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UN Council to increase Somalia force to 17,700
by Staff Writers
United Nations (AFP) Feb 21, 2012

Lion kills two people in northern Nigeria: official
Kano, Nigeria (AFP) Feb 21, 2012 - A lion has killed two herders and 30 livestock in a settlement in northeastern Nigeria's Yobe State, the environment commissioner said Tuesday.

"We have a lion on the rampage which has so far killed two people and around 30 herd", Ahmed Wakil Sarki told AFP.

He said the lion attacked the settlement on the edge of a forest in Gujba district, 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the state capital Damaturu on Monday.

"We are trying to mobilise our rangers from the wildlife department to capture the predator alive or hunt it down to avert further destruction," he said.

Sarki said the lion was believed to be holed up near Damaturu as residents in nearby villages reported seeing the devoured remains of animals they suspected to have been killed by the big cat.

He added that it was not clear whether the lion lived nearby or came from afar.

The UN Security Council will on Wednesday vote to increase the African peacekeeping force in Somalia to up to 17,000 troops, diplomats said.

A resolution to be passed by the 15-nation council will also seek a ban on trade in charcoal from Somalia which is used by Shebab militants to raise money and threatens an environmental crisis in the Horn of Africa state.

The Security Council's vote will come one day before an international conference in London on efforts to ramp up support for Somalia's transitional government and to combat Shebab and other militant groups.

The African Union force in Somalia, AMISOM, currently has a UN-mandated upper limit of 12,000 troops. The AU wants this increased to 17,731 troops and police to step up the battle against Shebab, which was last year forced out of most of Mogadishu and has also lost ground in other areas.

The council resolution, obtained by AFP, agrees to the increase and sets the African troops the task of moving into new areas of Somalia "to take all necessary measures" with Somali security forces "to reduce the threat posed by Shebaab and other armed opposition groups."

AMISOM is made up of troops from Burundi, Uganda and Djibouti but is to take in Kenyan soldiers now fighting in Somalia. The Security Council will appeal to other African countries to send troops.

Somalia's transitional administration has a mandate until August to set up a structure for a permanent government and parliament. But the weak administration has struggled to overcome divisions between rival groups to increase its authority.

Another provisional political deal was signed by rival leaders at the weekend and the United Nations last month reopened its office in Mogadishu.

But western nations, which pay most of the cost of AMISOM, believe that the opportunity to make decisive gains against Shebab will close in August if a permanent government is not agreed.

The Security Council resolution stresses that Somalia government and AMISOM forces must move into south and central Somalia "on the basis of clear military objectives integrated into a political strategy."

"AMISOM needs a clear military strategy to step up this campaign and there has to be hope that the government will work," commented one Western diplomat of the new international focus on Somalia.

The Security Council also orders the Somali government to take "necessary measures to prevent the export of charcoal" and for all UN members to halt trade in charcoal from Somalia.

The government already bans charcoal exports from areas it controls. But the trade is thriving in rebel areas and has become a valuable source of revenue for Shebab.

Several ships each week are said to leave the Shebab-controlled port of Kismayo. Most head to Gulf states.

But charcoal burning has caused huge damage to the environment. Deforestation has badly hit livestock herding and increased the impact of devastating droughts.

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G.Bissau police mistakenly tear gas army
Bissau (AFP) Feb 21, 2012 - Police officers in Guinea-Bissau were arrested by soldiers after they accidentally fired tear gas on senior military personnel while trying to break up a rally, officials told AFP Tuesday.

Young activists staged a demonstration on Monday outside the headquarters of the National Elections Commission (CNI) to demand their names be put on candidates list for the country's March 18 presidential vote.

A military source said the demonstrators set fire to tyres and started throwing projectiles at the CNI headquarters, prompting police to charge, armed with batons and firing teargas.

"The charge was violent" and the fumes from the teargas affected "military chiefs" who were at the scene, the source explained. The army bosses then "gave the order to clear out the police from there," the source added.

Four police were beaten and taken to the army chief's headquarters, a government source said.

"Our comrades were violently charged by the soldiers," said an officer from the unit deployed to break up the rally.

The four officers were later released, he added.

Roughly 100 political activists took part in the rally which was "peaceful", according to Braima Alfa Djalo of African National Congress (CNI), a presidential candidate who helped organise the march.

The Human Rights League of Guinea-Bissau (LGDH) "strongly condemned" the incident in a statement on Tuesday.

It said clashes between different security organs ignite fear in a country that has been plagued by repeated instances of army brutality since independence from Portugal in 1974.

Guinea-Bissau's March 18 elections follow death of former president Malam Bacai Sanha in Paris on January 9 at the age of 64 after a long illness.

Over the past 17 years, none of the presidents elected in Guinea-Bissau have been able to finish their five-year terms, as all three of Bacai Sanha's predecessors fell prey to coups or assassinations.


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Jonas Savimbi's charisma, brutality still haunt 10 years on
Johannesburg (AFP) Feb 21, 2012
Jonas Savimbi, the vicious, charismatic rebel who fought Angola's socialist government in a 27-year civil war, died 10 years ago Wednesday, leaving behind a haunting legacy of violence. Savimbi was killed in a firefight with government forces on February 22, 2002, the denouement of a brutal conflict that grew out of Angola's messy independence from Portugal in 1975 and lasted until the signi ... read more

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