The President's Take
In my March/April column to accompany CrisisWatch, our unique conflict tracker, I ask if it is time to include the United States on our list and flag escalating crises in Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Yemen and Israel-Palestine. Read more …
President & CEO
In Iraq, Sunni jihadis fighting under the banner of al-Qaeda splinter group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) captured large swathes of territory in the north west. Large numbers of security forces fled their posts, leaving militants in control of several major cities including Mosul, while Kurdish forces seized control of Kirkuk. The mobilisation of thousands of Shiites into militias and their large-scale rallies across Baghdad exacerbate the danger of sectarian conflict escalating. The U.S. and Iran moved quickly to support the Iraqi government; the former deployed an aircraft carrier and military advisers and the latter reportedly sent ground troops. (See our recent briefing on Iraq’s jihadi surge.)
Israeli-Palestinian tensions increased when 3 Israeli youths were found dead 30 June after being kidnapped in the West Bank weeks before. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu held Hamas responsible and vowed retaliation. Before the discovery of the bodies, the Israeli government launched an aggressive arrest campaign in the West Bank, leading to the deaths of 5 Palestinians. Meanwhile, Likud's Reuven Rivlin, who supports annexing the entire West Bank and naturalising its Palestinian inhabitants, was elected president of Israel 10 June. A Fatah-Hamas agreement in early June led to the formation of a Palestinian government of independents. Hamas’s assumption that the new government would pay salaries to Gaza’s 43,000 government employees did not materialise to date, leaving the Strip with an unprecedented financial crisis.
Yemen’s transition is gradually unravelling due to unprecedented security and economic challenges, partly caused by political infighting and weak consensus on national dialogue results. Several attempts to reach a ceasefire between the army and Huthi rebels failed, while fighting in the north killed hundreds (see our recent report on Yemen). The country’s economic crisis meanwhile worsened. Tribal sabotage of the electrical grid left Sanaa without fuel or electricity for several days in early June, prompting mass protests calling for the overthrow of the government.
Al-Shabaab attacks in Somalia throughout June saw the militant group recapture several recently liberated villages in south-central Somalia, displacing thousands. With the onset of Ramadan, Al-Shabaab is expected to intensify its guerilla offensives. Clan conflict in Lower Shabelle intensified as militias clashed over the formation of a federal South West State of Somalia. Divisions between clans are ripe for exploitation by Al-Shabaab, risking the formation of alliances against the Somali National Army and AMISOM. (See our recent briefing on Al-Shabaab.)
Kenya suffered further terrorist attacks. At least 58 were killed mid-month in an attack on Mpeketoni town in Kenya’s east, and scores more in attacks on nearby Witu and Poromoko towns in the following days. Moderate Muslim cleric Sheikh Mohammed Idris was shot dead in Mombasa on 10 June, the fourth prominent cleric to be killed in the city since 2012. Meanwhile, deadly clan clashes continued to escalate in Wajir and Mandera counties in northern Kenya.
An attack on Pakistan’s Karachi international airport in early June, claimed by the Pakistani Taliban as well as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, killed scores and provoked an intensification of the army’s bombing campaign of alleged militant hideouts in the north west. A ground invasion of the North Waziristan region followed in late-June – hundreds were killed and hundreds of thousands fled the region. U.S. drone strikes picked up again after a six-month pause and several strikes hit suspected militant compounds in North Waziristan.
A dispute over the result of Afghanistan’s 14 June presidential run-off vote threatened to ignite a political crisis when first-round winner Abdullah Abdullah alleged large-scale fraud in favour of his opponent Ashraf Ghani. Abdullah has demanded the Independent Election Commission stop counting votes. The political situation remains tense, with Abdullah supporters holding several demonstrations in Kabul in late June. (See our recent report and commentary on Afghanistan.)
Two days of anti-Muslim violence erupted in Sri Lanka when supporters of radical Buddhist group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) attacked Muslim businesses, homes and mosques in the south-western coastal towns of Aluthgama and Beruwela. The attacks followed a BBS rally where its Buddhist monk leader threatened Muslims with violence and which left at least four dead and 80 injured. The government’s response was feeble: heavily armed police and army failed to stop violence even after curfew was declared and made no arrests of BBS activists. Government statements downplayed the attacks and blamed Muslims for initiating violence by attacking BBS marchers. (See a recent interview on Sri Lanka’s religious violence).
Tensions between international community and govt continued: after 2 June statement by special envoys from U.S., AU, UN, EU criticising restrictions of political freedom, UN diplomat asked to leave country; decision later reversed. Despite international pressure, detention of human rights group APRODH chairman Pierre Claver Mbonimpa upheld by appeals court 9 June. Congolese NGO Journaliste en Danger (JED) alleged 2 journalists threatened by Burundian soldiers in S Kivu despite govt denial of Burundian presence in DR Congo; 9 soldiers reportedly killed 23 June by National Forces of Liberation (FNL) in S Kivu, DRC. President Nkurunziza 5 June suggested he could run for presidency in 2015 elections despite constitutional two-term limit. Political parties 9 June adopted code of good conduct ahead of 2015 polls.
Security operations against Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram (BH) continued in Far North region: state media reported at least 60 BH killed by military early June; at least 94 suspected BH including arms dealer arrested in Fotokol, Kousseri and Amchidé. President Biya early June replaced governor of Far North. 3 western Catholic clerics kidnapped in April released 1 June in Amchidé.
Sectarian violence continued in Ban- gui and provinces, several killed in Ouaka, centre, scores killed throughout month in and near Bambari. Clashes with peace- keeping forces continued following failed attempts to disarm armed groups, including in Bambari late June. Several killed 14 June in clashes between Muslim self-defence groups and anti- balaka in PK5 district of Bangui. Dialogue between Seleka and anti-balaka, mediated by NGO Pareto, opened 15 June, little support for talks in ranks. Anti-balaka 27 June held internal meeting aiming to unify movement. New armed group Union des forces armées centrafricaines pour le redressement (UFA-CAR) emerged during month, officially fighting for restoration of constitutional order, called for all former CAR soldiers to join them. President Samba Panza 10-13 June organised meeting to define roadmap for reconciliation and dialogue, govt presented four-point plan to restore peace. UN preliminary report leaked 6 June accused both sides of crimes against humanity, stated alleged role of Chad and Sudan in CAR violence; Chad govt strongly denied, CAR delegation visited Khartoum; Samba Panza 13 June requested ICC investigation into war crimes. CAR summit between Angola, Chad and Congo held early June, called on UN to increase humanitarian assistance and speed up MINUSCA deployment. EU military force 15 June reached full operational capacity of 700 soldiers and police. U.S. Special Rep for CAR Symington visited Bangui 17-21 June.
