Pan Africa Newswire
Egyptian students burn media bus during protests on March 9, 2014. Thousands have been killed and imprisoned by the military regime since July 3, 2013., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Police fire teargas at pro-Morsi students at Cairo University
Ahram Online, Sunday 9 Mar 2014
Students are protesting a court order which allows police on campus
Police fired teargas at a student protest organised by a pro-Mohamed Morsi grouping at Cairo University on Sunday.
The teargas was reportedly fired after a vehicle owned by TV channel CBC was torched. Like much of the Egyptian private and state media, CBC has taken a strongly anti-Morsi line in its coverage of Egyptian politics.
According to local human rights NGO the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, student marches left from the faculties of law, science and commerce and then headed outside the university’s main gates at the same moment that the CBC vehicle was being torched by another group of protesters.
According to the NGO, the protesting students retreated onto campus after the police fired teargas, declaring the end of the protest.
In response the police too withdrew, according to Al-Ahram Arabic news website.
Sunday’s protest, which takes place on the second day of the delayed spring term, was called for by the pro-Morsi Students Against the Coup group, in protest at a recent court verdict that allows police to return to university campuses.
While security forces regularly entered campuses last term to face demonstrators, especially after a government decision allowing university heads to call in police when needed, the permanent presence of government security on campuses was removed after the 2011 revolution, when a 2010 court order banning police from universities was implemented.
The police presence had become associated with political interference in student and faculty affairs.
On Sunday, Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim said that security forces would remain off campus unless violence or disruption to academic procedures occur.
The on-campus violence, along with a recent spike in cases of swine flu in Egypt, led to the postponement of the spring term several times. The term commenced on Saturday, two weeks after its original start date.
Atty. Chokwe Lumumba being sworn in as the mayor of the majority African American city of Jackson, Mississippi. He only served a few months before dying on Feb. 25, 2014., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
NAPO MXGM statement on the transition of Comrade Chokwe Lumumba to the Ancestors
Posted on Mar 5, 2014
The New Afrikan Peoples Organization (NAPO) and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) salutes the life of our Comrade, Brother, and Co-founder Baba Chokwe Lumumba.
On February 25 2014, our Comrade Chokwe made his transition to the ancestral realm. He was born in Detroit, Michigan to Lucien and Priscilla Taliaferro, working class parents who gave him a sense of spirituality, morality and service.
As a young man, Chokwe exhibited his destiny as a leader. The Black Power movement of the 1960s and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. propelled Chokwe to become a revolutionary.
He embraced the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika (PGRNA) in 1969.
He would eventually serve as Minister of Justice and Midwest Regional Vice President of the PGRNA.
Along with other New Afrikan revolutionary nationalists from the PGRNA, House of Umoja, and Afrikan People’s Party; Baba Chokwe founded a revolutionary national liberation organization NAPO in 1984. He became the Chairman and primary spokesperson of NAPO for 29 years.
Subsequently, NAPO founded MXGM as its mass association in 1990.
Baba Chokwe Lumumba’s work as an attorney is well known. He has focused his legal practice defending “the least of these”-poor and oppressed people. He was the legal advocate for political prisoners like Assata Shakur, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Sekou Odinga, the Pontiac Brothers, Hayward Brown, and the son of the movement, Tupac Shakur.
Some of his finest legal work was winning the release of the Scott Sisters, two young Black women convicted and sentenced to double-life sentences for an $11 armed robbery. As an attorney, Chokwe also fought in the courts for Black workers versus avaricious firms, Black communities versus police misconduct, and members of the indigenous Choctaw nation versus a corrupt tribal council.
As a student of New Afrikan Political Science, he also studied international law and applied it to his defense of political prisoners and prisoners of war. Baba Chokwe partnered with his political father, Imari Obadele, and comrades in the PGRNA, the National Conference of Black Lawyers, and NAPO to advance Queen Mother Moore’s call for Reparations for the descendants of enslaved Afrikans in the United States. This effort led to the formation of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (NCOBRA).
Baba Chokwe also participated as a soldier in the defense forces of the New Afrikan Independence Movement. He believed all New Afrikans should be ready to defend their lives, families, community, and our Movement. Chokwe was a member of the New Afrikan Security Forces of the PGRNA and achieved the rank of Captain in the New Afrikan Security Union of NAPO in 1984.
Chokwe and his family relocated from Detroit in 1988 to establish NAPO in Mississippi. MXGM encouraged Baba Chokwe to run for Jackson City Council in 2009 as part of our Jackson-Kush Plan to win self-determination, participatory democracy, and economic justice in Black majority counties in Mississippi.
A People’s Assembly was formed in his ward as part of the Jackson-Kush Plan and to promote and practice participatory democracy. Comrade Chokwe winning the runoff by 63% of the vote was a testament to his decades of activism and advocacy of the people of Jackson.
The same formula was employed to organize Chokwe’s campaign for Mayor. Chokwe’s charisma, history of activism, serving the people, and the vision of the Jackson Kush Plan motivated the organization of grassroots communities throughout the city of Jackson.
Solidarity from progressive forces around the United States also provided the basis of Baba Chokwe’s mayoral victory. The Jackson chapter of MXGM and NAPO were the heart of his campaign staff in his campaigns for City Council and Mayor.
Chokwe Lumumba was one of the finest sons of our people. Chokwe Lumumba was motivated by his vision of a liberated New Afrika and a New World. He loved our people and was loved by them.
He loved coaching and mentoring the youth of Mississippi and Louisiana on his Jackson Panther Amateur Athletic Union Basketball program. Baba Chokwe was generous with his time and money to support the movement and support individuals.
Baba Chokwe was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and cousin. As Chairman of NAPO, he began his addresses stating, “on behalf of the women, men, and children of the New Afrikan People’s Organization.” Baba Chokwe’s household exemplified this salutation. His late-wife and soul mate Nubia and his children Kambonmutope, Rukiya, and Chokwe Antar were and are valued participants in our organization and liberation struggle.
He also embraced his comrades and their households as family. One of his strengths as an organizer was the love his family showed for him and the movement. He will always be an exemplary New Afrikan.
Chokwe Lumumba’s name will always be mentioned as one of the finest revolutionaries and freedom fighters of our time and our history. He possessed a revolutionary character.
Baba Chokwe listened to and embraced criticism of his comrades and grassroots people. He studied and read, was a proud revolutionary New Afrikan nationalist/ internationalist and socialist, but was not dogmatic or doctrinaire.
He was creative and willing to incorporate new ideas. Baba Chokwe was principled and committed to the last second of his life to our liberation and will be an inspirational force for our liberation as an Ancestor. Baba Chokwe Lumumba will forever live through our work to free the people and free the land!!!
Long Live the Spirit of Chokwe Lumumba
Free the Land!!!
New Afrikan Peoples Organization
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Chokwe Lumumba: A Legal Biography
Posted March 3, 2014
By the National Conference of Black Lawyers
Longstanding NCBL member, Chokwe Lumumba, made his transition on February 25, 2014 in Jackson, Mississippi. Lumumba joined the National Conference of Black Lawyers when he was a student at Wayne State University Law School in 1970, and he remained an active and dedicated member until his passing. In 2006 Lumumba received NCBL’s highest recognition, Lawyer of the Year. He was honored once again by his NCBL colleagues in October 2013, in his hometown of Detroit, where were gathered his family and long-time legal community.
Chokwe Lumumba became deeply committed to the cause of black liberation as a young student at Kalamazoo College, where, in 1969, he was a key organizer in forming the Black United Front. After graduation he enrolled at Wayne State University Law School and while still a student, at the age of 24, was elected to the cabinet of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Africa (“RNA”) as its Second Vice President. The RNA described itself as “an African nation in the Western hemisphere struggling for complete independence.” Young Lumumba took the oath of the RNA : “For the fruition of Black Power, for the triumph of the Black Nation, I pledge to the Republic of New Africa and to the building of a better people and a better world, my total devotion, my total resources, and the total power of my mortal life.” He was a part of the leadership when the RNA moved the capital of its provisional government to Hinds County, Mississippi in 1971. His first case, while he was still a law student, involved serving as an advisor to members of the RNA who, in August 1971, were arrested in Jackson after being attacked by state and federal officers who raided their headquarters and seized scores of documents and weapons. After the ensuing gun battle, in which a local police officer died, the RNA members were charged with treason and murder, and Lumumba, then the mid-west Vice President of the RNA, became the spokesperson for the defendants and assisted NCBL lawyer John Brittain in their representation. Eleven of the accused received life sentences; the leader of the RNA, Imari Obadeli, was released in 1980 – a result of massive protests – and resumed his leadership. Lumumba became the Minister of Justice for the Republic of New Africa. In that capacity, in August 1973, Lumumba attended the National Black Political Assembly, chaired by Imamu Amiri Baraka and held in Greenville, Mississippi. Lumumba warned the assembly that the United States government, together with the state of Mississippi, was attempting to destroy the PGRNA.
Lumumba returned to his native Detroit from Jackson to continue his legal education, graduating at the top of his class from Wayne State University Law School in 1975. There he created the Malcolm X Center and worked with the Detroit Public Defenders Office. Upon graduation, with NCBL member Jeffrey Edison, he formed a law firm dedicated to representing the black community and black revolutionaries in particular. In 1978, its first year of operation, the firm, which would come to be known as Edison, Davis and Lumumba, successfully defended some of the Pontiac Brothers – sixteen prisoners who were charged with murder in connection with a riot at Pontiac Correctional Center in Illinois.
Lumumba was also deeply engaged in the black liberation movement in New York. In November 1979 he gave an address at the United Nations on behalf of NCBL at Black Solidarity Day, sponsored by the National Coalition for Black Human Rights. In May 1981, he, along with Afeni Shakur and Reverend Herbert Daughtry spoke at a birthday tribute to Malcolm X. Lumumba reminded the gathering that scores of blacks had been killed that past year by police, and that the fight for “black self-determination, land, and independence” should never be abandoned.
