Kadhafi’s Son, Spymaster Face Libyan Justice.

Moamer Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam and his spymaster Abdullah Senussi were on Monday both behind bars as Libya’s new leaders moved to bring the former regime’s two most wanted men to justice.

The National Transitional Council, Libya’s interim authority, insists that Seif, arrested on Saturday in the country’s far-flung Saharan south, be brought to trial in Libya where he could face the death penalty.

NTC officials have yet to indicate their intentions regarding Senussi, who has been held at a secret location and not seen in public since his capture early on Sunday.

But they are likely to want to see Senussi also tried at home rather than at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, where both he and Seif face charges of crimes against humanity.

World powers, fearful that Seif would not be given a fair trial after his father was felled by a bullet to the head after being captured on October 20, are urging Libya to work with the ICC.

Interim prime minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib gave assurances that Seif was being well treated.“We assure all those concerned that he (Seif) is in good hands. The treatment he is entitled to is very good, a hundred times better than what he and his father meted out to the Libyan people,” Kib told a news conference in Tripoli.

The formation of a new government, apparently delayed by Seif’s capture, will now be announced on Tuesday, he said. “We are working hard to ensure to have something solid, coherent, capable of doing the job.”

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay, meanwhile, urged Libya’s interim rulers to ensure that Seif and Senussi are treated humanely, and to cooperate fully with the ICC.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it expects to visit Seif in Libya soon.“We think we will be able to visit him soon,” Yves Daccord, the ICRC director general, told journalists in Geneva. “We are in contact with National Transitional Council and have made a request to get access to Seif al-Islam.”

He called Kadhafi’s son “someone who must be protected,” adding that the ICRC had requested access not only to Seif but also to all the other detainees in Libya.

On Sunday, interim justice minister Mohammed al-Allagui told AFP that Kadhafi’s son would be tried in Libya “because local justice is the rule and international justice is the exception.”

“We have the necessary guarantees for a fair trial, especially after the amendment of a law that guarantees the independence of the judiciary as regards the executive,” he said.

ICC spokesman Fadi Al-Abdallah, however, said the Libyan authorities were obliged to cooperate with the court and surrender Seif, although he could still be tried in Libya.

“If the Libyan authorities want to hold the trial in Libya, they must submit a request to the ICC and the judges will decide,” he said.
After three months on the run, Seif was caught early on Saturday in southern Libya in a trap set by a Zintan brigade of militiamen loyal to the new regime.

Ex-spy Senussi was captured the next day, also in the south, NTC officials said.Bashir Uweidat, who heads the southern Wadi Shati military council, said Senussi “did not put up any resistance” and was arrested by former rebels at his sister’s home in the Al-Guira region.

The ICC issued warrants on June 27 against Seif, 39, Kadhafi and Senussi on charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed when security forces crushed a popular uprising in February.

In particular, it accused Senussi, 62, of being an “indirect perpetrator of crimes against humanity of murder and persecution based on political grounds” committed in Benghazi.

Senussi, the ousted leader’s brother-in-law, has been described by the ICC as “one of the most powerful and efficient organs of repression of Moamer Kadhafi’s regime.”

He is also wanted in France where a Paris court sentenced him in absentia to life in 1999 over an attack on a French UTA airliner a decade earlier that killed 170 people.

