CrisisWatch

Tracking Conflict Worldwide

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CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, a tool designed to help decision-makers prevent deadly violence by keeping them up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace.

Global Overview

Outlook for This Month May 2008

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Trends for Last Month April 2008

Improved Situations

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Africa

Burundi

Major army-FNL rebel clashes raged in Bujumbura and neighbouring provinces from 17 Apr; 52, likely more, reported killed. FNL shelled capital 22 Apr: Vatican embassy compound, university campus hit. Air force bombed rebel positions north west of Bujumbura 30 Apr. Peace process under threat as rebels pledged continued violence until demands met for renewed talks on power sharing; govt rejected. FNL refused to rejoin truce monitoring team, slated to resume 1 Apr, without amnesty. President Nkurunziza urged regional, international political intervention. National Assembly remains paralysed by political crisis. Former ruling CNDD-FDD leader Hussein Radjabu sentenced 3 Apr to 13 years on charges of fomenting instability; planning appeal.

Cameroon

Parliament voted 17 Apr to remove presidential term limits, clearing way for President Biya to continue 26-year rule past 2011. Opposition groups protested: SDF boycotted debate; case against Biya by opposition AMEC thrown out of Supreme Court.

Chad

Anti-govt rebels clashed 1 Apr with army in eastern Adé: 7 civilians killed, 47 wounded. President Déby replaced sacked PM Coumakoye with Youssouf Saleh Abbas 16 Apr - Abbas immediately offered to negotiate with rebels, who dismissed PM as powerless. 4 opposition members named ministers 23 Apr; France welcomed as reconciliation, rebel National Alliance rejected as divisive. Human Rights Watch 1 Apr reported 10,000 evicted during Feb-March state of emergency in capital. Ex-president Hissène Habré to stand trial in Senegal for abuses during 1982-90 rule.

Comoros Islands

Ousted Anjouan leader Bacar, 21 supporters released from jail 18 Apr on French island Reunion but kept under house arrest after renegade island retaken March. France still considering Bacar’s request for asylum, while Comoros demanding his extradition. Interim President Cheikh appointed interim govt 1 Apr, confirmed elections expected in 3 months. UN fact-finding mission said island’s humanitarian situation “severe”.

Côte d’Ivoire

Electoral Commission 14 Apr set delayed presidential elections for 30 Nov to increase time for voter registration, disarmament. Govt 17 Apr signed voter identification deal with French firm Sagem. Former rebel Forces Nouvelles (FN) announced new drive to integrate troops into national army or civilian life, to begin 2 May. Dismantlement of ONUCI observation posts in former “zone of confidence” neared completion; 2 of 17 remain. UN expert group 7 Apr report alleged multiple violations of 2004 UN arms embargo by national army and FN. Ex-rebel leader Ibrahim Coulibaly (IB) sentenced 31 March by French tribunal to 4 years, accomplice Paul Leonelli 3 years, for involvement in 2003 coup attempt.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Fresh fighting flared in North Kivu between army and Hutu FDLR rebels, forcing 25 Apr suspension of some relief operations. Inter-rebel, rebel-army clashes including Pareco, CNDP, FDLR militias continued in Kivu provinces through Apr. 63 rights, aid groups 22 Apr called for Jan Goma peace accord implementation and appointment of independent special adviser on human rights for east. Mass grave reportedly discovered in Bas-Congo, where March police-sect clashes killed some 100. ICC 29 Apr unsealed arrest warrant for militia leader Bosco Ntaganda on charges of conscripting child soldiers in Ituri 2002-2003 as former leader of FPLC; fourth ICC warrant in DRC.

Ethiopia

Opposition reported 17,000-plus candidates and 2 main parties withdrew from local elections – with some parliamentary by-elections – due to beatings, intimidation. 3 killed in 14 Apr bomb blasts at 2 Addis Ababa gas stations, perpetrators unidentified.

Ethiopia/Eritrea

UNSG Ban Ki-moon warned UNMEE withdrawal could prompt Ethiopia-Eritrea war. UNSC considering options for future UN/UNMEE presence; condemned Eritrea’s continued “obstructions”. Addis Ababa severed ties with Qatar 21 Apr; cited strong links to Eritrea, support for regional armed opposition groups including in Somalia.

