Friday, February 28, 2014

South Sudan Rivals Agree in Principle to Forming Interim Government


S. Sudan rivals agree in principle to forming interim government

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

February 26, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) - South Sudan government and rebel negotiators on Wednesday confirmed that IGAD, the regional bloc mediating peace talks, had put the formation of an interim government on the table for discussion.

Representatives of the two parties in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, told Sudan Tribune that they accepted the proposal in principle, which is part of regional efforts to end the political turmoil and conflict in the East African nation.

However, both sides dismissed rumours that the proposed formation of an interim government excludes the participation the two key actors - South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, and former vice-president turned rebel leader Riek Machar.

Members of the SPLM-in-Opposition told Sudan Tribune that the IGAD proposal did not mention the exclusion of any particular personalities, saying at this point it was an item on the agenda for discussion.

The two sides said it is too early to talk about who participates or is ultimately excluded from being part of the interim government.

Rebels said the proposed issue had not yet been discussed in detail and that the role and composition of the proposed interim government would need to be determined at a later date.

“We are on the negotiation and the agenda is broad, which shall include interim arrangements,” Taban Deng Gai, the head of the rebel delegation told Sudan Tribune.

“Discussing personalities’ participation in the interim government shall be the last” item debated in the new round of negotiations, he added.

A senior member of the government delegation who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the press said the draft proposal had the backing of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), but insisted that Kiir remains the legitimate leader of the country.

On Monday, South Sudan’s foreign affairs minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, rejected suggestions Kiir should resign given that he had been elected by an overwhelming majority.

“There is no reason to qualify such suggestions. If there are people who want to contest the same position they can do that in the 2015 [elections]. They will not be denied their right because we are a democratic country,” Marial told Sudan Tribune on Monday.

However, Machar’s SPLM/A-in-Opposition rebel group argue that Kiir has lost his legitimacy following the eruption of violence in the capital, Juba, in mid-December.

The violence was initially sparked by clashes between rival factions within the presidential guards, with Kiir accusing his former deputy of masterminding an alleged coup attempt.

The conflict subsequently spread across the country, pitting Machar’s supporters against pro-government force loyal to Kiir.

Kiir’s political opponents, seven of whom were arrested but later released and allowed to participate in the Addis Ababa talks, have denied claims they plotted to overthrow the government. Four other senior SPLM figures remain in custody.

The SPLM/A-in-Opposition says that South Sudan needs a new leader who can unite the South Sudanese people. They are also demanding the withdrawal of the Ugandan army (UPDF), which is currently providing military support to the South Sudan army (SPLA).

Juba initially denied UPDF’s role in military operations, but has since admitted it is footing the bill for their presence in the country, which has also been championed by Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni.


Meanwhile, Gai has denied that rebel forces loyal to Machar were the first to launch a military attack in Jonglei state’s Gadiang village on Monday.

Government forces said they had killed 173 rebels, including three generals, following the attack which comes in breach of a ceasefire agreement signed by both sides last month.

Gai, who was sacked as Unity state governor by Kiir last year, dismissed the accusations, while also disputing the number of rebel casualties.

“It is not true. We didn’t attack Gadiang. Government forces supported by [the] UPDF of Museveni launched [a] futile attack with an intention to advance to Akobo and Yuai. They were then beaten back to Gadiang with heavy losses in men and materiel,” he said.

The SPLM/A-in-Opposition’s forces “have now besieged Gadiang and will take it any time as [the] morale of Kiir[’s] forces is down and many of them have already deserted Gadiang”.

The first round talks between the two rival parties secured a fragile ceasefire agreement on 23 January, although the deal has failed to halt fighting on the ground.

Since the signing of the agreement, both sides have traded accusations of violating the peace pact aimed at ending the conflict which erupted has killed thousands and displaced almost a million people.

South Sudan’s government spokesperson, Michael Makuei Lueth, last week reiterated the commitment of the country’s leadership to the cessation of hostilities agreement.

While in an earlier interview with Sudan Tribune, SPLA spokesperson Phillip Aguer cited rebel attacks on the oil-rich Upper Nile capital, Malakal, as evidence that the ceasefire has “continuously been violated by the rebel forces of Riek Machar”.

The two sides have yet to resume the second round of peace talks on political and national reconciliation, stalling efforts to find a durable solution to the nine-week-old crisis.

Many analysts have expressed fears that Machar’s presidential ambitions and the desire by president Kiir to remain in power beyond 2015 will remain an ongoing stumbling block to resolving the conflict.


South Sudan Vice President Urges Youth to Reject Tribal Politics


South Sudan VP urges youth to reject tribal politics

February 26, 2014 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s vice-president, James Wani Igga, has urged youth across the country to reject tribal politics, warning his government would not tolerate inflammatory statements.

Igga maintained the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) had a clear mission and vision for the country.

“We want this country to be peaceful and prosper so that all our people enjoy the fruits of their struggle for liberation. But there are people who want to destroy this country with violence but we shall not allow them,” Igga said, urging youth not to be swayed by tribal rhetoric.

“They will come to you and say, ‘look, this tribe is this and that. They are against you. They do not want you that [is] why this and that was done’. Be careful, South Sudan is not a tribal state. It cannot be run by one or two tribes. It is a country comprising more than 63 ethnic groups,” the vice-president said.

Igga made the comments on Wednesday while speaking as chief guest at a funeral rite for a former senior community leader in his home state of Central Equatoria, during which he said the governing party “did not go into government to play but to work” for the people of South Sudan.

Igga pointed to development projects that have been undertaken since the SPLM came to power, saying more could be achieved by working together.

“In two years, we have started building roads and clinics. It is a big job because in more [than] 50 years of independence of Sudan from [the] British nothing was done here in Juba. Don’t drag us backwards, let us work together,” he said.

The vice-president cited the construction of internal roads which link some parts of the capital to key areas, including the Catholic Church in Kator, where president Salva Kiir and himself attend prayer services.

Igga further stressed tribal politics and regionalism were outdated and had no place in South Sudan.

“People who want to take power through tribal cards do not qualify to run a country,” he said.

“I want youth to take serious note of such peace and reject tribalism. Tribal politics will not do us anything good. It is all about destruction,” he said. “Our people need roads, schools, hospitals and peace so that they can concentrate on development, not war to kill them again.”

Igga said his government remained committed to restoring peace and stability in the country, adding that its delegation dispatched to Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, for peace talks, were authorised to negotiate in good faith with rebel forces aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar.


Rebels Threaten Mass Armed Actions in South Sudan Unless President Kiir Resigns


Rebels threaten mass armed resistance unless Kiir resigns

February 26, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA)- A senior rebel leader has warned the South Sudanese president, Salva Kiir, to resign or risk full armed resistance from the rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in opposition.

Alfred Ladu Gore, a former national minister of environment who also commanded significant support, particularly from members of Bari community from his home state of Central Equatoria, said Kiir was a total failure beyond repair.

He accused the South Sudanese leader of what he described as genocide he committed against a section of the society.

"Salva Kiir should resign for the blood-letting to stop. The president has proved that he has no capacity to lead and so must go and face the ICC [International Criminal Court] who should try him for genocide," Gore told journalists on Wednesday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Gore and Angelina Teny, wife of the South Sudan’s former vice president, Riek Machar, who leads the armed resistance, were addressing a joint press conference in the Ethiopian capital where talks between the two warring parties had been taking place.

The general who survived the 21 years north-south conflict narrowly escaped from Juba on 15 December when the violence started and had been based in Lakes and Unity states since January.

The two leaders who arrived in Addis Ababa on Monday said they were ready for the worst should Salva Kiir not heed to the calls to resign, adding they have been establishing armed resistance groups in various parts of the country to force Kiir out of power if he refuses to step down.

They also warned foreign forces, particularly from Uganda to withdraw and avoid the conflict sliding into regional violence.

The opposition leaders however said there were indications that the talks might resolve the conflict between the two factions despite repeated violations of the cessation of hostilities agreement by the government and its foreign allies.

Gore together with the opposition leader Riek Machar and Taban Deng Gai, former governor of Unity state, were charged with treason by the minister of Justice in Juba for allegedly attempting a coup, a judgement the rebel leaders discredited as Salva Kiir’s one man’s show.

Gore and Teny will take part in the second round of the peace talks in Addis Ababa with the government to discuss the root causes of the conflict and how to resolve it.


Upper Nile State Claims Government Troops Fighting Rebels Inside Malakal


Upper Nile state claims government troops fighting rebels inside Malakal

February 26, 2014 (JUBA) - Upper Nile state’s information minster Philip Jiben Ogal said on Wednesday that troops loyal to the government have re-entered Malakal town, capital of the state.

Forces aligned to former vice-president Riek Machar, who is leading a two-month-long rebellion against the government, took control of the Upper Nile state capital a week ago. Machar began his rebellion after fighting broke out between the army in Juba in mid-December and he and others were accused of staging an attempted coup.

This has been denied by all the accused but Machar has since assumed control of defections from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states.

Minister Ogal told Sudan Tribune that the SPLA" have entered Malakal town. They are inside Malakal in Maderia fighting the armed elements allied to Riek Machar."