Egypt Govt Offers To Resign Amid Deadly Clashes

Egypt’s cabinet said it had resigned amid deadly clashes between police and protesters demanding political change that have killed 26 and prompted the ruling military to call for crisis talks.
On the eve of a new wave of protests planned for later Tuesday, the cabinet announced its resignation on the third day of protests that have triggered Egypt’s worst crisis since president Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February.
Two people were killed early Tuesday in the Red Sea town of Ismailiya, medics said, bringing the toll of clashes since Saturday to 26.
“The government of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has handed its resignation to the (ruling) Supreme Council of the Armed Forces,” cabinet spokesman Mohammed Hegazy said in a statement Monday.
State television quoted a military source as saying the military council had rejected the resignation, but Information Minister Osama Heikal told the official MENA news agency the matter had not yet been decided.
Sharaf’s resignation, if accepted, threatens to derail parliamentary elections scheduled for November 28 — the first polls since Mubarak’s downfall.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which took power when Mubarak was ousted, “invited all the political and national forces for an emergency dialogue to look into the reasons behind the aggravation of the current crisis and ways to resolve it as quickly as possible,” it said in a statement carried by MENA.
It said it had asked the justice ministry to set up a committee to shed light on the violence, and called on “all forces and citizens to commit to (restoring) calm, and creating an atmosphere of stability with the goal of pursuing the political process.”
Amnesty International charged that Egypt’s military rulers had failed to live up to their promises and had even committed worse rights abuses than the Mubarak regime.
Tens of thousands of people packed Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square on Monday night, after clashes continued for a third straight day between protesters and police in and around the square.
They greeted news of the cabinet’s resignation with indifference, calling for the removal of the military rulers as clashes continued around the nearby interior ministry headquarters.
Riot police fired volleys of birdshot, rubber bullets and tear gas at demonstrators who used stones and petrol bombs. Other protesters formed a corridor through which the injured were ferried into waiting ambulances.
The United States said it was “deeply concerned” by the violence and White House spokesman Jay Carney said it was important that US ally Egypt move toward democratic elections.
US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland echoed the White House call for “free, fair elections,” and expressed the hope the electoral process would remain on schedule.
UN leader Ban Ki-moon called on the military council to “guarantee” civil liberties as he deplored the deaths in the clashes.
“The secretary general is deeply concerned about the violence in Egypt during the last few days, particularly in Cairo. He deplores the loss of life and the many injuries,” said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.
“The secretary general calls on the transitional authorities to guarantee the protection of human rights and civil liberties for all Egyptians, including the right to peaceful protest.”
Political forces behind the uprising have called for a mass rally on Tuesday to demand that the army cede power to civilian rule.
The Coalition of Revolution Youth and the April 6 movement, among others, have called for the protest at 4:00 pm (1400 GMT) in Tahrir Square, the epicentre of rallies that ousted Mubarak.
In a Facebook page for the rally, the groups called for the immediate resignation of Sharaf’s cabinet and the formation of a “national salvation” government.
They also demanded a presidential election by April 2012 and a complete overhaul of the interior ministry.
The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s best-organised political force, announced it would not take part in Tuesday’s mass demonstration.
The Brotherhood-affiliated Party of Freedom and Justice announced on its website late Monday that the decision stemmed from its “desire not to pull people towards fresh bloody confrontations with the parties that are seeking more tension.”
As clashes erupted on Tahrir square, fighting also broke out in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, state television said.
Hundreds have been injured during the protests that have raged in Cairo, Alexandria, Ismailiya and the canal city of Suez.
Culture minister Emad Abu Ghazi earlier quit in protest at the government response to the demonstrations, he told MENA.
Egypt’s stock exchange tumbled 4.04 percent on closing on Monday, with the main EGX-30 index dropping 3,860.00 points.
Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi called for calm and urged all political forces to press ahead with the democratic process.
He urged them “to work for calm and return to the political process and move forward with the process of democratic change based on the principles of freedom, dignity and social justice on which the January 25 revolution was founded.”
The clashes first erupted on Saturday, a day after large crowds staged a peaceful anti-military mass rally at the square, resuming on Sunday and carrying on through the night into Monday.
There were heavy clashes on side streets leading to the interior ministry as protesters chanted “The people want to topple the field marshal” — Hussein Tantawi, Mubarak’s long-time defence minister who heads the SCAF.
The SCAF, in a statement read out on state television, said it “regretted” what was happening and said it was committed to the elections timetable.

