Monthly Archives: November 2008

UN humanitarian chief calls for continued cooperation in Sudan

(Khartoum, 30 November 2008): John Holmes, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, concluded his six day visit to Sudan by reiterating the importance of protection of civilians and urging improved cooperation with the Government of Sudan in facilitating humanitarian assistance in Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan.

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The ERC commended the GoS on the decision to extend the Moratorium on Fast Track Procedures for humanitarian workers in Darfur until 31 January 2010, and looked forward to rapid progress on its practical application. He also looked forward to further practical cooperation on the ground to enhance the delivery of vital assistance for 4.7 million conflict affected people, and to help humanitarian organizations to operate in Darfur, for example through easier visa procedures for NGO workers.

“What we need above all in Darfur is a comprehensive ceasefire followed by a rapid peace settlement. But as long as we don’t have peace so that people can return home, the humanitarian response will be needed,” said Mr.Holmes. “The key issue remains protection on all levels; protection of civilians particularly women and children, safety and security for aid workers and respect for the fundamental principles of humanitarianism to enable us to continue assisting those affected by conflict and natural disaster,” added Mr. Holmes.

During his visit, Mr. Holmes held meetings with the Government, UN agencies, international and national non-governmental organizations, and donors. He visited all three Darfur states to see at first hand the humanitarian situation. Darfur remains the largest humanitarian operation in the world, where UN agencies, the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement and NGOs work jointly with government in efforts to assist 4.7 million conflict affected people, including 2.7 million internally displaced. Of the 16,400 humanitarian aid workers in Darfur, ninety-four percent are Sudanese citizens.

The ERC also emphasized the challenging security environment which Darfur poses. So far this year we have seen 11 killed; 261 vehicles hijacked; 172 assaults on premises; 35 ambushes/lootings of convoys; 189 staff abducted; 28 wounded; and 25 relocations.

“Our ability to continue to assist people is hampered if humanitarians also become the victims of attacks. It is unacceptable that we have double the attacks on aid workers than we had this time last year. The GoS have a responsibility to protect humanitarian workers, but it is the rebel movements and those linked to them who appear to be responsible for most of these attacks. I call on them to stop this kind of banditry and criminality once and for all,” said the ERC.

Whilst in Darfur, Mr. Holmes visited Kalma camp in south Darfur as well as Hamadiya and Taiba camps near Zalingei in East West Darfur. Both areas have suffered huge environmental degradation resulting in part from the ongoing conflict.

“In a long-running complex emergency, protecting the environment becomes also a part of the humanitarian mission,” added Mr. Holmes. “We cannot simply wait to take action until after a political settlement is reached as it will be too late.”

The Emergency Relief Coordinator also visited those displaced by violent confrontations in Abyei and met the new Abyei Administrator and his deputy, who now have to implement the roadmap on steps to restore normality, assure security and reconciliation between communities, and enable the displaced to return to the town.

On a two day visit to Juba, the ERC was updated on the enormous challenges facing the south. He urged donors to continue their funding to confront critical humanitarian and recovery issues, particularly in the health sector, and encouraged the Government of Southern Sudan themselves to step up their efforts to provide basic services and develop key sectors such as agriculture.

On 20 November, the United Nations and Partners Workplan 2009 for Sudan was launched requesting $2.2 billion overall across ten critical sectors.

For further information, please call: Orla Clinton, OCHA Sudan, 00 249 912174454. Stephanie Bunker, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 917 892 1679; Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile, +41 79 473 4570. OCHA press releases are available at http://ochaonline.un.org or http://www.reliefweb.int.

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PAHANG GOVT RECRUITS PENSIONERS AS BLOGGERS

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TEMERLOH: The Pahang Government has appointed three pensioners as bloggers to thwart slanderous comments and allegations posted on the Internet.the bloggers, who would be paid allowances, would be provided with computers and the Internet access in their homes.

State Information, Science, Technology and Innovation Committee chairman Datuk Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin said

The pensioners can capitalise on their experience to explain the actual situation to the people besides providing feedback and opinions to the Government, he told reporters after attending the Senior Citizens Day organised by the Pahang Chapter of the Malaysian Government Pensioners’ Association here on Sunday.

