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Archive for September 21st, 2007

Humour: A busy man muted this prayer

Posted by African Press International on September 21, 2007

God, I go to work everyday and put in 8 hours while my wife merely stays at home. I want to know what I go through, so please allow her body to switch with mine for a day. Amen.

God, in his infinite wisdom, granted the man’s wish. The next morning, sure enough, the man awoke as a woman. He arose, cooked breakfast for his mate, awakened the kids , set out theis school clothes, fed them breakfast, packed their lunches, drove them to school, came home and picked dry cleaning, took it to the cleaners and stopped to the bank to make a deposit, went grocery shopping, then drove home to put away the groceries, paid the bills and balanced the check book. He leaned the cat’s litter box and bathed the dog.

Then it was already 1 P.M and he hurried to make the beds, do the laundry, vaccum, dust, and sweep and mop the kitchen floor. Ran to the school to pick up the kids and got an argument with them on the way home. Set out milk and cookies ands got the kids organized to do their jhomework, then set up the ironing board and watched the T.V while he did the ironing.

At 4:30 he began peeling potatoes and washing vegetables for salad, breaded the pork chops and snapped fresh beans for supper. After supper, she cleaned the kitchen, ran the dishwasher, folded laundry, bathed the kids, and put them to bed . At 9 P.M he was exhausted and though his daily chores weren’t finished, he went to bed where he was expected to make love, which he managed to get through without complaint.

The next morning, he woke and immediately knelt by the bed and said:

“Lord, I dont’t know whatI was thinking. I was wrong to envy my wife’s being able to stay home all day. Please, oh! oh! please, let us trade back”

The Lord. in his infinite wisdom, replied: ” My son, I feel you have learned your lesson and I will be happy to change things back to the way they were. You’ll just have to wait nine months, You got pregnant last night.”

pauline2.jpgStory by Pauline Onyango – API*APN correspondent.

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Canada renews calls for troops to Afghanistan

Posted by African Press International on September 21, 2007

Former Foreign Minister Jan Petersen said Thursday that Norway must heed NATO members’ calls for help in violent southern Afghanistan.

Former Foreign Minister Jan Petersen from the Conservatives(right) and Defense Minister Anne-Grete Strm-Erichsen of the Labour Party don’t seem to agree on the need to send Norwegian troops to southern Afghanistan.

PHOTO: Cornelius Poppe / SCANPIX

While Norway has troops in the north of the country, the center-left government has resisted earlier calls for troops to be sent to the southern part of the country, where the Taliban has made serious inroads.

NATO officials haven’t put more pressure on Norway of late, but now the Canadian foreign minister wants some relief for his country’s troops in the south.

“We expect that other countries will play a bigger role,” Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).

Canadian and Dutch troops have long been stationed in southern Afghanistan, and now MacKay thinks other NATO troops must share more of the burden in Afghanistan.

“We must absolutely be prepared to go to southern Afghanistan,” Petersen told NRK. “I can sure understand that Canada and the Netherlands are feeling alone there.”

Norway’s defense minister, Anne-Grete Strm-Erichsen of the Labour Party, responded that Norway so far has met all official NATO requests. She claimed NATO officials were pleased with the job Norway is doing in Afghanistan.

By Nina Birgelund

Lifted and Published by API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source. aftenposten

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Kenya Politics watched from a different angle

Posted by African Press International on September 21, 2007

By Ham Mukasa
www.hammukasafoundation.com

Being a good observer, I have noticed the difficulties in, and name calling during, the presidential campaign due to take place in Kenya this year. Through the other eye, I have realised that some of the MP contestors have plan B as plan A.

They are campaigning for local representation which they know they can never get. Here they use plan A, reserving plan B for a post in the government which they will get. Actually their plan B is plan A. It has just come to my understanding.

Anyway a bad workman blames his tool. I can assure they are not poor farmers here. I took in account the religious MPs, who have used the wording that “religion is the opium of the poor” and thus got a number of ballots in the past. I see them coming again.

I have also noticed some who claim that ODM has the next presidency unless the current ruling party with tripple their efforts in stealing the ballots. Here I mean “real stealing of votes”.

Like the Baganda in Uganda, Kikuyus are facing the same difficulties. I met someone who claimed that the Kikuyus and Kalenjins think that Kenya is a family business and people are tired of them.

My last word: be carefull of the strange, sometimes it is better with your old dog.