Boko Haram (BH) early June threatened attack on Chadian capital following President’s Deby declaration of “total war” against BH in May. Govt tightened control and restricted border movements between Cameroon’s Kousseri and N’djamena.
Clashes between Rwandan and Congolese troops at border in Kanyecheza, north of Goma/Gisenyi, killed up to 5 FARDC soldiers 11-12 June; Rwanda and DRC traded blame, Kigali reasserted allegation FARDC infiltrated by Hutu extremists. Regional ICGLR team visited area on fact-finding mission; MONUSCO called for calm, deployed intervention unit to area, announced investigation. FDLR demobilisation continued: 83 surrendered to MONUSCO in Kitogo, S Kivu; ceremony at- tended by SADC delegation; further steps and timing uncer- tain, depends on FDLR assessment of progress in meeting its requests. FDLR elements reportedly involved in creation of new Hutu military groups in Lubero territory, N Kivu. Over 33 civilians killed 6 June in Mutarala territory, Ruzizi plain near Burundi border; perpetrators unknown but incident widely at- tributed to Banyamulenge; majority of victims reportedly ethnic Bafuliru. Several MPs called for govt to cut ties with Congo- Brazaville over expulsion of DRC citizens, ongoing reports of rights abuses.
Tensions with DRC intensified (see DR Congo): President Kagame 5 June warned of increasing insecurity in north and west due to alleged DRC armed groups, also reportedly reiterated threat against those who would “destabilise the country”.
Tensions with Egypt over construction of hydroelectric dam eased after remarks by Egyptian President Sisi during 8 June inaugural speech vowing cooperation. Egyptian-Ethiopian summit held late June, marks new chapter in relations and political dialogue between two countries. Ethiopia 24 June closed border with Somaliland citing security concerns, fear Al-Shabaab could cross border.
Security worsened with increased terrorist attacks, including assassination of moderate Muslim cleric Sheikh Mohammed Idris 10 June in Mombasa. At least 58 killed 15-16 June in Mpeketoni town, Lamu county; scores killed 24 June in attacks on nearby Witu and Poromoko towns. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility, President Kenyatta blamed local political forces; Lamu county governor arrested for questioning over attacks. Police 2 June dispersed rioters in Mandera town after killing 2 suspected Al-Shabaab clerics previous day. Opposition Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) 31 May called for national dialogue to address alleged govt failures. Bomet county governor 13 June called on United Republican Party (URP) leader to hold crisis talks, accused ruling Jubilee coalition partners of discrimination. Ethnic tensions remained high in northern Kenya with at least 20 killed 22 June in clashes between Degodia and Garre clans in Wajir county.
Terrorist attacks continued as ethnic clashes in- creased. Al-Shabaab recaptured several villages previously liberated by AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) offensive; besieged several towns in south-central Somalia, displaced thousands of civilians. Mogadishu court judge killed 17 June by suspected Al-Shabaab gunmen; 3 security forces killed 29 June in capital; at least 2 killed, 7 wounded 30 June in attack on market. 74 killed 1 June in clash between Al-Shabaab and Somali and Ethiopian forces near Ato town, SW; 2 AMISOM peacekeepers killed 26 June in Bula Burde, central Somalia; 80 Al-Shabaab reported killed 23 June in Kenyan airstrikes in Lower Juba region. Al-Shabaab threatened increased attacks during Ramadan; Somali police 23 June announced establishment of special force to maintain security in capital during Ramadan. Clan tensions remained high in Lower Shabelle, Bay, Bakool, and Middle Shabelle: SFG, UNSOM, and IGAD 23 June recognised new federal South West State (SW3) comprised of 3 provinces (Bay, Bakool, and Lower Shabelle); some members of Hawiye clan, including Interior Minister Godah Bare, rejected development, continued to push for formation of “Shabelle” state. Others continue to support formation of new SW6 state comprised of 6 provinces including Lower Shabelle; leader threatened “war” should SW3 supporters encroach on territory. 8 killed 3 June and 35 killed 9 June in fighting between Bimal and Hawiye-Habar Gedir clan militias in Marka town, Lower Shabelle region following visit by VP of SW3; at least 12 killed 9 June in ethnic clashes in Galgaduud region.
Army 12 June captured Taleh town in disputed Sool region during “Khatumo 3” conference for election of self- declared Khatumo state of Somalia; Puntland President Gas 14 June declared Puntland ready to defend its borders. Disputes within ruling Kulmiye party have translated into ethnic tensions; party chair Musa Bihi of Habar Awal clan accused President Mohamed Silanyo of Habr Je’lo clan of betrayal after president allegedly backed out of deal to support party chair’s 2015 presidential bid. At least 1 killed in 3 explosions 28 May-2 June in Hargeysa, President Silanyo blamed opponents.
IGAD 10 June announced agreement reached to form transitional govt within 60 days, amid increasing threats of sanctions by mediation body. Despite pressure, govt boycotted upcoming talks after IGAD Executive Sec Mahboub Maalim allegedly referred to govt and opposition as “stupid”; Kiir 17 June demanded formal apology. SPLM-IO 22 June announced talks boycott over unfair selection of civil society organisations and preponderance of govt-affiliated representatives in mediation. Govt defections continued including 18 SPLM MPs 9 June; for- mer SPLM detainee Ezekiel Gatkuoth 27 June joined rebels; at least 3,000 soldiers early June deserted in Upper Nile and Jonglei over non-payment of salaries. SPLA-IO also divided, sev- eral ground commanders critical of Machar’s participation in talks. Fighting continued in Jonglei, Upper Nile, Unity, includ- ing around oil areas. Humanitarian situation deteriorated with start of rainy season: UN 14 June warned 7mn at risk of starvation and disease, including 50,000 children; WHO 24 June reported almost 2,000 cases of cholera.
Sudanese Congress Party (SCP) leader Ibrahim El Sheikh arrested 8 June for accusing govt-affiliated Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of abuses against civilians; opposition National Umma Party (NUP) leader Sadiq al-Mahdi arrested 17 May for similar criticisms, released 15 June. Arrests, coupled with govt crackdown on civil liberties and lack of govt consultation with opposition over electoral law amendment, threaten National Dialogue; Reform Now Party (RNP) 4 June suspended participation; NUP 21 June demanded revisions to process. Fighting continued in S Kordofan, Blue Nile, Darfur: 110 SPLM-N fighters reportedly killed 9 June around Al-Atmur area; RSF 10 June promised continued attacks despite rainy season. U.S. 13 June accused govt of targeting civilians in S Kordofan and Blue Nile; Doctors Without Borders 16 June accused Sudanese Air Force of bombing hospital in Farandalla, S Kordofan. UN OCHA 1 June reported 300,000 new IDPs in Darfur and 85,000 S Sudanese refugees in Sudan since early 2014. Libya early month accused Sudan of supplying weapons to Islamist militias, govt 8 June denied accusations.
