Sunday, September 21, 2014

Two Policemen Killed in Cairo Blast Near Foreign Ministry 
Forensic workers at the scene of a bomb blast in Cairo where
two policemen were killed.
Ahram Online , Sunday 21 Sep 2014

A bomb exploded near the foreign ministry in downtown Cairo on Sunday morning, killing two police personnel and injuring several others.

Two lieutenant colonels were killed. Five police personnel and one civilian were injured, state television said.

The explosion, in the Boulaq Abu El-Ela district, was reportedly caused by an improvised explosive device placed beneath a tree outside Gate 3 of the ministry, which is located near the Maspero state television building

Police were deployed in the area and traffic was temporarily halted.

Ambulances transferred the victims to the Police Hospital inAgouza.

Boulaq Abu El-Ela is a working-class district located between two of Cairo's main downtown squares – Tahrir and Ramsis.

Sunday marks the first day of the new academic year in many schools in Cairo, with heavy traffic seen on the streets this morning.

Abu Farag Primary School is located near the accident site. State TV said numerous parents had come to collect their children from nearby schools.

Explosions have repeatedly targeted police sites and personnel over the past year, following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

In June, ahead of the 30 June protests anniversary, three explosions struck near the Ittihadiya presidentialpalace in theHeliopolis area of Cairo, killing two policemen.

Four explosions struck in Greater Cairo – most notably at the Cairo Security Directorate – killing six people, on the eve of the 2011 uprising anniversary.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/111277.aspx
Egyptian Journalists Start New Round of Temporary Hunger Strike Against Protest Law
Egyptian journalists have renewed a hunger strike.
Ahram Online, Sunday 21 Sep 2014

The two-day battle of empty stomachs started on Sunday 21 September and will extend until the next day according to a statement issued by the journalists

A group of Egyptian journalists under the name "Journalists against the protest law" announced on Sunday in a statement they would start another hunger strike inside the Journalists Syndicate in solidarity with hunger striking prisoners and against the controversialprotest law.

The two-day battle of empty stomachs started on Sunday 21 September until the next day according to the statement.

There are 21 journalists participating in the strike.

There are also eight other journalists and researchers currently in Germany who decided to join the strike.

On 13 September, a group of 15 journalists announced they would go on a temporary hunger strike that would last for three days against the country's controversial protest law.

Many activists and detainees have embarked on a hunger strike lately against the law, which has been used to arrest and imprison hundreds since it was passed in November 2013.

There have been some reports that the government is working to amend the controversial law but this was recently dismissed by the Egyptian government.

A cabinet spokesman has stated that no discussions about the law or its provisions were held during the inter-ministerial meeting on Wednesday, and ruled out such a possibility in the near future.

Nevertheless, a member of the recently-founded Egyptian National Council for Human Rights in Egypt's transitional, has already drafted amendments proposed by the councilfollowing correspondence with the government.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/111296.aspx
Saudi Arabia Sends Warplanes to Yemen to Counter Revolutionaries
Mass demonstration against the Yemen government in Sana'a.
Sun Sep 21, 2014 5:59PM GMT
presstv.ir

Saudi Arabia has reportedly deployed warplanes to Yemen in a bid to confront revolutionary Ansarullah forces, sources say.

Security sources said on Sunday that the deployment has been requested by Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi.

Earlier in the day, Yemeni Prime Minister Mohamed Basindawa resigned as his resignation was one of the main demands put forth by Houthi movement’s Ansarullah fighters.

Basindawa was close to pro-government Salafist Islah party and had been in office since 2011.

The development comes as Ansarullah fighters have seized government headquarters as well as state TV and radio stations in the Yemeni capital.

Mohammed Abdulsalam, spokesman for the Ansarullah forces wrote on his Facebook page that the seat of government has been captured.

He added that parts of “the military and security apparatus have supported the popular revolt,” including “the general command of the armed forces.”

The country’s army forces loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who is the main supporter of the Islah party, have suffered a major defeat in the north of the capital and were forced to surrender to Ansarullah fighters. The general has reportedly fled to the Persian Gulf state of Qatar.

A posting on the Yemeni Interior Ministry's website called on security forces not to confront the revolutionary fighters.

The defeat of Yemeni military forces came after several army units reportedly joined the revolutionary forces.

A week of clashes has killed dozens of people on both sides and forced the suspension of all flights into and out of Sana’a airport, which is situated in the battle zone.
Yemeni Government, Houthi Rebels Sign Ceasefire Deal: Official
Houthi fighters at checkpoint in Sana'a, Yemen near broadcast
center.
English.news.cn  
2014-09-22 02:44:08  

SANAA, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Yemeni government and Houthi rebels signed a ceasefire deal on Sunday night after days of deadly clashes in the capital Sanaa, a government official told Xinhua.

The two sides agreed to cease fire in Sanaa immediately, nominate a prime minister in a week, form a technocrat government within a month and decrease fuel prices, the official said on condition of anonymity.

The Houthi group, however, refused to hand over towns and cities seized in the past weeks, withdraw fighters from all areas in Sanaa and put an immediate end to protests, presidency sources told Xinhua.

The deal empowers the Houthi rebels as it allows the group to play an important role in forming a cabinet and determining the future control of the army.

The peace agreement put an end to deadly clashes between the rebels and army supported by Sunni militia which broke out on Tuesday in northwestern Sanaa that have left more than 200 people killed, including about 50 civilians.

It was signed hours after Houthi rebels took control of key government and army institutions, including prime minister's office, national TV station and 1st Armored Division.

Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa resigned his position on Sunday afternoon after Houthis seized northwestern areas of the capital, according to the official Saba news agency.

Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi announced a peace initiative on Sept. 2, in which he promised to replace the government and appointed a new prime minister within a week, in order to end mass protests led by the Shiite Houthi group.

However, the rebels rejected the initiative and took military offensive against the army and Sunni Islah party, a key role in the cabinet. Hadi's decision also sparked spat in the government and the prime minister refused to resign earlier this month.

The mass protest that erupted in early August was triggered by a steep fuel price hike by a government decree on July 30, in which the price of petrol was increased from 125 Yemeni riyals (0. 58 U.S. dollar) to 200 riyals per litre (0.93 dollar) and diesel from 100 riyals (0.47 dollar) to 195 riyals (0. 91 dollar).

In the ceasefire deal, prices of petrol and diesel are reduced to 150 riyals (0.70 dollar) per litre.

During the week-long clashes, thousands of people fled their homes to southern Sanaa and other provinces, after the rebels took control of Wadi Dhahr and Shamlan areas in the city's north.

And thousands of families were still trapped in those areas where electricity had been cut for four days, waiting for the government to reach ceasefire deal with the Houthi group.

Observers said the deal boosted Houthi's influence from the far north to the capital which brings uncertainties to the ongoing political transition in the Arab country which is drafting a new constitution.

The Houthis have been fighting against the Yemeni army in the country's north for years. The last ceasefire deal between the rebels and government was reached in 2010, after a six-year war during which the rebels took control of Saada province.

However, the group started to further its influence to south in late 2013 when it provoked sectarian conflicts in the northern Amran province, only 60 km north of the capital.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
Clashes Between Rival Factions Continue in Yemeni Capital
Smoke billowing from building in the Yemen capital of Sana'a on
Sept. 21, 2014.
Sun Sep 21, 2014 3:53AM GMT
presstv.ir

Fierce fighting continues between the Ansarullah fighters of the Shia Houthi movement and members of the Salafist Islah party despite a curfew imposed by Yemen’s top security body in the restive areas of the capital, Sana’a.

Clashes are underway in several parts of the city, including in Sana’a University. Several explosions were also heard in the northern parts of the conflict-plagued city.

On Saturday, the Supreme Security Commission declared the curfew in the north and west of Sana’a.

Meanwhile, the UN envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar says an agreement has been reached between the warring sides to resolve the crisis.

He said the deal is based on the outcomes of the National Dialog Conference and that preparations are underway to sign the agreement.

Fighting has been raging on between Ansarullah fighters and loyalists to Salafist Islah party in Sana’a since Thursday.