Guinea

Trade unions cancelled strike planned end March over living costs, cited positive efforts to redress concerns by “oversight committee” monitoring Jan 2007 peace accord – reports many feared repeat of Jan 07 strike crackdown. Govt 1 Apr announced end to fuel subsidies; price rises over month prompted oil, staple goods export ban 15 Apr. Peace accord “follow-up committee” stalled when business representatives withdrew late Apr, protesting slight by President Conté. Power struggle between Conté and PM Kouyate continued as Conté annulled PM decisions on Libyan investment, ceremonial reading 4, 19 Apr. UNDP appointed mediator and ex-Haitian PM Latortue urged reassessment of Jan accords to avoid return to conflict, after first mission completed 11 Apr.

Guinea-Bissau

National Assembly 16 Apr voted to extend MP terms – due to expire 21 Apr – to 16 Nov legislative elections, amid concerns President Vieira plans to dissolve parliament and appoint interim govt; majority party PAIGC opposed. 12-13 Apr clashes between rival police units killed 2 officers, 1 prisoner, circumstances unclear; Judicial Police unit head threatened resignation, Interior Minister Biote promised inquest. UN released $6m – first tranche of funding for post-confl reconstruction; followed early Apr UN Peacebuilding Commission assessment mission and G-B request for $20-50m.

Kenya

Power-sharing coalition sworn in 17 Apr, breaking 6-week impasse; move followed 13 Apr naming of 40-member cabinet with opposition ODM leader Odinga as PM. Largest cabinet since independence estimated to cost one-eighth of govt revenue; Finance Minister Kimunya warned of budget cuts in key ministries to fund cabinet. Some 10 killed in 13-17 Apr Mungiki gang protests at murder of jailed leader’s wife; major transport routes in Nairobi, Naivasha paralysed. Gang abandoned 29 Apr reconciliation talks with govt after 2 top leaders shot 28 Apr. Rights groups 4 Apr accused both military and anti-govt militia, Sabaot Land Defence Forces (SLDF), of large-scale abuses in Mt Elgon area; 6 bodies found 29 Apr blamed on SLDF.

Liberia

UN SRSG Ellen Margrethe Løj 14 Apr stressed fragility of peace, continued reliance on UNMIL for security amid concerns over planned UNMIL drawdown impact. Paris Club creditors 18 Apr agreed $254m debt relief for Liberia, conditional on IMF-set reforms. 2 Apr UNMIL report alleged corruption among court officials.

Mali

Libyan-brokered “protocol of understanding” between govt and Tuareg rebels (Alliance Touareg Nord-Mali, ATNMC) signed 3 Apr: agreed ceasefire, govt scale-back of forces in north, release of 33 soldiers captured by ATNMC in March; remains fragile. Govt official 8 Apr said military given no orders to abide by ceasefire, distrusts ATNMC pledge. Further talks stalled after Algeria refused to take over mediation effort. In north town Kidal: several killed 2 Apr in army airstrikes on ATNMC bases; 1 Tuareg Malian army officer, 1 Tuareg civilian killed 11 Apr, responsibility disputed; many reportedly displaced. 3 Tuareg negotiating release of 2 Austrian hostages held north Mali assassinated mid-month.

Niger

Toubous-led Revolutionary Armed Forces of the Sahara (FARS) 2 Apr announced joined forces with Tuareg Niger Justice Movement (MNJ); reportedly 5-6 Apr killed 7 soldiers, captured 6. Govt claimed several MNJ bases destroyed, 10 killed in 19-29 Apr offensive. National Assembly 12 Apr said rebellion threatened stability, voter registration pre-2009 elections; strengthened anti-terrorism law approved 19 Apr. Govt closed Sahara FM radio, Agadez, after station reported army abuses.

Nigeria

Lawyers challenged court order for MEND faction leader Henry Okah – charged with gun-running, treason and not seen in public since Sept arrest – to be tried in secret; ruling due 2 May. President Yar’Adua 10 Apr renewed call on African states, U.S. to help set up force to secure offshore oil facilities. Delta violence continued: gunmen killed 2, abducted 3 in separate attacks in Port Harcourt 6, 20 Apr; 4 killed when Agip oil vessels bombed 13 Apr; MEND reportedly launched various attacks on oil pipelines, severely affecting production. 4 Americans, 1 Nigerian temporarily detained 12 Apr for illegally entering Niger Delta waters, declared military zone. Election of Sokoto and Bayelsa state governors (ruling PDP) annulled 12 and 15 Apr in wake of Apr 2007 flawed elections. Countrywide violence through month: at least 12 killed in series of party supporter clashes; 15 reportedly killed in inter-communal clashes in Ogun, Anambra states early Apr.

