|Africa News Digest
Amnesty International Accuses China, Russia of Arming Sudan
May 8 (EIRNS)The Britain-based human-rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI) has accused China and Russia of violating a United Nations arms embargo by continuing to supply weapons to the Sudanese goverment, allegedly for use in Darfur. In a report published today, Amnesty, a non-governmental organization, long suspected of being a cat's paw of the British intelligence's MI6 division, said that Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Belarus have also been supplying weapons to Sudan. Amnesty's claim comes just over a week after a widely leaked UN report charged that the Sudanese government had painted its military planes in UN colors to disguise the transport of weapons to Darfur.
The human rights group says Russia and China are aware of the eventual uses of arms exported to Sudan. The group said its report is based on eyewitness testimony and "confidential sources." The report alleges that China sold $24 million, and Russia $21 million, in military supplies to Sudan in 2005.
The foreign ministries of China and Russia today denied the AI claims. China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang Yu said the accusations were ungrounded, and the country maintained "a responsible approach" to arms sales, dealing with sovereign states, rather than individuals or organizations. She said China did not sell to any regions under UN embargo. China said its exports to Sudan were legal, and on a small scale. A Russian Foreign Ministry statement issued today said that "No Russian arms are shipped to Darfur," and that Moscow "unswervingly" observes the UN restrictions.
Sudan has rejected Amnesty's accusations. Its UN Ambassador, Mahmoud Abdel-Haleem, today dismissed Amnesty's photographic evidence of the use of military aircraft in Darfur. "Our reaction to Amnesty International's allegations ... is total rejection as it is baseless and unfounded," he was quoted as saying in an ABC report today.
"These photos may be of a plane in the Central African Republic or maybe for one in south Sudan, but it is not in Darfur at all," he said. Haleem also told BBC today: "We are moving these military assets to their respective places. We are not using these aircraft for any military function in Darfur."
Angola Makes First Moves Towards Nuclear Power
May 7 (EIRNS)Angola's Minister of Science and Technology, João Baptista Ngandajina, said recently that his country "has limitations in the production of electricity, so why not start thinking of projects that in future could produce power from nuclear sources?" according to an online report by macauhub.com today. "What we plan to do here is the scientific development linked to nuclear energy. Staff training, development of projects that help the economic and social development of the country," he said.
Angola is finalizing a Nuclear Energy Law to facilitate research projects and staff training, according to the report, which also states that the new law is part of a plan to build nuclear power plants in Angola, supported by the People's Republic of China.
Ngandajina reported that radioactive deposits, including uranium, have already been found in the country. He added that the focus on nuclear technology in Angola will initially be on research and development, as well as on encouraging civil projects, via Agostinho Neto University. "A laboratory has been set up to teach nuclear physics.... All of this aims to provide the country with the capacity to achieve its aims," said the Angolan minister.
Ngandajina also noted the opportunity presented by this technology to train doctors at the National Oncology Center, and for projects in controlling animal diseases and combating malaria and other illnesses.
There are only two nuclear power plants on the continent, near Cape Town, South Africa. Initial steps in 1964 by then-President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana to build a nuclear plant were aborted when he was overthrown in a coup d'etat in 1966.