Posts Tagged 'Haiti'

The Haiti Disaster — My Reflections

By Lieutenant Commander Samuel Ayelazono, Ghanaian Navy


Prior to February 13, 2010, I was all psyched up for this year’s Africa Partnership Station (APS) deployment and did not imagine myself heading any direction other than towards Africa.

All of a sudden news about a terrible earthquake in Haiti began to filter in. When I heard of the decision to use USS Gunston Hall for relief operations in Haiti, I was immediately filled with excitement. However, my excitement took a hit when I heard a decision was yet to be made on whether the APS staff would be involved in relief operations. I got clearance from the Navy HQ in Ghana to participate even before the decision to take the APS staff along. I would have been seriously disappointed if it was decided otherwise.

I arrived at the coast of Haiti ready to do anything within my power to relieve the pain and suffering of the earthquake victims and was happy to be part of the reconnaissance team to go ashore to assess the situation.

On arrival at the Killick Coast Guard Base in Haiti, I saw a typical developing country, not too different from my own country The decision to use the Killick Base for relief operations was quite important as it afforded easy access to all kinds of resources arriving by sea.

The APS staff, working with the USS Gunston Hall crew, quickly established a Joint Coordination Centre (JOC) that provided for security, food distribution, local volunteers and helo operations. I worked together with two local assistants at the medical evacuation section. This was an area where patients, who have been triaged to be evacuated, were kept pending the arrival of a helo to transfer them either to the hospital ships anchored off shore or the Sacred Heart hospital, a few kilometers away.

I had the job of collecting from patients the names, addresses and phone numbers of their contact persons. This was very important because there were so many patients to be evacuated and yet the helos could only take a few at a time. Therefore, patients sometimes couldn’t be transferred with their relatives. The information collected was to help in the reunification with relatives when patients were finally discharged. The information I collected was particularly important in the case of young children, who otherwise would have ended up in orphanages and possibly never reunited with their families.

My job was quite challenging in the early days of the operation when we had to deal with many patients at a time and especially when critically injured patients had to be rushed directly from the clinic to the aircraft. My small team was occasionally overwhelmed when we had two aircraft on ground waiting to airlift patients at the same time. Fortunately, with the help of my assistants, language was not a barrier.

When the medical evacuation traffic slowed down, I went off base with the Military Civil Affairs Team (MCAT) officers to assist in food distribution. I also assisted in the organization of humanitarian aid into a warehouse and onto vehicles for distribution.

This operation has brought out a number of lessons for me. It is a clear demonstration of the flexibility with which maritime assets can be deployed. Within a twinkle of an eye, a ship billed for a training exercise in Africa was redirected to play a key role in a peace support operation.

It has also shown that a peace support operation is not a one-man show. All types of maritime assets and their personnel from different nations worked together with governmental and non-governmental agencies to alleviate the pain and suffering of victims of a disaster. No wonder the operation was code named Operation Unified Response.

I am happy to have played a role in this relief assistance. It has indeed broadened my horizon as a naval officer.

(Note: Lieutenant Commander Samuel Ayelazono served as the Ghana hub officer for Africa Partnership Station 2010 (West) onboard the USS Gunston Hall. Ayelazono was responsible for coordinating all APS events taking place in his home country. The USS Gunston Hall was originally scheduled to make three hub visits in Africa between February and April 2010 — Cameroon, Ghana and Senegal. The Cameroon hub was canceled when the crew of the USS Gunston Hall and the APS staff were called upon to aid in relief efforts in Haiti. Cameroon was visited later in the spring by the Belgian ship BNS Godetia, the second non-U.S. ship to conduct an APS mission, which conducted training and other collaborative activities aimed at improving maritime safety and security.)

http://www.africom.mil/africomDialogue.asp?entry=1243

See related stories:

Africa Partnership Station Supports Operation Unified Response, Haiti

USS Gunston Hall Diverted from West Africa to Haiti (January 16, 2010)

Africa Partnership Station USS Gunston Hall Arrives in Ghana (March 11, 2010)

