Eritrea's government says the capital Asmara is "calm" a day after some 200 disaffected soldiers with two tanks surrounded the Ministry of Information, forcing the radio broadcast of a statement calling for the release of political prisoners and for the country's 1997 constitution to be reinstated. State TV and radio were reportedly cut off shortly after the soldiers took control of the complex, and government websites were shut down. The site for the ruling People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) was also inaccessible. "All is calm today, as it was indeed yesterday," said Yemane Gebremeskel, the director of President Issaias Afeworki's office, in seeming denial that the incident had happened.
Rebels in the Central African Republic Dec. 23 seized the key city of Bambari—the country's third largest—as part of their new offensive. The rebels—known as the Seleka coalition—have seized several towns north of the capital in recent weeks, charging that President Francois Bozize has failed to uphold a 2007 peace deal. The Libreville Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed with former rebel groups, called for the release of prisoners and compensation to ex-combatants. The renewed insurgents also oppose plans by Bozize to alter the constitution to seek a third term, according to a statement signed by Seleka secretary general Justin Mambissi Matar.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Dec. 18 acquitted Congolese militia leader Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui on charges of rape, murder and pillage. Ngudjolo was accused of commanding fighters in a 2003 rebel attack on Bogoro, a strategic village in the mineral-rich Ituri region in eastern Congo. Some 200 people, including children, were raped and killed in the attack, carried out with machetes. The judges ruled the prosecution had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Ngudjolo was responsible for the crimes committed, and ordered his immediate release. Rights groups including Amnesty International expressed disappointment with the decision. The prosecution said it intends to launch an appeal.
Six people were injured Dec. 9 as Sudanese police used tear-gas against hundreds of student protesters near the University of Khartoum. The protesters—who chanted the iconic Arab Spring slogan "The people want to overthrow the regime"—were marching to demand justice in the case of four students from the Darfur region who were found drowned in a canal near the campus of Gezira University, south of the capital, on Dec. 7, after they had participated in protests against tuition hikes. The Khartoum protesters marched through the city center, chanting "Killing a student is killing a nation."
The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has accused a group of Islamist radicals of committing crimes against humanity in Nigeria. According to the OTP's "2012 Report on Preliminary Examination Activities" (PDF), there is a reasonable basis to conclude that Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group that endeavors to create an Islamic state, has violated several provisions under Article 7 of the Rome Statute since launching a widespread attack in July 2009 that has resulted in the killing of more than 1,200 Christian and Muslim civilians throughout Nigeria.
Thousands of students protested in the Democratic Republic of Congo cities Kisangani, Bunia and Kinshasa on Nov. 20 after M23 rebels seized the eastern city of Goma. They were mostly expressing their rage at the M23 rebels, but also targeted the government and the UN mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO). Despite government and UN assurances, M23 rebels took Goma with little resistance from either Congolese or UN forces. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said it was "absurd" that UN troops could not stop the rebels from entering Goma. With a 20,000-strong military and civilian staff, MONUSCO has a yearly budget of close to $1.5 billion, the second-largest peacekeeping mission in the world (after Sudan).
The Sudanese government charged Oct. 23 that Israeli airstrikes were responsible for explosions overnight at the Yarmouk Military Industrial Complex, an armaments plant in the south of the capital Khartoum. Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said four Israeli warplanes struck the factory, causing a huge fire and killing two. The Israel Defense Forces said that the military "will not comment on the report"; while the Prime Minister's office refused to say anything at all. Israel's daily Haaretz cited "opposition sources" in Sudan as saying the Yarmouk complex belongs to Iran's Revolutionary Guard, and is producing arms intended for use by Hamas. The account also claims that after the fall of Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi last year, the Revolutionary Guard's elite al-Quds Force succeeded in smuggling dozens of anti-aircraft and SA-24 missiles from the Libyan army's crumbling arsenals to Sudan, in order to later pass them on to Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (BBC News, YNet, Haaretz, Oct. 24)