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United States Africa Command Public Affairs Office 10 June 2010 USAFRICOM - related news stories

United States Africa Command Public Affairs Office 10 June 2010

USAFRICOM - related news stories

TOP NEWS RELATED TO U.S. AFRICA COMMAND AND AFRICA

Biden urges Kenyans to support reforms (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation) (Kenya) U.S Vice President, Joe Biden, has reiterated the need for Kenya to implement constitutional and other reforms.

Drugs - U.S. Treasury Defends Action Against Bachir (AllAfrica.com) (Mozambique) Mozambican businessman Mohamed Bachir Sulemane, named last week by US President Barack Obama as a drug baron, "imports heroin from south-east Asia and cocaine and marijuana from Latin America", accused Adam Szubin, director of the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), speaking at a video conference between Maputo and Washington on Wednesday.

Kagame And A Tale of Two Rwandas (Blackstar News) (Rwanda) In an editorial, Nii Akutteh, former executive director of www.africaaction.org, states that Rwanda’s post-genocide leadership is getting away with murder. Among other misdeeds, it was strangling democracy, especially free speech, the rule of law and free and fair elections.

Former U.S. envoy to head U.N.'s DRC peace mission (Reuters) (Democratic Republic of Congo) The United Nations on Wednesday named two new special envoys to African countries; a former U.S. diplomat to serve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a Tanzanian ambassador to focus on Somalia.

Djibouti Fears Civil War (The Media Line) (Djibouti) With almost daily deaths from ongoing low-intensity clashes in the north, public fear of a civil war is growing.

Record breaking drugs haul in The Gambia (Radio Netherlands Worldwide) (The Gambia) Police in The Gambia have seized two tonnes of cocaine, bound for Europe, with a street value of a record-breaking one billion US dollars. The seizure highlights the new role West Africa is playing in the international drugs trade.

(Nigeria) Newly appointed Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Attahiru Jega has promised not to let Nigerians down in their expectations of credible, free and fair elections in 2011.

Ethiopia Election Board Rejects Call for New Poll (Voice of America) (Ethiopia) Ethiopia's elections body has rejected opposition calls for a re-run of last month's parliamentary poll, won by the ruling party in a landslide.

Int'l monitor: Allow Zimbabwe to sell diamonds (Associated Press) (Zimbabwe) A monitor for the body set up to halt the trade in rough diamonds that fuel conflicts believes Zimbabwe is "on track" to meet international diamond mining standards and should be allowed to resume selling diamonds in international markets, according to a report obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

UN News Service Africa Briefs Full Articles on UN Website

Secretary-General names new UN envoy for SomaliaUN News Service Africa Briefs Full Articles on UN Website UN lauds South African travel industry’s

UN lauds South African travel industry’s signing of code denouncing sex tourismUN Website Secretary-General names new UN envoy for Somalia After success at home with UN, Sierra

After success at home with UN, Sierra Leonean police officer helps women in Darfurtravel industry’s signing of code denouncing sex tourism DR Congo: UN experts welcome steps taken in

DR Congo: UN experts welcome steps taken in wake of murder of rights defenderwith UN, Sierra Leonean police officer helps women in Darfur Ban lauds Burundians for gains in

Ban lauds Burundians for gains in consolidating peacewelcome steps taken in wake of murder of rights defender

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UPCOMING EVENTS OF INTEREST:

WHEN/WHERE: Friday, June 11, noon; Washington, D.C. WHAT: Cato Institute: Sudan After the Elections: Implications for the Future and American Policy Options WHO: Sean Brooks, Save Darfur Coalition; Marc Gustafson, Marshall Scholar, Oxford University; Jon Temin, U.S. Institute for Peace; moderated by Justin Logan, Associate Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute Info: http://www.cato.org/event.php?eventid=7192

WHEN/WHERE: Tuesday, June 15, 9:30 a.m.; Washington, D.C. WHAT: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: Media as a Tool for Social Change in Africa WHO: John Marks, President and Founder, Search for Common Ground; John Siceloff, Executive Producer NOW on PBS, CEO of JumpStart Productions; Sylvia Vollenhoven, Knight Development Journalism Fellow, International Center for Journalists; Steve McDonald, Consulting Director, Africa Program, Wilson Center Info:

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FULL ARTICLE TEXT

Biden urges Kenyans to support reforms (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation)

U.S Vice President, Joe Biden, has reiterated the need for Kenya to implement constitutional and other reforms.

