news in brief

Zimbabwe: Mugabe and Tsvangirai enter dialogue
President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai met in Harare on Monday for a three-hour talk on issues that threaten the break-down of the current power-sharing deal. Tsvangirai issued a statement that stated the unity government has resulted in a “continued stalemate,” reports RFI. The meeting came after the issue of strong statements’ from both the MDC and Mugabe’s Zanu-PF. While Mugabe said he had fulfilled all obligations for the unity government, Tsanvagirai’s MDC said it would not back down. - Tuesday 27 October 2009 - 17:06

Angola - France
France-Angola: Former French government officials convicted for arms
The son of ex-French President François Mitterrand and an ex-government minister have been convicted for accepting bribes to facilitate arms deals to Angola in 1993-98, in breach of French law. Jean-Christophe Mitterrand was given a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to pay €375,000, writes BBC. Former Interior Minister Charles Pasqua was jailed in one year and fined €100,000. The key suspects Arkady Gaydamak, an Israeli-Russian billionaire and Pierre Falcone, French magnate were convicted in absentia with six years in prison for having organized the arms trafficking worth about €800m. In total 42 people were on trial. - Tuesday 27 October 2009 - 16:50

Guinea - European Union
EU-Guinea: European Union imposes arms embargo on Guinea
The European Unions has imposed an arms embargo on Guinea and sanctions against its military leaders. According to BBC, the EU said there had been a gross violation on human rights when troop opened fired on protesters last month. The massacre left over 157 people dead, no less than 1,200 wounded, while many others were raped and beaten. The military junta put the death tool at 57. Earlier this month, Karel de Gucht, EU’s development chief declared that Captain Moussa Dadis Camara the coup leader should be put on trial for crimes against humanity. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened an investigation into the deaths and a UN inquiry is also under way. - Tuesday 27 October 2009 - 16:15

Kenya - Somalia
Kenya: Human Rights group urges the military recruitment of Somali refugees to end
A global human rights group is urging Kenya to stop Somali military recruiters from enlisting displaced men and boys in Kenya’s sprawling Dadaab refugee camps to fight in their war against Islamic militants. Letta Tayler, a researcher form Human Rights Watch, who spent a week interviewing refugees for the group’s Thursday report about the practice said “the boys and men who are in these camps risked their lives to flee. Now they’re being asked to return to that.” She stated that enlisting young refugees in a new force intended to fight on behalf of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government is a violation of U.N regulations that govern refugee camps. The Kenyan government rejects charges that it is aiding in Somali military recruitment. According to Human Rights Watch, the Dadaab camps, hosts more than 280,000 refugees mostly from Somalia, making it the largest concentration of refugee in the world, notes CNN. - Tuesday 27 October 2009 - 16:04

Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone: 52 years in prison for rebel leaders
The UN backed tribunal has upheld sentences of up to 52 years in prison to three men who were rebel leaders during the country’s civil war, said France24. The court accepted certain grounds for appeal by the defendants, the five judge panel confirmed the sentences for Issa Hassan Sesay (52 years), Morris Kallon (40 years) and Augustine Gbao (25 years). The three men were convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity for overseeing a spree of rapes and killings during the country’s brutal civil war, which ended in 2001 after a decade of bloodshed. This was the last ever judgement to be held in Freetown. - Monday 26 October 2009 - 17:22

Somalia: Al-Shabab executes ‘spies’
Gunmen from Somalia’s al-Shabab fighters have publicly executed two young men who they said had spied for the government. According to a senior member of the group, the teenagers had confessed. The two men were executed in front of hundreds of people who were asked to witness the event on Sunday. Al-Shabab aims to topple the UN-backed government in Somalia and introduce its own version of Islamic law in the country, notes Al Jazeera. - Monday 26 October 2009 - 17:16

South africa
South Africa: Opposition condemns Zuma’s policy shift
According to Reuters, the South African opposition party COPE accused Zuma’s government on Monday for bowing to pressure from left leaning unions and shifting economic policy towards more socialist agendas. Mvume Dandala, the parliamentary leader of the Congress of the People, formed by dissident members of the African National Congress (ANC), said COPE was worried about recent changes made by President Zuma to his cabinet structure. - Monday 26 October 2009 - 17:07

Kenya - United States
Kenya-US: Kenyan senior official banned in US
The USA has imposed a travel ban on a Kenyan senior official for obstructing efforts to rid the country of corruption, reports BBC. Johnnie Carson, the US state department Africa chief, said he was considering bans on three other officials, but declined to release any names. Kenya agreed to carry through reforms after 1300 people died in post-election violence last year. The US believes some officials have deliberately been blocking the reforms. Mr. Carson urged Kenya to strengthen its institutions and eradicate corruption to avoid more violence after the next election in 2012. A power-sharing government was eventually set after weeks of violence following the December 2007 election, but it has struggled to restore stability. - Monday 26 October 2009 - 16:42

Tunisia: Ben Ali President, again
After two decades in power, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was re-elected with a staggering 89.62 per cent of the vote in Sunday’s elections, reports France 24. The results from all the North African country’s 26 constituencies showed Ben Ali’s score ranging from 84.16 to 93.88 per cent. Overseas, voters gave him 94.85 per cent of the vote. His rivals trailed far behind with Mohamed Bouchiha and Ahmed Inoubli, earning between 5 and 3.8 per cent respectively. Ahmed Brahim who came in last in the vote, expressed his surprise that Ben Ali’s score, as “habitually astronomical” as it has been in the past, did not reach over 90 per cent. Ben Ali, 73, ousted Tunisia’s elected president since independence from France, Habib Bourguiba, for senility in 1987. At every election since then, his opponents have cried foul over the staggering scale of Ben Ali’s electoral victories. - Monday 26 October 2009 - 12:48

Nigeria: Rebels announce indefinite ceasefire
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has declared an indefinite ceasefire in the oil-producing Niger Delta to allow for peace negotiations with the government. The decision comes after the government “expressed its readiness to engage in serious and meaningful dialogue.” Mend said it had formed a team which included Wole Soyinka, the Nigerian Novel literature laureate to discuss its demands with the government. The government welcomed the development but said it would not be engaging the MEND-appointed team. An earlier 92-day ceasefire came to an end near the beginning of the month reports VOA. - Monday 26 October 2009 - 12:20

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