Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Featured on Worldwide Satellite Radio Broadcast Discussing the 60th Anniversary of Africa Liberation Day and the Contemporary Crisis

Listen to the second segment of this satellite radio broadcast entitled "By Any Means Necessary" which emanates from Washington D.C.

To hear the program just click on the following link: Senior Poverty Growing as Biden Proposes New SNAP Work Requirements - Sputnik International, 31.05.2023 (sputnikglobe.com) 

In the second segment, Sean and Jacquie are joined by Abayomi Azikiwe, the editor of the Pan-African News Wire to discuss the recent commemoration of African Liberation Day and how the lessons of Kwame Nkrumah apply to today's issues of a new cold war between the US and NATO and Russia and China, the history of African unity during the cold war and the involvement of China and the Soviet Union on the African continent, and the consequences of African disunity caused by US intervention on the continent and in the African diaspora.

Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, for Mon. May 29, 2023

Listen to the Mon. May 29, 2023 special edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear the podcast of this program go to the following link: Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast 05/29 by Pan African Radio Network | Politics (blogtalkradio.com)

The program features a PANW report with dispatches on the continuing security crisis in the Republic of Sudan; the United Nations has warned that several geopolitical regions are suffering enormous food deficits to the point of near starvation; Republic of South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed an investigator to examine the allegations made by United States imperialism surrounding arms sales to the Russian Federation; and the Federal Republic of Nigeria has inaugurated the new President Bola Tinubu. 

In the second and third hours we conclude our month-long commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the forerunner to the African Union (AU). 

We will listen to a rare archival interview with Cuban-Argentinian revolutionary and Pan-Africanist Che Guevara which was conducted in Dec. 1964. 

Finally, we listen to a rare archival radio broadcast of a debate involving Malcolm X during Feb. 1965.

Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, for Sun. May 28, 2023

Listen to the Sun. May 28, 2023 special edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear the podcast of this episode just click on the following URL: Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast 05/28 by Pan African Radio Network | Politics (blogtalkradio.com)  

The episode features our regular PANW report with dispatches on the security situation in the Republic of Sudan as fighting continues between the two military structures; the African Development Bank (AfDB) says that investment prospects remain favorable for the continent; the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is working to alleviate the food deficits in the region; and the Egyptian government has announced the discoveries of artifacts from the Old Kingdom period of history. 

In the second and third hours we continue our focus on the 60th anniversary of the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor to the African Union (AU). 

We listen to a lecture and discussion on the life, times and contributions of Amilcar Cabral, the co-founder of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC). 

Finally, we review the recent state visit by Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki to the People's Republic of China.

Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, for Sat. May 27, 2023

Listen to the Sat. May 27, 2023 edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To listen to the podcast of this episode just go to the following link:Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast 05/27 by Pan African Radio Network | Politics (blogtalkradio.com) 

The program features our regular PANW report with dispatches on the letter sent by Sudanese Armed Forces Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres asking for the institution's envoy to be withdrawn from the country amid the continuation in fighting; the Somalian government has received pledges of security support from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov; Senegalese opposition forces have clashed with the police leaving one person dead; and the German parliament has agreed for their troops to remain in Mali for another year. 

In the second and third hours we will continue our commemoration of Africa Liberation Day, the 60th anniversary of the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the African Union (AU). 

We feature an exclusive interview aired internationally with former South African President Thabo Mbeki in Guinea-Conakry for the annual lecture program in his name. 

Finally, we review the contributions of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in the struggle for Pan-Africanism.

Zimbabwe Summons US Deputy Ambassador Over ‘Meddling’ Election Tweets

By FARAI MUTSAKA

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe’s foreign ministry has summoned the United States’ deputy ambassador over a series of tweets the embassy sent calling for a peaceful election in a country that has a history of violent and disputed votes.

The ministry accused the embassy of “election-related social media posts bordering on activism and meddling in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.”

Deputy Ambassador Elaine French was called to a meeting with Zimbabwe foreign affairs acting permanent secretary Rofina Chikava on Tuesday following the posts on the U.S. Embassy’s official Twitter account.

The Zimbabwe foreign ministry said it had a particular issue with a May 26 tweet that called for Zimbabweans to “Register to vote and make sure your voice is heard.” Another tweet from the embassy said “Zimbabwe’s constitution grants citizens the right to choose their representatives in legitimate, credible, & peaceful elections.”

The foreign ministry said the tweet urging people to register to vote was against diplomatic protocols.

“We stand by our recent social media posts calling for peace during the election season,” U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Meg Riggs said in a statement. “Elections are a part of a functioning democracy.”

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said the elections will take place in August, although he hasn’t announced a specific date.

But campaigning has started, with opposition parties already alleging violence and intimidation against their supporters by ruling party activists and security forces. Mnangagwa’s ZANU-PF ruling party and the government have denied the allegations but human rights groups have said there is intimidation and Mnangagwa’s government is suppressing criticism amid a currency crisis and a sharp rise in food prices.

Zimbabwe has been under U.S. sanctions for two decades over human rights abuses, which started under the regime of former president Robert Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe from independence from white minority rule in 1980 until he was removed in a coup in 2017 and replaced by Mnangagwa.

Zimbabwe has had a series of violent and disputed elections since 1980 and this vote is expected to be closely contested.

South Sudan Struggles to Clear Mines After Decades of War as People Start Returning Home

By DENG MACHOL and SAM MEDNICK

Deminers from the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) do clearance at a site containing cluster munitions in Ayii, Eastern Equatoria state, in South Sudan Thursday, May 11, 2023. As South Sudanese trickle back into the country after a peace deal was signed in 2018 to end a five-year civil war, many are returning to areas riddled with mines left from decades of conflict. (AP Photo/Sam Mednick)

MAGWI COUNTY, South Sudan (AP) — For the first time since fleeing South Sudan’s civil war eight years ago, Jacob Wani returned home excited to rebuild his life.

But when the 45-year-old farmer tried to access his land in Eastern Equatoria state’s Magwi County, he was banned, told that it had been labeled hazardous and contaminated with mines.

“My area is dangerous,” Wani said, standing in his shop in Moli village where he now lives, a few miles from the farm. “I do not have the capacity to rebuild in this place and I am also afraid (of explosives). If I go, maybe something can hurt me.”

As South Sudanese trickle back into the country after a peace deal was signed in 2018 to end a five-year civil war that killed nearly 400,000 people and displaced millions, many are returning to areas riddled with mines left from decades of conflict. More than 5,000 South Sudanese have been killed or injured by land mines and unexploded ordnance since 2004, according to the U.N. Mine Action Service (UNMAS).

South Sudan is trying to clear all anti-personnel minefields and cluster munitions in the country by 2026.

While more than 84 million square meters of cluster munitions and mines have been cleared in nearly two decades, according to UNMAS — equivalent to approximately 15,000 American football fields — experts doubt that the deadline will be met as munitions are being found across the country daily. Ten people were killed in March after mistakenly playing with a grenade in a remote village in Western Bahr el Ghazal State.

“The contamination is too huge,” said Jurkuch Barach Jurkuch, chairperson for South Sudan National Mines Action. Efforts are also complicated by a lack of funding, continued insecurity and flooding during the rainy season, he said.

Eastern Equatoria state, along the border with Uganda, is South Sudan’s most heavily contaminated area, hit by wars with northern Sudan before gaining independence in 2011, fighting with the Lord’s Resistance Army led by Uganda’s notorious warlord Joseph Kony and South Sudan’s civil war.

By the end of 2021, the state had the most areas with cluster munitions in the country — 55 out of a total of 123 — according to Mine Action Review, which does global mine analysis. The state is also the second most returned to in the country since the peace agreement, with more than 115,00 people coming back, according to the U.N.