The Salafists are backed by some army units, which are under the control of Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, the stepbrother of the country’s deposed dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The Yemeni capital has been the scene of protests by Ansarullah members for weeks; they have been demanding the establishment of a new government and the reinstatement of fuel subsidies. The protesters say the government is corrupt and marginalizes the country’s Shia community.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently called on Yemeni authorities to probe the use of force against anti-government protesters in Sana’a and other cities.

The Houthi movement played a key role in the popular revolution that forced former dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to step down in February 2012.


Fighting rages in Yemeni capital as deal with Shia Houthi rebels stalls

Sana'a in fourth day of violence, as Houthi fighters and government claim peace talks stall because of the other's intransigence

Peter Salisbury in Sana'a
The Guardian, Sunday 21 September 2014 07.32 EDT

Fighting has intensified in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, in the biggest challenge to the country's transition to democracy since former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh was ousted in 2012.

As violence raged for a fourth day the prime minister Mohammed Salem Bassindwa resigned, accusing president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi of being "autocratic", senior officials said. State news agency Saba reported Basindawa's resignation, but without giving the reason.

The UN envoy to the conflict-stricken country struggled to broker a last-minute peace deal between Houthi rebels – a militant Shia movement – and the government. The city has reverberated with the sound of shelling, gunfire and fighter jets. Hundreds of people have been displaced from their homes and dozens killed in the fighting, which has spread through much of the west of the capital.

Abdelmalek al-Houthi, the Houthi leader, is calling for the transitional government, in place since 2011, to be dissolved and replaced with a more effective and representative body. He is also calling for fuel subsidies, cut in July, to be reinstated, and for implementation of agreements made during the peace talks, which drew to a close in January.

Hadi, has largely agreed to his demands. But each side claims that the talks have stalled repeatedly because of their counterpart's intransigence.

The government had suspected that peaceful protests by the Houthis in Sana'a might escalate after the militants waged effective campaigns in the north against forces loyal to Major General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, a presidential military adviser with conservative Sunni leanings and one of the Houthis' biggest rivals. Mohsen was their principal antagonist during six years of war between the Houthis and the government between 2004 and 2010.

"[It] is not clear that belligerents, especially the Huthis, are ready to sign at this point," said April Alley, a Yemen specialist at International Crisis Group. "They may have military objectives they want to achieve first. We must wait and see."

Yemenis are sceptical that a political solution can be brokered, and worry that if the fighting continues in Sana'a it could trigger Sunni opposition against the group, including from the virulent al-Qaida franchise. "It is not really a surprise," says Alley of the Houthis' military campaign, "but it could be a terrible miscalculation if their fight against political foes in the capital sparks a larger conflagration."
Yemen's Government, Protesters Reach Peace Deal
Yemen masses protest the government in Sanna.
TEHRAN (FNA)- An agreement including a ceasefire has been reached between protesters and Yemen's government after days of crackdown on the popular uprising, the UN special envoy said.

"This agreement shall be a national document that will advance the path of peaceful change, and will lay the foundations of a national partnership and for security and stability," Jamal Ben Omar said in a statement on Saturday, Aljazeera reported.

"Preparations were being made for the signing ceremony of a ceasefire on Sunday," he said.

Fighting between protesters and the government troops continued for a second day in the capital Sanaa on Friday as war planes flew over the city.

Fighting in the capital had become so intense that, by Friday, international airlines suspended flights in and out of the nearby airport.

Yemeni troops stepped up their crackdown on anti-government protesters in the past one month, killing nearly 40 people outside Sana'a.

Friday's deaths brought to 81 the number registered in three days of fighting.

Scores of Yemeni people were shot dead and several others wounded as soldiers opened fire on protesters as part of the government's plan to suppress the popular uprisings in the past two weeks.

Police used tear gas and water cannon against the protesters, who were camped along the road near the interior ministry.

The latest round of fighting comes as hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people from various tribes and faiths have been staging massive protests in Sanaa for the last several weeks to demand the dismissal of the government and the reversal of an earlier government decision to slash fuel subsidies.

They rejected Mansour Hadi’s initiative to form a new government and partially reduce fuel prices.

The protesters said they will continue their mass rallies until all their demands are met.

The Yemeni army and security forces have on numerous occasions used force against the protests. But the crackdown has so far failed to stop the protests.

The Houthi movement that played a key role in the popular uprising that forced former dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down in 2012 is now a part of the comprehensively popular protests.
Yemen Deal Signed After Shiite Rebels Seize Government, PM Quits
Shiite fighters in Yemen have seized numerous government
building in the capital of Sanna.
AFP, Sunday 21 Sep 2014

Rival groups in Yemen signed a UN-brokered peace deal on Sunday after Shiite rebels seized the government headquarters and the prime minister resigned in the face of raging violence.

"A national peace and partnership agreement based on the outcomes of the national dialogue conference was signed this evening at the presidential palace" in Sanaa, state news agency Saba reported.

President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, United Nations envoy Jamal Benomar and representatives of Yemen's political forces, including the Huthi rebels, attended the signing ceremony, it reported.

In a speech, Hadi said: "We have reached a final deal with which we can overcome this crisis."

Benomar said the agreement calls for the formation of a government of technocrats within one month.

Under the deal, Hadi will also appoint advisers from the Shiite Ansarullah rebels and southern separatists within three days, Benomar said at the signing ceremony broadcast on state television.

The rebels earlier Sunday swooped on key institutions across Sanaa, including the government headquarters and military sites, after an apparent surrender by security forces.

And Prime Minister Mohamed Basindawa resigned, accusing Hadi of being "autocratic", according to the text of his resignation letter released by the council of ministers.

"The partnership between myself and the president in leading the country only lasted for a short period, before it was replaced by autocracy to the extent that the government and I no longer knew anything about the military and security situation," he wrote.

In a sign of the confusion sweeping Sanaa, Saba quoted a presidency source as saying Hadi had not received the letter, "therefore the government remains headed by Mohamed Salem Basindawa".

The rebels also overran state radio, the general command of the armed forces, headquarters of the sixth military region, the fourth brigade and the defence ministry's media arm, official and rebel sources said.

They swept into the parliament building and took over the central bank and civil aviation authority, the sources said.

The interior ministry's website urged security forces not to confront the insurgents.

Interior Minister Abdo al-Tarib instead urged "cooperation" with the rebels "to strengthen security and stability, preserve public property and guard government installations... and to consider Ansarullah friends of the police."

The rebels advanced into Sanaa from their mountain stronghold in the far north last month and set up armed protest camps to press their demands for political change.

Hadi on Friday denounced the Ansarullah offensive as a "coup attempt".

Sunday's developments came after a UN announcement Saturday of a power-sharing deal to end days of fighting between the rebels and army-backed Sunni militiamen belonging to the influential Al-Islah (Reform) Party.

Earlier Sunday, shelling and gunfire rocked northern Sanaa, prompting an exodus of terrified residents, an AFP correspondent reported.

A week of fighting has killed dozens on both sides and forced the suspension of all flights into and out of Sanaa airport.

The latest clashes centred on the campus of Al-Iman University, a bastion of Sunni Islamists that the Shiite rebels had been trying to capture, witnesses said.

Late Sunday, Saba reported that Hadi was meeting his advisers and Yemeni political forces, including representatives of Ansarullah.

He had already agreed to bring the rebels into a new government to replace the unpopular administration that imposed austerity measures, including a fuel price hike, earlier this year.

The rebels have demanded posts in key state institutions as part of their push for greater political clout.

With residents of northern districts fleeing their homes, the streets were largely deserted Sunday as shops remained closed and the education ministry ordered schools to suspend lessons.

Yemen has been swept by political turmoil since longtime strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced from the presidency in early 2012.

The rebels hail from the Zaidi Shiite community, that makes up 30 percent of Yemen's mostly Sunni nation but the majority community in the northern highlands, including the Sanaa region.

