by Staff Writers
Monrovia (AFP) Nov 11, 2011
Liberia's joint Nobel Peace Prize winner, women's rights activist Leymah Gbowee, will lead a new peace and reconciliation initiative, fellow laureate President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Friday.
"As the dust settles on the electoral season it is time for us to move our country forward in a spirit of unity and reconciliation," Sirleaf, co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, said in an address to the nation.
"I invite everyone to be part of a national dialogue that will bring us together, I especially want to call upon my fellow political leaders to join me in a conversation on the future of our country
"I have decided to set up a national peace and reconciliation initiative to start the dialogue ... I am pleased to announce our Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Leymah Gbwowee has accepted to lead the effort," said Sirleaf.
Sirleaf made the announcement after being confirmed the landslide winner in the nation's second post-war polls, which were marred by an opposition boycott and violence when police opened fire on a crowd of protesters Monday.
The tainted polls have raised fears for the fragile nation, recovering from a brutal 14-year civil war ended in 2003 which killed 250,000 people, which remains deeply divided.
Demo calls for rapid forming of Libya army
"Yes to the national army, no to armed militias" and "No to a militia parallel to the army," shouted demonstrators, among whom were officers of the former army and members of the voluntary brigades that waged war against the former strongman.
"We do not want a second Hezbollah," said one of the organisers, referring to Lebanon's powerful armed Shiite movement whose militia exists parallel to the national army.
Colonel Abdelmottaleb Miled said "we want a national army that defends the constitution, the borders of the state, a civil state. We are against extremism."
Nearly three months after rebel fighters loyal to the National Transitional Council (NTC) seized the capital, the army has still not been reconstituted.
The issue is particularly sensitive because some of the brigades are refusing to lay down their arms.
At the same time, a number of officers defected to the rebellion, and they are viewed with mistrust, if not hostility, by the militias.
A meeting on the matter is set to be held in Benghazi, the birthplace of the Libyan revolution, in the coming days.
"The position of the NTC is still hazy," former air force Colonel Ibrahim al-Fituri said, accusing the "Islamist current, supported by Qatar" of blocking the formation of a new national military.
The CNT is made up of different political factions, whose differences are becoming increasingly confrontational.
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Sudan beefing up border air strike capacity: monitors
Khartoum (AFP) Nov 11, 2011
Sudan's army is beefing up its bombing capability in the border state of Blue Nile, a US monitoring group said on Friday, after Khartoum was accused of deadly air strikes on a refugee camp in South Sudan. Satellite imagery has "confirmed" that the military is "rapidly working to enhance air strike and air assault capacity in two air bases recently captured from rebels in Sudans Blue Nile bor ... read more
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