Wednesday, 22 August 2012
AU pledges to work with new Somali leaders
NAIROBI, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Africa Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia on Tuesday said it would work with newly elected Horn of Africa nation's authorities to help bring unity in the country.
The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia, Ambassador Boubacar Diarra also applauded the people of Somalia on the inauguration of a new parliament, the first to be sworn in on Somali soil in over 20 years. "We will continue to work with the new authorities selected by the representatives of the Somali people to ensure that ordinary citizens can go about their daily lives in peace and security," Diarra said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
Some 215 of the total number of 275 members of Parliament were sworn in on Monday at an inauguration ceremony in the capital, Mogadishu, passing the benchmark of 185 which allows for the new Federal Parliament to convene with a functioning majority.
However, the newly elected Somali lawmakers resolved to delay the election of the new president of the envisaged permanent government for a few days.
The new parliament also includes a number of women lawmakers, following a strong push from the international community and the passing of a provisional constitution that guarantees more political rights for women. Mussa Hassan Abdulle, a former army general was appointed interim Speaker.
And in Lusaka hundreds of nationals of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) fled into Zambia after attacks by militia in the east of the troubled Central African country, a traditional leader told Xinhua on Tuesday.
Mai Mai combatants launched an attack on their town which borders Zambia, causing influx of refugees into Zambia. Some Congolese have started going back to their country after soldiers pushed back the rebels, the source said.
On Sunday, hundreds of Congolese nationals fled from Pweto district into Chiengi district in Zambia's Luapula Province after their area was raided by the Mai Mai combatants, according to local media. The situation caused the Zambian government to mobilize security personnel to intensify security on the border with DR Congo and bring together all the Congolese nationals who had fled into the country.
But Katele Kalumba, a traditional leader in the district, told Xinhua in a telephone interview that most of the Congolese nationals have started going back to their country after Congolese soldiers pushed back the rebels.
"The situation is now calm and under control. The authorities in Congo have done a lot to tell people to go back to their country because some of them fled into the bush but we are not sure how long the calm will go.
"The Congolese soldiers have pushed back the rebels," he said.
He said guns could be heard on Sunday when the rebels launched the attack and that Congolese nationals fled into Zambia, some with their goods.
The Mai Mai militia are part of DR Congo's violent puzzle. They usually terrorize uncontrolled areas in the eastern region. They are known for their leaf headdresses and special potions that many fighters believe make bullets bounce off them.
The movement started decades ago when Congolese communities formed militias to protect themselves. The term "Mai Mai" refers to Maji, a Swahili word for water.(Xinhua)