Rwanda

1 dead in 10 Apr grenade attack on Kigali genocide museum during annual memorial week; 1 killed as car mowed into memorial procession. Key ICTR hearing commenced 24 Apr on transfer of jurisdiction of cases to Rwandan courts.

Senegal

Constitution changed to allow trial of ex-Chad leader Hissène Habré – under Dakar house arrest since 1990 - in Senegal for crimes against humanity during 9-year rule; France pledged funding. President Wade denied food crisis, blamed opposition for 30 March food price riots.

Sierra Leone

300 youths clashed with police, military in Kano late Apr over ownership of sand stock allegedly promised by ruling APC. Police 11 Apr vowed to curb lawlessness, citing rise since Feb. UNDP announced 3-year $80m capacity building program for SL govt.

Somalia

Over 100 killed in 19 to end Apr clashes: some say fighting in Mogadishu heaviest since 1991; several key towns, districts fell to Islamist militants. U.S. airstrike 1 May reportedly killed al Shabaab commander, Aden Hashi Ayro, believed al- Qaeda boss in Somalia, and some 9 others. 21 reportedly executed by alleged Ethiopian soldiers in capital mosque 19 Apr: 50 children reportedly abducted: Ethiopia denied involvement. Ethiopian forces also accused of 28, 30 Apr retaliatory attacks on civilians in Baidoa, at least 16 killed. 4 teachers – 2 Kenyan, 1 Briton of Somali origin – killed 13 Apr when suspected insurgents took control of Hiraan regional capital Beledweyne. 4 reported killed in southern town Merka in grenade attack on cinema. Further 20 killed in early Apr violence across country. Alliance for Reliberation of Somalia in Asmara agreed 10 May meeting with Transitional Federal Government – first since 2006; called for UN mediation. 8 Apr suicide attack on AU base killed 1 Burundian peacekeeper, 4 civilians. Dramatic rise in piracy including attacks on French yacht, Spanish fishing boat, Dubai-flagged cargo ship, all later released. 2 UN contractors – Kenyan, Briton – kidnapped 1 Apr, still missing; UNHCR vehicle escaped 5 Apr Puntland ambush.

Somaliland

Somaliland parliament granted President Dahir Riyale 1-year term extension 10 Apr ahead of May elections; bomb exploded in parliament building 9 Apr, no casualties. 2 reported killed in 27 Apr police crackdown on rioters.

Sudan

Some 30 killed in 24 Apr violent North-South clashes in contested Abyei region between southern army (SPLA) and northern Misseriya, following early Apr reports of northern troop deployments to region. 95 killed in inter-tribal fighting in southern Lakes and Warrap states. Repeatedly delayed census, first since 1993, launched 22 Apr; seen as prerequisite to democratic elections 2009. Major army-JEM rebel clashes reported in Darfur 12 Apr, both sides claim inflicted heavy losses. Army allegedly bombed 2 villages 1 Apr, killing 1 child, Khartoum denies. AU, UN Envoys reported parties to confl agreed in mid-month consultations to discuss security improvements, but not ceasefires or new peace talks. Mission head said 30 Apr 1,600 troops to join AU-UN peacekeeping mission June; UNMIS mandate renewed same day. 2 WFP drivers killed 7 Apr in South Sudan, 1 in Darfur 21 Apr; agency announced 17 Apr regularity of attacks forced halving monthly rations in Darfur. UN humanitarian chief 22 Apr put 5-year Darfur conflict death toll as high as 300,000; Sudan rejected.

Uganda

Peace precarious as LRA leader Kony failed to sign permanent deal, amid reports of multiple civilian abductions. Kony delayed 10 Apr signing, seeking guarantees of own safety, financial security and clarification on justice mechanism; chief LRA negotiator then “quit”, reportedly fired. Govt negotiators left talks 11 Apr. Unconfirmed reports of 9 rebels killed in early Apr LRA infighting over deal, including ICC-target and Kony deputy Okot Odhiambo. UN Envoy Chissano optimistic talks salvageable, but President Museveni said Kony “not serious”. Recent abductions reported in DR Congo, Sudan, Central African Republic claimed to be LRA by rights groups – some 350 allegedly kidnapped, including some 50 children. 3 journalists arrested 26 Apr for reports critical of govt.

