Niger ambassador to Belgium Issaka Djibo and wife found dead

Niger embassy

Police investigators at the residence of the ambassador of Niger, in Ukkel-Uccle, Brussels. Picture: Nicolas Maeterlick Source: AFP

Niger Ambassador

Issaka Djibo, 61, and his wife, Fatouma, 50, were found dead in their bedroom by their daughter.

NIGER’S ambassador to Belgium and his wife have been found dead at their residence, apparently the victims of carbon monoxide poisoning, the embassy says.

The bodies of Issaka Djibo, 61, and his wife, Fatouma, 50, were found in their bedroom by their daughter, alerted by an embassy employee who had not heard from the ambassador.

Initial findings suggested the couple died from carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty heater, the Belga news agency cited police as saying.

The ambassador took up his post in January last year, the embassy said.

Leadership Puppetry, Despotism, Corruption & Hypocrisy: Poisonous For Africa

By Tapiwa Kapurura,

Pan-Africanist ideologies demand the elimination of the past colonial order, revamping of the dignity of the African person and the control of the resources on the land for the benefit of the native African. Such creeds petition the renewal of the African pride, dignity, respect, consciousness and being knowledgeable. If these values are collapsed into global standards, they inevitably place the African individual at a similar pedestal with other global citizens while not being unduly taken for granted. Pan Africanism therefore seeks to eliminate the once-rampant stereotyping lacuna reminiscent of of the colonial epoch when Africa was dubbed the “dark continent”. Such “darkness” was in bad taste and not only covered the sub-Saharan skin color of the natives; it also touched aspects of the dark cave life where man hunted and gathered to survive, killed each other or ate their young through bizarre acts of savagery or barbarism, was illiterate, ignorant and required spiritual, mental and physical healing. Through the said prism Africans were labeled as unreasonable, loquacious, empty-headed and violent. That was the label sent to the world by Europe causing Africa to suffer for centuries through wanton resource exploitation, slavery, hard labor, abuse, racism, exploitation and prejudice.

Rolling forward, the contemporary leaders in Africa have ganged up with enlightened activists and scholars as they spearhead the modern Pan Africanist ideologies that have been propounded by folks like Marcus Garvey, William Du Bois, Thomas Sankara, Julius Nyerere and various other notable African statesmen. Such Pan Africanism has been verbally preached by African leaders for ages but indirectly weakened through back door inability to rule, lack of principle or mere corruption. Some leaders have found themselves inadequate to rule without being guided or looking up to Europe. Europe does not come to Africa these days but rules Africa by satellite gadgets. Needy leaders are always roaming in Europe trying to establish friendships deemed indispensable. Despite great ideas from notable scholars, African think tanks and University colleges on African studies, the African leader has felt inadequate without dashing to Europe for ideas to run a country. Forget about the headlines on pride and prejudice, it is all propaganda. Even the most vocal leaders have failed to function without the guidance of the European hand.

Interestingly, Africa remains replete with resources, human capital and various other blessings yet she remains the poorest continent in the world. Poor management of economies, corruption, absence of democracy, pursuit of personal wealth has all clawed back on African progress and development. With oil, diamonds, farm products, wild life and tourist features, Africa remains suffocated with poverty as debt continues to rise exponentially. The IMF and World Bank keep extending loans and credit lines to the poor continent and the debt cycles and dependency syndrome are bound to stay forever as resources are mortgaged by the year. Such debts appear like favors but the side effects are grand. Many modern African leaders today are open worshippers of Europe where they invest their plunder and wealth that they steal from the Motherland during the heyday of their reign. This could be the same reason why poor leadership among Africans or weak economies remains attributable to the century-old colonialism and past historical imbalances. It should be hastily noted that running one’s country with a heavy handed or suppressing free speech has no link to erstwhile colonialism. Actually this puerile agenda has triggered many disappointed Africans to prefer the old colonial era to the present order despite the obnoxious racism and exploitation of the old day. Then, at least corruption, while not ruled out, remained benign as economies were up and running. The colonial order was heavily resented but had futuristic thinking and planning on resource planning and management. Today Africa remains poor because politics is now deemed an easy ticket into wealth. Many start from new shoes to new cars, boats, jets and mansions all the way to Swiss accounts and other offshore investments. To add to that, the leadership has no continuity agenda and many prefer to die in office being some of the wealthiest folks in the world amid the poorest world citizens a stone’s throw away from their heavily-guarded residences.

