UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
ADDHL - Djibouti Association for the Defense of Human Rights
DRA - Djibouti Relief Association
FDF - Front of Democratic Forces
FRUD - Front for the Restauration of Unity and Democracy
FNS - Force Nationale de Securite
MND - Mouvement National Djiboutien
MSR - Mouvement pour le Salut et la Reconstruction
MUD - Movement pour l'Unite de la Democratie
PCRD - Parti Centriste et des Reformes Democratiques
PND - Parti National Democratique
PRD - Parti du Renouveau Democratique
RPP - Rassemblement Populaire pour le Progres
UDD - Union des Democrates Djiboutiens
UDSJ - Union for Democracy and Social Justice
UMD - Union des Movements Democratiques
** FRAGIL PEACE **
(Economist Intelligence Unit via RBB 11 Jul 95) ...Rumours of the ill-health of Hassan Gouled Aptidon, the septuagenarian president, will continue to fuel speculation and infighting within his Somali-Issa entourage over the succession. Under the constitution Aptidon himself will name his successor. Ismael Omar Guelleh, his hardline chef de cabinet, remains by far the most likely candidate. However, Guelleh has many enemies within the elite who feel that, if appointed president, he would reinforce the autocratic, uncompromising style increasingly favoured by Aptidon.
DJIBOUTIAN GUNMEN KILL PRO-PEACE RELIGIOUS LEADER
(Reuter 26 Jun 95)
Gunmen have assasinated a religious leader in northern Djibouti, an incident described by his allies on Monday as an attempt to derail a peace accord ending a three-year uprising in the tiny Red Sea state.
Ali Houmed Soule, a key supporter of the peace process between the government and the former rebel Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD), was killed on Saturday a few metres (yards) away from his home in the village of Randa, a FRUD stronghold in the north.
The cleric's brother, Mohamed Houmed Soule, a leading human rights activist, blamed "elements of the Djibouti army who are hostile to the peace accord" for the attack.
But FRUD chairman Ali Hassan Daoud, who was named health minister in the country's newly-formed coalition government, dismissed the incident as an "isolated event".
The government has made no comment on the murder of Soule but has ordered an official inquiry into the killing.
Djiboutian President Hassan Gouled Aptidon appointed the country's first coalition government three weeks ago which saw two former rebels named ministers.
Under a peace pact in December, FRUD undertook to abandon armed resistance and transform itself into a political party so the former rebels would share power with Issa Somalis.
Hostilities in the arid state effectively ended in July 1992 followed by months of secret talks, which Houmed Soule fully supported, leading to a peace deal.
EIGHT SOLDIERS ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH KILLING OF
(SWB 6 Jul 95 [RFI in French, 4 Jul 95])
According to legal sources in Jibuti, eight soldiers have been arrested in connection with the killing on 26th June of the qadi - the traditional and religious chief - of Randa, 40 km northeast of the city of Jibuti. Charges of murder and complicity to murder have been brought against the eight soldiers.
FOUR INJURED IN RESTAURANT GRENADE BLAST
(SWB 5 Aug 95 [RFI in French, 3 Aug 95])
In Jibuti this morning, an unidentified person threw a grenade into a restaurant, and the resulting explosion injured four people, two of them seriously. This is the latest of a number of mysterious attacks in the past few months...
There is every reason to believe, however, that behind the wave of mysterious attacks are opponents of the peace process which has been developing over the past year between the government and the opposition Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy [FRUD].
** FOREIGN RELATIONS **
GOULED MEETS CHIRAC
(ION 8 Jul 95, p.3) During head of state Hassan Gouled Aptidon's visit to Paris this week, he met with the new French head of state Jacques Chirac, in the presence of Chirac's Africa counsellor Michel Dupuch, Djibouti's foreign affairs and cooperation minister Mohamed Moussa Chechem, the head of the presidential office Ismail Gedi Hared, and Djibouti's ambassador to France Ahmed Omar Farah. A good part of their discussions covered Gouled Aptidon's request for France to assist his country make sure that the conference of international fund donors, scheduled to be held in Geneva in a few months, was a success. Here, Chirac accepted the principle of French assistance, in order to help the Djibouti authorities prepare documents which they will be presenting during negotiations with the International Monetary Fund. An IMF mission is expected to be in Djibouti on July 12.
