Articles

02/09/07 (B411) JDD : Borrel : Guelleh dans la mire (Info lectrice)

Par Grégory BLACHIER

Deux proches du président djiboutien Ismaël Omar Guelleh ont été renvoyés en correctionnelle par la justice française, dans le cadre de l’enquête pour « subornation de témoin » dans l’affaire Borrel. Les convocations du procureur général de Djibouti et du chef des services secrets confortent la veuve de Bernard Borrel, qui accuse Guelleh d’avoir commandité l’assassinat de son époux.

Une première victoire judiciaire »: Mardi, l’avocat d’Elisabeth Borrel, veuve du magistrat français Bernard Borrel, retrouvé mort en octobre 1995 à Djibouti, s’est félicité du renvoi en justice de deux personnalités de premier plan. Par ordonnance du 20 août, le procureur général de Djibouti, Djama Souleiman Ali, et le chef des services secrets, Hassan Saïd Khaireh, ont été renvoyé devant le tribunal correctionnel de Versailles, dans le cadre de l’enquête pour « subornation de témoin » parallèle à celle qui vise à déterminer les causes et les responsabilités dans la mort du juge.

Le dossier instruit à Versailles concerne des tentatives de pression sur un témoin, Mohamed Saleh Alhoumekani, qui dit avoir entendu, dans la nuit du 19 au 20 octobre 1995, à une conversation sur l’élimination d’un « juge fouineur ». Selon lui, plusieurs officiels, dont Ismaël Omar Guelleh, participaient à cette discussion dans les jardins du palais présidentiel. Le procureur général et le chef des services secrets auraient essayé de pousser le témoin à revenir sur ses déclarations.

Convoqués en 2005 par le juge d’instruction, ils avaient refusé de venir s’exprimer. Il en sera de même cette fois, puisque leur avocat, Me Francis Szpiner, a annoncé dans la journée qu’ils ne répondraient pas à la convocation. « Bien entendu, ni le procureur général, ni le conseiller à la sécurité nationale ne déféreront à cette convocation, parce qu’ils ont expliqué que la coopération judiciaire entre les deux pays étant suspendue, ils ne recevront pas l’autorisation de se rendre », a-t-il dit sur France Infos, parlant à propos du comportement français de « condescendance ».

Les deux mis en cause seront donc jugés en leur absence.

« La justice française pointe la responsabilité du président » Guelleh

Aujourd’hui, les deux hommes font donc l’objet de mandats d’arrêt internationaux, valant mise en examen. Et l’ordonnance présente d’autant plus de valeur aux yeux d’Elisabeth Borrel et de son avocat qu’ils sont des proches du président djiboutien, Ismaël Omar Guelleh, accusé par la veuve du magistrat d’avoir commandité l’assassinat de son époux. « Ce qui constitue une première victoire judiciaire pour Mme Borrel, c’est que derrière le renvoi de ces dignitaires djiboutiens proches du pouvoir, la justice française pointe du doigt la responsabilité de l’actuel président de la République de Djibouti », a ainsi commenté Me Olivier Morice.

Après avoir obtenu, sur la foi des témoignages des experts légistes, que la thèse de l’assassinat soit privilégiée, plutôt que celle du suicide, la veuve Borrel et son représentant espèrent donc mettre en lumière la manipulation politique qui est, selon eux, à l’origine de la mort de Bernard Borrel. En juillet dernier, un responsable militaire a déclaré devant la juge Sophie Clément, chargée de l’enquête sur les faits proprement dits, que le juge Borrel, officiellement coopérant français et conseiller technique chargé de refonder le code pénal, enquêtait sur des « trafics » présumés auxquels se livrait Guelleh, alors chef de cabinet du président. Ces investigations étaient menées, selon le militaire, à la demande du ministre de la Justice, lequel sera arrêté peu après la mort du juge.

Le dossier est émaillé d’autres manipulations présumées qui alimentent la position de Mme Borrel. Ainsi les deux juges qui enquêtent sur les contours de l’affaire ont-elles perquisitionné, en juillet, le domicile de Michel de Bonnecorse, ancien M. Afrique de l’Elysée.

Elles cherchent à établir si le pouvoir politique français a exercé des pressions sur la juge Sophie Clément pour que le dossier d’instruction soit transmis aux autorités de Djibouti, ce que la magistrate avait toujours refusé. Avec la mise en examen du procureur de Djibouti, ces éléments accréditent la version des Borrel, celle d’un assassinat politique.

Le président Guelleh, lui, continue de nier toute implication dans la mort de Bernard Borrel.