“More bloggers will be appointed. We value pensioners’ thoughts in our efforts to improve the state’s economy and prosperity and unity of the people,” he said. — Bernama

SHAHRUL PESHAWAR – Good luck!  It is a nobel move.  Dato Seri Adnan is a futuristic and charistmatic leader.  He has a bright vision ahead for Pahang.  He’s preparing his ground not like Mahadzir Khalid, Md Khir Toyo,  Tajol Rosli and Koh Tsu Koon.  He equipped his blogger team from now as he is very optimistic that he will be the next to join the X-Club…

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Media senget sebelah: Kerajaan Perak tubuh Sekretariat Blogger

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27 Nov 2008 1:02PM

IPOH: Dengan alasan tidak mendapat liputan adil media arus perdana, kerajaan Perak menubuhkan Sekretariat Blogger bagi menyebarkan maklumat dan dasar kerajaan negeri yang diperintah Pakatan Rakyat.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin berkata hasil pertemuan beliau dengan Persatuan Blogger Perak semalam, kesemua 26 penulis blog yang hadir berjanji menyokong dan bekerjasama dengan kerajaan negeri menyebarkan maklumat menerusi tulisan mereka.

“Segala maklumat dan berita akan disebarkan secara meluas sehingga ke seluruh dunia menerusi penulis-penulis blog ini,” katanya ketika berucap pada majlis jamuan Angkatan Muda Parti Keadilan Rakyat negeri Perak di sini malam tadi.

Mohammad Nizar berkata seketariat itu, yang diketuai oleh setiausaha akhbar beliau, Anuar Hashim, dapat menepis tomahan, kritikan dan tuduhan yang dilemparkan terhadap kerajaan negeri menerusi media arus perdana.

Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Pendidikan, Kerajaan Tempatan, Perumahan dan Pengagkutan Awam Negeri, Nga Kor Ming, dalam ucapannya pula menyelar RTM dan Perak FM kerana tidak memberi liputan yang adil kepada kerajaan negeri dalam menyebarkan maklumat dan aktiviti yang dijalankan. / Bernama

Shahrul Peshawar – Jangan berat sebelah – Laporlah berita dengan penuh etika dan hikmah.  Bukannya sumbat pembaca dengan cerita sampah sarap dan berita bernanah lagi berlendir. 

Jangan ingat rakyat nie semuannya bodoh macam pemimpin kayu tiga diatas tu.  Kita jaja seluruh dunia bahawa kita ada formula nak tangani krisis kewangan tapi bila sentuh bab politik wang (baca sebagai rasuah) – mulalah gelabah, masa tak sesuailah – perlu kajianlah dan macam-macam lagi.

Lagi dekat pemilihan ameno, lagilah banyak isu orang Melayu yang akan diketengahkan.  Memang sengaja disimpan untuk jadi bahan.  Budak Melayu hilang di Indonesia ikut lelaki – pastu Kandang Khinzir di kawasan Melayu – pastu Orang Melayu adalah bangsa yang termiskin di Malaysia – pastu Akhbar Melayu akan pupus – pastu tulisan Jawi – klimak biasa mesti berita panas antara Malaysia dengan Singapura atau mana-mana negara lain.  Putera Ameno bolehlah korang kelentong.

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Mawi nafi ahli PKR, bantu PKR kempen pilihanraya di Johor

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Kena pandailah sikit politik.  Janganlah tembak kawan dari jarak dekat dengan tak tutup mata – kira dahsyat sangatlah tu… Apahal nak tumpang populariti Mawi?  Ingat boleh dapat kerusi kat Johor kalau pakai nama Mawi?  Kerja keraslah sikit Bro… mudah sangat jual nama Mawi – tak kan Konvensyen PKR pun nak jadi cam Perhimpunan Agung gak?  Jagalah kerjaya orang lain sikit, kita mungkin tak kisah sebab kita “fighter” tapi orang lain tak sampai tahap tu.  Kena bijaklah masa bila nak umum sesuatu benda.  Kan tak pasal-pasal Mawi dapat publisiti lagi, nasib baik tim PR Mawi profesional, mudah je dia tangani kes sebegini.