In his speech Wednesday at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi on the second day of his visit to Kenya, Biden re-affirmed President Barack Obama's support for Kenya's constitutional review process, saying a new constitutional dispensation was a key requirement to foreign investment in the country.

"As you prepare to write a new history for your nation, resist those who try and divide you based on ethnicity, or religion, or region and above all, fear," he said.

He said there were untapped foreign investment opportunities in this country that can only be explored if tangible reforms are carried out.

"We are hopeful, Barack Obama is hopeful, I am hopeful that you will carry out these reforms to allow money to flow," he added.

In this regard, the US second in command challenged Kenyans to rise to the occasion by implementing the broader Agenda Four of the National Accord for the benefit of the current generation and posterity.

Biden urged Kenyans to ignore politicians whose agenda is to divide the nation along tribal lines for selfish gain, emphasizing that the time has come for the country to actualize the spirit and dreams envisaged at independence.

"Fear is a tool as old as mankind and it has been used with great effect in this country in the past. For too long opportunistic politicians have created an all or nothing system."

Biden said it was only after meaningful democratic reforms that the US may be able to open its doors for Kenya and instead of looking at what it can do for Kenya then it can look at what to do with Kenya.

American investors Biden said are wary of investing in Kenya due to cases of corruption but once the government creates a conducive atmosphere, then they will be ready to do business in the country.

Apart from getting rid of corruption, the Vice President said other reforms including the creation of an independent judiciary and a corrupt-free police force need to be in place to attract more investors.

Answering questions from the audience, Biden encouraged Kenyans especially the youth to participate in the reform process noting that change does not come from the top.

"The generation in power does not bring about change rather it has to be pushed by people below," he said.

He said Kenya was ahead of many other nations in in Africa with empowerment of knowledge and there was need to maintain the impetus.

On the question of allegations that a section of American Church was supporting the proponents of the proposed constitution ahead of the upcoming referendum, Biden said while the US government was not supporting any side of the divide, it had no control

over what the evangelicals do and their perceived support was on an individual level.

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Drugs - U.S. Treasury Defends Action Against Bachir (AllAfrica.com)

Mozambican businessman Mohamed Bachir Sulemane, named last week by US President Barack Obama as a drug baron, "imports heroin from south-east Asia and cocaine and marijuana from Latin America", accused Adam Szubin, director of the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), speaking at a video conference between Maputo and Washington on Wednesday.

Szubin said that Bachir moves the drugs through Mozambique and on to final destinations elsewhere, such as South Africa and European markets.

OFAC is the agency in the US Treasury Department that implements sanctions against individuals and companies whom the President has named as involved in drugs trafficking, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation

Szubin described Bachir's alleged narcotics operations as large scale, but could not put an exact figure on them. He stressed that it is not small fry who are named by the US President as "narcotics kingpins", adding "he is viewed by us as a very significant trafficker".

Several journalists demanded that Szubin make public the evidence that OFAC had gathered against Bachir, but he declined to do so, pointing out that OFAC had not initiated any judicial proceedings against Bachir.

The naming of "kingpins", he said, is an administrative act intended to protect the US financial system against the proceeds of narco-trafficking. "The objective is to disrupt

the financial operations of narcotics cartels, making it harder for them to achieve their goals, and to protect our financial system from dirty financial flows", Szubin declared.

He said that evidence against drug barons is gathered from a variety of US agencies (primarily in law enforcement and intelligence", and for anyone to be named as a "Tier One narcotic kingpin" requires "a high level of security about the evidence".

"This is not a criminal process", said Szubin, "in that documents do not go before a court, we are not prosecuting Bachir, and we are not trying to put him in jail. We just have evidence that he is a trafficker and we want him out of our financial system".

Bachir claims he has no bank accounts in the US, and no financial transactions with any US companies. Szubin would not comment on these claims, but he stressed that OFAC investigations into Bachir's affairs would continue.