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A question to Kenyan lawyers in Kibaki government

Posted by African Press International on September 21, 2007

Commentary

I have some questions to ask my fellow Kenyans, who call themselves, “learned friends”, Lawyers in another term.

We have so many Kenyans with that tittle, well educated, and in the Cabinet and also represents people in the Law courts, in various areas like; Constitution of the country, Land cases, criminal cases, and civil cases,etc.

My question may be laughable to some people, and very painful to others.The question is this; In Kenyan Government, we have learned Lawyers who are Ministers in KIBAKI administration, and mainly theGovernment Adviser on all Government dealings, by name “MARTHA KARUA” a Minister for Constituitional Affairs,etc. Managing the Government to move smoothly.

Can Karua tell Kenyans what is happening in Kibaki’s re-election for the second term constitutionally? Now Lawyers like Kiraitu Murungi and others, where are they now with their qualifications as learned friends? Are we Kenyans being led by blind leaders or where are we?

Kenyans want to get that answer correct. BecauseKibaki’s re-election party PANU, is seen as a corruption party in the eyes of manyin local and international circles.

Can Hon. MARTHA KARUA speak on this issue?

By Peter L.Akhonya,
USA.

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Uganda: Apologise and pay up – Bunyoro tells Britain

Posted by African Press International on September 21, 2007

This is the second part of a series in which Angelo Izama writes about the Bunyoro Kingdom’s demands from the United Kingdom over “war crimes” it inflicted against the Banyoro Queen Elizabeth II (left), the head of the Commonwealth, a club of former colonies and properties of imperial and colonial Britain, is facing a fresh lawsuit this month, a $4trillion lawsuit reportedly filed on behalf of Indians who were brought into Malaysia as labourers by colonial Britain.

Lawyers who filed the suit said their clients suffered indignity and loss as virtual slaves and continued to suffer discrimination, abandoned by the British after Malaysia got its independence.

Britain’s newly appointed Foreign Secretary David Miliband is named as a defendant in the case. It is expected that Britain which will attend the Commonwealth, a summit of heads of state of its former colonies, in Kampala this year, will face another lawsuit- by the Bunyoro Kingdom.

Bunyoro says it has sufficient evidence to convince court that Britain is guilty of gross crimes in the case it plans to file later this month. Ugandan and British lawyers will argue the case. There is a small but growing club of organizations, religious and political leaders that are calling on reluctant countries like Britain to right the wrongs they committed as slave traders and later as colonial powers.

Britain however is one of the most unwilling to acknowledge its actions led to the modern day problems of underdevelopment in far flung places such as Malaysia and Bunyoro. During the United Nations Anti-Racism conference in Durban, South Africa in 2001, Britain’s delegation worked hard to prevent European Union countries from “apologising” for slave trade, afraid that it would mean acknowledging its actions, and opening the door for reparation lawsuits like the one Bunyoro is planning to file later this month.

The historical suit Bunyoro’s case is based on the recorded testimony of British soldiers, actions that confirm to some extent the wanton actions that led, in this case, to the depopulation and subsequent marginalisation of Bunyoro. In 1893, Col. Henry Colville invaded Bunyoro, reputed to be in “a stubborn outpost of the proud King Kabalega who had made an unfavourable impression on officers like Sir Frederick Lugard and Sir Samuel Baker.”

The invasion, which Kabalega resisted for five years, laid to waste the once healthy Bunyoro Kingdom because of a policy of destruction of crops, grazing areas and the killing, kidnap and enslavement of Banyoro by the British imperial troops helped by their allies, the Kingdom of Buganda.

“I have this month and will in the future burn their houses, destroy their crops and cut down their banana plantations” wrote one Capt. Thruston on his work during the campaign, one of several accounts in his war diary.

The campaign also “popularised” the looting of Bunyoro’s known wealth, not just cattle and goats, but destruction of salt mines and the shut down of trade. Cattle were either killed or raided. “Next in importance to the Queen Mother being in our hands, is the loss sustained by Kabalega of nearly the whole of his cattle – the greater part were captured by the flying column under the command of Lt. H. Maddocks, of the Royal Fusiliers, and Lt. G.F.S Vandeleur, Scots Guards” one dispatch in 1895, just two years after the campaign begun, said.

