|Africa News Digest
Heavy Fighting Breaks Out in Mogadishu
Somali insurgents attacked Ethiopian troops March 21-23 in the country's capital Mogadishu. Ethiopians have responded with tank shots and rockets. Ethiopian troops have also launched rockets against Mogadishu's stadium where some Somali insurgents are reportedly hiding.
A Somali government source said a plane crashed in northern Mogadishu March 23. The plane was a Russian-made Ilyushin carrying engineers who had been working on another damaged aircraft at Mogadishu airport. Local radio reported the crashed plane had been hit by a missile. Witnesses who saw it come down could not confirm that it had been attacked.
The fighting broke out at a time when the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was attempting to control Mogadishu with the help of Ethiopian troops, after they had allegedly dislodged the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) from Mogadishu and much of the rest of the country. However, some analysts claim that the collapse of the Islamist group has brought to the fore some of the inter- and intra-clan rivalries.
Meanwhile, the United States, on March 21, pledged support for the upcoming Somali reconciliation conference. Addressing a news conference in Nairobi, Kenya, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Michael Renneberger urged the transitional government to make the conference inclusive by reaching out to the UIC.
The TFG is now under pressure from Ethiopia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations to expand its support base by bringing all Somali parties, including the UIC and moderate clans to the negotiating table.
U.S. Accused of Rendition in Horn of Africa
Human rights groups in Kenya are charging that about 150 people arrested in Kenya fleeing the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia have been forcibly returned, to be questioned by U.S. and British interrogators, and to possibly be tortured, The London Independent reported March 23.
According to information seen by the Independent, about 80 people suspected of al-Qaeda links, were flown to Mogadishu and Baidoa in Somalia, in January and February. Several are reported to be shackled to the walls of underground prison cells at Mogadishu's airport. Another 50 or 60 people, accused of belonging to Ethiopian rebel groups, were flown directly to Adis Abeba, Ethiopia. Ethiopia has been accused of routinely torturing political prisoners. They were all reportedly interrogated by U.S. FBI officials while still in Kenyan prisons, and at least four were questioned by British officials in Mogadishu and then released. "This is extraordinary rendition," said Maini Kiai, chairman of the Kenya National Human Rights Commission. "Britain and America are involved in interrogating suspects."
African Leaders Reject Global Warming Agenda
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC) demands "an act of aggression against Africa," according to a report on openDemocracy.net. March 23. Global warming was the key theme of the African Union summit this past January, and Nicholas Stern, Al Gore's fellow climate advisor to the British government, lectured African leaders in Adis Abeba on Jan. 30. Stern has authored a report which uses the global warming hoax to demand immediate reduction in energy use and suppression of industry. At the African summit, Stern called for biofuels and "sustainable development."
But, according to an article by Ehsan Masood, on openDemocracy.net, Stern faced a revolt from African leaders. In a debate on global warming, Masood wrote, "Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni set the tone for what was to follow during the next half-hour. Global warming, Museveni said, is "an act of aggression by the developed world against the African people." After him, President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso declared: "Those who pollute, should pay."
The AU secretariat had invited Stern to address the summit, Masood reported. Earlier, he had spoken to the AU on Nov. 20, 2006.
Brit Economist Lectures South Africa on Global Warming
Sir Nicholas Stern, the British government economist, lectured the South African cabinet on global warming March 14, as a guest of Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk. Stern called for "adaptation and mitigation" to deal with climate change.
Stern claimed that everything, from the floods in Mozambique to the drought in Kenya, were due to global warming, and predicted more serious water-flow problems in the Nile River and an increase in waterborne diseases. Stern said that Africa could benefit from initiatives to invest in "clean" energy, reduced deforestation, and development of global public goods.
He said that South Africa, which has a "global profile" on the question, and as one of the G-8+5 nations, could play a role such as promoting talks on the U.S.-China "standoff" on greenhouse gas emissions.