BNS Godetia Departs Benin (March 24, 2010)

APS Gunston Hall Arrives in Dakar, Starts Final Phase (April 8, 2010)

Senegalese, Spanish and U.S. Ships Work Together to Train African Sailors (April 22, 2010)

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AFRICOM NEWS FROM AND ABOUT AFRICA for 29 January 2010

Recent publications on Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Chad, Sudan Madagascar,  Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia, Uganda, Libya, Gambia, Algeria, Nigeria, DR Congo, Rwanda

NIGERIA: JOINT STATEMENT ON NIGERIA (U.S. Department of State)

London – We express our deep regret at the recent violence and tragic loss of lives in Jos, and extend our sympathies to the bereaved and injured.

KENYA: 2 MILLION DEAD PEOPLE ‘VOTED’ IN 2007 POLL-US (The [East African] STANDARD)

Nairobi – A US [Undersecretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero] official  revisited the controversial 2007 presidential election when she said her country was aware two million dead voters were not weeded from the electoral register as pressure on reforms mounted.

ETHIOPIA: NAVY SENDS SECOND SHIP TO AID ETHIOPIAN FLIGHT SALVAGE (Stars and Stripes)

NAPLES, Italy — The U.S. Navy is sending another ship to help in the salvage and recovery efforts of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 that crashed Monday off the coast of Lebanon, presumably killing all 90 people onboard.

ETHIOPIA: U.S. NAVY HAS DETECTED THE FLIGHT RECORDERS FROM A CRASHED ETHIOPIAN JET (ASHARQ ALAWSAT)

U.S. Navy vessel has detected the flight recorders from a crashed Ethiopian Airlines jet at some 1,300 meters (4,265 feet) under the sea, the Lebanese army said Thursday.

GHANA: GHANAIAN IN US NAVY HELPS OUT IN HAITI (JoyOnline)

The Ghana Navy might not be part of troops in Haiti helping bring relief to earthquake victims but there is a Ghanaian naval officer assisting a US rescue mission.

U.S.: U.S. NAVY SHIP’S TEAM DESCRIBES HAITI AID EFFORTS (U.S. Department of Defense)

WASHINGTON, DC – On Jan. 14, two days after a magnitude 7 earthquake shook Haiti, an international team of naval officers and associated partners was on board the USS Gunston Hall in Norfolk, Va.

LIBERIA: HILARY CLINTON ENDORSES SIRLEAF’S 2ND TERM BID (THE ANALYST)

If there is any historical reason Liberians today regard poll politics as tele-guided and controlled by invisible hands, it is the consistency with which incumbent presidents won "landslide" or "volcanic" victories over contenders in the past.

AFRICA: WEAK INFRASTRUCTURE PLANS LIMIT AFRICA FINANCING: AU (Reuters)

Addis Ababa – African countries must develop clear infrastructure improvement plans to tap soft finance available for investment in the transport and energy sectors, an African Union official said on Friday.

AFRICA: AFRICA A CHALLENGE FOR OBAMA IN 2010 (OneWorld.net)

WASHINGTON, Jan 27 – Barack Obama is "missing a historic opportunity" to improve lives across the continent of Africa, says a new report from a pair of Africa policy think tanks, urging the U.S. president to create a new, "people-centered" strategy to tackle major ongoing challenges including HIV/AIDS, poverty, human rights violations, and climate change.

CHAD/SUDAN: SUDAN AND CHAD TURN A CORNER (VOA News)

Chad and Sudan have taken a major step toward bringing peace to Darfur, one of the world’s most troubled regions, with an agreement to normalize relations.

SUDAN: SUDANESE IN US QUESTION LEGITIMACY OF ELECTIONS IN SUDAN (VOA News)

Elections scheduled this April in Sudan represent the first time in a generation that people there will get a chance to choose government leaders. 

SUDAN: SUDAN OFFICIAL: BASHIR ‘BLACKMAILING’ SOUTH OVER ELECTIONS (VOA News)

A Southern Sudanese official says Khartoum has cut off talks with the South in a move to pressure the South’s ruling party into withdrawing its candidate for Sudanese presidency. 