Bachir's three known companies had been named and are under OFAC sanctions, meaning that no US citizens or institutions may have any dealings with them. But drug barons in the past have changed the names of their companies, or "set up new front companies, new shell companies". Bachir might do the same, said Szubin, "and we shall take further action as appropriate".

A spate of pro-Bachir propaganda articles and editorials in the Mozambican press have

used the fact that names are regularly depleted from OPAC's kingpin list in order to

claim that the American agency is incompetent, and names the wrong people. But Szubin replied that names are deleted when the individuals concerned give undertakings to sever all their links with narco-trafficking.

None of the deletions were because OFAC had made a mistake in its initial investigation, he said. "Typically, an individual approaches us, and says 'you designated me, I want to get off the list, and I will have nothing more to do with drugs. I will cut all my ties with trafficking, if you take me off the list'"

In such cases OFAC makes a judgment as to the credibility of the repentant trafficker.

Often those requesting that their names be deleted are people with minor roles in cartels, or family members sitting on the boards of companies implicated in trafficking. OFAC, Szubin said, regarded the removals "as a success - we have turned these

individuals away from trafficking".

But "Tier One Kingpins", he added, never apply for delisting, because they have spent years or decades in trafficking "and have no intention of changing".

However, if Bachir, or anyone else designated as a "Tier One Kingpin", were to request delisting, "we will look at it, we will always entertain such requests, but we would ask some very hard questions".

Szubin denied that there was any lack of due process, since any person on the list can appeal to the US courts. "These actions can be rescinded by a court", he said. "Should Bachir wish to challenge our actions, he may do so in a US court. Then a judge would look at the evidence we have".

Asked if Bachir could visit the US, Szubin said that depended on whether he was granted a visa "and the State Department would look very critically at such an application". If he does set foot on US soil, Bachir would not be in immediate danger of arrest, since no indictment has been issued against him.

As for Bachir's relations with non-American bodies, such as Mozambican banks, "it is our hope that banks and other organisations will take a very close look at his activities", Szubin said.

The US official declined to answer questions on whether anybody in the Mozambican government or the ruling Frelimo Party had facilitated Bachir's activities, and said he could not comment on information gathered during the investigation.

OFAC was "interested and willing" to have continuing discussions with the Mozambican authorities on issues of narcotics trafficking, he added.

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Kagame And A Tale of Two Rwandas (Blackstar News)

Rwanda - Last week, former President Clinton published a glowing essay that held up post-genocide Rwanda as an example for America and the world.

www.theglobalist.com/StoryId.aspx?StoryId=8470"

Here is an early quote: "But none of us have to win at someone else’s expense. The best example of this on earth that I have encountered is in Rwanda, where I do a lot of work. They’re the most amazing people I ever saw."

Days earlier, I had written something quite different.

http://www.sfbayview.com/2010/a-critique-of-%E2%80%98rwanda-the-two-faces-of-

paul-kagame%E2%80%99-by-jon-rosen/

Reacting to a tendentious essay by a Kigali-based American reporter, my annoyed rebuttal did upset many self-identified Rwandans.

http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/5629/rwanda-the-two-faces-of-paul-

kagame

First, I argued that Rwanda’s post-genocide leadership is getting away with murder. Among other misdeeds, it was strangling democracy, especially free speech, the rule of law and free and fair elections.

This is a sample: "[R]ight now Kagame’s regime is shutting down newspapers, is kidnapping the homeless and is demonizing and pronouncing Ms. Ingabire guilty-- before her sham trial even begins. And hours ago in Rwanda, Kagame arrested eminent American law professor, Peter Erlinder, who is defending Ms. Ingabire."

Additionally, I pointed out that Rwanda’s strongman is being coddled by three groups of American enablers-by government policy makers; by business leaders and other influential individuals outside the administration; and worse of all, by American reporters acting like praise-singers.

This was my bottom line: "All this reeks because it continues a tradition of Western elites telling Africans to be happy living under dictatorships that those elites would not tolerate in their own countries for a single day."

My opinion of what should be done remains unchanged: True friends of Rwanda and Africa must tell the American people the truth--Washington is in bed with a repressive regime in Kigali. Once truth confronts falsehood, American politicians and bureaucrats will quickly put pressure on Rwanda’s leaders to change course.

