Uganda seizes Libya shares in UTL

http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/12/750546
Tuesday, 29th March, 2011
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By David Mugabe

THE Government has seized control of Libya’s majority stake in uganda telecom (utl) with immediate effect.

Aggrey Awori, the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) minister, said the Government was exercising its oversight role and also complying with UN sanctions against Libyan assets.

“We have to monitor all the transactions in conformity with the rules and now they cannot make certain decisions without our knowledge,” said Awori.

The Libyan government owns 69% of utl under its investment arm, Libya Africa Investment Portfolio.

utl has become the second entity in which Libya has a direct stake to fall under government control. Bank of Uganda last week relieved the Libyan Foreign Bank of its shareholding in Tropical Bank. The Libyan Foreign Bank owned 99.7% of Tropical Bank’s portfolio.

Awori said employees and Ugandans should not worry because the Government would normalise operations.

“The situation will be stabilised and all uncertainties will be eliminated within a week,” said Awori.

utl has about 1.75 million subscribers.

Awori also said the Government was planning a major monitoring of the telecom sector to bring the recent telecom bickering under control.

“The way events have been unfolding is “eyes on, hands off “but now we want to have hands on,” said Awori. MTN recently threatened to switch off all calls to utl over claims of an unpaid sh20b debt.

In freezing the Libyan Foreign Bank assets, Prof. Tumusiime Mutebile, the central bank governor, said all management appointees by the Libyan Foreign Bank were immediately relieved of their duties and a new management was appointed.

But Awori yesterday said he needed 48 hours to confirm whether there would be changes in utl management.

However, Donald Nyakairu, utl’s chief legal and corporate affairs officer, said they had not yet received the information and operations were going on normally.

“Probably they are thinking about it (the take-over), but nothing has changed. They have not approached us,” said Nyakairu.

Uganda Communications Commission boss Godfrey Mutabazi also said he had not been told about the new development.

In taking hold of both utl and Tropical Bank, the Government would be seen to ensure that both entities are operationally independent of Libyan influence, thereby safeguarding the local clientele.

Mercenarios españoles combaten en Libia junto a los rebeldes

 

Desde hace al menos una semana, un nutrido grupo de contratistas de la empresa Gibraltareña compuesta por Españoles SGSI Group se encuentra luchando en Libia contra las tropas gubernamentales de el Coronel Gadafi. Al parecer, estos se habrían desplazado desde Malta, para recuperar y poner a salvo a uno grupo de técnicos expatriados de una conocida compañía petrolífera. Tras de lo cual y habiendo llegado a un acuerdo con los jefes del mando rebelde se habrían comprometido con este gobierno en ayudarles a formar pelotones para actuar contra los carros de combate y las tropas estatales. Parece ser que han logrado desplazar material militar para abastecer a su equipo y a los rebeldes a los que entrenan desde su base en Cesaréa Israel.

El propietario de la empresa Víctor González, es un viejo conocido de el General Israel Viz, a cuyo servicio ya habría servido en el pasado. Israel Viz es un militar israelí retirado que se ha estado dedicando entre otras cosas a formar para SGSI Group a personal de inteligencia en Guinea ecuatorial. Mientras que Israel Viz habría estado coordinado a Mercenarios en Libia que ahora están cumpliendo funciones de francotiradores, Víctor González habría aceptado cumplir con la misión de eliminar a los mismos con sus propios francotiradores. De este modo si Gadafi gana Israel Viz seguirá trabajando para su régimen, haciendo ver los logros, de sus mercenarios. Y si Gadafi pierde, haría púbico el acuerdo llegado con el SGSI, por lo que aún podría demostrar que sus lealtades estaban con los rebeldes y con la coalición. Un claro ejemplo más de lo prácticos que pueden llegar a ser los israelíes en las contiendas actuales, siempre sacando partido.

