- The UN Security Council has called on all armed groups to cease the recruitment and use of child soldiers and for an end to violence by armed groups terrorising the northern Central African Republic (CAR).
The 15-member body has adopted a non-binding statement demanding that the groups, particularly in northern CAR, to cease violence immediately, urging all parties to respect and implement peace deals aimed at stabilising the central African state.
The council has also urged the Bangui government and all political stakeholders to ensure the timely, effective and transparent preparation for the 2009 and 2010 municipal, legislative and presidential elections.
The Council called a recent multi-stakeholder dialogue, held in the CAR capital of Bangui from 8 to 20 December 2008, an effective framework to foster national reconciliation and stability calling on stakeholders to adhere to the agreement made during the dialogue.
Despite the agreements, the fighting this year in north-west of the CAR between government troops and an emerging rebel force, known as the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP), has forced some 6,400 people to escape into the bush, while over 9,000 others have fled across the border to Chad. In the past ten years, over 300,000 people have been displaced by violence in the country.
CAR, one of the world's poorest countries, has been wrecked for years by insecurity, with rebel groups, bandits and government troops blamed for widespread criminal activity in the state.
Last month, the Council welcomed the successful transfer of authority between the EU peacekeepers and the UN force known as MINURCAT.
Some 5,200 peacekeepers from the UN's MINURCAT mission are now charged with protecting refugees from Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region, as well as others fleeing a rebel insurgency in Chad and the northern CAR.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.