Egyptian authorities escalated their crackdown on Darfur rebel groups maintaining offices in Cairo, expelling Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) representative Hafiz Youcif Hamoda from the country. The move comes with increasing pressure on Sudanese migrants and refugees in Egypt.
For the past three days, the disputed Sudanese territory of Abeyi has been undergoing what one local SPLA official calls a "bloodbath," with Misseriya ethnic militiamen attacking local Ngok (Dinka) residents, and Battalion 31 of the Sudan Armed Forces shelling the area "indiscriminately." The SPLA and Ngok residents accuse the Sudan Armed Forces of arming the Misseriya militia in violation of the peace agreement. (New Sudan Vision, May 20)
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change accused President Robert Mugabe's government of setting up a sham investigation into electoral violence to deflect international criticism. The MDC says 43 of its members have been killed and scores forced from their homes by militias loyal to Mugabe since disputed March elections. It says the violence is intended to throw a June 27 run-off vote pitting Mugabe against the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai.
South Sudanese former SPLA rebel fighters engaged government forces May 14 in the disputed oil-rich Abyei region, leaving up to four dead and sending hundreds fleeing. Heavy exchanges of machine gun and mortar fire could be heard from a UN base just outside the town in the north-south border zone. Fighting reportedly spilled into the town's marketplace. Abyei, often called the "Kashmir" of Sudan's north-south conflict and coveted by both sides, is cited as a potential flashpoint to reignite civil war. (Reuters, May 14)
Back in February, rebels in Chad penetrated N'Djamena, the capital, after driving across hundreds of miles of desert from the east in a fleet of armed pick-up trucks. Chad's government quickly accused Sudan of supporting the operation. On May 10, Darfur's rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) penetrated Khartoum, Sudan's capital, after driving across hundreds of miles of desert from the west in a fleet of armed pick-up trucks. Sudan's government quickly accused Chad of supporting the operation—and broke off diplomatic relations.
Hundreds of youths hurled stones and blocked roads with burning tires May 6 in a second day of protests over food prices in Mogadishu, where the price of corn meal has more than doubled since January and rice has risen from $26 to $47.50 for a 110-pound sack. The protests were sparked by shopkeepers' refusal to accept some bank notes, apparently over fears of counterfeiters. On May 5, tens of thousands took to the streets and five people were killed by government troops and armed shopkeepers. (SomaliNet, AP, May 6) More than a thousand people demonstrated in Dusamareb, central Somalia, May 4 against the US air-strike that killed an alleged al-Qaeda militant and at least 11 others. (VOA, May 4)
In a pre-dawn attack May 1, US missiles destroyed the home of reputed al-Qaeda leader Aden Hashi Ayro in Dusamareeb, Somalia. The attack killed 24 others in the targeted house and nearby homes. "This will not deter us from prosecuting our holy war against Allah's enemy," Sheik Muqtar Robow, a spokesman for Ayro's al-Shabab militia told AP via telephone. "If Ayro is dead, those he trained are still in place and ready to avenge against the enemy of Allah."
Spain is sending frigate to the coast of Somalia following the seizure of a Spanish tuna fishing boat, the Playa de Bakio, by pirates. Some 26 people were aboard, including 13 Spaniards and a crew of various African nationals. The Dubai-flagged Al-Khaleej, was carrying food for sale in Somalia, was also hijacked seven kilometers off the northeastern Somali port of Bosasso, and pirates reportedly fired on a Japanese-flagged chemical carrier off Yemen.