The colonial system saw emerging African leaders sitting on the fence. They needed more time to learn the ropes of government and the rule of law. Now they make endless trips to Europe and Asia to consult Europe on government issues and survival tactics. When Africa is hungry, Europe expects a knock on her door. The justification-Europe stole so much from Africa and it is payback time. While partnerships with foreign countries are ideal for national development through technical assistance and equitable tradeoffs, many contemporary African leaders prefer to passively receive advice and be indirectly controlled or led. The dependency syndrome is embarrassing amid plenty of African skills and resources. In open speeches African leaders denounce control by Europe but in nefariously-held meetings, they are busy requesting Europe and China to come and continue from where they left before independence. Interestingly, modern Africa is slowly becoming a new colony of China. On the Chinese presence, some dazzled analysts have regarded Chinese presence in Africa as ideal friendship with pragmatic solutions when matched with the West. To the contrary, historians have already started sending signals for “friend beware” because this presence could later become like the hyacinth weed in Lake Chivero, Harare that has given biologists incurable heartburn of all times as they fail to eliminate the weed from the lake. The scramble for Africa with its inhuman consequences and the gradual blood spills should have ushered in prudence and wisdom to many to seriously guard African values after the horrendous ordeal. Surprisingly, most African leaders never learn and the dependency syndrome in their systems has coagulated into solid structures.

After the colonial phase, liberated Africans started various ideologies to save their pride, dignity and values. So many theories were advanced to secure long term African interests to define the modern African person who had to be conscious of own rights and alert to best solutions for Africa. Such a concept on Africanism swept through Africa as a wind of change and was supported by organizations like the Organization of African Unity (now Africa Union). To date, so many other complementary themes dominate the air waves to make the African person vigilant to African interests in the face of potential colonial doctrines, propaganda or exploitation. That Pan Africanist ideology not only protects humanity in the African context but also encompasses the need to secure African borders, prevent past racism and discrimination, resource exploitation and the inequality between the so called developed world and the First World.

Such African pride has also instigated the North-South debate where the underdeveloped nations have pressed for a fair share on the global table in terms of debt forgiveness, equal consideration on global politics and economics as well as due respect in organs like the U.N Security Council. Some have even called for reparations for past colonial practices. Many leaders and African authors, scholars and various folks in academia have fought to keep African themes afloat as they spearhead its liberal doctrines, independence and consciousness values. Today many centers of African studies continue to sprout around the globe as African dignity and consciousness theories are advanced to remedy past racial imbalances historically suffered. While many such propositions have remained theoretical in volumes of bound encyclopedias, the main issue now is on how the global concepts can be whittled down to smaller scale. They say charity begins at home therefore this global talk can be reduced to local action to test how effective or realistic African leaders can perform to advance local values without being corrupt or despotic. In many times, African leaders have been labeled as hypocrites for not practicing what they preach.

While the modern African person should be independent, knowledgeable and free to express oneself and also promote the sense of pride in being African, many today remain “refugees” in their own places of birth. The suffering and torture by their political systems is equated to hell. Those who cannot stand the economic and political heat have fled from bad governance and dying economies or for fear of being invited on Oprah to narrate how they lost their hands to machete wielding men in independent Africa. Analysts state that there have been more refugees fleeing independent Africa than those who fled from the insufferable colonial system in Africa. Millions have been made to suffer and are now in the Diaspora. The reasons for fleeing are public knowledge. Even the UNHCR knows everything. In Africa dictators do not tolerate dissenting views or debate. If disgruntled citizens continue being smart mouths, they easily create lucrative business to funeral homes. On the other hand, disgruntled Africans flee and take their refugee status as the panacea for guaranteed freedom, democracy, good jobs, better schools and colleges for their children. They do not have to fast and pray for good quality infrastructure. Overseas, no doubt, resources and markets are plenty and readily available as the infrastructure remains shiny and well maintained but it is not home. While many question the motive for refugees to be lodged in foreign countries leaving behind the African soil, they might prefer it that way than be mystified or sheepish cheerleaders of a few wealthy folks who occupy the social high towers and flash their wealth and political power in an Africa they have deliberately impoverished amid plenty of potential resources to turn around the economy.

