Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on July 22 that the rebel group 23 March Movement (M23, see BBC backgrounder) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is receiving assistance from Rwanda despite continued human rights abuses by the M23, including rape, executions and forced recruitment of young boys. HRW based its report on interviews with former M23 fighters who have abandoned the movement. According to the report, Rwanda is permitting the M23 rebels to recruit from within Rwanda and is giving material support to the rebels, including food, uniforms, ammunition and other supplies. While a panel of UN experts reported in June that Rwanda's support for the M23 is declining, HRW asserted that the support remains significant and called upon the UN and the US to urge Rwanda to halt support to the M23.
Senegalese police on June 30 detained former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre. Habre has been under house arrest in Senegal since 2005. Senegal and the African Union (AU) signed an agreement in December to set up the Extraordinary African Chambers to try Habre for allegations of crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture during his time in power between 1982 and 1990, in which rights groups report that some 40,000 people were killed. Habre's lawyer said that Habre was taken from his home in Dakar to an unknown location in preparation for his trial.
Chinese-owned mining companies in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are contributing to a culture of human rights abuses, Amnesty International reported June 19. AI claims those companies should be held accountable for the longstanding, ongoing human rights abuses related to child labor, on-site injuries, financial exploitation and the illegal detainment of workers in improvised jail cells. Although AI does not claim that the Chinese companies are the original source of such treatment, the likes of which have been recorded for decades, it does maintain that the companies must be held accountable for the current situation. Furthermore, AI contends that the companies hold undue economic influence in the region, debasing the rule of law and and allowing mining interests to literally relocate entire towns without providing any compensation for lost homes or resources. According to the report, DRC is in violation of several UN resolutions regarding the rights of workers:
Egypt's foreign minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, vowing not to give up "a single drop of water from the Nile," said June 16 he will go to Addis Ababa to discuss a giant dam that Ethiopia has started building in defiance of Cairo's objections. "No Nile—no Egypt," he said at a press conference. Last week, Ethiopia summoned the Egyptian ambassador after politicians in Cairo were shown on TV calling for military action or supporting Ethiopian rebels. Ethiopia says the $4.7 billion Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile will eventually provide 6,000 megawatts of power. Egypt was apparently caught by surprise when Ethiopia started diverting the Blue Nile to begin construction last month.
The UK government on June 5 reached a settlement agreement with thousands of Kenyans tortured by British colonial forces during the 1950s. Negotiations began last October after the Queen's Bench Division on the High Court of England and Wales ruled that three elderly Kenyans could sue the British government for torture they suffered while in detention under the British Colonial Administration. The victims alleged they had been tortured and sexually assaulted by their captors during the Mau Mau uprising. A formal announcement on the exact number of victims and amount of compensation included in the settlement is expected later this week. The agreement marks the culmination of a legal struggle that began in 2009.
The military and independent investigators are at odds over what happened at the northern Nigerian village of Baga on April 21, when civilians were caught in the crossfire between army troops and Boko Haram fighters. Senator Maina Maaji, who represents Borno state in the National Assembly reports that he counted 228 graves and over 4,000 destroyed houses in Baga, his hometown, on a fact-finding mission. The senator, who spoke to journalists in nearby Maiduguri April 27, alleged that those killed were defenseless youths, children and women. Nigeria's Defense Headquarters says it sent its own fact-finding team to Baga, and determined only 37 were killed. It also denied eport that it had arrested 15 soldiers in connection with the attack on Baga. The Red Cross protested that Nigerian soldiers restricted access to Baga in the days after the massacre. (Premium Times, Abuja, April 29; Daily Trust, Abuja, April 28 via AllAfrica; PM Press, Abuja, April 28; PM Press, April 23)
Deputy commander of the JEM-Bashar rebel faction and international war crimes suspect Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus has reportedly been killed in Northern Darfur. The group reported his death on April 22, which was later confirmed by his defense team. Jamus was charged in connection with an attack on African Union peacekeepers in September 2007 at Haskanita, which resulted in the death of 12 peacekeepers. He was charged with three war crimes: violence to life and attempted violence to life; intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units and vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission; and pillaging. His hearing was scheduled to begin in May.
The US Department of Justice on April 15 accused Guinea-Bissau's top military official, Gen. Antonio Indjai, of plotting a cocaine-for-weapons deal with Colombia's FARC rebels, according to court documents seen by Reuters. The indictment, filed in district court in Manhattan, charges Indjai on four counts: "narco-terrorism conspiracy"; conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization; cocaine importation conspiracy; and conspiracy to acquire and transfer anti-aircraft missiles. The supposed deal came to light after Guinea-Bissau's former navy chief and six henchmen were arrested on the high seas by US forces.