Inter-communal violence continued in southern Amboasary district, thousands displaced; govt 7 June officially launched “coup d’arrêt” security operation against cattle rustlers. Dispute between opposition parties over status in parliament and nomination of opposition leader continued.
RENAMO 2 June suspended May ceasefire; intensified attacks along north-south highway in central Sofala province; dozens of soldiers and civilians killed in June. Peace talks resumed 30 June, still deadlocked over RENAMO’s demand for parity in security forces and status of foreign observers. RENAMO 24 June declared leader Dhlakama candidate in Oct 2015 presidential elections.
Ruling ZANU-PF infighting continued as President Mugabe’s health deteriorates: Mugabe 6 June accused Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo of using state media to divide and destabilise govt; police 19 June arrested editor of state- owned Sunday Mail, court 21 June charged him with subversion and undermining Mugabe’s authority. Continued divisions in opposition MDC-T: Sec Gen Tendai Biti’s “Renewal Team” 29 June “expelled” leader Morgan Tsvangirai for alleged misconduct.
Ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) and opposition People’s Progress Movement (MPP) and Union for Progress and Change (UPC) campaigned respectively in favor of and against organisation of referendum to amend constitution and allow President Compaoré to run for fifth term in 2015 elections.
Tensions between govt and opposition eased after late May release of political prisoners, 4 June return of 249 resi- dences to former govt officials and former President Gbagbo’s associates; UN 16 June welcomed “significant step toward national reconciliation”. Opposition Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) 29 June rejected new Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), called for more inclusion. ICC 12 June confirmed crimes against humanity charges against Gbagbo, committed him for trial; Gbagbo’s lawyers said President Alassane Ouattara using court as tool to get rid of political enemies; FPI 11 June called for Gbagbo’s release, 14 June called ICC decision “surprising and sad”.
Opposition withdrew from Assembly 9 June following govt’s cancellation of authorised Union of Republican Forces (UFR) meeting, announced resumption of street protests in absence of dialogue on electoral preparations; members of cabinet accused opposition of trying to sabotage multi-billion dollar Rio Tinto mining project awaiting ratification by Assembly. Electoral commission 12 June began 10-day nationwide correc- tion of much-criticised electoral list, but opposition leadership rejected process, dismissing it as unilateral move engineered by ruling Rally of Guinean People (RPG). Territorial administration minister 21 June invited opposition to talks on electoral process; talks opened 26 June, international facilitators absent.
National Assembly inaugurated 17 June, with PAIGC candidates appointed as speaker and first VP, and Social Renovation Party (PRS) President Nambeia appointed as second VP. President-elect Vaz inaugurated 23 June. PAIGC president Pereira appointed PM 25 June. Portuguese official 16 June visited Bissau, in first such trip by senior European official since April 2012 coup. AU 17 June lifted Guinea-Bissau’s suspension. Vaz attended 26 June summit of Community of Lusophone- Speaking Countries (CPLP), thus ending country’s suspension from CPLP. At summit, Portugal called for transformation of West African force in Guinea-Bissau into larger, UN-mandated force including CPLP elements.
House of Representatives 20 June announced investigation into corruption allegations against President Sirleaf by former National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) president. Court 17 June sentenced 13 mercenaries to life imprisonment for June 2012 killing of 7 UN peacekeepers in Côte d’Ivoire.
Algeria hosted various meetings 5-17 June, secured pro- govt and rebel armed groups’ commitment to peace talks; ef- forts welcomed by French FM Laurent Fabius 8 June. After Kidal military rout and rebel strategic victories late May, coun- try again divided north/south; no major armed clash in June but 4 peacekeepers killed, 10 wounded in 11 June suicide attack on Aguelhok MINUSMA camp; 1 peacekeeper killed, 6 wounded by landmine in Timbuktu region 30 June. Opposition 13 June put forward censure motion against PM Mara and govt over incapacity to resolve country’s urgent problems, especially in- surgency; motion rejected 18 June. Ex-Defence Minister Maïga 2 June called for parliamentary investigation into May Kidal disaster, urged other leaders to take responsibility. Authorities 5 June arrested group of “red berets”, charged them with attempting to destabilise state authority. UNSC 25 June extended MINUSMA mandate to June 2015, urged greater presence in north. IMF 19 June, World Bank 25 June delayed aid over purchase of $40mn presidential plane and controversial $140mn military contract.
6 senior opposition Moden party members remanded in custody and charged with “violating the security of the state” following late May arrest of 40 militants; others released 31 May and 3 June. Opposition coalition 10 June called for ECOWAS mediation to solve political crisis; 15 June led peaceful anti-govt protest in Niamey. 59 of 72 Niamey University students arrested 20 May released 11 June, strike suspended.
Attacks by Islamist sect Boko Haram (BH) continued in north including: over 250 killed 1-5 June in Adamawa and Borno states; 20 women abducted 7 June in Chibok area, Borno state; 91 civilians abducted, several killed 19-22 June in Damboa area, Borno state; 22 killed 15 June in suspected BH attack on Daku village, Borno state; 27 killed 17 June in Damaturu town, Yobe state; 22 killed 25 June in bombing at federal capital, Abuja; 11 killed, 28 injured 27 June in bombing in Bauchi city, Bauchi state; at least 30 killed 29 June in attacks on villages near Chibok. Security operations against group continued including: 4 July air bombing of BH positions in Borno state; 486 suspected BH members detained 15 June en route to Port Harcourt, Rivers state; over 70 BH fighters killed 20-21 June in Chibok area, Borno state. Local vigilantes 16 June killed 8 BH in Chibok. FMs of Nigeria, Chad, Benin, Niger, Cameroon 12 June met in London, agreed to form regional intelligence unit aided by UK, U.S., France, run multinational patrols along borders. 1 policeman killed, 11 members and leader of Biafra Zionist Movement (BZM) arrested 5 June after invading govt-owned radio and television station in Enugu town, Enugu state. Ethnic clashes continued: 6 killed 11 June by unknown gunmen in Riyom region, Plateau state; 44 killed 15 June in Wukari and Ibi regions, Taraba state; 123 killed 23-24 June in Sanga area, Kaduna State. Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) 30 May declared ceasefire after 29 May speech by president stating possibility of reconciliation with armed groups.
Violence continued in Xinjiang: 13 shot dead 21 June in Yecheng County during attack on police station; 13 executed 16 June on terror charges. Vice Head of State General Administration of Press Jang Jianguo 23 June announced govt campaign against publications encouraging extremism. Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region police authorities 23 June said China’s anti-terror movement resulted in 32 gang-busts, over 380 suspects apprehended, and conviction of 315 in 1 month. U.S. 4 June urged authorities to account for those killed during 1989 Tiananmen Square protests; FM spokesman Hong Lei “deeply dissatisfied” by comments.
