‘Change tactics’ to defeat Ugandan militants

Updated 19 December 2012
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‘Change tactics’ to defeat Ugandan militants

KAMPALA: Nations fighting a Ugandan rebel group based in volatile eastern Democratic Republic of Congo need to change tactics if they are to defeat it, a think tank said yesterday.
Officials should rethink their policy of applying military pressure against rebels from the ADF-Nalu (Allied Democratic Forces and the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda), said the International Crisis Group.
Instead, they should focus on tackling the cross-border networks providing economic and logistical support for the group, it said in a briefing. "Strong military tactics are not required," said the ICG's Thierry Vircoulon.
"A process of weakening the group’s socio-economic means of support while at the same time offering a demobilization and reintegration program to its combatants should be pursued," he added.
UN investigators have linked ADF-Nalu to Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shabab insurgents by the United Nations.
The group battled the Ugandan government in the mountainous Rwenzori region along the border with DR Congo in the late 1990s.
In October, Congolese church officials blamed them for the abduction of three Catholic priests in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
A UN report released in November estimated the number of combatants at over 1,300, of whom around 800 were thought to be trained and well-armed.
The rebel group had widely been considered as dormant, but in 2010, the Congolese army launched an unsuccessful offensive against them.
In its briefing, the ICG called for UN sanctions against those providing backing to the group and called on Uganda and DR Congo to punish any military officers supporting the group.
The UN has already imposed sanctions on the head of the organization, Jamil Mukulu.
A UN report published in November said the group was thought to have strong support networks in Britain and that it had recruited members in Burundi and Tanzania.


Trump’s travel ban faces US Supreme Court showdown

Updated 22 April 2018
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Trump’s travel ban faces US Supreme Court showdown

  • The high court has never decided the legal merits of the travel ban.
  • The challengers have argued the policy was motivated by Trump’s enmity toward Muslims.

WASHINGTON: The first big showdown at the US Supreme Court over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies is set for Wednesday when the justices hear a challenge to the lawfulness of his travel ban targeting people from several Muslim-majority countries.
The case represents a test of the limits of presidential power. Trump’s policy, announced in September, blocks entry into the US of most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Chad previously was on the list but Trump lifted those restrictions on April 10.
The high court has never decided the legal merits of the travel ban or any other major Trump immigration policy, including his move to rescind protections for young immigrants sometimes called Dreamers brought into the US illegally as children. It has previously acted on Trump requests to undo lower court orders blocking those two policies, siding with him on the travel ban and opposing him on the Dreamers. Trump’s immigration policies — also including actions taken against states and cities that protect illegal immigrants, intensified deportation efforts and limits on legal immigration — have been among his most contentious. 
The conservative-majority Supreme Court is due to hear arguments on Wednesday on the third version of a travel ban policy Trump first sought to implement a week after taking office in January 2017, and issue a ruling by the end of June. 
The lead challenger is the state of Hawaii, which argues the ban violates federal immigration law and the US Constitution’s prohibition on the government favoring one religion over another.
“Right now, the travel ban is keeping families apart. It is degrading our values by subjecting a specific set of people to be denigrated and marginalized,” Hawaii Lt. Governor Doug Chin said in an interview.
The Supreme Court on Dec. 4 signaled it may lean toward backing Trump when it granted the administration’s request to let the ban go into full effect while legal challenges played out.
In another immigration-related case, the justices on April 17 invalidated a provision in a US law requiring deportation of immigrants convicted of certain crimes of violence. Trump’s administration and the prior Obama administration had defended the provision.
'Politically correct'
Trump has said the travel ban is needed to protect the US from terrorism by militants. Just before the latest ban was announced, Trump wrote on Twitter that the restrictions “should be far larger, tougher and more specific — but stupidly that would not be politically correct!“
The challengers have argued the policy was motivated by Trump’s enmity toward Muslims, pressing that point in lower courts with some success by citing statements he made as a candidate and as president. As a candidate, Trump promised “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
The Justice Department argues Trump’s statements as a candidate carry no weight because he was not yet president. The policy’s challengers also point to views he has expressed as president, including his retweets in November of anti-Muslim videos posted by a far-right British political figure.
In a court filing last week, US Solicitor General Noel Francisco, representing Trump in court, said those retweets “do not address the meaning” of the travel ban policy.
Francisco cited Trump statements complimentary toward Muslims and Islam, including in a May 2017 speech in Saudi Arabia.
In defending the ban, the administration has pointed to a waiver provision allowing people from targeted countries to seek entry if they meet certain criteria. The State Department said that as of last month 375 waivers to the travel ban had been granted since the policy went into effect on Dec 8.