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Djibouti evicts US vote group ahead of election

March 18, 2011 Comments off

Djibouti’s government has kicked out an American election monitoring group less than a month before the nation’s presidential election, a vote opposition politicians are boycotting because they say the president is repressing dissent.

Djibouti is a tiny East African nation that hosts the only U.S. military base in Africa. Situated on the Gulf of Aden between Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Yemen, the city-state is a major shipping hub in a volatile region.

The country is nominally democratic, but events leading up to the April 8 presidential election appear to show a hardline approach by President Ismail Omar Guelleh at a time when democracy movements are upending administrations.

Democracy International, a U.S. group that works on democracy and governance programs, was halfway through a two-year, $2.2 million U.S. government-funded contract when it was accused of assisting opposition politicians and barred from the country earlier this month. Read more…