Esta misión de eliminación de objetivos, habría empezado en Bengazi, y se estaría desarrollando ahora mismo en Misurata. Según fuentes rebeldes al menos ocho francotiradores habrían sido eliminados solo durante el primer día en Bengazi. La empresa SGSI lleva mas de diez años asesorando en cuestiones de seguridad al gobierno de Guinea Ecuatorial al que dicen ha montado su propio servicio de inteligencia. Se dice que ante una llamada del entonces gobierno de José María Aznar, pidiéndole su colaboración antes del intento de golpe del 2004, el propietario de la empresa, habría llamado él mismo a un contacto del gobierno Angoleño para que pusiesen en marcha el bloqueo de dicho golpe [1]. Víctor González que tiene un pasado de lo mas oscuro, se dice que ha llegado a estar huido de la justicia de su propio país aprovechando su condición diplomática Guineana, cuenta con una empresa paralela en España que tiene los permisos y parabienes del ministerio de defensa para la venta y comercialización de armamento en España. La pregunta ahora es, ¿Es conocedor el gobierno de José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero de las actividades que sus compatriotas desempeñan ahora mismo en Libia? España que tiene incluido en su código penal un artículo contra los mercenarios, debería ser mucho más seria a la hora de controlar las actividades que los mismos, en su mayoría formados dentro del seno de su propio ejército. Lo más curioso del caso es que durante décadas, el material militar español ha sido vendido sin reparo alguno al gobierno de Libia y que posiblemente esta misma empresa haya mediado en la compra-venta del mismo.

SGSI Group tiene a su mecenazgo un grupo de luchadores contra Al Qaeda en Somalia llamado Ahlu Sugnat national salvation forces. Al parecer este grupo se habría puesto en contacto con SGSI durante una operación que esta empresa protagonizó el pasado año en Somalia, contra un grupo de terroristas que habrían secuestrado un barco alemán de un armador cliente. En un intento de conseguir ayuda por parte del gobierno de Israel el responsable de este auto proclamado cuerpo de salvación somalí habría llegado a un acuerdo de colaboración, armamento y entrenamiento a cambio de información privilegiada sobre los piratas locales. Se conocen operaciones de este mismo estilo así como de protección llevadas a cabo por SGSI Group en Iraq, Afganistán y Pakistán.

Un pingüe negocio una vez mas para estas oscuras fuerzas que operan a su antojo.

Nota:

[1] http://www.elpais.com/articulo/internacional/mercenario/asegura/Aznar/apoyo/golpe/Guinea/Ecuatorial/elpporint/20050120elpepiint_15/Tes

Rebelión ha publicado este artículo con el permiso del autor mediante una licencia de Creative Commons, respetando su libertad para publicarlo en otras fuentes.

Sierra Leone: Information on the 1997 coup d’etat, ECOMOG harassment of civilians, and the current situation in Sierra Leone.

http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/category,COI,USCIS,,SLE,3df0dba62,0.html

 

Title

Sierra Leone: Information on the 1997 coup d’etat, ECOMOG harassment of civilians, and the current situation in Sierra Leone.
Publisher United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
Country Sierra Leone
Publication Date 5 January 2000
Citation / Document Symbol SLE01001.SND
Cite as United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Sierra Leone: Information on the 1997 coup d’etat, ECOMOG harassment of civilians, and the current situation in Sierra Leone. , 5 January 2000, SLE01001.SND , available at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3df0dba62.html %5Baccessed 29 March 2011]

United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services - Logo

Query:

Please provide information on the 1997 coup d’etat, the actions of ECOMOG forces in the aftermath of that coup, and the current situation in Sierra Leone.

Response:

1997 COUP D’ETAT

On 25 May 1997, the government of President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, who had been elected president in March 1996 in the first multi-party elections for nearly three decades in Sierra Leone, was overthrown by a group of soldiers from the Sierra Leone Army (SLA) who had formed the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC). The leader of the coup and head of the newly formed AFRC, Johnny Paul Koroma, had been among nine soldiers charged with attempting to overthrow the government in September 1996. The armed forces were joined by the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and formed what became known as the People’s Army. In effect, AFRC soldiers (formerly SLA soldiers) and rebel RUF soldiers jointly ruled Sierra Leone until February 1998 when ECOMOG (Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group) troops stormed Freetown and returned President Kabbah to power. The RUF and AFRC, including members of the SLA, retreated to the country side (UK, Apr. 2000, 5; HRW, July 1998, 4; UN OCHA-IRIN, 29 Dec. 2000).

MAY 1997 – DECEMBER 1999

The nine months of AFRC/RUF rule of Sierra Leone, from 25 May 1997 to 13 February 1998, was characterized by serious human rights violations and a complete breakdown of the rule of law. Immediately after the 1997 coup, Nigerian ECOMOG forces already present in Sierra Leone were significantly reinforced by additional troops from Nigeria, Guinea and Ghana. On 13 February 1998, ECOMOG forces ousted the AFRC/RUF junta. There were reports of acts of violence and intimidation by ECOMOG troops against civilians in Freetown and other parts of the country (UN OCHA-IRIN, 29 Dec. 2000; UK, Apr. 2000, 5 & 9; HRW, July 1998, 4).

