African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".


  • African Press International Daily Online News Channel

  • * * API on Facebook

  • Total Visitors

    • 5,357,380 HITS
  • Flag tracker

    web counter
  • RSS BBC News – Africa

  • RSS BBC News – Home

    • Ukraine begins 'anti-terror' action April 15, 2014
      Authorities in Kiev announce the start of an "anti-terrorist operation" against pro-Russian separatists, as Moscow warns that Ukraine is on the brink of civil war.
    • South Korea ferry rescue under way April 16, 2014
      A major rescue operation is under way after a ferry carrying 476 people capsized off South Korea, coastguard officials say.
    • MPs criticise UK over Afghan attack April 15, 2014
      The UK bears "a degree of responsibility" for the failure to prevent a raid in Afghanistan in 2012 that left two US marines dead, MPs say.
    • 'Shocking' rise in use of food banks April 16, 2014
      Hundreds of thousands more people are turning to food banks to stop themselves from going hungry, says charity the Trussell Trust.
    • Parents find out primary places April 16, 2014
      Parents across England are going to find whether they have their preferred choice of primary school place.
    • China's 7.4% growth beats forecast April 16, 2014
      China's economy expanded by 7.4% in the first quarter of the year, better than expected but down from 7.7% at the end of 2013.
    • NYPD disbands Muslim 'spying' unit April 15, 2014
      The New York Police department shutters a secret programme designed to listen to and track Muslims in the city's neighbourhoods to identify threats.
    • Dave Lee Travis charged with assault April 15, 2014
      Former Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis is charged with one count of indecent assault under Operation Yewtree, Scotland Yard says.
    • Syria 'torture' photos shown to UN April 15, 2014
      Members of the UN Security Council view graphic photographs of prisoners allegedly tortured by Syrian government forces.
    • EU to back alien species blacklist April 16, 2014
      The European Parliament is voting on a bill to draw up a blacklist to fight the spread of invasive alien species such as killer shrimp.
    • Warning over bowel cancer screening April 16, 2014
      Bowel cancer screening uptake needs to improve, campaigners say, after figures showed just half of people eligible in England come forward for the test.
    • Fresh approach to NI past 'vital' April 15, 2014
      Any new process which examines NI's past must have a "proportionate focus on the wrongdoing of paramilitaries" and less on the activities of the state, the secretary of state is due to say.
    • Poverty 'scandal' and benefits 'outrage' - front pages April 15, 2014
      A charity's report that it handed out almost one million food parcels in the last year makes headlines, while the Daily Express questions one mother's use of the benefit system.
    • Hair salon visited over N Korea ad April 15, 2014
      North Korean officials visit a west London hair salon to question why it had used their leader Kim Jong-un's image in a poster.
    • New Banksy art removed with crowbar April 15, 2014
      New street art by "guerrilla artist" Banksy is removed within hours of appearing in Bristol.
    • Arsenal 3-1 West Ham United April 15, 2014
      Arsenal come from behind to beat West Ham and move back above Everton into the top four of the Premier League.
    • Hamilton back to brilliant best - Lowe April 15, 2014
      Lewis Hamilton is driving as well as at any time in his career, according to Mercedes co-team boss Paddy Lowe.
    • Williams fails to qualify for Crucible April 15, 2014
      Two-time champion Mark Williams will miss the World Championship for the first time since 1996 after failing to qualify.
    • Lack of Englishmen not key - Pellegrini April 15, 2014
      Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini says a lack of English players was not a factor in the defeat by Liverpool.
    • Quigley lands second gold in Glasgow April 15, 2014
      Lauren Quigley breaks an English record as she wins her second gold medal at the British Championships in Glasgow.
  • RSS Reuters: Politics