He further claimed that rebels are evacuating their wounded soldiers from Malakal Teaching hospital to Nasir County, saying it is an indication that government troops would “soon” be back in control the town.

"I am speaking to you from inside Malakal town now. Our SPLA forces are advancing from different directions into the town. The rebels are now on the run towards Nasir", he said.


However, James Gatdet Dak, the spokesperson for the opposition leader, Riek Machar, said government’s claims are not true.

"There is no fighting between any parties inside Malakal town. The state capital is fully under our control and has been calm since Tuesday last week when our forces recaptured it from pro-Kiir soldiers," he said, adding that the government official was fabricating the story from nowhere.

"When did the state information minister return to Malakal? I believe he could be fabricating the story somewhere in the bushes, but not certainly in Malakal town, unless he is hiding indoors," Dak stressed.

He further added that government forces and their foreign allies were nowhere to be seen in or around Malakal, saying they were being pursued and consequently lost Akoko county, which is 80km away north of the town.

Minister Ogal, on the other hand, accused rebels of looting and arson while they occupied the town.

He also denied claims that rebel forces were heading towards Upper Nile’s oil fields.

"How can they go to the oil field when they are engaged in the fight?" he said.

The state minister said that the rebels are leaving Malakal and retreating to Nasir and Maiwut counties which they still control.

Around 10,000 people are estimated to have died in the conflict and over 700,000 people internally displaced.

Meanwhile, Maban county commissioner, James Basha, said his areas has been overwhelmed with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in addition to the refugees from the conflicts in South Kordofan and Blue Nile in neighbouring Sudan.

Basha said fighting took place in Guel Guk on Monday, some 30 kilometres south of Adar, one of country’s main oil fields, displacing more civilians to the area.

"The fighting which started in Guel Guk between the rebels belonging to the forces of Riek Machar and our forces SPLA is the cause of this mass movement of civilians", Basha said.

Commissioner Basha said he expects more displaced people to arrive from Paloich where, he said, tension has been building due to fears that the rebels were regrouping to launch another attack.

Sounds of heavy gunfire were heard from the Melut area on Wednesday morning, he said, explaining it was not clear whether it was gunfire due to an armed confrontation.

Melut is situated west of Paloich; an oil processing facility, which many in Upper Nile believe to be the next target for the rebels.

Melut town remains under government control, with some SPLA soldiers present in the area. Most of the people have little or no food, according to government officials who spoke to Sudan Tribune in a series of interviews on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Upper Nile, the security situation in Fashoda county, an area exclusively inhibited by the Shilluk ethnic group, is reportedly relatively calm despite the huge number of displaced people from Malakal, some of whom are reportedly considering crossing the border into neighbouring Sudan.

In Upper Nile’s northernmost town Renk there were reports of shooting from the west across the river on Monday morning.

The cause of the shooting was not clear, although officials from the area claimed that Manyo County on the opposite bank has been contested since the start of the conflict in December.

Renk county presently remains under government control.


Mediation Still Possible in CAR, Says UN Official

Mediation ‘still possible’ between communities in Central African Republic – UN official

28 February 2014 – Amid reports of retaliatory killings between armed Christian and Muslim factions the Central African Republic (CAR), a senior United Nations official today warned that “ethno-religious cleansing” is being carried out in the country, and now it is “most important” for mediation among the communities, and for more international forces to be deployed to protect civilians.

“It is still possible for communities to continue to live together, but intensive mediation is necessary for that to happen,” said Philip Leclerc, who is in charge of the protection cluster in CAR for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

“What is most important at the moment is that mediation take place in many [areas] across the country,” he said, adding however that if mediation fails, the UN has no other possibility but to evacuate groups to safer places, or secure their safe passage to the north, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Chad where some 288,000 people have taken refuge.

Back from a two-month deployment, Mr. Leclerc said that people were trapped and trying to save their lives amid escalating violence in which Muslims, in particular, were being targeted.

The conflict in CAR erupted when Séléka rebels launched attacks in December 2012 and has taken on increasingly sectarian overtones as mainly Christian militias known as anti-Balaka (anti-machete) have taken up arms.

Thousands of people are believed to have been killed, and 2.2 million, about half the population, need humanitarian aid.

“It is extremely important that international forces be increased so that people [can be] saved,” Mr. Leclerc said at a briefing in Geneva. He noted that the State is increasingly re-exercising its power, and security is also provided as a result of the International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) and the French mission, known as Sangaris.

Noting that the violence in CAR reminded him of that which engulfed Gorazde and Srebrenica in 199r, he said that in an extremely dire situation, “people were relying on United Nations forces, and sometimes on protection jut by the mere presence [of those forces].”

“If there are more international forces, there would certainly be fewer human rights violations and fewer reasons for people to flee,” Mr. Leclerc said.

Also on the CAR today, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) confirmed that it had reunited four abducted children with their father.

The two girls and two boys were seized and held ransom by the militia, but released following negotiations.

“Child abductions represent a new and disturbing deteriorating in the conflict,” UNICEF spokesperson Patrick McMormick told journalists.

Central African Republic in Worsening Food Crisis

Central African Republic in worsening food crisis


Fighting and the lack of infrastructure are making it almost impossible to get aid into the Central African Republic. After several weeks delay, a food convoy has just arrived in Bangui. Many more are needed.

Herve Massi has been waiting a full month for this moment – along with hundreds of thousands of other internally displaced people in the Central African Republic.

A father of two children, he has just received five kilograms of peas, 30 kilograms of cornmeal and one and half liters of oil from the UN World Food Program (WFP). "Without these supplies we would be lost. We can't secure enough food on our own because of the fighting," he told DW.

But these rations are not enough to feed a family.

"They'll last perhaps for two weeks if we mix them with some cassava. Most people don't have any money by any supplementary items. We appeal to the international community to send us some sugar and milk," said Massi, whose five year old son is already showing signs of nutrition disorders.

It is the third time in two months that Massi and the other internally displaced people have received food aid. The urgently needed relief only arrives intermittently in crisis-hit Central African Republic. On Tuesday (25.02.2014) a WFP convoy drove into the capital Bangui for the first time in weeks. The 100 or so trucks had been forced to wait in neighboring Cameroon before they were allowed to continue their journey to CAR under a heavily armed escort.

Hundreds of thousands of people, like Herve Massi and his children, now live as best as they can in temporary shelter - in camps, churches, schools, mosques and at the airport. There they are protected by peacekeeping troops from the marauding militia. But the conditions in these makeshift camps are catastrophic – hardly any drinking water, far too few toilets and nothing to eat.

Half the country is waiting for food aid

"The main challenge is to get food inside the country," said Alexis Masciarelli from the WFP. Two weeks ago his organization had just 85 tons of rice left in its warehouse in Bangui. Under normal circumstances that would be food for just three days.

The reason for the delay in bringing in more supplies was 600 kilometer (372 miles) stretch of road that runs from Cameroon to Bangui.

"It is the only way in and out of the country. In January, the border was closed for us for three weeks. Since it has re-opened, there have been three convoys. So slowly there is food coming into the country, but it is not enough," said Masciarelli.

Even before the outbreak of the fighting in December 2013, some 1.3 million Central Africans were dependent on food aid to survive. That figure has since doubled to about half of the country's population of 4.5 million and continues to increase every day.

The reason is that since the outbreak of the fighting the farmers have been unable to till the land or harvest their crops. And so food is now scarce in Bangui. Most shops are closed because it is to dangerous for them to open. If a shop does open, their shelves are generally bare – there is no sugar or bread.

The few goods that are on sale are often very expensive. Bangui residents are more or less broke. Wages are not being paid any more and the banks are shut.

Rainy season heralds disaster

The UN relief organizations were not prepared for this catastrophe in the heart of Africa. The problems are about to multiply, said Masciarelli. If food supplies are not brought to outlying regions before the rainy season makes them inaccessible, then there is the danger of a terrible humanitarian disaster.

After conducting a survey, the WFP concluded that 90 percent of farmers do not have seeds for the next planting season. "So we are entering what is likely to be a very durable food and nutritional crisis," Masciarelli said. "We requested for the emergency operation, starting in January and finishing in August, $107 million (78 million euros) for WFP to respond to the emergency.

It's not so much about receiving the food, but receiving it quickly," he said. Children are displaying the first signs of malnutrition.

The six month rainy season begins in April.

That's when the roads become impassable.

That's also when farmers have to sow seed for the next harvest. At the same time, the mosquito population – responsible for the transmission of malaria – rises. People suffering from malnutrition are more vulnerable to disease than those who are properly fed.

Time is running out in the Central African Republic both for those in need and the agencies trying to help them.

Evacuation Dilemma in the Central African Republic

Analysis: Evacuation dilemma in the Central African Republic

BANGUI, 28 February 2014 (IRIN) - Zannah Bassar, a Muslim woman living in the Central African Republic (CAR) capital, Bangui, has a simple message for the international community - she wants to be evacuated.

“I was born in this district,” she told IRIN this week, “but my home has been wrecked. I’ve been sleeping in the street for the past month and I want to send an SOS. I want to go somewhere else.”