Zimbabwe

Govt blocked release of flawed 29 March presidential election results and launched brutal countrywide crackdown amid widespread reports of opposition MDC leader Tsvangirai victory. MDC gains create possibility for transition from ZANU-PF rule – but more violence threatens. Independent observers say no candidate won 50% needed to avoid run-off. ZANU-PF preparing for second vote; MDC stance shifting. Electoral commission 2 Apr announced historic MDC majority in simultaneous parliamentary poll; ongoing recount confirmed shift. MDC factions – Tsvangirai and Mutumbara – 28 Apr announced reuniting after 2005 split. Organised state violence against foreign journalists, polling officers, opposition activists and citizens intensified. “War veterans” deployed to rural areas, reportedly establishing detention camps. Some 300 arrested, documents seized in 25 Apr raids on MDC and Zimbabwe Election Support Network offices; MDC claimed 15 members killed. South African President Mbeki criticised for failure to denounce Mugabe and polls; Zambia, Botswana reportedly calling for more pressure. SADC 12 Apr urged release of results, joining UN, AU, G8 call. UK, U.S. proposed arms embargo late month. UNSC divided at 29 Apr Zimbabwe discussion; South Africa, China opposed aid provision and appointment of special envoy. South Africa 18 Apr refused to unload Chinese ship carrying arms for Zimbabwe.

Asia

Afghanistan

President Karzai escaped unharmed from 27 Apr attack on military parade that killed 1 MP, ethnic minority community leader, child; later claimed by Taliban. Breach prompted 29 Apr vote of confidence in parliament: ministers of defence, interior, head of national department of security. 30 Apr gun battle in Kabul with suspected plotters killed at least 4. NATO Bucharest summit 2-4 Apr: Kabul said Afghan forces to take security lead in capital from August; France announced roughly 700 new troops to deploy in east, freeing some U.S. to redeploy to south. Several suicide attacks struck south western province Nimroz targeting local police, foreign road engineers amid increased insurgent activity there. 29 Apr suicide attack in Nangarhar province aimed at poppy eradication program killed over 15 after several months national downward trend in suicide bombings.

Bangladesh

Informal talks between caretaker govt (CTG) and political parties on democratic transition began mid-month; govt pledged easing emergency before general elections due by end 2008. Former PM Hasina hospitalised 18 Apr; supporters demanded she be moved abroad for treatment, threatened to boycott elections. At least 50 injured as thousands protesting food prices near Dhaka clashed with police 11 Apr; violence also erupted in capital 9 Apr when Islamists protested equal inheritance rights for women. New corruption charges announced against Hasin, Khaleda and 18 others 1 May.

China (internal)

Lhasa govt 24 Apr warned no tolerance for “excit[ing] popular feelings” in advance of Olympic torch relay passing through region 20 June; security tightened. 30 sentenced 29 Apr for participation in March Lhasa riots; many awaiting trial. State media announced 25 Apr govt will meet with Dalai Lama representative but continued to denounce role in violence. Reports of minor violence in Tibetan areas: attack on Garze govt offices in Donggu township, Sichuan 3 Apr left 1 official seriously injured, Tibetan exile groups said 8 civilians killed; 2 reported killed in Qinghai gun battle between alleged Lhasa rioter, police. 9 Tongxia monks arrested early month after detonating homemade bomb inside local govt offices.

India

Maoist rebels killed 8 villagers in Patna, Jharkhand 7 Apr. Bomb blast killed 3 in Siliguri, West Bengal 2 Apr; police claimed suspects said explosion accidental, bomb meant for sabotage operations in Bhutan.

India-Pakistan (Kashmir)

Welcoming return to democracy in Pakistan, Indian PM Singh said expected bilateral ties to improve. Islamabad has already entered into talks to liberalise visa, trade regimes. Indian police claimed arrested senior Hizbul Mujahideen militant Junaid-ul-Islam 3 Apr. Protests against alleged mistreatment of political prisoners continued.

Indonesia

Bakorpakem unit in attorney general’s office recommended ban on Ahmadiyah sect 16 Apr. In 21 Apr sentencing of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) member Abu Dujana, Jakarta district court became first to declare JI a terrorist organisation. 10-year sentence for Timor-Leste militia leader Eurico Gutteres overturned by Supreme Court 3 Apr, leaving no convictions for crimes against humanity in 1999 violence.