    • Bill signed allowing surprise inspections of Arizona abortion clinics April 16, 2014
      PHOENIX (Reuters) - Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Tuesday signed into a law a bill allowing state health authorities to conduct surprise inspections of abortion clinics without first obtaining a warrant, handing another victory to abortion foes.
    • Two incompatible gun ballot measures lead in Washington state April 16, 2014
      OLYMPIA, Washington (Reuters) - Two incompatible ballot measures on background checks for gun buyers in Washington state enjoy majority support in a poll released on Tuesday, but the one advancing stricter gun controls is more popular.
    • Pentagon says automatic budget cuts would hit F-35, other weapons April 16, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Tuesday detailed $48.3 billion in cuts to major weapons programs like Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jet that would kick in from fiscal 2016 to 2019 if Congress does not reverse automatic budget cuts that are to resume in 2016.
    • Senators press Delphi for answers on recalled GM cars April 15, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lawmakers probing how General Motors used faulty ignition switches in many vehicles are turning their scrutiny to the supplier of the part, Delphi Automotive.
    • Americans increasingly prefer Democrats on healthcare: Reuters/Ipsos poll April 15, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans increasingly think Democrats have a better plan for healthcare than Republicans, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted after the White House announced that more people than expected had signed up for the "Obamacare" health plan.
    • Ex-U.S. defense secretary knows accuracy of his tax return is unknown April 15, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Donald Rumsfeld has a new addition to his list of known unknowns - the accuracy of his 2013 tax filing.
    • Despite tough patch, U.S. intelligence chief says he is staying April 15, 2014
      TAMPA, Florida (Reuters) - Despite enduring "a perfect storm" of troubles for U.S. spy agencies over the last 18 months, the director of national intelligence announced on Tuesday that he plans to stay on the job through the end of President Barack Obama's term.
    • Bankrupt Detroit reaches first deal with retirees group April 15, 2014
      (Reuters) - Detroit reached its first deal with a retired workers group on Tuesday over pension and healthcare benefits and was close to a deal with at least one of its pension funds, giving a major boost to the city's plan to exit bankruptcy in October.
    • Obama commutes sentence of man mistakenly given extra jail time April 15, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday shortened the prison sentence of a Texas man who was mistakenly sentenced to an extra three and a half years in jail due to a typographical error.
    • U.S. adopts harsher tone in U.N. envoy dispute with Iran April 15, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States adopted a harsher tone toward Iran's proposed U.N. ambassador on Tuesday, calling Tehran's choice of Hamid Abutalebi "unacceptable" and tying him to the 1979-1981 U.S. hostage crisis in Tehran.
    • Democrat Alex Sink bows out of Florida congressional race April 15, 2014
      ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - Florida Democrat Alex Sink said on Tuesday she would not run in November for the congressional seat she failed to win last month in a close special election that garnered national attention.
    • Conservatives Rand Paul, Ted Cruz test U.S. presidential waters in New Hampshire April 15, 2014
      (This April 12 story was corrected to change name of organizing group in the third paragraph to Americans for Prosperity Foundation from Americans for Prosperity)
    • After success on Iran, U.S. Treasury's sanctions team faces new challenges April 15, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - This is what the modern American war room looks like: the clocks on the wall show the times in Kabul, Tehran and Bogota. The faces around the conference table are mostly young. There is talk of targets, and of middle-of-the-night calls to Europe.
    • CBO lowers U.S. deficit estimates as health subsidies fall April 15, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act will cost slightly less than previously thought, helping to slow down the forecast growth of U.S. deficits over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said on Monday.
    • Iran asks for U.N. committee meeting on U.S. ban on envoy April 15, 2014
      UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iran requested on Monday a special meeting of a U.N. committee on the United States' refusal to grant a visa to Tehran's new U.N. ambassador appointee, describing the decision as a dangerous precedent that could harm international diplomacy.
    • California lawmaker scraps plan to replace carbon market with tax on fuels April 15, 2014
      SACRAMENTO (Reuters) - A top Democratic lawmaker in California on Monday backed off an unpopular plan to tax gasoline and diesel fuels and instead proposed a less controversial plan to spend up to $5 billion a year from the state's fledgling carbon program on affordable housing and mass transit.
    • Obama warns Russia in tense call with Putin over Ukraine April 15, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a tense phone call on Monday that Moscow would face further costs for its actions in Ukraine and should use its influence to get separatists in the country to stand down.
    • Obama blasts Russia in tense call with Putin over Ukraine April 14, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday that Russia's actions in Ukraine were not conducive to a diplomatic solution of the crisis in that country, and the White House warned that Moscow would suffer further costs for its behavior.
    • After success on Iran, U.S. Treasury's sanctions team faces new challenges April 14, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - This is what the modern American war room looks like: the clocks on the wall show the times in Kabul, Tehran and Bogota. The faces around the conference table are mostly young. There is talk of targets, and of middle-of-the-night calls to Europe.
    • CBO slightly lowers U.S. deficit estimates as health subsidies fall April 14, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act will cost slightly less than previously thought, helping to slow down the forecast growth of U.S. deficits over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said on Monday.
  • RSS CNN.com – Africa