During a visit to Magwi County in May, families told The Associated Press that they had their food rations cut by 50% in refugee camps in Uganda, which pushed them to come back hoping they’d be able to cultivate. But people are returning to the remnants of conflict-riddled villages, with little food, shelter or open schools, all of which is compounded by the mines. In some communes, more than half of the area is contaminated, locals say.

“Whenever there is a land mine, there is a danger. So everybody fears to go cultivate and do activities in the bush because of fear of land mines,” said Sebit Kilama, a community leader.

Private contractors and aid groups are trying to clear the area from contamination, but say the task is enormous.

During clearance in a cluster munitions site in May by the aid group MAG, focused on mine clearance, 16 unexploded munitions were found in less than a week of work. Locals are also finding devices a few miles from main roads. When AP journalists visited, a villager alerted the demining team of an unexploded 60 millimeter mortar shell, which he found a few miles into the brush.

MAG is working with communities to raise awareness about the danger of mines and other unexploded ordnance.

“Land mines don’t have an expiry date,” said Clara Hayat, a community outreach officer with MAG, during a talk to a group of children in a village where people recently returned from Uganda.

“Don’t bring them home, because they can kill,” she said.

Drivers Line Up for Gasoline Across Nigeria After New President Scraps Fuel Subsidy

By CHINEDU ASADU

People queue to buy fuel at the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited petrol station in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday, May 30, 2023. Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has scrapped a decades long government-funded subsidy that has helped reduce the price of gasoline, leading to long lines at fuel stations Tuesday as drivers scrambled to stock up before costs rise. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has scrapped a decadeslong government-funded subsidy that has helped reduce the price of gasoline, leading to long lines at fuel stations Tuesday as drivers scrambled to stock up before costs rise.

As people rushed to buy gas in major cities like Abuja and Lagos, marketers have more than doubled the price at the pump from the usual 40 cents per liter, resulting in a surge in the price of transport.

Tinubu announced the removal of the subsidy moments after his inauguration as president on Monday, signaling his administration’s plan to finally end an initiative that officials said cost the Nigerian government an estimated 18.39 billion naira ($39.8 million) daily in 2022. He did not say when it would take effect, but the immediate past government had planned to end the initiative by June 30.

Nigeria’s oil refineries are struggling, with production sinking to multidecade lows amid massive oil theft, meaning Africa’s top oil producer depends on imported refined petroleum products. The government, however, pays part of the price per liter to marketers to cover the landing costs and reduce the pump price for consumers.

The “subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources,” Tinubu said of his first decision as president. “We shall instead rechannel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions.”

The resulting hike in gasoline prices could cause more hardship in a country where many already are struggling to cope with record unemployment and poverty levels and inflation that is at an 18-year high. The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers called on the government to take “extra caution in view of the ... unintended consequences on the ordinary citizens.”

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, the state oil firm, lauded the move and urged people to not “buy more than they need.”

The rush to buy gasoline resulted in the price of transportation more than doubling in major cities.

“A trip of 20 minutes that I normally go for 400 naira (86 U.S. cents) is now 1,000 naira ($2.1),” said Gabriel Imoke, a Lagos resident.

The panic-buying could last for weeks, with gasoline marketers expected to hoard the commodity as they watch prices to avoid loss, said Uwadiae Osadiaye, senior vice president, energy and industrials at FBNQuest Merchant Bank.

“The subsidies are not affordable from a fiscal standpoint,” said Osadiaye, adding that Nigeria borrows to fund the initiative.

Rather than a one-time rollback, however, the government should consider phasing out the subsidy gradually to cushion the effects on the public and increasing welfare programs, he said.

“There would have to be an adjustment period and a change in consumption pattern, maybe in lifestyle for Nigerians,” Osadiaye said.

8 Killed in Northern Cameroon by Boko Haram Fighters, Regional Official Says


By EDWIN KINDZEKA MOKI

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AP) — Extremist fighters killed eight people including soldiers in multiple attacks in northern Cameroon on Tuesday, a regional official said.

Fighters with Boko Haram killed three customs officers, three soldiers and two civilians in separate attacks in the towns of Mora and Zigage on the border with Nigeria, said Midjiyawa Bakari, governor of the region.

“The Boko Haram fighters are in huge numbers along the border with Nigeria and we are counting on collaboration between the military and civilians to stop this new wave of attacks,” he said. Several people were wounded and have been hospitalized, Bakari said.

Boko Haram is a homegrown extremist group in Nigeria that launched an insurgency in 2009 to fight against Western education and to establish Islamic Shariah law in the country’s northeast. Their rebellion has spread over the years to neighboring West African countries, including Cameroon, Niger and Chad. The insurgency has killed more than 36,000 people mainly in Nigeria, and displaced around 3 million, according to the United Nations.

Cameroon’s government said that Boko Haram fighters crossed into the country from Nigeria in large numbers on Monday evening before carrying out the attacks. Cameroon’s military has been deployed to protect civilians on the border.

Humanitarian Group MSF Calls for Support for Refugees in Kenya Affected by Cholera Crisis

FILE - A Somali refugee girl walks past the fence surrounding a hut at Dadaab refugee camp, then hosting over 230,000 inhabitants, in northern Kenya on Dec. 19, 2017. Hundreds of refugees in Kenya's Dadaab camps have been affected by a cholera outbreak as the population in the facilities grows rapidly, a humanitarian charity said Tuesday, May 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Hundreds of refugees in Kenya’s Dadaab camps have been affected by a cholera outbreak as the population in the facilities grows rapidly, a humanitarian charity said Tuesday.

Doctors Without Borders, known by French acronym MSF, said that 2,786 refugees have been affected so far “and there is an imminent risk of outbreaks of other gastro-intestinal diseases.”

The Dadaab camps host more than 300,000 people and with the biting drought in neighboring Somalia, the numbers are on the rise, consequently straining water and sanitation services.

There are plans to open another camp in the complex to accommodate new arrivals and ease overcrowding.

“All efforts to ease the overcrowding must include significant investment in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector to ensure a minimum standard of living for refugees in all the camps,” said Hassan Maiyaki, MSF country director in Kenya.

MSF has urged stakeholders to respond urgently to the crisis in Dadaab and address sanitary conditions and prevent the further spread of diseases.

In 2016, the Kenyan government had announced plans to close down the Dadaab camps, citing insecurity because of reports that extremists from Somalia’s al-Shabab group were hiding there and the camps being a conduit for smuggling weapons.

The United Nations urged Kenya to reconsider that plan and continue to offer refuge to victims of violence and trauma.

The discussion on the closure has since then been on and off, with several ultimatums given to the U.N refugee agency, the latest being in 2021.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Sudanese Army Commander Warns Paramilitary Forces

SAF commander in chief al-Burhan visits his troops inn Khartoum on May 302023

May 30, 2023 (KHARTOUM) – Lt Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the Commander in Chief of the Sudanese army, on Tuesday, issued a warning to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), emphasizing that if they failed to comply with his directives, lethal force would be utilized.

Speaking before a gathering of soldiers at the Seventh Infantry Division headquarters adjacent to the army headquarters in Khartoum, al-Burhan made his second appearance since the outbreak of fighting on April 15.

“The army has refrained from deploying its full lethal force thus far, but it may be compelled to employ it should the enemy persist in disregarding or failing to respond to the voice of reason, ” al-Burhan declared.

The commanders of the Sudanese army says he would not stop the war against the RSF unless they withdraw from the residential neighbourhood and hospitals and go to gathering sites ahead of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) process.

He emphasized that the army was fighting on behalf of the people, who continue to stand with the armed forces despite the hardships they endure.

The conflict has resulted in the tragic loss of at least 866 civilian lives and the displacement of 1.4 million individuals from their homes. The dire living conditions have left a staggering 24.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

On Monday, both the army and the Rapid Support Forces agreed to extend the short-term ceasefire by five days. However, Saudi Arabia and the United States, who mediated between the two factions, noted that both sides had violated the agreement during its previous validity period.

Al-Burhan stated that the army consented to the ceasefire extension to facilitate the delivery of services to citizens who have been severely affected by encroachments from the Rapid Support Forces.

He reassured that the army retains full strength across regions and units, having established control over all parts of the country.

Al-Burhan affirmed that the armed forces would remain prepared to fight until victory is achieved.

Concerns have grown over the potential escalation of the conflict between the army and the Rapid Support Forces, with fears of it evolving into a civil war amid calls to arm civilians and mounting social tension.

(ST)

Sudanese Army, Paramilitary Forces Extend Ceasefire for Five Days

Saudi foreign minister, US and Saudi ambassadors pose with the representatives of the SAF and RSF in Jeddah after the signing of the humanitarian truce on May 21, 2023

May 29, 2023 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese army and paramilitary forces have agreed to a five-day extension of the ceasefire, allowing for the delivery of humanitarian aid and discussions on further measures to bring an end to the conflict.

Initially signed on May 20, the seven-day humanitarian ceasefire agreement was marred by violations as clashes and airstrikes persisted, impeding the delivery of aid and hindering the restoration of vital services such as water and power.

In a joint statement, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America announced that both warring parties have agreed to the five-day extension of the Agreement on a Short-Term Ceasefire and Humanitarian Arrangements. The extension aims to allow humanitarian actors more time to carry out their crucial work.

During the extension period, the parties have expressed their commitment to implementing the provisions of the initial ceasefire that were not fully achieved. This includes the delivery of additional humanitarian assistance, the repair of essential services, and the evacuation of armed actors from hospitals.

“The parties also agreed to discuss a longer-term ceasefire that could entail vacating forces from urban areas, including civilian homes, further removal of impediments to the free movement of civilians and humanitarian assistance, and enabling public servants to resume their regular duties,” stressed the statement.

The joint statement strongly condemned the continued airstrikes, attacks, and restricted movements. It emphasized the importance of both parties honouring their obligations during the five-day extension to ensure a conducive environment for the delivery of aid and the well-being of the Sudanese people.

(ST)

Sudan Darfur Governor Urges Civilians to Take Up Arms Amidst Escalating Violence

Mini Minnawi talks to the press last in Khartoum in February 2021

May 28, 2023 (KHARTOUM) – The governor of Darfur, leader of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), has called on citizens to defend their property against looting and theft following the outbreak of armed conflict between the government army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

In a tweet from El-Fasher, Governor Minnawi highlighted the increasing attacks on civilians and the sabotage of national institutions since the start of the fighting in Darfur.

He urged the people of Darfur to take up arms to protect their property, emphasizing that the struggle movements would support them in legitimate acts of self-defence.

Responding to the varied reactions to his call, Minnawi issued a statement clarifying that it was a response to the deteriorating security situation and widespread looting and theft, including from homes, shops, government institutions, and humanitarian organizations.

He expressed his commitment to neutrality and called for an immediate cessation of the war, urging direct dialogue for a comprehensive political solution.

Darfur armed groups formed a joint force to protect civilians earlier this month.

Meanwhile, the SLA’s military spokesman, Ahmed Hussein Mustafa, stated that Minnawi had engaged with the army, RSF, and security services to coordinate efforts in maintaining security and ensuring the safety of all Darfur states.

Mustafa appealed to all parties to assist in resolving the activities of outlawed groups while emphasizing the need for regional government collaboration and citizen involvement in safeguarding lives and property.

The Sudanese army and the paramilitary forces clashed in Darfur states following the beginning of the fighting in Khartoum on April 15.

Also, over 500 people were killed in West Darfur as a result of the tribal fighting that erupted simultaneously with the clashes in Khartoum.

(ST)

Ceasefire Facilitators Urge Halt to Airstrikes, RSF Withdrawal from Urban Areas

Damaged building in Khartoum on April 27, 2023 (Reuters photo)

May 28, 2023 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s ceasefire facilitators have called for an immediate halt to airstrikes and the withdrawal of paramilitary forces from urban areas, citing violations of the short-term humanitarian ceasefire by both warring parties.

In a joint statement issued on Sunday, Saudi Arabia and the United States assessed the implementation of the ceasefire by the Sudan Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces, while urging for its renewal.

“There were violations by both parties that significantly impeded the delivery of humanitarian assistance and restoration of essential services,” the statement emphasized.

The facilitators further emphasized that stopping Sudan Armed Forces airstrikes, withdrawing Rapid Support Forces from urban areas, and ceasing attacks against humanitarian actors are crucial steps to improve the delivery of much-needed assistance to the Sudanese people.

Based on their findings, the facilitators urged both parties to agree on extending the current ceasefire, allowing humanitarian actors more time to carry out their vital work.

Since the ceasefire commenced on May 22, the Sudanese army has continued to launch attacks on Rapid Support Forces positions, including an airstrike that damaged Sudan’s currency printing press on May 27.

Additionally, militiamen have been arresting civilians and occupying civilian homes, private businesses, and public buildings. Sudanese citizens have taken to social media to report incidents of looting or occupation of their houses by elements of the Rapid Support Forces, as well as the theft of vehicles and personal belongings.

The facilitators also reported that both sides have been conducting operations to strengthen their military positions in the capital.

Furthermore, they highlighted an incident on May 24, in which the Sudanese army seized medical supplies from two separate facilities shortly after their delivery

Impunity Enabled Generals to Recklessly Destroy Sudan

by Hala al-Karib

Regional Director, Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA)

I haven’t looked at my face in the mirror since the morning of 15 April when Sudan got turned upside down by two generals battling for power, the culmination of decades of state failure, impunity, and the negligence of the international community.

I don’t know what I look like now. I don’t want to see myself. I don’t want to cry.

That Saturday morning was the turning point. Before then, life was about that next medical appointment, school exam, or job interview: the upcoming wedding, or baby’s naming ceremony, or funeral to attend; the savings plan, the friend to visit, the house or small room to build; the tuk tuk, motorbike, or car to buy.

But all that has vanished.

We woke up that Saturday to a new reality of killings, of bodies strewn on the streets, of artillery bombardment and burning buildings. We are now in a desperate period of fear, trauma, and – for those who can – exodus.

Khartoum is the capital of 45 million Sudanese. It’s also the home of at least 10 million of us – including more than two million refugees who came here for sanctuary. For Khartoum to be destroyed like this, by thugs and monsters, is shocking, and perplexing.

That Saturday it took me the whole day, scanning the news channels and communicating with friends and colleagues before my brain was able to recognise what was actually happening.

We had fallen into the hands of those with no mercy, without humanity.

The city was being torn apart by rival militaries: Those loyal to General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the armed forces chief, versus his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

It is behaviour that the people of Darfur have witnessed for years – where the RSF and other militias have protected their power by subjecting the people to intimidation and oppression, and where al-Burhan and the Sudanese army have also been accused of coordinating attacks against civilians.

The collapse

I came to Khartoum in early April to see my mother, and to check on an unwell brother and visually impaired aunt. I wanted to give my siblings – who had been looking after them – a break.

I planned to work out of the Khartoum office of my organisation, the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA), an African feminist women’s rights network.

I had so much to do. I was planning a trip to Blue Nile and North Darfur to launch one of our new projects. We were pushing on with our work, almost oblivious to the abnormalities all around us.

As Sudanese, we were witnessing the collapse of the country, its decay, following the military’s seizure of power in October 2021 – bitterly protested by street-based pro-democracy groups.

There was the economic pain of an ever-accelerating cost of living, which means most people dependent on a daily income cannot afford the basics. Even the salaries of teachers, nurses, doctors, and government public servants have only been paid a few times since the coup – stranding them for months without an income.

The international community saw the way out of the crisis as a power-sharing deal between civilian politicians and the military.

The intention was to repeat the coalition formula agreed upon after the collapse of the Omar al-Bashir regime in 2019, an arrangement the military subsequently tore up two years later.

The UN, the African Union, and the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) were supposed to coordinate the political process leading to a new coalition government – but it was na├»vely and ineptly managed.

Fundamentally, power-sharing doesn’t solve Sudan’s deep-rooted structural problems, when seats at the political table are reserved for the men in uniform responsible for the violence and injustice we’ve long been forced to live with.

Power-sharing covers up war crimes and crimes against humanity. It entrenches the military elite based on the assumption that – for the sake of peace – they can’t be touched. The result is the weakening of human rights and justice frameworks, and the legitimisation of the warlords, who are rewarded with access to resources and positions.

The 2020 Juba power-sharing agreement that followed the fall of al-Bashir was supposed to lead to free and fair elections. Instead, the generals have since been competing among themselves, mobilising their forces to achieve their corrupt ends.

That is the root of the violence we are confronted with today on the streets of Khartoum and just as bloodily in Darfur and Kordofan – as the army and the RSF battle it out for supremacy.

Civilian politicians have also played a role. Sudanese people have been exhausted by the divisions and lack of leadership among the parties. As a result, politicians lost their connection to the people and failed to cultivate popular support.

Solidarity and courage

Even on the eve of the collapse, Sudanese were still trying to manage life as best as possible. I drove to a relative’s funeral around the Reyad area on Friday night and could still see people taking their kids out to purchase their Eid clothes for the end of Ramadan.

The main roads were dark, and street lights and traffic lights hardly working.

I remember thinking Khartoum reflected the impoverished soul of Sudan’s military clique. After seizing power, they had no idea how to run the country beyond plundering, and killing and violating its citizens.

That weekend, we had 14 guests staying with us: two project auditors from SIHA’s Uganda office, two Ugandan consultants, and 10 colleagues from Darfur taking part in a training programme.

On Saturday 16 April, three of our guests were at the airport, checked in and preparing to board their flight home, when the RSF began shelling. No one was allowed in or out of the airport for hours.

As we tried to figure out what to do, one by one their phone batteries died. They had to use the phones of other passengers, who pleaded for us to take them too if we came to collect our colleagues.

Then, in the afternoon, the RSF began ordering everyone to leave the airport, and hundreds of passengers were ushered out onto the main road.

I cannot be grateful enough to Adla from our Khartoum office, and her husband. They jumped into their old car and drove through the back streets to the airport. They picked up, thank God, our friends and managed to find lodgings for them.

When the hotel they stayed in ran out of food and water, Neimat – another SIHA colleague – and her husband managed to keep them fed. After four days, we were finally able to evacuate them home to Uganda via South Sudan.

Meanwhile, our friends from Darfur were struck at a hotel on Africa Road. It was among the first targeted by the RSF, who broke in and took the safe and then robbed the residents of their money and phones.

Coming from Darfur, our colleagues understand how the RSF operates – what triggers them, and how to negotiate. It took days, but they finally managed to leave the hotel on foot, although without their belongings.

When we spoke later, they told me how the RSF soldiers had made daily demands for money, terrifying the hotel guests by firing into the air.

It was the same story at the Acropole Hotel, where the last of our consultants from Uganda was staying. There was no power and water for the first three days, while the RSF ransacked every corner of the landmark hotel, again robbing guests and workers at will.

After days of being held, the hotel’s guests were dropped off at the grand mosque in the middle of Khartoum. Our colleague told a horrific story of picking his way through the dead bodies scattered on the streets.

Finally, he reached Omdurman, where he was picked up by Mayada, a SIHA staff member, and her husband. He stayed for two nights with Mayada before she managed to put him on a truck to South Sudan.

The courage, thoughtfulness, and endurance of our guests contributed to their safety in a situation where we couldn’t do much for them if it all had gone wrong.

Staying behind

SIHA has 32 staff in Sudan, the majority of us are scattered throughout rural Sudan, but many of us are also in Khartoum. Sudan is our home, and we are committed to staying, to care for our loved ones – we cannot abandon them.

So when the shelling and shooting started, I barricaded my family inside our house. The main gate was blocked with cars and piles of bricks. We closed up the windows and doors. Our bright open home became like a cave.

I was, however, obsessed with making sure that my girls – my daughter and two nieces – got out. Over the next few days, I sat with my sister and we thrashed out a plan. The girls are now safe outside the country.

As I write this article, three weeks after the violence began, I’m sitting beside my mother and aunt, somewhere safe and quiet near Khartoum.

My brother has just come in and said I look tired. Yes, I am. All I want to do is sleep and find space to think.

Looking at what has happened to my country, I can tell you that this violence is not random or a reaction to political tension. I believe this is a well-planned and well-funded vile act in support of the RSF.

The question is, how come all those high-powered bodies that were supposed to be coordinating the political process – the UN, the regional groupings, the international financial institutions, the donor governments – utterly failed to see it coming? What a shame!

In the meantime, I still don’t dare to look at myself in the mirror, and I don’t want to cry.

Possible Putin Trip in Spotlight as Russia, China Foreign Ministers Set for Meeting in South Africa

By MOGOMOTSI MAGOME and GERALD IMRAY

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The Russian and Chinese foreign ministers are expected to meet with their counterparts from the BRICS economic bloc in Cape Town on Thursday, a precursor to a larger summit of developing nations’ leaders in South Africa in August that Russian President Vladimir Putin may attend while under indictment by the International Criminal Court.

South Africa has suggested without saying explicitly that it won’t arrest Putin, if he decides to travel for the main BRICS summit in Johannesburg, despite being obliged to do so as a signatory to the ICC’s Rome treaty.

BRICS is a bloc of emerging economies made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and their leaders, including China’s Xi Jinping, have been invited to the Aug. 22-24 summit.

Any Putin trip — and the Kremlin hasn’t said if he will attend — would focus more attention on South Africa’s relationship with Moscow. There are clear concerns in the West that Africa’s most developed economy is aligning with Russia and pulling other developing countries along with it at a time of heightened global tensions.

Those concerns burst into the open earlier this month when the U.S. ambassador to South Africa called a news conference in Pretoria and accused the country of supplying weapons to Russia for its war in Ukraine. The South African government has denied the allegation, but the visit of a Russian cargo ship to South Africa’s top naval base near Cape Town in December is under investigation.

While South Africa hasn’t yet stated its official position with regard to the arrest warrant for Putin, its foreign ministry said Tuesday that those traveling for Thursday’s meeting of BRICS foreign ministers and the leaders who attend the main summit in three months’ time would be afforded standard diplomatic immunity.

But the privileges “do not override any warrant that may have been issued by any international tribunal against any attendee of the conference,” foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said, an indirect reference to Putin.

It means the ICC arrest warrant would still be applicable if Putin visits in August, even if it is highly unlikely that South Africa would arrest him.

The Russian president hasn’t traveled to any country that is part of the international court treaty since he was indicted in March for war crimes relating to the abduction of children from Ukraine.

Away from Putin, the main summit of BRICS leaders could be one of the most important in the bloc’s short history, analysts say. There could be movement on two critical issues: BRICS could be expanded to admit new members like Saudi Arabia, Iran and United Arab Emirates. The bloc might also adopt a resolution on creating a BRICS currency.

Those moves within a group containing Russia and China might be seen as “a direct economic challenge to the U.S.,” said William Gumede, an associate professor at the School of Governance at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand and a BRICS analyst.

“BRICS could look very different ... and (it) would just change the dynamics of world power,” Gumede said.

BRICS officials said in April that at least 19 countries — including major oil producers Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates — have applied to become members. South Africa Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor has also confirmed that a BRICS currency will be discussed.

The discussions might start this week when Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang meet with Pandor and other counterparts from Brazil and India.

Although there are complications with introducing a common currency in countries with vastly different economic setups, Gumede said a formal decision to pursue it could still be seen as a major “political statement” and an attempt to start the “de-dollarization” of parts of the world.

The U.S. “would have to respond, one way or another,” Gumede said.

The BRICS gatherings follow a summit of the Group of Seven leaders in Japan that was dominated by the U.S. and the world’s other advanced economies extending sanctions against Russia as punishment for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine and finding ways to counter the economic policies of China.

While accusing South Africa of giving arms to Russia and going against its stated neutrality in the war in Ukraine, U.S. Ambassador Reuben Brigety also referred to the country’s hosting of the upcoming BRICS meetings and how they had been framed by some within the bloc as the “counterpoint” to the G-7, the meeting of the other side.

Brigety gave notice that the U.S. was watching.

“Our officials expressed quite serious concern of the explicit articulation of the BRICS configuration as a, quote, counterpoint to the G-7,” Brigety said. “Of course, South Africa is free to choose its diplomatic and economic partners however it chooses and so is the United States of America.”

“This is not a matter of bullying as I often hear in this context. It’s not a matter of threatening. This is how any relationship works.”

___

Gerald Imray reported from Cape Town.

Russia to Send Fertilizers to Nigeria for Free — Lavrov

"Last September, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that we were ready to deliver 300,000 tons of our fertilizers, illegally seized in EU ports, to African countries free of charge. Fully in line with colonial practices and habits, the EU leadership blocked this initiative," the Russian top diplomat recalled

BUJUMBURA /Burundi/. May 30. /TASS/. Moscow intends to deliver a shipment of Russian fertilizers to Nigeria free of charge in the near future, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday at a press conference following his visit to Burundi.

"Last September, President [Vladimir] Putin announced that we were ready to deliver 300,000 tons of our fertilizers, illegally seized in EU ports, to African countries free of charge. Fully in line with colonial practices and habits, the EU leadership blocked this initiative. It took us 6 months to get at least the first shipment of 20,000 tons to Malawi, and just recently another shipment of a similar amount of fertilizer was delivered to Kenya. The same shipment is scheduled to go to Nigeria soon," he said.

All of this comes at the cost of enormous efforts by the World Food Program and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to "overcome the openly Russophobic position of EU members who oppose any initiatives that in one way or another will help developing countries, if such assistance is provided by the Russian side."

Russian foreign minister Lavrov arrives in Mozambique

The Russian foreign minister’s previous visits to Mozambique took place in 2013 and 2018

MAPUTO /Mozambique/, May 31. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in Mozambique’s capital Maputo on Tuesday evening, continuing his African tour, a TASS correspondent reported.

The top Russian diplomat is expected to hold talks with the country’s political leadership.

Earlier, Lavrov visited Kenya and Burundi during his third trip to Africa in 2023.

The Russian foreign minister’s previous visits to Mozambique took place in 2013 and 2018.

After visiting Maputo, Lavrov will depart to Cape Town to attend a meeting of foreign ministers from the BRICS group of nations (Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa).

Speaker of Mozambique’s Assembly (parliament) Esperanca Bias visited Moscow in April. She expressed her country’s readiness to strengthen bilateral cooperation, adding that the partnership of Russia and Mozambique was of strategic nature. The country’s President Filipe Nyusi is expected to visit Russia in July to participate in the second Russia-Africa summit.

Russia and Mozambique established diplomatic relations on June 25, 1975 - the day when the country proclaimed independence. The two states have also set up a bilateral intergovernmental commission on economic, technological and scientific cooperation, which had its second session in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg in November 2022. A number of bilateral agreements in various spheres - from defense to humanitarian cooperation have been signed.

During the talks in Maputo, the two delegations are expected to discuss ways to boost bilateral relations and address international issues, including situation in various African countries, cooperation in the United Nations and the situation around Ukraine.

Lavrov arrives in Burundi for visit

The minister is scheduled to hold talks with the African country’s leadership

BUJUMBURA /Burundi/, May 30. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday arrived in the Burundian city of Bujumbura, according to a TASS reporter.

The minister is scheduled to hold talks with the African country’s leadership. Burundi is the second country after Kenya that Lavrov is visiting on his latest African tour.

Burundian Foreign Minister Albert Shingiro visited the Russian city of Sochi in March 2023 where he held talks with Lavrov. The Russian minister said a news conference afterward that the countries were readying a bilateral agreement on peaceful use of atomic energy.

Russia and Burundi cooperate in law enforcement and military-technical areas.

Kiev's Strikes on Russian Residential Buildings are Sign of Terrorist Activity — Putin

The Russian leader pointed out that during the special military operation Russia hit Ukrainian territory, but only military facilities and infrastructure

© Gavriil Grigorov/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS

MOSCOW, May 30. /TASS/. Kiev has chosen the path of intimidating Russian citizens by attacking civilian facilities, which is a clear sign of terrorist activity, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

He pointed out that during the special military operation Russia hit Ukrainian territory, but only military facilities and infrastructure. "Russia was forced to respond to the war unleashed by the Ukrainian regime in Donbass. [We] were forced to respond by launching a special military operation. [The Russian military] are striking Ukrainian territory, but with long-range precision weapons and specifically military infrastructure or ammunition depots," the head of state explained, commenting on this morning's drone attack on Moscow.

Putin stressed that "in response, the Kiev regime has chosen a different path - [the path of] trying to intimidate Russia, intimidate Russian citizens and attack residential buildings." "This, of course, is a clear sign of terrorist activity," the president said.

Ukrainian drones attacked Moscow and the Moscow Region on Tuesday morning. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the attack involved eight unmanned aerial vehicles, five of which were shot down by the Pantsir-S missile system and the remaining three were suppressed by electronic warfare. Two people in Moscow sought medical attention for minor injuries. A number of buildings sustained minor damage.

Kiev tries to scare Russians, trigger response — Putin about UAV attack

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the attack involved eight drones, five of which were shot down and another three, disabled by electronic warfare means

MOSCOW, May 30. /TASS/. The Kiev authorities were trying to intimidate Russian citizens with the drone raid on Moscow and to provoke the Russian leadership into similar retaliatory actions, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday during a visit to the Zotov Center while answering a question from the head of non-commercial organization Agency of Strategic Initiatives Svetlana Chupseva regarding Tuesday's UAV attack on Moscow. Putin linked the attack on the Russian capital to the Russian Armed Forces' strike on the Ukrainian military intelligence headquarters some time ago.

Ukrainian UAVs attacked Moscow and the Moscow Region on Tuesday morning. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the attack involved eight drones, five of which were shot down and another three, disabled by electronic warfare means. Two people in Moscow turned to medics for help. Neither required hospital treatment. A number of buildings suffered minor damage.

TASS has summarized Putin's main statements on the subject.

On Russian army actions

Russia strikes the territory of Ukraine, but does so "with high-accuracy long-range weapons and targets precisely military infrastructure facilities, or warehouses with ammunition or fuel and lubricants used in combat operations."

Two or three days ago, the Russian army hit the headquarters of Ukraine's military intelligence service.

In the meantime, the Kiev regime has chosen another way - that of intimidating Russian citizens and "hitting residential buildings."

"This is a clear sign of terrorist activity," the President said.

The purpose of the drone attack on Moscow was "to trigger a response from Russia."

The citizens of Ukraine, "who now do not have a say, as total terror is afoot in Ukraine against the civilian population," should know "what the current leadership of their country is pushing for."

Other threats coming from the Kiev regime include "attempts to disrupt the operation of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant" and "to use some dirty devices related to the nuclear industry."

On repulsing UAV attack

Moscow's air defense system performed "normally, satisfactorily."

"Although there is room for improvement."

The Russian Armed Forces faced similar problems at the Khmeimim airbase in Syria.

"In general, it is clear what needs to be done to make the air defense of the capital tighter."

NATO Forces in Kosovo Escalating Situation in Region — Russian MFA

Russia is calling on the West to silence "false propaganda" and stop blaming "desperate Serbs who peacefully, without weapons, try to defend their legitimate rights and freedoms" for incidents in Kosovo

The headquarters of the Russian Foreign Ministry Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, May 30. /TASS/. The NATO-led international security force in Kosovo known as KFOR has turned into a source of unwarranted violence and escalation in the region, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement on Tuesday.

The statement followed an outbreak of violence against Serbs in Kosovo.

"The crisis situation in the municipalities of Zvecan, Zubin Potok, and Leposavic, which could have been resolved through a calm compromise, was a tough nut to crack for the NATO ‘peacekeepers’ in Kosovo. They not only showed their unprofessionalism, but also became a source of unnecessary violence and a factor of escalation," the statement said.

"Those who are supposed to protect the local Serbian majority from the arbitrariness of the Kosovars ended up siding with the xenophobic aspirations of Pristina and have essentially become accomplices of terror - taking up the role of personal security of the self-appointed government of Kosovo’s Albanians who have holed up in administrative buildings," the diplomat said.

Russia is calling on the West to silence "false propaganda" and stop blaming "desperate Serbs who peacefully, without weapons, try to defend their legitimate rights and freedoms" for incidents in Kosovo.

"This is a case when intermediaries from the US and the EU should work up the courage to look in the mirror," said Zakharova.

According to the spokeswoman, the region needs decisive steps to de-escalate the situation, not half-measures like the Americans’ idea to move the newly elected "mayors" from municipal buildings to other premises.

"The number one task is still the establishment of a community of Serbian municipalities in the region in its original form, which was enshrined 10 years ago in written agreements between Belgrade and Pristina under the guarantee of Brussels. This is a key condition for dialogue, and is the only chance to ensure stability and security in the region," the statement said.

Situation in Kosovo

The situation in the Serbian municipalities in northern Kosovo and Metohija escalated on May 26 after the Kosovo police seized administrative buildings in the municipalities of Zvecan, Zubin Potok, and Leposavic. The police sought to make it possible for the new mayors of these municipalities to assume office after they won the elections that were boycotted by the Serb population.

On May 29, NATO-led international security forces sealed off the administrative buildings where protesters had gathered, and clashes ensued. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said 52 Serbs sought help in a Kosovska Mitrovica hospital. Three of them had serious injuries, he said.

85% of Serbians will always support Russia whatever may happen - President Vucic

Serbia has always supported Ukraine’s integrity, Serbian President said

BELGRADE, February 21. /TASS/. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday that 85% of his country’s residents will always support Russia whatever may happen.

"That is why our position is so difficult: Serbia has embarked on the European path, Serbia has always supported Ukraine’s integrity, but on the other hand, some eighty-five percent of people will always side with Russia whatever may happen. These are the facts I am faced with as the country’s president," he said in an interview with TV Pink.

North Korea’s Satellite Launch Failure Caused by Engine, Fuel Problems — Radio

An investigation will be carried out to identify potential design flaws and outline ways to fix them

TOKYO, May 31. /TASS/. The failure of North Korea’s spy satellite launch on Wednesday was caused by malfunction of the carrier rocket’s engines and fuel stability problems, the state-run Voice of Korea radio reported, citing the country’s space agency.

An investigation will be carried out to identify potential design flaws and outline ways to fix them.

North Korean rocket possibly exploded during flight — Yonhap citing South Korean military

The agency said the rocket disappeared from radar screens before it reached the area where its fragments were expected to fall

SEOUL, May 31. /TASS/. The South Korean military are considering the possibility that the North Korean rocket launched earlier on Wednesday could have exploded during the flight, the Yonhap news agency reported citing sources.

The agency said the rocket disappeared from radar screens before it reached the area where its fragments were expected to fall.

At the same time, Japan’s Kyodo news agency wrote citing Japanese governmental sources that the rocket, presumably carrying North Kora’s first spy satellite, failed to cover the required distance, which may indicate a fail launch.

The NHK television channel said a part of the rocket splashed down near the western coast of the Korean Peninsula.

Images of North Korea’s Launch Pad Activity as it Prepares its First Intelligence Satellite

By KIM TONG-HYUNG and JON GAMBRELL

This satellite picture by Planet Labs PBC shows activity at a launch pad at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station near Tongchang-ri, North Korea, Tuesday, May 30, 2023. Satellite images taken Tuesday analyzed by The Associated Press showed activity at a main pad at North Korea's Sohae Satellite Launching Station – suggesting the satellite's blast off would be soon. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said Tuesday it would launch its first military spy satellite in June and described space-based reconnaissance as crucial for monitoring U.S. “reckless” military exercises with South Korea.

The statement came a day after North Korea notified Japan’s coast guard that the launch, sometime between May 31 and June 11, might affect waters in the Yellow Sea, East China Sea and east of the Philippines’ Luzon Island. Japan’s defense minister warned its forces to shoot down the satellite or debris if any entered Japanese territory, and its coast guard issued a safety warning for ships that would be in the affected seas during the expected launch, citing a risk of falling debris.

While North Korea’s rivals have condemned the country’s planned launch as a banned test of ballistic missile technology, it’s less clear whether the satellite itself is advanced enough to support the North’s stated goals of tracking and monitoring U.S. and South Korean military activities in real time.

Satellite images taken Tuesday analyzed by The Associated Press showed activity at a main pad at North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station — suggesting the satellite’s blast off would be soon.

The images by Planet Labs PBC showed the massive orange gantry at the pad with its arms open. The gantry houses a rocket on the launch pad. Next to the gantry, a long, rectangular object could be seen with two other objects nearby. Those objects hadn’t been seen in prior days’ images of the site — and could potentially be rocket parts.

All that movement taken together, along with the announcement of a pending launch, means one is likely imminent, said Dave Schmerler, a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, which is part of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

Schmerler said it was highly unusual for North Korea to be assembling the rocket in daylight, knowing that satellites overhead would be able to watch the site, as opposed to constructing it under a rail-mounted transfer structure as they have in the past.

“The point is that we’re seeing activity in a launch system that was designed to obscure activity,” Schmerler told the AP. “So this is new and interesting because it’s not using the usual processes.”

Meanwhile, North Korean workers also have quickly built in the span of a month a new launch pad just 2.7 kilometers (1.6 miles) southeast of the launch pad where all the activity Tuesday was seen. That site as well appears to have a rail-mounted transfer system, freshly paved asphalt, lightning towers, floodlights and a stand for cameras.

Given that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un likely would attend the satellite launch, Schmerler said the missile site probably wanted to show off its new facilities. That also would allow them to have a second launch as well if North Korea chose to do so.

“When Kim shows up, he’s not going to be underwhelmed. He should be fairly impressed they just threw this whole thing together,” Schmerler said. “They’re going to use this. Now, when they use it, we don’t know.”

The International Maritime Organization told the AP it received an email from North Korea’s Maritime Administration that spelled out the country’s satellite launch plans, including the May 31-June 11 launch window and coordinates of areas where debris might fall.

The pace of both North Korea’s weapons testing and U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises have increased in past months in a tit-for-tat cycle.

Since the start of 2022, North Korea has test-fired about 100 missiles, including ICBMs designed to reach the U.S. mainland and a slew of launches it described as simulated nuclear attacks on targets in South Korea. North Korea has said its intensified testing activity is meant to counter its rivals’ joint military exercises as it continues to use those drills as a pretext to advance its arsenal of nuclear-capable weapons.

In comments published by North Korean state media, senior military official Ri Pyong Chol criticized the combined U.S.-South Korean military exercises, which the North has long described as invasion rehearsals. He said North Korea considers space-based reconnaissance “indispensable” to monitor the military exercises.

Last week, the South Korean and U.S. militaries conducted large-scale live-fire drills near the border with North Korea — the first of five rounds of exercises marking 70 years since the establishment of their alliance. Washington and Seoul describe their regular military exercises as defensive and have expanded their training since 2022 to cope with North Korea’s evolving threats.

Ri said the expanding U.S.-South Korean drills and other military activities underline their “sinister intention” to prepare for preemptive military action against North Korea. He said the “dangerous military acts by the U.S.” and its forces created a concerning security environment that makes it necessary for North Korea to gather real-time, reliable information on military movements in the region.

South Korea has warned that North Korea will face consequences if it goes ahead with the satellite launch in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, which ban the North from conducting any launch using ballistic technology. Space-launch vehicles for satellites share core technologies with long-range missiles that are built to deliver warheads aimed at destroying intercontinental targets.

“It’s absurd to use our legitimate joint exercises, and the maintenance of the South Korea-U.S. joint defense posture to respond to advancing North Korean nuclear and missile threats, as an excuse to launch a reconnaissance satellite,” South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lim Soo-suk said during a briefing.

“We strongly urge North Korea to immediately cancel its launch plans.”

Last week, South Korea launched its first commercial-grade satellite, which experts say could provide Seoul with key technology and expertise to place its first military spy satellite into orbit later this year and build more powerful missiles.

Han Sung Geun, spokesperson of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a briefing that the South Korean and U.S. militaries were closely watching North Korea over the possible satellite launch and other provocative military moves. He did not provide specific assessments about the potential capabilities of the North Korean satellite and refused to say whether the South Korean military was preparing for the possibility that debris could fall in nearby waters.

Spy satellites are among an array of high-tech weapons systems Kim Jong Un has publicly vowed to develop. Other weapons systems on his wish list include solid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear-powered submarines, hypersonic missiles and multi-warhead missiles.

North Korea placed Earth-observation satellites in orbit in 2012 and 2016, though their capabilities have been questioned.

Foreign experts say the earlier satellites never transmitted imagery back to North Korea, and analysts say the new device displayed in state media in recent weeks appeared too small and crudely designed to process and transfer high-resolution imagery.

___

Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Flower Laid Before Grave of Hyon Chol Hae

Kim Jong Un, general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and president of the State Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, visited the Patriotic Martyrs Cemetery in Sinmi-ri on May 19 on the occasion of the 1st anniversary of the death of Hyon Chol Hae.

He was accompanied by Kang Sun Nam, minister of National Defence of the DPRK.

The respected Comrade Kim Jong Un laid a flower at the grave of Hyon Chol Hae, recalling the sincere and resolute appearance and praiseworthy life of the revolutionary soldier who remained boundlessly loyal to the cause of the Party with his genuine personality and noble humanity as a revolutionary and devoted himself to the country, revolution and people without any slight affectations and selfishness.

He paid a silent tribute to the memory of Hyon Chol Hae, son of the great DPRK, and distinguished elder loyalist produced by the Juche revolution.

Seeing again and again the picture of the deceased, Kim Jong Un had a dialogue with him, in his inmost heart for a long while, a beloved soldier whom he has never forgotten when the country was overcoming the worst difficulties and ushered in a new heyday of bolstering up the national defence capabilities as Hyon Chol Hae always accompanied him as a source of strength and courage.

Kim Jong Un said that the feats of the veteran revolutionary who had devoted his whole life to the revolutionary cause of Juche would be immortal along with the history of the Party and the country and that Hyon Chol Hae would always be in the hearts of the Korean people and the service personnel of the People’s Army.

Before the memorial monument of the Patriotic Martyrs Cemetery, he paid high tribute to the martyrs, praying that their valuable life recorded in the history of the country would be immortal on the eminence of respect and honour generation after generation.

KCNA

2023-05-20

Eighth Plenum of Eighth WPK Central Committee to Be Convened

The Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea decided to convene the Eighth Plenary Meeting of the Eighth WPK Central Committee early in June to review the work of the Party and the state administrative organs and the implementation of the national economic plans in the first half of 2023 and discuss the policy issues of weighty significance in the development of the Korean revolution.

The relevant resolution of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee was released on May 28.

2023-05-29

Dangerous US-south Korean Military Attempt Failed

The US and the south Korean puppet scoundrels are getting ever more desperate in their ceaseless war gamble which has gone beyond the threshold of another dangerous phase of escalating tension, though we keep an eye on them with patience.

The enemies launched the largest-ever “combined joint fire annihilation drill” in the area close to the Military Demarcation Line on May 25.

The drill to be conducted in five stages by June 15 is a very dangerous sabre-rattling as its name denotes.

Involved in the first-stage drill were more than 2 500 troops from 71 units of combined forces of the US forces and the south Korean puppet army and more than 610 arms and equipment of the ground and air forces including tanks, armoured cars, fighters and drones.

The powder-reeking war drill was staged in a frantic manner by the US and the south Korean puppet army as part of a “joint strike at artillery units, command and support facilities of the north” and of “reconnaissance surveillance of the north’s core targets in the area along the Military Demarcation Line and strike at them by air and artillery forces.”

The puppet scoundrels went mad with confrontation before the drill, making bellicose remarks that the “drill is prepared as a demonstration of the ultra-modern military capability of the US-south Korea alliance for realizing peace by force” and “it will show the shortest termination of operation with the might of the overwhelming US-south Korea combined joint fighting power and military capabilities.”

The “combined joint fire annihilation drill” is not a simple ordinary drill of a military unit but a very dishonest and threatening actual drill, a preview for the aggressive war and a dangerous attempt to use armed forces against the DPRK.

As everybody knows, the US and the south Korean puppet warmongers have mastered military threat and blackmail and war tactics against the DPRK through the “combined joint fire annihilation drill.”

The drill has been staged 11 times up to now since June 1977, as it was pursuant to the war scenario that the ground, naval and air combined forces of the US and the south Korean puppet armies would carry out a “punishment” against the DPRK by mobilizing the “latest weapons” in case a war breaks out on the Korean peninsula.

The figures show that the US imperialists and the south Korean puppet scoundrels have made great efforts to stage every “combined joint fire annihilation drill.”

At the end of last year, they openly revealed the bellicose nature of the drill, describing it as “the largest-ever one involving many cutting-edge weapons” and “the one demonstrating the great firepower and maneuverability of the alliance.”

As the world public were showing growing concern and strong protest over the gravity of the drill, the US announced before the start of the drill that the combined joint fire operation drill is defensive in essence and is for helping display the mutual operation. In this way, the US replaced the sensitive word “annihilation” in the drill’s name with “operation” in a bid to cover up the drill’s danger.

But, the south Korean puppet rascals persisted in terming it “combined joint fire annihilation drill,” contending that “the aim of the drill is to improve the ability for carrying out the US-south Korea combined joint operation” and that “they would strengthen the deterrent through exercises for maneuverability and live firing.” This clearly shows the bellicose nature of the enemy trying to “exterminate” us on the pretext of “security.”

The stooges of the US so often say that all our acts pose a “serious threat” and theirs provide a “durable security,” because they are under pressure of security uneasiness, persecution complex and obsession.

What cannot be overlooked is the fact that the enemy is waging another military action assuming serious aspect of a nuclear war, as well as the combined drill.

Even now, a joint air drill by the 7th US air force and the south Korean puppet air force continues frantically in the sky above the region of the puppets. And a “joint sea intercepting drill” is planned in the waters off Jeju Island from May 30, together with Japan and other vassal forces.

On the day of the start of the drill, the US Defense Department announced that more strategic assets, including F-22s, F-35s and B-1 strategic bomber, would be deployed in the region of the puppets.

The present situation, in which the “combined joint fire annihilation drill” and other military moves are simultaneously pushed forward, clearly shows the sinister scheme of the enemies to launch an all-out aggression on the DPRK in the sky, on the land and in the sea at any moment by mobilizing even all their strategic assets.

This is very serious developments.

History showed that ceaseless military exercises and arms buildup by the imperialists and warmongers surely led to the criminal military action for invasion of other countries.

No one can vouch that the current combined drill of the US imperialists and the south Korean puppet rascals will not lead to an all-out armed invasion of the DPRK.

It is no exaggeration to say that the war scenario for aggression on the DPRK has already entered its performance stage through training stage.