SUDAN: MINES THREAT UNLIKELY TO HAMPER SUDAN ELECTIONS: UN (AFP)

Khartoum  – Voter turnout in upcoming elections in Sudan is unlikely to be seriously hampered by the threat of mines because most regions have been cleared of mines from the 1983-2005 civil war, a UN official said on Thursday.

SUDAN LIKE A POWDER KEG, SAYS AU CHIEF (BBC)

Addis Ababa – A vote for independence in oil-rich Southern Sudan’s referendum next year could be catastrophic, the African Union’s top diplomat has warned.

SUDAN SOUTHERN REGION TELLS OF PLOT AGAINST REFERENDUM (ALL Africa)

Nairobi — The Southern Sudanese government on Thursday accused their counterparts in Khartoum of sabotaging independence referendum scheduled to take place in their region next year.

SUDAN: COURT TO DECIDE ON GENOCIDE CHARGE FOR SUDAN’S BASHIR (Reuters)

Amsterdam – The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague said on Thursday it would decide on February 3 whether Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir should be charged with genocide.

SUDAN: UN-AFRICAN UNION ENVOY DISCUSSES DARFUR WITH SENIOR SUDANESE OFFICIALS (UN News Centre)

Ibrahim Gambari, who recently took up his new post as the head of the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur, has met with the Defence Minister to discuss peace prospects in the strife-torn region as part of a series of meetings with Sudanese officials.

MADAGASCAR AFRICAN UNION CHIEF CONCERNED ABOUT SITUATION IN MADAGASCAR (XINHUA)

Addis Ababa – African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Jean Ping said on Thursday that Madagascar was one of the main political problems facing Africa, while calling for joint efforts to address the conflicts in the country.

AFRICA: AU DISMAYED BY US TRADE SANCTIONS ON AFRICA (REUTERS)

Addis Ababa – The African Union objects to the imposition of trade sanctions by the United States against African countries it perceives to have violated democratic principles, an AU trade official said on Thursday.

AFRICAN UNION ROW OVER MUAMMAR GADDAFI’S ROLE (BBC)

Addis Ababa – A diplomatic row has broken out at the African Union over attempts to extend Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s chairmanship of the organisation.

AFRICA-ASIA TIES FLYING HIGH (REUTERS)

Investment from China and other Asian countries was an important factor in several years of unprecedented growth in Africa before the global downturn hit.

COTE D’IVOIRE UN EXTENDS MANDATE AND BEEFS UP SECURITY IN COTE D’IVOIRE (XINHUA)

United Nations – The United Nations Security Council unanimously decided on Thursday to extend the UN peacekeeping mission in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) through the end of May and bolster security with 500 troops from Burkina Faso in preparation for the upcoming presidential elections.

SOMALIA: ANTI-PIRACY STRATEGIES PROVING EFFECTIVE, U.N. SAYS (CNN)

Pirate attacks off Somalia’s coastline have "grown exponentially" in the past five years, but pirates are claiming fewer ships these days, according to the U.N.-backed European Union naval operation tackling Somali piracy.

SOMALIA: CHINA’S ANTI-PIRACY ROLE OFF SOMALIA EXPANDS (BBC News)

China has been focusing on protecting its own shipping in the area, but it will now join the naval forces of the US, Nato and the European Union.

SOMALIA FIGHTING RAGES IN MOGADISHU (NEWS 24)

Mogadishu – Heavy fighting raged early on Friday in the centre of Mogadishu between Islamist insurgents and soldiers of the African Union’s peacekeeping force in Somalia (Amisom).

SOMALIA UN SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF AFRICAN UNION MISSION IN SOMALIA (XINHUA)

United Nations – The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday to extend for one year the mandate of the African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission in Somalia, or AMISOM.

