Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Africa's Forever Wars

Child Soliders

The 411 On Child Soldiers (DETAILS)

 2012 by Dimas Sanfiorenzo for Global Grind Staff

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Lam Tungwar


I Like this quote I dislike this quoteMany African leaders refuse to send their troops on peace keeping missions abroad because they probably need their armies to intimidate their own populations.
Kofi Annan quotes (Ghanaian diplomat, seventh secretary-general of the United Nations, 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.)


Africa's Forever Wars

Why the continent's conflicts never end.


There is a very simple reason why some of Africa's bloodiest, most brutal wars never seem to end: They are not really wars. Not in the traditional sense, at least. The combatants don't have much of an ideology; they don't have clear goals. They couldn't care less about taking over capitals or major cities -- in fact, they prefer the deep bush, where it is far easier to commit crimes. Today's rebels seem especially uninterested in winning converts, content instead to steal other people's children, stick Kalashnikovs or axes in their hands, and make them do the killing. Look closely at some of the continent's most intractable conflicts, from the rebel-laden creeks of the Niger Delta to the inferno in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and this is what you will find.
What we are seeing is the decline of the classic African liberation movement and the proliferation of something else -- something wilder, messier, more violent, and harder to wrap our heads around. If you'd like to call this war, fine. But what is spreading across Africa like a viral pandemic is actually just opportunistic, heavily armed banditry. My job as the New York Times' East Africa bureau chief is to cover news and feature stories in 12 countries. But most of my time is spent immersed in these un-wars.

I've witnessed up close -- often way too close -- how combat has morphed from soldier vs. soldier (now a rarity in Africa) to soldier vs. civilian. Most of today's African fighters are not rebels with a cause; they're predators. That's why we see stunning atrocities like eastern Congo's rape epidemic, where armed groups in recent years have sexually assaulted hundreds of thousands of women, often so sadistically that the victims are left incontinent for life. What is the military or political objective of ramming an assault rifle inside a woman and pulling the trigger? Terror has become an end, not just a means.
This is the story across much of Africa, where nearly half of the continent's 53 countries are home to an active conflict or a recently ended one. Quiet places such as Tanzania are the lonely exceptions; even user-friendly, tourist-filled Kenya blew up in 2008. Add together the casualties in just the dozen countries that I cover, and you have a death toll of tens of thousands of civilians each year. More than 5 million have died in Congo alone since 1998, the International Rescue Committee has estimated.
Of course, many of the last generation's independence struggles were bloody, too. South Sudan's decades-long rebellion is thought to have cost more than 2 million lives. But this is not about numbers. This is about methods and objectives, and the leaders driving them. Uganda's top guerrilla of the 1980s, Yoweri Museveni, used to fire up his rebels by telling them they were on the ground floor of a national people's army. Museveni became president in 1986, and he's still in office (another problem, another story). But his words seem downright noble compared with the best-known rebel leader from his country today, Joseph Kony, who just gives orders to burn.
Even if you could coax these men out of their jungle lairs and get them to the negotiating table, there is very little to offer them. They don't want ministries or tracts of land to govern. Their armies are often traumatized children, with experience and skills (if you can call them that) totally unsuited for civilian life. All they want is cash, guns, and a license to rampage. And they've already got all three. How do you negotiate with that?
The short answer is you don't. The only way to stop today's rebels for real is to capture or kill their leaders. Many are uniquely devious characters whose organizations would likely disappear as soon as they do. That's what happened in Angola when the diamond-smuggling rebel leader Jonas Savimbi was shot, bringing a sudden end to one of the Cold War's most intense conflicts. In Liberia, the moment that warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor was arrested in 2006 was the same moment that the curtain dropped on the gruesome circus of 10-year-old killers wearing Halloween masks. Countless dollars, hours, and lives have been wasted on fruitless rounds of talks that will never culminate in such clear-cut results. The same could be said of indictments of rebel leaders for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. With the prospect of prosecution looming, those fighting are sure never to give up.
How did we get here? Maybe it's pure nostalgia, but it seems that yesteryear's African rebels had a bit more class. They were fighting against colonialism, tyranny, or apartheid. The winning insurgencies often came with a charming, intelligent leader wielding persuasive rhetoric. These were men like John Garang, who led the rebellion in southern Sudan with his Sudan People's Liberation Army. He pulled off what few guerrilla leaders anywhere have done: winning his people their own country. Thanks in part to his tenacity, South Sudan will hold a referendum next year to secede from the North. Garang died in a 2005 helicopter crash, but people still talk about him like a god. Unfortunately, the region without him looks pretty godforsaken. I traveled to southern Sudan in November to report on how ethnic militias, formed in the new power vacuum, have taken to mowing down civilians by the thousands.