    • Luxury shoes made in Ghana April 15, 2014
      Fred Deegbe was standing outside a shop window five years ago, marveling at the shiny pair of wing-tip Oxfords he'd just bought, when he started wondering whether such beautiful designer shoes could ever be produced in his country, Ghana.
    • Meet Nigeria's 'Mark Zuckerberg' April 3, 2014
      At 23, many people around the world are still at university -- at that age, Gossy Ukanwoke had already started one.
    • Why we need more geek girls April 3, 2014
      "It was like taking a big leap of faith."
    • 'Uncle Ebo' revives Ghanaian theater April 15, 2014
      African Voices meets James Ebo Whyte a passionate storyteller with a series of successful plays to his credit.
    • How medics saved lives at Westgate April 9, 2014
      When gunmen stormed into Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall, Abbas Gullet was one of the first emergency responders on the scene. As head of Kenya's Red Cross, he was in charge of coordinating services for people in need.
    • Embracing Ghana's natural beauty April 1, 2014
      She started her business with just £100, lugging her beauty bag from door to door, but some 25 years later Grace Amey-Obeng has built a multi-million dollar cosmetics empire that's helping change the perception of beauty for many.
    • Secrets of 'gorilla whisperer' March 25, 2014
      Zain Verjee visits Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park -- the home of half of the world's endangered mountain gorilla population.
    • Savannah from the sky March 13, 2014
      It's almost impossible for a photographer to find fresh visual perspectives these days. Brooklyn-based Zack Seckler had to travel to a different continent and strap into an ultra-light aircraft to find one. His Botswana series presents the country from between 50 and 500 feet, providing a unique and captivating view of the savannah.
    • Holy water at baptism festival March 25, 2014
      France has Lourdes, but Ethiopia has Gondar -- with thousands of pilgrims swimming in its holy waters to celebrate the baptism of Jesus.
    • Africa's most endangered April 16, 2014
      Africa is home to much unique wildlife, but many of its iconic species are threatened. Find out more about its most endangered animals.
    • Ebola: A swift and bloody killer April 16, 2014
      It took only moments to feel the impact of what was happening here.
    • 'I lost my fingers, made new ones' April 14, 2014
      A South African carpenter lost his fingers in an accident -- now he's making mechanical fingers and hands for others.
    • Kenya double in London Marathon April 13, 2014
      World record-holder Wilson Kipsang completed a Kenyan double at the London Marathon Sunday as home hope Mo Farah disappointed on his debut over the 42km distance.
    • Pistorius at mercy of 'bull dog?' April 11, 2014
      He's known as the "bull dog" in South Africa's legal circles, and just two days in to Gerrie Nel's merciless cross-examination of Oscar Pistorius, it's easy to see why.
    • 'Now is the time for Afro-realism' April 11, 2014
      Over the last 20 years, the narrative on the African continent has shifted from Afro-pessimism to Afro-optimism. The truth lies somewhere in between. Now is the time for Afro-realism: for sound policies based on honest data, aimed at delivering results.
    • Africa's tastiest street food April 11, 2014
      Here are your photos of the tastiest -- and most unusual -- African street food.
    • Most stylish tribe in Africa? April 10, 2014
      A South African designer is making sure that when Xhosa boys come of age, they're dressed to the nines.
    • Egypt's sex pest epidemic? April 9, 2014
      A university student cowers in a pharmacy as a mob outside threatens her with sexual violence. A law student is groped by her classmates, the dean cites her "inappropriate attire." Frightening allegations but advocates say this is an everyday reality for women in Cairo.
    • Day that changed Kenya forever April 9, 2014
      When gunmen stormed into Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall, Abbas Gullet was one of the first emergency responders on the scene. As head of Kenya's Red Cross, he was in charge of coordinating services for people in need.
    • Pistorius: Murder or mistake? April 10, 2014
      As the Paralympian takes the stand in the Reeva Steenkamp murder trial, CNN's Richard Greene looks back at the key points made by the prosecution.
  • Country Stats

