ML Strategies Update David Leiter, firstname.lastname@example.org Georgette Spanjich, email@example.com FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @MLStrategies ML Strategies, LLC 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20004 USA 202 296 3622 202 434 7400 fax www.mlstrategies.com MAY 14, 2015 Africa Update Leading the News Burundi On May 8th, the Office of the United Nations (U.N.) High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the eruption of pre-election violence in Burundi last month has seen over 50,000 people flee to neighboring countries. The U.N. estimates 25,004 refugees have crossed into Rwanda, while another 17,696 people have left Burundi for Tanzania. An additional 8,000 refugees have also crossed into South Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). UNHCR also warned the situation in Burundi could undo some of the most promising developments in recent refugee history in Africa, including one of the world’s largest and most successful voluntary return programs for Burundian refugees. An update was provided here. On May 8th , ahead of a Saturday deadline, Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza registered to run for a third term, a move that was anticipated to further anger protestors already demonstrating against his bid for another five years in office. While the country’s constitutional court ruled last week that President Nkurunziza’s candidacy is constitutional, opponents say his plan to run violates the constitution and the peace deal that ended Burundi’s 2005 civil war. The opposition has vowed to continue to protest until President Nkurunziza withdraws from the race. An article on developments in Burundi can be read here. On May 9th, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete announced East African leaders would hold a May 13th summit in Dar es Salaam aimed at breaking the political deadlock in Burundi and ensuring the country holds peaceful elections. The heads of state of Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi, which form the East African Community (EAC) common market were invited and expected to attend. The summit was announced here. On May 10th, hundreds of women gathered in Bujumbura, Burundi to continue to protest President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term in office. According to witnesses, police tried to block the women from reaching Independence Square, but they did not use force and the women ultimately dispersed peacefully. One protestor was reportedly killed after being shot in the Musaga area, but it did not appear the victim was one of the women involved in the march. The protests were described here. On May 11th, Belgium’s Ministry of Development Cooperation announced it had suspended some aid to Burundi, including aid earmarked to support elections and the police, claiming the conditions were no longer right for the poll. The announcement came as 300 people continued to protest President Pierre Nkurkunziza’s in the Musaga area of the capital. While Belgium is the first donor to take such action, Belgian diplomats indicated other European donors could soon follow suit. An article on the decision was published here. On May 11th, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) criticized Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to pursue a third term in the country’s June 26th presidential election, in apparent violation of the country’s 2005 constitution. Senator Coons expressed his belief by ignoring the two-term limit in both Burundi’s constitution and the Arusha Agreement, President Nkurunziza puts at risk the future of his people and the wider region to advance his personal political agenda. He also said he was troubled by the President and the police force’s reaction to Burundians who have rejected President Nkurunziza’s third-term aspiration and called for an immediate halt on the persecution of protestors and the lifting of all restrictions on free speech and press rights. Senator Coons’ statement was posted here. On May 11th -14th , U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield was on travel to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania for the EAC emergency ministerial on the situation in Burundi. Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield also participated in meetings on the sidelines of the EAC ministerial in order to express U.S. concern about the situation in Burundi, as well as U.S. support for the Arusha Agreement and political dialogue among all parties to ensure peaceful, credible, and inclusive elections in Burundi. Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield’s travel was noticed here. On May 12th, police fired guns and teargas at protestors throwing stones in the Butarere district of Bujumbura, Burundi, as they continued to protest President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term. According to witnesses, at least two police officers fired guns at demonstrators and one woman was shot dead. Meanwhile, local media reported a grenade thrown in another district killed two people. Police authorities, which have regularly denied shooting at protestors, had no immediate comment. If confirmed, the deaths would take the number killed since demonstrations began on April 22nd to at least 22. For more information, click here. On May 13th, celebrations broke out in Bujumbura following reports of a coup against the government of President Pierre Nkurunziza. Demonstrations shifted to celebrations after Major General Godefriod Niyombare, an army officer who President Nkurunziza fired from his intelligence chief post in February, announced that President Nkurunziza and his administration had been dismissed. His announcement came while President Nkurunziza was in Tanzania for a meeting of EAC leaders. As the news broke, the army also appeared to be in control of the state broadcaster and state-owned buildings. However, social media and spokespersons for President Nkurunziza reported an attempted coup had failed. The situation was described here. On May 13th, as the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that a coup had reportedly taken place in Burundi following President Pierre Nkurunziza’s departure for and EAC summit in Tanzania, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all parties to exercise calm and restraint and reminded the country’s leaders of the need to preserve peace and stability. He observed the situation remained very fluid and the U.N. is following developments on the ground with great concern. Feedback from Secretary-General Ban was posted here. On May 13th, U.S. Department of State Acting Deputy Spokesperson Jeff Rathke expressed great concern for the situation in Burundi and called on all parties to immediately end the violence and exercise restraint. He also expressed support for a statement issued by EAC leaders calling for an end to the violence and peaceful elections in line with the electoral laws and in the spirit of the Arusha agreement. Additionally, Deputy Spokesperson Rathke noted Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield had spoken with advisors to President Nkurunziza on the sidelines of the EAC meeting in Tanzania. His comments were transcribed here. On May 14th, it was unclear who was in control of the government of Burundi following Wednesday’s announcement by Major General Godefriod Niyombare that he had taken control with support of the military. According to witnesses, forces loyal the President Pierre Nkurunziza were engaged in clashes and gunfire with forces allied to the alleged coup leaders for control of the airport and the offices of the state broadcaster. Meanwhile, the army’s chief of staff, General Prime Niyongabo said the situation was under control, with the army seeking to capture those declaring a coup. Developments were shared here. Central African Republic On May 7th, prosecutors in Paris, France announced the official start of an investigation of alleged child sex abuse by French soldiers in the Central African Republic (CAR). Prosecutors decided to open the investigation after a U.N. report issued last July detailed the alleged abuse, which occurred between December 2013 and June 2014 at a center for displaced people at M’Poko airport in Bangui. French President Francois Hollande has vowed no mercy if the allegations are proven. An article on the investigation can be read here. On May 8th, U.S. President Barack Obama notified