Former Chinese State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan 5 June visited Nagasaki, part of highest-level delegation to visit Japan since Japanese purchase of Senkaku Islands in 2012, said tensions over islands temporary. Chinese FM spokeswoman Hua Chunying 20 June denounced Japanese review of 1993 apology for “comfort women” during WWII. Japan 11 June accused 2 Chinese SU-27 fighter jets of flying within 30 metres of Japanese surveillance planes; Japanese vice FM summoned Chinese Ambassador Cheng Yonghua, lodged strong complaint. China denied allegation, said Japanese aircraft acted dangerously and provocatively.
DPRK propaganda video released early June showed footage of launch of improved anti-ship missiles apparently identical to Russian-made KH-35 model. DPRK 26 June fired three projectiles from Wosan, landed in ocean. ROK Six- Party Talks negotiator Hwang Joon-kook met with U.S., Chinese and Russian counterparts in efforts to restart dialogue; DPRK newspaper Rondong Sinmun 16 June said nuclear arms programs not part of political negotiation. DPRK govt delegation led by FM Ri Su-yong 18 June met Syrian President Assad, discussed DPRK-Syria cooperation, economic development and reconstruction. U.S.-ROK talks held 16-17 June, discussed transfer of wartime operational control of ROK troops from Washington to Seoul, slated for Dec 2015. ROK PM nominee Moon Chang-keuk 24 Jun withdrew candidacy in light of alleged “pro-Japanese” comments in 2011; Chung Hong-won re- tained as PM despite 27 April attempted resignation following Sewol ferry disaster. ROK Navy 20 June conducted live-fire exercises near disputed Tokto/Takeshima islands despite protestation from Japan.
Tensions increased between ruling Awami League (AL) and opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) after opposition calls for dissolution of anti-terrorism Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), criticised for extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations, dismissed by PM Sheikh Hasina Wajid late May. RAB early month discovered weapons caches in NE, allegedly belonging to Assam separatist from India; BNP claimed move part of govt-orchestrated efforts to improve RAB’s image. PM Sheikh Hasina 2 June claimed late BNP founder Ziaur Rehman involved in 1975 killing of her father. At least 9 Urdu-speaking Biharis killed 14 June during clashes with police and ethnic Bengalis in Dhaka refugee camp.
3 local leaders of ruling BJP party killed in Uttar Pradesh state by unknown assailants early to mid-month.
Month saw continued ceasefire violations along Line of Control (LoC); Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley 16 June called on Pakistan to end violations. Indian soldier killed in IED explosion 12 June. Pakistani PM Sharif early month sent letter to Indian PM Modi expressing desire for enhanced cooperation, peacebuilding. Militant Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) 9 June blamed India for attack on Pakistan’s Karachi airport (see Pakistan), threatened retaliation; LeT commander reported killed by security forces 1 June in Kupwara district, another killed 23 June in Sopore. 3 separatist militants killed by security forces in Pulwama district 19 June.
Parliamentarians 11 June agreed to form committee to oversee constitution drafting. Maoist factions Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-M) and United Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN-M) continued reunification talks; late month formed alliance with 3 other Maoist parties.
Scores killed in attack on Karachi’s international airport 8 June, including 29 mainly airport security and staff, 10 Uzbek militants: attack claimed by Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and Pakistani Taliban (TTP). TTP claimed another attack on security camp near airport 10 June, no casual- ties; gunmen 24 June fired on plane landing at Peshawar airport killing 1. Retaliatory army airstrikes targeted militants in NW, including 35 reported killed in Khyber Agency 11 June; govt 14 June announced launch of military operation in N Waziristan, military 2 days later claimed airstrikes had killed 187 militants; N Waziristan residents warned to leave region by 23 June ahead of ground assault beginning 30 June. Hundreds of thousands fled fighting; army 18 June relaxed curfew to allow civilians out, many senior Afghan and Pakistani militants reportedly allowed to leave, some across border to Afghanistan. After 6-month pause, U.S. drone strikes 11 June targeted several militant compounds in N Waziristan killing 16; another strike 18 June killed 6. Insurgent infighting continued: senior commander of TTP splinter group, Ashiqullah Mehsud, killed 4 June. Sectarian violence continued including 30 Shia pilgrims killed by suicide attacker 9 June near border with Iran. Paramilitary forces reportedly killed at least 30 separatists in Balochistan 5 June.
Month saw unprecedented violence against Muslims by supporters of radical Buddhist group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS): 4 killed in SW coastal towns Aluthgama and Beruwela 15-16 June, over 100 injured; scores of Muslim businesses, houses, and 3 mosques destroyed or badly damaged. Violence followed BBS rally where leading member, Gnanasara Thero, threatened Muslims; authorities allowed rally despite tensions in Aluthgama following Buddhist attacks on Muslims days earlier, sparked by unconfirmed reports of Muslim assault on monk. Heavily armed police and army largely stood by, failed to stop violence; no charges filed against BBS leaders for incitement; no arrests of BBS activists. President Rajapaksa 19 June promised investigation, accountability; PM Jayaratne 17 June blamed Muslims for attacking BBS marchers, sparking violence; senior officials alleged foreign conspiracy behind violence. Courts blocked 2 BBS rallies late month. Violence condemned by UNSG Ban, UNHCHR Pillay, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, EU, several NGOs and govts, including U.S.. UN OHCHR 25 June announced names of 3 experts appointed to assist UNHRC- mandated investigation into alleged war crimes during civil war, due to begin July. Parliament 18 June voted to endorse govt’s policy of non-cooperation; main opposition parties abstained or boycotted vote; Tamil National Alliance publicly endorsed investigation.
Former military Chief Wiranto 19 June renewed rights abuse accusations levelled against presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, said Subianto responsible for arrest and disappearance of activists in 1990s. VP candidate Jusuf Kalla mid- June urged police to arrest publisher of Obor Rakyat for slander after paper claimed Kalla’s running-mate and presidential candidate Joko Widodo was Christian.
2 members of parliamentary committee 13 June sug- gested committee would recommend retaining constitutional clause 59(f) restricting presidential candidacy of persons with foreign marital ties; would mean Aung San Suu Kyi could be elected to legislature but not eligible for presidency. Delegation of Karen National Union armed group leaders early June visited Naypyitaw for meetings with president, legislative speaker and commander-in-chief of military. Myanmar’s religious affairs Minister Hsan Sint detained and charged with corruption 19 June after opposing 10 June govt raid on Mahasantisukha Monastery, ownership of which is in dispute. U.S Assistant Sec of State Tom Malinowski 22-28 June headed delegation to Myanmar, said there is potential for more comprehensive bilateral engagement including non-combat military ties.
