Africa
Sudan

Sudan: regime spurring ethnic violence?

Fighting between Hausa and Berta tribespeople broke out in Sudan’s Blue Nile state, leaving dozens dead. While the clashes apparently began in a land dispute, tensions were elevated following calls to recognize a chiefdom for the Hausa people, who originate from Nigeria but have been settling lands in the region for generations. Authorities have imposed a curfew and mobilized the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces to the state, ostensibly to restore calm. But the Forces for Freedom & Changes (FFC) opposition coalition accused the military of instigating the conflict by encouraging Hausa demands to establish a chiefdom in territory traditionally inhabited by the Hamaj, a clan of the Berta people. Before a 2020 peace deal, many Hausa served in paramilitary forces to help the regime fight the SPLM-N rebels. “The FFC hold the coup authority fully responsible for the successive renewal of these events,” the opposition group said in a statement. (Map: Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection)

Africa

Tentative peace talks for Ambazonia

After three years of conflict, a tentative peace process is underway between the Cameroon government and rebels demanding independence for the country’s western anglophone regions. Cameroon is majority francophone, and its Northwest and Southwest regions complain that they have been deliberately marginalized by the central government in Yaounde. What began as a protest movement calling for federalism degenerated into fighting and a demand for full independence after the government clamped down on the movement. The conflict has since killed more than 3,000 people, and forced over 900,000 from their homes. The security forces have been accused of widespread human right abuses—as have, to a lesser extent, the rebel forces fighting for an independent “Ambazonia.” (Map: TNH)

The Andes
paramilitaries

Podcast: the forgotten war in Colombia

In Episode 128 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg provides an in-depth analysis of the under-reported multi-sided armed conflict and deepening human rights crisis in Colombia on the eve of an historic run-off election that poses two “outsider” candidates for the presidency: Gustavo Petro, an ex-guerilla and Colombia’s first leftist presidential contender, versus Rodolfo Hernández, a far-right construction magnate whose pugnacious swagger inevitably invites comparison to Donald Trump. This turning point comes as Colombia has entered a new “partnership” with NATO, in response to Venezuela’s deepening ties with Russia. Yet Colombia’s armed forces continue to collaborate with the paramilitary groups that terrorize campesino and indigenous communities. If elected, Petro will face the challenge of breaking the state-paramilitary nexus, and charting a course independent of the Great Powers. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Contagio Radio)

The Andes
Arauca

Multi-sided warfare across Colombia

Despite a peace process that has faltered under President Ivan Duque, the internal war in Colombia continues nearly across the country—now involving multiple armed actors: remnant guerilla groups, resurgent paramilitary forces, regional cartels, and the official security forces. Thousands have been displaced in recent months, as campesino and indigenous communities are either caught in the crossfire or explicitly targeted. (Photo: INDEPAZ via Contagio Radio)

The Andes
colombiahr

Protest closing of ICC Colombia investigation

A coalition of Colombian human rights groups and survivors’ organizations released a statement decrying as “shocking” the decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to close its preliminary examination of possible war crimes carried out in the country. The statement, jointly issued by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the JosĂ© Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CAJAR), said that closure of the examination “could mean that hundreds or thousands of victims of crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC will be deprived of knowing the truth and obtaining justice concerning the crimes committed. In Colombia…there is still a systematic absence of investigation of those responsible at the highest levels for crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC.” (Photo: Prensa Rural)

The Andes
Francia-Petro

Colombia: pending presidency ‘between two populisms’

Following a first round of presidential elections, “between two populisms” is the catchphrase being used by Colombia’s media for an unprecedented moment. A pair of political “outsiders” are to face each other in the run-off: Gustavo Petro, a former guerilla leader and Colombia’s first leftist presidential contender, versus Rodolfo Hernández, a construction magnate whose pugnacious swagger inevitably invites comparison to Donald Trump. Hernández, an independent candidate and the former mayor of Bucaramanga, rose precipitously in an ostensibly anti-establishment campaign driven by social media, winning him the epithet “King of TikTok.” But Colombia’s political establishment is now lining up behind him to defeat Petro. The former mayor of Bogotá and a veteran of the demobilized M-19 guerillas, Petro is the candidate of a new progressive coalition, Colombia Humana, emphasizing multiculturalism and ecology as well as more traditional social justice demands. (Photo via Twitter)

Africa
FNL

Olive branch as Burundi war spreads to DRC?