Shahrul Peshawar

 

29 Nov 2008 10:50AM

SELEPAS ditunjukkan bukti kenyataan mengenai Mawi adalah ahli Parti keadilan Rakyat (PKR) yang dikeluarkan oleh Timbalan Ketua AMK Johor Zabidie Abas semalam, penyanyi popular berasal dari Johor ini menafikannya.

Dakwaan tersebut dikeluarkan oleh Zabidie di kongres Angkatan Muda Keadilan (AMK) yang berlangsung di Stadium Malawati, Shah Alam semalam seperti yang heboh diperkatakan di sebuah laman web kini.

“Semua yang dikatakan itu tidak betul. Masa bila…?.

“Lagipun tahun 1999, saya belumpun mendaftar untuk mengundi di SPR. Jadi macam mana saya hendak sertai parti itu?.

“Saya tidak akan mengambil apa-apa tindakan kerana dirasakan tidak perlu.

“Tetapi saya hanya berharap supaya jangan kaitkan saya dengan politik,” ?,” jelas Mawi ketika ditemui di pertandingan separuh akhir Muzik-Muzik kategori Etnik Kreatif di Plaza Alam Sentral, di sini, semalam.

Mawi terus-terusan menafikan penglibatan beliau dengan parti pembangkang itu.

Dalam masa yang sama, Mawi turut merasakan dia dipergunakan lagi dalam politik.

“Dah banyak kali saya rasa dipergunakan oleh orang politik ini. Dulu, masa saya ke Kelantan, orang kata saya orang PAS.

“Macam saya katakan tadi, benda ni tak payah dibesarkan dan lawan apa-apa. Saya tak perlu melatah.

“Saya tahu ada pihak yang cuba gunakan nama saya. Tetapi, saya hanya redha dan bersabar.Saya yakin ada hikmahnya nanti,” beritahu Mawi yang berkali-kali menegaskan supaya dia tidak dikaitkan dengan politik lagi selepas ini.

Kenyataan Mawi ini sekaligus menyangkal dakwaan bahawa beliau pernah bergiat bersama Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) dalam pilihanraya umum ke-10 dan menyertai parti itu di bahagian Senai.

Zabidie, yang juga pembahas pertama mendakwa bintang paling popular Akademi Fantasia itu pernah menampal poster bersama jentera parti di Kulai.

Katanya lagi, Mawi atau nama sebenarnya Asmawi Ani, pernah terlibat membantu PKR dalam pilihanraya umum 1999.

Zabidie sewaktu membahaskan ucapan dasar ketua AMK Shamsul Iskandar Md Akin yang bertemakan ‘Memimpin Harapan Rakyat’ dilaporkan berkata:

“Kita hendak imbas kembali nostalgia beliau (Mawi) panjat pokok kelapa menampal poster bersama kita.”

“Saya dari Kulai, Mawi dari Kulai. Tuan-tuan tahu, dulu beliau bersama-sama saya tampal poster. Dia jentera bawah saya,” katanya di hadapan 600 perwakilan pergerakan itu dari seluruh negara.

Namun, menurut Zabidie lagi, nama Mawi tidak ada dalam senarai keahlian yang dikeluarkan PKR tahun ini.

Difahamkan, nama Mawi disebut oleh Zabidie sebagai satu saranan agar PKR mengambil sikap mendekati golongan seniman, termasuk penyanyi yang mempunyai pengaruh besar dalam masyarakat.

Lewat petang semalam, Bernama melaporkan bahawa Zabidie pernah cuba memujuk jiran sekampungnya menganggotai PKR tetapi Mawi enggan.

Menurutnya, Mawi memberi alasan ingin menumpukan perhatian kepada kerjaya seninya selain memilih untuk bersikap neutral dalam politik. / Mstar

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Congo rebels capture border town, refugees flee

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By Joe Bavier

KINSHASA, Nov 27 (Reuters) – Congolese Tutsi rebels took control of the eastern town of Ishasha on Congo’s border with Uganda, the U.N. said on Thursday, sending thousands of Congolese civilians streaming into Uganda.