Congress of his decision to continue the national emergency with respect to the CAR for one year. The national emergency in the CAR was first declared on May 12, 2014 to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and the foreign policy of the U.S. constituted by the situation in and in relation to the CAR, marked by a breakdown of law and order, inter-sectarian tension, widespread violence and atrocities, and the pervasive, often forced recruitment and use of child soldiers. President Obama affirmed these conditions persist and continue to threaten the peace, security, and stability of the CAR and neighboring states. President Obama’s message to Congress can be accessed here. On May 11th , a peace forum held in Bangui, CAR concluded with ten armed groups and the Defense Ministry signing a peace accord requiring disarmament. The peace forum, attended by government officials, international partners, and religious and civil society groups, also called for the urgent creation of a special criminal court in the country. Violence flared up in the CAR in March 2013 when mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, triggering backlash from anti-balaka Christian militias. While a transitional government currently holds power, elections are due to be held later this year. Information on the forum was reported here. On May 11th, following the conclusion of the Bangui National Forum, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Kimoon congratulated the people of the CAR on the adoption of the Republican Pact for Peace, National Reconciliation and Reconstruction, which he said reflects their aspirations to put conflict behind them and to build a more peaceful and democratic country. Secretary-General Ban commended the transitional authorities and armed groups for the signature of the agreement on the principles for disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration and called for its swift and full implementation. SecretaryGeneral Ban’s feedback was noted here. On May 11th, the U.S. Department of State congratulated the people of the CAR on the successful conclusion of the Bangui Forum, noting the participation of hundreds of Central Africans, including diaspora and refugee populations. The State Department also welcomed the signature by armed groups and the transitional government of an accord on disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, and repatriation of combatants and applauded the commitment to peace. Additionally, the State Department recognized the signature by armed groups of an agreement to halt the recruitment of child soldiers and to release all child soldiers currently in their ranks and associated with the conflict. The State Department’s feedback on the Bangui Forum was shared here. Nigeria On May 7th, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) warned thousands of women and children in regions where Boko Haram violence has spilled into Cameroon, Niger, and Chad, are at risk for worsening malnutirition. With the lean season arriving, WFP Regional Director for West Africa Denise Brown expressed concern that increasing food needs among the most vulnerable coinciding with the rainy season and greater hunger needs could spark extra health risks. The situation was detailed here. On May 7th, at least five people were killed when Boko Haram militants attacked the Nigerien village of Koukodou along the border with Nigeria. The Boko Haram fighters also burned houses and vehicles and looted homes and shops before withdrawing back across the border into Nigeria. The raid on Koukodou was described here. On May 8th, a gunman opened fire on students after walking into a high school in Potiskum, Nigeria. The gunman, who was caught and beaten by locals, was accompanied by a suicide bomber who detonated, but only blew himself up. According to witnesses, six people were critically injured. It was not immediately clear if the gunman and the suicide bomber belonged to Boko Haram, but the attack was similar to past assaults carried out by the group. The attack was reported here. On May 10th , The Washington Post reported some Nigerian soldiers are refusing to fight Boko Haram because they feel they have insufficient weaponry. At least 66 soldiers have been found guilty of mutiny and sentenced to death by firing squad, while dozens more remain in detention, awaiting trial. Nigeria’s defense budget is over $6 billion, among the highest on the continent, but analysts believe the military is plagued with corruption. In addition, Nigerian soldiers have complained about delays in receiving their salaries. The situation was explained here. On May 11th, as 1.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria began to return home following the progress made in combating Boko Haram, Reuters reported thousands can be expected to face severe food shortages as reconstruction lags behind. Many banks, health clinics, and schools remain closed in northeastern Nigeria and vast stretches of farmland remain barren. There is also limited government assistance for the areas most impacted by Boko Haram. The full story is available here. On May 12th, Chadian President Idriss Deby said the fight against Boko Haram is being hampered by poor coordination between Chad and Nigeria. While Chadian forces crossed into northeastern Nigeria earlier this year to fight Boko Haram in Damasak and Baga, President Deby expressed his belief that Boko Haram could have already been defeated if the Nigerian army had been more open to working with Chadian forces. President Deby has frequently criticized the current Nigerian Administration’s approach to fighting Boko Haram and has recently met with President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari, who takes office later this month, to discuss the fight against Boko Haram. President Deby’s comments were captured here. On May 14th, following a Boko Haram attack that killed at least nine people, the Nigerian army imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on the town of Maiduguri. According to a statement issued by the military, the curfew was implemented to protect the lives and properties of the innocent and law-abiding people of Maiduguri. An article on the situation can be read here. South Sudan On May 7th, the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reported the number of IDPs seeking refuge at U.N. sites has grown to 53,000 following the most recent bout of fighting. Further, UNMISS said more than 500 displaced people had arrived at the civilian protection site in Bentiu since May 3rd, many of them from Guit and Rubkona Counties, where heavy fighting has reportedly been taking place between Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) troops and opposition forces. Feedback from UNMISS was posted here. On May 10th, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported tens of thousands of people have fled fierce fighting in South Sudan’s Unity state as aid groups withdrew staff from the area. Doctors Without Borders (DWB) said it was forced to shut down a hospital in Leer amid reports of an imminent attack. Additionally, ICRC said it was also forced to withdraw key staff from Leer for their safety. The situation in Unity state was described here. On May 11th, UNMISS expressed growing concern about continuing and consistent reports from Guit and Koch counties signaling a surge in kidnappings and rapes and an overall uptick in violence that has forced the U.N. and other aid agencies to withdraw staff from the region. According to UNMISS, numerous towns and villages in Unity state have also been burned amid killings, abductions, and the forced displacement of civilians. While it was unclear who committed the attacks, UNMISS called on the Government of South Sudan to ensure that civilians are protected. More information can be found here. On May 12th, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said at least 28 towns and villages have been attacked in Unity state, South Sudan over the past two weeks, with reports of killings, rape, arson, and lootings. OHCHR noted it appeared the perpetrators of the attacks were SPLA soldiers and mobilized youths supporting the opposition. Tensions between ethnic Dinka and Nuer populations have been high since the start of the political conflict between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar in December 2013. The latest developments were noted here. On May 12th, UNMISS provided an update on