On 19 October 1998, twenty-four (24) army officers were executed by firing squad after having been convicted of participation in the 1997 coup d’etat. Ten (10) officers convicted of the same charges had their sentences commuted to life in prison. The executions were condemned by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the British government, the European Union (EU) and UN Secretary-General Koffi Annan (AFP, 23 Oct. 1998; AFP, 20 Oct. 1998; AI, 20 Oct. 1998; Roy-Macauley, 19 Oct. 1998; HRW, 19 Oct. 1998).

In January 1999 RUF rebels and some former troops of the SLA launched an assault on Freetown and seized parts of the city from ECOMOG. Before ECOMOG regained control of the capital, at least 5,000 people were killed and many neighborhoods were demolished. Thousands of others were abducted by the rebel forces. Some were used for forced labor, others as sex slaves, and many terrorized into joining the rebel army. ECOMOG forces summarily executed suspected rebels and collaborators in their efforts to drive the rebel forces from the city (UN OCHA-IRIN, 29 Dec. 2000; UK, Apr. 2000, 8).

All parties to the conflict were responsible for human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. Civilian Defense Forces (CDFs) and civilian militias, commonly referred to as Kamajors, who support the Kabbah government, committed various human rights abuses including indiscriminate killings and torture. The Kamajors were responsible for the majority of abuses committed by those fighting on behalf of the Kabbah government since February 1998. However, abuses by forces aligned with the Kabbah government were carried out on a smaller scale than those abuses committed by the AFRC/RUF (HRW, July 1998, 4-5).

The AFRC/RUF waged war by attacking the civilian population. They used a brutal terror campaign to exert political and military control over the population. Testimony taken from survivors and witnesses of rebel attacks reported physical mutilation, rape, abduction, torture and murder among the atrocities committed by the AFRC/RUF (HRW, July 1998, 11).

In an attempt to restore peace and stability to the country, the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) was deployed in November 1999 to assist in the implementation of the Lome Peace Accord signed by the Kabbah government and RUF rebels in July 1999. The accord provided for the establishment of a unity government that includes the RUF and former AFRC junta. UNAMSIL has been criticized as being ineffective in its ability to protect civilians from harm in rebel-controlled territory (HRW, 30 Nov. 2000; Adeyemi, 15 Nov. 2000).

In February 2000 UNAMSIL was expanded in size from 6,000 to 11,000. During the following month rebels attacked UN forces in eastern Sierra Leone and seized weapons and equipment. In May more than 500 UN peacekeepers were abducted by the RUF. The previous peace deal reached between the Sierra Leonean government and the RUF rebels collapsed and British troops arrived to evacuate British nationals. British advisors provided support for the UN forces (Reuters, 3 Jan. 2001; UN OCHA-IRIN, 29 Dec. 2000).

Complicating matters further, the Indian commander of UNAMSIL accused Nigerian peacekeepers of sabotaging the peace process by colluding with rebels in illegal diamond mining. In August 2000 former SLA soldiers held several UN officials, ECOMOG troops, journalists, and others hostage. Most were released within a week and RUF commanders being held were also freed a month later. In September British paratroopers attacked the camp of a rebel group known as the West Side boys who had taken 11 British troops hostage. During the same month India and Jordan withdrew their troop support from UNAMSIL. British troops deployed a taskforce of 500 British Royal Marines in Freetown to reinforce their troops who were training the SLA (Reuters, 3 Jan. 01; UN OCHA-IRIN, 29 Dec. 2000; Adeyemi, 15 Nov. 2000).

CURRENT SITUATION

On 10 November 2000, the RUF and the government of President Kabbah signed a nine-point peace agreement in Abuja, Nigeria. The agreement called for an immediate 30-day cease-fire, full deployment of UNAMSIL, and the return of equipment, weapons and ammunitions seized by the RUF. The agreement also called for the immediate resumption of the disarmament, demobilization and integration program of the Lome Peace Accord signed in July 1999. In December Britain announced that 300 Gurkha soldiers will help train the SLA (UNOCHA-IRIN, 29 Dec. 2000; Adeyemi, 15 Nov. 2000).