Washington has more than sufficient leverage to do this because each year it sends millions of American tax dollars to Kigali.

The gushing conduits that flood Rwanda with American military and development aid include: the Africa Command, AFRICOM; Africa Contingency Training and Assistance, ACOTA; the Millennium Challenge Corporation, MCC; the Agency for International Development, USAID; the National Endowment for Democracy, NED; and the National Democratic Institute, NDI.

The State Department’s website states the truth succinctly, ―Overall U.S. foreign assistance to Rwanda has increased four-fold over the past four years.‖ Specifically, the US has given Rwanda more than one billion dollars --$1,034,000,000 to be precise-- since 2000. And in the current fiscal year, President Obama proposes to give $240 million more.

Given the starkly different attitudes in our essays, some superficial readers have assumed that I must disagree vehemently with former President Bill Clinton. But I do not.

To the contrary, I agree 100% with Mr. Clinton. I am elated. Being an African immigrant long sick and tired of the media’s relentless negative stereotyping of Africa and Black people, I find it refreshing and wonderful that an American world leader of Mr. Clinton’s stature is holding up an African example for the world to emulate. It is about time.

Far from being unhappy, I gladly urge President Clinton to do more; to go further.

His essay praises a people, while mine lambastes a dictatorship. That is the simple explanation why my sharp criticism does not clash with Mr. Clinton’s praise.

The government I am unhappy with is President Paul Kagame’s. Its specific activities I condemn fall into three categories. There is its severe abuse of democratic principles and rights at home. I am terrified while Kigali has made commendable improvements, its iron-fisted rule is building an explosive time bomb--in a country whose leaders should know better because it has already been traumatized by a very recent genocide.

Next is Mr. Kagame’s invasions of the Congo and operation there of proxy militias. And then there is the plunder of the Congo’s resources, including conflict minerals.

President Kagame’s invasion, rent-seeking and plunder make him the leading figure among the many responsible for the Eastern Congo’s unspeakable catastrophe. We are talking about widespread, brutal rapes, mutilations, massive population displacement, and over 6 million deaths.

Lest we forget, these cross-border atrocities violate international law.

For us Africans, they are more--the singular, scary nightmare we have been desperately battling to prevent for over half a century since independence.

Reflect on why. With a few exceptions that prove the rule, every African country is a salad bowl of ethnicities, cultures, languages and other competing identities that are easily politicized and manipulated. Consequently friction and grievances abound. And our boundaries, carelessly drawn by rapacious, racist plunderers, are a mess. The only thing worse is violating or violently redrawing them.

Hence, Africans are very alarmed by Mr. Kagame’s invasions Congo and his manipulation of the Tutsi communities in both countries. His actions recall the late

Siyaad Barre of Somalia, another US-backed dictator whose irredentist Ogaden wars bear much responsibility for today’s deadly situation in the Horn of Africa.

This is why even though Mr. Kagame may be loved and lionized in Washington, London and Paris, across Africa he worries us.

And it is why millions of Rwanda’s African sisters and brothers like me say: Yes, the Rwandan genocide did occur. It did kill over almost a million AfricansRwandans to be precise. We share the pain and feel bottomless sympathy. However, that trauma can never justify violent predation that has already killed more than six million additional AfricansCongolese to be precise.

And Africans have a final question--for Mr. Kagame’s Western admirers and enablers:

What do you say about his causal role in mass death and suffering in the Eastern Congo?

In contrast to my essay, Mr. Clinton’s focuses on regular people. It tells the amazing stories of four typical Rwandans, all but one of whom remain nameless in Mr. Clinton’s telling. Like Mr. Nelson Mandela, the two female and two male Rwandans are doing the impossible--forgiving, putting the nightmarish past behind them, and looking to and building the better future.

I too consider their example the best of Africa and want it lauded and copied. To repeat then: I completely agree with President Clinton’s praise of post-genocide Rwanda’s people. A people this forgiving, this resilient, this admirable deserve the very best governancemeaning democracy.

That is why President Clinton has a sacred obligation, in my opinion. He needs to use his incomparable influence to persuade Rwanda’s government to make big changes both domestically and externally. Domestically, Kigali must embark on real democracy, including adhering to universal standards in the rule of law, in free speech and in free and fair elections.

