Saturday, October 29, 2005

Chad's Deby disbands bodyguard after mutinies

Chadian President Idriss Deby disbanded the Republican Guard, an elite military unit tasked with his protection, in the wake of an incident of mutiny and desertion, a decree said Saturday. Full report.

Chad is a corrupt nation - Sudan believe SCUD is working with Darfur rebels

The Family Feud via

October 29, 2005: The government is trying to get control of several hundred million dollars in oil profits that, via an agreement with the World Bank, it has placed in a London bank account for future development projects. Chad is a corrupt nation, with tribal loyalties, all too often, coming before national ones. Chad's dozens of major tribes don't trust each other when it comes to spending the new oil revenue. For that reason, oil wealth has tended to be something of a curse in Africa, benefiting only a few, and causing unrest, and even civil war. It's happening in Chad as well.

October 26, 2005: The Chadian army has chased nearly all members of SCUD into Sudan, and is asking the Sudanese to disarm the group. The Sudanese would like to do that, because they believe SCUD is working with Darfur rebel groups. The problem is that Darfur is a large place, and a few hundred SCUD gunmen have plenty of hiding places.

October 22, 2005: The umbrella group for Chadian rebel groups, ANR (Alliance Nationale de la Resistance), declared it had nothing to do with the latest armed rebels to oppose president Deby. ANR declared that the latest rebel faction, who were members of the Presidential Guard, had nothing to do with ANR, and were involved in a "family feud" (since the Presidential Guard is recruited from the president's tribe, the Zagawa.) It is believed that the current rebellion is, literally, a family feud, with Doussa Deby, the brother-in-law of the president, behind the current problems in the Presidential Guard. The new rebel group calls itself SCUD (Platform for Change, National Unity and Democracy), and is led by Yahia Doli, who claims he has several hundred armed men. The government says only 40 troops deserted the Presidential Guard to join SCUD, and this is probably correct. That's because SCUD is less a bunch of Chadian rebels, then it is a group of Chadian volunteers going off to help the Zagawa clans that live across the border in Darfur. Like many of Africa's 700 or so tribes, the Zagawa does not live in just one country. When the national boundaries were drawn up in the 19th century, some Zagawa ended in up in Chad, and some in Sudan's Darfur region. As black Africans, the Zagawa have been suffering from the attacks of Sudanese Arab tribesmen, armed and urged on by the Sudanese government. What complicates the matter is that the president of Chad, Idriss Deby, came out on top in the recent civil war, largely because he was backed by Sudan. That conflict is not completely over, with various, tribe based, factions still providing armed opposition to the government in various parts of the country.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Eritrea says UN lies to cover up failure over Ethiopian border

Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki has accused UN chief Kofi Annan of lying about humanitarian conditions in his country to "cover up" the United Nations' failure to deal with soaring border tensions with Ethiopia.

Full report AFP via ST 28 Oct 2005.

Darfur's SLA leaders operate out of Chad, Europe and Eritrea

Once seen as fighting for the rights of brutalised people, Darfur's biggest rebel movement SLA have become part of the problem, reports BBC correspondent Jonah Fisher in Khartoum 28 Oct 2005.

Note the report reveals SLA leaders left Darfur in 2004 and attempted to direct operations from different hotels in the Eritrean capital, Asmara.

Also, see fascinating Washington Post report May 17 2005 by Emily Wax about the Janjaweed, the militarised town of Marla and how "amid the amulet pouches hanging from Tarjab Jalab's belt loop is a Thuraya satellite phone in a small leather case. In theory, the commander in Muhajara uses it to communicate with the SLA's higher-ups in Chad, Europe and Eritrea."

Oct 28 Reuters report by Opheera McDoom says some rebel delegates expected to attend a unity congress Oct 29 are from the United States, Italy, and England.

Darfur's SLA leaders operate out of Chad, Europe and Eritrea

Eastern Chad: Something Strange Is Going On ...

Greg reports Something Strange Is Going On ...
"We have received several reports of some kind of opposition to the Chadian government building up in Eastern Chad. Reuters is confirming what we have heard: That rebellious soldiers in Eastern Chad--at Hadjer Hadid--were attacked by government soldiers. Some sources on the ground report that soldiers have not been paid for nearly 8 months, and that was possibly the reason for the rebellion.

Most of what we have heard is unconfirmed at this moment...but, we will update this blog as we are able to confirm."

World Bank mulls withdrawal from Chad oil pipeline

Note Reuters report Oct 28, 2005: The World Bank may withdraw from a high-profile oil pipeline investment in Chad and halt lending to the government if it changes a law to access a larger share of oil profits, officials said on Thursday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Three different crises in Sudan affects neighbouring countries

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres has said that the situation in the Darfur region of Sudan is once again deteriorating sharply, and warned that a further calamity could take place there very soon, which might have "a devastating impact" on neighbouring countries as well as on the situation in other parts of Sudan.

Situation in Darfur seriously degenerating, says Guterres Oct 24:

"You have three different crises at the moment," he said. "South Sudan, where peace was established based on the sharing of oil revenues; you have Darfur, and you have eastern Sudan, where the implications are also in relation to the neighbours and the problem between Eritrea and Ethiopia."

Monday, October 24, 2005

FT op-ed: Eritrea and Ethiopia 'sliding into war'

Five years after United Nations peacekeepers deployed to Ethiopia and Eritrea to help end their devastating border conflict, the mission has been rendered virtually impotent and there are increasing concerns the two countries could return to war.

Read the full story by Andrew England and Mark Turner at October 24 2005.

Note, a discussion on this at EthioBlog.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Sudan says Eritrea withdraws many border troops

Oct 20 Reuters (Khartoum) report excerpt:
Sudan has accused Eritrea of arming and supporting rebel groups from both the east and western Darfur region. The groups have offices in the Eritrean capital Asmara, but Eritrea denies the existence of any Sudanese armed men on its soil.
Note, eastern Sudan contains Sudan's only port, Port Sudan, the main oil pipeline which carries Sudanese crude exports and Sudan's largest gold mine.

Rebels of Sudan's Eastern Front

Rebels from Sudan’s Eastern Front parade during a conference held by the Front north of Kassala town, near the Eritrean border. (AFP).

Oct 24: Sudan's eastern rebels in first talks with govt next month.

Oct 22 Curzon at ComingAnarchy notes One neighbor's troop withdrawal is another neighbor's military buildup.

Further posts at Sudan Watch re Eritrea.

Ethiopia says Eritrea building up troops on border

Oct 19 Reuters (Addis Ababa) report - Ethiopia says Eritrea building up troops on border.

Oct 22 Curzon at ComingAnarchy notes One neighbor's troop withdrawal is another neighbor's military buildup.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Eritrea rejects UN flight request

Snippets from BBC correspondent Elizabeth Blunt's report today:

If Ethiopia and Eritrea go to war again, Eritrea would almost certainly lose, and yet it is Eritrea which provoked the present crisis.

Ethiopia accuses Eritrea of secretly moving troops to the border, while Eritrea says Ethiopia is not to be trusted.

Eritrea is suffering from a prolonged humanitarian catastrophe, the UN says, with 2.3 million people facing a lack of food.

More than 3,000 UN troops patrol the border zone under the terms of the December 2000 peace plan that followed a two-year border war.

Eritrea has rejected a plea from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to lift a ban on peacekeeping flights along its tense border with Ethiopia.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki told Mr Annan: "You cannot claim the legal, political, moral or humanitarian high ground on matters of law."

Eritrea banned UN helicopter flights in its airspace on 5 October.

Mr Annan has warned that the UN may have to pull its troops out if the flight ban remains in place.

Note, Eritrea became independent from Ethiopia in 1993, after Ethiopian and Eritrean rebel movements overthrew the Derg regime in Addis Ababa.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Ethiopia/Eritrea: UN vacates half its monitoring posts

The UN operation monitoring the increasingly tense border between Ethiopia and Eritrea said Monday that Asmara's ban on helicopter overflights would force it to vacate nearly half its posts on Eritrean territory.

The UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) said the ban had led it to conclude that it could no longer staff 18 of the smallest and most isolated of its 40 observation posts as well as one larger base it runs in Eritrea.

Eritrea has repeatedly warned that a new conflict is looming because of Ethiopia's refusal to accept a binding 2002 border delineation from an international panel set up as part of the pact that ended the war.

Full report (AFP/ST) 17 October 2005.

Sudan: Chadian soldiers form new rebel group

This report, via Sudan Tribune, is posted here at Ethiopia Watch for ease of reference:

The last week Chadian deserter soldiers said they say they are determined to drive out President Idriss Deby from power, and they formed a new political movement, Radio France Internationale reported.

The dissident soldiers, who refuse to be referred to as deserters, have presented themselves as a structured movement that they have called SCUD, as a Platform for Change, National Unity and Democracy.

The deserters affirm that they are 370 in number.

Yahya Dilo a former officer of the Chadian army and former member of the Chadian ruling MPS party, is the leader of the dissident soldiers members of SCUD.

Full report Oct 16, 2005 (PARIS)

Note, the above report mentions Libya. Libyan leader met with Egyptian leader today in an unscheduled meeting that included discussions on Sudan's Darfur crisis.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Submissions Welcomed For Spotlight On Darfur 2

If you wish to contribute a blog entry for Spotlight on Darfur 2, please contact Eddie Beaver at Live From The FDNF in time for 16 October 2005 deadline.

Jim Moore, co-founder of Sudan: Passion of the Present, recently posted a note from Eddie on this initiative with an important PINR report from Michael Weinstein.

Note, Catez Stevens in New Zealand initiated and hosted Spotlight on Darfur 1 round up of posts authored by 14 different bloggers from around the world. Jim Moore, in praise of this, writes:

"In my view this work is so fine as to be almost historic. It combines the literary quality of a small, carefully edited book, with the global accessibility of works on the web."

Spotlight On Darfur

Last May, Catez also produced The Darfur Collection.

Image courtesy Tim Sweetman's post Let Us Weep.


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Sudan to start supplying oil to Ethiopia in January

Sudanese and Ethiopian government officials announced this week that Ethiopia will start importing benzene, kerosene and other petroleum products as of January.

Sudan, Ethiopia End Border Dispute.

Monday, October 03, 2005

UN say foreign investment increases in Ethiopia

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flow to Ethiopia has shown an increase.

See Full report (ENA/ST) October 4, 2005.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

China Provides 150,000 USD for Ethio-Sudan Border Demarcation

The Chinese government has provided a 150,000 USD for the demarcation of the Ethio-Sudan border.

Full story at Sudan Activism blog.