Saturday, September 01, 2007

Around the world: Burma, Sudan, Sierra Leone, and DR Congo

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Once again, as part of our ongoing series, some stories from around the world that deserve more attention than they are getting -- at least than they are getting here in North America.

1) Burma: "The opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) says more than 100 people have been detained in one of the harshest crackdowns in the former Burma since a mass uprising in 1988 led by students and Buddhist monks." (The tyrannical military junta (formerly the State Law and Order Restoration Council, or SLORC, now the State Peace and Development Council, or SPDC) that rules the country calls it Myanmar; dissidents, the junta's opponents, call it Burma, which is what it was called officially pre-1989. I'm going with Burma.)

2) Sudan: "The Sudanese government said Saturday that rebels from Darfur killed 41 of its soldiers in a raid outside the region, adding to fears that the conflict is spilling into the rest of Sudan. The raid on a police garrison in neighboring West Kordofan Province Wednesday has been claimed by both the Sudanese Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement, the two main rebel movements fighting the government in Darfur for the past three years." (The situation is rather complex, to be sure, but it is the Sudanese government in Khartoum that has been behind the genocide in Darfur. Which leads one to ABK: Anyone But Khartoum. Good for the rebels.)

3) Sierra Leone: "Dozens of people have been injured in clashes between supporters of rival presidential candidates in Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown. Police fired tear gas to break up the clashes, the latest in a series in the run up to the second round of voting. President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah had earlier threatened to impose a state of emergency if violence continued." (Democratic growing pains after a brutal (see Blood Diamond) nine-year civil war that ended in 2002. Still, there is reason to be hopeful that the country can withstand this bout of violence and continue to move forward.)

4) DR Congo: "A dissident Congolese army officer says there is a state of war between the government and his forces in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo." The officer in question, a Tutsi general, is accusing "the government of forming an alliance with Hutus to attack his troops". The U.N. is reporting that "tens of thousands have fled from their homes". (Get ready for a sequal to Hotel Rwanda -- yet more bloodshed in a region torn apart by civil war and genocide. One wonders how much more it can take.)

Make sure to read these linked articles in full.

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