Adebayor Fires Spurs Third

Harry Redknapp enjoyed a successful return to the Tottenham dugout as his side moved into third place in the Premier League table with an easy win over Aston Villa at White Hart Lane.
Emmanuel Adebayor scored his fourth and fifth goals of the campaign in a hugely one-sided affair that should have seen the former Arsenal striker take home the match ball.
Adebayor, who had not scored in his previous six games, put Spurs ahead with a brilliant scissor kick in the 14th minute before he took advantage of a mix-up between Shay Given and James Collins to stab home from less than a yard for his second five minutes before half-time.
The on-loan striker wasted two gilt-edged opportunities for his hat-trick, but his failure to bag a third should not detract from what was a classy display from the home side which stretched their unbeaten run to nine matches – eight of which have been wins.
Luka Modric, Rafael van der Vaart and Scott Parker were all outstanding in a victory that also proved the perfect way for Redknapp to mark his comeback after the heart scare which caused him to undergo surgery three weeks ago.
Before the match began, the home fans greeted Redknapp’s appearance at the dugout with warm applause and he also received a hug from opposite number Alex McLeish.
The 64-year-old spoke of how he felt ‘’rough’’ watching Spurs’ nerve-jangling win at Fulham from home on the television two weeks ago, but he had little reason to be worried tonight as his team stamped their dominance on the game from the off.
Indeed, it was McLeish who had the more frantic time early on as he watched his side hit by a series of Tottenham attacks.
The first time Redknapp took to his feet was in the 11th minute when Aaron Lennon collected a cross-field ball from Benoit Assou-Ekotto and whipped in a curling cross that Adebayor somehow headed wide from eight yards.
The striker redeemed himself two minutes later by putting Tottenham ahead.
After seeing Younes Kaboul’s shot cleared off the line, Van der Vaart whipped in a corner that fell to Gareth Bale. The Welshman hammered a miscued effort that flew up in the air and Adebayor was on hand to convert an acrobatic effort from 10 yards.
Spurs had their tails up and pushed for a second. Modric side-footed just wide before Van der Vaart ploughed an ambitious shot into the side-netting.
Former Spurs man Darren Bent looked isolated up front for Villa and he had to wait until the 24th minute for his first sniff of goal, but Parker appeared from nowhere to execute a perfectly-timed sliding tackle.
Just before half-hour mark Adebayor nutmegged his marker to send Van der Vaart galloping free, but the Dutchman’s audacious attempt to lob Shay Given failed and the ball sailed over the Villa goal.
A rare error from Parker allowed Gabriel Agbonlahor to break down the left but Kaboul powered back to steal the ball from the striker.
The home fans mocked the away side’s performance, but Tottenham still only had one a one-goal advantage despite their dominance.
That changed five minutes before half-time when Adebayor made it 2-0.
Collins’ failure to clear Bale’s low ball caught Given unawares, causing the ‘keeper to fumble the Welshman’s cross into the path of Adebayor, who made no mistake from less than a yard.
Brad Friedel made his first save of the game to deny Emile Heskey just after the break, but Spurs were soon back in the ascendancy.
Adebayor should have grabbed his hat-trick when he broke clear, but he could only shoot wide when clean through.
Kyle Walker then flashed a 20-yard drive just past Given’s right-hand post before Adebayor curled a brilliant shot inches wide.
Jermain Defoe came on for Van der Vaart with 20 minutes left.
Another chance for Adebayor to notch his third came and went 13 minutes from time when he shot straight at Given after the Republic of Ireland stopper fumbled another cross – this time from Modric, who was putting in one of his best performances of the season.
Collins was then on hand to block Assou-Ekotto’s goal-bound shot as Tottenham continued their pursuit of a third.
Modric received a standing ovation when he was replaced by Sandro in injury time shortly after Parker blazed over.
Defoe shot over seconds later and Spurs had to settle for a two-goal victory margin, which Redknapp toasted at the end by

Up To 70 Taliban Dead As Afghan Attack Thwarted

Up to 70 Taliban fighters were killed after trying to attack a foreign troop base in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday.

The attempted assault happened late Tuesday at a combat outpost in Paktika province, close to the border with Pakistan where militants have hideouts. No international troops were killed or injured in the incident.

The killings came as a district governor from the same province died of his injuries after his car was struck by a roadside bomb.

Mokhlis Afghan, a spokesman for the governor of Paktika, said the attackers who targeted the ISAF base were likely to have come from the Pakistani side of the border.

“In a joint ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) and Afghan operation last night in Barmal district, between 60 and 70 Taliban militants were killed,” he said.

“Initial reports show that this big group of militants wanted to attack a joint Afghan-ISAF base in Margha area of Barmal but were stopped and air assistance was called in.”

The NATO-led ISAF said that an estimated 60 Taliban were killed in the clash and there were no casualties among international forces.

ISAF spokesman Sergeant Christopher DeWitt added: “I can confirm that a coalition base in eastern Afghanistan came under attack by insurgents.

“Coalition aircraft assisted ground forces in repelling the attack and there is an unknown number of enemies that were killed in that process.”

Combat outposts in Afghanistan are typically located in remote areas and house several hundred troops.The Taliban’s spokesman was not immediately reachable for comment on the attack.

Separately, Mohammad Akbar, the governor of Sar Hawza district in Paktika, died in hospital late Tuesday after his car struck a roadside bomb in the province, his spokesman said.