UGANDA MUSLIM LEGISLATORS CALL FOR DIALOGUE IN SOMALIA (DAILY MONITOR)

Kampala – Members of the Parliamentary Union of the Organisation of Islamic Conference have resolved to compel their governments to push for dialogue in Somalia, as a way of bringing about peace in the war-torn region.

UGANDA: MEDIA TO TRAIN FOR 2011 NATIONAL ELECTIONS (THE New Vision)

Kampala — Radio and television presenters are to undergo training in preparation for the 2011 elections.

LIBYA GADDAFI SAYS NO TO NGOS (news 24)

Tripoli – Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Thursday the concept of civil society has no place in his country, just as a panel headed by his son Seif al-Islam was about to propose a law permitting the creation of non-governmental organisations.

LIBYA AL QAEDA MEMBERS TO REMAIN IN JAIL- GADDAFI (REUTERS)

Rabat (Reuters) – Libya will hold up to 300 al Qaeda members in jail indefinitely after they have completed their prison terms to stop them staging fresh attacks, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Thursday.

LIBYA MINISTER MAY QUIT OVER INMATES (NEWS 24)

Tripoli – Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Abdeljalil said on Thursday he wants to resign because of "hindrances" and his inability to secure freedom for hundreds of prisoners who have been found innocent.

LIBYA: AFRICAN UNION ROW OVER MUAMMAR GADDAFI’S ROLE (BBC News)

A diplomatic row has broken out at the African Union over attempts to extend Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s chairmanship of the organisation.

GAMBIA: ‘FAKE PASSPORT’ HOLDER IN POLICE NET (daily observer)

Banjul – The police have arrested one Abdou Cadir Conteh, a native of Gambisara village in the Upper River Region (URR) at the Banjul International Airport after being found in possession of a fake passport.

NIGERIA YAR’ADUA IS COMING HOME SOON, SAYS DEPUTY (IOL)

Abuja – Nigeria’s ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua, in Saudi Arabia for more than two months for treatment for an acute heart condition, will return soon, Vice President Goodluck Jonathan said on Thursday.

NIGERIA: MALAYSIA NABS TWO NIGERIAN ACCOMPLICES (ThisDay)

Ten terror suspects including two Nigerians said to be accomplices of Christmas Day United States jetliner failed bomber, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, have been arrested in Malaysia, the country has announced.

NIGERIA: MEND THREATENS TO CALL OFF CEASEFIRE (VANGUARD)

Warri – Spokesman for the militant group, Jomo Gbomo, in an exclusive electronic mail response to Vanguard inquiry said, "The ceasefire will very likely be called off; this has nothing to do with President Umaru Yar’ Adua’s illness or his unwillingness to hand over to the Vice President Goodluck Jonathan. 

NIGERIA: ART CALLS FOR COOPERATION AMONG SECURITY, GOVT AGENCIES (Daily Independent)

Aftermath of the December 25, 2009 failed attempt by Umar Abdulmutallab to blow up a Northwest plane bound for Detroit and the introduction of new enhanced security measures at airports around the world; including the use of 3D Total Body Scanners, Aviation Round Table(ART), an aviation pressure group has called for cooperation among security agencies at airports.

NIGERIA: STATEMENT OF U.S. SENATOR RUSS FEINGOLD ON POLITICAL SITUATION IN COUNTRY (United States Congress)

Washington, DC – The following is a statement by U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, on the political situation in Nigeria.

ALGERIA: ALGERIAN COURT SENTENCES DRUG TRAFFICKERS (AFP)

ALGIERS – The Oran criminal court in western Algeria has sentenced eight people to jail terms ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment for drug trafficking, the APS news agency reported Thursday.

CONGO: IMF, WORLD BANK SUPPORT CONGO REPUBLIC DEBT RELIEF (Bloomberg)

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank’s International Development Association agreed to support $1.9 billion in debt relief for the Republic of Congo, the institutions said.

CONGO: CHINA RAILWAY GROUP DENIES ABUSE OF CONGOLESE WORKERS (Bloomberg)

China Railway Group Ltd. denied a report by the African Association for the Defense of Human Rights that said Congolese laborers employed by the Chinese company’s parent worked in harsh conditions.