Bassar and about 3,200 fellow Muslims are trapped in a kilometer-long district of Bangui known as PK12. Half a dozen other Muslims IRIN interviewed in the same district this week all said they wanted to leave.

“The people in PK12 have a deep desire to get out of there,” said Jacques Seurt, head of mission for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in CAR, which has stopped chartering rescue flights out of the country for lack of funding.

“They are under constant threat from the anti-balaka as are other Muslims in the west of the country.”

The country’s Muslims have been the target of reprisal attacks because the Seleka rebel alliance that toppled the government in March 2013 was predominantly made up of Muslims and committed widespread atrocities in many parts of the country.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported on 25 February that “more than 15,000 people in 18 locations are surrounded by armed groups across the west of the CAR… and at high risk of attack,” adding that most of these people are Muslim.

"Areas we are particularly worried about include the PK12 neighbourhood in Bangui and the towns of Boda, Bouar and Bossangoa," a spokesman said.

Anti-balaka have been firing grenades at PK12 from surrounding hills and infiltrating the area, wounding several people, said Peter Neussl of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

On 19 February, UNHCR reported, the anti-balaka attacked a convoy of people trying to escape from PK12. All 21 men in the convoy were killed, leaving 119 children and 19 women, who fled to a nearby village.

Security has improved in Bangui since December when around 1,000 people were killed there in a few days, but attacks are still happening almost daily. On 22 February three Muslims were dragged from a taxi and shot dead at an anti-balaka road block, two days later five men were killed in the PK5 district and on 26 February four Muslim children were kidnapped (an OCHA worker helped negotiate their release two days later).

Options for relocation

Until recently a high proportion of the Muslims in CAR were Chadians, or of Chadian descent. In the past two months Chad’s government has been organizing large convoys, escorted by the Chadian army, to evacuate its citizens from CAR, but on 20 February, after the attack on the convoy from PK12, N’djamena announced an end to these operations and declared that 99 percent of its citizens that wanted to leave CAR had left.

"We shall be judged by the effectiveness of our actions, not the elegance of our principles. We don’t want to be complicit with ethnic cleansing but nor do we want any share of the blame for ethnic extermination"
Many Muslims interviewed by IRIN at PK12, Bouar and Bossangoa in the past two weeks said they want to go to Chad, as they have relatives there, but this option is becoming more difficult, and aid agencies are under increasing pressure to find other options.

Up to now aid agencies’ involvement in evacuations from CAR has mainly been limited to work by IOM, which has chartered flights for around 5,000 third country nationals, and UNHCR, which has assisted some refugees with travel.

OCHA is now considering plans for moving populations within the country.

Facilitating a division of the country on religious (and largely ethnic) lines will be controversial for aid workers. Amnesty International said last month that nobody wanted a debate on the issue.

But some officials feel it can no longer be ignored.

“We shall be judged by the effectiveness of our actions, not the elegance of our principles,” a senior aid worker said confidentially. “We don’t want to be complicit with ethnic cleansing but nor do we want any share of the blame for ethnic extermination.”

Peter Neussl explained current thinking: “We want to give people options for relocation. We are exploring possibilities inside Bangui of moving people to places that would be easier to protect.”

Transferring people within Bangui would be easier logistically, he said, as it is hard to find trucks and drivers who will take the risk of driving Muslims long distances through hostile territory, even with an armed escort.

Apart from the ill-fated convoy from PK12, other trucks have also come under fire or had grenades thrown at them in CAR in recent weeks. Five people were killed in one such incident and more than 20 in another, while the anti-balaka attacked a convoy of 89 vehicles on 16 February, wounding 12 civilians, although the attack was beaten off by the escort of peacekeepers.

“In the long term, people want to live in their home areas in security,” Neussl said, “but as a mid-term solution we are considering moving Muslims from PK12 to safer towns outside Bangui. We would have to be very careful about the possible impact of such transfers on the host population.”

Neussl emphasized that relocation should be a last resort.

UN Secretary-General Special Representative in CAR Boubacar Gaye told IRIN: “The secretary-general made very clear before the [Security] Council this week that we should do our utmost to stop the exodus of the Muslim population, and this is also the understanding of [CAR’s] Madam President Samba-Panza.

“Security is the first priority. The option of moving people under the international community’s escort is an option, one of the planning options.”

He stressed that any such move must be fully coordinated with the national authorities and fully explained, and that it would be “very dangerous for the future of the country to have all the Muslims in one part of the country and a de facto partition”, as this would be “sowing the seeds for future confrontation”.

The exodus of most Muslim traders and cattle herders from western CAR is already having serious economic effects, with meat and other products now scarce in the markets and concerns that supplies will deteriorate further.

Views from northwestern CAR

The UN’s senior humanitarian official Valerie Amos canvassed people’s views about relocation during her visit last week to Bossangoa, a town about 350km north of Bangui where some 1,200 Muslims are living in and around a school, l’Ecole de Liberté.

The town’s imam Ismail Nahi told Amos:

“If there were peace and security all the Muslims would come back… but the Christians have made it clear they don’t want to live with Muslims in this country. Wherever they find Muslims they will kill them and cut them into little pieces.”

A women’s group leader, Kadjidja Hassan, said people did not want to go to Chad because they had been in CAR a long time, but she added that they have now been in the camp for five months, and: “Muslims have been attacked in all the villages around Bossangoa. A Muslim can’t move more than one kilometre from this site. We’re all crammed in here, and our husbands can’t do anything. How can we live in Bossangoa?”

With Chadian African Union troops providing security, there have been almost no killings of Muslims in Bossangoa in the past two months, but nearly all the camp dwellers IRIN spoke to said they needed more security, although not all said they wanted to leave.

A group of men accused the district administrator (prefect), who was with the visiting delegation, of distributing weapons to the anti-balaka and said that if she were removed from her post they could stay on in Bossangoa. The prefect denied the accusations.

The typical view from most people seemed to be that unless they have security, by which they appeared to mean free movement outside their little ghetto, they would prefer to leave Bossangoa.

Although aid agencies are providing water and basic rations, living conditions are worsening, as the supplies that many people brought to the camp when they abandoned their shops are now finished.

IRIN interviewed Muslims at a site around a mosque in Bouar, near Cameroon, on 14 February. The “camp president” there said many at the site wanted to stay in the area but most other interviewees said they wanted to leave, as did most of the Muslims interviewed at a displacement site in Baoro, 50km away.

At both sites Muslims said they could not walk around the town as the anti-balaka would kill them.

The Muslims’ attitude may have changed in Bouar since the French military mission (Operation Sangaris) deployed about 300 men to the area on 15 February.

The situation at Bossangoa, Bouar and PK12 is not replicated everywhere in western CAR. UNHCR said on 25 February that “in some towns like Paoua (near the Chadian border) and in some quarters of Bangui, communities continue living and working together, although atrocities are frequently committed.”

So far there has been much less communal violence in the centre and east of the country where the Muslim population is larger. Nationally the proportion of Muslims was estimated at around 15 percent, but it is now lower.

More police needed

International security forces are to be reinforced in CAR, with 1,000 European Union peacekeepers due to be deployed soon. International Crisis Group analyst Thierry Vircoulon argues that more police, rather than troops, should be the priority.

The government is currently deploying only about 150 gendarmes (with donor funding) and even they man checkpoints alongside the anti-balaka, while the international police forces are well below the mandated level.

Winning public support in the battle against the anti-balaka may be a long process, as they are seen by many of the population as liberators after their fight against the largely Muslim Seleka rebels.

Most of the international security forces have tended to avoid confronting the anti-balaka, who can cause major disruption, and have closed down the airport on several occasions.

On 25 February IRIN passed the corpse of a Muslim man that had been lying at a crossroads in Bangui for several hours. A group of youths standing nearby said they had killed the Muslim with rocks and machetes because he had crossed a “red line”.

Peacekeeper patrols had passed the spot several times that morning but the youths were still at their checkpoint.

This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the Pan-African News Wire.

Central African Republic Doubts About French Troops

Central African Republic doubts about French troops

28/02 17:54 CET

After months of growing chaos in the Central African Republic, in December, citing potentially genocidal conditions, France’s President François Hollande took action.

He announced: “It will be a swift, efficient operation that should stop armed groups, re-establish stability and allow free and fair elections when the time comes.”

But the 1,600 French troops got bogged down, supporting an African Union force of 5,700. Analysts estimated this still wasn’t enough.

The capital Bangui calmed down, but elsewhere people were still terrorised . Feelings over whether the French should stay or not were mixed.

One resident said: “France decided on this Central African Republic mission but we don’t see it today, we don’t see them on the ground. We still aren’t safe in most of the country.”

An incident that was representative of a lack of control came on 5 February when a new transitional president chosen by parliament appeared before a crowd in which a suspected former rebel was publicly murdered.

In the space of a few months, the tables turned on the Seleka rebels who took power in March 2013. Mostly Muslim, they went on a bloody rampage, till Christian militias sprung up in self-defence. Now the Muslim population is at the receiving end of violence.

Ethnic killing has displaced a million people. The country’s total population is only 4.6 million. In Bangui, 400,000 people are living in emergency camps, especially centring on the airport. In the rural forests, another 400,000 are living in fear without the most basic necessities.