There are around 140,000 international troops in Afghanistan, most of them from the United States, fighting a Taliban led insurgency which started after the Taliban were ousted from power by a US-led invasion in 2001.

All foreign combat forces are due to leave the country by the end of 2014, but a sizeable mission to train and mentor Afghan troops is set to remain beyond that date.

Somali Gunmen Suspected Of More Attacks On Kenya

Suspected Somali gunmen attacked a police station and a government vehicle in northern Kenya late on Monday, the latest in a series of assaults on Kenya since it sent troops to fight Somalia’s Islamist rebels.

Kenya mounted an air and ground offensive against al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab in Somalia more than three weeks ago after a string of kidnappings and cross-border raids it blamed on the group.

While there has been little major ground combat within Somalia since Kenya forces entered the Horn of Africa nation, Kenyan authorities and al Shabaab fighters have claimed successes in attacks either side of the border.

Al Shabaab fighters attacked a Kenyan police station near the border town of El Wak late on Monday, said Kenyan police, Somali government forces and residents.

Mahmoud Ali Shire, commander of Somali government troops fighting alongside Kenyan forces, told Reuters two al Shabaab fighters had been killed in the gun battle.

Leo Nyongesa, the police commander of Kenya’s North Eastern Province, said he was not aware of any Kenyan casualties.
“Our officers were vigilant … they fought the attackers.

A team of military and police close to the border joined them and repulsed the thugs, who ran back into Somalia,” he told Reuters.

Further to the south, gunmen attacked a Kenyan government vehicle ferrying exam papers to the border town of Liboi.
Gunmen ambushed the car and exchanged fire with a police escort, but no one was hurt, North Eastern Provincial Director of Education Adan Sheikh told Reuters.

REFUGEES PROTEST AGAINST AL SHABAAB Monday’s incidents were the latest in a string of low-level but persistent attacks on north-east Kenya. Two people were killed in a grenade attack in the military town of Garissa on Saturday.

A U.N. aid convoy also struck a landmine that failed to detonate in the Dadaab refugee camp, the world’s largest, where 400,000 Somalis are living after fleeing violence and famine in their own country.

Thousands there demonstrated on Tuesday against al Shabaab and in support of Kenya’s military action.“We are tired of staying away from our homes, our country.

These thugs must be challenged and fought,” Kusow Abdi Nun, a spokesman for a group of refugees from Hagadera, one of three camps within Dadaab, told Reuters.

“They should stop using Islam to achieve their selfish interest,” he said, referring to al Shabaab’s aim of imposing their own strict version of sharia law across Somalia.

Kenya is the latest country to entangle itself in the affairs of its anarchic neighbour which has suffered two decades of civil war.

The military says it wants to eliminate the threat of al Shabaab, which has hit Kenya’s crucial tourist industry, and help the Western-backed Mogadishu government which has been fighting the militants since 2007.

Kenya’s military has vowed to launch more air strikes on al Shabaab’s bases in southern and central Somalia, especially after reports that weapons consignments from Eritrea had reached an al Shabaab base there last week.Eritrea strongly denies the allegations.

DR. Congo Tension Mounts Ahead Of Vote

Rival supporters clashed in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the government also shut down an opposition TV station, as tension rose with general polls only three weeks away.

In the southeastern mining city of Lubumbashi, street fights erupted between stone-throwing supporters of the ruling Party for Reconstruction and Democracy and of the opposition Union for Democracy and Social Progress.

The clashes, which came two days after similar violence left 15 wounded, raised fears that the vast conflict-prone country might slip back into widespread violence ahead of polls scheduled for November 28.

Calm had returned to the capital of the mineral-rich Katanga province on Sunday but tensions flared anew early Monday.
Shop windows were smashed, banks shuttered, a vehicle transporting food goods was looted and pedestrians were mugged, an AFP correspondent said, reporting that most residents were holing themselves up in their homes.

Several people were wounded Monday but no reliable injury toll was available and police had managed to quell the fighting by nightfall.

Late last month, an alliance of 73 Congolese and international rights groups called for restraint in an open letter sent to all presidential contenders.

Aides to President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the country since the assassination of his father Laurent in 2001, say he will tour all 11 of the provinces making up the vast country, which is four times the size of France.

There are 11 candidates for the presidency, and nearly 19,000 candidates are in the running for some 500 parliamentary seats with 32 million people eligible to vote.

The opposition UPDS had appealed for calm on Sunday, blaming Saturday’s violence on “candidate Kabila’s efforts to stoke unrest that will disrupt the electoral process.”

Human Rights Watch charged late last month that Gabriel Kyungu, who heads the Katanga provincial parliament and a movement affiliated to the ruling party, had repeatedly resorted to hate speech during the campaign.

But it was UPDS chief Etienne Tshisekedi who came under fire Monday for calling on his supporters to break into prisons and free their detained comrades.

The station that aired the interview late Sunday, Radio Lisanga Television (RLTV), was temporarily shut down by the government.

Tshisekedi, seen as one of Kabila’s main election rivals, said in a phone interview from South Africa that the government had 48 hours to free his supporters, calling them “fighters.

“Or else I will call on fighters across the country to break down prison doors and release their comrades,” the 78-year-old former prime minister under Mobutu Sese Seko’s dictatorship said.

The decision to close RLTV came under fire from NGO Observatory for Press Freedom in Africa (OLPA), which said Monday that while it did not approve of Tshisekedi’s “inflammatory” remarks, the move was “in flagrant violation of the law.”

Speaking of “a serious attack on press freedom,” OLPA said any suspension of the radio station’s broadcasting right was up to the country’s Audiovisual and Telecommunication High Council and called for RLTV to be allowed back on the air “immediately and unconditionally.”

Besides Tshisekedi, candidates include former speaker Vital Kamerhe and senate chairman Leon Kengo. The former dictator’s son Joseph-Francois Nzanga Mobutu is also among those vying for the top job.

The US-based Carter Center, which has had observers in the country since August, said there were “serious threats to holding the election” and called for the DR Congo’s election commission to take “urgent steps” so as to be credibly prepared for the ballot.

Systemic corruption since independence from Belgium in 1960 and internal conflict since 1997 have slashed the nation’s national output, increased external debt and led to the deaths of more than five million from violence, famine and disease.

Yoruba language is dying, say Omole, Adeniyi


Prominent Yoruba leaders have warned that Yoruba language would fade away, unless parents and governments insist on the propagation of the ethnic group’s culture, customs and tradition.

They decried the collapse of core values of integrity and honesty, lamenting that Yoruba youths now run after money instead of good names.

Former Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU), Ile-Ife, Professor Wale Omole, foremost journalist Chief Tola Adeniyi and former Rector of Lagos State Polytechnic Olawumi Gasper said Yoruba language has been damaged by the influence of the western world, stressing that youths are now ashamed to express themselves in their language in public.

They spoke at a one-day workshop for master trainers in the Southwest zone on vocational training organised by the Yoruba Education Trust Fund (YETFUND), in partnership with Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB).

Open the workshop at LASTVEB office, Ikeja, Commissioner for Education, Mrs Funmilayo Oladunjoye, who was represented by the Tutor-General, Mrs. Adeyinka Oyemade, said: “This initiative to preserve Yoruba language must not die in the interest of the future of the race”.

Five papers were presented at the workshop attended by teachers, school administrators and government officials from the six Southwest states. Professor  Omole spoke on the Yoruba cultural concept of “Omoluabi”. Adeniyi spoke on “Character”. Andy Jibunoh spoke on “Best standard and practices in construction”. Arinola Adeniyi focussed on “Best practices in hairdressing and cosmetology” and Sola Kotun spoke on “Best global practices on house-keeping and child care”.

Omole recalled that the initiative to preserve Yoruba language started two years ago, saying if Yoruba youths cannot speak the language, it would be difficult for them to express themselves well in English Language.

He said: “We have to build capacity in our youths. If you cannot think well in your language, you cannot think realistically”.

Tracing the genesis of the eclipse of the language to colonialism, the retired university don said the colonial masters buried our culture by asking Yoruba to forget their culture, religion and dressing.

He added: “They disconnected them from their parents by calling Yoruba a vernacular. They taught them how to cram or memorise. Fundamentally, they changed our mind. We don’t love Yoruba food again; we go to the supermarket. They took our cocoa away and gave us chocolate. They took our cotton away and gave us textile”.

Omole said not only did the British colonised our brain, Yoruba Language was damaged in a way that made people to acquire knowledge without gaining understanding. He lamented that nowadays parents cheat for their children to make it in life the negative way.

Urging the race to return to a culture of integrity, he said: “Integrity is lacking among our people; tailors, carpenters and plumbers. Integrity is the hall mark. Honesty was said to be the best policy. My father disagreed, saying that it was the only policy. People don’t believe that God rewards. But I say that it is God who rewards”.