And Mr. Clinton must persuade Kigali to rein in its army and militias in the Congo, to end the plunder, to make amends, and to respect the full sovereignty of the Congo and other neighbors.

Admittedly, these are gigantic tasks and processes that will take years. But precisely because they are thousand-mile journeys, they must start immediately with a vital first step: American law professor and defense attorney Peter Erlinder must be freed.

So, over to you, Mr. President: Please repeat your uplifting North Korea rescue saga. Bring fellow attorney Peter Erlinder home from his Kigali dungeon.

Nii Akuetteh, former executive director of www.africaaction.org and adjunct professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, is a member of the Scholars’ Council at www.transafricaforum.org and founder of the Democracy and Conflict Research Institute in Accra, Ghana, and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa www.osiwa.org

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Former U.S. envoy to head U.N.'s DRC peace mission (Reuters)

UNITED NATIONS The United Nations on Wednesday named two new special envoys to African countries; a former U.S. diplomat to serve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a Tanzanian ambassador to focus on Somalia.

Roger Meece, who was U.S. ambassador to the DRC from 2004-07, will take charge of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the central African nation, which at a current strength of 20,500 is the largest blue-helmet force anywhere in the world.

The mission, which first deployed in 2004 after a civil war and has faced continued conflicts between the Congolese army and rebel groups, including rampant violence against civilians, has an uncertain future.

DRC President Joseph Kabila wants the force out by the end of next year, saying it is no longer needed. The U.N. Security Council agreed last month to an immediate cut of up to 2,000 troops but has made no further commitments.

Meece succeeds Alan Doss of Britain, who had held the post since 2007. Last year, the U.N. opened an inquiry into the hiring of Doss's daughter by the U.N. Development Program after an Italian passed over for the job alleged Doss helped her get it. The investigation's results have not been made public.

Augustine Mahiga, who has been Tanzania's ambassador to the United Nations since 2003, was named as head of the U.N. Political Office for Somalia, which is based in Nairobi.

The U.N. has been resisting pressure from Africa to deploy a peacekeeping force to Somalia and to move part of the Nairobi-based office to the conflict-torn Horn of Africa country. At present, an African Union force is struggling to defend the Somali government against Islamist insurgents.

Mahiga will replace Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah of Mauritania, who has held the job since

2007.

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Djibouti Fears Civil War (The Media Line)

A spat of violent incidents leads to concerns over growing instability.

The head of the military police is killed. An army ambush on rebels ends in the death of three soldiers. Everyday, a killing is splashed across the news as low-intensity armed clashes spread.

Sounds a bit like Iraq, Darfur, Afghanistan or the Congo?

Nope. It's the tiny, East African nation of Djibouti, which over the past week has teetered closer and closer to civil war.

The deepening crisis began on April 19, when Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh made various maneuvers to pressure the parliament into changing the constitution to allow himself a third term in office.

That led to significant political upheaval and the May 12th mysterious death of Col. Abdi Hassan Bogoreh, the head of the military police.

The incident was followed little more than two weeks later with the death of three soldiers during a raid on an insurgent hideout in the north of the country.

With almost daily deaths from ongoing low-intensity clashes in the north, public fear of

a civil war is growing.

"The country is a bit unstable but it's hard to know what's going on," Yves Picaud, a European Union Attaché in Djibouti told The Media Line. "We are in a pre-election period so things could happen from September through April, but you also cannot always link what happened one month ago with what is happening today."

Djibouti faces a number of challenges. With 60% unemployment and few opportunities available for the nation’s youth, the country also has the highest cost of living in the Horn of Africa.

Djibouti has been host to ongoing social tension between the Issa majority and the

largely rural Afar minority. The Issa are a sub-clan of the Somali Dir clan, and the Afar,

a group of mostly nomadic pastoralists found principally in Ethiopia.

In 1991 an Afar rebel group, the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy

(FRUD), launched an insurgency against the People's Rally for Progress (RPP) government over the lack of Afar representation in the national government. The FRUD rebels captured much of the country's north and the ensuing civil war, also known as

the Afar insurgency, lasted almost four years. While the rebel leaders signed a peace accord with the government in late 1994, more radical afar rebels have kept up the low- intensity hostilities.