Senator Jose Estrada, son of former Philippine President Joseph Estrada, 23 June surrendered to police; among 54 arrested for embezzlement. Abu Sayyaf member Sattar Ab- dula captured 22 June in Barangay Tumalutab; 3 other members arrested same day near Zamboanga city in Mindanao. Muktar Kindo Santo, wanted for involvement in 2009 Maguindanao massacre, and two companions killed 23 June in shoot-out after attempted arrest. Organisation of Islamic cooperation (OIC) Gen Sec Iyad Ameen Madani 18 June called for MILF peace agreement to be linked to prior MNLF agreements; both groups met early month, reached memorandum of understanding. President Aquino 29 June put state on alert after intelligence reported possibility of terror attacks in Mindanao.
China-Vietnam tensions escalated: each ac- cused other of vessel-ramming near oil rig; Vietnam alleged China 11 June deployed 6 warships to guard relocation of rig, Beijing denied accusation. In highest-level dialogue since oil rig dispute, Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi 18-19 June met Vietnamese FM Pham Binh Minh, said Sino-Vietnamese relations facing “significant difficulties due to maritime issues”. U.S. and Philippines 26 June-1 July held annual joint military exercises 90 miles from disputed Scarborough Shoal. UN Permanent Court of Arbitration 3 June said China given until 15 Dec to respond to Philippines’ claim that China illegally occupied at least 8 shoals, reefs belonging to Philippines; Philippines FM Albert del Rosario 17 June said would press for earlier ruling.
Army spokesman 4 June said China, Vietnam and Myanmar gave support to National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) military govt; coup condemned by Australia, Canada, UK and U.S.; EU FMs 23 June condemned military rule, called for punitive measures, suspended official visits, delayed signing agreement on closer economic and political ties; U.S. suspended Thai junta from RIMPAC naval exercises which began 26 June. NCPO chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha 13 June said country will have new interim govt by Sept, followed by formation of constitution drafting assembly and general election if reconciliation achieved. Junta purged dozens of officials linked to deposed govt; 30 June announced overhaul of electoral system. Curfew lifted 14 June but military crackdown continued: police 8 June arrested 7 protesters at Bangkok shopping mall; 8 arrested 22 June for anti-coup activity, included 1 for reading George Orwell’s 1984 in public. Security forces continued suppression of Red Shirt supporters outside Bangkok: hundreds of radio stations closed, scores detained under martial law; several high- profile Red Shirt leaders publicly renounced political activity. Exiled chairman of deposed Pheu Thai Party, Jarupong Ruangsuwan, 24 June condemned NCPO and announced formation of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy (FTHD) in first sign of organised resistance to coup. International Organisation for Migration (IOM) 19 June estimated 200,000 Cambodian workers returned home after rumours of coming Junta crackdown on illegal immigration. Southern insurgency continued: 2 army rangers killed 3 June in Pattani’s Sai Buri district; 2 rangers killed, 5 injured in ambush in Si Sakhon district.
Some 1,000 protestors 24 June gathered in Port Moresby in defiance of police protest ban, called for PM Peter O’Neill to answer corruption allegations and for reinstatement of anti-corruption task force chief Sam Koim.
Parliamentary elections held 8 June with 43% turnout: ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) narrowly defeated opposition Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK). Opposition parties LDK, Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) and PDK splinter group 10 June agreed to form coalition with PDK. EU 12 June extended 2,000-strong rule of law and justice mission until June 2016, said mission will now start “phasing out executive functions in justice sector”. Mitrovica Serbs 18 June dismantled barricade that had been blocking main bridge for 3 years, 20 June re-blocked bridge; police in Mitrovica 22 June clashed with Kosovo Albanian protesters.
President Sargsyan 4 June met with OSCE chairman Burkhalter, discussed EU-Armenia relations and Nagorno- Karabakh. Sargsyan 18 June visited Tbilisi, discussed bilateral, regional issues with Georgian President Margvelashvili; Russian FM Lavrov visited Armenia 23 June, discussed Armenia’s possible accession to Eurasian Economic Union. Adoption of national Human Rights Action Plan 30 June commended by joint UN, EU, OSCE, CoE statement.
Rights crackdown continued: prominent activists Arif and Leyla Yunus prevented from leaving country to attend conference 10-11 June due to passport seizure in April. U.S. expressed serious concern. Baku dismissed criticism over rights record as biased and inaccurate. Govt 23 June dropped plans to introduce jury trials. EC President Barroso 14 June visited Baku to discuss Southern Gas Corridor. Russian FM Lavrov visited Baku 18 June, said Azerbaijan not formally invited to Customs Union or Eurasian Economic Union, but Moscow welcomes any interested partner.
Local elections held 15 June: Georgian Dream coalition retained control over most local councils though with lower votes than expected; in S Ossetia parties favouring out- right union with Russia fared best according to results released by de facto authorities. Pre-election period marred by violence against opposition National Movement candidates. 28th round of Geneva International Discussions on Abkhazia and S Ossetia broke down again 18 June; representatives from both separatist regions walked out after demanding discussion of return of over 200,000 ethnic Georgian IDPs to entities be removed from agenda. Georgia 27 June signed association agreement with EU. NATO 25 June announced will not invite Georgia to join NATO’s Membership Action Plan, formal step toward membership, at Sept summit; instead agreed to draw up cooperation package. U.S. congressional delegation visited 29 June, met with President Margvelashvili, PM Garibashvili, other officials; emphasised country’s “importance” to U.S.
Tensions continued to escalate: reports of daily fighting and allegations of use of artillery in front-line areas; Armenia reported at least 5 killed throughout month, several injured including 2 soldiers reportedly killed 2 June by Azerbaijani sniper on front line. Reports of serious clashes along border between Armenia and Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan enclave. Azerbaijani delegate to Council of Europe as- sembly Elkhan Suleymanov 18 June tabled motion calling for sanctions against Armenia for occupation of Azerbaijani territories. Armenian delegation 16 June attended NATO-sponsored conference on Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) in Baku, said had nei- ther appetite nor capability for another full-scale war. Armenian PM Abrahamyan 24 June visited NK. OSCE chairperson Didier Burkhalter visited Baku 2 June, called for intensified peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Member of French delegation to OSCE PA denied visa for Assembly in Baku 29 June be- cause of visit to NK.
In Dagestan: suspected militant killed, police officer wounded in counter-terrorist operation in Kizlyar district 4 June; 2 residents of Sogratl village, including Salafi leader, killed by car bomb in Ghunib district 9 June; 3 suspected militants, including leader, killed in Makhachkala and Derbent 26-27 June; several Salafis reportedly abducted by officials. 4 suspected militants including leader Adam Shigalugov reportedly killed in Kabardino-Balkaria 9 June by bomb they were transporting; 3 suspected militants killed, 2 police wounded 12 June. Security officer killed, 7 injured by 2 explosive devices detonation 2 June in Sunzhensky district of Ingushetia; 4 officers injured in militant attack on central hospital. Police officer killed in Grozny, Chechnya 22 June, two suspected militants killed same day in Urus-Martan district. Caucasus Emirate’s leader Aliaskhab Kebekov 28 June called for “soft measures” to encourage support from local population: said militants should only attack law enforcement officers and govt officials, banned terrorist attacks in Russia and places where women, children, elderly may be affected; forbade female suicide attackers; asked forgiveness for early attacks and promised not to attack Sufis for ideological differences. Investigative officials reported several houses and border guard checkpoint were attacked by fire from Ukraine side 28 June.