Fresh fighting in east Congo has added urgency to calls for more international peacekeepers to be deployed immediately.

“There was fighting,” said Madnodje Mounoubai, spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force in Congo (MONUC). “They attacked, they took it,” he said, referring to rebels loyal to renegade General Laurent Nkunda.

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said 13,000 refugees, 10,000 of them on Thursday alone, had crossed the border at and around Ishasha in 48 hours. Most had walked for several days to escape fighting and rebel attacks on their villages in the Rutshuru district of Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province.

“The rebels attacked my village. They killed all the women, even pregnant women,” said one 20-year-old refugee, Jean, in comments cited by UNHCR officials, who were seeking to transport the refugees to a safe settlement in Uganda far from the border.

“I’m exhausted. I just want to be safe,” Jean added.

Humanitarian agencies, struggling to help a quarter of a million civilians displaced by fighting since August in east Congo, are worried that a United Nations plan to send troop reinforcements may come too late to prevent more bloodshed.

The U.N. Security Council has approved an increase in the stretched peacekeeping force from 17,000 to just over 20,000 to try to definitively end fighting between Tutsi rebels and government forces and their militia allies.

But it could take months for the U.N. reinforcements to be mustered and to arrive. The Congolese government also wants Indian troops to be excluded because it considers them unreliable, diplomats in Kinshasa said.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay issued a statement calling for a concerted international push to establish peace in Congo and stop atrocities against those caught up in the fighting, especially women.

“Recent reports suggest an escalation of sexual violence in its most brutal forms, committed by all sides in the conflict, including soldiers belonging to the national army,” she said ahead of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s emergency session on Congo, scheduled for Friday in Geneva.

She also suggested illicit trade in Congo’s mineral riches may be fuelling the continued fighting, saying: “This has to be exposed and comprehensively addressed.”

Congo’s objections to Indian troops emerged as world figures appealed to the European Union to help provide more security for east Congo, where Nkunda’s troops have gained territory since August.

“While the U.N. has authorised an additional 3,000 troops it will likely take between three and six months to deploy them. The Congolese people cannot wait,” they said in a public letter.

They said the EU could send one of its standing battle groups to help protect civilians which the U.N. says have suffered massacres, executions, rapes and torture by both sides.

Evoking previous massacres in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia, the figures, among them Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and billionaire investor George Soros, said world leaders had vowed never to let such atrocities happen again.

“It needs your personal political leadership to … ensure ‘never again’ really means never again,” their letter said.

INDIAN PEACEKEEPERS INVESTIGATED

In their objections to the Indian peacekeepers, Congolese officials described them as “an instrument of destabilisation” but sought to minimise the diplomatic sensitivity of their move by trying not to mention India in public statements. “They mean the Indians, it’s well known,” a western diplomat told Reuters.

Some Indian peacekeepers in Congo have been investigated for sexual misconduct and illicit gold and arms trading, and have also faced accusations of showing support for Nkunda.

Belgium said on Wednesday it could contribute to a possible European force in its former colony, though there have been doubts about such an idea for Congo among some EU members.

(For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: http://africa.reuters.com/) (Writing by Pascal Fletcher)

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Afghanistan: Food insecurity may cause deaths this winter – government

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KABUL, 27 November 2008 (IRIN) – More than 1.6 million under-five children and hundreds of thousands of vulnerable women are exposed to acute malnutrition and some could die this winter due to food insecurity and lack of medical care, the government has warned.

“Around 1.6 million children under five and 625,000 child-bearing-age women are at risk of dying this winter due to malnutrition,” the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said in a statement (in English) on 25 November.

These figures are significantly higher than the 550,000 under-five children and pregnant and lactating women considered “most vulnerable” in a joint emergency appeal by the government and aid agencies in July.

The government said the food crisis had been exacerbated by drought, high food prices and loss of livestock across the country.

“We fear that a humanitarian crisis will be imminent and villagers in those districts might lose a big number of their livestock in the coming winter,” the statement said.

Food insecurity is also making vulnerable people – mostly children and pregnant women – more prone to diseases, the MoPH said.