Burundi’s President Évariste Ndayishimiye announced that he is prepared to negotiate with the country’s two main rebel groups, should they reach out to his government. But it’s unclear if the rebels will do that, given ongoing operations against them. The National Liberation Forces (FNL) and the Resistance Movement for Rule of Law in Burundi (RED-Tabara) both have bases in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. The latter, the stronger of the two, has conducted a string of attacks in Burundi since 2015—the year disputed elections triggered waves of political violence. Reports suggest significant numbers of Burundian troops have crossed into the DRC in recent months to track down RED-Tabara fighters. The group is one of a number of foreign rebel movements in DRC, where nearly three million people were displaced last year. Hundreds of thousands of Burundians, meanwhile, are still living in refugee camps, afraid to return to a country where the killing and torture of ruling party opponents is rife. (Image: Wikipedia)

Africa
congo

Confused DRC peace dialogue in Kenya

The first round of talks between armed groups and the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo concluded in Nairobi. The Islamist Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) wasn’t invited, however, while the Ituri-based CODECO was approached but didn’t attend. M23 representatives were meanwhile ordered out after their forces resumed clashes with the DRC military. The talks followed an East African Community summit in which heads of state agreed to set up a regional military force to fight rebels unwilling to lay down their arms. A UN peacekeeping mission operates in the DRC but is making drawdown plans. The Ugandan army is also intervening in the country, while martial law has been declared in the volatile eastern provinces for a year. Rebel attacks and abuses by soldiers continue, and nearly three million people were displaced last year alone. (Image: Pixabay)

Africa

South Sudan headed ‘back to war’

South Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar warned that the country is heading “back to war” following attacks on his Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) by government forces under President Salva Kiir. The warring parties signed a 2018 peace agreement that led to a unity government two years later. But key parts of the deal have not been implemented, and violence has flared in the countryside. Machar’s party has suspended its participation in peace deal monitoring mechanisms after claiming that his house had been surrounded by government forces. As tensions build, humanitarian needs are deepening: more than 70% of South Sudan’s population are expected to face extreme hunger this year, while funding constraints and attacks on aid convoys continue to complicate relief efforts. (Photo: Sam Mednick/TNH)

Africa
fact

Inauspicious start for Chad peace talks

Chad’s junta opened delayed peace talks with rebel and opposition groups in Qatar. But things got off to a bad start when one of the main rebel outfits–the Front for Change & Concord in Chad (FACT)–walked out amid confusion over Doha’s role as a mediator. Chad was plunged into uncertainty last April when long-time ruler Idriss DĂ©by was killed while commanding troops combating a FACT offensive. Power was then seized by DĂ©by’s son, Mahamat Idriss DĂ©by, who outlined a transition plan. The Doha talks are considered a precursor to a national dialogue that the younger DĂ©by is organizing before planned elections. But after decades of rebellion and repression, things are unlikely to proceed smoothly. Just last month a phone conversation surfaced in which Timan Erdimi, head of the Union of Resistance Forces (UFR), one of the rebel groups present in Doha, discussed plans to oust DĂ©by using the Kremlin-linked mercenary Wagner Group. (Image via Twitter)

The Andes
Uber Velásquez

Another assassination at Colombian ‘peace community’

A new assassination of a campesino leader is reported from the self-declared “peace community” of San JosĂ© de ApartadĂł, in Colombia’s conflicted northern Urabá region. Uber Velásquez was slain by unknown assailants at the hamlet of La Balsa, one of those adhering to the “peace community” which for more than 20 years has refused all cooperation with armed actors in Colombia’s conflict—and whose leaders have been repeatedly targeted for death. Days later, Colombia’s Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) formally declared that the February 2005 massacre at San JosĂ© de Apartadó—in which eight residents were slain, including three children—was a “crime against humanity.” (Photo via Twitter)

The Andes
arauca

Anti-war protests in northeast Colombia

Rural communities in Colombia’s northeastern Arauca department held anti-war protests amid inter-factional guerilla violence that has been terrorizing the region. Demanding attention from the government and international human rights organizations, some 1,200 marched in the hamlets of Puerto Jordan and BotalĂłn. Recent days had seen an outbreak of fighting in the area between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and “dissident” factions of the demobilized FARC guerillas that have refused to lay down arms, in defiance of a 2016 peace agreement. At least 23 were killed in the clashes, which were said to be over control of smuggling routes across the nearby Venezuelan border. About a dozen local families were also forced to flee their homes. (Photo: Arauca Online via Colombia Reports)