Govt 27 June signed EU Association Agreement. Another round of talks on conflict over breakaway Transdniester region held 5-6 June in Vienna, attended by representatives from OSCE, EU, Russia, U.S. and Ukraine.
Fighting between govt and rebels in east continued despite 23 June agreement by pro-Russian rebels of self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” to uphold govt-proposed ceasefire; agreement followed OSCE-mediated talks also attended by representatives of govt, Russia and breakaway Luhansk region. Unilateral ceasefire first declared by President Poroshenko 20 June; demanded rebel disarmament, warned fighters would otherwise be “eliminated”. Poroshenko same day unveiled peace plan: offered safety corridor to Russia, freedom from prosecution in absence of “serious crimes” for disarmed rebels; called for buffer zone along border; early elections; decentralisation and full Russian language rights. Announcements followed talks with Russian President Putin; Russia afterwards called ceasefire plan “ultimatum” but urged both sides to halt fighting, negotiate. Rebels initially denounced plans, demanded withdrawal of govt forces from east. Clashes continued as ceasefire came into effect: rebels 24 June downed army helicopter near Sloviansk killing 9; Poroshenko threatened to revoke ceasefire, rebel leader Alexander Borodai said agreement never implemented. Ceasefire expired 30 June, Poroshenko promised renewed military offensive. Several deadly clashes prior to ceasefire announcement including: govt forces 13 June seized port city Mariupol; rebels next day shot down army transport plane in Luhansk killing 49; govt said around 300 rebels, 7 govt forces killed during fighting 19 June. Russian President Putin 24 June asked Parliament to revoke his right to order military intervention, granted in March. Poroshenko inaugurated 7 June, rejected giving up Russian-annexed Crimea. Govt signed EU Association Agreement 27 June.
No sign of breakthrough in reunification talks despite several meetings between chief negotiators in June. Turkish Cypriots blamed Greek Cypriots’ unwillingness to compromise while Republic of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades 10 June said negotiations in deadlock unless Turkish Cypriots willing to discuss all core issues, called for more EU involvement. Anastasiades 2 June met Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu; proposed permanent Greek Cypriot president and Turkish Cypriot VP for new federation; refused by Turkish Cypriots who demand rotating presidency. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry 23 June reportedly called Cyprus a “defunct” state.
Govt-PKK peace process inched forward: govt 26 June submitted new bill to parliament proposing legal immunity for key negotiating actors and govt-led rehabilitation program for militants; Deputy PM Beşir Atalay said solution near; jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan said bill “historic development”. Pro- Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) 15 June visited PKK leadership in northern Iraq; Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) same day urged movement to avoid roadblocks, attacks, kidnappings. 2 killed in violent protests in Lice 7 June, 23 teachers abducted by PKK 9 June, later released. 1 killed 1 June in clash between pro-Kurdish group and Turkish ultra nationalists in Istanbul; PKK supporters 4-7 June attacked city buses with Molotov cocktails, no casualties reported. Syrian Kurdish boy shot 3 June by Turkish soldiers. Sunni militant group ISIL 11 June kidnapped 49 consulate staff in Mosul, Iraq; govt banned media reporting on crisis. Govt 30 June opposed independent Kurdish state, called for Iraq unity. 26 activists charged 12 June for May-June 2013 Taksim Square protests. Ahead of August presidential elections, opposition national MHP and secularist CHP 16 June announced joint candidate, conservative diplomat Ekmeleddin Ihsanoğlu; HDP 26 June announced Selahattin Demirtas; ruling AKP 1 July announced PM Erdoğan’s candidacy.
Kazakh FM Erlan Idrissov 16 June said no evi- dence Kazakh citizens fighting alongside separatists in Ukraine; local initiatives to support civilian populations in SE Ukraine shut down by govt early June.
Tensions with Uzbekistan over gas and water con- tinued: govt 9 June threatened to close vital canal to Uzbek Namangan agricultural region; Russian-owned Gazprom, owner of KyrgyzGas and developer of Uzbek gas fields, 10 June sent representatives to Tashkent in attempt to mediate: both Kyrgyz and Uzbek govts unwilling to compromise. Public discontent over lack of gas in southern Kyrgyzstan grew: Uzbek authorities 17 June reportedly agreed to resume gas supplies to southern Kyrgyzstan if land corridor to Sokh enclave opened and construction of hydropower plants stopped.
Canadian resident Alexander Sodikov arrested 16 June, accused of espionage after meeting with opposition leader Alim Sherzamonov in Khorog to discuss civil society role in Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Province; EU 27 June released statement expressing concerns, urging Tajik govt to provide information on arrest. British ambassador early June attempted to meet Sherzamonov in Khorog; authorities insisted he leave, citing firefight on Tajik-Afghan border.
President Berdymukhamedov 2 June threatened to dismiss border chief after 3 border guards were shot by Taliban late May.
Uzbek-Russian relations continued to deteriorate following Uzbekistan’s ongoing condemnation of Russian actions in Ukraine: Uzbek President Islam Karimov 6 June warned of growing Russian domination and loss of political independence for Kazakhstan and Belarus following their late-May signing of Eurasian Economic Union. Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan claimed 8 June attack on Karachi airport (see Pakistan).
President Santos secured re-election in 15 June presidential runoff, beating Uribist-Democratic Centre candidate Óscar Zuluaga in narrow 51%-45% victory; polls relatively peaceful, reflecting FARC’s 7 June ceasefire declaration. Results seen as boost for peace process. Govt 10 June confirmed exploratory talks with National Liberation Army (ELN) underway since Jan; also confirmed agreements for future agenda on transitional justice and participation of society. FARC, govt 7 June presented landmark “Declaration of Principles” to guide discussions on transitional justice (5th point on Havana agenda); amid highly polarised political debate, key message was pledge that parties would not mutually grant themselves impunity. Parties also recognised victims’ rights to truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition will not be up for negotiation, but talks will focus upon how best to satisfy them. In exchange for ruling out impunity, govt gave in to longstanding FARC demands to set up exploratory commission to look into historical narrative of conflict. Both sides agreed to receive delegation of victims of armed conflict in Havana.