Unprecedented food aid

Various aid agencies and government bodies reckon 5-10 million of the estimated 26.6 million population do not have access to adequate food and nutrition.

In response, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has increased food distributions to unprecedented levels, and currently feeds over eight million people in the country.

WFP said it had allocated an extra 36,000 tonnes of food aid for the winter period. The aid supplements WFP’s routine food programme and is in addition to food included under the emergency appeal. Some 95,000 people in 22 provinces will benefit from it this winter.

“So far we have delivered 78 percent [of the 36,000 tonnes] in all 22 provinces [out of 34 country-wide] and within the next two weeks or so we expect to be [at] over 90 percent, and will be very close to having completed our target,” said Anthony Banbury, WFP’s regional director for Asia.

Several other aid organisations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, have also delivered food aid to needy people.

Attacks on aid convoys

The expansion of food distribution activities has been accompanied by an unprecedented increase in armed attacks on humanitarian aid convoys.

“The security challenges we face are in three areas: food coming into the country, particularly through the Peshawar route [Pakistan]; food on major routes in Afghanistan; and then distribution to districts. In all three it [security] is worse than in the past,” said Banbury.

At least 26 attacks on WFP food aid trucks have been recorded so far this year, mainly in the insecure south and southwest. Food to feed tens of thousands of hungry people had been looted and/or wasted in the attacks, WFP said.

Dozens of local and foreign aid workers have also been killed and abducted in various security incidents over the past 11 months.

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Ingushetia in ‘state of civil war’

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Posted by: “Robert” rpg7@poczta.fm   garg997

Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:20 pm (PST)

Page last updated at 00:37 GMT, Sunday, 23 November 2008

By Richard Galpin
BBC News, Moscow

Human rights activists and opposition politicians in Russia’s southern republic of Ingushetia have told the BBC that the predominantly Muslim region is now in a state of civil war.

It is reported that more than 800 people have been killed in an escalating conflict which originally spilt over from neighbouring Chechnya six years ago.

Ingushetia is a tiny region with a total population of just 300,000.

“A lot of my human rights colleagues and politicians say it is now a civil war and I agree with that,” Magomed Mutsolgov, director of the Ingush Human Rights organisation Mashr, says.

“In my opinion it is a war between the security forces and the local population. Many members of the security forces consider themselves above the law and the population outside the law,” he adds.

A low-level insurgency involving Muslim fighters escalated dramatically last year with a surge of attacks on the security forces and also on people who have moved into the region from other parts of
Russia.

“From July or August last year there have been three or four attacks every week,” Tanya Lokshina, of Human Rights Watch, says.  She recently compiled a major report on Ingushetia.

“There are a few hundred insurgents in total… who are Jihadists fighting to establish a Caliphate in the (Caucasus) region.”

Moscow’s response has been heavy-handed, with reports that an extra 2,500 troops from outside Ingushetia were deployed in the republic last year to help crush what Russia sees as a Muslim rebellion.

But this has only added fuel to the fire which is driving ever more young Ingush men into the arms of the rebels.

‘Destroying everything’

The military and other security services including the FSB, the successor to the KGB, have long stood accused of committing gross human rights violations against the Ingush population – such as kidnapping and torture.

But last year, according to Human Rights Watch, the security forces were also responsible for a wave of extra-judicial killings.

Human Rights Watch says 40 people were killed without any proof they had anything to do with the insurgency.

On a dirt track on the outskirts of the main town, Nazran, Jamaldin Gardanov showed me the spot where he says his brother Hamzat was shot through the head by a Russian soldier in August.

He told me Hamzat had been driving home with his cousin after buying some paint in town.

“My brother and his cousin were passing a checkpoint set up after a policeman was killed on the main road,” he said.

“The car turned down here (into the dirt track) and the security forces opened fire with intent to kill.

“My brother died on the spot and his cousin ran off through the fields. The police then fired on the fields for two hours destroying everything.

“I’m 36-years-old and far from being a fighter, but young men of 18 and 19 want to avenge these killings. For some it’s a Jihad against Russia,” he said.

Back at Jamaldin’s house we met Hamzat’s widow and her two children.  Jamaldin is now looking after them all.