The Queen Mother and several members of Kabalega’s royal family were captured as a way to lure him and break his spirit. One of the officers, Maj. Trevar Ternan, wrote that as “much harm as possible” should be inflicted on Bunyoro arguing that “the Wanyoro richly deserve all they get”.

The British condoned a policy of killing non-combatants as recorded by soldiers and missionaries in the war areas. It is Ternan who also wrote that Banyoro who were found carrying guns were immediately executed on sight. Ternan also killed to send a message, apparently recording the execution of six people after the death of a British collaborator.

A year into the campaign, Capt. Thruston wrote that in battle “no quarter was given, though it was frequently asked for” meaning even prisoners were executed even where they asked for pardon. The British records also indicate routine torture including flogging was inflicted on prisoners of war. Also popular was bastinadoing, Bunyoro argues.

Bastinado is a torture method where the feet are beaten until sores develop and the victim is unable to walk. While it was a war and casualties were on both sides, Bunyoro argues that the British officers acted outside of the known humanitarian principles of conducting a war even one involving natives. At the end of the campaign, one observer noted when passing Bunyoro that it was “a barren waste”.

“The little gardens and plantations were rank with weeds and completely deserted, and the few wandering natives we met looked half starved,” the observer wrote. However, the defeat of Kabalega and the war of conquest were only the beginning of Bunyoro’s problems.

With war came disease and famine, and what some scholars argue was the continual hatred for the Banyoro, reflected in the colonial government’s policies to which we will return next week. Bunyoro, the area where most of Uganda’s oil has been discovered (Ironically by British-owned companies) is asking for more than #3trillion.

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Museveni and Uganda’s political transition; the signs to watch

Posted by African Press International on September 21, 2007

Posted by Ham Mukasa

A political transition is the interval between one political system or reality and another. It would be more accurate though, to refer to the transition as a process by which this occurs.

The dominant view is that citizens tend to accept that true transition should usher in a new order and new faces. This can be termed the “Agende (let him go) phenomenon”. But it is possible to achieve a new order even under familiar faces with a changed, perhaps more inclusive outlook.

However, having changed eight presidents since independence, most Ugandans cannot see a true transition without the departure of President Museveni and his ruling clique that has dominated the army, politics, and the economy for the past two decades through a complex web of nepotism and patronage networks.

Often, the transition begins with a split in the authoritarian regime, after which regime elites who believe in the necessity of political reforms become fairly dominant. These “soft liners” attempt to negotiate a kind of understanding with moderate opposition elites to forge a new way forward. In our case, the successor of the Reform Agenda, the FDC, teamed with five other political groups to form the now defunct G6.

Their combined effort forced even the most extremist elements within the single party regime of the NRM to start campaigning for the return of multiparty democracy.
As if to allow the authoritarian regime to fully enjoy its newfound conscience, the G6 decided to keep away from the referendum on political system held in the July of 2005, resulting in a pathetically low voter turnout. To cover government shame, an estimated 25% turnout was reported as 47% by the government controlled Electoral Commission, a disputed action that irreparably damaged the reputation of the electoral body.

Cracks had already started showing in the regime and had grown into cleavages. When NRM historicals like Augustine Ruzindana, Bidandi Ssali, Amanya Mushega, and Mugisha Muntu decided to close their eyes and jump into the unknown sea of uncertainty that is opposition politics, a major victory had been recorded by the democratic forces in Uganda.

An authoritarian regime can select several ways to deal with its imminent demise in a silly attempt to postpone the inevitable. One response is to infiltrate the opposition with a view to hijacking it, so that it can still “manage the change” that must come.

Most enlightened opposition formations are sophisticated enough to contain infiltration, at the same time taking advantage of the “street value dynamics” to project the infiltrations as valuable gains to the opposition, set the new comers into prominent roles and through a series of calculated moves, the opposition can cause sufficient suspicion in the authoritarian regime’s camp.

The authoritarian regime now begins to look at the security agencies as the most important arm of government, rendering its politicians irrelevant, and can even make hurried changes in command to replace ” non cadre” officers with loyal ones. Promotion in the security forces starts to be a function of loyalty, not professionalism nor competence.

To hide its unreasonable actions the regime must also crack down on the press. Once these measures fail, the authoritarian regime may find it cheaper to suspend civil liberties, freeze the constitution, and declare a state of emergency. This is to create some breathing space and prolong its hold onto power even for a few more months. This is normally the last stage before collapse. It is characterised by uncertainty, loyalty switches, massive plunder of national resources and assets, and immense fear in the population.

