Warzone News January 27, 2016

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Warzone News: Week of January 27, 2016

In Afghanistan, the Islamic State has captured more ground in recent months on the regions bordering Pakistan. Read here an overview of ISIS in Afghanistan.

In Burundi, a team of experts sent to investigate human rights abuses has not been allowed to enter the country, according to the United Nations. The UN Security Council met with Burundi’s president on Friday. The meeting’s agenda was to discuss the prospect of peace talks and establishing an international presence to quell worsening political violence. U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power reported that “little was achieved.”

In Central African Republic, the country’s constitutional court has certified the presidential elections, and the two leading candidates will compete in a run-off before February 7. Separately the court declared that the legislative elections were invalid and cited irregularities like illegible ballots and poor training for election workers. The UN reports that about half the population in CAR faces hunger. The UN and its partners are seeking $500 million in aid for the refugee crises in CAR and Nigeria.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, kidnappings and general insecurity in North Kivu province in recent months has made delivering life-saving humanitarian aid a “Herculean task”.

In Iraq, a mass grave has been found containing the remains of 40 women and children–victims of ISIS.  Several other mass graves have been found as government forces retake ISIS-controlled areas.

In Israel and Palestine, Prime Minister Netanyahu is expressing outrage after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s criticized Israel for continuing to build settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.  In other news, a UN report found that Israel had supplied equipment to the South Sudanese army.

In Libya, the internationally-recognized parliament rejected the unity government named under the UN-brokered deal.  After the “initial lineup” was rejected, a new unity government will be named within ten days.

In Myanmar, the military-backed government freed 20 political prisoners ahead of the transition next month. The New York Times Editorial Board published an article Monday stating the “horror of Myanmar’s abuses of Muslims.”

In Nigeria, villagers report that 40 civilians were shot and killed by Cameroonians who had crossed the border to track down Boko Haram militants on Monday.  On the same day, three suicide bombers, believed to be members of Boko Haram, killed 25 and wounded 62 in a market in Yaounde, Cameroon.

In Somalia, at least 20 people were killed in a terrorist attack in the capital city of Mogadishu last Friday.  Kenyan armed forces have withdrawn from two towns in southern Somalia, with al-Shabaab fighters moving into one of the towns following the withdrawal. Attacks on aid workers in Somalia nearly doubled in 2015 compared to 2014.

In South Sudan, a UN panel of experts has recommended imposing sanctions on four top officials and called for an arms embargo. A report from the UN News Centre sheds light on the “shocking” crimes committed by all sides in the civil war.

In Syria, ISIS has killed around two dozen people in bombings on the city of Homs. The UN has invited warring parties to peace talks in Geneva, set to start on Friday. The invitations to participate sparked some controversy, as some groups were left out.

In Yemen, a UN panel is calling for investigation into rights abuses associated with the conflict.  The panel is seeking inquiry into widespread reports that the Saudi-led coalition has targeted civilians “in a widespread and systematic manner” and failures on all sides to ensure that humanitarian aid can reach the 80 percent of the population in “dire” need of food, water and other essentials.

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