We’d like to ask them if they can face the consequences to be entailed by their reckless and dangerous war gambles that are being staged under the eyes of the armed forces of the DPRK which they describe as very worrying and threatening.

KCNA

2023-05-29

AU, Partners to Discuss Roadmap for Resolution of Conflict in Sudan

May 30, 2023

ADDIS ABABA – The African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat has convened the third Meeting of the expanded mechanism on the Sudan crisis on Wednesday.

The meeting will bring together representatives from the Trilateral Mechanism – the AU, IGAD and UN – as well as the League of Arab States, the European Union, members of the UN Security Council, Sudan’s neighboring countries and Comoros as Chair of the AU.

Member countries of the Quad – the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE – as well as Norway, Germany and Qatar are also expected to partake in the meeting.

“It aims to discuss the next steps regarding the situation in Sudan, including the implementation of the African Union Roadmap for the Resolution of the Conflict in Sudan (the AU Roadmap), in close collaboration with the Sudanese stakeholders,” the AU said in a statement today.

The AU Roadmap was adopted by the AU PSC at the Heads of State and Government level on 27th May 2023.

Among other things, the AU, says it intends “to establish mechanisms to coordinate support to Sudan, secure an immediate, permanent, inclusive and unconditional cessation of hostilities.”

It also “promotes the resumption of an inclusive, fully representative political process” in Sudan.

The conflict in Sudan began on 15 April and was triggered by a power struggle between former allies – the leaders of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Hundreds of people have been killed in the conflict that forced more than 1.3 million people to flee and threatened to destabilize the region.

On Tuesday, the African Union said it “strongly condemned the ongoing brutal and unjustified conflict” between the SAF and the RSF.

“The AU has also stressed that there can be no military solution to the conflict and demanded the resumption of the political transition process culminating in the conduct of elections towards a democratic, civilian-led government,” the pan African bloc said.

The Union has also firmly rejected all forms of external interference in Sudan.

As part of his efforts to strengthen the search for a common approach to finding a sustainable solution to the multi-layered crisis in Sudan, the AU says Chairperson Mahamat will dispatch emissaries to the states neighboring Sudan in coming days.

The Expanded Mechanism on the Sudan Crisis was established at the Ministerial Special Session on Sudan on April 20 to coordinate and harmonize regional, continental and international efforts in support of a peaceful resolution of the conflict to end the suffering of the Sudanese people.

The second meeting of the Expanded Mechanism was held in Addis Ababa on 2nd May 2023

Monday, May 29, 2023

Sudan Army, Rival Force Under Pressure to Extend Truce After Mediators Show Impatience with Breaches

By SAMY MAGDY

A man leads donkeys pulling water barrels in Khartoum, Sudan, Sunday, May 28, 2023. The Sudanese army and a rival paramilitary force, battling for control of Sudan since mid-April, had agreed last week to the weeklong truce, brokered by the U.S. and the Saudis. However, the cease-fire, like others before it, did not stop the fighting in the capital of Khartoum and elsewhere in the country. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali)

CAIRO (AP) — Sudan’s warring sides were under pressure Monday to extend a shaky cease-fire in their battle for control of the country, after two key international mediators signaled impatience with persistent truce violations.

In a joint statement Sunday, the United States and Saudi Arabia called out Sudan’s military and its rival, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, for specific breaches of a week-long truce that is to expire Monday evening rather than issue another general appeal to respect agreements.

Sudan descended into chaos after fighting erupted in mid-April between the military, led by Gen. Abdel- Fattah Burhan, and the RSF, commanded by Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo. The fighting has killed at least 866 civilians and wounded thousands more, according to the Sudan Doctors’ Syndicate, which tracks civilian casualties. The toll could be much higher, the medical group said.

The conflict has turned the capital, Khartoum, and other urban areas into battlefields, forcing nearly 1.4 million people to flee their homes to safer areas inside Sudan or crossing into neighboring countries. Early on, foreign governments raced to evacuate their diplomats and nationals as thousands of foreign residents scrambled to get out of the African nation.

For weeks, the United States and Saudi Arabia have been mediating talks between the military and the RSF in the Saudi port city of Jeddah. So far, there have been seven declared cease-fires, all of which have been violated to some extent.

In Sunday’s statement, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia noted that the military continued to carry out airstrikes, while the RSF was still occupying people’s homes and seizing properties. Fuel, money, aid supplies and vehicles belonging to a humanitarian convoy were stolen, with theft occurring both in areas controlled by the military and by the RSF, the statement said.

Alan Boswell of the International Crisis Group think tank said the joint statement was meant to pressure both sides into greater compliance, at a time when the U.S. and Saudi Arabia don’t have an alternative for the Jeddah talks.

“There is still no clear path to a successful cease-fire,” said Boswell, who is project director for the Horn of Africa at the Crisis Group. “It’s becoming clearer by the day that mediators can’t afford to wait for a stable cease-fire to kick-start the wider political process needed to find a way out of the conflict.”

Kholood Khalid, a Sudanese analyst with the Khartoum-based Confluence Advisory think tank, said the mediators’ attention has apparently turned to negotiating an agreement on a cease-fire that’s aimed at relaunching the political process.

“But with no consequences to cease-fire violations and the maintenance of flawed mediation logics, there seems to be little hope for success on those,” she said.

The conflict has come to a stalemate as neither side has been able to deliver a decisive blow.

Cameron Hudson, a former U.S. diplomat, said selectively observed cease-fires and slow-moving talks in Jeddah are likely to continue.

“Washington and Riyadh have become too invested in the success of the cease-fire and the process they have in place because failure at this point would reflect poorly on them as much as the parties,” said Hudson, a senior associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

“In the current scenario, the diplomats get their cease-fire and can claim progress towards peace,” he said. “The parties get to keep fighting, and the only people who lose are the 45 million Sudanese,”

The war has inflicted widespread destruction in residential areas in Khartoum and its adjacent cities of Omdurman and Bahri. Residents reported storming and looting of their homes, mostly by the paramilitary troops. Many took to social media to condemn looting and seizing their homes allegedly by the RSF.

Aid groups’ offices, healthcare facilities and other civilian infrastructure were also attacked and looted. Many hospitals have become inaccessible since fighting began in April 15.

There were reports of sexual violence including rape of woman and girls in Khartoum and the western Darfur region, which have seen some of the worst fighting in the conflict. Almost all reported cases of sexual attacks were blamed on the RSF, which didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment.

Doctors and activists were also attacked by both sides of the war. The whereabouts of Dr. Alaa Eldin Awad Nogoud, a prominent surgeon and pro-democracy activist, remain unknown Monday, two days after armed people from the military and the intelligence service took him from his home in Khartoum.

Nogoud had told a television station last week that the military seized medical aid provided by the World Health Organization and stored it at a military hospital in Omdurman, according to local media. He said that doctors were denied access to the facility when they demanded a share of the supplies for other hospitals. They were told that permission was needed first to get access, he said.

Late on Sunday, RSF troops shot dead a political leader with the Umma party, Sudan’s largest as he was trying to resolve a dispute between the paramilitary and citizens in Khartoum’s neighborhood of Haj Youssef, the party said Monday.

In West Darfur province, villages and camps for displaced people were destroyed and burned to the ground in the past weeks, with tens of thousands of people, mostly women and children, fleeing their homes to neighboring Chad, said Dr. Salah Tour, who heads the Doctors’ Syndicate in the province.

Nyala in South Darfur, al-Fasher in North Darfur and Zalingei in Central Darfur have experienced heavy fighting in the past few days. Houses and civilian infrastructure were destroyed and looted, forcing thousands to leave their homes, according to U.N. agencies.

Toby Harward, a coordinator with the U.N. refugee agency in Sudan, urged both parties to stop fighting in Darfur and work with local leaders to “restore security, rule of law and social fabric” in the war-torn region.