They have battled the government on and off for a decade from their stronghold of Saada in the far north.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/111346.aspx

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Our Fighting Spirit Has Returned -Nigerian Army
Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
by UBONG UKPONG
Nigerian Mirror
Sep 21, 2014

The Nigerian Army, yesterday, declared that its fighting efficiency was back to what it was known for, which is the pride of the nation.

It said that it decided to put to test the return of its fighting efficiency in the battle of Konduga, Borno State, where its troops mas­sacred terrorists of the Boko Haram sect, captured its key leader and assorted war equipment to register their (troops) triumph in the encounters.

While the troops killed over 100 insurgents in Konduga last Friday, over 260 of the insurgents were reported to have been killed between Tuesday and Thursday, with a badly wounded high-ranking leader of the troublesome sect being held by the Army in Konduga.

Assorted arms and ammunition, Armoured Personnel Carrier, APC, three Hilux mounted with machine and anti-aircraft guns, General Purpose Ma­chine Guns, GPMGs, Rock­et Propelled Guns, RPGs, were amongst items recov­ered from the defeated in­surgents.

This is coming few days after the son of for­mer President Olusegun Obasanjo, an Army En­gineer, Lt-Col. Adeboye Obasajo, who led a platoon to salvage Adamawa State, was shot on his legs by in­surgents.

Excited by this victory, Director of Army Public Relations, DAPR, Brig-Gen. Olajide Laleye, said there was no going back in the fight to crush the Boko Haram sect and keep all parts of the Nigerian terri­tory intact.

Laleye told our Corre­spondent in Abuja, that “Fighting efficiency of the Nigerian Army is back to what anybody used to know. Our troops are gal­lant, morale and fighting spirit is now very high. I feel like a million dol­lars. I am happy that you are happy. Of course, you can be sure that the Chief of Army Staff is smiling right now.”
Again, Troops Wipe Out Scores of Boko Haram Fighters in Konduga
Federal Republic of Nigeria troops drilling.
By JACOB KUBEKA
Nigerian Accord

Nigerian military appears to have finally recreated themselves and are daily dealing heavy blows on Boko Haram terrorists operating in the North East parts of Nigeria.

Competent military sources disclosed that that early Wednesday morning, the troops successfully crushed an apparent revenge mission by the terrorists who attempted another march on the Borno State town where over 100 of them were killed last week.

Konduga is about 50 kilometres to Maiduguri.

After a fierce battle lasting more than 12 hours in the outskirts of the town, scores of the terrorists were again sent to hell this morning.

“Right now, our troops are combing the vicinity of the battle scene in a cordon and search operation to determine the exact casualty figures suffered by the terrorists in the encounter,” a defence source declared.

During the encounter, three Hilux vehicles, one armoured personnel carrier and a cache of arms and ammunition were confirmed captured by the troops.

Official Statement

Meanwhile a post on Defence Headquarters blog this afternoon states that: "Troops this morning successfully crushed another attempt by terrorists who were on a revenge mission to Konduga, after 12 hours of fighting in the outskirts of the Borno State community.  Troops are now combing the vicinity, in a cordon and search operation to determine the heavy casualties suffered by the terrorists in the encounter.

"Meanwhile, 3 Hilux vehicles, 1 Amoured Personnel Carried and a cache of arms and ammunition were confirmed captured by the troops.  More details later.
Ebola: Stop Turning Patients Away, UNFPA Boss Warns Hospitals
Reader views the Nigerian Guardian newspaper.
Saturday, 20 September 2014 21:19
Written by Laolu Akande, New York
Nigerian Guardian

NIGERIAN clinics and hospitals should not turn patients away because of fear of Ebola, said Executive Director of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, adding that such could lead to ethical concerns for medical doctors and poor healthcare for sick people.

    Osotimehin, a former Nigerian Health Minister, who has just been reappointed for a second term as UNFPA boss explained that the UN agency is now working with its country offices in parts of Africa dealing with Ebola to provide alternative clinics especially for expectant mothers in the wake of the impact of the deadly disease.

   Speaking during an interview in New York, the UNFPA boss, who is the most

senior Nigerian official at the UN currently, disclosed that he learnt “clinics in Lagos, Nigeria now have machines that measure temperature, the remote ones that can be carried. So, once you come in as a patient and your temperature is high, they turn you back.”

   Calling for a stop to the practice, the former minister said, “the ethics of it is wrong because even as a doctor you are expected to take all precautions and establish diagnosis, in which circumstance you can then advice the patient to go into isolation where they can be looked after.”

   He added, “the downside is that those clinics in Nigeria are going to turn back 95 per cent of the people who have chest infection, malaria, etc because less than one per cent of the population is suspected of having the Ebola virus.”

   If that continues, he warned, “soon, a lot of people will not know where to go anymore. There is need for better information management and clearer public health policies and more investments. Once these are done we should not have problems.”
Ebola: Uncertainty Over Schools Resumption In Nigeria
Nigerian school students.
Written by Marcel Mbamalu, Kamal Oropo and Chukwuma Muanya (Lagos), Lawrence Njoku (Enugu) Anietie Akpan (Calabar), Murtala Muhammed (Kano), Msugh Ityokura, Makurdi
Nigerian Guardian

school•  Teachers Divided

• We Are Going Ahead, Says Health Minister

AT best, confusion surrounds the planned reopening of schools Monday, after the Federal Government said the Ebola scourge has been contained, while parents and teachers in some states kick against it.

  The disagreement has remained a thorny issue, especially as Education remains on the Concurrent List, meaning that both Federal Government and states can act on issues thereon as they affect them. Already the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) has resisted tomorrow’s resumption date on grounds that necessary preventive measures (against Ebola) were not on ground in the schools, and urged the Federal Government to ensure that sanitisers and water, among others, are made available before resumption.  

   The schools, which were originally meant to reopen for the 2013/2014 academic session on September 15, 2014 were asked to suspend resumption until October 13, when the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak, in the thinking of government, would have been adequately contained.  But government was to change its mind for September 22 date after a special meeting, which declared that the EVD was not a real threat to academic activities across the country.

  Since then, controversy has trailed the planned reopening. As Federal Government insists on going ahead, some state governments say the coast is not yet clear for schools resumption. Rivers specifically fixed October 6, two weeks after the Federal Government-approved date, for schools resumption.

But Mr. Dan Nwomeh, the Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the Minister of Health Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, yesterday told The Guardian that: “Schools are resuming on Monday; there is no change to that decision. All I can confirm to you is that the Minister has not made any contrary statement.”

CROSS RIVER

  The NUT in Cross River State, yesterday, warned parents and the State Government against allowing students to return to schools tomorrow without putting adequate anti-Ebola measures in place. They said their teachers would not be available to resume with the children unless the state government provides all the facilities needed to guarantee safety.

  The State Chairman of the NUT, Comrade Eyonsa Itam Nsa, told The Guardian that teachers in the state would not resume until the government of Liyel Imoke fully complies with the NUT directive. He said the state government was only able to provide N14, 500 (N10,00 for the school; N4,500 for the head teacher) for each of the schools to  prevent possible outbreak of Ebola among the children.

There are neither enough water nor scanners in the schools to test pupils for Ebola.

LAGOS

   IN Lagos, the State Government and the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) appear to be on collusion course. The state chapter of the NUT has described as ill-advised the decision by the Federal Government to reopen schools, vowing to ensure that the schools remain under lock and key until all gadgets required to prevent the EVD are put in place.

   Speaking yesterday to The Guardian, Chairman of the NUT (Lagos Wing) Comrade Segun Raheem, claimed that the government was yet to make provisions for the resumption by providing the necessary gadget to prevent the scourge. His words: “Schools will only resume when gadgets to prevent EVD have been put in place.

   “From the report we have, Lagos State has not done that. On Thursday when I spoke with state Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, she promised that those things would be ready by Monday. As of yesterday, those prevention gadgets are yet to be made available.

    But Special Adviser (Media) to the State Governor, Mr. Hakeem Bello, said every necessary plan had been taken to ensure hitch-free resumption. He said: “We should not be hampered by fear of what is no more on ground. Lagos State is safe for resumption of schools, as far as Ebola is concerned. We use this opportunity to call on the members of the NUT to cooperate with the government.”