An authoritarian regime can choose to hasten the process of reaching this stage by “creating its own insecurity” and preside over it rather that wait for its natural occurrence.

When it succeeds in doing this, this stage can take a long time before it ends and can actually prolong the life of a regime considerably. Such a regime can also stage its own coup d’etat and overthrow itself and introduce a new leaders would then play moderate, attract moderates and opportunists in the opposition and create a semblance of change, by forming a government of national unity until a new election is held, thus postponing the transition by several years. This method can derail transition altogether and introduce new unrelated ideas to the debate, under seemingly changed circumstances.

Over dependence on the security forces by a tired regime creates an exaggerated sense of worth among the armed forces that then start selectively obeying orders from the “master.” As every soldier has a civilian s/he knows, some influences may result in a heightened desire for self- preservation. An officer may find it appropriate to overthrow the authoritarian regime merely as an act of self-interest to safeguard their valued relations with civilian friends or family.

Another would do it for even near patriotic reasons. But the consequences are the same. Disaster that could have been avoided by a little dose of statesmanship. As President Museveni considers to run for a fourth term, he may need to read the signs on the road to the transition that the population is eagerly yearning for.

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NOT EASY TO FIGHT GRAFT IN THIRD WORLD

Posted by African Press International on September 21, 2007

Our Kenyan 9th parliament amended the Anti-corruption an Economic Act to drastically curtail the powers of Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) to investigate economic crimes committed before it’s establishment in 2003.This has led KACC into dropping 13 out of the 18 Anglo-Leasing cases currently under investigation.

Fighting graft is not and will not be easy for countries like Kenya
whose history and social fabric is heavily interweaved with a culture of tolerance to economic crimes as well as glorifying of wealth without due regard to the source and the much the wielders of it have in terms of skeletons in the cupboard. Incidentally this is the biggest challenge facing democracy in Kenya and to large extent other world countries.

In Kenya it is very much possible to buy yourself to parliament. The voters themselves due to widespread poverty and culture of looking up to bourgeois largesse have most faithfully adored rich contestants without due regard to their credibility ability and delivery in being members of parliament. And politicians since independence have ensured perpetuation of this.

It is not enough to have all the best intentions, qualifications,
ability, charisma, vision and so on, for without money it is next to impossible to get anywhere near power. The next route probably is to ride on euphoria, hatred of the holders of the seat say in parliament or to be somehow anointed. That is the morass afflicting our politics.

The powers that be since independence have faithfully nurtured the culture of handouts, cronyism, tribalism, favouritism, discrimination, political terrorism, sycophancy et cetera that it is not unusual to see very sane , reasonable, educated and polished people bending all rules of morality and sanity to sing and dance to the tune of jingoism, cruelty, crassness, craven and grand myopism.

KACC was thus bound to land in serious problems. It is politically expedient to tame it and continue taming it. After all it is likely to afflict serious wounds to some very useful people in the current political dispensation and future political realism. Indeed it is highly likely that it is a dinosaur whose time is simply closing to sell by date. Not unusual in the third world after all!

ikunda2.jpgBy our correspondent,

Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda,
P.O. Box 51806,
NAIROBI,
KENYA.

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Widow recalls her big day with the President

Posted by African Press International on September 21, 2007

By Cyrus Kinyungu

As she welcomed President Kibaki to her modest home in Matisi village, Webuye, Bungoma East District, her heart pounded with joy and excitement.

She appeared a little nervous at first, but a light smile on the Presidents face as he warmly shook her hand calmed her nerves.

widow_210907.jpgPresident Kibaki listens to Mama Rosemary Njali Namalwa, a resident of Matisi village in Webuye, Bungoma East District, on Wednesday. The President visited the widow during his tour of Western Province.
Picture Isaac Wale

Kibakis casual talk, confessed Mrs Roselyne Namalwa Njali, 52, made her free to talk with the Head of State.

The President engaged the widow in a cheerful conversation that made the woman smile all through.

The President had taken a detour from his campaign trip and paid a surprise visit on the widows homestead, which is along the Webuye-Bungoma highway.

President Kibaki, in a change of tactic, was in for a door-to-door campaign. And Namalwa became the first to host the President.

Bwana yangu alikufa 1991 na nimekuwa nikilea na kuwasomesha watoto wangu saba kutokana na hii shamba (My husband died in 1991 and I have been bringing up my seven children and educating them from this farm),” she told the President who nodded and said “watasoma wote” (they will all get educated).