Zuma concerned about CAR

Sapa | 02 January, 2013 16:20

Soldiers from the Congolese contingent of the Central African Multinational Force (FOMAC) gather as they arrive at an airport in Bangui, December 31, 2012.

President Jacob Zuma has sent a minister to asses the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR), the international relations and co-operation department said on Wednesday.

"President Zuma deployed Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to go and assess the situation on December 31," spokesman Clayson Monyela said in a statement.
The move was part of South Africa's contribution to efforts to bring about peace and stability in the CAR.
"South Africa condemns the continued attacks on several towns perpetrated by the coalition of armed groups, which undermine the Libreville comprehensive peace agreement and threaten the civilian population, as well as the stability of the Central African Republic."
He said South Africa demanded the armed groups immediately cease hostilities, stop advancing on Bangui, and withdraw from captured cities.
"We call on all parties to refrain from any acts of violence against civilians and to respect human rights."
South Africa called for constructive political dialogue and welcomed CAR President Francois Bozize's intention to achieve a negotiated solution, Monyela added.
South Africa supported efforts by the Economic Community of the Central African States to solve the crisis. South Africa would support sanctions and other measures against perpetrators of any unconstitutional change of government.

Raiders armed with machetes burn Kenya village, kill 30

altRaiders armed with guns, machetes and spears killed 30 people, including several children, and torched their houses in Kenya's coastal region on Friday, police said, heightening security concerns ahead of next year's election.

Nine of the raiders were also killed in what appeared to have been a revenge attack by settled Pokomo farmers against the semi-nomadic Orma pastoralists after a series of clashes in August in which more than 100 people were killed.

The two groups have fought for years over access to grazing, farmland and water, but human rights groups have blamed the latest violence on politicians seeking to drive away parts of the local population they believe will vote for their rivals in presidential and parliamentary elections in March.

If those charges are true, it further raises fears of a repeat of the ethnic violence that rocked Kenya after the disputed 2007 presidential election, in which more than 1,200 people were killed countrywide and many more thousands driven from their homes.

"About 150 Pokomo raiders attacked Kipao village which is inhabited by the Ormas early on Friday. The Ormas appeared to have been aware and were prepared," Robert Kitur, Coast Region deputy police chief, told reporters.

One survivor said the attackers struck at dawn.

"There were too many gunshots. They used also spears and machetes. I ran out of my house and left behind my wife and two children, and told them not to leave ... but the enemies reached my house, killed my family and burnt my house as I watched from where I was hiding," said Osman Amran, 63, of the Orma tribe, who lay on a hospital bed with deep cut wounds on both thighs.

President Mwai Kibaki instructed security forces to prevent further deaths. Kibaki imposed a curfew in September and sent extra security forces to the area to try to end the violence, intensified by an influx of weapons in the last few years.

Police sent an additional team of 200 paramilitary officers to the region to quell the fighting.

Police had already been deployed to the area in September after the attacks in August. It was unclear how the latest violence erupted while officers were on the ground, something which also baffling to the police.

"We are still trying to establish how these attacks escaped the knowledge of the officers on the ground. The officers responded after most of the damage had been done," Kitur said.

Police said six women and 13 children were among the dead and nine of the attackers were killed. Many bled to death from wounds inflicted with machetes. The village was deserted as the survivors fled for fear of further attacks.

Kenya Red Cross, which has a team on the ground treating the wounded, put the death toll at 32, including several children, with about 45 houses set on fire. Red Cross photographs posted on Twitter showed the injured being treated for serious cuts to the arms and head. One person had lost an arm.

"We have been administering first aid services to many with cuts, some very deep on various body parts especially the head and back. Others have burns and bullet wounds," said Mwanaisha Hamisi, the Coast regional Red Cross coordinator.