ENUGU

  Official of NUT Enugu were not willing to comment on the matter, but there are high hopes that students will return to school by Monday, as there was no announcement to the contrary.

ANAMBRA AND ABIA

  There were also strong indications that schools will reopen in Anambra and Abia states as neither the state governments nor the NUT in both states made any statement suggesting otherwise.

  Mr. Emeka Ozumba, the special adviser (Media) to Governor Wilie Obiano of Anambra State, in a text message last night, confirmed that schools and their teachers were ready for students’ return. “Anambra (schools) resume tomorrow,” Ozumba said.

KANO

  Kano state chapter of the NUT has insisted that teachers across the state would not comply with the September 22 school resumption date until the state government fulfills all the required righteousness.

   Subsequently, the NUT directed members in both public primary and secondary schools in Kano to disregard the stipulated date until further instruction is issued from the union’s office.

   Nevertheless the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools in Kano has resolved to return to school on Monday (tomorrow).

    In a communiqué signed by the NUT state chairman and secretary Lawan Abdu Garun Malam and Haruna Mohammed Ilallah respectively, the teachers posited that council had resolved to steer clear of the classrooms due to government’s refusal to comply with “all the needful” before resumption date.

    The teachers claimed that government had refused to integrate the Union in the scheme of activities set up to check possible spread of Ebola in Kano.

BENUE

  In Benue, tomorrow’s planned resumption for schools is still a subject of controversy, as the NUT insists it is not convinced of the Federal Government’s level of preparedness.

 While the government is adamant on the said resumption date, the NUT is demanding an extension of resumption time.

   The State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Elizabeth Ugo, who spoke with newsmen on the matter in Makurdi yesterday, insisted that “the proposed resumption date stands.”

  She stated: “The resumption date remains Monday, although meeting and consultation are ongoing; so, if there are changes, you will be informed,” even as she remained silent on the level of government’s preparedness to that effect.

  But while the state chairman of the NUT, Mr. Godwin Anyaka, could not be reached for comments, a source at the secretariat informed The Guardian yesterday that the state branch of the union was following the instructions of the Federal Government on the matter.

NORTH-EAST

  Meanwhile, indications are rife that there could be difficulties in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, where insurgency is taking a toll on governance. The Guardian learnt that, should schools resume tomorrow in Adamawa, it would only be feasible in few local governments.
Lesotho’s Patriotism to Solve Impasse Encouraging – Ramaphosa
South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in talks with
Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane.
September 19, 2014 at 12:47 pm UTC

South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday said he was encouraged by a deep sense of patriotism among all political role-players in Lesotho and their determination to help find a lasting solution to the country’s current challenges.Ramaphosa, who is the Southern African Development Community (SADC) facilitator in the Lesotho crisis, was speaking at the end of his first official visit to the kingdom as part of regional efforts to assist the people of the country to find a peaceful resolution to their current challenges.

During the visit, the Deputy President briefed Lesotho King Letsie III on the mandate from the South African Development Community (SADC) Troika plus the DR Congo and Tanzania, which met in Pretoria on Monday, to chart the way forward out of the current challenges facing his kingdom.

Critical among the issues was an agreement by the role players to bring forward elections in Lesotho, the reconvening of parliament as well as the stabilisation of the security situation in the country.

The Facilitator also met the three leaders of the coalition government led by Prime Minister Tom Thabane and Deputy Prime Minister Metsing as well as members of the College of Chiefs and members of main and small opposition political parties to exchange views on the current situation and map the way forward.

According to the Presidency, all parties welcomed the visit and committed themselves to working with SADC to resolve the political challenges facing Maseru.

Ramaphosa will return to the Lesotho capital on Monday next week for a two-day visit as part of a series of visits that he will be making to assist the country to find an amicable resolution to its current challenges, according to the Presidency.
Lesotho to Hold Early Elections
Lesotho elections during 2012.
Lesotho may head to the polls soon in an attempt to restore political stability, as the country's leadership crisis appears to be intensifying

16 Sep 2014 11:20 AFP

Lesotho’s leaders plan to head to the polls early to restore political order following stalled peace talks between deadlocked political parties.

As a result of the coalition government not being “fully functional”, Lesotho’s leaders are planning to “shorten the mandate of the coalition,”  said South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on Monday.

Lesotho is currently due to hold elections in 2017. The country should now focus on “free, fair and incident free democratic elections for a fresh mandate,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.

After weeks of failed talks, South Africa hosted an emergency meeting of regional leaders to negotiate a peace deal for Lesotho.

South African President Jacob Zuma and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, chairperson of the 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC), sat down with Lesotho’s leaders to hash out a solution after rival party leaders failed to patch up their differences.

Along with the early election date – to be announced “as soon as possible,” according to Nkoana-Mashabane – SADC said it will send an observation mission, led by South Africa and including Zimbabwe, to Lesotho for three months to ensure peace and stability.

“Are we deploying soldiers to Lesotho or Kingdom of Lesotho as SADC? The answer is, ‘No’,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.

“They need to go back to the electorate,” said the minister, “but they need to be assisted so that political challenges don’t get mixed up with the security challenges.”

Reopening Parliament

On August 30, an attempted coup by renegade general Tlali Kamoli saw the military assault several police stations, prompting Prime Minister Tom Thabane to flee the country.

Thabane has since returned, protected by South African guards, but a Pretoria-brokered peace deal quickly disintegrated after he refused to reopen Parliament.

Reopening the legislature – which was shuttered in June – is seen as a key step toward restoring normality in the tiny mountainous state.

In Maseru, the political crisis appears to be intensifying.

A coalition of opposition parties has joined forces and called on the ruling tripartite coalition to reopen Parliament, which is likely to result in an immediate vote of no-confidence for Thabane.

Politicians also rallied behind Kamoli.

The renegade general has refused a prime ministerial order to resign and has apparently raided government armouries in preparation for a showdown.

His allies have warned of a “bloodbath” if he is forcibly removed.

“The whole thing is a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation,” said defence analyst Helmoed Romer Heitman.

“I can see the point he is reluctant to reopen Parliament while there is a risk of his family being attacked; on the other hand there is no military solution to the problem,” said Heitman, speaking from Pretoria.

“You can’t solve a political problem with a military solution,” he said. “You can enforce something for a while, but it can’t last forever.”

Heitman said it is unlikely that South Africa will send troops to Lesotho. “I don’t see South Africa putting in troops unless they are pretty certain a political solution is to follow,” he said.

A military intervention would not be welcome in Lesotho, where many are traumatised by the events of 1998, when post-election violence prompted South African troops to intervene with SADC approval.

Criminal probe

Police said on Monday that they had launched a criminal investigation into the August 30 events, according to Maseru Police District Commissioner Mofokeng Kolo.

The military assault killed one officer at police headquarters in Maseru, injured nine others, caused significant damage to two other stations and police were “robbed” of nearly four dozen automatic weapons, Kolo said.

The dead officer, Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko, was reportedly guarding the armoury.

“We believe justice must be done,” Kolo told Agence France-Presse. “We believe these acts were illegal and a criminal offence – and we shouldn’t keep quiet about them.”

He rejected calls for amnesty, which supporters say could help end the crisis.

“We can even talk about amnesty before reconciliation,” Kolo said. “And we can’t talk about reconciliation while we’re still in the middle of this situation.”

– AFP
Lesotho Police, Military in Early Morning Shootout
Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane.
Sep 19, 2014
Agency Staff

In the latest spasm of violence to rock the country, police and military exchanged gunfire in Maseru at 3am after soldiers drove past the home of a cop force commander

MASERU — Police and military exchanged gunfire in Lesotho’s capital Maseru in the early hours of Friday, the latest spasm of violence to rock Africa’s tiny mountain kingdom.

Maseru Police District Commissioner Mofokeng Kolo told AFP that the shooting occurred at 3am local time when soldiers suspiciously drove past the home of a police force commander, Khothatso Tsooana.