Presently, UNAMSIL reports that general security in the country remains calm, except for areas near the southeastern Guinea border. Agence France Presse reported the Sierra Leone government’s mounting concern over RUF rebel activity in Guinea that has claimed at least 900 lives and caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of local Guineans and Sierra Leoneans and Liberians who resided in Guinea as refugees. Sierra Leonean refugees continue arriving in the Guinean capital of Conakry after fleeing the conflict zones of southwestern Guinea. Many of those in Conakry are awaiting sea passage to Freetown. UNHCR stated that as of December 30th 1,559 refugees had voluntarily repatriated to Sierra Leone in an effort to flee the rebel violence that has now spread to southern Guinea. Meanwhile in Freetown, returnees have refused to move out of refugee transit centers after the maximum 5-day stay. UNHCR is trying to arrange alternate accommodations in Sierra Leone for those from unsafe areas of the country (UNHCR, 2 Jan. 2001; AFP, 27 Dec. 2000; UN-OCHA, 22 Dec. 2000).

UNAMSIL peacekeepers, whose mandate has been extended until 31 March 2001, appear to now be poised to enter RUF controlled territory. However, at the moment RUF intentions remain unclear. Although the RUF appears to have attempted to put a stop to atrocities being committed by its forces and has allowed further freedom of movement within Sierra Leone, the RUF has sent mixed signals regarding UNAMSIL deployment in accord with the peace agreement. The RUF has indicated that the UN forces could only deploy if RUF leader, Foday Sankoh, is freed; and at other times the RUF has stated that Sankoh’s release was not a requisite for UNAMSIL deployment in territory under its control. The U.S. government has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to certain Sierra Leonean nationals until 2 November 2001 (Reuters, 3 Jan. 2001; UNSC, 22 Dec. 2000; FR, 9 Nov. 2000).

Ongoing violence leading to rising displacement in Libya, says UN agency

Refugees await food distribution at the border town of Sallum, Egypt, after fleeing the ongoing crisis in neighbouring Libya

25 March 2011 – The United Nations refugee agency said it is receiving reports of increased displacement in Libya, while the numbers of people fleeing the North African nation amid what Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called “the brutal campaign of violence by the Libyan regime against its own people” have remained steady.

Non-governmental partners working with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimate that up to 20,000 people have been taking refuge in the small town of Al Butwen, east of Ajdabiya for over two weeks, while some 5,000 people are displaced in the coastal town of Derna.

The agency has sent two convoys with medical supplies to the rebel-held city of Benghazi through the Egyptian Red Crescent and the Libyan Red Crescent, as well as thousands of blankets, sleeping mats and other relief items.

However, UNHCR does not currently have access to deliver humanitarian aid into other parts of Libya, spokesperson Melissa Fleming told a news conference in Geneva.

Colonel Muammar Al-Qadhafi has waged a fierce military crackdown in response to the protests that erupted in Libya last month as part of a wider movement calling for reform across North Africa and the Middle East.

As of 23 March, more than 350,000 people have fled the violence in Libya, with most of them going to neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia, said UNHCR. It added that the numbers of those fleeing have remained steady over the past few days.

Yesterday Mr. Ban reported to the Security Council that although the Libyan authorities have repeatedly claimed to have instituted a ceasefire, there has been no evidence of that.

“To the contrary, fierce battles have continued in or around the cities of Ajdabiya, Misratah and Zitan, among others. In short, there is no evidence that Libyan authorities have taken steps to carry out their obligations under Resolutions 1970 or 1973,” he said, referring to last week’s resolution and an earlier one calling for a ceasefire and full protection of civilians.

In a related development, the head of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, today condemned the killing of Libyan journalist Mohammed al-Nabbous on 19 March and called for all journalists detained in the country to be freed.

According to the International Press Institute, the 28-year-old founder of online channel Libya Al-Hurra, or Free Libya, was killed by snipers in Benghazi during an attack on the city by pro-Qadhafi forces.

“His tragic death, along with numerous reports of journalists being detained in the country, indicates just how dangerous Libya has become for media workers,” Ms. Bokova stated in a news release.

“In keeping with the Geneva Conventions to which Libya is a State party, it is essential that all those in positions of power in the country respect the right of journalists to do their work unhindered,” she added.