Over lunch he showed me photographs of a raid on his house by Russian soldiers at the beginning of this month.

One of the pictures shows a young child standing outside the house in front of an armoured personnel carrier.

“My wife and children were standing outside for three hours as they searched our house,” he said.

“They claim we are all Wahhabis”, he said, “so we are being persecuted.”

Jamaldin does come from a family of theologians and is deeply religious, but he strongly denies any links to radical Islam.

“The security forces have created the threat of Wahhabism as a cover for what they are doing here,” he said.

He then showed us some shocking clips of video stored on his mobile phone.

In the first we could see a close-up of a man’s head covered in blood.

This was another of Jamaldin’s brothers, 21-year-old Adam. Jamaldin says he was also shot dead by the security forces.

The second mobile phone video shows the incident, which happened in the centre of Nazran, in February last year.

It was filmed by someone inside the main administration building, looking down on the square where Adam and a friend had been sitting in a car.

The video shows what looks very much like a soldier pulling the bodies from the vehicle.

Jamaldin says the prosecutor told him off the record that his brother Adam was “absolutely clean”, there was no reason for him to have been killed.

The family believes Adam may have been targeted simply because he was a devout Muslim who had studied in Egypt.

Torture victim

Later, in a safe location, we met up with another victim of the security forces’ dirty war in Ingushetia.

23-year-old Tamerlan could barely get out of the car when he arrived at our meeting-point.

He had just been released after being detained for six days by the security forces in the northern town of Maglobek.

He had been picked up with three friends following the murder of a policeman in the town.

When we got inside, he pulled up his jumper to reveal a cluster of deep bruises and cuts around his lower back.

He said he was also badly bruised on his upper thighs and he had marks on his wrists.

“They tortured me from six in the morning to six in the evening,” he said.

“They put a sack over my head and beat me so badly I lost consciousness. They put sharp implements under my nails. I thought I was going to die, it was sadistic.

“They also tied my hands and feet together and hung me up – so I started to suffocate.”

He says the security forces were trying to get him to confess to involvement in the policeman’s murder but had to release him because he knew nothing about it.

He told me he had no connection with the rebels.

“Maybe they detained me because I’m a Muslim and pray at the Mosque and my wife wears the Hijab,” he said.

According to the mainstream opposition leader Maksharip Aushev, this brutal treatment of the local population is not only swelling the ranks of the rebel fighters.

“People are coming to me all the time, saying let’s vote for independence, ” he says.

“If we had a referendum, 80% of the population would vote to leave Russia,” he adds.

In a sign of mounting panic back in Moscow, the Kremlin suddenly announced three weeks ago that the former KGB officer Murat Zyazikov, who had been in charge of Ingushetia since 2002, was being replaced.

The new man is a career soldier, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, who made his name during the wars in Chechnya.

He turned down our request for an interview.

The most senior politician in the region who was prepared to speak to us was the chairman of the local parliament’s security committee, Mukhtar Buzurtanov.

He said Yunus-Bek Yevkurov must bring the security forces under control and stop what he called their “illegal activities”.

But he also accused the rebels of trying to destabilise Russia, saying they were part of a radical Islamic movement which had moved into Ingushetia after the wars in Chechnya.

He added that more than 50 soldiers had been killed so far this year.

Other senior officials in the local government have been quoted as saying they have to mount security operations to eliminate the rebels because of the threat they pose to Moscow’s rule over the region.

The arrival of a new leader of Ingushetia who is a battle-hardened soldier and veteran of the Chechen conflict may sound ominous.

But the top opposition politician Maksharip Aushev holds out some hope that Yunus-Bek Yevkurov could improve the situation.

“The former leader Zyazikov was 100% to blame (for the situation). The first thing (new leader Yunus- Bek Yevkurov) did was to invite us to meet him and he said he plans to stop the human rights abuses and tackle corruption. At the moment we see no reason not to trust him.”

So far there have not been any signs of change and the violence and abuses have continued.

“We will give [Mr Yevkurov] a maximum of three months,” Mr Aushev says.

“We will support him if things change, if not it will go back to the situation as it was before.”

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