"If they were planning something, I’m not sure... Soldiers came close, and the police on guard followed them" for about 2km.

"I don’t know yet who fired first," he said, adding that there were no injuries as a result of the shootout.

On August 30 the tiny nation surrounded by South Africa was rocked by a coup attempt that saw the prime minister flee to its larger neighbour and the military attack several police stations, killing one officer and forcibly disarming police.

Police are seen as loyal to Prime Minister Tom Thabane while sections of the military are allied to his political foes.

Blame

The August violence was blamed on "renegade" Lesotho Defence Force commander Tlali Kamoli, who has refused to step down and has been blamed for a series of attacks on police and political rivals.

Mr Kamoli — who is reportedly surrounded by a group of armed loyalists — faces accusations of mutiny and treason, but remains free.

Tensions heightened on Thursday with the funeral of Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko, the police officer killed on August 30, who was reportedly guarding the police armoury that army soldiers then raided.

About 2,000 police attended the emotional memorial service.

Southern Africa states have pressed Lesotho’s leaders to solve the crisis, but they remain deadlocked with Mr Thabane saying he cannot meet demands to reopen parliament until Mr Kamoli is brought under control. Regional bloc SADC has called for early elections to be called and for South African police to be sent to the country to protect Mr Thabane and his allies.

AFP
Middle East Updates: Tens of Thousands of Syrian Kurds Flee Into Turkey, Group Says
Anti-NATO protests in Turkey during 2013.
Renewed Yemen clashes kill 4 civilians; UN reaffirms support for force in Golan; Jihadi ideologue urges Islamic State to free British hostage, saying Islam forbids harming aid workers

By Haaretz
Sep. 20, 2014 | 6:26 PM

Haaretz's latest Middle East analyses and opinions: Who's on whose side in fight against Islamic State (Zvi Bar'el).

Latest updates:

6:26 P.M. US airstrikes were directed at the city center of jihadist-occupied Mosul for the first time Saturday, marking a strategic shift in the aerial campaign against the militant group known as the Islamic State.

Since the US began its strikes in northern Iraq in August, the pounding has targeted Islamic State targets on the outskirts of Mosul, which has been in jihadists' control since June. But on Saturday, airstrikes concentrated upon the group's gatherings and facilities deep inside Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, according to local residents. "The air raids caused heavy losses," one resident told DPA by phone without elaborating. There was no official comment.

The bombardment comes a day after France launched its first strikes against the Islamic State in north-eastern Iraq. The French strikes, which targeted a depot manned by the al-Qaida splinter group, killed at least 75 militants, independent Iraqi site Alsumaria News reported Saturday, citing an unnamed intelligence official.

The US is seeking to build an international coalition to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and neighboring Syria, where the extremist Sunni group controls considerable territory. (DPA)

1:54 P.M. Yemeni security officials and witnesses say four civilians have been killed in a third day of fighting between Shiite rebels and Sunni militiamen in the capital Sanaa. (AP)

1:40 P.M. More than 300 Kurdish fighters have crossed into Syria from Turkey to help push back an Islamic State advance on a Kurdish border town, a group monitoring Syria's conflict said on Saturday.

"They crossed over last night, they are more than 300," said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that monitors the war using sources on the ground. He said it was not clear which group the fighters belonged to but said they had joined Kurdish forces in Syria who are fighting Islamic State around the town of Ayn al-Arab, known as Kobani in Kurdish. (Reuters)

1:06 P.M. Yemen's state-run television building caught fire as mortar attacks continued by Shi'ite rebels who are protesting against the government, residents and a TV employee said on Saturday.

The fighting expanded mainly between the Houthis and tribesmen allied with the al-Ahmar clan. Prominent figures from the mainly Sunni Muslim clan, one of the most powerful tribes in Yemen, hold senior positions in the armed forces and the government.

Part of the TV building, which is located near other vital state institutions, caught fire after shelling intensified on Saturday morning, the employee told Reuters, adding that hundreds were trapped in the building as a result. (Reuters)

11:43 A.M. An Israeli drone has crashed in southern Lebanon, Lebanese media report. (Jacky Khoury) Read full article

10:48 A.M. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Saturday 45,000 Syrian Kurds had crossed into Turkey over the past day, fleeing an advance by Islamic State militants after Ankara opened a stretch of the border.

"Around 45,000 Syrian Kurds have crossed the border as of now from eight entrance points along a 30 km distance from Akcakale to Mursitpinar since we opened the border yesterday," Kurtulmus told CNN Turk television. (Reuters) Read full article

10:22 A.M. A renowned jihadi ideologue has urged the Islamic State group to release British aid worker Alan Henning, saying Islam forbids harming non-Muslims who work with relief agencies.

Abu Mohammed al-Maqdisi, who was released by Jordan in June after serving a five-year sentence on terror charges, said in a statement posted on his website and by a militant forum Saturday that non-Muslims who help weak and poor Muslims should be respected and protected.

Al-Maqdisi, also known as Essam al-Barqawi, was the mentor of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaida in Iraq who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2006. (AP)

8:44 A.M. The release on Saturday of 49 Turkish hostages seized by Islamic State insurgents in northern Iraq in June was part of a "pre-planned operation" by Turkish intelligence, President Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement cited by broadcaster NTV.

The hostages, including Turkey's consul-general, diplomats' children and special forces soldiers, were brought safely into Turkey by its MIT intelligence agency in the early hours of Saturday, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said earlier. (Reuters) Read full article

2:54 A.M. The UN Security Council urged the international community Friday to expand support for the Iraqi government as it fights the Islamic State group and its allies, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said there is a role for nearly every country in the world — including Iran.

The presidential statement approved by all 15 council members at a meeting chaired by Kerry expressed "deep outrage" at the killing, kidnapping, rape and torture carried out by the Islamic State group. Some of those acts might constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, it said. (AP)

2:27 A.M. The UN Security Council on Friday reaffirmed its unconditional support for maintaining the U.N. peacekeeping force in the Golan Heights that has been caught up in Syria's civil war.

Questions about the future of the 12,000-strong force had been raised after the abduction of 45 Fijian peacekeepers by al-Qaida-linked rebels who later freed them. The UN then withdrew soldiers from many positions on the Golan Heights last weekend because of escalating fighting in Syria.

A presidential statement approved Friday by the 15-member council made clear that the force will not be withdrawn or disbanded. (AP)
Traditional Leader Refuses Foreign Intervention in Libya
Damage at the Tripoli airport destroyed by rebels.
Over the past few days, Libya has witnessed a state of complete chaos since the Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) coalition took control of its capital, Tripoli, and deemed the National Congress the representative of the Libyan people. Meanwhile, violent battles continue to rage between Khalifa Hifter’s forces and the Fajr militias. Add to this the fighting between rival Libyan militias amid a state of chaos that threatens an international intervention in the crisis. ​​Ezz El-Arab Abu al-Qasim, mastermind of the foreign Media Office of the Supreme Council for the Libyan Tribes, gave an interview to Azzaman and expressed his point of view about the current events. The interview follows:

Azzaman:  First, we would like to know, what role has the Council of Arab Tribes played, particularly in regard to fighting terrorism?

Qasim:  The Council of Arab Tribes contains all shades of the Libyan people, and it was declared in the media and at political and social levels as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people by virtue of its components. We [the council] advocate canceling all of the agreements concluded by the National Congress, and call for the return of displaced Libyans, who are estimated at 2 million due to the NATO bombing. Their number has increased to 3.5 million emigrants because of the terrorist attacks suffered in Benghazi and across Libya over the past days, and due to the release of political prisoners who were detained by militias. The council aims at stopping Qatar and Turkey from supporting US-sponsored militias. It [the council] is leading the war against terrorism, as are tribes fighting terrorist operations backed by Qatar and Turkey, under US auspices, especially considering that Libyan tribes form the backbone of the Libyan National Army because Libya is composed of tribes.

Azzaman:  Does the militias’ takeover of Libya's capital, Tripoli, mean that Libya has already been divided?