Dr Jack Kalpakian, a Horn of Africa expert at Al Akhawayn University, said that the clashes were the latest in decades of unresolved conflict.

"There has been a low level insurgency since the country became independent," he told The Media Line. "The government is run by the Somali community, which makes up a very clear and heavy demographic majority. But most of the physical land mass of the country is inhabited by Afar. The Afars don't see themselves as the minority because they have about a half to 60 percent of the country, so they wonder 'why are these people from Djibouti the city governing us?'"

"There have been various compromises in which movements are bought off but it always come back with the same essential issue," Dr Kalpakian said. "There needs to be a more permanent power sharing arrangement written into the constitution. This is something that is on the mind of the elites and there could eventually be a solution, but so far it has been elusive."

Djibouti is strategically important to major world powers as the East African base for various Western-allied armies, with large American, French and soon, Japanese military installations in the country. The country serves as a base for anti-terrorism operations throughout the Horn of Africa and joint international naval operations against sea pirates based in Somalia, Djibouti's neighbor to the south.

"The reality about Djibouti is that it's a very small micro-state propped up by the very significant foreign military presence in the capital," EJ Hogendoorn, Horn of Africa Project Director with the International Crisis Group, told The Media Line. "It's also a ―rentier state‖ -- meaning the elite essentially make most of their money off of rent or very focused sources of revenue - the money paid to the government by the different foreign military bases, the taxes off of the port, and so forth."

"What that means is there is a very significant income inequality because there is no large manufacturing base where lots of people are employed," he continued. "So there are large numbers of poor or destitute people. Not surprisingly that does lead to grievances and from what we understand some radicalization."

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Record breaking drugs haul in The Gambia (Radio Netherlands Worldwide)

Police in The Gambia have seized two tonnes of cocaine, bound for Europe, with a street value of a record-breaking one billion US dollars. Over a dozen drugs traffickers have been arrested, including three Dutch nationals.

The seizure highlights the new role West Africa is playing in the international drugs trade. The region has become a major hub for drugs trafficking between Latin America and Europe, due to its weak security and judicial systems. This makes it easier for drug gangs to export their goods to Europe, the UN’s drugs agency UNODC said in a report published last year.

Cocaine There have been several incidents in recent months, including the arrest of a group of Venezuelan drug traffickers who tried to land a Boeing filled with cocaine on an illegal landing strip in Mali.

Tuesday’s drugs haul was the biggest the country had ever seen, says RNW’s The Gambia correspondent Sherifff Bojang. ―Apart from the financial aspect, it’s the first time that this small country is making international headlines for its drugs trade. It has shocked the nation‖.

Hummers The growing drugs trade in countries such as The Gambia and Guinee Buissau is becoming more visible in these societies, says Sheriff: "It is obvious that there’s a lot of drugs money going on. Developments are moving in high speed. In Guinee Buissau, for instance, the people are poor, but you see the Hummers being driven in the country. If you balance that with the employment and you know that something is very wrong here‖.

Drug lords The people who make most money out of this trade are the Latin American drug lords who are shipping the drugs in large quantities. ―And when it is brought into the country, many more people are making huge profits‖, says Sheriff. ―It’s not the common people, it’s not the individuals. It’s the governments and military chiefs. The drug lords are targeting the people in power and in some cases, they succeed‖.

Since authorities have hardly any means fighting the drugs trade, west Africa has rapidly become a safe haven for drug lords. ―They come to Africa with a lot of money and bribe those who are in power. They have nothing to fear. They can do whatever they want‖, notes Sheriff.

But by now, the international community knows the African drugs trade is a huge blind spot in the international fight against narcotics. The UN, the US and Europe recently urged African countries to make more of an effort against the drug lords.

New policy?

So was Tuesday’s record-breaking seizure the beginning of a new policy in which authorities are trying to do something? Sheriff is optimistic: ―It’s a big achievement of The Gambian security forces to do this. But it’s also a big embarrassment. Once again, The Gambia is in the international news for the wrong reasons. I’m sure the government is going to try to give the world the impression that it’s ready to take this fight all the way. So yes, it might yield some dividend along the way‖.