Korean Peninsula

Progress strained by 24 Apr U.S. accusations NK helping Syria build nuclear reactor “not intended for peaceful purposes” and continued hostile rhetoric in North- South relations. But 6-Party Talks likely to resume end May. U.S. demands on Pyongyang fluctuated in month: Washington suggested 13 Apr ready to offer nuclear assistance, removal of NK from terrorism list in exchange for acknowledgement “sharing” nuclear technology; followed by “positive” talks 22-24 Apr. Revelations of Syrian assistance increased pressure on NK for full disclosure. Inflammatory rhetoric between Koreas now worst in years, amid continued near-incursions; Pyongyang said 14 Apr would never make deal with “treacherous” Lee Myung- bak. Japan extended sanctions 11 Apr citing nuclear deadlock, unresolved kidnapping of citizens.

Myanmar

Opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) claimed massive voter intimidation ahead of 10 May constitutional referendum. Campaigning against constitution forbidden, but NLD encouraging “no” vote after deciding against boycott U.S. efforts to obtain UNSC statement condemning referendum blocked by China, Russia, Indonesia. 2 minor explosions in Yangon 20 Apr; govt blamed exiled opposition group. EU ministers extended sanctions, arms embargo by 1 year 29 Apr.

Nepal

Twice-postponed Constituent Assembly (CA) polls held 10 Apr under generally free and fair conditions with little violence; turnout over 60%. Maoists picked up half assembly’s first-past-the-post seats, and 240 of 601 total. Nepali Congress and UML party trailed with second, third-strongest showings; haggling underway to form power-sharing govt. Maoist leader Prachanda hopes to assume presidency. CA to convene in May; declaration of republic tops agenda as Maoists called on King Gyanendra to “go gracefully”. Royalist politician Rudra Bahadur Singh shot dead 18 Apr.

Pakistan

Militant Baitullah Mehsud announced ceasefire in S Waziristan, adjoining districts 23 Apr after talks began between govt and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. But Mehsud stopped talks 28 Apr citing differences over scope of military withdrawal. Ceasefire also followed release of Sufi Mohammad by NWFP govt earlier in month. UK FM Miliband called for Pakistan re-entry into Commonwealth; membership suspended after November imposition of state of emergency. 7 killed 9 Apr in Karachi as clashes broke out between lawyers allied with MQM and opponents of President Musharraf. Jalozai refugee camp, home to 70,000 Afghans, officially closed 15 Apr; clashes with police reported as refugees refused to leave.

Philippines

Malaysia threatened pullout of its members of International Monitoring Team in Mindanao confl when current mandate expires Sept 2008, citing lack of progress. Muslimin Sema, mayor of Cotabato and Nur Misuari rival, elected MNLF chair 1 Apr, sidelining Misuari.

Sri Lanka

150-200 govt soldiers reported killed, hundreds more wounded in fierce 23 Apr battle, as govt sought to breach LTTE forward defence lines at Muhamalai. Tigers admit 25 fighters dead, govt says more than 100. Army regained control of important Catholic Church and pilgrimage site in northern town of Madhu after months of fighting. Tigers, army each blamed other for blast that killed activist priest in LTTE-held Wanni region. Highways minister, 9 others killed in likely LTTE suicide explosion in Gampaha 6 Apr. 25 Apr bus bombing, also blamed on Tigers, killed 26 in Colombo suburb. Campaigning began for key eastern provincial council elections due 10 May.

Taiwan Strait

Historic meeting of Taiwanese VP-elect Siew and mainland President Jintao 12 Apr marked first official Beijing visit by high-ranking Taiwanese politician since 1949. But cross- strait détente tempered by President-elect Ma Ying-jeou 8 Apr statements refusing to directly engage. Ma also appointed Lai Shin-yuan, former pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union lawmaker, as head of Mainland Affairs Council.

Thailand

3 parties in ruling coalition, including PPP, continued to face allegations of vote-buying and electoral fraud. Election commission recommended dissolution of Chart Thai and Machima Thipataya parties 11 Apr, PPP likely to face similar charge; state prosecutors to decide on referral to Constitutional Court. Military admitted 56-year-old imam Yapa Kaseng beaten to death in custody late March; 5 army officers face prosecution. Slight further easing in martial law, but state of emergency holds in southern provinces.