ongoing fighting in the country and between residents of a U.N. protection-of-civilians (POC) site in Juba. According to UNMISS, on Friday a domestic dispute degenerated into a series of clashes between individuals wielding machetes, sticks, and metal bars that continued throughout the weekend, despite intervention by U.N. peacekeepers. One person was killed and 60 more were injured, provoking the departure of an estimated 3,500 IDPs from protection sites. Since then UNMISS has sought assurance from South Sudanese authorities about the safety and wellbeing of departed IDPs. More information can be viewed here. On May 12th, the U.S. Department of State expressed concern for new reports of heavy fighting in Unity state, South Sudan, following a Government offensive against opposition forces. The State Department noted that renewed fighting is in direct contravention with the cessation of hostilities agreement signed in 2014. Further, U.S. officials also registered concern for credible reports of human rights abuses against civilians in the areas around Mauom and Bentiu and called on the Government to inspect violations in Nhialdui, Wathjak, and Nimno. Finally, the State Department warned against the denial of access for humanitarian actors and renewed its call for the South Sudanese Government and the opposition to reach agreement on ending the conflict in the country. A press statement was issued here. On May 14th, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced plans to accelerate its effort to get vital seeds, tools, and other materials to vulnerable farmers in South Sudan. With up to 18 flights loaded with seeds, tools, and fishing kits leaving Juba each day, FAO is providing assistance to conflict hit areas in Upper Nile and Jonglei states, where hunger and malnutrition levels are particularly high. FAO assistance is expected to reach over 175,000 food-insecure farming families in the area by the end of this month. More information can be found here. Mali On May 14th, Mali’s Tuareg-led rebels signed a preliminary peace agreement with the Government of Mali as a gesture of good faith to end decades of separatists fighting, but called for more guarantees before signing a final agreement. The deal was accepted by the Government in March, but the rebel coalition argued it fell short of their demands for more autonomy in the northern region known as Azawad. In recent days, there had been concern that fighting between rebels and pro-government groups would delay progress on the deal. Details were reported here. African Migrant Crisis in the Mediterranean On May 7th, Italy’s Navy said it believed it had found the wreck of the boat that sank last month off the coast of Libya, killing up to 900 migrants. Only 24 bodies have been recovered since the April 18th tragedy, so the discovery of the shipwreck, though to be 1,235 feet under water, could result in the chances of finding more remains. An update from the Italian Navy was provided here. On May 11th, European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Frederica Mogherini called on the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution drafted by British diplomats to authorize EU measures, including military action, to address human trafficking from Libya. A vote on the resolution could come as soon as next week if Russia’s objections can be overcome. In her briefing to the Security Council, High Representative Mogherini also noted the EU would adopt a new accord to prevent refugees or migrants intercepted at sea from being sent back against their will. An update on the situation was provided here. On May 12th, the Free University of Amsterdam released a new report finding the majority of African migrants who died while seeking a better life in Europe over the past quarter century were never recovered. The report notes the bodies of 3,188 migrants were discovered by European authorities in the Mediterranean between 1990 and 2013, but approximately 1,800 migrants who are thought to have drowned since the start of 2015 have yet to be found. The report’s findings were summarized here. On May 12th, Britain’s newly elected Conservative government said it would opt out of any European Commission legislation planning to resettle refugees using country quotas based on conditions such as economic health and population. While Britain has contributed helicopters and ships to the effort of rescuing African migrants in the Mediterranean, officials said a mandatory system of resettlement is not the answer to the crisis. In recent days, British officials have expressed support for a strategy that is more focused on targeting traffickers. Britain’s position was articulated here. On May 13th, the European Commission proposed the EU will take in 20,000 refugees over two years and distribute them across Europe, while giving Britain, Ireland, and Denmark the option to not accept any migrants. The proposal includes a quota scheme based on country size, economic output, and other measures that would likely result in Germany, France, and Italy providing asylum for the majority of migrants. Formal consideration of the proposal is not expected until later this month. Details were reported here. West Africa Ebola Outbreak On May 7th , The New York Times reported that Dr. Ian Crozier, who was infected with Ebola while working in an Ebola treatment ward in Sierra Leone as a volunteer for the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) and was released from Emory University Hospital in October thought to be Ebolafree, was in the hospital again two months later with an Ebola infection in his eye. His case shows that doctors are still learning about the long-term effects of the virus and which bodily fluids may carry the virus even after blood tests negative for the disease. The full story is available here. On May 8th, Liberia’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the WHO announced a new campaign designed to vaccinate more than 600,000 children against polio and measles in Liberia as a crucial step towards recovery and restoration of health services in the country. The vaccination campaign had been scheduled for about a year, but was suspended due to the Ebola outbreak. A joint press release was published here. On May 9th, the WHO declared Liberia free of Ebola, making it the first of the three hardest-hit West African countries to bring a formal end to the epidemic. The declaration was announced by WHO representative to Liberia, Dr. Alex Gasasira, who noted 42 days, the maximum incubation periods of the virus, had passed since the safe burial of the last person who died from Ebola in the country. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf held a moment of silence for those who died and thanked Liberians who had fought Ebola, as well as international partners for their assistance. According to the WHO, there were more than 3,000 confirmed cases of Ebola in Liberia, 7,400 suspected or probable cases, and more than 4,700 deaths. The end of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia was announced here. On May 9th, the White House issued a statement congratulating Liberia on the WHO’s declaration of the end of the current Ebola outbreak and again pledged the U.S. commitment to ending the outbreak in West Africa and helping to rebuild Liberia and other affected nations. While noting the end of the Ebola crisis in Liberia is an important milestone, the White House warned the world must not forget the Ebola outbreak persists in neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea and cannot let its guard down until the entire region reaches and stays at zero cases. More broadly, the White House encouraged international stakeholders to work together to strengthen capacity around the world to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to outbreaks before they become epidemics. The White House’s feedback was posted here. On May 9th, the U.S. Department of State congratulated the people of Liberia on the WHO’s announcement that the current outbreak of Ebola in Liberia has ended after 42 days without any new cases. According to the State Department, this achievement is a tribute to the Government of Liberia’s rapid and sustained response in combating and containing the disease, in collaboration with the international community. While calling the end of the outbreak a monumental achievement, the State Department urged Liberia to remain vigilant, especially at the borders with Guinea and Sierra Leone. A statement was issued here. On May 9th, after Liberia was declared Ebola-free, The New York Times reported that churches are now trying to address low attendance following the Ebola crisis. At the height of the outbreak, religious institutions became a source of contagion and disease transmission. The outbreak has also led many to question their faith, especially as church leaders often denied that Ebola was real and that the crisis was instead divine punishment for acts of homosexuality and government corruption. The full story is available here. On May 11th, a U.N.