Despite the refugees fleeing annually in millions from the Motherland due to internecine wars, drought, poverty and political disgruntlement, the Africa Union has hardly been noticeable on efforts to promote good governance ideologies at home. The problems are known but the solutions remain theoretical and saved on computer memory somewhere in an Addis Ababa skyscraper.  Also, the belief that not much can happen without funds from the IMF and World Bank makes Africa weaker and dependent on others. While Pan Africanist ideologies are colorful on paper, immediate problems like resource exploitation by the leaders or bad governance have been swept under the carpet as more focus is placed on broadsides to do with the 1884 Scramble for Africa. In the said pursuit of dignity, freedom, liberty and happiness through Pan Africanism, many have proposed various constructive agenda to revamp the spirit of consciousness to spread across the continent with vibrancy and enthusiasm yet the pill for curing bad governance remains a dream.

In light of the advocated Pan Africanism, some top African leaders have embarrassingly back-pedaled on African values through irresistible power hunger, corruption and greed. They preach the need to be independent and free from foreign rule yet they keep asking for help. Even notable Presidents, who have been loud champions of Pan Africanism, have been found wanting on how to be independent. That could be the reason prominent Europeans still call the shots in Zimbabwe besides this noise about land invasions and other politicking. Money talks in the business and wealthy Europeans have continued to buoy politicians by financial contributions in exchange for African resources. The cheap talk about Africa not being a colony again has not made sense as the definition of colonialism has been a matter of who you are talking about or to. There has been generally conspicuous hypocrisy of the worst order. Most African leaders have been found weak and not principled enough to stand by their beliefs in the face of European presence. That fear or compromised association has seen Europe calling the shots and walking away with natural wealth, minerals, wild life, valuable artifacts and other assets.

We thought independence brought freedom and self-control that could usher sustainability to Africa. We are far from it. While too vocal to kill fly-by insects with their noise, our leaders are too weak to be independent and too greedy to be democratic. Their dependency syndrome speaks volumes on how we cannot function or survive without consulting Europe to come in and get our natural resources. The time is up for practically advancing African values not only in social independence but also in economic and political independence. That spirit of consciousness should touch many aspects through a holistic approach that makes a true African person complete with dignity, pride, respect, control of own resources, the economy and destiny as well as freedom to make choices. Investment should be enabled but through fair business dealings that are globally reputable. African leaders should simply walk their talk, let citizens practice free speech as the leaders honor the rule of law. There should be African solutions for African problems and there should also be fair trading of resources in exchange of true values that promote sustainability for African folks at large. If we do not respect each other as Africans, through personal choices, dissenting voices and property rights, the world will never respect us.

12 Ethiopian and Somali immigrants held in Tanzania over illegal entry

THE immigration department here is holding 12 Ethiopian and Somali immigrants
for allegedly entering into the country illegally.

The Assistant Immigration Officer (AIO) for Singida Region, Mr Joseph Mshana,
told reporters in his office yesterday that out of the twelve immigrants, nine
are Ethiopians while three others are Somalis.

According to him, the illegal immigrants were nabbed in Kititimo – about two
kilometres from Singida town along the Singida- Arusha Highway. He said, the
foreigners were apprehended at 05:00pm, soon after they had disembarked from
Mtei Bus from Arusha.

“Actually, we were tipped off by a Good Samaritan, who had become suspicious of
the foreigners. As we reached the area, we found them hiding in the nearby
thickets,” Mshana explained. The AIO said that after questioning them they
revealed that they were heading for South Africa to look for greener pastures.

Mr Mshana said that the immigrants told him that life back home in their
respective countries was unbearable. The list of those nabbed include three
Somalis identified as Ahmed Mohamed Mahamoud, Mohamed Abdi Osman and Yassin
Mohamed Hassan.

The Ethiopians are Adinan Abraham Haji, Tazama Dijamo Walano, Pakala Agore
Mancha, Alam Ayele Gabrisilasie, Tasfai Sugart Kidisu and Atele Lipanso Gafje.
Others include Afendi Aden Suleyman, Abraham Mirato Shanko and Muhidin Sufian
Ahmed. All the immigrants are aged between 20 and 35 years old. The immigration
official said that after investigations are completed, the

Ethiopia: Through a glass brightly

When I was in Ethiopia a few years ago, I visited many Ethiopian Orthodox  churches. I was fascinated by the liturgy, conducted in Ge’ez, an old church  language that is no longer in everyday use. I did not understand a word but  neither did most ordinary churchgoers. The priests would, of course, teach in  the local language of the area, such as Amharic or Tigreyan, and literate  churchgoers could always read the Bible themselves.

