KHARTOUM REGIME ACCUSED OVER WAR MONGERING
The African Union sponsored talks between the Khartoum regime and the government of Southern Sudan have been left hanging in doubt, when accusations and counter-accusations led to the temporary withdrawal of one delegation. A regular source from Juba on request but insisting on anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter said overnight: Khartoum has been bombing our border areas for a while now. They are driving our brothers and sisters out of their homelands. In the three states of South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Abyei they are spreading a regime of terror, ethnic cleansing and burned earth. They rape, loot, burn and kill and it is Darfur all over again. They are using militias alongside their regular units and their Antonov bomber aircraft are flying daily missions.
We are forced to defend ourselves, we are not seeking to return to war but the Bashir regime sees war as the only option to survive internally now. They never expected us to stop our oil exports from which they were stealing most of it to finance their lifestyle, their troops and their re-armaments. So when we stopped our oil, from which we are suffering ourselves a lot, they lost a source of income even if they had it by theft only. Our neighbours know all about the Khartoum aggression, we have briefed them and we know that we will not be alone this time if that regime tries another war, we will not be alone this time.
The three states are still due to decide, or consult as the language in some of the respective documents goes, on their future and the original, ethnic resident populations are expected, should Khartoum ever live up to this obligation under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005, to vote almost entirely for joining the Southern Sudan for independence from their slave masters and tormentors. However, in anticipation has the regime been displacing residents by the hundreds of thousands and stuffed what is often called Northerners into the disputed regions to tilt the outcome of any referendum.
Open conflict has been flaring up increasingly often since the South gained independence from the North in July 2011, mostly fuelled by proxy militias but of late with open involvement of the regimes airforce and ground troops, as internal pressure on Bashir builds up over his failure to keep the resource rich South in a unified Sudan and the resulting sharp rise in economic problems, runaway inflation and lack of funds for the most basic of services to his erstwhile supporters.
These developments, as previously indicated here, have led to some doubts over promised investments in the South over fears of renewed conflict and prevented an increase in tourism, as the indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas along the contentious present borderline could of course any time spread further into the territory of the Southern Sudan. Watch this space as the latest escalation of this simmering hotspot in Africa evolves.
Archive for April 12th, 2012
KHARTOUM REGIME ACCUSED OVER WAR MONGERING
TURKISH AIRLINES SPONSOR TURKISH FESTIVAL AT SHERATON KAMPALA HOTEL
The second edition of the Turkish Festival is going underway tonight at the Sheraton Hotel in Kampala, again sponsored by Turkish Airlines which flew in the dancers, musicians, chefs and food specialities to offer a true Turkish Delight to Kampaleans until the 21st of April, when the festival ends.
Going by last years attendance it is expected that every night is a sell out again, also drawing in a growing number of Turkish expatriates now living in Uganda, who have started businesses and trading operations since Turkish Airlines commenced nonstop flights between Istanbul and Entebbe two years ago. Turkish is presently flying three times a week on the route although there has been talk for a while now of more flights being introduced in the future. But even for those not flying THY, the Sheraton is the place to be for the next 10 night to make a date with Turkey right in the heart of Kampala. Watch this space, or better, watch and experience it live and in real time.
TSUNAMI ALERTS PROVIDE REAL TIME TEST FOR INDIAN OCEAN ISLANDS AND EAST AFRICA
When news broke yesterday about an 8.6 initial earthquake off Indonesias Aceh province, followed by an 8.2 strong aftershock, Tsunami alerts were sounded across the Indian Ocean and as far as the African mainland. When the alert was called off hours later, mechanisms had already kicked in from the Seychelles to Mauritius, Madagascar to the Comoros and of course along the extensive coastlines of Kenya and Tanzania, putting in place alarms for the fishing communities, often only linked with two way radios from shore, the entire shipping industry, ports and of course most notably beach resorts, which were warned to take safeguards to remove their equipment from the beaches and stand by for formal evacuation notices to take guests to higher land, should indeed a tsunami wave hit as was the case following the Boxing Day disaster in 2004. From Lamu over Malindi to Mombasa and the beaches further along the South Coast, to Zanzibar and the Tanzanian mainland beach resorts were the alarms sounded, and tweets monitored from as far as the Seychelles and Mauritius showed that the warnings had been received and were being acted upon.
We were already aware of the situation in Indonesia via global news broadcasts and followed events said a regular source from Mombasas hospitality industry, before adding It all become official when authorities in Mombasa sent out their own advisory and started to actively prepare for a possible tsunami strike on our beaches. There are now contingency plans in place, I think right across East Africas coast line where tourist resorts are found, to evacuate beaches. When a tsunami is then confirmed as coming for real, even evacuations to higher ground are part of the drill. The preparations include our armed forces, police, provincial, district and local administrations and all the hospitals and their staff are put on notice. When the alert was withdrawn the preparations were stopped but I think it will provide us with good information where we must improve or tighten responses for future cases. It was like a real time emergency drill this time and it will help us to be better prepared next time something like this happens. I think we are all happy nothing happened here in our part of the world but we are of course very sorry for those poor people in Aceh who again suffered a big earthquake.
Notably was the Kenya Red Cross involved in the thick of the action, well prepared as it turned out as only recently some major disaster training had been extended to volunteers, while the Kenya Wildlife Service too played a major role in areas demarcated as marine national parks, with staff also busy clearing the beaches of equipment while sending tourists back to their resorts. Local administrations as well as Kenyas armed forces, in particular the Navy, had been put on high alert to prepare for major evacuations and emergency responses, none of which was however needed in the end. Watch this space.