    free counters

Pretoria-based think tank the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) estimates there are more than 33 armed groups currently operating in eastern DRC.

Posted by African Press International on May 11, 2013

JOHANNESBURG,  - The imminent deployment of a UN-backed 3,000-strong international force mandated to “neutralize… and disarm” all armed groups in the ea stern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) marks a switch to a more belligerent international stance towards rebel militia, but has met with scepticism in some quarters.

The deployment of this “international brigade” made up of troops from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania will complement the existing UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) and is designed to help quell M23 and other rebel militias.When an intervention force was first mooted by the African Union (AU) last year, Sivuyile Bam, AU head of Peace and Support Operations Division (PSOD), told IRIN the plan was to “deal specifically with M23, and when M23 go away, they [the intervention force] go away”. That has since evolved into preventing the expansion of all armed groups, and neutralizing and disarming them by deploying an “offensive” military force, said a UN Security Council resolution.

Pretoria-based think tank the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) estimates there are more than 33 armed groups currently operating in eastern DRC. They are variously involved in mineral extraction and self-defence through to acting as proxies for the strategic interests of neighbouring states.

The intervention force, known as SADCBrig (Southern African Development Community Brigade), will “carry out targeted offensive operations… either unilaterally or jointly with the FARDC [DRC national army], in a robust, highly mobile and versatile manner and in strict compliance with international law,” says UN resolution 2098.

It will consist “inter alia of three infantry battalions, one artillery and one Special force and Reconnaissance company with headquarters in Goma,” the UN resolution adds.

Since the first deployment of “blue helmets” to the DRC in 1999, first as the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) and then as MONUSCO, troop numbers have increased more than three-fold from the original 5,000-odd uniformed soldiers. There have been supplementary ad hoc military missions, such as the 2003 European Union (EU) military intervention in Bunia during the Ituri ethnic-based conflict dubbed Operation Artemis, and the 2009 operations Umoja Wetu (Our Unity) and Kimia II, a joint military offensive of DRC and Rwandan security forces against the armed group Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération de Rwanda (FDLR).

A military analyst serving with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), who declined to be identified, said the Security Council resolution was “a massive expansion of the task” first envisaged by the AU, but the mandate had to be “wider than M23” if the ambition was to protect civilians.

Zuma doctrine

The analyst told IRIN the intervention force was expected “to have initial capability by end of May and operational capability by end of June [2013]”.

The deployment of South African troops in CAR and their participation in SADCBrig is being viewed by analysts as a departure from South Africa’s previous military ventures, with a more aggressive stance towards resolving the continent’s conflicts. It has been dubbed the [President Jacob] Zuma doctrine by analysts.

South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told a media briefing on 29 April 2013 her country was in favour of “preventative diplomacy, intervening when there are situations of strife. When we are called upon to do that, we will always be there, we will never say no.”

In a statement adjoining the UN resolution, Rwanda’s Eugene-Richard Gasana hoped the force would tackle the “FDLR, which had sparked the 1994 [Rwandan] genocide”. Rwanda, which is suspected of supporting M23, sees it as a bulwark against the FDLR.

