Pambazuka News 307: Ethiopia: Democracy still in jail

Former "Ninja" rebels led by a renegade pastor in Congo Republic burned their weapons late on Thursday in a ceremony meant to underline their commitment to peace in the central African country. The rebels, named after ancient Japanese warriors, fought an insurgency against Congo's government in the late 1990s and although a peace deal was signed in 2003 sporadic violence has plagued the Pool region where they are based ever since.

Millions of dollars worth of timber revenue is being lost each year in Tanzania because of poor governance and rampant corruption in the forestry sector, according to a new report by TRAFFIC International.

Trade unions are expressing their concerns over what they call an "escalating violence" by security officers against their representatives all over Chad. The country has been paralysed by an unpopular general strike for over one month. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has denounced what it called "the recent escalation in anti-union repression in Chad," where a public sector strike launched a month ago by the Inter-Union Group continues.

A Gambian journalist of the sealed bi-weekly newspaper, 'The Independent', was convicted by a regional court to either pay US $2, 000 or in default serve a year in prison. His attorney, Lamin Camara, vows to appeal against the conviction at the High Court.

Between 30 and 60 plain-clothed policemen have over the past two weeks surrounded the offices of 'Kalima', an online newspaper that is the only independent media based in Tunisia. 'Kalima' journalists have thus been prevented from working and updating their news site, which for years has been inaccessible for Tunisian readers.