That year, Lumumba took on the case of Fulani Sunni-Ali, the Minister of Information of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Africa and a member of the Black Liberation Army, who was charged with participating in the 1981 Brinks robbery in Rockland County, New York. Lumumba, co-counseling with William Kuntsler, was initially prevented from representing Sunni-Ali when the New York U.S. Attorney, John Martin, Jr., labeled Lumumba a security risk because of his association with the Republic of New Africa, and moved to bar him from practice in New York State. The federal judge agreed, claiming that Lumumba was a member of a “terrorist organization” and citing the lawyer’s statement that “we must take our land and win our independence ultimately by force.” NCBL successfully fought for Lumumba’s right of representation. Even the New York Times condemned Martin’s action, editorializing on November 15, 1981, that:
[Chokwe Lumumba] is a lawyer duly licensed in Detroit, but to Mr. Martin, his revolutionary rhetoric rendered him unfit for temporary admission to New York’s courts. But now he has changed his position. . . Where were the leaders of the bar while all this was going on? If a Wall Street lawyer had been similarly shut out of a courtroom the Association of the Bar of the City of New York would have flown to support a client’s – and her lawyer’s – rights. In this case the lions of the bar were nowhere visible.
After demonstrations and persistent protest by NCBL and other organizations, the US Attorney dropped his opposition, and Lumumba entered the case and provided excellent representation. After being incarcerated for a year and a half for refusing to testify before a grand jury, Sunni-Ali was released. Lumumba also represented Solomon Bouines (Samuel Brown) in connection with the 1981 Brinks case, and, in a Queens court, Nathanial Burns, who was charged with attempted murder stemming from a shootout three days after the Brinks robbery.
In 1983 Lumumba successfully defended Bilal Sunni-Ali in a five-month trial, also arising from the 1981 Brinks robbery. Lumumba, who co-counseled the case with Lynne Stewart, put his defense clearly in his opening statement, telling the jurors that “the wrong people are on trial here. . . [the prosecutors and federal agents] ought to be the defendants in this case.” He identified his client as a citizen of the Republic of New Africa, and referred to the jurors as “brothers and sisters.” He reiterated the political nature of the proceedings in his masterful cross-examination of the government’s informant. And in his deeply political summation, he included a Gil Scott Heron song.
As a result of his aggressive – and successful – representation in that case, Lumumba was twice cited for contempt, first when he insisted that the jury panel was unconstitutionally selected, and second when, outside the presence of the jury, he challenged the prosecutorial bias of the judge’s rulings. Lumumba proclaimed, on behalf of his client, “I would like some kind of ruling on why you won’t let me do what you let them do and then have the audacity to sit on the bench and claim you are fair.”
Because of ongoing biased treatment, Lumumba condemned the judge as an “outstanding bigot” and a “racist dog.” He was summarily convicted of criminal contempt and thereafter sentenced to three years probation and 350 hours of community service. At his sentencing on the contempt charge, Lumumba once again asserted that the American system of justice was “dishonest” and “racist,” and that it would “self-destruct.” In 1984 the conviction was overturned and the sentence vacated in the Second Circuit, where Lumumba was represented by his former law partner, Anthony Adams. Margaret Burnham appeared on behalf of NCBL in the case, United States v. Lumumba, 741 F.2d. 12 (1984). On remand, a federal trial judge conducted an inquiry into the facts and reinstated the earlier sentence, which Lumumba ultimately served. United States v. Lumumba, 603 F. Supp 913 (1985).
After completing his representation of Sunni-Ali in the Brinks matter, Lumumba represented Mutulu Shakur, who, along with co-defendant Marilyn Buck, was charged with murder and other crimes related to the same 1981 Brinks robbery. Shakur was also charged with taking part in the prison escape of Assata Shakur. Mutulu Shakur was captured in 1986; at the time he was leading the National Task Force for COINTELPRO Litigation and Research. Shakur maintained that he was a prisoner of war; as such, Lumumba sought pre-trial dismissal of the charges, claiming the acts charged against Shakur were not criminal offenses but acts of war and resistance to genocidal oppression. In a groundbreaking argument, Lumumba asserted, “The acts were committed in furtherance of the New Afrikan National liberation struggle in America,” and in pursuit of the objective of independence of the New Afrikan Nation from the United States.” He claimed Shakur was implicated because of his “anti-colonial” activism, and he sought for Shakur the international protection afforded prisoners of war combating racist political regimes under Protocol 1 of the 1949 Geneva Convention, which had at that time been signed but not ratified by the United States. The Protocol classified “national liberation wars” as international conflicts, and afforded participants in such wars the same rights and protections as other soldiers. A national liberation war was defined as “any armed conflict” against a “colonial, racist or alien regime.” Lumumba argued his client was covered by the Protocol, and the judge referred to the State Department the question whether the activities charged as a criminal enterprise against the defendants should be deemed an insurgency within the meaning of Protocol 1. The State Department responded that it did not recognize the Protocol, nor consider itself a party to a conflict with New Afrikan guerrillas.
Lumumba offered a riveting summation at the end of Shakur’s trial, at once ripping apart the testimony of the government’s star witness, who had turned state’s evidence, and defending his client as a revolutionary engaged in the struggle for racial and social justice. He portrayed Shakur as a dedicated acupuncturist with a practice in Harlem, and a revolutionary. He told the press that “Mutulu Shakur is a target . . . because of his roots in the Black Liberation struggle. He is a target because of his affiliation with the Republic of New Africa and its link to the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee of the Weather Underground.” Notwithstanding his brilliant advocacy, the jury returned a guilty verdict.
Not deterred, Lumumba continued to offer his services to those targeted because of their political beliefs and their work on behalf of black liberation. He represented Geronimo Pratt, a high-ranking member of the Black Panther Party, who was falsely charged with murder and kidnapping in 1972, and finally released in 1997 after it was established that the FBI had withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense. With NCBL leaders Louis Myers and Lennox Hinds, Lumumba appeared in defense of Black Liberation Army member Assata Shakur, who was convicted of first-degree murder in 1977 and escaped from prison in 1979.
In 1988, Lumumba moved his family back to Jackson, Mississippi and sought to become a member of the state bar. He was initially denied admission because, bar leaders said, he “believed in the peaceful overthrow of the US government.” NCBL lawyers Adjoa Aiyetoro and Jeffrey Edison successfully challenged this decision, and in 1991 Lumumba opened a general practice, specializing in criminal matters. In 1998, NCBL member Imhotep Alkebu-lan associated with Lumumba’s Jackson-based firm, Lumumba, Freelon and Associates. Lumumba remained in active practice until his election as mayor in July 2013. In addition to his long association with Attorney Alkebu-lan, who became Special Assistant to the Jackson City Attorney after Lumumba assumed the mayor’s office, Lumumba also tried cases with his law partner, Harvey C. Freelon.
Lumumba’s high-level litigation practice in Mississippi was international in scope and characterized by the same vigorous, cutting-edge representation he had provided to hundreds of clients during his years in practice in Detroit and New York, where he had been admitted pro hac vicae. With Alkebu-lan, he represented the South African Azikiwe Kambule, for whom the team won a state pardon, Tupac Shakur, reggae artist Buju Banton, and former Hudson, Mississippi police officer Eddie Myers, for whom they won an acquittal in a high-profile murder case.
In 2001, Lumumba was once again held in contempt in connection with a criminal case in Leake County. Lumumba is reported to have said to a trial judge during post-trial motions, “look Judge, if we’ve got to pay for justice around here, I will pay for justice. I’ve paid other judges to try to get justice, and I’ll pay you, too, if that is what is necessary.” Given the nature of the proceedings, Lumumba said he would be “proud to be thrown out of your courtroom.” The judge cited Lumumba for contempt, fined him $500, and ordered him to serve three days in the county jail. Thereafter, Lumumba, complaining about the contempt citation, told a reporter that the judge had “the judicial temperament of a barbarian.” In an appeal of the citation and sentence, the state Supreme Court wrote that Lumumba’s statements were “truculent language for the purpose of inciting anger,” and “[went] far beyond zealous representation of one’s client. . .” Lumumba was suspended from practice for six months, fined $1,000, and required to retake the Ethics portion of the Mississippi Bar. Lumumba was represented in the matter by NCBL attorneys Imhotep Alkebu-lan, Adjoa Aiyetoro, and Jeffrey Edison. Mississippi Bar v. Lumumba 912 So.2d 871 (2005).
While practicing in Jackson, Lumumba spoke all over the country on behalf of the New African Peoples Organization, which succeeded the RNA, and of which he was the chairman. In 1987 Lumumba joined forces with many members of NCBL, including Adjoa Aiyetoro, N’Kechi Taifa, and Imhotep Alkebu-lan, to form the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA). In 1994, on the eve of the Fifth Annual Conference on Reparations in Detroit, he told New York Times reporter that reparations were imperative. “Blacks have a retarded economic infrastructure,” he said. “We’re saying we need reparations to develop that: land, machinery, technology. All of that has to come with billions of dollars.”
In 1993, Lumumba, at the time practicing in Jackson, returned to New York to represent NCBL member Alton Maddox, who was battling an indefinite suspension imposed in 1990 and associated with his zealous advocacy in the Tawana Brawley matter. Lumumba represented Maddox before the New York State Bar Grievance Committee.
In Jackson, Lumumba and long-time law partner and political associate, Alkebu-lan demonstrated for the world what was required of revolutionary lawyers in their extraordinary representation of Jamie and Gladys Scott, two sisters who were each given double life sentences in 1993 for allegedly participating in an $11 armed robbery with other teenagers. After Lumumba and Alkebu-lan waged a long international campaign for their freedom, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour finally granted them clemency in 2010.
Lumumba’s remarkable and unique legal career was characterized by brilliant courtroom advocacy, unwavering courage, and creative strategies. He never compromised his own revolutionary commitments in the courtroom, nor did he allow them to interfere with zealous advocacy for all of his clients. Rather, he exemplified liberationist advocacy, and ultimately won justice for hundreds of clients as well as respect for their political beliefs and decisions. Self-determination was his message, in and outside the courthouse; he conveyed it to jurors and judges alike, often paying dearly for speaking plainly about the racism he and his clients faced before the bar of American justice.
Lumumba won wide acclaim and an international reputation for his courage and unstinting advocacy on behalf of black activists and revolutionaries. In 1993, Justice Bruce Wright commended Lumumba at an awards ceremony sponsored by the United African Movement, wherein the William Leo Hansberry Award was conferred on Lumumba.
