was killed in a plane crash on Sunday, along with 95 others.

Somalia: US warns of "proxy war"

Which is more hilarious? The US warning regional powers against carrying out a "proxy war" in Somalia while Washington itself is openly backing the warlord alliance that opposes the Islamic Courts Union? Or Eritrea's apparent backing of the Islamic Courts Union to oppose rival Ethiopia even as it uses the supposed jihadist threat to repress freedom at home? From Reuters, Oct. 30:

Niger Delta oil war back on

Villagers seized three Shell Oil platforms in the Niger Delta region Oct. 25, forcing a halt of production at each. A nearby Chevron platform was also closed. Members of the Kula community invaded the facilities, accusing the company of not following through on promises to provide aid. While the delta region is a key source of Nigeria's national wealth, it remains one of the country's poorest. Negotiations are underway, but the platforms remain under occupation. (AP, Oct. 26)

Sudan: peace deal imminent with Eastern Front?

From Agence-France Press, Oct. 10:

Sudan government, eastern rebels eye peace deal in coming days
KHARTOUM — The Sudanese government and eastern rebels are poised to sign a final peace deal ending years of fighting in the coming days, a senior Sudanese official said.

UN officials: drop Darfur peacekeepers plan

From BBC, Sept. 29:

UN 'must drop' Darfur peace force
Top UN officials say the world body must abandon efforts to pressure Sudan to accept UN peacekeepers in Darfur. UN Sudan envoy Jan Pronk says the existing African Union force should instead be strengthened.

Somalia: Islamists crush women's protest

From The Scotsman, Sept. 26:

Somali Islamists put down a women's protest against their capture of the port city of Kismayo yesterday.

Project Censored v. WW4 Report: war of perceptions on African genocide

Our one-time contributor Keith Harmon Snow has won an award from Project Censored for his article, co-written with David Barouski, "Behind the Numbers: Untold Suffering in the Congo" (ZNet, March 2006). Project Censored dubs the story "High-Tech Genocide in Congo," considering it the fifth most-censored story of the year. Snow and Barouski share the award with a writer called "Sprocket," who wrote an article entitled "High-Tech Genocide" for the August 2005 Earth First! Journal. Both articles concern the role of the mineral coltan, used in cellular telephones, to fund militias in the war-torn east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Snow has also covered the coltan connection in his writing for WW4 Report (see "Proxy Wars in Central Africa," July 2004), and won a Project Censored award last year for his April 2004 story for WW4 Report, "State Terror Against Indigenous Peoples in Ethiopia." The coltan story is an important one which indeed warrants far greater exposure. However, in his Project Censored "Update" on the question, Snow makes a completely unwarranted attack on his former editors at WW4 Report—and, more importantly, undermines his own work by equivocating on the question of African genocide. The comments are online at Guerrilla News Network:

Mauritania moves towards democracy ...except for slaves

A little over a year ago, Mauritania's long-ruling dictator Maoya Sidi Ahmed Ould Taya was overthrown in a coup d'etat led by Col. Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, who promised to usher in democracy. This June, a popular referendum approved a new constitution instating a limit of two five-year presidential terms, preventing consolidation of a new Taya-style presidency-for-life. European Union observors have just arrived in the country to monitor the municipal and parliamentary election slated for November. Presidential elections are to be held in January. (AngolaPress, Sept. 7; VOA, June 11) The African Liberation Forces of Mauritania (FLAM), which has long boycotted the political process as illegitimate, will apparently be participating. From AngolaPress Sept. 5:

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