Dressed in a flowery skirt, a white blouse with a pink shawl strapped around her shoulders, Namalwa was all smiles as she was introduced to the First Lady Lucy Kibaki.

With a slight bow and holding her right hand with her left one, as a show of respect, Namalwa greeted the First Lady and told her “karibu“.

She went on, “Baba nimefurahi sana kuona unaweza kumkubuka mama kama mimi (I am so happy to see you could remember a woman like me),” she told the President.

The security detail that surrounded them as she walked the President through her compound with about six houses did not seem to bother her.

“You told us to work hard and this is my farm where I have been working to feed and educate my children from,” she told the President.

In the six-acre farm, Namalwa says she plants sugarcane in three acres and other food crops such as maize, bananas and vegetables in the other three. She also has a cow and its calf, which were grazing in the compound.

President has done a lot

The widow became an instant hit in the village as she hosted dozens of dignitaries who had accompanied the President. They included the Vice-President, Mr Moody Awori, and seven ministers.

“Nimefurahia sana kwa Rais wetu kuja kunitembelea. Nani hawezi kufurahi akitembelewa na Rais?” (I am so happy for the President to visit me. Who wouldnt be happy if the President visited them?),” she said as neighbours congratulated her for hosting Kibaki.

Ametufanyia kazi nzuri sana. Sasa tunapata pesa kutoka kwa kilimo chetu. Mimi napata pesa za miwa kila baada ya wiki mbili (He has done a lot of good work for us. We are now able to get money from our farms. I now get money from my sugarcane after every fortnight),” she said.

As she walked back to her house, Namalwa said: “I am so happy. I feel excited. I will vote for Kibaki.”

Asked why she would vote for him, Namalwa said the President has done a lot for wananchi.

“I have educated four of my children in primary school free because of him and he encouraged me to work even harder,” she told The Standard.

She says one of her sons is studying engineering at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

She says her MP, who is also the Minister for Local Government, Mr Musikari Kombo and the Provincial Administration requested her the previous night to host the President.

“I was very happy to have the opportunity. How can your father visit you and you fail to welcome him?” she wondered, adding she was glad to host him.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel +4793299739 or +4763002525 source.standard.ke

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UN mission discovers three mass graves in eastern DR Congo

Posted by African Press International on September 21, 2007

Kinshasa (DR Congo) Three mass graves were discovered in Rubare, 65 km from Goma (North-Kivu province) in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), APA learnt Thursday in Kinshasa from a source close to the United Nations Mission in DRC (MONUC).

A mixed team comprising the MONUC human rights division and the military prosecutors office made the gruesome discovery on Monday, the acting UN mission spokesman Michel Bonnardeaux said during a press conference Wednesday in Kinshasa.

According to Bonnardeaux, the mass graves were discovered in the camp of the former Bravo brigades 2 nd battalion, which is close to the deposed General Laurent Nkunda in Rubare (Rutsuru administrative territory).

The mixed investigation team also found at least nine corpses in decay in that camp.

According to conclusions of this joint mission whose purpose is to get to the bottom of the 9 and 10 March massacres in Buramba, troops of the Bravo brigades 2 nd battalion killed at least 15 civilians.

Several times, the men of the Bravo division carried out arbitrary executions of prisoners before withdrawing to their military positions, revealed information to the MONUC human rights division.

This information is however being investigated, Bonnardeaux said

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Nigerian Senator seeks independence of ECOWAS Parliament

Posted by African Press International on September 21, 2007

Lagos (Nigeria) Nigerias Deputy Senate President Ike Ekwerenmadu, Thursday said that members of the ECOWAS Parliament would work to ensure its independence.

Ekwerenmandu told journalists at the ongoing Second Extra-Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja that “What we have now is almost like a transition parliament, so we are going to get into the real parliament itself in the sense of direct election.”

“We will also work to ensure not only the independence of the parliament, but also larger powers for it so that its decisions can be binding on all in the sub-region, he said.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Mr Mahamane Ousmane, had said that the Parliament would be repositioned in to strengthen its relationship with the Commission.

Ousmane, who declared open the second Extra Ordinary Session of the parliament Wednesday in Abuja, said that with the numerous elections in the sub-region and new members on board, legislation would be given adequate attention.

Ousmane als said that the meeting also marked the transition towards a parliament with greater legitimacy and more extensive powers.

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US special envoy to Sudan optimistic about situation in Darfur

Posted by African Press International on September 21, 2007

Washington DC- (USA) The United States envoy to Sudan said Thursday that there has been measurable progress in the Darfur region leading up to next months peace talks between the Sudanese government and rebel factions, despite a recent surge in fighting in the region.

Speaking at a meeting in Washington, Ambassador Andrew Natsios said that success depends upon the participation of all involved parties. “We urge all invited rebels, political leaders, and commanders to attend the talks. I cannot emphasize that enough,” he said.

One rebel group, the Sudanese Liberation Army, has already vowed to boycott the peace conference. Mr. Natsios says such lack of cooperation poses the most serious threat to progress. “The biggest obstacle to the talks is not the government of Sudan. It is some of the rebel groups. And I say some because some rebel groups are acting very responsibly, they are trying to participate in the process, and others are refusing to participate, making outlandish demands, despite significant international pressure to the contrary,” he said.

The envoy said it is the responsibility of the international community to keep the talks on track and prevent such actions that hinder progress. He called the recent coming together of multi-international peace keeping forces for Darfur one of the regions most encouraging developments over the past 90 days.

Natsios praised the Chinese role in Darfur. According to him, China has begun to play a “constructive” role in the troubled Darfur region, in a shift from earlier criticism that Beijing was not working for peace there. In February, Mr. Natsios, who had urged China to step up diplomatic pressure on Khartoum; said China is now playing an important behind-the- scenes role to go along with its more visible peacemaking efforts.

usenvoy-in-sudan.jpg“I am very happy with the role the Chinese are playing. It is a constructive role, Natsios said.

In February, Natsios criticized Beijing for signing economic deals with the Sudanese government and not pressuring it over Darfur.

Western politicians and rights groups have accused China of abetting bloodshed in Darfur by maintaining big investments in Sudanese oil, selling Khartoum arms that end up in Darfur, and fending off stronger U.N. Security Council resolutions.

China has been working to prevent Darfur from becoming a blot on its diplomatic record ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Beijing has claimed credit for persuading Khartoum to accept a planned 26,000- strong hybrid U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force for Darfur. Beijing also will send more than 300 engineering troops in October to help prepare for the main force.

An estimated 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have fled their homes in Darfur since mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the government in the vast western region in 2003.

Khartoum mobilized proxy Arab militia to help quell the revolt. Some of the militiamen pillaged villages and killed civilians but the government denies supporting them.

Peace talks are scheduled in Libya on October 27. Mr. Natsios said the rebel groups must reach a common ground and settle on realistic goals before then.

Fighting among Arabs over land abandoned by Africans poses an additional risk, he said.

“I am more optimistic now than I have been in a long time, but it is a guarded optimism,” he concluded.

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Former Ivorian rebels hold low-key celebration of Sept. 2002 uprising

Posted by African Press International on September 21, 2007

Bouake (Cote dIvoire) The former Ivorian rebel group, Forces Nouvelles (New Forces-FN), Wednesday in Bouake celebrated in moderation their fifth anniversary since the beginning of their revolt in 2002, noted APA.

The restraint that the ex-rebels demonstrated is in line with the peace and reunification environment prevailing in the country since the signing of the Ouagadougou peace agreement on 4 March 2007.

According to the deputy FN chief of staff, Major Ouattara Issiaka alias “Wattao”, the ex-rebel group has in fact decided to join the peace process created by the Ouagadougou agreement, which President Laurent Gbagbo and the FN leader Guillaume Soro signed.

Soro was later appointed Prime Minister in accordance with this agreement.

“From now on, we work in favour of peace. Ivorians suffered too much. It is time for a rapid peace,” he told APA, after the commemoration ceremony held at the “boulevard du palais” of Bouake.

After a foiled coup against President Laurent Gbagbo on 19 September 2002, the rebel group withdrew to the northern half of the country which it controlled till the signing of the Ouagadougou agreement.

Since then, the country initiated a change towards peace and reunification.

Signs of the positive evolution of the political and security situation in Cote dIvoire are noticeable particularly through the suppression of the buffer zone on 16 April, the weapon incineration ceremony on 30 July in Bouake, the Independence Day celebrations throughout the country on 7 August and the progressive redeployment of the civil service.

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