CONGO: UNITED NATIONS CONGO MISSION AT CROSSROADS (Los Angeles Times)

Congo army units have been accused of the same abuses as the rebels they are fighting with U.N. troops’ assistance.

CONGO: FIELD DISPATCH: FEROCIOUS LRA ATTACKS IN NORTHEAST CONGO (Relief Web)

In a trip to Province Orientale of northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in early December 2009, Enough researchers found abundant evidence of brutal ongoing violence committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA. Despite claims from Congolese and Ugandan state officials that the LRA is on its last legs, attacks against Congolese civilians perpetrated by the rebel group remain frequent.

RWANDA: ICC TALKS TO RWANDA ABOUT NON-MEMBERSHIP (AFP)

THE HAGUE — Rwanda’s Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama has met top officials of the International Criminal Court in The Hague to discuss the country’s non-membership of the court, a statement said Thursday.

WEST AFRICA: STRONG RISK" OF 2010 FAMINE IN AFRICA’S SAHEL: EU (Reuters)

DAKAR – Millions in West Africa’s arid Sahel belt could face famine this year unless the world acts quickly to help, the European Union’s humanitarian aid arm said on Thursday.

TESTIMONY: A Senegalese at the Heart of Distress in Haiti

This blog provides the English translation of an article titled "A Senegalese at the Heart of Distress in Haiti," which features on the work of a Senegalese officer embarked on APS Gunston Hall, currently supporting efforts in Haiti. The author, Aminatou M. DIOP,  was part of a Senegalese journalist delegation who visited U.S. Africa Command headquarters in December. The original article, "TEMOIGNAGE : Un Sénégalais au cœur de la détresse en Haïti,"  can be found at :    http://bit.ly/9TLkrh

January 23, 2010

The USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), which was to deploy to Africa as part of the Africa Partnership Station (APS)—a maritime security cooperation framework between the United States and some African countries—has suspended her missions and is participating in efforts to assist the Haitian people. Our fellow countryman, Lieutenant Assane Sèye, is among its multinational crew (made up of Americans, Europeans, and Africans). Yesterday, he gave an interview over the phone to the Senegalese Press Agency, the RFM, and the Le Quotidien daily. These media outlets came to the embassy of the United States in Dakar after the sailor made sure that his hierarchical superiors were informed of the interview.

The American ship, the USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), is expected in Dakar in April. But last week’s earthquake in Haiti changed the ship’s initial itinerary. The vessel was rerouted to Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, on a humanitarian mission. On January 15, the ship left its military base at Little Creek–Story, in Virginia, to take part in the humanitarian assistance the U.S. Navy is bringing to the Haitian population. A young Senegalese sailor, Lieutenant Assane Sèye is a member of the ship’s crew.  The U.S. embassy in Senegal telephoned Lt. Assane Sèye.  While on board the USS Gunston Hall (it was 11:40 a.m. in Senegal and 6:40 a.m. in Port-au-Prince), Lt. Assane Sèye, spoke about the time he has spent in that country since January 18. “We’re a few nautical miles from the military base. Each morning we leave the ship to go on land and we return at night.”

The military base has thus been transformed into a hospital with all necessary structures for first aid, surgical procedures, and hospitalizations; it is a clinic. In the event of evacuations, “we have a hospital ship that can receive 600 patients who are taken there by U.S. Army helicopters.” In the four days they have been there, “we have had nearly 200 patients transferred to the hospital ship,” says Lt. Sèye, who is impressed by the number of patients admitted each day.

100 Times More Emergency Cases than in the Main [Hospital]

Some patients come on foot or by ambulance belonging to the various local humanitarian organizations and have suffered various traumas, “sometimes with both arms or legs broken. Some of them come because they no longer have any sensation in their limbs or because they were stuck somewhere for days, are completely dehydrated…There are a number of unimaginable wounds.” When we ask about the situation on the ground, Lt. Sèye answers: “Take for example the emergencies at Dakar’s main hospital and multiply by 100, the influx of incoming patients and multiply that by 100, that’s the severity of the problems. It’s something you can’t exactly wrap your mind around, even if I describe it to you.” He insists: “These are things that I personally have never seen. You have to be here to believe it.” A rather difficult case was that of a lady who “gave birth in extremely complicated and difficult conditions…You can’t imagine how happy we were to see mother and baby safe!” stated Lt. Sèye.