-commissioned panel released a study examining what went wrong in the WHO response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The report states it remains unclear why early warnings issued between May and July 2014 did not result in an effective and adequate response, with the WHO choosing not to declare a public health emergency until August 2014. Despite the WHO’s shortcomings, the panel concluded it would be counterproductive to establish a new U.N. agency to handle health emergencies and instead suggested a new structure to allow the WHO the capacity to deliver a full emergency response. The study’s findings were summarized here. On May 12th , WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny applauded the progress made in combating Ebola in West Africa, but said vaccine trials will probably fail to provide enough useful data on how well they protect people against the virus. Two vaccines, one developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and another by Merck and NewLink Genetics, are currently undergoing testing in West Africa and have been proven safe, but little is known about their efficacy. Dr. Kieny’s comments were recorded here. On May 12th, in advance of a meeting of U.S. and European doctors in Geneva, Switzerland, to assess the progress and ethics of West African Ebola drug and vaccine trails, The Wall Street Journal highlighted the debate amongst scientists on testing treatments on patients without rigorous research controls. Many European doctors believe that randomized, placebo-controlled trials are unethical and have been testing experimental Ebola drugs and vaccines in West Africa without using a comparison group of patients given a placebo. Meanwhile, U.S. scientists argue this approach mean that drugs’ effectiveness will never be proven. The debate was articulated here. On May 12th, the European Investment Bank (EIB) awarded a $56 million to Danish company Bavarian Nordic to help the company develop an Ebola vaccine. Bavarian Nordic reached a deal with Johnson & Johnson in October to collaborate on the development of a vaccine. The joint effort also received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative in Europe in January to help speed the vaccine’s development. The EIB funding for the project was announced here. On May 13th, the WHO updated its statistics for the number of Ebola cases in West Africa. A total of nine confirmed cases of Ebola were reported in the week ending May 10th, the lowest weekly total this year. Guinea reported a total of seven cases, while Sierra Leone reported two cases. While Liberia has been declared Ebola-free after the passage of 42 days with no new cases, the WHO noted Liberia has now entered into a three-month period of heightened vigilance. Additional data was analyzed here. On May 13th -20th, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Associate Administrator Eric Postel will visit Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone with a focus on USAID’s development assistance supporting post-Ebola recovery efforts in West Africa. During his visit, Associate Administrator Postel will meet with government officials, leaders from non-governmental organizations and the private sector, other donors, and implementing partners to learn about program impacts with a focus on preventing the loss of development gains and strengthening key institutions and infrastructure. Associate Administrator Postel will be accompanied by USAID Africa Ebola Unit Senior Coordinator Denise Rollins, USAID Global Health Deputy Assistant Administrator Jennifer Adams, U.S. Global Development Lab Executive Director Ann Mei Change, and National Security Council (NSC) Senior Advisor Christopher Kirchhoff. His travel was outlined here. United States – Africa Relations White House On May 11th, the White House withdrew the nomination of Katherine Simonds Dhanani to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Somalia. Dhanani was the first diplomat nominated to the post since the U.S. pulled out a military mission in Somalia following the Black Hawk Down incident in 1993. White House officials indicated Dhanani had withdrawn for personal reasons and that the White House hoped to fill the post as soon as possible, although there is no timeline for the announcement of a new nomination. The withdrawal of the nomination was noted here. State Department On May 8th, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom accepted credentials from Tunisian Ambassador-designate to the U.S. Faysal Gouia, in Washington, DC. The event was noticed here. On May 8th, the State Department expressed concern about the continuing fighting in Sudan’s Darfur region and Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Noting that actions by the Sudanese Government and armed opposition groups have displaced countless civilians this year and exacerbated the humanitarian crisis, the State Department urged the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), all armed groups, and the Government of Sudan to cease hostilities, respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, and ensure safe, timely, and unhindered access for aid organizations. Further, the State Department condemned recent attacks against the U.N.-African Union (AU) Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) peacekeepers in Kaas and called on the Government to bring the perpetrators to account. Additional feedback was shared here. On May 11th, the Governments of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the U.S. reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya, and to ensuring that Libyan economic, financial, and energy resources are used for the benefit of all Libyan people. As the U.N.-sponsored political process continues, the world leaders called on all of Libya’s independent institutions to continue to act in the long term interests of the Libyan people pending clarification of unified governance structures under a Government of National Accord. They reiterated Libya’s challenges can only be addressed by a government that can effectively oversee and protect Libya’s independent institutions and urged all Libyans to support the continued independence of the county’s financial and economic institutions. The full statement was posted here. On May 11th, the State Department announced the 2015 winners of the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) competition, which provides small grants to teams of past and current participants of U.S. Government-sponsored exchange programs. This year, alumni from more than 130 countries developed 833 project ideas, with 48 teams awarded grants of up to $25,000 to support their proposed public service projects. Among this year’s winners was a project designed to challenge high school girls to use science and technology to solve pressing community challenges in Kenya. All of the winners were listed here. On May 12th, State Department Acting Deputy Spokesperson Jeff Rathke answered questions regarding the White House announcement that Katherine Simonds Dhanani, the career service officer nominated to serve as the first U.S. Ambassador to Somalia in nearly 25 years, had withdrawn her nomination. Deputy Spokesperson Rathke said the nomination was withdrawn as the result of a decision made by the nominee for personal family reasons and the withdrawal does not reflect a change on U.S. policy towards Somalia outlined during Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent visit to Mogadishu. His comments were recorded here. On May 13th, Secretary of State John Kerry attended the NATO Ministerial in Antalya, Turkey. Among the topics addressed by NATO leaders, Secretary Kerry noted the group discussed the situation in Libya, terrorism in general, and how NATO countries might be able to come together to address these challenges. Information on the meeting was shared here. On May 13th, U.S. Special Representative for Global Partnerships Andrew O’Brien attended a working lunch with South African Ambassador to the U.S. Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu, in Washington, DC. Special Representative O’Brien’s participation was noted here. Department of Defense On May 8th, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) recognized the outstanding work of its military and civilian personnel at the 2014 Annual Awards Ceremony held at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany. AFRICOM Commander General David Rodriguez, senior enlisted leader Command Sargent Major Darrin Bohn, and Deputy Commander for Civil-Military Engagement Ambassador Phillip Carter presented awards to the winners in the enlisted, senior enlisted, company grade officer, field grade officer, civilian, and interagency categories. The winners were recognized here. On May 8th, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) highlighted its participation in monthly soccer matches with Chebelley Village residents in Djibouti. The monthly soccer games are designed to grow and develop the continuing friendship between Camp Lemonnier and the town. The soccer matches were highlighted here. On May 8th, CJTF-HOA noted members of its Civil Affairs Battalion are volunteering at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Djibouti City to help teach government-funded English classes for Djiboutian civil servants. In its first academic year, the institute offers several classes, each meeting once a week. Camp Lemonnier personnel currently teach classes held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Details can be viewed here. On May 10th , Military Times reported as the U.S. Marines boost their presence in Africa, they will be increasingly integrated with the Army’s Green Berets for irregular warfare across the continent. Members of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Africa recently conducted join training with the Army’s 10th Special Forces Group in Baumholder, Germany. The collaboration is intended to increase the efficiency and interoperability of U.S. operations in Africa. More information can be seen here. On May 11th , AFRICOM said more than 40 medical experts from the U.S. attended a three-day course recently held at AFRICOM headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, to build an awareness of the complex set of variables that shape the development of the Department of Defense (DOD) Global Health Engagement (GHE) and Medical Stability Operations (MSO). The course also helped medical practitioners gain an understanding of the key principles to plan and conduct a GHE/MSO activity. For details, click here. On May 13th, Marine Forces Europe and Africa highlighted trainings conduced in West Africa in February through April by NATO Marine forces, including 10 Marines from the U.S. The Marines, serving as part of the Africa Partnership Station mission, worked to improve regional safety and security by increasing maritime awareness and response capabilities while visiting local military forces in Ghana, Angola, Cameroon, and Gabon. More information was shared here. On May 14th, AFRICOM described how its Humanitarian Assistance Program, in coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Office of Defense and Cooperation in the U.S. South African Embassy have been able to construct eight new classrooms at the Lesodi-Motlana primary school in Limpopo. An administrative building and hygienic latrines were also constructed. To date, AFRICOM’s humanitarian assistance efforts have supported the development of more than a dozen schools, community centers, and hospices. More information was posted here. Securities and Exchange Commission On May 10th , Politico Magazine profiled how the conflict minerals rule included as part of the 2010 DoddFrank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and implemented by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been ineffective at ending conflict minerals in the DRC. According to the article, the effort has had only limited impact on controlling the mineral trade in the DRC to lessen the income of armed groups. Further, this limited success has had the greater cost of weakening the livelihoods of people in the region. The full article was published here. Overseas Private Investment Corporation On May 10th, in honor of Mother’s Day, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) highlighted its support for the Medical Credit Fund (MFC), which has issued loans to support upgrades, expansion, and the purchase of new equipment to support clinics in Tanzania providing care to new mothers and their babies. In 2014, OPIC awarded MFC with an OPIC Impact Award for its work to help clinics establish a track record of borrowing and repayment to build eligibility for larger bank loans. More information was posted here. On May 13th, OPIC released its 2014 annual report, offering data on the agency’s progress over the past five years. The report highlights OPIC’s strong focus on investing in sub-Saharan Africa, which accounted for more than a quarter of new commitments in 2014. The report also noted OPIC’s commitments to sub-Saharan Africa were up from 339 in 2010 to 768 in 2014. The report can be downloaded here. Millennium Challenge Corporation On May 7th, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) published its quarterly status report for the Lesotho II Compact. The objective of the compact is to unlock private-sector driven, equitable and sustainable economic growth by loosening key constraints in the economy. MCC analyses identified four areas of potential investment, including health, skills, land, and regulatory frameworks. The quarterly status report can be downloaded here. On May 7th, the MCC issued a status update on the development of a second compact with Morocco. The new compact will focus on the shared objective of poverty reduction through economic growth. The MCC reported it is currently working with the Government of Morocco to develop concepts to address binding restraints in Morocco, including land policy and implementation and the quality of education. More information can be accessed here. Congress On May 8th, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD) issued a statement honoring International Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. Senator Cardin honored the global impact of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and paid tribute to humanitarians who risk their own lives to alleviate the suffering of others. Additionally, Senator Cardin highlighted the work of humanitarians in life-threatening situations in countries including Sudan and the CAR. Senator Cardin’s full statement can be read here. On May 8th, House Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) released an interim report detailing the facts and accomplishments to date of the Benghazi Committee on the anniversary of the House vote establishing the Committee. The Interim Progress Update outlines progress made by the Committee and how the Committee will proceed with compiling a comprehensive review of the before, during, and after of the September 2012 attacks against U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya. The report can be downloaded here. On May 13th, House Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee Ranking Member Karen Bass (D-CA) published her biweekly Africa newsletter. The most recent edition of the Africa Update is focused on Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent visit to Kenya and the rescue of over 500 women and children who were held captive by Boko Haram in the Sambisa forest of northwest Nigeria. The newsletter was posted here. On May 14th, the House Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee held a markup of a resolution introduced by Ranking Member Karen Bass (D-CA) condemning the April 2015 terrorist attack at the Garissa University College in Kenya and reaffirming U.S. support for the people and the Government of Kenya. The markup was noticed here. North Africa On May 9th, a Cairo court sentenced deposed President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, to three years in prison on corruption charges related to embezzling state funds and diverting money meant to pay for renovating and maintaining presidential palaces to private residence upgrades. The sentencing also included a $16.3 million fine to be paid among the three defendants, as well as the return of the estimated $2.7 million embezzled. Following the sentencing, Mubarak returned to a military hospital, while his sons were taken to Torah prison where authorities were set to determine whether their time already served would cover the new sentences. The full story is available here. On May 11th, forces loyal to Libya’s internationally recognized government said they shelled a Turkish ship off the Libyan coast after it was warned not to approach, killing one crew member. The ship was targeted about ten miles off the coast of Derna, an area where the Libyan Government has said they will hit any ships approaching that may be providing supplies to Islamist militants. The Turkish Government strongly condemned the attack on the civilian ship, which is said was carrying plasterboard from Spain to Tobruk. For more information, click here. On May 11th, the U.N. Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) condemned the attack against a Turkish vessel off the Libyan coast that caused the death of one sailor and injuries to others. UNSMIL expressed regret for the loss of life and called for a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the attack. In addition, UNSMIL urged all military actors in Libya to exercise caution in the conduct of their operations and to undertake all necessary measures to avoid targeting civilians. UNSMIL’s response to the attack was articulated here. On May 11th, following recent escalation in tensions between the Rezeigat and Ma’alia tribes, UNAMID released a media statement expressing concern about the possible implications and encouraged the leaders and members of both groups to exercise restraint and engage in meaningful dialogue. UNMAID also welcomed the deployment of additional troops by the Government of Sudan to create a buffer zone between the tribes, as well as ongoing efforts to de-escalate the tension. Details can be accessed here. On May 11th, Egyptian Assistant Foreign Minister Hashim Badr complained about the lack of progress in meetings held at U.N. headquarters on the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Egypt has proposed a major NPT conference that would allow Arab countries to present their proposals related to a nuclear weapons ban in the Middle East. Egypt also submitted a working paper calling for the resignation of Finnish Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Security Policy Jaako Laajava, who has been tasked with coordinating the initiative for the U.N. For details, click here. On May 12th, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda reported to the U.N. Security Council on the situation in Libya. Prosecutor Bensouda called for the international community to be more proactive in exploring solutions in order to tangibly help Libya restore stability and strengthen accountability. She also recommended the formation of an international contact group on justice issues through which material, legal, and other support could be provided to Libya. Excerpts from the Security Council briefing were highlighted here. On May 12th, UNAMID continued to express grave concern for deteriorating tensions between the Rezeigat and Ma’alia tribes as armed confrontations continued in East Darfur. In response, UNAMID peacekeepers have raised their level of preparedness and instituted proactive response measures to address any spike in request for civilian protection. In addition, UNAMID noted it was ready to assist Sudanese authorities in evacuating more than 50 injured tribesmen from both groups to Khartoum for treatment. An update on the situation was provided here. On May 12th, the Wilson Center hosted a conference on “The Sahel, Beyond the Headlines: Population, Environment, and Security Dynamics.” The event included panels on population, climate, and resource dynamics, realizing the power of youth, women, and families, and countering violence and building peace. The full agenda can be seen here. On May 14th , Mauritanian news website Alakhbar received a recording from the Sahara-based alMourabitoun Islamist group pledging allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In the recording, a speaker calling himself Adnan Abu Waleed al-Sahrawi pledged allegiance to ISIL’s selfproclaimed caliphate and urged other jihadi groups to do likewise. Al-Mourabitoun was formed in 2013 by the unification of fighters loyal to Algerian jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA). The receipt of the recording was noted here. On May 14th, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced a cabinet reshuffle, appointing new ministers for energy, finance, and interior. Newly appointed Energy Minister Salah Khebri previously served at the Algerian Petroleum Institute. Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and Chief of Staff and Deputy Defense Minister Ahmed Gaed Salah maintained their positions in the reshuffling. More information can be found here. On May 14th , Farid Ismail, an imprisoned leader of the Muslim Brotherhood who served as parliamentarian under former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, died in detention. Security sources said Ismail died of liver failure in a Cairo hospital, where he had been moved days earlier from prison for treatment. Meanwhile, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood attribute Ismail’s death to authorities’ failure to provide proper medical attention sooner. His death was reported here. East Africa On May 7th, U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova condemned the murder of two journalists in separate incidents in Somalia and Kenya. On April 29th, Somalian journalist Daud Omar, the producer for the local, privately owned station Radio Baidoa, and his wife were killed. Director-General Bokova also called for an investigation into the April 30th killing of Kenyan journalist John Kituyi, who was the owner and editor of the Mirror Weekly, a regional newspaper he founded in Eldoret. Her condemnation of both attacks was noted here. On May 9 th, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Phillippe Lazzarini briefed U.N. Member States on the situation in the country. Coordinator Lazzarini described conditions in Somalia as a post-conflict situation, with ongoing conflict and different stages of recovery and development. He also stressed the vulnerability of roughly one million IDPs in the country, especially given Somalia’s susceptibility to natural disasters and food insecurity. Excerpts from the briefing were highlighted here. On May 8th, the World Bank highlighted its “Knowledge and Experience Exchange Study Tour,” which allowed a delegation consisting of Somali officials from the Federal Ministry of Interior and National Security, AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and the U.N. Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) to travel to Rwanda to visit its Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (RDRC). The trip was designed to support Somalia in learning from other countries, such as Rwanda, which has successfully disarmed and demobilized, in order to achieve its national reconstruction and reconciliation goals. More information was posted here. On May 8th, Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh said talks were ongoing between his government and Chinese authorities regarding China’s interest in establishing a military base in Djibouti. While China declined to confirm or deny the talks, President Guelleh said Djibouti would welcome China’s presence in the country, which is already home to military bases for the U.S. and France. President Guelleh’s comments were captured here. On May 8th, Aala Abdelgadir of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) argued the ramp up of Kenya’s counterterrorism strategy since the Al Shabaab attack on Garissa University College is proving counterproductive. A number of international and Kenyan human rights groups have criticized the Government’s treatment of ethnic Somalis in state counterterrorism efforts, which many believe has pushed ethnic Somali and Muslim Kenyans toward Al Shabaab. As the Kenyan Government continues to step up its counterterrorism activities, there is concern these tactics may only assist Al Shababb in recruiting native Kenyan members, sympathizers, and allies. An op-ed on Kenya’s counterterrorism strategy can be read here. On May 8th, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) opened