But even those who were illiterate had no difficulty learning the stories of  the Bible because every church was decorated from floor to ceiling with vividly  painted frescoes. I could easily follow the stories told on the walls and felt  that I was entering a familiar environment. I realized that I was having an  experience similar to a medieval churchgoer in Europe, where people saw the  stories of their faith in the stained glass windows of churches and  cathedrals.

The earliest complete stained glass windows date from around the 12th  century. A few years ago, however, I was visiting St. Paul’s Church in Jarrow in  the north of England which was once the monastery that was home in the 7th  century to the famous monk and church historian known as the Venerable Bede (c.  672-735). In the Saxon chancel, there is a window made up of fragments believed  to be the oldest existing stained glass window in the world. It dates to 674  when Benedict Biscop founded the monastery and brought stained glass workers  from France to introduce the new technique of decorating a church with glass  that was both beautiful and educational.

The oldest complete stained glass windows are found in cathedrals like  Chartres in France and York Minister in England. Both have beautiful Tree of  Jesse windows that depict the Biblical genealogy of Jesus. Looking at them, I  have wondered how many pilgrims before me have studied those windows, pondering  the figures and finding that the gospel stories came alive because of the vivid  colors.

It saddens me to think of the countless stained glass windows that were  destroyed in the 16th century when the excesses of the Reformation led people to  smash them because they feared that the images amounted to idolatry. Glass is  such a delicate medium that many beautiful windows have been lost, some to  deliberate destruction, others (like Coventry Cathedral) as a consequence of  war, and still others because of neglect.

So I was concerned when I learned from former parishioners of St. Paul’s  Episcopal Church in Millis that they were unsure what the fate would be of the  stained glass windows in the church building once it was deconsecrated and sold.  I told them that I would be happy if some of the windows could find a home at  St. Michael’s in Holliston especially since several former Millis parishioners  were now valued members of our community.

With the support and assistance of the diocese, the stained glass windows  were removed from the St. Paul’s building. Six windows that fit well together  were selected for installation at St. Michael’s. We are now working with a firm  experienced in stained glass installation to determine the best design for  adding these windows to a building that is architecturally very different from  St. Paul’s.

If all goes well, the windows will be installed this spring. It is good to  think of future generations of children learning from these windows about Jesus’ fishing on the Sea of Galilee and later riding into Jerusalem on a donkey while  all of us enjoy the opportunity to meditate quietly on the images in beautiful  colors. As Milton said, the dim religious light of storied windows together with  the full-voiced choir and pealing organ may indeed “bring all Heaven before mine  eyes.”

Christine Whittaker is the priest at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church,  Holliston.


Ethiopia: Militia Attacks Villages In Eastern Oromia

It has been reported that the Ethiopian-Somali regional state militia known as ‘Liyu Police’ has attacked the town of Qumbi in Eastern Oromia killing many and displacing the population. For the past month the Liyu Police have been attacking, harassing and displacing civilians in the lowland region of Mayu Mulluqe county (woreda) in East Hararge zone. Attacks have taken place in and around the municipalities of Qumbi Goohaa, Seelaa Jaajoo and Aanaa Miinoo according to locals. Many have fled these areas to neighbouring places such as Burqa Tirtira and the vacated areas remain under the Liyu police occupation.

Since its creation in 2007, the Liyu Police militia has been known to commit atrocities against civilians in the Ogaden region and has launched attacks on neighbouring Somali tribes on numerous occasions. However in the last few months, the militia has begun carrying out cross-border raids into the Oromia region. It should be remembered that this heavily armed militia overrun the town of Moyale in Southern Oromia resulting in the death of dozens of people and forcing tens of thousands to flee to Kenya, as reported by Al Jazeera. All indications are that the attacks have been carried out on the orders of the Federal government in Addis Ababa. As reported at the time, during the attack on Moyale, the 4th army division stationed just two miles outside the town center watched silently as the militia overrun the police station and ransacked the town. Then the militia was allowed safe passage to retreat after looting and burning the town while administrators of the Borana province who protested against the army complacency were thrown to jail where they still remain.