Adeniyi said: “In the Yoruba value system, money was No 5, trailing behind industry, value, wisdom and integrity. We need to pray so that money can return to number five”.

Equatorial Guinea Opposition Rejects Referendum Win

Equatorial Guinea’s small but vocal opposition on Monday ridiculed official results of a referendum showing 99 percent of voters approved President Teodoro Obiang Nguema’s new constitution.

The oil-rich west African country voted Sunday on a constitutional reform that caps presidential terms but could allow Africa’s longest-serving leader to cling on for years whilst grooming his controversial son for succession.

With 60 percent of votes counted, “99.04 percent voted yes and 0.96 percent no,” Information Minister and government spokesman Jeronimo Osa Osa Ecoro announced overnight, adding that definitive results were expected on Wednesday.

Equatorial Guinea was long seen as one of Africa’s most brutal and corrupt regimes but Obiang, now at the helm of sub-Saharan Africa’s third oil producer, has embarked on a charm offensive to improve his image.

The proposed constitution limits presidential terms to two seven-year mandates but does not specify how Obiang himself, whose current tenure ends in 2016, will be affected.

Congolese Opponent Not Urging Violence Ahead Of Polls: Party

Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi was not urging violence when he called on supporters to “terrorize” the country’s security forces ahead of elections and free activists from jail, his party said Monday.

“The statements by (party) president Tshisekedi are far from being a call to violence. We are a non-violent organisation…. It is a cry of alarm and frustration,” Jacquemin Shabani, secretary-general of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), told journalists.

Tshisekedi is the UDPS candidate in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s November 28 presidential election, one of 11 contenders for head of state in the vast mineral-rich African nation.

On Friday his supporters clashed with ruling party faithful in the eastern province of Katanga where President Joseph Kabila was on a campaign tour, leaving six wounded.

“Any dictatorship is based on fear… The Congolese man must shake the fear and be more self-confident,” Tshisekedi, who served as prime minister under the much-feared former president Mobutu Sese Seko, said Friday.

“My way of educating the Congolese people is to remove the fear in their heads by mobilising them to terrorise those who have terrorised us for so long…. This is not a call for violence,” the 78-year-old said.

He also gave a 48-hour ultimatum to the government to free “all our fighters” from three prisons, warning that if it failed to do so he would call on his supporters to “smash Makala prison” in the capital Kinshasa “to free by force our fighters arrested arbitrarily.”

The European Union, United States, France and the United Nations, which has a large peacekeeping contingent in the DR Congo, have urged restraint and called on all sides to refrain from inflammatory statements ahead of the polls.

East African Defence Ministers Meet On Somali Crisis

Countries contributing troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) are set to meet Monday alongside regional nations to discuss the future of the mission.

African Union spokeswoman Lulit Kebede said defence ministers from Uganda and Burundi, which both have troops in Somalia, and “interested countries” Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia will attend the closed meeting.

“The meeting should address the matters relating to the political, security and military operations in Somalia and to AMISOM … and the way forward on the situation in Somalia,” according to a statement.

The ministers, meeting in the Ethiopian capital from 1300 GMT, will also discuss a UN resolution on maintaining the mission until October 2012.
The AMISOM force is made up of 9,000 troops from Uganda and Burundi.

Djibouti and Sierra Leone have pledged to contribute additional soldiers, which would bring the total number of troops to 10,700.The AU force is tasked to protect the Western-backed Somali government against Islamist Shebab rebels, and first deployed in 2007.

After years of hard battles the force controls only Somali’s anarchic capital, and has repeatedly called for a troop increase.The UN last year approved an additional 3,000 troops for the force, but the soldiers are yet to be deployed and funding remains difficult.

Kenya last month sent troops and tanks across the border into Shebab-controlled southern Somalia to battle the insurgents it blames for a spate of attacks on its territory, including kidnapping foreigners.

Predictions Of War Haunt Sudan’s Southern Border

The presidents of Sudan and the new nation of South Sudan are both predicting the possibility of a new war in an oil-rich region that has seen a spike in cross-border attacks.

Troop build-ups are being reported on both sides of the Sudan-South Sudan border, the world’s newest international boundary, and rebels in Sudan announced a new alliance with the aim of overthrowing their own government, which is seated in the capital, Khartoum.

The U.S. is pleading for cooler heads to prevail, even as aid workers are withdrawing from the region after two bombing runs into South Sudan by Sudan, its northern neighbor, last week.

After two long wars that spanned decades, South Sudan formally declared independence from Sudan in July following a successful independence referendum in January that was guaranteed in a 2005 peace deal.

The world celebrated the peaceful break-up of Sudan. But big disputes that have long lurked in the background are now festering, and flaring into violence.

An agreement to split the region’s oil revenues was never reached. The borders were never fully demarcated. And perhaps most important, the break-up left two large groups of people in Sudan’s south in the lurch, groups that Sudan has labeled rebels and that Khartoum’s military has been attacking for months.

In addition, the Khartoum government is facing a financial crisis due to the loss of oil revenue and rising food prices, said John Prendergast, the co-founder of the U.S.-based Enough Project, which closely monitors Sudan.

“Each spark heightens the possibility of all-out war, and the sparks are occurring with more frequency now,” Prendergast said Monday.Sudan President Omar al-Bashir accuses the south of arming what he calls rebels in Sudan. He said this month that if the south wants to return to war, his army is prepared, as he ticked off recent clashes he said the north won.

“We are ready to teach you another lesson,” Bashir said.South Sudan President Salva Kiir responded last week, saying al-Bashir’s accusation are only to justify “his pending invasion.” Kiir said South Sudan is committed to peace but allow its sovereignty to be violated.

Last week U.S. and other international officials said Sudanese military aircraft twice flew into South Sudan territory and dropped bombs. In the second attack two bombs landed in a refugee camp. There were no casualties.

The U.S. demanded that Sudan halt aerial bombardments immediately.“This is a moment where both sides need to show maximum restraint,” said Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. “In the first instance, the government of Sudan needs to halt all offensive actions against the south.

Immediately. And the south needs to have the wisdom and restraint not to take the bait and not to respond in kind.”The aid group Oxfam said over the weekend it was pulling out 22 staff members — mainly engineers and health workers — from South Sudan’s Upper Nile state after the staff reported a bombing and heavy artillery on Friday.

The staff witnessed planes overhead and a build-up of South Sudan troops, Oxfam said.“New bombing raids and a build-up of troops along the border of Sudan and South Sudan over the past few days threaten to escalate what is already a significant humanitarian crisis,” it said, adding:

“Thousands of refugees are still coming across the border … they have fled attacks and walked for days to reach a place they thought would be safe but instead they are now facing more violence.”

The World Food Program also suspended activities in the Yida refugee camp — home to more than 20,000 refugees — after two bombs from Sudanese aircraft fell in the camp and three outside of it.

Lise Grande, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, said the attack “put innocent civilians at extreme risk.”A new Sudan rebel group calling itself the Sudan Revolutionary Front has emerged, adding to the dizzying array of political and military groups involved in an ethnic, economic and territorial conflict between the two countries.

The Sudan Revolutionary Front says its aim is to overthrow the Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party through all means, including violence. The group consists of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, the Justice and Equality Movement, and two factions of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army.

The group said it believes Sudan’s government is at a weak point economically, politically and militarily.“The regime is imploding and will vanish, like other corrupt regimes around us that have come to rely on repression to retain power,” the group said. “It has humiliated our people and dismembered our homeland.

Should its rule continue, it would lead to further division in Sudan.”Eric Reeves, a Sudan expert at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts,said the group could force Khartoum to face the “daunting prospect of fighting resource-draining wars on several fronts, with the likely shut-down of oil extraction and transport from the south.”

“It will take efforts not in sight to avoid a return to war,” Reeves said.Khartoum’s National Congress Party said the Sudan Revolutionary Front is planning to carry out acts of sabotage to lead Sudan into a crisis.

The official news agency quoted a ruling party spokesman, Yassir Yusuf, as saying that the government of South Sudan should “distance itself and lift its hand to stop providing assistance to rebel movements in Sudan.”

For months Sudan has been attacking what it calls rebel groups in the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan. An ethnic group called the Nuba live in South Kordofan, and they appear to be on their own. Not part of the black southerners that now make up South Sudan, they are also not Arabs of the north.

Thousands have fled to live in caves the past several months as military jets from the north have dropped bombs.Though oil is a large component in the building conflict, Reeves said, the Nuba have no interest in oil. He recalled a meeting he attended with the Nuba almost eight years ago.“It was clear to me in 2003 that the Nuba would fight to the death to save their lands,” he said.