The Great Lakes Research Journal

In-depth reviews of issues and challenges facing Central Africa – ISSN: 1554-0391

According to Communications Minister Bereket Simon the leaders of the United Western Somali Liberation Front (UWSLF) have “accepted totally to abide by the constitution of Ethiopia and operate legally and abandon the armed struggle.”

“We expect these leaders to appear here soon to explain how they will operate in the Ethiopian legal atmosphere,” Bereket said.

When asked by the AFP about the rebel’s decision, Bereket stated that the “government has decided to respect their right to operate in the Ethiopian legal system, to enter into more civilised and pacific politics.”

Bereket also added, “We’ll not do accounting from the past. We’ll do a fresh start.”

The rebel group first got its start in the 1970s during which Ethipia and Somalia fought over the area of Ogaden. The group was fighting for the independence of the area.

It’s great to see another rebel group come to peaceful terms with a government. Hopefully more groups in the region will see this move and decide to take the same steps to bring about peace.

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According the the group Human Rights Watch (HRW) there needs to be more money and more boots on the ground to fight off the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

The UN currently has less than 1,000 peacekeepers in the region, but it simply isn’t enough for such a vast area with rough terrain.

Between 2008 and 2009 over 1,200 people have been killed by the LRA, with 321 of those deaths coming in one massacre in the northeastern part of the country.

In a report, HRW recommended that there needs to be an establishment of community radio, helicopter support, donor funding, better coordination, and that the Congolese government must work in conjunction with mobile phone companies to bring better coverage to the area.

The report said “High-level attention, bold steps and courageous leadership are necessary to develop and implement a comprehensive regional strategy that resolves the LRA threat.”

Human Rights Watch is doing a good job of bringing to light what’s needed in the area to resolve the issue of the LRA, but now it’s up to the governments in the area to put into place the recommendations.

Hopefully once the the threat of the LRA is eliminated the area can grow economically and bring prosperity and some peace to the people who live there.

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A regional terror conference will be held this Tuesday in Algeria. Officials from Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Libya, and Mauritania will be present.

The talks are aimed to help curb “a resurgence” in terror acts in the region. The officials will be taking a look into “links to cross-border crime and smuggling of all kinds.” They will come up with “bilateral and regional measures to route out the scourge” all while trying to revive the region’s economies.

This regional terror conference is incredibly important. It’s a way for officials to come together to discuss the issue at hand, sharing their successes and failures, and coming up with new ways to curb terrorism. Especially since all of the countries attending the conference have been having issues as of late with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic Maghreb.

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A deal was signed Saturday between the government of Sudan and the Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) in the capital of Chad, N’Djamena. Unfortunately, it’s not a permanent peace deal.

The details of the accord include the cancellation of death sentences for rebel fighters, an immediate ceasefire, and also includes the framework for future peace talks.

While this is a big development in the stabilization of the Darfur conflict, the fact that it isn’t a permanent deal somewhat tempers the hope that it will end soon. Also, the important Sudan Liberation Army-AbdulWahid faction has refused to speak with the government. Nothing of any real significance can really happen without this faction coming to the bargaining table.

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