Work is also made difficult by the number of patients who come in each minute, just to be treated, to get information because they do not know where to go, or who even want to leave Haiti, he explains. He indicates that upon arrival they have to go through triage and, depending on the case, are referred to specialists. “Those with physical wounds requiring hospitalization or evacuation” are the priority. The most difficult are those with lesser afflictions who have to free their hospital bed since there are also rows of chairs to accommodate some, just to give them time to rest and to receive something to eat and drink. “But, in the evening, these people have to leave because we have to control the hospital.” And managing them is complicated. However, “when they see sick people lying on the ground, they understand that they need to give up the bed. But once outside the clinic or the hospitalization room, a lot of diplomacy is needed to make them leave the base” where grassy areas have been set up where they can lie down, says Lt. Sèye, who is in charge of convincing them. At the end of the day, “I always manage to convince them even if this is not easy since those spaces cannot accommodate big numbers.”

The volunteers are another problem, he continues. “Somebody who loses everything, who leaves his home and walks for kilometers to say, ‘I want to help,’ doesn’t understand when we say that we have enough volunteers. Each morning we see 200 volunteers, but we work with 50 volunteers including professors, doctors, sociologists, etc. But we have limited their number to better channel the work.”

How long will the assistance last? “For now, the system put in place to help the Haitians is working very well. Consequently, the influx is stronger. But whether we will be leaving in a week or two, I don’t know.”

Senegalese Pride

Designated by the Senegalese navy, Lieutenant Assane Sèye joined the team of the Africa Command of the United States (AFRICOM) on board the USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) on January 9, in Virginia, in the United States. The USS Gunston Hall was expected this April in Spain,  West Africa, and Dakar, for drills and operations. But the earthquake in Haiti occurred and the ship was diverted to Port-au-Prince. An unplanned mission that this Senegalese soldier says he experiences “it is difficult to see these people on the ground, suffering, who need to eat, who need water and medical assistance. Whatever your knowledge, whatever the means at your disposal, you are limited when faced with them. You can’t do everything. You treat them and then they have to leave. It’s difficult. Later, they have to eat and we don’t have food and something to drink for everyone. It’s very difficult.” However, there are nice moments within all this chaos stemming from the pleasure of being there and helping the Haitians. “Because I consider them to be my brothers, Africans. So it’s a tremendous pleasure to be here, but it pains me very much to see them in these circumstances. You have to see the city yourself. It’s completely devastated.”

In any event, this young 29-year-old Senegalese is a model of pride—not only for the Senegalese. This is proven by the testimony of the USS Gunston Hall’s (LSD 44) onboard commander, Captain Cynthia Thebaud, who is full of praise for our fellow countryman: “Lt. Sèye carries out invaluable tasks by interacting with the Haitian patients as well as those who accompany them, and by coordinating the team of Haitian volunteers who have come to help us in our mission. He’s proactive, very engaged, and has an amazing disposition. He gives the impression of being everywhere, continuously coordinating, etc.”

Enlisted in the Senegalese Army in 2005, Lt. Sèye and the Africa Partnership Station (APS) are responsible for coordinating instructors, following up on programs, and checking whether the teaching is done properly. During the Haitian mission, he is in charge of managing Haitian volunteers at the hospital set up at the American military base.

The Africa Partnership Station provides a cooperation framework set up by the United States that seeks to establish maritime safety and security in African partner states. It organizes military and civil capacity-building drills involving those units in charge of watching over the maritime territories of the said countries, awareness sessions on the protection of fishery resources, and the sharing of expertise in various maritime areas.