The organisation Doctors Without Borders, one of the rare NGOs present, says access to drinking water, food and medical attention are the most urgent priorities, and that more people are suffering and dying indirectly than from violent action itself.

Statement of Communist, Left and Anarchist Forces of Russia on Events in Ukraine

Statement of communist, left and anarchist forces of Russia on events in Ukraine

By Workers World staff on February 27, 2014
The following statement was issued Feb. 26 by an array of communist, left and anarchist forces in Russia.

The longstanding policy of the bourgeois government of Ukraine, as well as the global economic crisis, have created intolerable living conditions for the majority of its citizens.

During the last half of the Yanukovych regime, a significant part of the solution to the economic problems was promised through European integration. The sudden abandonment of the announced plans provoked widespread discontent and actions.

The process was classless and largely spontaneous. A nationalist movement was used by the liberal opposition as the street strike force, and thereafter the nature of the protest acquired anti-communist or even fascist traits.

The new government resorts to the power of force exactly as did the Yanukovych bureaucracy, unable to meet the needs of the people and solve their urgent problems. Western and Russian imperialism do not feel any real sympathy for the people of Ukraine, and only take advantage of the situation in their favor. That is, [they] attempt to gain financial benefit, and — in the case of the West — to create chaos on the borders of Russia. All these forces are interested in living off the people and will do it secretly or openly.

Anti-communist and anti-Russian furor, the abuse of our common Soviet past, are the main features of the emerging nationalist state now. Information concerning the pogroms on the headquarters of the Communist and leftist parties, the beatings of ordinary communists and labor activists, and the demolition of monuments to Lenin clearly show that the fascist backlash that we previously observed in the Baltic States and Europe, has already overwhelmed brotherly Ukraine.

We, the undersigned leftists, communists and anarchists of Russia, declare our protest and demand an end to the persecution of our comrades! We invite all citizens of Ukraine, using any available resources, to immediately express their distrust of the deputies of the Ukrainian Parliament, organize the community and the workforce to create self-defense groups, local governments and reliable mechanisms of popular will. We call upon the citizens of Russia to be ready to take a direct part in helping the Ukrainian people, to contact the Anti-Fascist headquarters in assistance to Ukraine.

We urge the communist and leftist parties and anti-fascist organizations around the world to put pressure on their governments to prevent the establishment of a fascist regime in Ukraine.

Workers of all countries, unite!

Statement Signed By:

Interregional Association of Communists
Moscow City Communist union
Russian Communist Workers’ Party, the Communist Party CPSU-EIF)
Working Foundation Academy
Revolutionary Workers Party
Movement Communards
The New Left
Communist Youth Union
Left Front
Revolutionary Communist Youth League
The Other Russia
Individual Action (social revolutionary)
Institute of Globalization and Social Movements
The initiative group for the referendum “for the responsibility of government” (IGPR CALL )
Vanguard of Red Youth – Labor Russia
(AKM -TR) (partial support)
Institute of Innovation Development
Fund “The new political system”
“Kolomna bush”
All-Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) (VKP(b))
Red TV

Yanukovich Denies Ouster, Says 'Ashamed and Guilty' For Not Preventing Chaos

Yanukovich denies ouster, says 'ashamed & guilty' for not preventing chaos

February 28, 2014 13:11

Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich pledges to fight for Ukraine. He addressed a press conference in southern Russia, appearing in public for the first time since he fled Kiev amid bloody riots.

Dozens of international reporters have flocked to the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don after the fugitive Ukrainian president announced he would hold a press conference there.

Before anyone was allowed to ask questions, Yanukovich decided to set the record straight, saying he considers himself the only legitimate president of Ukraine.

“No one has ousted me,” he told reporters. “I had to leave Ukraine because of a direct threat to my life and the lives of my family.”

It is the current Ukrainian parliament that is “not legitimate,” the Ukrainian leader said, adding that the people who took power in Kiev are “spreading the propaganda of violence.”

“As you know, the power in Ukraine has been seized by nationalist fascist-like fellows representing the absolute minority of Ukrainians. The only existing way out of the situation is fulfilling all that was stipulated in the [February 21] agreement between the president of Ukraine and the opposition with participation of the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland, and a representative of the Russian Federation,” Yanukovich said.

He described the situation in Ukraine as “complete lawlessness,” “terror” and “chaos”, saying that the politicians, including MPs, have been threatened and are facing threats of violence. It has nothing to do with the unity government that was negotiated with the opposition, he added.

According to Yanukovich, the early Ukrainian elections announced for May 25 are also completely “illegitimate” and he will not take part in them.

Despite that, the ousted leader said he will “remain in politics,” “keep on fighting for the future of Ukraine” and return to his home country as soon as he receives “international safety guarantees.”

‘Irresponsible politics of the West’

Yanukovich left Ukraine’s capital Kiev amid the worst surge of violence in the country’s post-Soviet history, which left dozens of people dead and hundreds injured. The pro-Maidan opposition immediately capitalized on his absence from the city, dominating the parliament, which then voted to strip the president of his powers and announced early elections. It also placed the full blame for the tragic events in central Kiev on Yanukovich, making it a nearly indisputable allegation in local and Western media.

Yanukovich gave his own clear assessment of the events for the first time in weeks, drawing a very different picture. The violence and deaths in Ukraine are the “result of the irresponsible politics of the West, which has encouraged Maidan,” Yanukovich said.

US and other Western countries’ representatives “must take full responsibility” for the fact that the agreement between the president and the opposition leaders was not honored, he said.

There remains, however, a chance for the country to change its course and not to slip into chaos, Yanukovich said.

‘I lacked strength, I am sorry’

When asked if he feels ashamed of any of his own actions, Yanukovich replied that he feels both ashamed and sorry for “not having been able to stabilize the situations and stop the mayhem” in Ukraine.

“I want to apologize to the Ukrainian people for what has happened in Ukraine and that I lacked strength to maintain stability,” he said.

Yanukovich also apologized to the Ukrainian riot police, Berkut, for having to “suffer” while doing their duty of maintaining peace and order. Police officers were “burned and poured over by petrol bombs,” were “fired at and killed by rifles” but still stood their ground, he said.

The Ukrainian leader then said he had not given any order for police to fire live rounds until the rioters started using firearms, putting the officers’ lives under threat.

Yanukovich refused to comment on the Ukrainian parliament’s intention to try him in the International Criminal Court, saying that an independent investigation has to be carried out first. However, he stressed that “the scenario of bloodshed… was drafted not in Ukraine.”

‘Crimea part of Ukraine, Russian presence a rumor’

Even as Yanukovich was speaking, the situation in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking Autonomous Republic of Crimea was increasingly getting out of the capital’s control. The Crimean parliament was forming a new regional government while local "self-defense squads" started actively patrolling strategic sites to prevent provocations from Ukrainian radical groups.

Yanukovich said he understands the concerns of Crimeans, who want to “protect their homes and families” from “bandits.”

However, he then urged the people of Crimea not to let any bloodshed or civil war happen. Crimea must remain a part of Ukraine while maintaining broad autonomy, Yanukovich said.

The fugitive president ruled out any possibility that he will ask Russia for military help to resolve the situation there. Also, there is no confirmed information about Russia’s alleged military presence in the region, Yanukovich said.

“I do not have any such official information,” he said. “I did not have it back then [in Ukraine], and there isn’t any now. This all has been on the level of some rumors spread by somebody,” he told journalists.

Yanukovich made it to Russia from Crimea thanks to “patriotically-minded officers,” who helped to “save his life.” He has not yet met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but they have already talked over the phone.

When asked why he chose to leave Ukraine for Rostov-on-Don, Yanukovich said that he has “an old friend there,” who can provide him with a “temporary safe haven.”

‘Russia cannot abandon Ukraine’
Yanukovich received a lot of questions on Russia’s role and possible actions in the Ukrainian crisis.

While saying “it is not correct” to tell Moscow what to do, Yanukovich said he believes “Russia cannot abandon Ukraine to its fate and should use all possible means to prevent chaos and terror in its neighboring country.”

With that, Yanukovich made it clear he was “categorically against any intervention into Ukraine and breach of its territorial integrity.”

“The truth will prevail,” Yanukovich said in an emotional conclusion to his comments to journalists, urging the politicians that have seized power in Kiev to “leave” for the sake of the Ukrainian people.

So far, there has been no indication that the new Ukrainian authorities are considering returning to a dialogue with what they consider an overthrown rival. A Kiev court on Friday issued an order for Yanukovich’s arrest, while the Ukrainian parliament (the Verkhovna Rada) earlier voted in favor of trying him at the ICC in The Hague for alleged “crimes against humanity during the recent peaceful protests.”

US, NATO, EU lecture Russia with 'provocative statements' on Ukraine

February 27, 2014 20:42

Moscow has urged NATO to refrain from provocative statements on Ukraine and respect its non-bloc status after a chorus of Western politicians said Russia should be “transparent” about its military drills and avoid any steps that could be “misunderstood.”

“When NATO starts giving a consideration the situation in Ukraine, it sends out the wrong signal,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on its website on Thursday.