Dialogue between govt and opposition Democratic Unity (MUD), which began early March and was suspended by opposition in May, failed to restart. Govt rebuffed demands for release of Iván Simonovis, arrested in 2004 and sentenced in 2009 for alleged complicity in attempted coup against former President Chávez, and other political prisoners. Preliminary agreements reached on formation of broad-based truth commission and renewal of Supreme Court (TSJ), electoral authori- ty (CNE) and other nominally autonomous powers, so far failed to bear fruit. MUD’s more radical wing proposed constituent assembly as way forward; student movement yet to take a decision on matter. Street protests which began mid-Feb significantly diminished, but economic crisis continues to affect govt’s popu- larity: one leaked poll, which concluded mid-May, gave Maduro less than 35% support. Dismissal of long-serving planning Minister Jorge Giordani 18 June and replacement with economist Ricardo Menendez provoked left-wing backlash which threatens regime unity as ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) prepares for 3rd congress in late July.
Former chief of National Civil Police (PNC) Erwin Sperisen 6 June sentenced by Swiss court to life imprisonment for execution of 7 prisoners during police raid in El Pavon prison outside Guatemala City in 2006; defence team appealing verdict. 3 ex-policemen arrested 10 June for participating in killing of fellow police officer investigating 1990 murder of Myrna Mack, anthropologist who documented human rights violations during Guatemala’s civil war.
Ongoing insecurity in Michoacán region: rural policeman and ex-self-defence militia member found murdered along with family 19 June; masked men 5 June kidnapped and killed local Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) leader in Erongarícuaro town. Another PRI leader murdered in neighbouring Guerrero state 15 June. Michoacán Governor Fausto Vallejo 18 June announced resignation due to health problems, days after media circulated photo purportedly showing son with top drug trafficker. Secretary of Govt Osorio Chong 9 June said security strategy implemented last month in north-eastern state of Tamaulipas already reduced crime, violence in state. Authorities 18 June announced police arrested alleged Gulf drug cartel leader Juan Manuel Rodríguez in Reynosa, and marines captured alleged Zetas leader Ricardo Iván Santillán Trejo in Ciudad Mante. Security forces 30 June killed 22 gang members, allegedly from La Familia Michoacana cartel, in SW Mexico state.
Govt early June sent new regulations to Congress on investment in energy, mining and oil; regulations seek to reduce fines and speed up registration processes; civil society and social organisations worried about lack of environmental protection, while investors considered proposal positive for economy. President Humala reshuffled cabinet appointing new interior and foreign affairs ministers.
Killing of 3 Israeli youths in W Bank increased Israeli-Palestinian tensions: students found dead 30 June following mid-month kidnapping; Israeli PM Netanyahu claimed Hamas complicit, vowed retaliation, mid-month launched aggressive arrest campaign in W Bank, largest since 2003; 5 Palestinians killed, international response muted. PA “reconciliation” govt formed 2 June: Israel objected despite absence of Hamas ministers, senior positions being mostly filled by members of previous govt and all ministers having accepted Quartet principles, announced plans to build 1,500 new housing units in W Bank and E Jerusalem settlements; move met with international condemnations. Israel continued siege of Gaza; 5 reported killed in Israeli air strike mid- to late month. New PA govt stopped paying salaries to 43,000 govt employees in Gaza, causing unprecedented financial crisis. Likud’s Reuven Rivlin elected president of Israel 10 June despite PM Netanyahu’s objections; Rivlin supports annexing entire W Bank, naturalising Palestinian inhabitants. 1 Israeli killed in cross-border attack from Syria 22 June; Israel blamed Syrian regime, retaliated killing at least 4.
Successor to former President Michel Sleiman still not elected; ministers unable to agree on mechanism for exercising cabinet’s authorities in power vacuum; March 14 alliance boycotted parliament. Army’s “security plan” continued to hold despite several incidents including: 2 police killed, several injured in 3 suicide bombings in Beirut and Bekaa Valley 20-25 June; 2 Palestinians killed in gunfight near Beirut refugee camp 30 June; unknown gunmen 17 June killed soldier in Tripoli. Expatriate voting in Syria’s presidential elections deepened frictions with segments of Lebanese population; some called for expulsion of Syrians, officials declared “security concerns” cause for revoking refugee status of Syrians travelling back to their country.
Regime orchestration of President Assad’s 3 June reelection illustrated steady progress in consolidating control of Damascus, Homs and areas in between; Assad reportedly won 88.7% of vote; constitutional court claimed 73% turnout. Regime forces 15 June retook Kasab border town near Turkey, limitations nevertheless visible; fears that return of pro-regime Shia foreign fighters to face Sunni jihadis in Iraq (see Iraq) could deplete pro-regime forces. Northern rebels reported changes in nature of military support, increasing coordination between Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey: Turkey’s border controls tightened, Qatar cut backing for Salafi-led Islamic Front; U.S. reportedly modestly increased aid. Observers raised concerns about durability of inter-state cooperation, effect on military balance; 9 senior officers 14 June quit opposition Syrian Military Council over mismanagement, shortage of aid. Scores killed in continued battles between Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other rebels in Deir al-Zour: ISIL established control over most of city’s western countryside and key entrance to city; regime control over other entrances left ISIL’s opponents and remaining civilian population effectively encircled. Anti-ISIL militants, including al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra, formed new local alliance, Majlas Shura al-Mujahidin, setting aside ideological differences for sake of cooperation. Several regime air strikes hit ISIL targets, including group’s Raqqah HQ 15 June; at least 50 reported killed in regime strikes inside Iraq 24 June. Deadly regime barrel bombings continued, including at least 60 reported killed in Aleppo 16 June. At least 4 killed in Israeli airstrikes 23 June (see Israel-Palestine). Govt handed over remaining declared chemical weapons 23 June; OPCW mid-month reported chlorine gas possibly used in attacks, kept investigation open.
Another round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and P5+1 held in Vienna 16-21 June: Iranian FM Zarif 18 June said drafting of agreement begun, “many differences” remain including extent of uranium enrichment. Russia, China sided with P5+1 counterparts in insisting Iran reduce number of centrifuges; Iran reportedly frustrated by move. Vienna negotiations followed series of high-level bilateral meetings, including direct U.S.-Iran talks in Geneva 9-10 June. Following Sunni jihadis surge in Iraq (see Iraq), President Rouhani’s deputy chief of staff said only Iran and U.S. can resolve crisis; U.S. Sec State Kerry suggested cooperation could be “constructive”. Deputy U.S. Sec State Bill Burns and Zarif 16 June discussed Iraq in Vienna; no conclusions reported, Iranian official reportedly said military cooperation off the table.