President Chirac also accepted a second request from his Djibouti opposite number, namely, French financial assistance for rehabilitation (rebuilding schools and dispensaries, etc) in regions in the northern part of the country which have been devastated by years of civil war...
FRENCH POLICE AGAIN TRY TO BREAK UP PRO-AFAR DEMONSTRATION IN
(SWB 11 Jul 95 [RFI in French, 9 Jul 95])
For four days now, 10 or so members of the charity SOS Africa have been demonstrating outside the Jibuti embassy in Paris. They started a hunger strike in protest against the aid given to that country by France. SOS Africa condemns what it regards as repression in Afar territory and is asking to be able to go there. This morning the French security forces once again dislodged the hunger strikers, who nevertheless intend to continue with their action.
DJIBOUTIAN AIR FORCE
(Flight International via RBB 5 Jul 95)
Force Aerienne Djiboutienne
The country's position at the mouth of the Red Sea is of great strategic value to the West. Although the country has no combat capability, at the request of the Djibouti Government France bases a force of 3,250 men in the country, consisting of armoured, artillery and infantry battalions with their integral Puma helicopter support. The French air force detachment includes ten Mirage F.1Cs, a C-160 Transall, one SA.319 Alouette III and two SA.355 [Ecureuil] helicopters, together with ground forces...
YEMEN, DJIBOUTI DISCUSS BILATERAL SECURITY TIES
(Reuter 27 Jul 95)
ADEN - Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Thursday received a message from President Hassan Gouled Aptidon of Djibouti on the latest developments in the Horn of Africa, the official SABA news agency said...
Yemen and Djibouti face each other on the Asian and African sides respectively of the strategic Bab al-Mandab straits controlling the southern entrance of the Red Sea.
[Djibouti chief of staff, Brigadier Fathi Ahmad Hussein], who arrived in Yemen on Tuesday, said his talks with Yemeni officials would cover the possibility of creating distinctive security relations and mutual coordination in the joint waters and Bab al- Mandab.
** ECONOMIC NEWS **
(Economist Intelligence Unit via RBB 11 Jul 95) ...[Djibouti's] port is the country's sole viable economic asset. The port authority handled a total of 1.3m tons of cargo during 1994. This represented only a 4% decline from the 1993 total, reflecting a steep recovery during the second half after a poor first six months. Around 60% of total volume consists of unotably [sic] petroleum products, which account for 27% of total cargo. These figures lend support to those who have favoured a policy of investment and constant upgrading of the facilities of the port, notably its capacity to handle container traffic for which demand still remains buoyant.
The port is benefiting from the increasing volume of exports from Ethiopia, Djibouti's main trading partner and the port's largest customer. The Ethiopian Shipping Line operates principally out of Djibouti and the [Eritrean] port of Assab, Djibouti's main Red Sea competitor...
DJIBOUTI UNVEILS AUSTERITY PLANS
(Reuter 16 Aug 95)
DJIBOUTI - Djibouti has announced plans for a 50 percent increase in income tax under an austerity drive to curb public spending and edge closer to a balanced budget.
The finance minister of the small Red Sea state, Mohamed Ali Mohamed, went on state television on Tuesday night and said the only alternative to the tough measures was big cuts in the 7,000-strong civil service.
Mohamed said a special tax known as "the patriotic contribution" would soon increase from 10 percent of all gross salaries to 15 percent. Only a small minority of Djibouti's 500,000 people are formally employed and taxable...' Mohamed also announced a 60 percent reduction in all allowances paid to civil servants and an end to their free housing. He said salaries to civil servants and other government employees © apparently including the army © swallowed up 20 billion Djibouti francs ($113 million) or 80 percent of the state budget.
Mohamed said his austerity measures were intended to trim government spending by 6.6 billion francs ($37 million) between next month and December 1996.
Mohamed will shortly present his detailed plans to the national assembly (parliament) which has to approve them.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) called for spending cuts after two recent missions to Djibouti...
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