In 2009, Lumumba successfully won a seat on the Jackson City Council, bringing together for his election campaign the organization he helped to found, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, as well as the Jackson People’s Assembly and the Mississippi Disaster Relief Coalition. On May 21, 2013, he defeated his better-financed opponent in the mayoral race, winning five out of the seven municipal wards. He won the general election in June, and was sworn in on July 1, 2013. He conceded none of his political beliefs in moving into politics: a day after he won the general election for mayor, he queried whether Christopher Columbus was the real “discoverer” of America.
About his election Lumumba stated, “I attribute the victory that we had this last week to the people, the people of Jackson, who were more than ready to have leadership that was forward-looking and ready to raise Jackson to a different level of development, ready to embrace the ideas that all government should do the most to protect the human rights of the people.” He was dedicated to human rights, and was embarking on a progressive agenda for the city, particularly focusing on alternative models of cooperative economic development. His slogan was “One City, One Aim, One Destiny.”
Chokwe Lumumba was a visionary activist lawyer representing the fundamental ideals of NCBL and an unwavering commitment to human rights and the liberation of black people.
Jackson, Mississippi funeral for the late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba who died on Feb. 25, 2014 after serving less than a year in office. Lumumba was from Detroit., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Jackson Mourns Mayor With Militant Past Who Won Over Skeptics
By HERBERT BUCHSBAUM
MARCH 9, 2014
The New York Times
JACKSON, Miss. — Many people here still do not entirely know what to make of the mayor with the unusual name and even more unexpected résumé, who proudly embraced the term “militant” and to many was still the same dashiki-wearing firebrand who first came to prominence advocating an independent black nation in the South in the early 1970s.
But when Jackson said goodbye to Mayor Chokwe Lumumba this weekend, blacks and whites, for a change, largely united in mourning an unlikely experiment that ended when he died last month, apparently of a heart attack, at age 66, after only eight months in office.
To many in the capital’s black majority, the mayor was still the passionate advocate for black causes who over a 40-year career represented the rapper Tupac Shakur and pressed the state to retry the killer of the civil rights leader Medgar Evers. To the white business establishment, he had evolved into a surprisingly pragmatic politician who promised to fix the potholes and the sewers.
“It was very much like Nixon to China,” said Leland Speed, 81, the chairman of the EastGroup Properties real estate investment firm, who admits he did not vote for Mr. Lumumba. “The expectations when he was elected were not very high, and he surprised everybody pretty dramatically.”
What is no longer much debated here, from the tumbledown shacks in Jackson’s hollowed core to the colonnaded mansions and gated communities in the largely white northeast, is the sense that Mr. Lumumba was moving a city ravaged by decades of poverty, crime and white flight in the right direction. What is less clear in this city of half a million, the state’s largest, is what comes next.
Mr. Lumumba first arrived in Jackson in 1971 as a leader of the Republic of New Afrika, the 1960s-vintage liberation movement that called for billions in reparations payments to blacks and an independent black-majority nation in what are now the states of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina.
Two years earlier, the Detroit native had changed his name from Edwin Taliaferro to Chokwe (pronounced SHOW-kway), for an African tribe that resisted slavery, and Lumumba, for Patrice Lumumba, the Congolese independence leader who was ousted and executed in 1961 by C.I.A.-backed forces.
While the candidates in last spring’s mayoral primary initially focused on Jackson’s daunting problems, chiefly soaring violent crime and crumbling infrastructure, Mr. Lumumba’s radical past quickly became an issue. A video surfaced of a speech he made in 2009 describing his election to City Council that year as part of the process of “seizing power from the ground up.”
The video proved, as one north-side resident put it in a local weekly, that Mr. Lumumba was “still a paranoid radical who hates America.”
Mr. Lumumba dismissed the jibe. “I feel kind of comfortable being militant,” he told reporters. “Fannie Lou Hamer was a militant. Medgar Evers was a militant. Martin Luther King was a militant. In pursuit of good interests, there is nothing wrong with it.”
He finished second in the primary and handily won a runoff, despite losing badly in predominantly white precincts. Within city limits, Jackson is 80 percent black. At his inauguration last June, Mr. Lumumba called for unity, then raised his fist and shouted the New Afrika slogan, “Free the land!”
“Suburbs freak out,” was the headline in one newspaper.
But if Mr. Lumumba still harbored radical ambitions, Jackson had more pressing problems: dilapidated buildings, abandoned lots, a rising murder rate, a quarter of the city living in poverty and an estimated $2 billion in urgent infrastructure repairs that was needed.
He increased water and sewer rates and began a push for a 1 percent sales tax increase for infrastructure, selling the plan in town halls across the city.
Many white Jacksonians cite the meeting at Christ United Methodist Church, in the heart of the white community, as pivotal.
“They expected this radical and they went to the town meeting and what they found was a grandfather,” said Todd Allen, 50, a college recruiter who was mourning the mayor’s loss over a Southern Pecan ale at a downtown bistro.
“I’m upset that he’s gone because I really believed in him,” he added. “That man had some chutzpah.”
The sales tax passed with a staggering 90 percent of the vote.
Reporters often noted that the mayor was disarmingly soft-spoken. Former Governor Haley Barbour, a Republican, described him as “gracious.”
Former Gov. William Winter, a Democrat, admitted he misjudged him. “I was afraid that he would divide our city,” Mr. Winter said at the funeral on Saturday. “I could not have been more wrong.”
Yet the mayor never renounced his black nationalist ideals, an incongruity on display at the memorial services over the weekend.
At City Hall on Friday, Coltrane Chimurenga of the militant Dec. 12 movement, in long dreadlocks, black leather coat and dark glasses, ended his speech shouting “Freedom or death!”
Mr. Lumumba’s son and political heir apparent, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, 31, delivered a barn-burning eulogy, closing with a raised fist and shouts of “Free the land! Free the land! By any means necessary!”
At the cemetery later, the entrance was flanked by two hook and ladder trucks, ladders extended in an arc. A giant American flag was draped from one, the red, black and green of the New Afrika movement from the other.
It may be the ultimate irony of Mr. Lumumba’s life that his most significant concrete achievement as mayor was the passage of a regressive tax to fix potholes.
“He has a place he wanted to go and he wanted to fly there on a plane,” his policy director, Walter Zinn, said in an interview. “But there was no plane, just a bus, and the bus don’t work. The tragedy is, he died fixing the bus.”
On Feb. 25, Mr. Lumumba went to a Jackson hospital complaining of chest pains. That afternoon he was dead.
Few were shocked in this land walked by the ghosts of civil rights martyrs that a few days later the county supervisor, Kenneth Stokes, would blurt out on television: “Who killed the mayor?”
The coroner ruled that Mr. Lumumba had died of “natural causes” and no evidence has emerged to the contrary.
A special election is set for April 8, and the margin of the referendum vote suggests that a majority wants to continue down the path set by Mr. Lumumba, even if its final destination remains an enigma.
A campaign has arisen to draft his son, a criminal defense lawyer in his father’s old firm. The younger Mr. Lumumba has not announced his intentions, though he may have hinted at them in his eulogy.
“Chokwe Lumumba lived in the people’s struggle and he will never die,” he said, his voice rising in powerful cadences like a country preacher. “My father lives in me.”
The crowd rose to its feet.
As for the father, while his dreams for Jackson and Mississippi remain a mystery, being the progressive black mayor of a black-majority Southern capital ultimately may not have been a far cry from the black self-determination he once sought.
On Friday night, long after the crowds had gone, an honor guard of the Jackson police, a department once rife with Klan members, carried the mayor’s body out of a City Hall that was built by slaves in 1846. His family and close aides watched silently under the towering Doric columns as Jackson’s radical mayor, wearing a gold and white dashiki, left City Hall for the last time.
Amaal oil fields in east Libya. The privatization of the industry is taking place after the counter-revolution against Col. Muammar Gaddafi., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Neo-Colonial Libya Says Its Rebels Now Near Oil Tanker
TRIPOLI, Libya March 9, 2014
Occupied Libyan regime rebel forces and loyal militia fighters besieged a North Korea-flagged tanker Sunday that a rival militia hoped to use to export oil in defiance of central authorities, officials said.
Al-Habib al-Amin, the country's culture minister and a top aide to United States supported neo-colonial Libyan prime minister, told reporters in a televised news conference that government forces including navy vessels were deployed to al-Sidra port to stop the tanker.
"It's final and decisive. Any attempt (by the tanker) to move, it will be turned into scrap," al-Amin said.
The so-called "Libya Revolutionary Operation Room," an umbrella group of militias groups that answer to the interim U.S.-backed parliament, said in a statement on its official Facebook page that the tanker is at the port and "couldn't leave because our hero [counter] revolutionaries are besieging it and preventing it from leaving."
"In case it doesn't surrender, the tanker will be shelled completely," the statement said. In a second note, the operation room said that 22 fishing vessels mounted with mortar and rocket launchers are surrounding the tanker.
Al-Sidra is one of the biggest ports in the country and has been under militia control since the summer, slowing the country's oil output — once estimated at 1.6 million barrels a day under the Col. Muammar Gaddafi's political system of Jamahiriya— to a trickle.
The seizure of the terminals and attempted oil sales show Occupied Libya's security and economic woes which have piled up over the past two years since the toppling and brutal lynching of Pan-African revollutionary Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
Gadhafi's ouster left the country without a functioning government, as well as weak military and police forces. Successive interim governments have tried to rein in rebels by asking them to use them to maintain law and order. However, many of the militias serve their own interests and turned the country into fiefdoms.
For months, the rebel Libyan government has been coaxing and threatening to use force against the eastern militias demanding greater self-rule and equal distribution of oil wealth among Libya's three colonial and neo-colonial historic regions. The militias also ask for an investigation into allegations of corruption marring oil sales.
The crisis has tested Libya's embattled U.S.-backed Prime Minister Ali Zidan. He told reporters on Saturday that his government gave orders for the rebel military to move against the tanker but they didn't follow orders.
Chief of Staff spokesman Gen. Ali al-Shekhli told a private Libyan TV network on Sunday that weather conditions prevented the forces from moving. However, he added that rebel naval forces stopped the same tanker as it tried to enter al-Sidra last week.