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Nigeria's new electoral head pledges to deliver credible elections (Xinhua)

ABUJA, Nigeria - Newly appointed Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Attahiru Jega has promised not to let Nigerians down in their expectations of credible, free and fair elections in 2011.

Jega said this on phone in a brief reaction to Xinhua's question on his new appointment.

He replaced the controversial Prof. Maurice Iwu who conducted the 2007 general elections. Also appointed are ten National Commissioners.

Jega's appointment was made public on Tuesday after President Goodluck Jonathan got the approval of the Council of State (CoS).

He was one time president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

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Ethiopia Election Board Rejects Call for New Poll (Voice of America)

Ethiopia's elections body has rejected opposition calls for a re-run of last month's parliamentary poll, won by the ruling party in a landslide.

A coalition of six parties said the May 23 election was rigged, and that voters and opposition candidates were harassed.

The National Electoral Board said Wednesday that the opposition claims were not backed by any evidence.

Election results showed the ruling EPRDF coalition and allied parties taking 534 out of 537 parliamentary seats.

Opposition leaders say the government's near-total victory could not be accomplished without cheating.

Both the United States and the European Union criticized the election as falling short of international standards. Ethiopian officials have said the voting was free, fair, and democratic.

The election was Ethiopia's first parliamentary poll since a disputed 2005 vote that led

to violent unrest. Security forces killed nearly 200 people while putting down

demonstrations after that poll.

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Int'l monitor: Allow Zimbabwe to sell diamonds (Associated Press)

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - A monitor for the body set up to halt the trade in rough diamonds that fuel conflicts believes Zimbabwe is "on track" to meet international diamond mining standards and should be allowed to resume selling diamonds in international markets, according to a report obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

The body, Kimberley Process Certification, is expected to follow the advice of the monitor, Abbey Chikane. Kimberley Process investigators had previously recommended Zimbabwe's suspension over their findings of illicit trading and human rights abuses.

Chikane said in his report that "the government of Zimbabwe has demonstrated its commitment to meet the minimum requirements of the KP," regarding strengthening internal controls, curbing illegal digging and regulate alluvial mining. Chikane could not be reached on Wednesday.

A

leading human rights group criticized Chikane's recommendation, saying a decision

to

allow Zimbabwe to resume selling diamonds internationally should be postponed

until abuses are stopped. Human Rights Watch's senior researcher for Africa, Tiseke Kasambala, said Chikane's advice was flawed because it ignored alleged human rights abuses in the diamond-rich Marring district.

Allegations of killings and rights violations by troops and smuggling of "blood

diamonds" have been associated with the discovery of the extensive Marange deposits,

in eastern Zimbabwe, four years ago.

Kasambala said Human Rights Watch was concerned about the silence surrounding the situation.

"We expected these countries to put more pressure on the Zimbabwe government to stop human rights violations. We strongly believe that these 'blood diamonds' should not be allowed to enter the international markets until the ongoing abuses ended," Kasambala said.

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UN News Service Africa Briefs

Full Articles on UN Website

Secretary-General names new UN envoy for Somalia

9 June Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Augustine Mahiga, Tanzania’s

Ambassador to the United Nations, to serve as his top envoy for Somalia, which is in the midst of one of the worst humanitarian and political crises in the world.

UN lauds South African travel industry’s signing of code denouncing sex tourism

9 June – South Africa’s travel and hotel industries have signed a code of conduct

designed to protect children against sex tourism, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today, praising the ethical guide as an enduring legacy of the 2010 World Cup which starts in the country on Friday.

After success at home with UN, Sierra Leonean police officer helps women in Darfur

9 June Having seen first-hand how United Nations female peacekeepers helped her

own country rebuild, Sierra Leone’s highest-ranking female police officer is now hoping to duplicate those successes in the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur.

DR Congo: UN experts welcome steps taken in wake of murder of rights defender

9 June A group of United Nations experts today welcomed the suspension of the chief

of the national police of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the arrest of

several officers in the investigation into last week’s murder of a prominent human rights defender.

Ban lauds Burundians for gains in consolidating peace

9 June Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today congratulated the people of Burundi for

their achievements in consolidating peace as the tiny African nation rebuilds from decades of ethnic strife.