As Ukraine’s turmoil has shifted to the ethnic Russian-majority in the Crimea region, the US, NATO, and the EU have all voiced their concerns over the situation as well as come up with proposals on how Russia should act.

At the same time, the EU-brokered agreement to settle the Ukrainian political crisis which was signed on February 21 and certified by the foreign ministers of Germany, Poland and France “is still not being implemented,” Russia said.

“Militants, who still haven’t surrendered arms and not vacated administrative buildings, announced their intention to ‘bring order’ to all Ukrainian regions,” the Russian ministry said.

The agreement to jointly investigate violence, as well as to form a national unity government “fell into oblivion,” Moscow said. “Instead, as it was announced on [Kiev’s] Maidan ‘a government of winners’ has been established which includes nationalist extremists.”

Russia urged foreign partners who encouraged the opposition rallies in Ukraine and then initiated the February 21 settlement agreement, to realize their responsibility to work towards its fulfillment.

Moscow says it is ready to cooperate with the West on Ukraine, just as it had been offering to do long before the crisis in the country descended to bloody unrest.

“But we are ready to cooperate if there is a clear understanding that the cooperation should be honest, and based on an ability to make agreements as well as to fulfil them. And agreements should take into consideration interests of all the Ukrainian people as well as of all Ukraine’s partners,” the ministry’s statement reads.

‘Moscow, be careful’ chorus

The barrage of comments from the West particularly intensified after President Vladimir Putin ordered on Wednesday a surprise military drill to test the combat readiness of the armed forces across western and central Russia. The move – Moscow underlined – was not related to events in Ukraine and was in full compliance with Russia’s international agreements (The Vienna Document 2011) and obligations. That has been confirmed by NATO.

However on Thursday, NATO’s chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged Russia “not to take any action that could escalate tension or create misunderstanding.”

His statement was echoed by American Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel who said that Moscow must be transparent about military exercises along the Ukrainian border and not take any steps that could be misinterpreted or "lead to miscalculation during a delicate time."

US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Moscow Wednesday to be “very careful” with its approach to Ukraine and respect its territorial integrity.

A similar sentiment came from the head of another NATO member-state, British Prime Minister David Cameron.

"We are particularly concerned by the situation in Crimea - every country should respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine," Cameron added at a joint briefing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in London on Thursday.

Lawmakers in Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea voted Thursday to hold a referendum to determine the region’s future.

According to the parliament’s spokeswoman as a result of “the unconstitutional seizure of power in Ukraine by radical nationalists supported by armed gangs,” Crimea’s peace and order is “under threat.” Ethnic Russians form around 58.3 percent of the population of the peninsula on the Black Sea.

Turmoil in the region began after the new Ukrainian authorities ousted President Yanukovich and revoked a 2012 law that allowed regions to use minority languages, including Russian, as second language.

The European Parliament also had its say pointing out in a resolution that Russia must not put economic pressure on Ukraine. Moscow “pledged to uphold Ukraine’s territorial integrity in the "Budapest memorandum" signed with the US and the UK in 1994,” the parliament’s press service reported. In the same act, they added, “it also pledged to refrain from exerting economic pressure on Ukraine in order to subordinate it to its own interests.”

On Thursday, NATO defense ministers and Ukraine’s first deputy defense minister gathered in Brussels to discuss the Ukrainian crisis, while the parliament in Kiev was busy forming the new Cabinet.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said it was important “that we prevent a breakup of the Ukraine, and that special forces in the country are strengthened,” Ruptly TV reported.

“NATO stands ready to support democratic development, defense reforms, military cooperation and democratic control over the security sector,” Rasmussen said after the session of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. NATO, which “has a long-standing partnership” with Ukraine is set to continue its engagement and support the country “on the path of democratic and inclusive reforms,” he added.

A day earlier, Rasmussen also noted that the door to NATO remains open to Ukraine, admitting though that there are “more urgent priorities” for the country’s new leadership.

Russia, in response blamed the western alliance for attempting to make a decision for Ukrainians.

“So, the membership should remain among not so urgent, but still priority tasks?” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. “We strongly recommend everyone to refrain from provocative statements and respect Ukraine’s non-bloc status.”

Speech of Kim Jong Un of the DPRK at Conference of Ideological Workers

Speech of Kim Jong Un at Conference of Ideological Workers

Pyongyang, February 27 (KCNA) -- Supreme leader Kim Jong Un made a speech "Let Us Hasten the Final Victory through a Revolutionary Ideological Offensive!" at the 8th Conference of Ideological Workers of the Workers' Party of Korea.

The full text of his speech is as follows:
In the meaningful period, when we greeted the 40th anniversary of the proclaiming by the great Comrade Kim Jong Il of modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism as the maximum programme of our Party, we are holding the Eighth Conference of Ideological Workers of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

Availing myself of this opportunity and in reflection of the unanimous wish of all the participants in this conference and all other members of the Party, I pay the noblest tribute to the great President Kim Il Sung, the founder and builder of the ever-victorious Workers' Party of Korea, and to the great General Kim Jong Il, the eternal General Secretary of the Party.

And on the occasion of this conference I extend, in the name of the First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, warm thanks and militant greetings to the participants in the conference and all other ideological workers of the Party and primary information workers across the country, who have worked devotedly at workplaces and military posts, burning their hearts as buglers of the revolution and pathfinders of the times.

This conference convened on a scale unprecedented in the history of our Party will be a milestone of radical turn in exalting forever the brilliance of the imperishable exploits performed by the great President and the great General, who, holding the unfurled banner of the Juche idea, led the Korean revolution straightforward along the road resplendent with victory, in understanding and confirming once again the importance of ideological work and launching a vigorous ideological offensive as demanded by the developing revolution.

The most powerful weapon for a party that wages a revolution shouldering people's destiny is ideology, and it is its one and only weapon. Without ideology, a party cannot be founded nor can it exist, and its work and revolutionary struggle are inconceivable separated from ideological work. The bloodline of the revolution is defended and the revolution advances on the strength of ideology.

The one and only weapon for the Korean revolution that made its start empty-handed was a great revolutionary ideology. The revolutionaries of Korea rallied comrades and obtained weapons on the strength of the ideology; and on its strength they defeated imperialist powers and built a prospering socialism. We cannot see a revolution in the history of any country and of any party that, like our revolution, made its start with its definite guiding ideology and has turned ideology into a powerful force for a great struggle and transformation.

The whole course of the Korean revolution can be called a history of ideological work to give fullest play to the might of the truth of the revolutionary ideology of the President and the General.

In our revolution ideological work has always been the most important work, and a great tradition of ideological work was created in its first days.

Thanks to the wise leadership of the President and the General, who gave definite priority to ideological work and resolved all problems by enlisting the mental strength of the masses of the people in the whole course of their leadership of the Korean revolution, the revolution could etch only victory in its flag although it blazed the trail of history. By bringing about high tides in the mental strength of the service personnel and people, our Party has turned the trials decisive of the victory and defeat of the revolution and its advance and setback into great upswings of the revolution, and our revolution has achieved a great success whenever an upswing was effected in ideological work.

The Third Conference of Ideological Workers of the Workers' Party of Korea, which was held 40 years ago and where the great General proclaimed modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism as the maximum programme of our Party, is of special importance in the history of our Party that has opened a pivotal phase of the revolution on the strength of ideology.

That the General defined Kimilsungism as the guiding ideology of our Party and proclaimed modelling the whole society on that ideology as the maximum programme of our Party was a political event that clearly indicated the road for bringing the final victory of the Korean revolution closer and roused all the service personnel and people to achieving it.

The historic advance for modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism gave birth to a powerful political General Staff that has achieved oneness in ideology and leadership for the first time in the history of building a revolutionary party, to invincible revolutionary armed forces that march with the red flag of the Workers' Party as its first standard and to militant ranks united single-heartedly.

History clearly shows how a powerful country, which is independent, self-sufficient and self-reliant in national defence, has been built on this land where worship of big countries and dogmatism were rooted deep and a socialist fortress created, which remains unperturbed in the face of worldwide political upheaval and the imperialists' vicious moves for isolation and suffocation.

Today mankind is studying the great Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism to search for the road ahead of them. In every place of the globe the ideology centred on the masses, the revolutionary theory of independence, has become the spirit and banner of struggle of the people who aspire after genuine freedom and happiness.

Endless is the glory our service personnel and people enjoy for having waged the revolution for scores of years along the road indicated by the great ideology and in the country which is admired by the whole world and which gave birth to the ideology guiding the era of independence.

To hasten the final victory of the Korean revolution keeping up the banner of the great Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism is their faith and will and the wish of the times and history.

We must hold aloft modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism as the maximum programme of the Party and accomplish the Korean revolution without fail on the strength of ideology, on the strength of single-hearted unity.

The standard-bearers in the effort to model the entire Party and the whole society on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism are ideological workers.

The success of not only the effort to transform all the members of society into advocates of Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism but the effort to transform all realms of social life as required by Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism depends on the success of ideological work.

You should ruminate once again on the deep reason why the General convened the conference of ideological workers and proclaimed in front of the Party information workers from across the country the programme of modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism.

We should spark off a struggle on the ideological front of the Party first and heighten the intensity of ideological work, so as to remarkably quicken the onward march of our revolution for modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism.