The country's prosecutor general has issued an arrest warrant for the tanker captain and its crew members while ordered the tanker be confiscated.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement Sunday night, "The United States is deeply concerned by reports that a vessel sailing under the name Morning Glory is loading a cargo of illicitly obtained oil at the Libyan port of Al-Sidra. This action is counter to law and amounts to theft from the Libyan people. The oil belongs to the Libyan National Oil Company and its joint venture partners," including U.S. companies.
Occupied Libya Waha Oil Company staff threatens strike over oil sales to North Korean-flagged fuel tanker. Rebel factions are threatening to clash over the issue., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Libyan rebels warn of 'war' if navy attacks oil tanker
Armed protesters in eastern Libya traded threats with the western-backed regime on Sunday in a tense stand-off over the unauthorized sale of oil from a rebel-held port.
A North Korean-flagged tanker, the Morning Glory, docked on Saturday at the port of Es Sider and local daily al-Wasat said it had loaded $36 million of crude oil. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has said the rebel military will bomb the 37,000-tonne vessel if it tries to leave.
Officials said on Sunday that the navy and pro-government militias had dispatched boats to stop it from getting out. The rebels said any attack on the tanker would be "a declaration of war."
The escalating conflict over the country's oil wealth is a sign of mounting chaos in Libya, where the government has failed to rein in fighters who served ground rats in the CIA-Pentagon-NATO ouster veteran ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and who now defy the neo-colonial state authority.
The protesters, who also include former soldiers and ex-oil guards led by a former anti-Gaddafi commander, Ibrahim Jathran, have seized three eastern ports in the OPEC member country.
The rebel Defense Ministry in Tripoli issued orders to the chief of staff, air force and navy to deal with the tanker. "The order authorizes the use of force and puts the responsibility for any resulting damage on the ship owner," it said in a statement.
"Several navy boats have been dispatched. Now the tanker's movements are under complete control and nobody can move it," said Culture Minister Habib al-Amin, who acts as informal government spokesman. "The tanker will stay where it is."
"All efforts are being undertaken to stop and seize the tanker, if necessary by a (military) strike, if it does not follow orders," he said, adding that state prosecutors would treat the loading of the crude as smuggling.
There was no sign of any immediate military action, but Libyan news websites showed some small boats close to a tanker which they said was the Morning Glory.
Libya has been trying to rebuild its army since Gaddafi's overthrow, but analysts say it is not yet a match for battle-hardened militias that fought in the eight-month counter-revolution that toppled him after eight months of aerial bombardments from the Pentagon and NATO.
WAR OF WORDS
Abb-Rabbo al-Barassi, self-declared prime minister of the rebel movement, warned against "harming any tanker or sending navy ships into the waters of Cyrenaica," according to a statement.
He was referring to the historic name of eastern Libya under King Idris, whom Gaddafi deposed in a 1969 coup. The protesters want a return to the Idris-era system under which oil revenues were shared between Libya's regions.
If the tanker was harmed, the statement said, "the response from Cyrenaica's defense forces, oil guards and revolutionaries will be decisive. Such a move would be a declaration of war."
In Tripoli, workers at a state oil firm that runs Es Sider port went on strike, urging the government to intervene because their colleagues were under duress from armed protesters.
"We are very angry at what is happening at Es Sider," said Salah Madari, an oil worker in the capital. "The port's control officer is being held at gunpoint," he said, adding that gunmen had also forced a pilot to guide the tanker into dock.
Jathran once led a brigade paid by the state to protect oil facilities. He turned against the government and seized Es Sider and two other ports with thousands of his men in August.
Tripoli has held indirect talks with Jathran, but fears his demand for a greater share of oil revenue for eastern Libya might lead to secession.
In January, the Libyan navy fired on a Maltese-flagged tanker that it said had tried to load oil from the protesters in Es Sider, successfully chasing it away.
It is very unusual for an oil tanker flagged in secretive North Korea to operate in the Mediterranean, shipping sources said. NOC says the tanker is owned by a Saudi company. It has changed ownership in the past few weeks and had previously been called Gulf Glory, according to a shipping source.
Libya's neo-colonial government has tried to end a wave of protests at oil ports and fields that have slashed oil output to 230,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 1.4 million bpd in July.
Emerson Mnangagwa of ZANU-PF, President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe held their last national elections on March 29, 2008., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Mwalimu Nyerere’s enduring legacy
Sunday, 09 March 2014 00:00
Professor Issa G. Shivji
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail
Cde Mugabe said African leaders should do more to honour Mwalimu Nyerere, who supported liberation movements by making his country a sanctuary for freedom fighters.
“I want to say, when all honour has been showered on heroes in Africa, the man who has been humiliated is Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. There we are, liberation movements, there we were — depending on the resources in Tanzania. But there has been nothing said about this man and his country at the OAU. Nkrumah, yes, he had that support . . . But Tanzania, to say Nyerere was like any other,” said President Mugabe.
“I want us, Zimbabweans, to stand for Nyerere. Africa should be reminded of the responsibility that it thrust on this man, a burden to train all liberation movements. It was a burden that was not only political, but, at the end of the day, there is no one to say Tanzania deserves to be mentioned.
“At the end of the day, there is no one to say Tanzania deserved to be even mentioned, just mere mentioning as having accomplished that mission, that mission to have us as friends, that mission to make us train our liberation movements in Africa.
“We all went in various ways, in various dimensions, to Tanzania to liberate our countries and we have not gone back to Tanzania. Well, I am going to be chair of the AU and I am going to tackle this issue,” he said, drawing applause from guests at the function.
In the spirit of honouring Mwalimu Nyerere’s enduring legacy, The Sunday Mail publishes an article by Professor Issa G. Shivji, exploring Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s conceptions of nationalism in Africa, ideas which encompassed both the political through liberatory principles and the universal through transcending narrow identities. Debates around the economic success of his policies notwithstanding, Nyerere’s greatest legacy, Shivji writes, was his sweeping vision of African unity.
Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere was a great nationalist of the first generation of African leaders who struggled for independence.
His nationalism was rooted in pan-Africanism, which is what gave it a universal dimension transcending narrow territorial, ethnic or racial nationalisms. In his address to celebrate the 40th year of Ghana’s independence, Nyerere said:
“For centuries, we had been oppressed and humiliated as Africans. We were hunted and enslaved as Africans, and we were colonised as Africans . . . Since we were humiliated as Africans, we had to be liberated as Africans.”
This way of conceptualising nationalism is both political and universal. It is political in that it privileges the common experience of oppression of a people and their struggle for liberation as opposed to identity.
It is universal in that it transcends narrow nationalisms based on identities of race, religion, tribe, ethnicity and even countries. In the case of Africa, in fact Nyerere characterised African countries as artificial entities, as vinchi (statelets) — as he derided them in Kiswahili — carved out by imperial powers.
His clarion call therefore was for African liberation and African unity. Only thus could the African people overcome both oppression and humiliation.
This pan-Africanist nationalism found its succinct expression in the Arusha Declaration of 1967. Its rallying cry, whose echo resonated with the African masses all over the continent, including those in the diaspora.
“We have been oppressed a great deal, we have been exploited a great deal and we have been disregarded a great deal. It is our weakness that has led to our being oppressed, exploited and disregarded. Now we want a revolution — a revolution which brings to an end our weakness, so that we are never again exploited, oppressed, or humiliated.”
This was a powerful statement. C.L.R. James described the Arusha Declaration as “the highest stage of resistance ever reached by revolting blacks”, but as he said, a statement of intentions. It is true that Nyerere’s government went beyond intentions in taking concrete measures including nationalising the commanding heights of the economy and instituting the leadership code prohibiting party and state leaders from indulging in capitalist and feudalist practices such as owning shares in companies, taking directorships in private capitalist enterprises, receiving two or more salaries and owning houses for renting.
There has been considerable debate on whether or not the economic polices followed under the policy of Ujamaa or socialism were successful, whether the leaders were truly socialist or not and whether there was a genuine participation of the workers and peasants in the decision-making organs of the party and the state.
Whatever the merits in this debate — no doubt some of the analysis of Tanzania’s ujamaa was powerful and irrefutable — the greatest legacy of Nyerere lies not so much in his economic policies but rather in his grand vision of pan-Africanist liberation in which African people could say, “We have stood up!”
There are two fundamental premises of Nyerere’s nationalism. One, that African states should be able to make their own decisions, that is, to be able to exercise their sovereignty meaningfully and, two, the unity of Africa.
The two are inseparable.
In fact, Nyerere’s call for the unity of Africa was connected with his passion for the right of African states to exercise their sovereignty.
He rightly believed and constantly argued that African mini-states would not be able to defend their sovereignty and independence without uniting.
In this, he was one with Kwame Nkrumah.
Unfortunately, these paragons of pan-Africanism did not succeed in actualising their vision during their lifetime. But like all great visions, today their arguments are as fresh and, perhaps, have greater relevance after the rude interruption of neo-liberalism of the last two decades.
More than its economic impact, neoliberalism in Africa was a political and ideological onslaught on nationalism. For a while, it helped to rehabilitate imperialism morally, enabling it to go on a political offensive.
Neoliberal policies were a frontal attack on the sovereignty and independence of African states as these states lost the basic right of a sovereign state — to make its own policy. Ironically, the neoliberal period laid bare the limits of territorial nationalism and vindicated Nyerere’s pan-Africanism — without unity, Africa would not be able to defend its independence.
Globalisation and neoliberalism have come full circle. In its extreme form of casino capitalism, neoliberalism entered a terminal state last August. As capitalist powers rewrite the rules of the game, African masses and their organic intellectuals are beginning to question the game itself.
This was not possible during the neoliberal triumphalism when we were told by the Thatcherites of this world that “there is no alternative” (TINA). The TINA syndrome gripped African rulers, and the prospects of integration into globalisation mesmerised them.
Nyerere’s successors were no exception. They joined the neoliberal bandwagon with a vengeance. The ideology of neoliberalism seemed so strong then that the Arusha Declaration was not only forgotten but unceremoniously buried as politicians set to liberalise and privatise, turning over public assets to rapacious private interests at fire-sale prices. Public goods — education, health services, water and electricity — were all turned into commodities to be sold for private profit. State coffers were emptied as politicians turned public offices into a vehicle for accumulation. Politicians became rentiers as rentiers became politicians.