a forensic laboratory tasked with amassing a DNA database taken from endangered wildlife to shore up prosecutions of poachers threatening many African species with extinction. This is the second facility of its kind on the continent, with a similar laboratory already in operation in South Africa. The $1.7 million facility, constructed in Nairobi, will house 45 researchers who will collect the DNA samples. Details can be viewed here. On May 11th, the World Bank announced an additional $7 million grant for the continuation of its Improving Health Sector Performance Project in Djibouti. Since its approval in April 2013, the program has provided improved health services, including for material and child care and communicable disease control programs, to 171,222 beneficiaries in Djibouti-ville, Ali-Sabieh, and Tadjoura. The new financing will expand the program to rural and remote parts of the country. More information can be found here. On May 12th , the World Bank issued a new report on “Leveraging the Oil and Gas Industry for the Development of a Competitive Private Sector in Uganda.” The report finds the recent discovery of 6.5 billion barrels of oil reserves in the Albertine region of Uganda present an opportunity for the country to generate government revenues for domestic investment and catalyze private sector development by developing local suppliers and related industries. It also explores constraints to developing the oil and gas industry, including limited access to finance for small-medium enterprises (SMEs). The report can be downloaded here. West Africa On May 6th, African Development Bank (AfDB) Vice President and Secretary General Cecilia Akintomide and Acting Vice President and Chief Economist Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa held a press conference at headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire to announce the agenda for the AfDB’s 50th Annual Meetings, scheduled for May 25th -29th . The Annual Meetings will bring together shareholders and African and international stakeholders to review the performance of the Bank and to agree to plans and priorities going forward. This year’s meetings will also see the election of a new President of the Bank, as well as 50th anniversary celebrations. The press conference was summarized here. On May 7th, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team concluded visits to Libreville, Gabon and Yaoundé, Cameroon for discussions with the institutions of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) on common policies for member countries and financial sector reforms to promote stability and development. The IMF mission found regional economic performance remained strong in 2014, with gross domestic product (GDP) growth estimated at 4.6 percent. However, IMF officials also observed a widening regional fiscal deficit due to a dip in oil revenues, the continuation of public investment programs, and the response to insecurity in the Lake Chad region and the CAR. A press release was issued here. On May 7th , a team from the IMF ended a trip to Sao Tome and Principe to discuss the authorities’ economic and financial program and possible support by the IMF. The mission reached a staff-level agreement with the Sao Tomean authorities, subject to approval by IMF management and the Executive Board, on an economic program that could be supported by a three-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF). Proposed access could total roughly $6.24 million. Consideration by the Executive Board is tentatively scheduled for early July. For more information, click here. On May 7th, an IMF mission concluded a visit to Senegal to conduct discussions with the Senegalese authorities on their economic program, which may be supported by a new three-year IMF arrangement under the Policy Support Instrument (PSI). The staff-level agreement is expected to be submitted to the IMF Executive Board for consideration in June. The proposed program aims to support Senegal in increasing growth and further reducing poverty while preserving macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability. Details can be seen here. On May 8th , an IMF mission completed a visit to Conakry, Guinea to conduct discussions on the sixth review of the authorities program supported by an arrangement under the ECF. The mission met with Finance Minister Mohamed Diare, Central Bank Governor Lounceny Nabe, Planning Minister Sekou Traore, Deputy Budget Minister Ansoumane Conde, and other senior government officials, as well as the banking association. The IMF team observed the economic toll of the Ebola crisis on Guinea and noted ongoing challenges for the Guinean economy. Additional analysis was shared here. On May 8th, an IMF mission wrapped up a trip to Monrovia, Liberia, to conduct the fourth review of the government’s economic program supported by the IMF under an ECF agreement approved in November 2012. The IMF staff observed Liberia’s economy was greatly affected by the Ebola crisis in 2014, with real GDP growth estimated at just 0.7 percent, compared to 8.9 percent in 2013. Further, the IMF team predicted the medium-term economic outlook will remain challenging, with real GDP growth expected to remain week in 2015 as gradual recovery takes hold. More information was posted here. On May 8th, Guinean opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) pulled out of a meeting scheduled with President Alpha Conde that was intended to ease tensions of the scheduling of Guinean elections. Diallo canceled the meeting after violent protests in Conakry that killed at least one person and injured several others. Guinea’s political opposition believes a decision to hold Guinea’s presidential election on October 11th defies a 2013 agreement to hold local elections first. An update was provided here. On May 8th, the Malian auditor-general released reports for 2010 and 2011 uncovering more than $261 million in fraud and mismanagement before the ouster of President Amadou Toumani Toure in March 2012. The recent audits found forged documents were used to justify spending, regulations were disregarded, unjustified expense claims were filed, and public procurement was marred by irregularities. Current President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita will now determine whether or not to pursue legal action against those involved. More information can be found here. Sub-Saharan Africa On May 8th, U.N. Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons Rose Kornfeld-Matte concluded her first official visit to Mauritius. Independent Expert Kornfeld-Matte observed that law is not enough to protect the rights of older persons and encouraged authorities to make detection of elder abuse and law enforcement a priority. She also highlighted the prevalence of gender dimension in Mauritius’ pension system and called for safeguards against older persons’ financial exploitation. Independent Expert Kornfeld-Matte’s findings were summarized here. On May 8th, an IMF staff team concluded a visit to Mozambique to hold discussions towards the completion of the fourth review under the three-year PSI approved in June 2013. The team met with Economy and Finance Minister Adriano Maleiane, Bank of Mozambique Governor Ernesto Gove, and other senior government officials, the private sector, civil society, and development partners. IMF staff observed Mozambique’s economic performance remains robust and stronger than most other subSaharan African countries, with growth expected to reach seven percent in 2015. The Executive Board of the IMF is expected to consider its support for Mozambique in July. More information can be seen here. On May 8th, Paul Daphne, a spokesman for South Africa’s parks service, reported park rangers detained 28 suspected poachers in April in Kruger National Park, a sharp increase over the detention rate in previous months. Officials attributed the increase in arrests to the effectiveness of new anti-poaching helicopters and sniffer dogs that attack intruders. A total of 62 suspected poachers have been arrest in Kruger since the start of this year. Details can be viewed here. On May 10th, South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba launched the inaugural South African Migrant Awards, aimed at nurturing tolerance and social cohesion following the recent spate of xenophobic violence in the country. Minister Gigaba explained the Awards will