We have rich experiences of having forcefully propelled the historic march for modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism by dint of an intensive ideological offensive, and powerful forces and means of information and motivation work with which to stir up the whole country at once.

To hasten the final victory of the revolution by holding higher the ideological theory of Juche, a powerful weapon?this is the main spirit of this conference.

In view of the demands of the reality when modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism poses itself as the general task of the ideological work of our Party, the Party Central Committee advances the slogan, "Let Us Hasten the Final Victory through a Revolutionary Ideological Offensive!" before the Eighth Conference of Ideological Workers of the Workers' Party of Korea.

Firmly believing that all the participants in the conference and other ideological workers across the Party, aware of their honour and responsibility as the ideological standard-bearers in the effort to accomplish the cause of modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism, will give fullest play to the strength of our Party's revolutionary ideology and the inexhaustible mental strength of all the service personnel and people, I would like to speak about some problems arising in the sector of the Party's ideological work at present.

First of all, we should concentrate all efforts in the Party's ideological work on firmly establishing the Party's monolithic leadership system.

The objective of our effort to establish the Party's monolithic leadership system across the Party and society is to consolidate the unity and cohesion of the Party, the political General Staff of the revolution, and its fighting efficiency in all aspects, implement the instructions of the President and the General to the letter and realize our people's dreams and ideals at an earlier date.

Now is a crucial period when we have to break through the ordeals facing the revolution by rallying the service personnel and people more firmly around the Party and channel their patriotic enthusiasm, wisdom and resourcefulness to the utmost into stepping up the building of a thriving country.

The ideological system and leadership system for carrying out this historic task most scrupulously and perfectly is none other than the Party's monolithic leadership system.

The ideological work of our Party must naturally proceed from its basic task in the present period and direct its main effort to implementing it.

However, Party organizations are now revealing tendencies of paying only lip service to the work of establishing the Party's monolithic leadership system and engrossing themselves in paper work in this regard.

Although a Party-wide discussion of the documents on establishing the Party's monolithic leadership system was conducted and many study sessions, public lectures and oath-taking meetings held, they failed to detect and crush in advance the modern version of factionalist group which had formed within the Party.

Although there are our Party's great revolutionary ideology and absolutely correct lines and policies, Party organizations and excellent people, a factionalist group appeared within the Party again. Our ideological workers are partly to blame for this.

The identity of the modern version of factionalist group is that it was an ideologically degenerate entity which was outwardly overcome with fear for the pressure by the imperialists and inwardly contaminated with bourgeois ideology and culture.

The factionalist practice of challenging the Party's monolithic leadership system originates in ideological degeneration, and the renegades of ideology are bound to oppose the Party and the revolution in the long run.

Imbuing the Party and revolutionary ranks with one ideology?this is the seed and core of the effort for establishing the Party's monolithic leadership system.

The objective of the revolutionary ideological offensive for establishing the Party's monolithic leadership system is to make the great Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism and its embodiment, the Party's lines and policies, an element of unshakeable conviction of the masses of the people.

The revolutionary ideology of our Party has accorded with the aspirations and demands of the masses at all times, and there is no line and policy of the Party which they cannot understand and accept.

A breakthrough should be made in the ideological offensive by beginning with raising another strong wind across the Party of studying to be well versed in the immortal works of the President and the General and the documents of the Party, a library of Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism.

The works and documents are excellent textbooks for the education in the one and only ideology and a great encyclopaedia which comprehends our Party's lines and policies.

If they study them in a chronological order and in a systematic way, all Party members, other working people and service personnel can equip themselves firmly with the Juche idea, Songun idea, Kim Jong Il's patriotism, the revolutionary traditions of our Party and class awareness and fully understand the lines and policies newly advanced by the Party.

What is important is to carry on the education work in a scrupulous manner so that everybody can be well-versed in the instructions the President and the General gave to their sectors and units and the Party's policies and make them a creed in their work and life.

It is necessary to explain to the masses the Party's policies for a given period in a logical and convincing way so that they can sympathize with them and accept them as their own by themselves. You should pay attention to informing people in easy terms of what they are eager to know and hear on the basis of the Party's policies and in the way you tell a thirsty person where he or she can drink water.

In the future, if everybody at a unit is as well informed of the Party's lines and policies as they are of their family affairs, the unit will be considered to have conducted ideological work efficiently and established the monolithic leadership system.

"Exceptions" must never be permitted in ideological work.

As a saying goes that even a rolling stone may gather moss, one is bound to degenerate when treated exceptionally.

There may be some special tasks assigned by the Party, but "exceptions" cannot exist within our Party who are allowed to neglect their ideological life and be ignorant of its lines and policies. As for special units, ideological work should be strengthened further and they should be made steel-strong in the furnace of ideological struggle.

Ideological workers should be able to discern something alien, if any, at a glance at the eyes of others. They must use the ideological "scalpel" in time to root out the causes of such misdemeanors as arguing over the issues decided by the Party, undermining its leadership exploits covertly or overtly and breeding corruption within our ranks in contravention of our Party's and class principles.

It is important to conduct the work of imbuing the Party and revolutionary ranks with one ideology in close combination with the practical struggle.

Man's ideology is expressed in his practice and its outcome, rather than in his revolutionary rhetoric or pledge. He is a man armed with the Party's ideology as an element of his faith, who, though seldom speaking, carries out the plans and decisions of the Party Central Committee on the schedule set and the level demanded by it.
Endeavouring to implement the ideology of the Party and champion its policies? This is the clearest manifestation of one's loyalty to it and an important occasion to have the validity of its lines and policies as an element of one's faith.

The soldier-builders, who carried out their project on Masik Pass successfully last year, were determined to wage a death-defying struggle not to delay even for a moment the completion date proclaimed to the world by the Party Central Committee; they performed a miraculous feat of completing the project in one year, which was estimated to take ten, thus staunchly defending the prestige of the Party.

The on-site political work of the People's Army, which was a three-dimensional and offensive-style ideological work to inspire everyone from generals to privates with a single desire of fulfilling their Supreme Commander's order, serves as a good example in the ideological offensive to establish the Party's monolithic leadership system.

In implementing the instructions of the President and the General, the Party's new line of developing the two fronts simultaneously and its policies, all sectors and all units should make an ideological analysis and review of their failures and the causes for them. Then they should press on with the frontline-style information and motivation campaign to learn from the service personnel's spirit of carrying out their tasks even at the cost of their lives.

The main targets of the ideological offensive for establishing the Party's monolithic leadership system are the wrong ideological viewpoint and work attitude of the officials who give verbal support to the Party's policies but do not implement them immediately.

It is urgent to combat the ideological maladies of the officials who remain indifferent to the obstacles lying in the way of implementation of the Party's policies for their own sectors, units and regions, as well as to the difficulties facing the people in their living. The ideological education and campaign aimed at rooting out such undesirable ideological elements as defeatism, self-preservation, formalism, expediency, irresponsibility and self-centredness should be conducted with an appropriate methodology. The information and organization sectors of the Party should be scrupulous in working in close cooperation with each other, while the ideological campaign should be combined with legal actions to maximize its efficiency.

The soaring mental spirit of our service personnel and people, who, after liquidating the modern version of factionalist group, have hardened up their determination to follow the Party Central Committee invariably along the long road of revolution, should be fanned to flare up into flames of a great revolutionary upsurge.

Historically speaking, great victory was won in the Fatherland Liberation War after the purge of an anti-Party, counterrevolutionary factionalist clique following the Fifth Plenary Meeting of the Party Central Committee; the Chollima upswing was brought about in the course of eliminating the August 1956 factionalist group; and world-startling successes were achieved in the showdown with the United States and the socialist industrialization drive after the anti-Party revisionists were exposed and purged at the 15th Plenary Meeting of the Fourth Party Central Committee.

The Party's ideological front should actively encourage all Party members and other working people to follow in their forerunners' footsteps and become standard-bearers and meritorious workers in the struggle to champion the Party Central Committee by bringing about a revolutionary upsurge.

If all service personnel and people, rallied firmly around the Party, make substantial progress in socialist construction, those who are wavering for lack of confidence will be brought to their senses and the monolithic leadership system of the Party will be established solidly across the Party and society.

Another important task facing the ideological work of our Party is to raise a strong wind of ideological campaign to give an impetus to the struggle for defending socialism.

In the present era, as in the past, socialism represents the ideals of mankind, and it is an irreversible trend of the times.

We are now following the untrodden path of history as we risk the dignity of our independent people and the destiny of socialism in the struggle to repulse the imperialists' frantic attacks. Today the path of socialism and the inevitability of its victory depend on the struggle of the Korean revolutionaries.

In performing this honourable mission our Party and people have assumed for history, ideological workers, the red, hardcore elements of the Party, should become undying torchlight and loud bugles.

They should give Party members and other working people a clear understanding of the essence and character of the present struggle to defend socialism.

In the struggle we waged in defence of socialism in the 90s of the last century, we created a historic miracle of safeguarding our ideology and system against the allied imperialist forces' moves to isolate and stifle our country.