The military analyst said MONUSCO had been “hesitant” to use force beyond self-defence – something for which the UN’s largest peacekeeping operation was roundly condemned when M23 walked into Goma unopposed, despite the presence of more than 1,500 armed peacekeepers in the town and nearly 6,000 in North Kivu Province.

Ahead of the deployment of SADCBrig, and in the wake of 13 South African soldiers having been killed recently in the Central African Republic trying to prevent the rebel coup by the Séléka alliance, M23 taunted SANDF on social media saying it was “corrupt” and “old”.

Critiques

Meanwhile, some doubt the new force can achieve its objective.

“Armed (DRC) groups are seen as a military threat but most of them are not. The military option against the armed groups has failed repeatedly and some [armed groups] deserve a small dose of military pressure but [also] a lot of police work in order to be neutralized. The intervention brigade in particular and the UN [MONUSCO] in general are not equipped for this,” International Crisis Group (ICG) analyst Thierry Vircoulon told IRIN.

He said SADCBrig deployment was “security by substitution”, and would delay reforms of the DRC national army (FARDC), which has been accused of being a serial human rights abuser by rights organizations. SADCBrig’s more offensive posture would lead to “retaliations against civilians [by armed groups] and worsening of the humanitarian situation”, unless stringent measures were put in place to protect civilians in the areas of operation.

Liam Mahony, author of a recent report commissioned by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) entitled Non-military strategies for civilian protection in the DRC, said: “The international community continues to believe that military protection of civilians in the DRC may succeed, if there are only enough soldiers or a sufficiently strong mandate.

“Faith in military solutions is exaggerated by the mistaken belief that violence can only be met with more violence”

“However, there is little if any empirical evidence for this. Faith in military solutions is exaggerated by the mistaken belief that violence can only be met with more violence…

“The humanitarian service machinery has become a virtually permanent fixture in the region, serving victims of multiple displacements and repeating cycles of violence for two decades, while efforts to change the underlying dynamics of conflict have been insufficient and ineffective.”

He told IRIN the approach by policymakers to armed groups in the DRC was “one size fits all… People tend to oversimplify or choose extreme interpretations of armed groups… People assume they are unreasonable and not open to negotiation and communication… This is not specific to DRC. It is true everywhere.”

“I would not categorically dismiss the possibility that there may be armed groups with whom such approaches would fail, and there may be armed groups who would be more deterred from human rights abuse by an effective military counter-force. It is conceivable, but it must be the result of a very specific detailed analysis, not a generic knee-jerk approach.”

Operational difficulties

Andre Roux, author of a recent ISS briefing on SADCBrig’s deployment, said: “The realities of conducting operations in this remote and complex environment have been underestimated in the rush to put solutions on the table.”

Roux said the capabilities of SADCBrig “to effectively conduct `war fighting’ operations in an integrated manner, are questionable. With different operational doctrines, a variety of tactical deployment techniques and military equipment that is often not interoperable, the battalions can fight as individual units, but questions arise about whether they can or must fight as a cohesive brigade.”

“Is this again a peacekeeping band-aid that will struggle to meet the high expectations that do not consider the difficult realities of the situation?”

SANDF is expected to transfer its troops serving with MONUSCO to SADCBrig, which is supposed to operate in conjunction with FARDC, though past experiences of cooperation between SANDF and FARDC appear to have been problematical. “Members of the local army [FARDC] did not share information and they would steal anything without blinking an eye,” said a June 2012 ISS report on relations between the two.

Roux noted that apart from the challenges of integrating military “tactics and doctrines”, there was also the risk of “a protracted counter-insurgency-type scenario characterized by atrocities in which entire villages are wiped out by rebel forces in order to divert the attention of the brigade into a defensive mind-set focused on the difficult task of protecting civilians rather than neutralizing illegal armed groups…

“Is this again a peacekeeping band-aid that will struggle to meet the high expectations that do not consider the difficult realities of the situation?” he asks.

go/cb  source http://www.irinnews.org

 

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,224 other followers

%d bloggers like this: