Saturday Links: Carter on Sudan Elections, Burkina Faso Votes in November, Somalia Conflict

Former President Jimmy Carter believes Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir will face tough competition in April’s elections, possibly leading to a run-off vote in a second round.

Mr. Carter warned the election may lead to increased violence in Sudan, but said he hoped it would be kept at a local level.

“This will be an intensely competitive election with a lot at stake, and I don’t think there is any doubt that there will be some altercations in the remote areas and I hope they don’t expand,” said the former president.

Edward Thomas, an expert on Sudan from the London-based research group Chatham House, says there will be a large number of candidates in the election and this could serve as a boost to al-Bashir.

But he says the election may be tight.

“I think one of the reasons why it’s an important election is that it is quite close to call. All of the big names participating in the election are quite worried about winning and in a way that’s a good sign — it’s not quite the same as being free and fair but it means that there is a contest to be had,” he said.

Mauritania jails a police commissioner and several others on charges related to cocaine trafficking.

Burkina Faso will hold presidential elections this November.

President Blaise Compaore…came to power in a 1987 coup in which his predecessor Thomas Sankara was killed.

Compaore, 59, was then elected to the office in 1991, winning further mandates in 1998 and 2005.

Under the terms of the constitution, which was revised in 2002, the president should be elected once every five years and can serve two terms.

Some Compaore supporters have recently called for this limit to be scrapped.

“Limiting the presidential mandate is anti-democratic,” the head of Compaore’s Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) party said on Saturday.

Compaore has not yet indicated whether he will seek re-election.

In Nigeria, IRIN looks at the aftermath of the Jos crisis, and Reuters reports that MEND “will wait to be invited by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan to resume peace talks and [that] its ceasefire in the oil-producing Niger Delta remains suspended.” The US embassy in Nigeria has praised the transfer of power from Yar’Adua to Jonathan.

Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government said yesterday that “they had completely prepared their forces to attack some regions in southern Somalia.”

Feel free to treat this as an open thread for Africa news links, especially if major fighting kicks off in Mogadishu today.

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