03/09/07 (B411) BBC : les rebelles de l’Ogaden accepter une trève durant la visite de la délégation des Nations Unies chargée d’évaluer les faits qui se sont produits dans la région. Ethiopia rebels ‘agree UN truce’ (En anglais – Info lectrice/lecteur)

Ethiopia’s Somali region is also known as the Ogaden

Rebels in south-eastern Ethiopia say they will observe a ceasefire for the week-long visit of a UN delegation.

The team is probing rights violations and humanitarian issues in the conflict between troops and the Ogaden National Liberation Front in the Somali region.

The ONLF has been fighting for independence for ethnic Somalis in the region for more than 20 years.

The conflict flared in April when the ONLF attacked a Chinese-run exploration team, killing 74 people.

In a statement, the ONLF said its fighters had been instructed to cease all offensive military operations to provide maximum security for the UN team.

Large parts of the region have been inaccessible to outside agencies in recent months as Ethiopian troops attempt to suppress the rebel insurgency.

The BBC’s Elizabeth Blunt in Addis Ababa says there are reported to be food shortages, disease outbreaks and serious human rights violations in some areas.

In its statement, the ONLF urged « mission team members to visit all parts in order to investigate war crimes and not limit their mission to the few routes approved by the [governing] regime ».

But our correspondent says it is hard to imagine that the UN team will be either willing or able to travel in central Somali region, also known as the Ogaden, without security clearance from the Ethiopian armed forces.

The 14-member UN team includes representatives of the World Food Programme, World Health Organization and the UN Commission for Human Rights.

The ONLF draws its support from Somali clans and accuses the authorities of imposing a blockade on five districts, choking off commercial trade.

03/09/07 (B411) IRIN (ONU) : SOMALIE : les opinions divergent quand à l’appréciation des résultats de la Conférence de réconciliation qui s’est achevée la semaine dernière après un mois et demi de réunions, qui ont accueilli plus de 1.000 délégués – SOMALIA: Opinions mixed as reconciliation conference winds up (Info lecteur – En Anglais)

Organisers of Somalia’s national reconciliation conference hailed the meeting as a success even as analysts expressed doubts over the outcome, saying major parties in the current crisis had been left out of the peace-making process.

« The conference will come to a close today [30 August]. It has been a success, » said Abdulkadir Walayo, media adviser to the National Governance and Reconciliation Commission (NGRC), which organised the conference.

Walayo said the conference marked the first time in 16 years that Somali clans « formally sat down to reconcile and forgive one another ».

His observation was echoed by the government spokesman Abdi Haji Gobdon, who said the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) viewed this phase of the conference as « a total success ». He said the government would forge ahead with reconciliation and planned to send delegates to the regions and districts to explain the conference outcome to communities.

The conference was postponed three times amid threats of violence and even when it got under way on 15 July, it was marred by boycotts by some key parties.

According to analysts, however, the conference did not achieve much and failed in its main task of reconciliation. « Reconciliation is the most urgent priority for Somalia but the TFG defined it in deliberately narrow terms, related to clans only. The conference achieved very little since none of the key issues essential to restoring security, as well as a broader peace, was discussed, » said Salim Lone, a newspaper columnist and political commentator based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Timothy Othieno, Horn of Africa analyst at the Institute for Global Dialogue in Johannesburg, described the conference as « a total failure » because of the way the participants were chosen and the arbitrary tactics of the TFG. « The TFG determined who was going to attend and who wasn’t. You cannot place conditions on participants if you are trying to reconcile a nation. »

The Hawiye clan, the dominant group in Mogadishu, and the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) were left out of the process, he said. « This indeed signalled the end of the ‘conference’ even before it began, » Othieno said. The TFG forgot that it was an interim government created to « to facilitate a process that would legitimise whoever is chosen by the people – via credible elections », he added.

A civil society source in Mogadishu, who said they had not been invited to the conference, complained that it was « a missed opportunity ». The gathering should have been all-inclusive, and held at a neutral venue, he said.

« Unfortunately neither the armed nor the unarmed opposition was invited, » he said. Mogadishu was not a neutral venue for the meeting, he added.

Added Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed of the UIC: « From beginning to end [the conference] was not about the interests of the Somali people but to legitimise the occupation. » Ethiopia sent its troops to Mogadishu in late 2006 to help the TFG defeat UIC forces and its soldiers, who are widely seen as occupiers, are still in the city.

Sheikh Ahmed said those who participated in the conference represented no one but themselves. « If anything, the conference has worsened the plight of the population in Mogadishu », pointing out that thousands of people continue to leave the city due to the insecurity.

Way forward

All agree that the only hope for peace now is an all-inclusive conference. « The way forward must be to convene a conference under UN [United Nations] or AU [African Union] direction in a neutral venue where all parties and individuals feel safe, » said Lone.