Similarly, prior to the recent attacks, the local militia in Mayu Mulluqe in charge of security had been disarmed while the Liyu Police have continued to receive supply of arms and food from the federal government, according to officials of the East Hararghe province who do not wish their name to be disclosed. After the militia’s incursions into Oromia region began last month, trucks transporting weapons to the areas controlled by the militia have been reported by witnesses. Locals in Burqa Tirtira have blocked roads preventing weapons from reaching the militia currently occupying Qumbi. Despite this, weapons have been flown in and the campaign has continued. It is believed that Burqa Tirtira town may be the next target of the onslaught. This militia is so well trained and heavily armed that, they have taken over most of the fight against the Ogaden insurgents enabling the federal government to move most of its contingents to the northern front where confrontation with Eritrea is on the rise. The Guardian recently reported that the British aid money is been used to arm and train the Liyu police.

According to a source in the Somali region, the president of the region and commander of the Liyu police told the Somali elders that the cross-border raids and invasions by the Liyu police are meant to reclaim territories lost to Oromia during the 2004 boarder referendum. It is to be recalled that referendum was organized to settle dispute between the two regions over 420 kebeles in 12 districts. The referendum resulted in residents living in the 80% of the disputed areas voting to join Oromia. The district of Qumbi was created from some of the villages that voted to join Oromia. However, the demarcation has been postponed for the past nine years. The final phase of the demarcation was supposed to take place his year.

However, the territorial dispute seems to be more of a cover story than a real motive for both the regional and federal government in catalyzing this conflict. There are two motives at play, tackling the activities of the Ogaden and dispersing the growing resistance of the Muslim population. The government suspects that Oromo communities in the region has been complacent in facilitating for the Ogaden to pass through and hide within the Oromo territories whenever they are pressured in their home region. The government securities believe that local elders’ close relations with Ogaden rebels might be orchestrated by the Oromo Liberation that historically enjoys strong support in the area. Hence the regime is reviving the territorial dispute to frustrate the operational alliance between the two insurgents.

Moreover, East Hararge zone has been the target of the governments Ahbash indoctrination campaign and was singled out in a leaked government document as a target zone for government “re-education” due to the so called spread of “extremism”. The report complained that administrators in charge of many of the districts in the province have been openly hostile towards and refuse to implement the indoctrination campaigns. Therefore these attacks by the Liyu Police militia can be interpreted as an effort by the Ethiopian government to instill fear in the population and force them into submission in exchange for protection against the cross-border raids. If the government does at some point decide to step in and restrain its attacks, they will likely try to appear as the peacemaker and the populations’ only source of security, while sowing hatred and distrust between Oromos and their neighbours.

The report first published by The Gulele Post



List of African Nations Cup winners

African-Cup-of-Nations-Trophy_2386276(Reuters) – African Nations Cup winners

(host country in brackets) :

1957 – Egypt (Sudan)

1959 – Egypt (Egypt)

1962 – Ethiopia (Ethiopia)

1963 – Ghana (Ghana)

1965 – Ghana (Tunisia)

1968 – Congo-Kinshasa* (Ethiopia)

1970 – Sudan (Sudan)

1972 – Congo (Cameroon)

1974 – Zaire* (Egypt)

1976 – Morocco (Ethiopia)

1978 – Ghana (Ghana)

1980 – Nigeria (Nigeria)

1982 – Ghana (Libya)

1984 – Cameroon (Ivory Coast)

1986 – Egypt (Egypt)

1988 – Cameroon (Morocco)

1990 – Algeria (Algeria)

1992 – Ivory Coast (Senegal)

1994 – Nigeria (Tunisia)

1996 – South Africa (South Africa)

1998 – Egypt (Burkina Faso)

2000 – Cameroon (Ghana and Nigeria co-hosts)

2002 – Cameroon (Mali)

2004 – Tunisia (Tunisia)

2006 – Egypt (Egypt)

2008 – Egypt (Ghana)

2010 – Egypt (Angola)

2012 – Zambia (Equatorial Guinea and Gabon co-hosts)

* Congo-Kinshasa and Zaire are now known as the Democratic

Republic of Congo.

AU Troops Mistook Homes for ‘Rebel Camp’ and Kill Five Children in Southern Somalia

African Union troops attacked a number of homes in a pre-dawn raid against the town of Leggo in southern Somalia today, killing seven or eight civilians, including five children.

Local leaders say that the troops attacked the homes indiscriminately, and killed camels and goats outside. The elder of the town speculated that the AU had mistaken the homes for a “rebel camp.”

African Union commander Salvatore Harushimana confirmed the incident, expressing “condolences” for the deaths, but claimed that the troops were in the process of repelling an attack by rebel forces, claiming the civilians were caught in a crossfire.

Oddly, none of the residents, nor the MPs from the Somali government who commented on the situation, mentioned any sort of battle in Leggo, and all suggested that the attack by the AU forces came totally unprovoked.

Somali journalist shot dead; 1st this year

Associated Press

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Unknown gunmen shot dead a Somali radio producer on Friday, the first journalist to be killed this year, an editor with his Somali radio station said. Eighteen journalists were killed last year, making Somalia one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists.

Two gunmen shot dead Shabelle producer Abdihared Osman Aden in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, said Mohamed Bashir Hashi, the radio station’s editor.

Somali journalists say impunity is fueling the killings. The National Union of Somali Journalists said in November that journalists in almost every region of the country commonly face harassment, blackmail and arbitrary police detention. In addition, criminals are hired to suppress them.

“It’s an appalling murder but my message is they cannot silence us from telling the truth,” Hashi said.

No action has ever been taken following a case of violence against a Somali journalist, The National Union of Somali Journalist said in a report to mark the International Day to End Impunity on Nov. 23, sponsored by the free expression group, IFEX.

Somalia’s government should implement judicial reforms that will aid free and fair trials, as well as provide judicial protection for the media and ensure that police adhere to the law, according to the report titled “Impunity: War on Somali Journalists.” The international community can assist Somalia’s federal government to put in place effective and functional public law and order, the report said.

Somalia made significant strides politically last year in trying to establish its first functional government to move the country away from its failed-state status.

Somalia had not had a functioning central government since 1991, when warlords overthrew a longtime dictator and turned on each other, plunging the impoverished nation into chaos.

African Union troops have helped to push Islamist extremists called al-Shabab out of all Somalia’s major cities, giving the newly elected government a chance to rebuild the country.

The International Federation of Journalist says the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Shabab insurgent group has maimed and killed journalists who do not toe their line.

With Hizbul-Islam, another hardline insurgent group, they have in recent years ratcheted up pressure on radio stations, first and foremost to ascertain their authority on what goes on air and to impose Taliban-type commandments on un-Islamic music, ringtones, film and football, says IFJ.

So Why Did France Invade Mali Anyway?

Expert says France fights to protect Europe’s ‘backyard’

Malian soldiers, helped by French troops, move a broken helicopter out a hangar to make room for more incoming troops at Bamako's airport.Malian soldiers, helped by French troops, move a broken helicopter out a hangar to make room for more incoming troops at Bamako’s airport.

The French military action in Mali serves not only to keep the unstable African nation from falling under the yoke of Islamic extremist rule, but also to keep terrorists out of France and Europe’s front yard, analysts say.

France has deployed thousands of ground troops to reinforce aerial strikes that began on Friday, in an attempt to quell a coalition of disparate extremist groups approaching the capital city from the north. The insurgents’ progress has startled some experts who did not think they would already seize territory within 200 miles of Bamako.

The goal of pushing back the northern fighters is clear, but how it will be accomplished remains very uncertain. Other countries in West Africa are still trying to determine their role in the efforts to keep Mali from toppling, and France, the former colonial master of Mali, itself faces internal disputes over the next step in their strategy.

“[The extremists’] ultimate goal is to establish Mali as an Islamic state,” says Morgan Roach, research analyst with the Heritage Foundation. “It would provide them with a base to not only carry out and recruit, but train as well as launch international terrorist attacks.”

“[The French] have an interest in Mali, and they have colonial ties to Mali. They consider this their backyard and a threat to France and Europe,” she adds.

Reconfiguring the country as a terrorist base would likely not happen quickly, but is possible barring outside intervention, Roach says. Former Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure failed to turn over the government to any kind of civilian rule before he was ousted last March in coup d’etat, leaving the country vulnerable to power grabs.

Preventing total governmental collapse is “absolutely critical to stop the offensive of terrorist groups,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Tuesday.

