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Here are some of this week’s headlines that caught my attention
As I’ve reported on this blog, the situation between Christians and Muslims in the Middle Belt remains tense. This time, a night raid on the village of Tafawa Balewa in Bauchi state left three people dead. An estimated one thousand five hundred people have died over the last year in the region from sectarian violence.
While taking place in the Hague, the trial against former Liberian president Charles Taylor for war crimes in Sierra Leone has finally come to a close. Taylor is being charged for his support for the Revolutionary United Front in the Sierra Leonean civil war. A verdict is not expected until later in the year.
Kenyan justice minister Mutula Kilonzo noted to Reuters that the Kenyan government would attempt to challenge the International Criminal Court’s attempt to try cases related to the 2007 post-election violence. In December 2010, the ICC accused six prominent Kenyans, including the deputy prime minister, of their roles in the sectarian violence that left more than one thousand people dead.
Violence, already taking place regularly in the contested oil-rich Abyei region, looks set to escalate. The George Clooney sponsored Satellite Sentinel Project is reporting a troop build-up in the region from both north and south Sudan.
Fighting between rival presidents Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara in this west African country is having a destructive impact on its civilian population. A reported four hundred and fifty thousand people have fled their homes since the outbreak of violence following the disputed November 2010 election.
Almost exactly one year since the military deposed former president Mamadou Tandja, the country appears about to return to civilian hands. Niger will hold a run-off election on Saturday following a credible first found of polling in January 2011.
As I noted in yesterday’s blog, Mugabe appears to be circling his wagons. In addition to his alleged support for African strongmen Gbagbo in Cote d’Ivoire and Qaddafi in Libya, political violence in the country appears to be escalating.