Qasim:  There are two governments now: a terrorist government in Tripoli and another in the eastern region, which is the beginning of division. However, the Arab tribes did not allow the implementation of this division because they are keen on the unity of Libya and reject the principle of division and foreign interference. We would like to tell our Arab brothers and friends abroad that the tribes are the only solution to the security problem in Libya.

Azzaman:  There were reports that some tribes have occupied some areas and besieged others occupied by militias. Is there any truth to this?

Qasim:  The tribes did not occupy any area. They are defending the tribal areas in order to repel the invasion of Libyan terrorist militias, which enter the cities and carry out looting, rapes and murders.

Azzaman:  Where do the Libyan militias get weapons from?

Qasim:  We got the weapons — which are not sophisticated — from the former Libyan army warehouses, and there are weapons that we obtained during battles with militias.

Azzaman:  How do you explain the escalation of the terrorist operations which have evolved from individual operations to militias possessing sophisticated weapons?

Qasim:  Before the NATO operations in Libya, the Libyan people used to be as one, in a secure environment free of kidnappings or terrorism. However, after the fall of the former regime, which we called the February setback, a wave of murder and kidnapping of ambassadors started under the auspices of the US, Qatar and Turkey, which supply the militias with terrorist weapons. There are more than 200 US troops who set fire to Tripoli airport, along with terrorist militias.

Azzaman:  But there are some who confirm that the terrorist militias got their arms from the former Libyan army warehouses.

Qasim:  This is not true. The weapons that are now in the hands of terrorist militias are sophisticated. They were not part of the former [Moammar] Gadhafi brigades. The weapons that are now with the militias arrived from abroad, through the airport of Misrata and through Khartoum, Qatar and Turkey.

Azzaman:  Could you tell us about the extent of coordination between you and Hifter’s forces that are fighting the terrorist militias?

Qasim:  There is no Libyan government for us to coordinate with. There are two governments: a weak one in the eastern region and another pro-Muslim Brotherhood one. We support any party that executes operations against terrorists.

Azzaman:  Rumor has it that Egypt and the UAE intervened in the crisis and that Egyptian and Emirati aircraft struck the militia locations. Is this true?

Qasim:  The situation in Libya is too great for Egypt and Libya to deal with. It is a global conspiracy led by the EU and the United States. They have all colluded to occupy Libya, and the only point of disagreement is how to share the pie. The United States is trying to drag Egypt to a war in Libya, under the pretext of facing the Brotherhood, but the leaders in Egypt are aware of the implications of this plan.

Azzaman:  According to some reports, 5,000 Islamic State (IS) members have been deployed in the eastern region. How true is that?

Qasim:  There are around 15,000 fighters of different nationalities from Ansar al-Sharia, who are affiliated with IS, in the Derna region, and trying to infiltrate through the Egyptian border to drag Egypt into a confrontation with them.

Azzaman:  How can you explain the clashes between the different Libyan militias to take over Tripoli and some of the other regions?

Qasim:  Terrorist militias are fighting over power, and each militia has an agenda for a certain state. Some militias are affiliated with the United States, while others side with Britain or France. The Libyan people are the only losers in this confrontation.

Azzaman:  How effective are the decisions taken by the Ministerial for the Neighboring Countries of Libya in Cairo, regarding the arms of militias?

Qasim:  With all due respect for the Egyptian minister of foreign affairs, this initiative will not go beyond the Semiramis Hotel. Which party is willing to implement this initiative, knowing that the Libyan tribes alone are capable of doing so? There should be communication with these tribes, and they should be supported politically, socially and economically.

Azzaman:  What was the role of the tribes in freeing the Egyptian trucks?

Qasim:  The tribes have social influence over the abductors. When the Egyptian truck drivers were abducted in Ajdabiya, the Libyan tribes and Awlad Ali tribe addressed the abductors and negotiated with them until the Egyptian drivers were released.

Azzaman:   It is noteworthy that most terrorist operations are against Egyptians. Why?

Qasim:  The terrorist cells in Libya are working with Egyptian agents to pressure the Egyptian government and shake the security in Egypt because they believe that the current regime is threatening for them. They are trying to drain Egypt on both security and economic levels.

Azzaman:  How true is the news about Seif al-Islam Gadhafi leading the resistance in Libya?

Qasim:  Seif al-Islam is not Gadhafi's heir. Ahrar al-Alam inherited his strategic national project, which grants power to the people and enroots the public system. We call for the release of Seif al-Islam because he is not guilty, but one of the Libyans who fought the NATO.

Azzaman:  Is there nostalgia for the days of Gadhafi? In Egypt, for example, there was nostalgia for Hosni Mubarak’s days.

Qasim:  The former regime in Egypt and Libya did not have agents for the West. But, it did maintain Libya’s stability, security and unity and ensured the cohesion of the social composition. Despite the disadvantages, the situation did not reach the level of murder and rape that we see in Libya currently.

Azzaman:  What is your reply to the calls of the Libyan government to be handed the figures of the former regime [who are in Egypt]?

Qasim:  The history of Egypt shows that it has always refused to hand over any political refugee and that it accommodates all the opposition’s Arabs. I think that Egypt will refuse to hand over any political refugee to Libya because it realizes that this is a crime against humanity, especially as there isn’t a trustworthy government in Libya currently.

Azzaman: Is an Arab or foreign intervention needed to save Libya?

Qasim:  We refuse any Arab and foreign intervention in Libya’s affairs because Libya’s problem is internal. Each state should protect its border and forbid the entry of arms and terrorists to Libya. We can then guarantee winning our battle against terrorism.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2014/09/tribes-libya-battle-militias-egypt.html##ixzz3Ds9ktl76
Turkey Says Islamic State Freed 49 Hostages Captured in June
NATO member Turkey transporting US-made Patriot missiles.
By Selcan Hacaoglu
Bloomberg
Sep 20, 2014 9:46 AM ET

Turkey won the release of 46 citizens and three Iraqis taken hostage by Islamic State in a raid on a consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in June, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.

The hostages, including Consul General Ozturk Yilmaz, arrived in Ankara by plane today after being handed to Turkish agents without a fight, Davutoglu said in televised comments. Turkey didn’t pay a ransom nor accept conditions in exchange for the release of the hostages, state-run Anadolu Agency said, citing unnamed officials.

“Our contacts intensified after midnight and they came home at 5 a.m. today,” Davutoglu said today in Azerbaijan, where he cut short a business trip to fly to Turkey to meet the hostages and take them to the capital. “After intense efforts that lasted days and weeks, in the early hours, our citizens were handed over to us and we brought them back to our country.”

Turkey has been under pressure from the U.S. and its allies to join the fight against the Islamic State, which has seized swaths of Syrian land along the Turkish border. More than 60,000 Syrian Kurd refugees crossed the border overnight, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said today. Turkey had been reluctant to provide military help while the hostage standoff persisted, although the country has confirmed sharing intelligence with allies about the Islamist group.

Religious Concerns

“The release of the hostages just made it more difficult for Turkey to firmly say ‘no’ to allies,” Haluk Ozdemir, head of international relations at Kirikkale University, said by phone today. Turkey may yet resist joining the fight as the majority of Turkish and Islamic State militants are Sunni Muslims, he said.

The U.S. will “take action against terrorists in Iraq or in Syria, but this is not America’s fight alone,” President Barack Obama said today in his weekly address.

The circumstances surrounding the hostage release were “strange,” according to Theodore Karasik, director of research at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai.

“They returned perfectly fine; it seems resolved through negotiations via Sunni tribes,” he said by phone. “It’s not going to look good because it shows Turkey in other countries’ eyes is playing a double game.”

Islamic State has beheaded two American journalists and a British aid worker in response to U.S.-led military intervention in Iraq. The al-Qaeda breakaway group is also holding another British aid worker, Alan Henning, as hostage, the Foreign Office said Sept. 14.

Intelligence Tracked

Yilmaz and others, including diplomats, policemen and some family members including babies, entered Turkey at the Akcakale border crossing, according to Davutoglu.