Mr. al-Nabbous is the second journalist to be killed in Libya within the past two weeks, said UNESCO. Ali Hassan al-Jaber, a cameraman with Al Jazeera, was killed in an apparent ambush last week.

In water-rich DR Congo, 50 million people lack clean water to drink – UN

Some 90 per cent of the DRC’s rural population is dependent on groundwater and springs for drinking water

22 March 2011 – An estimated 51 million people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – or three quarters of the population – have no access to safe drinking water, even though the country holds over half of Africa’s water reserves, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said in a new study released today.

The country’s troubled legacy of conflict, environmental degradation, rapid urbanization and under-investment in water infrastructure has seriously affected the availability of drinking water, UNEP said in the study, unveiled to coincide with World Water Day.

UNEP was among several participants at an event in the capital, Kinshasa, staged by the National Water and Sanitation Committee, which brought together government representatives, development partners, financial institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and researchers to discuss steps to address the DRC’s water challenges.

Speaking at the forum, UNEP’s DRC Programme Manager, Hassan Partow, said the study confirmed that despite recent progress, including water sector reforms, the scale of the challenge means that the country will not be able to meet its water targets under the UN-set Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which calls for reducing by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015.

The DRC would have to supply an additional 20.3 million people with safe drinking water by 2015 even to meets its national development goals, which are significantly below the MDGs water target, according to UNEP.

“Since peace was brokered in 2003, the Government has gradually managed to reverse the negative trend in water coverage that has plagued the DRC since its period of conflict and turmoil”, said Mr. Partow. “This represents an important achievement which should be applauded.”

“However, the stark reality is that the DRC has one of the fastest urbanization growth rates in the world and this is not being matched with adequate water and sanitation service delivery,” he added.

Based on extensive fieldwork and stakeholder consultations across the country, the UNEP study found that inadequate water and sanitation delivery in the DRC’s rapidly expanding urban centres is due to insufficient, aging and overloaded networks, combined with the degradation of critical water sources and watersheds, such as the Lukunga and N’Djili catchments, which provide millions of people with drinking water in Kinshasa.

According to the study, entitled “Water Issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo – Challenges and Opportunities,” in addition to major infrastructure improvements, an investment of approximately $70 million over a five-year period is required to help strengthen the water sector.

UNEP recommends innovative strategies such as community-managed water supply systems in urban fringe areas and low-cost technical solutions, including communal tap areas and rainwater harvesting.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), meanwhile, drew attention to an estimated 37 million rural residents in DRC who risk contracting disease because they have no alternative but to draw untreated water directly from rivers or lakes that are likely to be contaminated.

“A child living in a Congolese village is four times more likely to drink contaminated water than someone in town. Yet, all children have equal right to survival and development of which drinking water is a vital component,” said Pierrette Vu Thi, the UNICEF representative in DRC in a statement to mark the World Water Day.

More than 2 million Congolese children under the age of five, or one in five in that age group, are regularly sick with diarrhoea, according to figures from the country’s department of health cited by UNICEF.

“The fact that we are unable to provide each family clean drinking water is an affront,” said Ms. Vu Thi. “Too many children die because we do not respect our responsibility, and their deaths are ignored,” she added.

Côte d´Ivoire: ACNUR reporta 1,5 millones de desplazados por conflicto

http://www.un.org/spanish/News/fullstorynews.asp?newsID=20570&criteria1=Ivoire&criteria2=desplazados

 

25 de marzo, 2011 El conflicto en Côte d´Ivoire ha causado ya el desplazamiento de un millón de personas en Abidján, declaró la Agencia de la ONU para los Refugiados (ACNUR).
La portavoz en Ginebra de ese organismo, Melissa Fleming, destacó que otros 500.000 marfileños han abandonado sus hogares en el oeste del país.

“Las familias que huyen de las áreas de conflicto le han dicho a nuestra gente que tienen miedo de verse atrapadas en el fuego cruzado o ser alcanzadas por balas perdidas. Otros dicen que ya no pueden afrontar la situación financiera, porque los bancos y las empresas han cerrado y esto ha causado desempleo”, explicó Fleming.

Agregó que las terminales de autobús están llenas de pasajeros desesperados por marcharse a zonas donde no se han producido enfrentamientos.

Historia de otra manipulación mediática

Las ejecuciones no fueron por negarse a disparar contra los manifestantes
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