Such a conference should not have thousands of people, according to Othieno. « All you need is the participation of the major players and stakeholders in Somalia who would sit down at one table and thrash out their differences by focusing on common interests and goals, » he said.

Indeed, François Fall, the UN Special Representative for Somalia, on behalf of the International Advisory Committee, said: « Whilst the conclusion of this Congress marks yet another milestone in the quest for peace and reconciliation in Somalia, it does not, however, signify the end of the reconciliation process. »

Fall urged the TFG to pursue efforts to reach out to all opposition groups both within and outside Somalia and to ensure an effective implementation of the Transitional Federal Charter. The best way to fight terrorism in Somalia, he said, « is to pursue open dialogue and genuine reconciliation among all the parties ».

According to Sheikh Ahmed, the international community should help the Somali people as a facilitator « but should respect the wishes of the people. We can talk about anything so long as there is no occupation and no interference. »

Analysts argue that both the TFG and international community needed to change tack if any solution is to be achieved.

« The TFG needs to adopt a less confrontational approach to dealing with the opposition and humble themselves genuinely if they have the interests of Somalis at heart. Personal agendas and interests need to be put aside for the greater good of Somalia, » said Othieno.

According to Lone, the international community, particularly « the US, UN, AU and IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] should recognise that they must reach out to and engage with all those who enjoy a level of popular support. Any concerns they might have about such groups should be candidly discussed and negotiated. »

The TFG for its part said the conference was not the end of the reconciliation process. « The government will continue to pursue national reconciliation with the opposition, » said Gobdon. He said that contacts had been established with the political opposition and « once they agree to a meeting, a suitable venue will be found ».

03/09/07 (B411) REUTERS : Des musulmans du Kenya dénoncent des arrestations illégales et des actes de torture, sous les directives américaines – Kenya Muslims say U.S. backed torture, detention (Info lecteur – En Anglais)

By Jeremy Clarke

NAIROBI, Aug 30 (Reuters) – Kenyan Muslims marched on police headquarters in Nairobi on Thursday in protest against what they called the illegal detention and torture of fellow Muslims in an anti-terrorist drive urged on by the United States.

The protest involving a few dozen people followed months of simmering tensions between the east African nation’s Muslim community and authorities they accuse of persecuting and arresting them on U.S. government orders.

« We don’t expect this in our country. Just how much power do the Americans have over the Kenyan government? » said Al-Amin Kimathi, chairman of Kenya’s Muslim Human Rights Forum.

Kenyan authorities could not be reached for comment.

The United States embassy in Nairobi said the United States was committed to working with regional partners to oppose terrorism.

« We are working to…disrupt the efforts of terrorists wherever they may be active, » embassy spokeswoman Jennifer Barnes said.

Human Rights groups accuse Kenya of involvement in a clandestine U.S. practice of detainee transfer known as rendition.

AGGRESSIVE INTERROGATING

Kenyan police arrested scores of people on the Somali border in January and February after allied Ethiopian and Somali government troops chased Islamist fighters Washington accuses of having links to Al Qaeda out of Mogadishu.

Human rights groups say Kenyan authorities put dozens of terror suspects from Kenya on secret rendition flights to Ethiopia for interrogation by U.S. officials. Local activists said none had been prosecuted in any court.

« We know from a released prisoner that it is Americans doing the aggressive interrogating, and the Kenyan government is making it possible for them, » Kimathi said.

At police headquarters, protesters demanded to know the whereabouts of two brothers who have gone missing.

They said Kenyan police took the younger brother to Somalia, then Ethiopia, in January without charge or explanation. He was able to contact relatives once to tell of his torture, the activists say.

Police seized his older brother last week outside a Nairobi mosque, according to relatives who were told nothing further and fear he faces the same fate as his younger brother.

Family members of the two brothers joined Thursday’s protest and delivered a letter to police.

« The crack-down of so-called terrorists…is a blanket design and a veiled, skilful and state-orchestrated machination aimed at intimidating, harassing and persecuting members of the Muslim community, » the letter said. (Additional reporting by Tim Cocks in Nairobi)

01/09/07 (B411) SH Network. Le Gouvernement somalien « démissionne » par décret, son propre ambassadeur en Ethiopie, sans que l’on en connaisse les véritables motivations – Somali govt. sacks its ambassador to Ethiopia (En Anglais – info lecteur)

Somalia transitional federal government has issued a decree sacking its ambassador to Ethiopia.

The Ambassador, Abdi Kariin Laqanyo had been also representing Somali the envoy to African union in Addis Abba.

According to the government spokesman, Abdi Haji Gobdon, the government has appointed a new ambassador to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, after the former ambassador had been stripped his ambassadorial duty.

Adding that his government has transferred Mr.Abdi Karin Farah Laqanyo to another country, but the spokesman did mention where the former Ambassador appointed to.