The hostages were moved to eight different locations in Mosul and were tracked by drones and other intelligence during their captivity, Anadolu said. Five or six attempts to free them failed because of fighting in the area, according to the agency. The hostages were released in the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad, NTV television said today, citing unnamed security officials.

“Turkey probably sought help from key Sunni clans in Iraq and Islamic State agreed to release hostages over considerations regarding balance of power in Iraq,” Nihat Ali Ozcan, an analyst at the Economic Policy Research Foundation in Ankara, said by phone.

To contact the reporter on this story: Selcan Hacaoglu in Ankara at shacaoglu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaa Shahine at asalha@bloomberg.net John Bowker, Randall Hackley

Friday, September 19, 2014

ICJ to Open the First Hearing of Somali-Kenya Maritime Border Dispute
Horn of Africa and the eastern region.
September 19, 2014
Mogadishu (RBC)

The International Court of Justice will open the first session of hearing the case of the maritime border dispute between Somalia and Kenya next week, senior Somali government official told RBC Radio.

The hearing will take place in the court’s headquarters in The Hague where Somali Government has filed its complaints against Kenya’s motive to steal part of Somalia’s maritime boundary.

“The hearing will commence on next week as there are international lawyers helping Somalia to defend its legal borders against Kenya.” Abdi Hassan, of Somalia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

Somali Government said it will never accept Kenya’s efforts to sieze part of the nation’s boundary even if the country has been in anarchy for ore than two decades.

Last week President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has mentioned that despite Kenya’s attempt to claim 150kms of Somalia’s maritime boundary, that his government will continue to defend for Somalia’s maritime in a legal manner in front of international justice.

Meanwhile Kenyan officials said on Wednesday that they hired a team of international lawyers to defend its claim to seize the maritime boundary of Somalia.

RBC Radio
SOMALIA: London Conference Announces Support to the Somali National Army (COMMUNIQUÉ)

September 19, 2014
London (RBC)

The UK and Somalia co-hosted a meeting to discuss support to the Ministry of Defence and Somali National Army

On 18 September 2014 at Lancaster House, the United Kingdom and Somalia co-hosted a meeting to discuss support to the Somali National Army.  A senior Somali delegation, led by Prime Minister Abdiweli, was joined by senior political and military representatives from: the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, European Union, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, Italy, Kenya, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia, United States of America.

The Somali National Army is currently engaged in joint operations with (AMISOM), targeting Al-Shabab, under Operation Indian Ocean. It is key to both the success of this campaign and in providing long term security and stability to Somalia.  In this regard, we thanked AMISOM and the Somali National Army for their continuing efforts and successes. Noting the sacrifices both have made, we registered our deepest sympathy for those that have lost their lives or been injured, and their families; and committed to continue our support for both.

This meeting was convened to debate the strengthening of the Somali National Army in the short and medium term, and to ensure that donor support for the Somali National Armyis optimised to enable this.Our discussions centred around the Federal Government’s vision for an affordable, accountable and professional Army, and its capabilities and requirements; the parallel political and fiscal tracks that are critical to the development of the Army; a mutual accountability framework through which we can monitor and evaluate progress; and a follow-up mechanism to ensure targeted and coordinated interventions.

The Federal Government outlinedthe Ministry of Defence’s path to development of the Somali National Army up to 2019, and the immediate requirements of its troops. We agreed that it represented a realistic vision, including on the parallel political and economic tracks, and that efforts to support the Army should be focussed, in the immediate term, on those troops currently in theatre, fighting alongside AMISOM. We agreed this focus would be essential to the success of the joint offensive targeting Al-Shabab and the consolidation of gains in newly recovered areas. We, therefore, committed to focus our assistance, through both new initiatives and the review and adjustment of current support, on the Somali National Army’s immediate requirements, noting the difficulties of simultaneously having to fight a war and undertake reform. Basic training should be standardised and delivered inside Somalia.

In this regard, we welcomed the ongoing work of the Federal Government of Somalia, AMISOM troop contributing countries and the United Nations in the provision of refresher training and Human Rights training in order that Somali National Army troops in theatre are able to receive United Nations-mandated logistical support through the UN-administered trust fund. We called on all to ensure this training and the biometric registration of troops is completed as soon as possible, and on United Nations Support Office for AMISOM to ensure logistical support is delivered in a timely and coordinated manner. We welcomed the commitment of regional countries to assist in the ongoing efforts to train the Somali National Army.

We discussed the importance of transparency and accountability, and welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to them. Moving forward, we agreed it would be important that the Federal Government and donors were able to better demonstrate progress against both. We agreed that a Mutual Accountability Framework would help in doing so, and that it should focus on parallel political and fiscal tracks critical to the Somali National Army’s development. And that, within each pillar, clear and achievable key benchmarks would be identified, against which progress can be measured.

We welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to integrate regional militias, in consultation with regional partners, by 2016. We agreed that effective integrationis an essential step along the way to both Somali National Army development and linked state-building goals; the integration of local militia forces into the Somali National Army, and other federal and regional security structures, is a critical part of the formation of a federal Somalia. We welcomed progress on the Federal Government’s roadmap on the integration of forcesand agreed to develop rapidly a concept note and detailed plan setting out the principles of said integration. Noting that timely implementation of the roadmap will be critical to efforts to support the immediate development of the Army, we agreed that the integration process would be the key political benchmark against which progress would be measured and should therefore constitute the cornerstone of the Mutual Accountability Framework.

We agreed that there should be three other pillars to the Framework, and that, as set out by the Federal Government, these should relate to arms embargo compliance, fiscal planning and human rights compliance. These would be complemented by the collective donor offer to better coordinate and target support, and to improve timeliness and execution of delivery, focussing on Federal Government priorities.

The Federal Government has previously committed to taking all measures necessary to comply with the United Nations Arms Embargo and has started implementation of these, with a view to its eventual lift. We welcomed its reaffirmation of this, the efforts it is already making to comply and its future plans, as set out today, to address outstanding compliance issues as identified by the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group, including through the work of the Arms and Ammunition Steering Group.

Noting the Federal Government’s commitment to upholding human rights standards, we welcomed its plans to institute those standards throughout the Somali National Army during these early stages of development, and the identification of milestones along the way.

We welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to financing Somali National Army salaries as soon as it was able, and noted that,in the meantime, support to assist them to do so was crucial. We agreed that the Federal Government’s ongoing public financial management reform work (through the Ministry of Finance)should provide the framework for the development of a financing strategy for the security sector. A public expenditure review of the Somali security forces, including the Somali National Army, should be central to those discussions.

We noted that this meeting was the start of the important process of developing the SNA. We agreed that a fully coordinated effort is essential to ensuring progress. In this regard, we welcomed the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia’s table detailing donor support to the Somali National Army and undertaking to ensure it remains current and so a useful tool for targeting and de-conflicting support as part of the implementation of the Somali New Deal Compact.

We noted that implementation will require consensus and a clear and coherent approach from both the Federal Government, through its national security architecture, and from international partners through relevant coordination mechanisms. We agreed that those mechanismsmust ensure follow-up and monitor and evaluate our collective efforts. We welcomed the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia’s offer to marshal these efforts, through the Mogadishu-based Defence Working Group, and its undertaking to arrange a follow-up meeting within three months to evaluate progress. We committed to facilitate the development of a chronological, standardised, synchronised and prioritised development plan for an inclusive, multi-region and professional Somali National Army, developed jointly by the Federal Government of Somalia and international partners, to present at that meeting.

We welcomed, too, the undertaking of the co-Chairs of PSG2 (United States of America and Turkey) to ensure that development of the Somali National Army is factored into efforts on wider security sector reform under the New Deal Compact’s Security pillar – Peacebuilding and State-building Goal 2 (PSG2). We agreed to attend follow-up meetings in Mogadishu under the auspices of PSG2, before and after the High-Level Partnership Forum in Copenhagen, and undertook to communicate our efforts to develop the Somali National Army to the wider international community at the High-Level Partnership Forum on 19-20 November 2014.