By Aminatou M. DIOP

AFRICOM AOR-related news clips for 25 January 2010

Recent publications on Algeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia, Guinea, Angola, Libya, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Senegal

AFRICA: Security and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa – Looking to the future (AllAfrica)

Stuttgart – "The challenge facing Sub-Saharan Africa is not State building as many analysts believe. The immediate challenge most of Africa faces is society building." Moeletsi Mbeki daid during the presentation to the Commander’s Speaker Programme at the US Africa Command, US Military Headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany on Tuesday 19th January 2010.

FRANCE/ENGLAND: France Aims To Prosecute Angola Rebel (Wall Street Journal)

Paris/London – France said Friday it seeks to prosecute an Angolan rebel leader for inciting violence, opening a new chapter in France’s struggle to redress its messy past in Africa.

ALGERIA: Algeria Says U.S. Reassures Over Reconsidering Terror Watch List (Xinhua)

Algiers – A senior Algerian official said on Sunday his country received reassurance from Washington over the reconsideration of its 14-nation terror watch list, Pan-Arab al- Jazeera TV reported.

UGANDA: Somalia and Sudan top agenda of OIC meet in Uganda (Xinhua)

Kampala – The volatile situation in Somalia and Sudan’s Darfur region will top the agenda of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting that started here on Sunday.

KENYA/ETHIOPIA: Ethiopian Militia Kill Two Kenyan Officers (The Standard)

East Africa – Suspected Merille militia from Ethiopia have killed three people including an administration policeman and a police reservist in an attack. 

KENYA: CIA chief in secret visit to Kenya (The Standard)

East Africa – Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Leon Edward Panetta made a secret visit to Kenya at the weekend where he is believed to have delivered President Barack Obama’s message on governance and terrorism to the Government.

NIGERIA: Ex-militants Reject Presidential Rehabilitation Plans (This Day)

Port Harcourt – Key militants in the Niger Delta under the aegis of Joint Revolutionary Council yesterday evening rose from a meeting called to take a position on the rehabilitation plans of the Presidential Committee on Amnesty and rejected it, saying it is favouring only the consultants and therefore against the interest of real freedom fighters.

NIGERIA: Edo CAN Chairman, Bishop Imasuen, Kidnapped (NIGERIAN Tribune)

Edo State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Bishop of Benin Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Dr. Peter Imasuen, was abducted on Sunday by gunmen suspected to be kidnappers.

SOMALIA: UK students recruited for Somali jihad (The Sunday Times)

Mogadishu – Students from some of Britain’s top universities are travelling to Somalia to fight with a terrorist group linked to Al-Qaeda.

SOMALIA: Radical Somali Islamists linked to al-Qaida recruiting youth in Swedish suburbs (The morning Call)

Stockholm — Ten subway stops from downtown Stockholm is "little Mogadishu," a drab suburb of the Swedish capital where radical Islamists are said to be recruiting the sons of Somali immigrants for jihad in the Horn of Africa.

SOMALIA: Pirates In Talks Over Two Ofer Ships (GLOBES online)

Mogadishu – Somali pirates are negotiating the release of two cargo vessels owned by Ofer Brothers company Zodiac Maritime Agencies.

SOMALIA: Haiti: Somali Pirates Offer Aid To Haiti (Greenleft Online)

Spokespeople for the so-called Somali pirates have expressed willingness to part of their loot captured from transnational boats to Haiti.

LIBYA: Arab League Top Official Informs Kadhafi Of Preparations For Arab Summit (Afrique en ligne)

Tripoli – The Libyan leader and incumbent chairman of the African Union (AU), Mouammar Kadhafi, on Saturday held talks in Tripoli with the Secretary General of the Arab league, Amr Moussa, on the forthcoming Arab Summit to be hosted by Libya.

ALGERIA: Us Diplomat Defends Terror Country Watchlist (AFP)

Algiers – The 14-nation terror watchlist recently drawn up by the United States is not aimed at "blacklisting one country or another", a US diplomat said on Sunday.