The rebel fighters are a motley crew comprised of three primary groups. Ansar al Din is an Islamist group led by Iyad Ag Ghaly, a former Malian diplomat with experience to posts such as Saudi Arabia. Ag Ghaly is a Tuareg, the Berber nomadic tribe found throughout Saharan regions of North Africa. He is connected to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a mostly Arab affiliate of the terrorist network based in North Africa. AQIM also has close ties with the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, or MUJAO, comprised of largely of sub-Saharan Africans.

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Tuesday these groups pose a serious threat worldwide.

“[AQIM] and Al-Shabaab continue to sow instability and exploit safe havens in Mali, the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, destabilizing societies and obstructing the delivery of vital humanitarian relief to millions in need,” she said at a Security Council briefing.

“Terrorist groups continue to adapt, evolving into criminal entrepreneurs, engaging in trafficking and other illicit activities to finance their operations,” Rice added.

The U.N. Security Council on Monday backed France’s military action.

As for whether France’s response will be effective, it’s too early to tell, Heritage’s Roach says.

“They’re not off to a good start, considering Diabaly was taken, despite aerial bombardment,” she says. The small town less than 200 miles northeast of Bamako was the target of French aerial strikes. Intense clashes between al Qaeda-linked extremists and Malian and French ground troops began there Thursday morning, BBC reports.

“They have an uphill battle. They need to fight back this coalition of Islamic groups, and then, ‘What then?’ ” she says.

The Economic Community of West African States has not yet reached a consensus on how to deploy African forces to support the mission, which was supposed to begin later this year.

Newly elected French President Francois Hollande said in a press conference Tuesday that troops would remain in Mali until the country is safe and stable, though the French foreign minister said the engagement would only last for a matter of weeks.

Public support in France remains high for the mission. Almost two-thirds of the country support it, according to a Monday poll by the French Institute of Public Opinion, reported by the Christian Science Monitor.

But Roach questions how long that will stand, particularly if French troops start taking casualties.

The best case scenario involves a long, two-pronged approach, she says, of fighting off the Islamic militants as they hide among civilians, and push them back to arid, sparsely populated northern Mali.

A successful military campaign would have to be followed by resurrecting the Malian government to a state where it can defend itself.

This is an optimistic appraisal versus the worst outcome, of the French and Malians losing control of Bamako to the rebel fighters and Mali becomes under de facto Islamic extremist control.

The most likely situation, says Roach, is a combination of the two. Most of the fighters will be pushed back into the north, but some will remain blended in the civilian population. They won’t be able to advance, but they also can’t be pushed back.

It could lead to an eventual stalemate, she says. “I don’t think this is going anywhere any time soon. The troops are very well dug in and for now, at least, they are unified and working together.”

Ethiopia: A fox in sheep’s clothing? Teddy Afro frowned up on

By Getahune Bekele, Pretoria- South Africa)

1The controversial Ethiopian singer-cum-poet Tewodros kasahun aka Teddy Afro (pictured) is in big trouble here in South Africa as raging refugees already boycotted his concert scheduled for Sunday 20 Jan 2012 in Johannesburg after news emerged that Ethiopian embassy officials and TPLF cadres will use the occasion to market the so called renaissance dam bond sale.

Many are arguing that if the young singer who becomes overlord, stern and haughty is still worth listening to.

“This foxy and skinflint Teddy cannot always claim that he has been led astray by his manager or someone he trusted. His concert is written TPLF all over it and the timing is scandalous to say the least.” The singer’s best friend who grew up with him at Addis Ketema district of Addis Ababa told the Horn Times.

The friend who requested anonymity for fear of attacks on his family back home further said Teddy’s new approach is that he wants to be seen by the ruling minority junta as a useful unifying force and a champion of peace and reconciliation while at the same time wishes to remain in the heart of Ethiopians as fearless patriot and the true voice of freedom and  change.

“But I do not know how he is going to manage to keep both balls in the air, the frightful storm is coming.” The angry friend who distanced himself from the concert added.

The Horn Times then tracked down the divisive individual who brought Teddy Afro for Sunday’s concert, a feared TPLF stalwart here in South Africa and former human smuggler known as Ato Alem. However, he nervously refused to say a word and threatened to sue the Horn Times editor if “anything bad” is reported about Teddy or Sunday’s concert.

Furthermore, Teddy Afro, the man who makes millions by capitalizing on the insatiable hunger of Ethiopians for patriotic voices, didn’t make any attempt to meet members of the Ethiopian community association in South Africa or leaders of Bête- Ethiopia.