The ongoing struggle to defend socialism can be said to be aimed at prevailing over imperialism in all fields of social life by consolidating the victories and successes achieved so far and giving fullest play to the advantages and might of socialism.

Recently, our Party has put forward both the agricultural and scientific fronts as outposts for defending socialism. Its intention is to constantly remind our people that not only on the frontline where guns are levelled at each other but also in all other places where they live, they are engaged in invisible, fierce confrontation and competition against imperialists. If we, resting on our laurels and praising ourselves, do not give spur to the revolution and construction and thus fail to bring real benefits to the people, such socialism is doomed to lose its appeal.

We should build a thriving country at an early date by giving fullest play to the advantages and might of socialism, which capitalism can never imitate nor possess, so as to make socialism as different in all respects from capitalism as heaven is from earth.

A vigorous ideological campaign should be launched to demonstrate the might of great army-people unity on a higher level in building a thriving country.

The solid single-hearted unity of the army and people around the Party constitutes the cornerstone of our style of socialism and the great foundation in building a thriving nation.

The eye-opening miracles which have been wrought recently in succession, shaking the land, mountains and rivers throughout the country are all fruition born of the great unity between the service personnel and people, their concerted efforts.

The People’s Army should, in the future, too, be the prime mover and pioneer in strengthening this great army-people unity. It should intensify information and motivation work geared to giving full play to the might of an army strong in ideology both in national defence and socialist construction. Party organizations and political organs in the army should ceaselessly create such terms of our era as the "Masikryong speed" by carrying forward the proud history of the revolutionary army which has proved with its indomitable revolutionary spirit that Korea's determination is just its materialization and reality, and civilian Party organizations should accelerate the work of learning from the revolutionary spirit and fighting style of the service personnel.

When the time comes when we have to fight an all-out life-and-death fight with the enemy, we should achieve its final victory on the strength of the great army-people unity, all-people resistance, based on the revolutionary soldier spirit.

All sectors and all units should launch a dynamic ideological offensive so as to make the flames of collective innovations flare up.

Our people have already gained a valuable experience of ushering in a heyday in socialist construction through an all-people, collective innovation movement in the 1970s, a decade of great changes.

In the 1970s when the country was resounding with the drumbeats of revolution and the bugle sounds for speed campaign, they brought about grandiose creation and changes unprecedented in the history of their country, while militarily coping with the large-scale war exercises staged by the US imperialists. It was during those days that our country abolished the taxation system for the first time in the world, enforced a universal 11-year compulsory education and rendered a colossal amount of assistance to the developing countries and the fighting peoples of the world.

It is the intention of our Party to carry on the building of an economic giant and a civilized state by bringing into play the might of socialism, the might of collectivism, as in the 1970s.

The flames of the movement of winning the title of O Jung Hup-led 7th Regiment and the three-revolution red flag movement should flare up more fiercely in the military and civilian units, respectively, and vigorous socialist emulation drives be launched among sectors, units and regions and by stages: by doing so, we should ensure that a strong wind of collective competition sweep the whole country.

At present our Party demands that all the military and civilian sectors create model units and, with them as the initial spark, kindle the flames of joint innovations.

Ideological workers should pay attention to enlisting the creative zeal and activeness of the masses both in creating such units that advance ahead of the times and in organizing competition for overtaking them.

An ideological campaign against the abuse of authority and bureaucratism should be intensified to make all officials props that, sharing weal and woe with the masses, unite their collectives and reliable point-men in the mass innovation movement.

Efforts should be channelled into the information and motivation work for bringing into full play the spirit of self-reliance whose might has fully been attested in the severe trials of history.

We can say that the whole history of socialism of our own style boils down to self-reliance. In the days of building socialism by their own efforts, our Party and people underwent unprecedented ordeals and difficulties, but they were loaded with all honours they could not enjoy through the history of their nation spanning thousands of years. Had we abandoned the principle of self-reliance succumbing to the pressure by outside forces, the Juche-oriented socialism would not have been born on the earth and the name of our country would have suffered eclipse along with the collapse of the worldwide socialist system. On the track of self-reliance Chollima rose up on the ruins of war and such a miracle as the birth of a manufacturer and launcher of an earth satellite and nuclear state was wrought, a miracle of great significance in the national history.

Ideological workers should intensify education by means of the history of our socialist construction among officials and working people to clearly implant in them that self-reliance is the path of building a thriving nation.

Self-reliance is the spirit of national self-sustenance and the spirit of going beyond the cutting edge to lead the whole world with our efforts, with our resources and with our technology. It is necessary to steadily succeed the fighting spirit with which we made tractor and electric locomotive from scratch and the spirit with which we conquered space with our efforts and technology. We should undertake an information and motivation offensive to ensure that everyone turns out in the campaign to make everything of our country the assets of socialism that cannot be found elsewhere in the world, fully conscious that they must go beyond the cutting edge just in their own posts and workplaces. We should ideologically support the efforts to make a breach in imperialist manoeuvres to monopolize high technology, and make advanced science and technology our own.
It is important to actively encourage scientists and technicians to firmly defend their revolutionary positions in the grand march of self-reliance which is led by the locomotive, called "science and technology." Ideological workers should play a great role in creating the climate of attaching importance to science throughout society and making all people well-versed in science and technology.

We must launch an information offensive to ideologically and morally overpower the imperialist reactionary forces who are trying to stamp out socialism by all means.

Now the imperialists are hell-bent on a smear campaign to turn black into white and persisting in their attempts to infiltrate corrupt reactionary ideology and culture into our country with our service personnel and young people as the target, while clinging to manoeuvres to apply sanctions against our country and stifle it. Whereas the reactionary ideology and culture were their guide to aggression in the past, they are playing a leading part in aggression at present.

The struggle to defend socialism should be an offensive operation to, outwardly, gain political and ideological upper hand over the imperialists that hinder our onward movement and, inwardly, sweep up non-socialist practices and decadent ideology and culture by means of the revolutionary ideology and culture.

Ideological workers should dishearten the enemy by launching a skilful anti-enemy media warfare, radio warfare, which is aimed at giving wide publicity to the validity of our ideology and cause and at laying bare the vulnerability and foul nature of imperialists.

They should make ideological "missiles" in larger numbers that can deal a heavy blow at the enemy and instil firm confidence in victory in our service personnel and people.

They should take the initiative in launching operations to make the imperialist moves for ideological and cultural infiltration end in smoke, while putting up "mosquito net" double and treble to prevent the viruses of capitalist ideology which the enemy is persistently attempting to spread from infiltrating across our border.

By nature, the working masses reject the bourgeois ideology and culture which preach the money-is-almighty principle and the law of jungle. We need to create and propagate larger numbers of wholesome and revolutionary works of art and literature, articles and presentations of our own style which contain the beautiful dreams and ideals of the masses and which brim over with national flavour, so as to make the people turn their backs on the bourgeois ideology and culture of their own accord. A decisive measure should be taken to use the Internet as a medium for giving publicity to our ideology and culture in order to cope with the enemy's moves to widely propagate their reactionary ideology and culture by misusing the latest scientific and technological achievements made by mankind.

The sector of ideological work and related units should work out elaborate plans for putting mass media and external publicity means on a modern and IT basis and make persevering efforts to carry them out.

The ideological work of the Party should be conducted in an aggressive manner.

Our Party's strategy and tactics in ideological work is to make the whole country seethe with a revolutionary leap forward by making the flames of ideological offensive flare up fiercely in the attack spirit of advancing against all odds.

The ideological position of our Party should be arranged in the form for attack, not for defence.

We should also conduct the ideological education aimed at imbuing the whole society with the red ideology of the Workers' Party in a proactive way, the political work aimed at calling forth the mental strength of all the service personnel and people as it is done on the frontline and the struggle to sweep away all shades of evil ideas and spirits at a lightning speed.

In order to conduct ideological work in an aggressive manner, it is necessary, above all, to root out the defeatist view revealed among ideological workers.

The ideological workers infected with such a view cannot take even a single step by themselves even if they are put forward in the van of the ideological offensive.

The "Yongil bomb spirit" created in the forest of Mt. Paektu and the do-or-die resistance spirit of Xiaowangqing and Chechangzi were not produced in ordinary days, and the legend of Chollima, the miracles of the speed campaign, the revolutionary soldier spirit and the Kanggye spirit were not born under more favourable circumstances than in the present days.


Defeatism in ideological work is more dangerous than that in economic work. The present ideological offensive must start with ridding ideological workers of defeatism.

Those engaged in ideological work in the birthplace of the Juche idea must not wait for a miracle to be wrought, but go purposefully amongst people carrying the weapon of ideology and become active doers and devoted creators who find solutions with them.

The posts of national defence, factories, farm villages and other places where you are working bear the imprints of examples of outstanding art of leadership set by the peerlessly great men who found in the simple opinions of the service personnel and people the best method of turning misfortune into a blessing and adversity into prosperity.

If you work with the history of revolutionary leadership of the President and the General as a textbook, you will find nothing you cannot understand and overcome in your work, and our Party's ideological work become literally an initial spark for kindling the flames of a leap forward.

In order to ensure a revolutionary ideological offensive a success, we should open the gunfire of an ideological campaign and fire the shells concentratedly, successively and at the right targets.