Timor-Leste

Security threat removed; 29 Apr surrender of Gastão Salsinha and 11 other fugitive rebels linked to 11 Feb attacks on President Ramos-Horta may bring increased stability. But ramifications of presidential efforts at reconciliation in month unclear: upon 17 Apr return to Dili to resume presidential duties, Ramos-Horta announced pardon of 80 criminals, including convicted former interior minister Rogério Lobato, to take effect 20 May. After surrender, Ramos-Horta said “forgave” Salsinha but that he must face courts with 5 others. State of emergency lifted 22 Apr except in Ermera, where joint police-military command now tasked with search for illegal weapons. 4 Timorese rebels also detained in Indonesia in month for suspected involvement in attacks; 3 to be deported to Dili early May. 28 Apr Australia announced withdrawal of 200 extra troops sent after Feb attacks.

Europe & Central Asia

Albania

Governing Democrats and main opposition Socialists 21 Apr passed constitutional changes to electoral system increasing proportional representation; small parties opposed. Thousands in 4 Apr rally demanding resignation of PM Berisha after deadly 15 March weapons depot blast; prosecutor general asked parliament to lift resigned defence minister Mediu’s immunity for investigation.

Armenia

Government formed following 19 Feb presidential elections: Central Bank Chairman Tigran Sarkisian appointed PM; 11 of 17 retained cabinet posts. Continued protests: several dozen protesters clashed with police in Hrazdan province 8 Apr; 7,000 participated in first authorised rally since 19 Apr end of state of emergency in Yerevan; 21 opposition activists ended hunger strike 10 Apr after appeal by presidential candidate Ter-Petrossian. U.S. 17 Apr threatened aid cut if govt failed to engage in “national dialogue”. Yerevan 25 Apr established working group to meet Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe resolution demanding independent investigation of 1 March crackdown and release of detainees, also repeal of legal amendments restricting freedom of assembly.

Azerbaijan

Opposition journalist Agil Khalil under pressure from authorities, state-controlled media after 13 March attack. 4 Armenians 28 Apr arrested in enclave of Nakhichevan; Armenia Defense Ministry said they entered territory accidentally. Armenia 23 Apr released Azeri soldier captured 9 March. Central Election Commission announced 15 Oct as presidential election date.

Basque Country (Spain)

2 attacks on ruling Socialist Party offices 17 Apr in Bilbao injuring 7 police and 20 Apr in Elgoibar. 3 bombs exploded 1 May in San Sebastian and Vizcaya. Police 18 Apr arrested 10 accused of pro-ETA street violence.

Belarus

Foreign ministry 30 Apr declared several U.S. embassy staffers “persona non grata”, in continuing economic sanctions dispute. EU Council 7 Apr extended visa bans by 1 year on 41 govt officials including President Lukashenka. Police forcefully dispersed protest against trial of youth activist Katsyaryna Salauyova in front of Polatsk court; arrested 2. Minsk authorities 21 Apr barred planned 26 Apr opposition rally.

Bosnia And Herzegovina

Parliament 16 Apr adopted long-disputed reform on oversight and coordination of police required for Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA); EU delayed SAA signing due to translation issues. FM Alkalaj, 2 deputy ministers refused resignation 25 Apr after Central Election Commission ban from public office due to conflict of interest. National Minority Council established 23 Apr. Raids of suspected terrorists continued; 1 arrested 4 Apr.

Chechnya (Russia)

15 Apr gunfight between pro-Kremlin militia Vostok and soldiers loyal to President Kadyrov left 18 dead in Gudermes; public chamber called for dismissal of militia leader Sulim Yamadayev 16 Apr as Chechen President forced to deny sanctioning clash. 2 nieces of human rights ombudsman’s representative killed in 20 Apr gun attack on car. Sunzhen district police chief Ali Gaidamurov found dead after 17 Apr abduction.

Cyprus

Further progress in reunification talks as 6 working groups, 7 technical committees started negotiations 18 Apr under UN auspices near Nicosia. Ledra border crossing in Nicosia opened 3 Apr. Turkish Cypriot leader Talat visited Greek part of Nicosia 4 Apr. UNSG 17 Apr appointed Tayé- Brook Zerihoun as new special representative.