honor and celebrate outstanding migrants who reside in South Africa, as well as South Africans working beyond the country’s borders. Nominations are now open for awards in several categories, including arts and culture, business, civil society and non-governmental organization, sport, OR Tambo, and most integrated community. The Awards program was launched here. On May 10th, lawyers for Oscar Pistorius said the South African Paralympic athlete could be released from prison as early as August. Pistorius began a five-year prison sentence in October after being convicted of culpable homicide for shooting and killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Under South African law, Pistorius is eligible for parole after serving ten months in prison. According to his attorneys, Pistorius is keen to mentor or coach young people upon his release. The full story is available here. On May 10th, South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), elected Mmusi Maimane its first black leader at a party congress held in Port Elizabeth. He replaced Hellen Zille, the white premier of Western Cape Province, the only one of nine South African provinces controlled by the opposition. Experts view Maimane’s election as a sign the DA might be seeking to expand its appeal as the ruling African National Congress (ANC) continues to hold power. Maimane’s election was noted here. On May 10th -12th, Managing Director of the World Bank Group Sri Mulyani Indrawati traveled to the DRC to confirm the continued support of the World Bank for the Great Lakes Regional Initiative, which is aimed at supporting the peace agreement signed in February 2013 by 11 countries in the region. While in the DRC, Managing Director Indrawati met with DRC President Joseph Kabila, Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo, and key members of the Congolese Government on the long-term development prospects for the DRC. She also traveled to Goma to meet with provincial authorities and to tour the Goma International airport, which recently received International Development Association (IDA) financing for safety improvements. Managing Director Indrawati’s visit to the DRC was outlined here. On May 11th, World Bank Group Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer Sri Mulyani Indrawati arrived in Kigali for a three-day visit to Rwanda intended to deepen the Government of Rwanda and World Bank partnership in fighting poverty. During her visit, Managing Director Indrawati met with President Paul Kagame and other senior government officials and toured World Bank projects. She also met with representatives of the private sector and young entrepreneurs to learn about opportunities and challenges faces private sector development in Rwanda. Her travel was announced here. On May 12th , OHCHR urged the Angolan Government to ensure a meaningful, independent, and thorough investigation into reports of the alleged massacre of members of the Light of the World religious sect in Huambo province. According to the Angolan Government, nine police officers and 13 civilians were killed, while other accounts claim the number of those killed surpass 1,000. OHCHR’s position was articulated here. On May 12th, protests erupted in the DRC after a Monday night attack carried out by suspected Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) fighters that left at least six people dead, seven people wounded, and two others missing. Hundreds of people turned out in Beni to demonstrate over the lack of security in the region. According to reports, police fired into the air to disperse the crowd. Since October a spate of attacks, likely carried out by the ADF, have killed more than 300 civilians. More information can be found here. On May 12th, ahead of a Friday deadline, union representatives for public servants noted they were considering whether to accept a final wage hike offer of seven percent from the South African Government. The alternative would likely result in a strike of 1.3 million nurses, teachers, police officers, and other public servants that South African officials fear could hamper investment and economic growth. Details can be seen here. On May 12th -14th, the African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa conference convened in Cape Town, South Africa. With more than 5,000 attendees, the conference and trade exhibition brought together African power and water utility professionals, governments, large power consumers, and solution providers to discuss challenges around power generation, metering, clean energy, financing, reliability, and energy efficiency. For more information, click here. On May 13th, the U.N. released a report on human rights abuses carried out by ADF fighters in the eastern DRC over the past year. The report finds the ADF killed at least 237 civilians in the last quarter of 2014, including 65 women and 35 children. The report further details how the ADF attacked 35 villages, wielding machetes, hammers, knives, and other weapons that were used to execute civilians. In addition, the report suggests the Beni area, which saw two ADF attacks this week, remains vulnerable to attacks. The report’s findings were highlighted here. On May 13th, the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) said dozens of Pygmies were killed by Bantu militiamen in the past week in an escalation of the ethnic conflict between the Luba, a Bantu ethnic group, and the Twa, a Pygmy group residing in the Great Lakes region. According to local NGOs, the violence has been driven by social inequities between the Bantu villagers and the Twa. The situation was explained here. On May 13th, suspected ADF fighters killed at least 22 people near the town of Beni, marking the third attack against civilians carried about by Ugandan rebels this week. North Kivu province Governor Julien Paluku said the ADF fighters attacked a location outside of Beni following clashes with the Congolese army, perhaps close to the village of Mbutaba. It was also noted the death toll from this latest attack is likely to rise. Details were shared here. On May 14th, Angolan journalist Rafael Marques de Morais stood trial for libel charges related to his book, Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola, which detailed more than 100 alleged killings and torture of civilians and workers at diamond mines owned by senior Angolan army officers. Morais has been an outspoken critic of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has ruled for nearly 36 years. The case was detailed here. On May 14th, opposition grew to a proposal under consideration by the South African Treasury that would partially privatize state utility firm Eskom. Labor unions rallied against putting the utility into the hands of the private market, arguing it could threaten jobs and efforts to extend access to the grid to more black South Africans. Further, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Browne also expressed opposition to privatizing basic public services. The full story is available here. General Africa News On May 11th, a team of scientists published research in the journal Nature Genetics suggesting that drug-resistant typhoid could soon become an epidemic in Africa. Through the testing of samples from 63 countries, the researcher found that the multi-drug-resistant (MDR) strain of typhoid known as H58 is now predominant among test samples collected from East and sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, the study uncovered evidence of an unreported wave of transmission of H58, based on 138 isolates, primarily from Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, and South Africa. The research was analyzed here. On May 13th, a group of activists including former South African First Lady Graca Machel and Canadian Lieutenant General Romeo Dallaire, who raised the alarm on the 1994 Rwandan genocide launched the “Code Blue” campaign to remove immunity granted to civilian and police personnel serving un U.N. peacekeeping missions. According to the campaign’s founders, U.N. personnel are protected by immunity unless it is waived by the U.N. Secretary-General. However, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Field Support Anthony Banbury countered that such immunity does not cover crimes, such as rape. The campaign was described here. * * * View ML Strategies professionals. Boston Washington www.mlstrategies.com Copyright © 2015 ML Strategies LLC. All rights reserved.