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New 'environment governance' on agenda in Nairobi

Army general denies plotting Gabon coup
Libreville (AFP) Feb 22, 2011 - A general in Gabon's army who is accused of plotting a coup against President Ali Bongo Ondimba insisted Tuesday that he was innocent of all charges as he appeared before a trial judge. "All that is blamed on me, I do not acknowledge. I never incited a plot...I never incited a coup d'etat," Jean-Philippe Ntumpa Lebani, said in front of Gabon's State Security Court, an AFP reporter present said. The former leader of the National Security Council, jailed since September 2009, was initially charged with "attempting" to attack the state with five other military men. But the charge was later modified to "plotting" a coup against the president in the transition period after the death in June 2009 of his father and predecessor Omar Bongo Ondimba.

However government commissioner Eusebe Ondo Ndong rejected Ntumpa's claim of innocence, saying he had "declared in previous hearings that he intended to place Ali Bongo Ondimba in a 'Togolese' scenario." The commissioner was referring to a 2009 coup attempt in Togo against President Faure Gnassingbe allegedly plotted by his half-brother, who was later arrested. As Ntumpa took the stand for over two hours, he acknowledged that scheming a Togo-style coup came to his mind, but having never met the Gabonese president, he let go of the idea. Lieutenants Emile Akandas Areno and Cedric Boukoumbi, also jailed since 2009, also appeared in court. Major Marcel Roger Mombert, Captain Juste Parfait Oura Amegue and Lieutenant Harold Ndoguinot, who were previously free, were jailed Sunday.
by Staff Writers
Nairobi (AFP) Feb 21, 2011
Environment ministers and experts, gathered here Monday, discussed reforming "world environment governance" in order to better manage crises linked to climate change and environmental degradation.

Delegates from 140 countries, 80 of them at ministerial level, attended the 26th session of the governing council of the United Nations Environment Programme, headquartered in Nairobi.

The delegates will discuss beefing up international environmental management tools, deemed to be insufficient given the scale of the problems facing the planet.

"Notwithstanding the impressive landscape of institutions, agreements and protocols, the environmental governance landscape of the here and now is increasingly fractured and fragmented," UNEP chief Achim Steiner told the meeting.

"I am sure previous generations of environment ministers never intended this."

Any consensus on the reforms actually looks to be a long way off, despite several years of debate and even as the next UN sustainable development conference, planned for Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, looms closer.

"We need to be unaninous in saying we need a stronger and more coherent framework for world environment governance," said Henri Djombo, environment minister of the Republic of Congo (DRC) and acting chairman of the UNEP governing council.

The international community remains divided over whether it is better to reinforce existing institution, starting with UNEP, or whether a new international body should be set up.

earlier related report
Nigerian unearth weapons cache in house raid
Kano, Nigeria (AFP) Feb 21, 2011 - Police said Monday they killed five suspected Islamists and uncovered weapons stashed away in a house in a northern Nigerian region hit by series of attacks blamed on a radical sect.

The raid in which weapons including rocket-propelled grenades, firearms and rocket launchers were found, occurred on Sunday in northeastern Nigeria, where an Islamist sect known as Boko Haram is active. The raid in Yobe State came a day after another cache was separately discovered in a car in neighbouring Borno.

"We succeeded in killing five of them (sect members) at their hideout in Damaturu and arrested three others who confessed they belong to Boko Haram sect," Mohammed Jinjiri Abubakar, police commissioner for Borno State where the sect is based, told AFP.

Several rifles, 12 rocket launchers, two rocket propelled grenade bombs, bomb denotating cables and more than 3,000 ammunitions were among the weapons found in a house in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe.

"This is a very important discovery in the fight against Boko Haram militants that have been terrorising these parts of the country," said Abubakar.

Police staged the raid after one gunman survived in a shootout with the military in the border town of Gamboru Ngala near the border with Cameroon on Saturday and led the security forces to the house in Damaturu.

The military had on Sunday said all three gunmen it confronted had been killed, but police said one survived.

The Boko Haram sect launched an uprising in 2009 put down by a brutal military assault that left hundreds dead.

It has been blamed for a series of attacks and hit-and-run shootings in northern Nigeria in recent months that have left dozens dead.

Police say some of the killings may have been politically related ahead of April elections.

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Nigerian troops uncover weapons cache
Kano, Nigeria (AFP) Feb 20, 2011
Troops in an area of Nigeria hit by repeated attacks blamed on Islamists have killed three gunmen in a shootout and uncovered a cache of weapons in separate incidents, the military said Sunday. Both the shootout and the discovery of the weapons, which included rocket-propelled grenades and explosives, occurred Saturday in northeastern Nigeria, where the Islamist sect known as Boko Haram is b ... read more

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