Daily Archives: May 24, 2014

Africa: Terror Attack on Somali Parliament

Terror Attack on Somali Parliament

Press Statement

Marie Harf
Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC
May 24, 2014

The United States strongly condemns today's al-Shabaab attack on the Somali Parliament. We extend our sympathies and condolences to those affected by this heinous act of terrorism, and commend Somali and African Union forces for their swift and courageous response.

We continue to stand firmly with the Federal Government of Somalia and the many international partners working to support its efforts to root out the threat posed by al-Shabaab, and to build a more secure and prosperous future for the Somali people. Cowardly acts such as these will not shake our resolve.


PRETORIA, May 24– The general elections in South Africa, won by the ANC and President Jacob Zuma, are a demonstration of the consolidation of democracy and progress in this country and on the African continent and may contribute to the development of strategic relationships with Angola, said, Friday, the Director for Africa and Middle East of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to Joaquim do Espírito Santo, these elections mean the consolidation of democracy in South Africa, the strengthening of its institutions and a gain in relations with Angola.

“The strong institutions in South Africa are benefiting the people of both countries and will raise the level of relations to a strategic level,” given the economic strength of the country, he said.

The diplomat believes that the South African people elected President Zuma and the ANC for having” a clean slate and proposals aimed at improving the living conditions of the people.”

In the election of 7 May, the ruling party African National Congress (ANC), won with 62.5 % of the votes for the general elections.

In second place was the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) , with 22 % of votes, followed by radical populist party of Julius Malema, Economic Freedom Fighters, with 6.1 %.


Malawi: UN chief urges calm, respect for tallying process after elections

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on all candidates, political parties, and state institutions in Malawi to remain calm and to support fully the Malawi Electoral Commission in completing its work.

The country held simultaneous presidential, parliamentary and local government elections on Tuesday.

Mr. Ban “commends the people of Malawi for turning out in large numbers for the country’s first tripartite elections”, his spokesperson said.

Preliminary observer statements indicate that the polling process was “generally consistent with regional and international standards” despite technical problems encountered in the process, according to the statement.

However, there have been accusations of fraud. Malawi’s High Court today reportedly rejected a decision by President Joyce Banda to annul the general election – in which she was a candidate – because of alleged irregularities.

In today’s statement, Mr. Ban reiterated his call that the candidates and their supporters respect the ongoing tallying process and follow existing legal procedures to resolve any electoral challenges or complaints.

He also urged candidates and supporter to uphold the spirit of the Lilongwe Peace Declaration. Signed on 10 May, it prescribes that candidates shall “take a definitive stand against the possibility of electoral violence, impunity and injustice” during the electoral process.

Mr. Ban also urged political leaders to call on their supporters to refrain from any violence or disruption of the electoral process.


Failed mediation dispute in Darfur leaves peacekeeper dead, 3 injured – UN confirms

Armed men in Sudan’s western region today killed a Rwandan peacekeeper and injured three others resulting in condemnations from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and senior official Mohamed Ibn Chambas who is urging the Sudanese Government to bring those responsible to account.

The peacekeepers were part of a UN-African Union mission (UNAMID) team attempting to mediate a tribal dispute between Fur people and Arab militia in a village in North Darfur.

“The Arab militia elements, nevertheless, became hostile towards UNAMID peacekeepers and started shooting at them,” the Mission said, at which point the peacekeepers returned fire.

The three injured peacekeepers are in critical condition at an UNAMID hospital in Kabkabiya, west of El Fasher, the North Darfur state capital. A number of other people were also injured.

The Secretary-General has conveyed his condolences to the family of the fallen peacekeeper and the Government of Rwanda, and wishes for a full and speedy recovery to those injured, according to his spokesperson.

Mr. Chambas, UNAMID Joint Special Representative condemned the “heinous criminal act in the strongest possible terms”.

“Our peacekeepers were trying to mediate the dispute in good faith and regrettably their efforts went unappreciated,” he said.

Calling for justice, the Joint Special Representative stressed that the shootings amount “to a crime against humanity for which those responsible must be brought to account”.

Since the inception of UNAMID in 2007, at least 58 peacekeepers were killed in hostile action in Darfur.

Inter-communal violence has increased in the region, according to Mr. Ban’s latest report to the Security Council, which last month revised UNAMID’s mandate. Among its revised responsibilities, the Mission is to mediate between the Government and non-signatory armed movements on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur; and to provide support, in conjunction with the UN Country Team, to the mediation of community conflict, including through measures to address its root causes.

Subsequently, the Security Council echoed the statement, calling on the Government to swiftly investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.

“The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support for UNAMID and called on all parties in Darfur to cooperate fully with the mission,” the 15-member Council said in a statement.


Senior United Nations officials, Security Council condemn attack on Somali parliament

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his special representative in Somalia, Nicholas Kay, as well as the Security Council, today condemned an attack by suicide bombers and gunmen on the Federal Parliament, in the capital Mogadishu, where legislators were in session.

“There can be no justification for such attacks,” Mr. Ban said in a statement from his spokesperson.

He convoyed his solidarity and support for the lawmakers “who represent the people of Somalia and their aspirations for a peaceful future”.

Mr. Kay, who heads the UN Assistance Mission, (UNSOM) in the country, said separately that the UN will continue to support the Somali people and their Government as they work towards “peace and stability” in the Horn of Africa nation.

Earlier in the day, he had spoken with Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed to express his solidarity and sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who suffered in the attack and wished a swift recovery for those injured.

The 15-member Security Council also underlined its support for the Somali Federal Government, and all actors working towards greater peace and stability in Somalia, following the attack.

“They reiterated that this and other senseless acts of terrorism would not diminish that support,” according to a statement disseminated to the press.

The Council, along with Mr. Ban and Mr. Kay, also commended the “prompt action” by Somali National Forces and African Union peacekeeping forces (AMISOM) to stop the attack. Al-Shabaab insurgents have since claimed responsibility.

At least six attackers and one of the soldiers fighting them were killed, according to media reports.

In April, Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for killing two parliamentarians in Mogadishu in less than 48 hours.

Earlier this week, Mr. Kay told the UN Security Council in a video-conference from the capital city that despite political, economic and security progress in the last 12 months, the country was approaching a “danger zone” in a number of areas, including insecurity.