During the course of the day, we welcomed the announcement of donor commitments, including an additional pledge of $5m to the UNSOA Trust Fund from the US Government, to address some of the immediate requirements of the Ministry of Defence and Somalia National Army, including through the provision of training (which should be standardised and localised), logistical support and payment of troop stipends. These will be realised through both recalibration of existing efforts and pledges of new support.
Bodies Found After Ebola Health Workers Go Missing in Guinea
Liberia where the Ebola virus in spreading further.
Team spreading awareness of deadly virus set upon by angry residents in remote village

Monica Mark, West Africa correspondent
The Guardian, Thursday 18 September 2014 18.35 EDT

The prime minister of Guinea said that seven bodies had been found after a team of health workers went missing during a push to raise awareness of the outbreak of Ebola which started in the country nine months ago.

Witnesses said the team were set upon by angry residents in the remote village of Womey, where many remain in denial about the disease, or suspicious of foreign health workers. Several failed to return following the visit on Tuesday. Officials earlier said some – including three journalists and the director and two senior doctors of the main local hospital – were being held captive. Atempts to reach them stalled when angry residents destroyed bridges leading to the village.

"The meeting started off well; the traditional chiefs welcomed the delegation with 10 kola nuts as a traditional greeting," said a resident who was present at the meeting and gave only his first name, Yves. "It was afterwards that some youths came out and started stoning them. They dragged some of them away, and damaged their vehicles."

In an announcement made on state television late on Thursday, Mohamed Saïd Fofana said authorities had located the bodies a day after the group was abducted. Among the dead were three Guinean radio journalists who had been covering the education efforts.

A government spokesman, Damantang Albert Camara. told Reuters: "The bodies were found in the village latrine. Three of them had their throats slit." Some others from the delegation are still believed to be missing.

The Ebola outbreak across five west African countries has spiralled into the world's biggest ever epidemic, with more than 700 cases – out of 5,300 overall – emerging in the past week alone, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday.

The WHO said there was a desperate shortage of health workers and supplies in an epidemic likely to last many more months. Health workers across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where most of the cases are, have been periodically attacked by citizens in a region experiencing the deadly virus for the first time.

The district of Nzérékoré, where the team disappeared, exploded in clashes after health workers tried to spray the local market last month. About 50 people were arrested and two dozen police officers who were sent to quell the riots were injured.

In Sierra Leone, almost 30,000 volunteers will go house-to-house to raise awareness of the disease during a three-day "lockdown", when residents have been asked to remain at home. Thousands of soldiers are to enforce the curfew, due to start at midnight on Thursday.

A sluggish international response to the crisis has picked up in recent days. The US will send 3,000 troops to Liberia to help provide desperately-needed boots on the ground in the country hardest hit by the outbreak.

France's president, François Hollande, said the former colonial power would set up a military hospital to help tackle the disease in Guinea.
After Ebola: Rebuilding Liberia’s Health Care Infrastructure
Healthcare workers in Liberia disposing of dead body.
By Michael Murphy and Alan Ricks
 Boston Globe
SEPTEMBER 17, 2014

Health workers in protective suits carried the body of an Ebola victim in Liberia on Friday.

Last July the Ministry of Health building in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital city, was set on fire. We were shocked: Our designers had been in that exact building only a few months before, presenting a final draft of National Health Infrastructure Standards that we were then helping develop. According to reports, a man whose relative had just died of Ebola started the fire at the Ministry of Health. In his infinite grief, this man retaliated against the Liberian government, whose failure to contain the outbreak he held responsible for the tragic loss of a relative.

This man’s anger against the Ministry of Health is understandable. As Ebola continues to spread, destroying lives across Liberia and down the West African coast, many people (nationals and foreigners alike) have called out the Liberian government for its failure to stem the epidemic, branding the health system in our global conversation with the shameful verdict of incompetence.

These judgments of the health system are not without truth. At the moment of the Ebola outbreak, Liberia’s health system was indeed weakened and vulnerable. The country was (and still is) recovering from a devastating civil war, which ended only ten years ago. This civil war decimated the nation’s health system, destroying by its end 354 of Liberia’s 550 medical facilities.

EDITORIAL: Risking everything to help Ebola victims

Today, Liberia’s health infrastructure is dangerously underdeveloped. The condition of many of the hospitals we visited often during our time in Liberia speak to this inadequacy. For instance, the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, a vestige of Cold War American-funded aid initiatives and one of Liberia’s leading hospitals, was in shambles due to highly unrealistic maintenance costs. Redemption Hospital, another important health facility in Monrovia, was in fact converted from a building that had previously been used as a warehouse. As a consequence, the building suffered from dark and labyrinthine corridors, its walls stained with water, and its floors and ceilings showing signs of dilapidation.

And yet, the Liberian Ministry of Health was not earlier this year ignorant of these problems. More importantly, the Liberian government was in fact researching, planning for, and enacting the radical, challenging improvements that were necessary to repair their national health system.

What is in danger of being lost in the conversation is that the Liberian government was, just before the Ebola outbreak, beginning to take significant and decisive steps towards a new, better, and stronger Liberian health care system — a system that included, at its core, an improved health infrastructure.

Our design nonprofit has worked with governments and health ministries across the African continent, and we were impressed by the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Minister of Health Dr. Walter Gwenigale, who are making important investments to shore up Liberia’s health systems and infrastructure. Indeed, when we first arrived in Liberia in 2010, the Ministry was in the process of developing a 10-year, comprehensive national health policy and roadmap for development, which would support the distribution of medical care from Monrovia, the capital, into the many less urban counties that make up the rest of the country. (We completed this work in partnership with the JSI Research and Training Institute, under the Rebuilding Basic Health Services project with funding from USAID.)

Along with this new national health policy, the Ministry had already developed a new design for Redemption Hospital and a host of other ‘shovel-ready’ projects which would shore up the country’s weak health infrastructure and help the country move towards its long-term national health goals. This, from our perspective, is where Liberia was on the eve of the outbreak — poised to make dramatic changes to its medical system that would improve the future health and well being of its citizens.

The country, of course, was not ready for Ebola. Not many other countries would be. And what is needed now is targeted, strategic support from the international community, as President Obama called for yesterday in a speech at the Centers for Disease Control, that resonates in productive ways with the Liberian government’s existing national health policy goals.

Indeed, as international action is taken, parties should respect the Liberian government’s vision to develop a durable and resilient health infrastructure that can support a durable and resilient health system. In other words, we recognize that there is a temptation in this moment of crisis to respond to Ebola with a fleet of emergency shelters, tents, and other short-term strategies to try and stem the epidemic. But (as we saw, for instance, with cholera in Haiti), these kinds of responses are inadequate for safe patient isolation but also in the long-term. Temporary, poorly designed — or even, un-designed — health facilities, while a part of the emergency response, cannot be the entirety of our response. If they are, such structures will not only fail to solve health crises, but may themselves also become health hazards.

There is a second reason to be wary of emergency tents and similar improvised infrastructure: Such makeshift interventions cannot blind us from the opportunity to invest in infrastructure that will prevent and control such outbreaks in the future.

The international community has already begun to respond to Ebola with injections of funding and aid. This aid is an incredible opportunity in the midst of incredible tragedy to secure the resources necessary to achieve the infrastructure goals that are already laid out in the Liberian government’s admirable national health policy. If done intelligently, such action would couple the necessary speed of emergency tents with the durability and resilience of long-term infrastructure. This building strategy is not only vital in the current outbreak — it is an investment in the future health of Liberians.

VOXOP: Ebola raises fears, ethical questions

It is possible to curb this outbreak; in fact, Liberia is well poised to do so and lead by example in West Africa. What remains is the financial support to invest in stated priorities as outlined in its the National Health Infrastructure Policy, and a perception shift to acknowledge we must provide and ensure safe hospitals.

When Ebola is all over, the international community will have an important opportunity to consider how and what to invest in to ensure such a devastating outbreak does not occur again. We must choose to build better buildings. Only then will health infrastructure systems finally be strong enough to resist such formidable challenges to their resilience.