As neoliberal chickens come home to roost, the popular masses are re-membering, to use Ng’ugi’s felicitous phrase, the Arusha Declaration. Whereas only two years ago, no one remembered the 40th anniversary of the Arusha Declaration, this year, at the 10th commemoration of Mwalimu’s Nyerere’s death, Azimio la Arusha and miiko ya viongozi (the leadership code) was on everyone’s lips — from the lumpens of Dar es Salaam to the learned of the university.
Even the officially organised ceremonies were forced to have a token presence of the critics.
On television talk shows and in newspaper columns, ordinary people repeated tirelessly: Mwalimu gave us dignity; the Arusha Declaration cared for us, the oppressed and the disregarded.
There could not be a better tribute to Mwalimu Nyerere’s great legacy — pan-Africanist nationalism. For truly, as he once put it graphically, African nationalism can only be pan-Africanism, otherwise it is “equivalent of tribalism within the context of our separate nation states”.
Issa G. Shivji is the Mwalimu Nyerere University Professor of Pan-African Studies at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
Republic of South Africa Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was elected as the African Union Commission Chair at the Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on July 15-16, 2012. She is the first woman and Southern African to be elected to the post., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
SATURDAY 8 MARCH 2014
AU forms commission of inquiry into South Sudan conflict
March 7, 2014 (JUBA) - The African Union has established a commission of inquiry to investigate human rights violations and other abuses committed during South Sudan’s outbreak of violence in mid-December last year.
Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo heads the five-member body, which was established after consultations with the different parties to the conflict, including armed opposition groups.
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the AU Commission chairperson, said the inquiry body was established as part of an AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) decision, made by the heads of states and governments.
Its mandate, she stressed, would be to “investigate human rights violations and other abuses committed during the armed conflict in South Sudan and make recommendations on the best way and means to ensure accountability, reconciliation and healing among all South Sudanese communities.”
Ugandan academic Mahmood Mamdani, Justice Sophia Akuffo, president of the African Court on Human Rights based in Arusha, Bineta Diop, AU special envoy for women, peace and security, and Professor Pacifique Manirakiza, a member of the African Commission on Human Rights (ACHPR) based in Banjul are the other members.
The commission will also be tasked with establish the immediate and remote causes of the conflict, as well as establishing the facts and circumstances that may have led to violations and other crimes.
A technical and administrative secretariat based in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, will support the five-member commission, the AU said.
CIVIL SOCIETY CALLS
The AU’s move comes after South Sudanese civil society organisations, with support from organisations operating in Africa, wrote to the ACHPR demanding a resolution condemning serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law it’s alleged took place in South Sudan since the outbreak of violence.
In its 6 February statement, civil society groups urged the ACHPR to visit South Sudan and to step up calls for “the ratification of regional and international human rights instruments.”
It’s estimated that more than 10,000 people have died in the conflict, which has displaced nearly one million people, was sparked by a dispute between the presidential guards in the capital, Juba.
In a statement issued last week, US-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch accused both pro-government and opposition forces of committing crimes, including killings, rape and abductions of civilians during the conflict.
Meanwhile, the country’s civil society groups say South Sudan must commit to numerous long-term improvements in order to better protect and promote human rights.
“Comprehensive judicial reforms are necessary if the judiciary is to meet minimum standards of professionalism and independence, particularly if it is to play a role in holding the perpetrators of the recent violence to account,” the group’s statement said.
“The ACHPR should call for and support such comprehensive reforms and call on the government of South Sudan to devote adequate human and financial resources to the judicial sector,” it urged.
Civil society groups have called on ACHPR to ensure its guidelines on the right to a fair trial and legal assistance in Africa are adequately disseminated in South Sudan and integrated into national law.
They further highlighted the “weaknesses” in the South Sudan Human Rights Commission, including insufficient human and financial resources and its susceptibility to political pressure, preventing it from adequately responding to the current crisis.
The statement urges the ACHPR to apply greater pressure on the South Sudanese government to ensure the commission remains independent and “benefits from adequate resources to carry out its mandate, in accordance with provisions of the Paris Principles.”
Republic of South Sudan official Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin lays reef for Indian troops killed in South Sudan. The country is being plunged into a civil war., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
SUNDAY 9 MARCH 2014
Juba denies requesting IGAD troops to protect oil fields
March 7, 2014 (JUBA) - A South Sudanese official on Saturday described as "incorrect" media reports that Juba had requested the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) countries to deploy troops to protect its oil fields.
Ateny Wek Ateny, the spokesperson for the presidency told Sudan Tribune that the proposal came from individual member countries of the East African regional bloc.
“What has been attributed to me to have said in Khartoum is incorrect. My statements were recorded and I have the audio. What has been said is not what I said. It is a misrepresentation of the statements I made before our ambassador and the other officials who were at the press conference with me," Ateny clarified.
"I did not say the government of the republic of South Sudan had asked for deployment of troops from IGAD member countries. I said the government of the republic of South Sudan had received a proposal from individual IGAD member countries seeking to deploy troops to protect oil fields," he stressed.
Ateny, however, said his government was still studying the proposed idea before any decision was taken.
The presidential spokesperson also claimed he was misquoted about the security situation in the capital, Juba when asked by a Khartoum-based journalist.
“I was asked about security situation in Juba, because there was impression that it is not secure. I told them I live in Juba and the security situation there is like here in Khartoum. If you live in Khartoum you do not feel any threat of war but if you go to Darfur and other parts of this country, you feel the war”, Ateny told Sudan Tribune in an exclusive interview on Saturday.
The official was reacting to statements attributed to him at a press conference in the Sudanese capital during a visit he undertook as part of efforts to advance his government’s version of the conflict which broke out in the new nation last year.
Ateny, who was accompanied by South Sudan army spokesperson, Philip Aguer, also visited the Egyptian capital, Cairo and later Nairobi, Kenya on a similar mission.
Up to 10,000 people have reportedly been killed and nearly a million displaced when violence broke out in Juba on 15 December and later extended to three of the country’s 10 states, while an additional close to 200, 000 people have fled to neighbouring countries.
Ground troops from the US-backed AMISOM forces enter the town of Wanlaweyn in Somalia. The country has 17,000 troops occupying the Horn of Africa state on behalf of the Pentagon and NATO., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
U.N. extends partial easing of Somalia arms embargo to October
Wed, Mar 5 2014
By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday extended a partial suspension of the decades-old arms embargo on Somalia for eight months while highlighting concerns about the possible diversion of weapons to al Qaeda-linked militants.
A resolution unanimously adopted by the council has its members "condemning flows of weapons and ammunition supplies to and through Somalia in violation of the arms embargo on Somalia, as well as the destabilizing accumulation of such weapons, as a serious threat to peace and stability in the region."
A year ago, the 15-nation Security Council agreed to partially lift the arms embargo on Somalia, allowing the government in Mogadishu to buy light weapons to strengthen its security forces to fight the Islamist group al Shabaab and other militants.
Instead of extending that partial easing for a year, or scrapping the embargo entirely as the Somalia government would have liked, the council resolution renews it only until October 25, which is when U.N. experts who monitor the embargo and other sanctions on Somalia and Eritrea are due to report back.
"The resolution makes very clear that the Somali authorities need to meet strict conditions on the monitoring and reporting of arms imports into Somalia to ensure in particular that they do not get into the hands of al Shabaab," British U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told reporters.
The U.N. Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group recommended in a confidential report to the Security Council's sanctions committees last month that either the full arms embargo be restored or at least notification and reporting requirements related to arms deliveries be tightened.
The council accepted the latter recommendation.
The monitors' report, obtained by Reuters, warns of "systematic abuses" by Somalia's government, which the monitors say has allowed the diversion of weapons that Somali authorities purchased thanks to the easing of restrictions on arms sales.
AWASH WITH WEAPONS
Somalia's government last year had asked for the arms embargo to be fully removed, and the United States supported that. But other Security Council members were wary of doing that in a country already awash with weapons.
The Security Council imposed the embargo on Somalia in 1992 to cut the flow of weapons to feuding warlords, who a year earlier had ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and plunged the country into civil war. In 2012, Somalia held its first vote since 1991 to elect a president and prime minister.
The eased restrictions allow sales to the government of such weapons as automatic assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, but leave in place a ban on surface-to-air missiles, large-caliber guns, howitzers, cannons and mortars as well as anti-tank guided weapons, mines and night-vision weapon sights.
Under U.N. rules, weapons and military equipment may not be resold or transferred to any individual or entity outside of the Somali security forces.
The Security Council is asking Somalia's government to report regularly on the structure of the security forces and the infrastructure and procedures in place to ensure safe storage, maintenance and distribution of military equipment.
There is a 17,600-strong African Union peacekeeping force and a U.N. political mission in the Horn of Africa country. The African Union force is planning a major offensive against al Shabaab, U.N. diplomats and officials say.
(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
US-backed forces of the Somalia Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM enter the town of Wanlaweyn. The Horn of Africa nation is being occupied by imperialism utilizing proxy forces from the region., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Somali National Army and AMISOM reclaim five strategic towns in Bay region
Posted on March 9, 2014
In renewed joint operations between the Somali National Army (SNA) and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces, five strategic towns in the Bay region of Somalia have been reclaimed from the control of the Al Shabaab terrorist group.
In the last couple of days, SNA and AMISOM forces have regained control of Rabdhure Ted, and Hudur towns in joint operations that saw the terrorists defeated and driven out of these towns. Today, the SNA and AMISOM forces continued their march and secured the town of Wajid and Buudhubow in the Gedo region.
The African Union Special Representative for Somalia and Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif thanked the Somali population of the newly recovered towns for their cooperation and seized the opportunity to once again appeal to the youth enrolled in Al Shabaab to lay down their arms and join their brothers and sisters in the Government controlled areas where they are welcomed.
The SNA and AMISOM joint operations signal the beginning of the renewed efforts by the Somali government forces working more closely with AMISOM forces to dislodge Al Shabaab from many of its strongholds across the country.
This will facilitate the extension of the Somali government’s control over its territory as well as enable the people of Somalia to live their lives free from Al Shabaab’s tyranny.
These joint operations were carried out with due diligence and strict observance of International Human Rights standards in line with the trainings received by both SNA and AMISOM forces.
Counter-Revolutionary Regime Occupying Libya Threatens Military Actions Against North Korean-flagged Oil Tanker
Fighting continues between various rebel factions in eastern Libya. Dozens of people have so far been reported killed., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Libya authorizes use of force against North Korean-flagged tanker
By Ulf Laessing and Feras Bosalum
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's defense ministry has issued orders to its military authorizing the use of force to stop a North Korea-flagged tanker loading crude oil sold by armed rebels seeking to bypass the Tripoli government, state media said on Sunday.
The rebels, who have seized three major Libyan ports since August to press demands for a greater share of oil revenues and political autonomy, received the tanker on Saturday at the Es Sider port in the volatile east.
The docking and loading of crude escalates a seven-month blockade of key oil ports and is just one facet of deepening turmoil in the OPEC producer, which is struggling to control militias that helped oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but kept their weapons and now challenge state authority.
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said on Saturday Libya would bomb the 37,000-tonne tanker if it tried to exit the port, one of Libya's biggest oil export terminals.
State news agency LANA said on Sunday the defense ministry had issued orders to the military and warned the tanker's owner.
"The defense ministry issued orders to the chief of staff, air force and navy to take care of this tanker which entered Libyan waters without official permission," LANA said.
"The order authorizes the use of force and puts the responsibility of any damages resulting from this on the ship owner," it said.
Spokesmen for both the state-run National Oil Corp (NOC) and the protesters said the tanker was still docked at the port. Local newspaper al-Wasat said the tanker had loaded $36 million of crude.
A Reuters reporter who visited Es Sider on Saturday evening said there was only a small force at the gate consisting of around ten cars. The guards had orders not to let staff out until the loading was complete, one of them said.
The rebels are led by former anti-Gaddafi commander Ibrahim Jathran, who used to be in charge of a brigade paid by the state to protect petroleum facilities but turned against the government and seized the port and two others in the east with thousands of his men in August.
Tripoli has held indirect talks with Jathran, but his demand for a greater share of oil revenues for the eastern region, which it had under Gaddafi's predecessor King Idris, is sensitive because the government worries this might lead to secession.
In January, the Libyan navy fired on a Maltese-flagged tanker that it said tried to load oil from the protesters in Es Sider, successfully chasing it away.
It is very unusual for an oil tanker flagged in secretive North Korea to operate in the Mediterranean, shipping sources said. NOC says the tanker is owned by a Saudi company. It changed ownership in the past few weeks and previously been called Gulf Glory, according to a shipping source.
Libya's government has tried to end a wave of protests at oil ports and fields that have slashed oil output to 230,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 1.4 million bpd in July.
Western powers worry Libya will slide into deeper instability or even break apart.
(Additional reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
Zawiya Oil refinery in occupied Libya. Since the counter-revolution against Gaddafi and the Jamahiriya the country's oil production has declined by two-thirds., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Libya threatens to bomb N.Korean tanker if it ships oil from rebel port
Sat, Mar 8 2014
* Independent crude shipment to market challenges Tripoli
* Navy has threatened tankers loading crude at seized ports
* Western powers worried over increasing Libyan chaos
TRIPOLI, March 8-- Libya's imperialist-backed puppet leaders threatened on Saturday to bomb a North Korean-flagged tanker if it tried to ship oil from a rebel-controlled port, in a major escalation of a standoff over the country's petroleum wealth.
The rival rebels, who have seized three major Libyan ports since August to press their demands for more autonomy, warned Tripoli against staging an attack to halt the oil sale after the tanker docked at Es Sider terminal, one of the country's biggest. The vessel started loading crude late at night, oil officials said.
The oil dispute is just one facet of the deepening turmoil in the North African OPEC member, where the government is struggling to control militias who were funded by the CIA, the Pentagon and NATO in the toppling and brutal assassination of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but kept their weapons and now challenge state authority.
A local television station controlled by protesters showed footage of pro-autonomy rebels holding a lengthy ceremony and slaughtering a camel to celebrate their first oil shipment. In the distance stood a tanker. The station said the ceremony took place in Es Sider.
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan appeared on television to warn the tanker's crew. "The tanker will be bombed if it doesn't follow orders when leaving (the port). This will be an environmental disaster," Zeidan said.
"They are now trying to load oil," he said, denouncing it as a criminal act. Authorities have ordered the arrest of the tanker's crew.
There was no immediate sign of the country's armed forces moving towards the port.
Analysts say the military, still in training, would struggle to overcome rebels battle-hardened from the eight-month uprising against Gaddafi.
Zeidan acknowledged the army had failed to implement his orders last week to stop the protesters sending reinforcements from their base in Ajdabiyah, west of the regional capital Benghazi, to Es Sider.
"Nothing was done," Zeidan said, adding that political opponents in parliament were obstructing his government. He said North Korea had asked the ship's captain to sail away from the port but armed protesters had prevented that.
Abb-Rabbo Albarassi, the eastern autonomy movement's self-declared prime minister, said Zeidan's government had failed to meet its demands to share oil wealth, investigate oil corruption and to grant the regional autonomy.
"We tried to reach a deal with the government, but they and parliament ... were too busy with themselves and didn't even discuss our demands," he told the televised ceremony.
"If anyone attacks, we will respond to that."
A successful independent oil shipment would be a blow to the government. Tripoli had said earlier it would destroy tankers trying to buy oil from Ibrahim Jathran, a former anti-Gaddafi rebel who seized the port and two others with thousands of his men in August.
Jathran, who was seen attending the televised ceremony, had commanded a brigade of former rebels paid by the state to protect petroleum facilities. He defected with his troops, however, to take over the ports.
In January, the Libyan navy fired on a Maltese-flagged tanker which it said had tried to load oil from the protesters in Es Sider.
The North Korean-flagged Morning Glory, which was previously flagged in Liberia, had been circling off the Libyan coast for days. It tried to dock at Es Sider on Tuesday, when port workers still loyal to the central government told the crew to turn back.
Storage tanks at Es Sider and other seized ports are full, according to oil sources.
It is extremely unusual for an oil tanker flagged in secretive North Korea to operate in the Mediterranean, shipping sources said.
A spokesman for state-run National Oil Corp (NOC) said the Morning Glory was owned by a Saudi company. It had changed ownership in the past few weeks and previously been called Gulf Glory, according to a shipping source.
The Saudi embassy in Tripoli said in a statement that the kingdom's government had nothing to do with the tanker, without saying who owned it.
Western powers who are the root of the current crisis is supposedly worried that occupied Libya will slide into deeper instability or even break apart as the government, paralysed by political battles in parliament, struggles to assert control of a vast country awash with arms and militias.
At an imperialist-sponsored neo-colonial Libya conference this week in Rome, Western countries voiced concern that tensions in Libya could slip out of control in the absence of a functioning political system, and urged the government and rival factions to start talking.
Libya's government has tried to end a wave of protests at oil ports and fields across the vast desert state that have slashed oil output, the country's lifeline, to 230,000 barrels per day (bpd), from 1.4 million bpd in July.
Tripoli has held indirect talks with Jathran but his demand for a greater share of oil revenues for the east which is sensitive for a government that worries this might lead to secession.
Jathran has teamed up with another set of protesters blocking oil exports at the 110,000-bpd Hariga port in Tobruk, also located in the east.
Rebel Libya's defence minister held talks this week with protesters blocking the 340,000-bpd El Sharara oilfield in the south but there is no word on whether it will reopen soon.
The protesters, from a tribal minority, want national identity cards and a local council, demands the minister has promised to study.
Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Featured on Leid Stories: 'Detroit Emergency Manager Seeks Court Approval On Bank Payoffs'
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, with Lila Cabbil of the D-REM, co-chairing the Emergency Town Hall meeting at Central United Methodist Church in downtown Detroit. The meeting drew up a plan of action to fight the bankruptcy., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.Leid Stories – 03/04/14
Posted on: March 4th, 2014
Detroit Seeks Court OK on Bank Payoffs; Coalition Readies for Showdown;
Obama, Congress Mull $1 Billion in Aid to Ukrainian Fascists
To listen to this Leid Stories broadcast over PRN.fm just click on the website below:
State-appointed city manager Kevyn Orr late yesterday filed a motion with the federal judge overseeing Detroit’s $18-billion bankruptcy seeking approval of an $85-million settlement Orr said he had worked out with two creditor-banks to end costly interest-rate swap deals from 2005. Judge Steven Rhodes had rejected two previous proposed settlements.
Meanwhile, grassroots groups opposed to Orr’s appointment, the bankruptcy, and drastic cuts to pensions and city services have formed a coalition and are getting ready for a courtroom battle.
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire and a Detroit organizer for the Workers World Party, updates the situation in Detroit.
Gaining no traction with veiled military threats against Russia in the Ukrainian crisis, Washington instead will buy its way in with an immediate $1-billion “aid” package to help its would-be client—the ultranationalist “government” that ousted the democratically elected president.
No such legislative speed or money to solve problems at home, says a Leid Stories commentary.
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, on the Estulin program aired on RT television Spanish language service. Azikiwe discussed US militarism in Africa., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Evidence Obama needs to shut down Gitmo, ex-prisoners rarely act violent - report
Voice of Russia
Proof is mounting that President Obama needs to close Guantanamo Bay as ex-prisoners are found to rarely participate in violent criminal activity, as suggested in a newly released report. The US Director of National Intelligence issued out its report finding that the recidivism rate of former prisoners is very low and has continued to fall since 2009.
The new semi-annual report entitled Re-Engagement of Detainees Formerly Held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, outlines with its data that in spite of the messages about how Guantanamo’s prison keeps the most vicious terrorists locked away, most of the men released from the detention facility have not committed any acts of violence since.
Earlier on, Guantanamo took in scores of people who had never taken part in violent acts. No matter, these very suspects were transferred over to US authorities with the help of Afghan militias on false allegations that they were tied to the Taliban or just ended up in the wrong spot at the most inconvenient of times.
Before the time of January 2009, 532 inmates were let out of the Guantanamo Bay detention center and out of those hundreds the US claims that 99 (18.6 percent) were “confirmed of reengaging” in violent actions and an additional 72 (13.5 percent) were suspected of reengaging in violent crimes.
Percentage wise, that comes to only 32.1 percent of those who were released that committed a crime. If compared to the recidivism rates in US prisons, where the three-year-rate is over 60 percent, the rate for Guantanamo Bay remains very low.
What may be even more surprising is how the number of crime related relapses dropped sharply since January 2009. After January 2009, data shows that of the 82 released from Guantanamo Bay only five were confirmed of reengaging in criminal activity, or 6.1 percent were back out there creating chaos. Two others, or just 2.4 percent, were suspected of reengaging in violent behavior.
As the reengagement number amongst ex-prisoners from Guantanamo Bay continues to drop, it is valid, and not to mention current, evidence highlighting why President Obama should continue to release prisoners stuck in the detention center. There are believers out there who also assert that compensation should be paid out to Guantanamo Bay victims.
“I believe that all victims of the Guantanamo Bay should be compensated whether they are citizens of the United States or residents of any other country,” Abayomi Azikiwe, the editor of Pan African News Wire, said to Press TV, “These people who have been there for so many years, and many of whom I have no absolute evidence that they have committed any serious crime, are eligible for… reparations and restitution.”
President Obama has not only made a promise to the American people that he would shut down Guantanamo Bay, but to the prisoners who have been waiting for their freedom that has been kept from them for so long. Tension will continue to build on the topic matter of Guantanamo Bay as long as it is kept open. The bigger question may be to ask how much more evidence do President Obama and state lawmakers need before being convinced that seemingly so Guantanamo Bay is working in nobody’s favor.
Voice of Russia, Csmonitor.com, Dni.gov, Press TV
Russian armored personnel carrier deployed amid rising tensions in Crimea on the Black Sea. Ukraine has experienced a pro-European and United States fascist coup., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Maidan activists take Russian Embassy in Kiev under control
Representatives of the "self-defense of Maidan" took the building of the Russian embassy in Kiev under control, Ukrainian media say. The activists reportedly stand against the invasion of the Russian army in the Crimea.
Hundreds of Kiev residents picketed the Russian Embassy last week demanding to stop aggression on the territory of Ukraine.
Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin held an operational meeting with members of the Russian Security Council. As president's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, the meeting discussed the situation in Ukraine, including the decision of the Supreme Council of the Crimea to join the Russian Federation.
On March 1, Crimea's new prime minister asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to ensure peace in the country. The same day, the Federation Council approved the address from the Russian president to deploy a limited contingent of Russian troops in the Crimea in order to protect the population of the peninsula.
A little later, press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that the president had not made the decision to deploy Russian troops in the Crimea. It was purely a prerogative of the president, Peskov said.
Putin later said that he was not planning to deploy troops to Ukraine. In addition, he denied reports saying that Russian troops blocked a range of strategic facilities on the peninsula.
Federation Council and State Duma support Crimea's decision to join Russia
Russia's Federation Council will support Crimea's decision to join Russia, if the people of the Crimea vote for this in a referendum, speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament, Valentina Matvienko, said on March 7th at a meeting with a delegation of the Supreme Council of the Crimea, Vesti reports.
"The right of nations to self-determination has not been canceled," - she said. Matvienko emphasized that this is an international practice, referring to the referendum in Scotland.
She also expressed her belief that would never be war between Russia and Ukraine. "It is complete nonsense that they say that the people of Ukraine will go to war with Russia. There will never be any war between our nations," said Matvienko.
Earlier, representatives of the Supreme Council of Crimea held a meeting with members of the lower house of the Russian parliament. The State Duma promised to promptly take all necessary decisions to provide citizens of the Crimea with all rights of Russian citizens, if citizens of the republic vote to become a part of the Russian Federation in a referendum.
"To support the Crimea is a priority for State Duma deputies," said House Speaker Sergei Naryshkin. "Russia will support the "free and democratic choice of the people of the Crimea," he said.
"The Crimea is historically, culturally and spiritually has been and remains an inseparable part of our great Russian civilization," vice-speaker of the State Duma, deputy secretary of the General Council of United Russia, Sergei Zheleznjak said. "I can already say that the vast majority of Russian citizens are enthusiastic and proud to accept the decisions that the Supreme Council of the Crimea takes," said the parliamentarian.
On March 6, the Supreme Council of the Crimea decided to join Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation. This question will be put to a referendum on the status of the Crimea. The vote will be held on March 16.
The same day, residents of the city of Sevastopol will hold a referendum about a possible move for the city to join the Russian Federation.
Valentina Matviyenko, Speaker of the Upper House of the Russian Parliament. She says that Crimea has a right to self-determination., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Russian Parliament speaker urges to give Crimean people right to self-determination
Crimea’s authorities understand their responsibility to hold the referendum in accordance with international requirements, making it transparent and legitimate
Peskov: Part of Ukrainian population denied in its right to self-determination
MOSCOW, March 07. /ITAR-TASS/.
Russia’s parliamentary upper house Speaker Valentina Matviyenko has called on the international community to stop applying double standards to the right of people to self-determination and to give an exclusively legal evaluation of the situation in Ukraine.
“Deciding to hold referendum is a sovereign right of Crimea’s legitimately elected parliament,” she said, adding that “the right of people to self-determination has not been abolished so far”.
She told journalists that “Crimea’s authorities understand their responsibility to hold the referendum in accordance with international requirements, making it transparent and legitimate”.
Matviyenko noted that “if someone does not like the Crimean parliament’s decision, this is only a matter of taste, while what we need is a strictly legal evaluation”.
“I wonder why no one said that a referendum on Scotland’s independence, scheduled for September this year, is a priori illegal. We have not heard such opinions,” she said.
“Then why should the people of Crimea be deprived of their legal right to self-determination?”
“Double standards have become so obvious that it is time to stop using them and to start speaking the language of law,” she said.
Matviyenko especially stressed that “when Russia stated that the current authorities [of Ukraine] are illegitimate”, it was guided “purely by Ukraine’s constitution and Ukraine’s legislation”.
“If we read the same Constitution and the same laws, there can be no double interpretation,” she said, noting once again that “there was an anti-government takeover of power” in Ukraine.
“We have detailed legal opinions, and not only from Russian lawyers,” she added. “And we will circulate them to the international legal community to let them say what they would disprove.”
A referendum on the Crimean Autonomous Republic’s accession to Russia as one of the constituent regions is due to take place on March 16.
Crimean residents will be asked two questions: Do you support Crimea’s reunification with Russia as its constituent member and do you support the restoration of the Constitution of the Republic of Crimea of 1992 and the status of Crimea as a part of Ukraine?
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that his country will not allow a United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing military intervention in Syria. The Syrian government is being targeted for imperialist regime change., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Sanctions against Russia will have 'boomerang' effect, Lavrov tells Kerry
March 08, 2014 04:13
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told his US counterpart on Friday that any sanctions introduced by the US against Russia will have a “boomerang” effect and urged Washington to steer away from actions that could hurt relations between the countries.
Lavrov told Washington to refrain from “hasty and reckless” decisions over Ukraine that would deteriorate US-Russia relations, RIA Novosti reported. His comments were made during a telephone call with US Secretary of State John Kerry.
The foreign minister warned that any sanctions against Russia “would inevitably hit the United States like a boomerang.”
On Thursday, the US imposed visa restrictions on Russian and Crimean officials and private citizens who they accused of “threatening Ukraine’s sovereignty and integrity,” the White House said.
US President Barack Obama signed an executive order authorizing sanctions against “individuals and entities responsible for activities undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine.”
According to the White House, the order is a “flexible tool” that will allow the US to sanction those whom it believes are “most directly involved in destabilizing Ukraine, including the military intervention in Crimea.”
The document does not preclude further steps in case the situation deteriorates, it added.
The announcement comes as the Autonomous Republic of Crimea prepares to hold a March 16 referendum on whether it wants to remain part of Ukraine or join Russia.
During a telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama earlier on Friday, the two identified differences in approach and analyzed the root causes of the current crisis in Ukraine, the Kremlin’s press office said.
Putin stated that Russia and the US should not sacrifice their relationship for separate - albeit important - international problems. Putin added that Russia cannot ignore calls for help and is adequately responding within the framework of international law.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said during a state television program late Friday that Russia does not want to return to Cold War type relations with the US.
“There still remains hope...that some points of agreement [over the Ukrainian crisis] could be found as a result of dialogue - which our partners, thank God, have not yet rejected,” Peskov said.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to heap further pressure on Moscow, NATO announced on Wednesday a full review of its cooperation with Russia and said it would suspend planning for a joint mission linked to the Syrian chemical weapons. Moscow slammed the move as an application of “Cold War” stereotypes and double standards.
Crimean authorities have denounced the coup-imposed government in Kiev and declared that all Ukrainian law enforcement and military deployed in the peninsula must take orders from them. The authorities have asked Russia to provide assistance to ensure peace and order in the region.
Ugandan People's Defense Forces contingent. The Ugandan government says it will incur the cost of its intervention in South Sudan., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
FRIDAY 7 MARCH 2014
Preferential treatment of UPDF sparked Juba violence: rebels
March 6, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudan’s rebels led by Riek Machar said the government had not told the true story about the cause of the recent outbreak of violence among the army in the national capital, Juba, saying the dissent was caused by preferential treatment of the Ugandan Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) over the national army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).
"New information has emerged indicating that the fighting was not only caused by a mere pay dispute as reported in the media. In fact, some units from the Presidential Guards and Commandos mutinied in direct protest against UPDF’s involvement and favours they receive at their expense," claimed the rebel’s military spokesperson, Brig Lul Ruai Koang.
Clashes occurred in Juba on Wednesday morning at a military barrack and resumed during the night between units of the Commando, leaving dozens dead and scores wounded.
Government officials said the violence was a result of salary payment dispute between members of the force.
An observer, told Sudan Tribune that the denial by the committee to pay those who were in the United Nations camp caused the shootings, adding the incident would have been avoided had the committee amicably addressed the issue.
"Also the rigorous system, specifically the requirement of individual beneficiaries to receive by themselves instead of third party angered some commanding officers because it appears they were benefiting from the previous system, which allows a commanding officer to receive for people he submitted their list to finance, some of which could be a makeup list of thousand soldiers," noted the observer.
But a verification exercise recently carried out to determine the actual numbers of soldiers on the payroll reportedly revealed some abnormalities within the system.
"It was found out more than half of the existing army were ghosts," he said.
Faced with fresh allegations that it was giving preferential treatment to Ugandan forces, the government resolved that the SPLA be given a three-month bonus pay at once.