Militants fighting under banner of al-Qaeda splinter group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) early month seized large swaths of territory during surge of several hundred jihadis through NW; UN estimated over 2,400 killed throughout month. ISIL 9 June seized major northern city of Mosul; PM Maliki’s local allies, including Ninewa Governor Atheel al-Nujaifi, fled to neighbouring Kurdistan. Army, security forces and hundreds of thousands of civilians also fled; others celebrated “liberation” from central govt control; local armed groups joined jihadis, later claimed role in takeover. Several other towns and areas across NW seized: militants 11 June overran Tikrit, 24 June reportedly seized main oil refinery at Baiji after 10-day siege. Kurdish forces 12 June took control of Kirkuk after security forces fled. Govt reportedly lost control of key border crossings with Syria, Jordan mid- to late month. ISIL 29 June announced establishment of Islamic caliphate in territories under its control. Tens of thousands joined Shiite militias after mid-month calls from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to fight ISIL; large-scale rallies staged across Baghdad. Maliki 13 June said cabinet granted him “unlimited powers” to combat militants; army late month launched operation to retake Tikrit. U.S. deployed aircraft carrier, announced plans to send 300 military advisors to Baghdad, said armed drones deployed to assist advisors; Iran reportedly sent 2,000 ground troops. Scores killed in several bombings targeting Kurdish political party offices 8-9 June. Deadly car bombings continued across Baghdad including at least 60 killed 7 June.
Yemen’s transition is gradually unravelling amid unprecedented security and economic challenges partly caused by political infighting and weak consensus on national dialogue results. Violence between Huthis and army spiked when air force early June bombed Huthi positions as they advanced toward Sanaa; 100 Huthis, 20 govt forces reported killed 2 June; hundreds killed in north throughout month. UN brokered ceasefire agreement 4 June: agreement lacked national power-sharing arrangement with Huthis, plan for implementing gradual disarmament; fighting later resumed. Another ceasefire announced 22 June but never implemented. Military campaign against al- Qaeda (AQAP) continued at slower pace; govt raids, U.S. drone strikes met with sporadic retaliatory attacks, mostly against security forces. Economic crisis worsened: govt almost unable to pay salaries causing fears of unrest; tribal sabotage of electrical grid early June left Sanaa without fuel or electricity for days prompting mass protests 11 June calling for overthrow of govt. President Hadi same day announced cabinet reshuffle; failed to replace politically divisive PM Basindawa or bring new groups into govt. Govt forces mid-month surrounded Sanaa’s Saleh mosque on suspicion premises being used by former President Saleh to stage coup.
Govt forces 4 June killed alleged terrorist in Bouira town; 11 suspected militants arrested mid-month by security forces in El Oued province. 11 policemen injured during unrest in Ghardaia town 8 June following clashes between Malekite and Ibadite communities. Several public buildings torched, 12 people injured 20 June in communal violence in Beriane town.
President Sisi inaugurated 8 June after announcement of election result: Sisi won 96.9%, official turnout at 47.5%, opposition alleged fraud. Sisi 17 June swore in new cabinet retaining Ibrahim Mehleb as PM, appointed 13 new ministers without change in key ministries including defence, interior. Crackdown on dissidents and Muslim Brotherhood (MB) continued: MB Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and 182 others, including 13 other senior members, sentenced to death 19 June; 2 protesters killed in clashes with govt forces next day in Cairo during demonstrations against sentencing. 1 police shot dead 13 June dur- ing dispersal of pro-MB protest in Cairo; another killed 16 June during shootout with alleged MB supporters; 2 police killed in bomb blast near presidential palace 30 June, claimed by militant group Ajnad Misr. 3 Al Jazeera journalists sentenced to 7 year imprisonment 23 June for helping “terrorist organisation”. Alaa Abdelfattah, prominent revolutionary youth activist known for participation in 2011 Tahrir Square occupation, sentenced 11 June to 15 years imprisonment for participating in unauthorised protest.
Supreme Court 9 June ruled PM Ahmed Maiteeq’s appointment illegal; Maiteeq resigned same day; power restored to interim PM al-Thinni despite parts of General National Congress (GNC) opposing him over previous involvement with controversial militia leaders. Ousted PM Zeidan mid-June returned to country after having fled in March, announced plan to challenge dismissal in court. UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) cancelled political dialogue initiative scheduled 18-19 June due to opposition by liberal factions. Parliamentary elections held 25 June: 13 of 200 seats expected to remain unfilled following security challenges and boycotts, low turnout reported. At least 5 killed in election-day clashes between govt forces and militants in Benghazi; gunmen same day killed prominent political activist Salwa Bughaghis in Benghazi. Car bomb detonated in front of Constituent Assembly in Bayda 26 June, 2 injured. Clashes between Ansar al-Sharia and former General Khalifa Hiftar’s forces continued in and around Benghazi: 19 killed, 82 injured 1-2 June; at least 8 killed 15 June; Hiftar injured, 3 killed in assassination attempt 4 June; missiles fired on Benghazi airport, Tobruk military HQ mid-June. Influential cleric Sheikh Sadeq al-Ghariyani 9 June called on Libyans to fight Hiftar and his allies. Senior Ansar al-Sharia member Ahmed Abu Khattala, suspected of involvement in Sept 2012 U.S. embassy attack, captured 15 June by U.S. Special Forces in Benghazi.
President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz re-elected 21 June with 82% of vote, turnout reportedly 56%; election boycotted by most opposition parties. Runner-up Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid 24 June accused govt of fraud, filed appeal at constitutional council; council 29 June rejected appeal, confirmed Aziz’s victory. Former President Ely Ould Mohamed Vall 17 June urged non-recognition of “farcical” elections.
4 police injured, dozens arrested 4 June during protest against demolition of slum in Casablanca. “Religious Guidance Support Plan” revealed 13 June by govt to prevent religious extremism. Govt 25 June announced arrest of 6 alleged terrorists in Fez recruiting volunteers to fight in Syria, Iraq.
Following 13 June agreement by participants in National Dialogue, election commission announced parliamentary elections to be held in Oct ahead of presidential election in Nov, in line with sequence preferred by Islamist An-Nahda party. Security situation remained tense: 2 alleged jihadis killed 12 June by govt forces in Jendouba town; 2 civilians injured 11 June in IED attack in Mount Selloum close to Kasserine town; govt 3 June announced arrest of 14 alleged members of terrorist cell in Gafsa town. Interior minister 6 June called for allowing army to support regular security forces in cities. AQIM 13 June claimed responsibility for 27 May attack on interior minister’s family home that killed 4 police. Committee tasked with investigating alleged state violations of human rights since 1955 established 9 June.
Clashes between Moroccan forces and Saharawis continued: dozens injured 15 June during protest in Laayoune calling for human rights mechanism within UN MINURSO mandate. Moroccan authorities 5 June deported 2 Italian journalists for reporting on Saharawi resistance in Laayoune. Several injured 7 June in clash between Saharawis and Morrocan settlers in Dakhla city. Former president of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano appointed new AU special envoy for Western Sahara late month.