"It is almost overwhelming but we have mobilized our people from other areas of the province."

Prolonged trouble at the coast would cause jitters among some tourists and may affect Kenya's vital tourism industry, already damaged by the kidnappings of Western tourists from beach resorts by Somali gunmen and grenade attacks in the port city of Mombasa, at the height of the tourist season.

Dams along the Tana River, Kenya's longest, supply about two-thirds of the east African state's electricity, but the fighting has so far not threatened electricity generation 


  1. Why Africa's wars never stop? .... Once upon a time a poisonous scorpion wanted to cross a river. He asked a frog to piggy-back him because he could not swim. “No,” said the frog, “you will kill me!” said the frog. The scorpion promised not to, and the frog took him to the other side of the river. Just as they reached the bank, the scorpion stung the frog. With its last breath, the dying frog cried out: “But you promised, why did you do it?” Answered the scorpion: “Because it is my nature…”

  2. Why Africa's wars never stop the story of
    Dingaan’s Treachery and his 300 wives and concubines...

    On 22 September 1828, Shaka, the founder and King of the Zulus, was stabbed to death by his half-brothers, Princes Dingaan and Mhlangana. Missionaries and English traders who visited Zululand described Dingaan as “astute”, “sly”, “cruel”, “temperamental”, “brutal”, “charming”, “diplomatic” and “treacherous”.

    Shortly after murdering his half-brother, Dingaan quickly arranged the assassination of his co-conspirator Mhlangana, and then systematically executed all aristocratic rivals and anyone else who could possible be a danger to him, including the commander-in-chief of Shaka’s army, Ndlaka, who he had strangled.

    Dingaan was about 30 years old when he seized power. He began to build himself a new capital in Mgundgundlovu (the place of the great elephant).

    Dingaan quickly accumulated over 300 wives and concubines. Traders and missionaries described Dingaan’s appetite as “voracious, sexually and otherwise” and he soon became extremely obese.

    Unlike his brother Shaka, Dingaan preferred to stay at his palace. He was not a warrior like Shaka. Instead of leading military campaigns, he sent out his Impis and remained at Mgundgundlovu surrounded by a continual programme of feasting and dancing.

  3. Let's have a look at Great Britian who is part of the problem of wars in Africa

    During the attacks on Boer farms just before the Great Trek (Groot Trek), Great Britian took the side of the Blacks. This after many blacks came accross the fish river killing Boer farmers, stealing and burning down the farms. When the Boers retaliate, Great Britian placed the farmers in jails.

    Even when the Boers left the Cape to Great Britian and tried to find new land, who followed? Great Britian supplied the blacks with arms - trained them in the use of it. Boers on the trek was attacked. In Rhodesia Great Britian issued the blacks with weapons - reason - to attack Boers. Even during the Bloedrivier - blacks was armed!

    Even with the signing of the contract with Dingaan and Piet Retief - who was present -Great Britian. You know what happened next - Piet Retief and everybody with him was killed and Great Britian stood one side.
    The attacks on trekking Boers was instigated by Great Britian

  4. La littérature est un théâtre à ciel ouvert qui permet de transformer les êtres les plus simples en héros universels, loin des parterres présomptueux.
    Conrad, Le Voyageur de l'inquiétude”
    ― Olivier Weber

  5. Africains sont appelés cafres
    Viva la France !

  6. Shaka's erratic behavior after the death of his mother Nandi: According to Donald Morris in this mourning period Shaka ordered that no crops should be planted during the following year, no milk (the basis of the Zulu diet at the time) was to be used, and any woman who became pregnant was to be killed along with her husband. At least 7,000 people who were deemed to be insufficiently grief-stricken were executed, though it wasn't restricted to humans, cows were slaughtered so that their calves would know what losing a mother felt like.
    (Read more here:

  7. Anonymous, some of us do understand French ;)))

  8. ويطلق الأفارقة
    Is a
    disbeliever' or literally, 'one who conceals
    according to Arabic translation or meaning of the word ويطلق الأفارقة !
    That is why we have still have wars in Africa. They do not trust one another ! Destruction is part of their culture !

  9. Before South Africa can be a Democratic State we will have more wars.....


    Because Dingaan's evil blood still flows through the veins of certain evil individuals......

    In the end....