Archive for April 21, 2012

AROUND AFRICA: Sudan, Mali, Morocco

In, then Out

Troops from South Sudan have ended their incursion into neighboring Sudan after nearly two weeks of fighting over an oil rich area at the two countries’ borders.

The only question is whether the South Sudanese are marching out or running in full retreat.  South Sudan, which separated from Sudan in 2011 after an independence vote, has been disputing the accuracy of the borderline drawn between the two countries in a largely desert – but oil rich – region. The secession vote ended a Civil War that had raged since 1983. Last week South Sudanese troops seized the oil town of Heglig on Sudan’s side of the border. That move provoked condemnation from the United Nations, the U.S., Britain and the 53-member African Union. Casualties are believed to be heavy, according to McClatchy Newspapers.

South Sudan officials on Friday said they were withdrawing their troops from Heglig, to avert escalating the conflict, the Associated Press reported. But officials in Sudan say their troops ran the South Sudanese out with a relentless bombing and artillery attack, according to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, nature abhors a vacuum. The Central African Republic, a neighboring country west of the two Sudans, claims 11 of its troops were killed in an ambush by rebels from the Darfur region of Sudan seeking guns and ammunition, Reuters reported.

Mali Crash

Three U.S. military personnel were killed Friday (April 20) in a one-car crash in Bamako, capital of the strife-torn West African nation of Mali. U.S. Africa Command, which is based in Germany, said the crash was under investigation.

An official in Washington, said one of the three Americans was from U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, and the other two were assigned to U.S. Special Operations Command, the Associated Press reported. The three were in Mali for a training exercise that was called off after a military coup ousted Mali’s democratically-elected president.

The coup was sparked by dissatisfaction with the way the government was handling an insurgency by Tuaregs seeking a separate state. The insurgents became emboldened after the coup and swept over almost half the northern part of the country seizing three large and strategic towns — including fabled desert crossroads, Timbuktu.

Mali’s interim prime minister says he is willing to negotiate with the insurgents but not under duress, Aljazeera reported. But Prime Minister Chick Modibo Diarra says his top priority is winning back the land the Tuaregs declared an independent state.

Marines Die In Morocco

Map, CIA World Factbook

Two Marine corporals were killed April 11 in a helicopter crash outside Agadir, Morocco. The MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft crashed during the bi-lateral training exercise in Morocco known as Africa Lion 2012.

Killed in the accident were Cpl. Robby Reyes and Cpl. Derek Kearns. Both were crew chiefs assigned to the aviation sector of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Two other Marines on board the MV-22 were injured in the crash.

The purpose of the exercise (See Friday Foto below) was to improve cooperation among U.S. and Royal Moroccan troops while conducting amphibious operations as well as aerial refueling and live fire operations.

April 21, 2012 at 1:34 am Leave a comment


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