The decree sacking the emissary comes as the government appointed Yusuf Nur to be the news ambassador to Ethiopia as Abdi Haji Gob don told Radio Shabelle.

It is unclear why the ambassador was fired.

02/09/07 (B411) BBC – L’Ethiopie bloque les actions de MSF en Ogaden. Cette décision intervient alors qu’une mission des Nations Unies pour évaluer les faits, se déplace dans la région. L’ONLF signale des tentatives de harcèlement des populations, pour qu’elles ne communiquent aucune information ni témoignage aux enquêteurs de l’ONU, sous peine de représailles – Ethiopia ‘blocking MSF in Ogaden’ (Info lectrice)

By Martin Plaut
BBC Africa editor

International aid agency Medecins Sans Frontiers has accused Ethiopia of denying it access to the country’s eastern Ogaden region.

The barren region has recently been the scene of a fierce conflict between government troops and rebel forces.

The exclusion follows an order to the Red Cross to stop operations in Ogaden.

The rebels accuse the government of imposing a blockade and creating what they described as a man-made famine. Ethiopia denies imposing no-go zones.

UN mission

Ogaden, stretching eastwards from the Ethiopian highlands deep into Somalia, is known as Region Five by the Ethiopian government.

A conflict has been raging in the area since April, when fighters of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) attacked a Chinese-run exploration team, killing 74 people.

The ONLF, which draws its support from Somali clans, accuses the authorities of imposing a blockade on five districts, choking off commercial trade.

Aid agencies say roads have been closed. Prices are reported to have risen sharply.

An unpublished report by one aid organisation shows that local people produce only a quarter of the food they need, trading their livestock to pay for the rest.

Locals say that the Ethiopians are now escorting some government authorised traders into the area, but there are fears that villagers accused of supporting the rebels may not get access to the food.

Some contraband trade is getting through, on the backs of donkeys, but not in very large quantities.

The UN is now deeply concerned, and has published a map showing the areas of fighting.

It includes areas described as being under a commercial food embargo and one area in which villagers are being forcibly relocated, though the government denies imposing any no-go zones.

A UN team – which is now in the region – should throw more light on what is taking place, if they can have unrestricted access to areas of conflict.

02/09/07 (B411) Communiqué de l’ONLF. Selon cette organisation, les éthiopiens, dans une tentative de la dernière chance, tenteraient de menacer tous les villageois de l’Ogaden des pires représailles, s’ils donnaient le moindre détail sur les exactions et crimes de guerre commis dans la région où la mission de l’ONU doit se rendre.ONLF Statement on Civilian (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

In a desperate attempt to conceal war crimes in Ogaden, the Ethiopian regime has begun to threaten civilians living along the planned routes of the recently announced United Nations Fact Finding Mission To Ogaden. villagers and pastoralists are being told
they will suffer the consequences if they share details of war crimes with members of the mission.

The Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) led regime continues to commit war crimes against the people of Ogaden with the latest war crime occuring when much of the Village of Marameydh located between the towns of Garbo and Dhenaan was torched by Ethiopian troops on 29th August 2007.

Given continued war crimes at the hands of this regime despite the presence of a United Nations Fact Finding Mission, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) calls upon the United Nations to thoroughly investigate war crimes in Ogaden and guarantee the safety of civilians who provide war crimes related information to members of the mission.

The ONLF welcomes the decision by the United Nations to send a fact finding mission to Ogaden as a prudent first step in addressing the current humanitarian and human rights crisis in Ogaden

Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)
onlfpress@onlf.org

02/09/07 (B411) Deux ingénieurs étrangers enlevés au Yémen, en raison d’un conflit sur l’application d’un contrat de travail – Two foreigners kidnapped in Yemen (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Two foreign engineers and their local driver have been kidnapped by a Yemeni tribe because of a dispute over a work contract, the official Saba news agency has reported.

Saba identified the engineers as Athram Nafour Kaftar, an Indian-born Canadian citizen and Osama Mohammed Aslab, a Syrian, and the driver as Yemeni national Amaar Abdul Karim.

The men were kidnapped on Friday in the southern province of Abyan because of a dispute over an agreement between their firm and a contractor who belongs to a local tribe, Saba reported on Saturday.

Local officials have received assurances the kidnapped men are alive and well, but a military unit has been put on alert in case the incident is not resolved peacefully, Saba added.

Foreigners are frequently seized by Yemen’s powerful tribes for use as bargaining chips in disputes with the central government. More than 200 have been abducted during the past 15 years in the impoverished Arabian peninsula republic.

All have been freed unharmed except for three Britons and an Australian seized in December 1998. They were killed when security forces stormed the kidnappers’ hideout.