"That means double payment in the salary of individual soldiers and officers. Say, for example, if a soldier was getting 1000 South Sudanese pound, this money is doubled to 3000 because it is three months bonus and paid at once." stressed the observer.
However, the rebel spokesperson, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, said the revelations indicated that there was a built up dissent among the forces in disapproval of how the government was preferentially treating the foreign army from Uganda and private militias at the expense of the regular army.
"SPLA soldiers complained of being neglected and spent three months without being paid salaries as well as do not get food rations whereas their counterparts from UPDF get paid huge salaries, daily allowances, food rations and compensations in an event of death or injury," Koang further explained.
He also accused forces loyal to president Salva Kiir of allegedly turning their anger against Nuer officers, saying some Nuer generals loyal to the government were attacked at their residential area in Tongping while a number of innocent Nuer civilians lost their lives in an alleged targeted killings during Wednesday’s violence.
Senior officials of the government’s security sector, including the country’s defence minister, Kuol Manyang Juuk, have revealed that Juba was paying Kampala for the involvement of Uganda’s army (UPDF) in the over 10-week conflict.
Map of South Sudan where fighting has taken place between SPLA forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those aligned with Riek Machar., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
FRIDAY 7 MARCH 2014
S. Sudanese security seize UN weapons in Lakes state
March 6, 2014 (RUMBEK) - Security officials in South Sudan’s Lakes state claimed they intercepted 11 United Nations trucks ferrying an assortment of firearms and military uniforms destined for neighbouring Unity state.
Authorities, claiming the items were being transported allegedly to aid rebels fighting in Unity state, have now instituted an investigation into the matter.
"There were all type of weapons, ammunition and blankets. Those items were on route to Unity state and rebel the controlled areas," a senior military official told Sudan Tribune, without further details.
UN ORDERS PROBE
The world body, in a statement, said the seized cargo were meant for its Ghanaian peacekeepers recently deployed as additional forces in the country following the mid-December outbreak of violence.
"In connection with the transport of cargo of general goods belonging to the Ghanaian battalion on its way to Bentiu, several containers were wrongly labelled and inadvertently contained weapons and ammunition This is regrettable," partly reads its statement issued Thursday.
"It is the policy of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) that during the crisis in South Sudan all arms and ammunition for peacekeeping contingents are flown into respective areas of deployment and not taken by road. This is an important security measure."
The UN, however said, its headquarter intends to dispatch a high level investigation team to look into this matter on an urgent basis, in cooperation with South Sudan government.
FRIDAY 7 MARCH 2014
Warrap officials split over minister’s resignation
February 6, 2014 (JUBA) - Officials in South Sudan’s Warrap state are reportedly divided following last month’s resignation of its information minister over alleged links to the country’s rebels.
Critics and some officials have accused Governor Nyandeng Malek Dieliech of allegedly influencing activities that led to Nyanaguek Kuol Mareng’s exit.
“What happened was just a revelation of a tip of an iceberg. I mean the resignation of information minister is the result of the exposure of the big scheme. You know that the event in Juba took place the same day governor Nyandeng travelled to Nairobi, Kenya, without permission from the president. And nobody knows what she went for," a senior member of the ruling party (SPLM) in Warrap told Sudan Tribune.
"Before that, she met the former vice president Riek Machar after he and his group conducted their press conference in Juba on December 6th. She also met other people, including Chol Tong Mayay, former governor of Lakes state. Nobody knows the details of what they actually discussed in these meetings, but there are evidences she met these people," he added on Thursday.
The official, a close and longtime associate of President Salva Kiir, warned that things would never be the same, unless the latter “shakes off the dust on his shoulder”.
“Precisely, this is what I am saying. The president is being buried by the same people who come around claiming to be serving our people and the country under his leadership, while they are doing things contrary to their claims.There is no way someone under your leadership would go out to say things you do not approve and expected to be treated differently, especially if you remained quiet," he stressed.
"Who knows, the information minister might have been speaking for her boss, otherwise there would have nothing which prevented her from dismissing her before," he added.
However, several officials closely associated with Nyandeng have denied claims linking the governor to opposition forces loyal for ex-vice president Riek Machar, while others blamed her opponent for allegedly working to bring her down.
“There is nothing as such. These accusations are just rubbish. There are people working days and nights to see into that Governor Nyandeng is unconstitutionally removed but this will not work. They need to know this governor was democratically elected by the people of Warrap," a cabinet minister told Sudan Tribune by phone from the state capital, Kwajok.
These are the very people who would evaluate her performance, not individual politicians, added the minister.
A legislator close to the state administration also dismissed allegations that the governor had played a role supportive to the activities of the former information, who on several occassion spoke on the state radio denying government’s version the the mid-December outbreak of violence was an attempted coup by Machar and group.
“It is wrong to accuse the person for the sake of it. The governor is part of the government the rebel wanted to topple through violence so that they install their own. Would it make sense if the government in which you served is toppled and expect different treatment? I have never heard before," the legislator told Sudan Tribune.
What is happening in Warrap is just political rivalry and it is better you in the media approach it with objectivity so that you are not seen as taking side," he added.
FRIDAY 7 MARCH 2014
S. Sudanese army denies allegations of killing foreigners habouring Nuers
March 06, 2014 (JUBA) - The South Sudanese army (SPLA) has described allegations its forces killed foreign nationals harbouring members of the Nuer tribe, the country’s second largest ethnic group, as “unfounded”.
The allegations emerged in the wake of Wednesday’s outbreak of violence at Geida, a military barracks south-west of the capital, Juba, following a dispute among soldiers over salary payments.
“What happened yesterday (Wednesday) as I have said before was limited to shooting between limited individual soldiers in a limited place. It did not go beyond the military barracks. So it is not correct that some soldiers went out to hunt from members of [the] Nuer [group] and killed foreign nationals,” said Malaak Ayuen, the army’s head of information and public relations, told reporters on Thursday, adding the claims were unacceptable propaganda”.
Ayuen said the army regretted the sporadic shooting which later followed overnight on Wednesday, saying some of the gunshots heard were in fact the denotation of unexploded ordinances, while he described another similar incident in Thongpiny as an alleged misunderstanding between security forces.
However, in a series of interviews with Sudan Tribune on Thursday, residents said that more than 12 civilians, including a six-year-old boy, were shot dead in both accidental and targeted killings during the skirmishes that occurred around the military facility.
The clashes were reportedly triggered when the army’s payment committee restricted payments to its actively serving members present on duty, excluding those who fled to UN camps for safety reasons in mid-December last year after political tensions erupted in violence.
It’s alleged the soldiers, branded deserters by the army, turned violent after becoming angry over salary their arrears.
Three civilians were shot dead by soldiers at Nyakuron, a residential neighbourhood close to the barracks, which witnessed the genesis of the mid-December outbreak of conflict.
“Two government soldiers in full military attires with guns came to the compound and demanded they be shown where Nuer lives. It [was] like they knew that some Nuer were living in this compound, but we all kept quiet. We did not talk, but they kept asking, ‘Where is the Nuer [that] lives here?’ They kept asking, then one Ethiopian national, a man, also living in the same compound, replied that the Nuer residents had gone away two days ago. They accused him of lying and immediately shot him dead and then went into the house where two Nuer members were reportedly hiding and shot them dead,” an eyewitness told Sudan Tribune on Thursday.
Another resident claimed two Ugandans living in Jabarona and five Somalis residing in the Gudule area died in Wednesday night’s shoot-out, while a South Sudanese national was also reportedly ahit by stray bullets in Jabarona market area.
The army has put the official death toll at 25, although the actual number of people killed remains unclear. Civilian and military ambulances were seen moving around the town with their sirens blaring. Government soldiers continued to patrol streets on Thursday, with several roadblocks set up in key strategic areas and installations.
Former Vice-President Riek Machar in South Sudan during mediation. East African leaders are seeking an end to the fighting., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
FRIDAY 7 MARCH 2014
Rebels downplay Salva Kiir’s formation of SPLM committee
March 6, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement In Opposition (SPLM-In-Opposition) has questioned the legality of a joint committee formed by president Salva Kiir and comprising members of the ruling party’s politburo, including those that rebelled against the leader.
The preparatory committee is tasked with making the necessary arrangements for an upcoming meeting expected to bring together rival groups within the leadership of the SPLM.
The committee is a mixture of government loyalists, rebels, former detainees and third bloc officials. Daniel Awet Akot, Paul Mayom, Akol Paul, Jemma Nunu, Deng Alor, John Luk Jok, Kosti Manibe and Taban Deng Gai will serve on the eight-member committee.
The team will be primarily responsible for preparing the agenda for the next meeting of the SPLM political committee, which was proposed in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, by mediators from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
It is not clear what issues the committee will discuss, but multiple sources and officials with direct knowledge of the arrangement have told Sudan Tribune that the focus of the meeting would be on internal reconciliation among the party’s leaders.
However, the spokesperson for the former vice-president turned rebel leader, Riek Machar, questioned Kiir’s authority to form a joint committee including senior rebel leaders.
“First of all, the proposal for internal reconciliation between the two SPLMs, as a new mechanism to try and resolve the ongoing violent conflict, was not initiated by Salva Kiir. Further, he is not the leader of some of those groups he has appointed to his committee, and therefore the formation of such a joint committee is unnecessary and procedurally illegal,” spokesperson James Gatdet Dak said in statements to Sudan Tribune on Thursday.
He said the forum proposal was initiated by members of the IGAD mediating team, which he said the two parties had to simply study, and if acceptable, they would develop their respective positions or listen to the mediators if they have a draft.
“Kiir knows very well that, for instance, comrade Taban Deng Gai is our chief negotiator, whom he has no authority over. He also dismissed him (Gai) from memberships of both the Political Bureau and SPLM party, as well as charged him of alleged treason,” said Dak, adding that the opposition’s leadership had been surprised when they heard about the committee in the media.
He said the president, who also chairs the party, was the very person who resisted numerous calls to hold a political bureau meeting in 2013, which he claims would have resolved the political differences that have “consequently culminated in the ongoing violence”.
According to Dak, the first task of Kiir’s committee should be to reverse presidential decrees dismissing individual party officials.
He added that should there be a need for specialised committees to tackle the reconciliation process, then each side should be responsible for appointing its respective members.