ANGOLA: US Ambassador’s visit opens good perspectives – Governor (ANGOP)

Ndalatando – The governor of northern Kwanza Norte province, Henrique André Júnior, Saturday in Ndalatando, said that the two-day visit paid to the region by the US ambassador to Angola, Dan Mozena, opens good perspectives for the effort towards the development of the zone.

NIGERIA: Yar’Adua fights back Loyalists hold counter rallies in 6 states (Daily Sun)

Piqued by the growing anti-Yar’Adua sentiments sweeping across the country, which peaked with ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s devil-may care outburst last Thursday, the Presidency and groups loyal to the ailing president may have resolved to counter the onslaught employing “multi-dimensional tactics.

NIGERIA: Bin Laden Claims Botched Attack (daily INDEPENDANT)

Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has claim responsibility for the botched Christmas Day airline bombing attempted by Umar Farouk Adulmutallab in Detroit, in a audio message released Sunday, and vowed further attacks on the U.S.

SOMALIA: Al-Shabab ‘Capture’ Central Somali Town (press TV)

Mogadishu – Somalia’s main opposition fighters, Al-Shabab, have regained control of the strategic central Somali town of Beledweyene, witnesses say.

NIGERIA: Jos crisis: Christian leaders accuse Army chief of genocide. Accusation unfortunate – Army. 35 govs to visit Jos tomorrow (Nigerian Tribune)

The Plateau State Christian Elders Consultative Forum has called on the vice-president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, the National Assembly and the United Nations (UN) to investigate Major General Sale Maina, the GOC, 3rd Armoured Division, Jos, over allegations of genocide.

GUINEA: EU prepared to resume dialogue with Guinea’ (Afrique en ligne)

Conakry – The German ambassador to Guinea, Karl Prinz, on Friday announced on Guinea’s national television that the European Union (EU) would be prepared to resume dialogue with the West African state, which was broken off after the 23 December, 2008 coup.

SENEGAL: Guinea Electoral Commission Meets With Donors (Voice of America)

Dakar – Guinea’s electoral commission and international donors are discussing plans to organize elections in six months.  The vote is part of a regionally-backed transitional authority meant to end more than one year of military rule.

U.S.: New Report Identifies Challenges In Africa For Obama  (Voice of America)

Washington, DC – A new report co-published by Africa Action and Foreign Policy in Focus says the Obama administration faces key challenges in Africa this year, including poverty, climate change and HIV/AIDS.

U.S.: Expert: Liberian Torture Victims Scarred For Life (Associated Press)

Miami – A psychologist testified Friday in the lawsuit of five Africans seeking millions of dollars in damages for the horrific torture suffered on the orders of the son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

SOUTH AFRICA: It Wasn’t Us: Somali Militants Disavow Kenya Threat (Christian Science Monitor)

Johannesburg – Al Shabab, the Somali militant group with ideological links to Al Qaeda, says the threat to attack Kenya – posted on its website this week – is fake.

SOMALIA: EU set to OK Somali troop plan (News24)

Brussels – EU foreign ministers will on Monday give the green light for European instructors to train some 2 000 Somali soldiers to reinforce the embryonic government army, diplomatic sources said.

TUNISIA: National Defence Minister Receives Africom Deputy For Civil-Military Activities (Agence Tunis Afrique Presse)

Tunis – Minister Ridha Grira received Mr. Joseph Anthony Holmes, deputy for Civil-Military Activities of the United States African Command (AFRICOM) and the delegation accompanying him, with attendance of US ambassador in Tunis.

ZIMBABWE: U.S. Envoy Calls On Zimbabwe Principals To Be Flexible (Xinhua)

Harare – U. S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray is urging the country’s principals to the Global Political Agreement to be flexible in their demands to ensure progress in the inter- party talks.

AFRICA: News by Region (UN News Centre) 

  • Sudan: UN report cites challenges for north-south peace deal despite progress
  • New head of joint African Union-UN peacekeepers in Darfur arrives in Sudan
  • Uganda: ‘Anti-Homosexuality Bill’ threatens fight against HIV, UN expert warns

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