Georgia

High Russian-Georgian tensions over Abkhazia breakaway region. Moscow 29 Apr announced, 1 May commenced, unilateral increase of peacekeepers (PKF) in Georgian populated areas of Abkhazia; threatened “military reaction” if Georgia invades, claiming it deployed 1,500 troops in Upper Kodori valley – Tbilisi denies; continues to push for changes in Russian-led PKF. NATO, EU called for lowering tensions; U.S. urged Russian restraint. Tbilisi 21 Apr accused Russia of shooting down unmanned reconnaissance plane over Abkhazia; Moscow rejected, claiming plane violated 1994 ceasefire, shot down by Abkhaz forces. Russian President Putin 16 Apr announced recognition of legal documents issued by Abkhaz and South Ossetian de facto authorities; Tbilisi condemned. UNSC 15 Apr extended mandate of UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) for 6 months. Preparations for 21 May parliamentary elections: speaker Nino Burjanadze of ruling UNM 21 Apr withdrew candidacy; New Rights party announced 7 Apr to join opposition National Council; President Saakashvili 14 Apr warned opposition against popular unrest; OSCE established election observer mission 10 Apr. France 23 Apr granted political asylum to former Defence Minister Okruashvili after sentenced in absentia 28 March to 11 years. No NATO membership action plan offered at 2-4 Apr Bucharest summit, but political commitment for eventual membership made.

Kazakhstan

Govt announced wheat export ban (not flour) 15 Apr to stave off shortages; move raised supply concerns in neighbouring republics. Free-trade zone agreed with Uzbekistan 22 Apr. President Nazarbayev’s former son-in-law Aliyev, following 26 March sentence in absentia for coup plot, released further evidence of alleged corruption of top officials.

Kosovo

Kosovo leaders, EU Special Representative Feith approved new constitution 7 Apr; adopted by parliament 9 Apr. UNSC closed session 21 Apr discussed 17 March Mitrovica courthouse violence – UN investigation underway; also Belgrade plans to hold general elections 11 May in 16 Kosovo municipalities. UNMIK chief Rücker said only UN had authority to hold elections; proposed later polls in 5 Serb-majority municipalities. UN-EU transition uncertain: EULEX deployment delayed; Rücker 21 Apr acknowledged need to “reconfigure” UNMIK presence but said mission to stay beyond 15 June entry into force of constitution. Former KLA leader and PM Ramush Haradinaj returned to Kosovo after acquitted of war crimes by ICTY 3 Apr; criticised PM Thaci 8 Apr for lack of govt working plan, failure to reach out to Serbs; called for early elections. Kosovo and Macedonia agreed border demarcation protocol 18 Apr; opposed by Belgrade, Russia. Independence recognitions continued: 38 total.

Kyrgyzstan

Dozens briefly arrested in 10 Apr protests in Bishkek against govt plan to cede 3 contested areas, 4 tourist sites to Kazakhstan. Deal ratification led to 300-strong demonstration 26 Apr. In 17 Apr Astana visit President Bakiyev said Kyrgyzstan excluded from Kazakh wheat export ban, guaranteed 300,000 tons grain. Legislative changes 18 Apr removed parliament’s right to review energy privatisation deals. Opposition-convened assembly 12 Apr adopted resolution demanding dissolution of parliament, invalidation of constitution. Russian soldier serving at Kant military base shot by Kyrgyz police 20 Apr; Moscow called for inquest.

Moldova

President Voronin 11 Apr offered “broadest possible autonomy” to Transdniestrian separatist leader Igor Smirnov in first direct meeting in 7 years; no further progress.

Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

Armenia and Azeri presidents failed to meet at 2-4 Apr NATO Bucharest summit. Baku submitted formal query to OSCE secretariat on appointment process for Minsk Group co-chairs. Azeri FM Mammadyarov said 15 Apr new proposals expected from Group; declared willingness to meet with new Armenian FM Eduard Nalbandian 7 May in Strasbourg. Armenian President Sarkisian 16 Apr said “independence is irreversible”.

North Macedonia

Parliament dissolved 12 Apr; early elections called for 1 June. UN envoy Nimetz continued negotiations on name issue after Greece blocked NATO accession 3 Apr. Greek FM Bakoyannis 20 Apr offered financial aid, reduced visa requirements in return for name change; Skopje rejected.

Russia (Internal)

Deputy head of Ingushetia’s Supreme Court Khasan Yandiyev shot dead 13 Apr; 3-5 armed gunmen raided Karabulak Interior Ministry office 16 Apr, wounding 6 police. Military convoy attacked by unknown gunmen in Nesterovskaya village 5 Apr. Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe called to reinvigorate monitoring of region 15 Apr amid reports of “alarming” human rights violations.

Serbia