First of all, by enlisting all the forces and means already provided for information and motivational purposes, you should conduct ideological work in a flexible and intensive way.

When the Party puts forward a new line or policy, all the networks of education, public lecture and motivation work and mass media should be mobilized promptly to inform all the people, ranging from officials at the central organs to farmers in remote, mountainous villages, of it. The contents, forms, means and methods of ideological work should, to all intents and purposes, be geared and subordinated to carrying out revolutionary tasks. The forces and means for information and motivation work should be concentrated on the projects the Party attaches importance to, thus strongly beating the drum for kindling the fire of a fresh leap forward.

Ideological work should also ensure that all shades of evil ideas and spirits never make inroads into our ranks by giving uninterrupted publicity to the Party's intentions and leading a continuous advance of the ideological struggle.

It can be likened to removing falling snow on the runway by snow blower to prevent it from piling up. Ideological work should be conducted not like a flash in the pan and in the way a ceremony is held, but in a regular way regardless of time and place so that people can imbibe the Party's ideas the way they breathe air. An ideological campaign should be conducted without letup and intensively to sweep away alien ideological trends and lifestyles. To be strictly guarded against here is the repetition of the stereotyped speech and method.

It is also important to select the right targets of the ideological offensive based on an understanding of their preparedness, characteristics and ideological tendencies, and apply appropriate means and methods.

President Kim Il Sung already said that work with people should be conducted in the way a mother does, as she uses different words when teaching her eldest son and youngest son though they are of the same blood. If the employees of their units number ten thousand, ideological workers should know the inner thought of each of them like their own palms and work with them with ten thousand methods.

The road of our revolution is not smooth, and every revolutionary front requires genuine and well-qualified ideological workers who have cherished the staunch revolutionary spirit in their hearts.

In fact, the forces of our Party’s information workers and primary information workers enrolled in the networks of education, public lecture and motivation work are great. If they, numbering tens of thousands, are well prepared, we can form an elite corps and if we have such a contingency, we will have nothing to be afraid of and out of reach of our strength.

Of his revolutionary soldiers, the great General treasured and loved most dearly those who are defending the ideological front, and led and encouraged them at every step, saying that a film or an article is as powerful as several thousand tons of food grain or tens of thousands of gun shells.

The ideological workers of our Party have assumed a heavy task.

Each of them should become a person strong in ideas and faith, whom the enemy fear more than they do the forces of a division or a corps.

Although simple and modest in appearance they always burn their hearts with the Party's intentions and are enthusiastic for the revolution and struggle?this is the feature our Party thinks ideal for information workers. Ideological workers should be true revolutionaries who never give up the Party's principle of ideological work in any adversity.

They should have the passion of covering long distance in one night to inform people of the Party's intentions and burning the midnight oil for several days to study the Party's policies and learn knowledge and technology.

Having a proper outlook on people is a vital requirement for ideological workers who have to make them open their minds.

The information workers of our Party should be true sons and daughters of people who learn from the latter before teaching them and highly appreciate their efforts. To this end, they should remember first whenever they approach them that they stand before the great people whom the President and the General believed as in heaven and regarded as their teachers all their lives.

Love and respect for the labouring people emanate from the spirit of loving labour. Our officials should mingle with the masses, their hands stained with grease and their shoes with earth, and be proud of it.

The President and the General performed
great exploits for people all their lives, but left nothing for themselves.

Regarding the ideas and trust of the Party as the wealth of their lives, ideological workers should find the worth of living in informing as many persons as possible of the Party's policies and having collective innovations brought about at the units under their charge.

A genuine ideological worker is the person who values more than nuggets of gold the excitement he or she feels when people are eager anytime to be informed of the Party's intentions and when they support the Party's policies with all their hearts.

When the Party's intentions are informed and revolutionary songs and hurrah for the Workers' Party and socialism resound wherever our Party's ideological workers go, it will be a great encouragement to the Party.

The entire Party should become information and motivation workers, and all officials should conduct political work.

Whether they are Party, administrative, economic or primary officials, they should hold it as the main key to motivate the mental strength of the masses, and direct due efforts to it. In particular, chief secretaries of provincial, city and county Party committees and senior Party officials of all sectors and all units should put the ideological work under their personal control and conduct it with all sincerity and with much effort.

In the 1970s all the officials, under the leadership of the Party, used to go down to their subordinate units with rucksacks on their backs like the anti-Japanese guerrillas had done, rouse people as required by the Chongsan-ri spirit and Chongsan-ri method and bring about innovations. This vibrant spirit should prevail throughout the country.

The revolutionary task facing us are enormous and the situation remains as severe as ever. However, we should leap forward to bring the future closer and make a ceaseless advance while struggling.

As soon as you leave the venue of this conference, you should go amongst the service personnel and people to inform them of the intention of the Party Central Committee and take up the starting positions of ideological offensive with a fresh determination.

I stress once again: The more vibrantly the ideological front seethes, the more fully the mental strength of the masses will be demonstrated, and the more the service personnel and people are roused, the faster the revolution will advance.

I firmly believe that all our ideological workers, including the participants in this conference, will become political workers of the type of the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and make the whole country seethe and transform the entire army along revolutionary lines, thus hastening the final victory.

6th Conference of Ideological Officials of WPK

Pyongyang, February 27 (KCNA) -- The 6th Conference of Ideological Officials of the Workers' Party of Korea took place here in March Juche 83 (1994).

The conference reviewed the successes and experience gained in the party ideological work for modeling the whole society on Kimilsungism in the past and discussed measures to further improve the ideological work as required by the changed situation.

It underscored the need to intensify the party ideological work to push forward with the revolution and construction and defend the Korean-style socialism centered on the masses, advancing the tasks and ways to that effect.

After the conference, a brisk ideological work was conducted in order to further consolidate revolutionary ranks single-mindedly united around leader Kim Jong Il and give full play to the revolutionary spirit of self-reliance and fortitude.

A big stride was made in the efforts to enhance education in the greatness and leadership feats of Kim Jong Il, which enabled officials, party members and other working people to remain loyal to the WPK's guidance with deep reverence for Kim Jong Il.

The party's line and policies were timely conveyed to party members and other working people with a well-planned system of political education established and the role of agitators enhanced.

In particular, a drive to thoroughly establish the party's leadership system among the media and literature and art fields was made in a vigorous way.

The ideological work began to be carried out in keeping with the specific conditions as done by the anti-Japanese guerrillas.

Rodong Sinmun Calls for Invigorating Ideological Campaigns

Pyongyang, February 27 (KCNA) -- Rodong Sinmun Thursday editorially calls on all party ideological officials to raise a strong wind of ideological, information and agitation campaigns and vigorously encourage all the service personnel and people to the drive for the final victory in building a thriving nation, true to the speech made by supreme leader Kim Jong Un at the 8th Conference of Ideological Officials of the Workers' Party of Korea.

His speech is a great strategic programme indicating the ever-victorious future of the Korean revolution, the editorial says, and goes on:

Steadfast is the will of Kim Jong Un to bring earlier the final victory of the revolution on the basis of the Juche-oriented theory of idea, a powerful weapon.

It is a great pride of our party to have a large number of the ideological officials remaining unfailingly loyal to the party and the leader, possessed of a high degree of revolutionary spirit and lofty traits.

The ideological officials of our party are standing in the van of the grand drive for modeling the whole party and society on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism and bringing earlier the final victory in building a thriving nation.

We have rich experience in stepping up the cause for imbuing the whole society on the monolithic idea through a strong ideological offensive as well as powerful information and agitation means available throughout the country.

If the ideological officials are well prepared, elite army corps can be formed and if we have these forces, we have nothing to fear and there is nothing impossible to do.

All ideological officials of the party should discharge their duty as pioneers and pacemakers in the drive for the prosperity of Songun Korea, bearing deep in their mind the important responsibility and mission they assume for the party, revolution, country and people.

Rodong Sinmun Calls for Giving Priority to Ideology

Pyongyang, February 27 (KCNA) -- It is the truth of history that if one takes hold on ideology, he is sure to win, says Rodong Sinmun Thursday in an article.

It goes on:
Ideology is the life and soul of socialism.
Powerful military and economic potentials are too incompetent to defend the gains of revolution won by blood if the ideological position is disintegrated.

This is evidenced by the historic lesson of socialist construction.

In the past some socialist countries failed to pay due attention to the ideological work to educate popular masses. They leaned only on economic construction.

As the people in those countries had no worries and led a stable life, their revolutionary enthusiasm was gradually dampened and tried to lead an easy life.

They did not want to devote themselves to socialism but started to have illusions about capitalism. In the long run, they betrayed socialism, taken in by the false propaganda of the imperialists and reactionaries. As a result, economic construction fell into stagnation in these countries and finally socialism collapsed and capitalism was restored.

The national defense capabilities described as the most powerful in the world were demolished overnight. Soldiers became blind, unaware of their mission. The army that was disarmed ideologically did not prevent the socialist system from collapsing.

There is nothing impossible in the world if the mental power is enlisted by dint of ideology.

This is proved by the practical experience of the Korean revolution which has won victories by dint of ideology.