Category Archives: Africa

Niger laments Sahel G5 “death”

Brussels 22.05.2022 Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum said that Mali’s decision, which came after it was not allowed to assume the group’s rotating presidency, meant the Sahel force was now “dead”.(Image: illustration)

“The isolation of Bamako in West Africa is bad for the whole sub-region,” Bazoum told French newspaper La Croix in an interview published on Wednesday.

But the force’s executive secretary adopted a more measured tone over Mali’s decision.

Eric Tiare echoed Pobee in calling Bamako’s decision “regrettable” but told the UNSC meeting that it had enjoyed some successes in combatting armed groups and helping foster socioeconomic development in the region. Tiare also called on the world body to offer it more support.

France’s envoy to the UN, Nicolas de Riviere, also lamented Mali’s withdrawal from the force, as did other UNSC members.

The force, which includes troops from Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania, was formed in 2017 to counter armed groups who have swept across the region in recent years, killing thousands of people and forcing millions to flee their homes.

But it has been hobbled by a lack of funding and has struggled to reduce the violence.

Meanwhile, Mali’s withdrawal further isolates the country – which has been hit with sanctions by West Africa’s regional political bloc, impacting jobs and industry – on both the regional and global stage.

G5 Sahel: Chad urges Mali to stay

Brussels 22.05.2022 Chad’s interim president Mahamat Idriss Deby (pictured) has urged Mali’s military junta to reconsider its decision to withdraw from a five-nation military force – G5 Sahel – fighting Islamist militants in the region.

Malian authorities announced the decision on Sunday, May 22, blaming the lack of progress in the fight against militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS) and the failure to hold recent meetings in Mali. G5 Sahel assembls troops from Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Chad and Niger.

Mali’s junta, which came to power in an August 2020 coup, has grown increasingly estranged from its West African neighbours after delaying elections aimed to restore democratic rule.

Chad’s Deby, the acting president of the G5 Sahel, said in a statement released on his behalf that the alliance was “an irreplaceable instrument of cooperation”.

“The acting president of the G5 Sahel exhorts the government of the Republic of Mali to reconsider its position in order to allow efforts underway … (to) provide a solution to its concerns through an imminent conference of heads of state and government,” the statement said.

Deby ascended to power by the military last year after the battlefield death of his father, President Idriss Deby. Nowadays he has faced less international criticism than Mali’s junta, which is embroiled in a dispute with France, the former colonial power and main military ally of regional forces.

Ethiopia: EU condemns Human Rights violations

Brussels 09.04.2022 “The EU is appalled about the report by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International with regards to the widespread human rights violations and abuses of civilians in the Western part of Tigray.

“An independent UN investigation, complementing the efforts of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, is urgently needed, to establish facts and responsibilities contributing to accountability and justice for victims.

“An International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia was created by the EU led resolution in December 2021. The EU reiterates its calls on the Government to fully cooperate with the Commission so investigations can start immediately. The EU regrets delays in the budgetary discussions in the UN 5th Committee and calls on all partners to engage constructively to ensure the necessary resources for the International Commission, whose goal is to help Ethiopia on the way towards truce and reconciliation.

“The EU condemns in the strongest terms all human rights violations and abuses and violations of international human rights law, and of international humanitarian law, committed in northern Ethiopia since the conflict began on 3 November 2020.

“The EU calls for an immediate halt to all human rights violations and abuses and calls upon all parties to the conflict to facilitate full, safe, rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access ensure that humanitarian relief reaches all civilians in need”.

Burkina-Faco: President Compaore sentenced

Brussels 06.04.2022 Burkina Faso’s former President Blaise Compaore was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for complicity in the 1987 murder of his predecessor Thomas Sankar a in a coup d’état, a military tribunal ruled on Wednesday, April 6.

Burkina Faso’s former President Blaise Compaoré has received a life sentence in absentia for his role in the assassination of his charismatic predecessor, Thomas Sankara. Sankara, 37, was gunned down along with 12 others during the 1987 coup d’état that brought Compaoré to power.

The pair had been close friends and had jointly seized power in 1983. Sankara remains a hero for many across Africa because of his anti-imperialist stance and austere lifestyle.

After seizing power at the age of just 33, the Marxist revolutionary known by some as “Africa’s Che Guevara”, campaigned against corruption and oversaw huge increases in education and health spending.

EU on Mogadishu attacks

Brussels 25.03.2022 “The European Union stands in solidarity with the Somali people after the recent bomb attacks in Mogadishu and Beledweyne District. These terror attacks on innocent people included the targeting of the international airport and the main hospital where casualties of a previous attack were being brought” reads the statement by the European External Action Sercie Spokesperson on the attacks in Mogadishu and Beledweyne District.

“The European Union offers its heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured. We encourage Somalia’s leaders to increase security and defeat those who use violence against the Somali people”.

“The European Union is a steadfast supporter of Somalia’s state-building process and a partner for peace and security. The European Union recalls its strong support for the imminent and peaceful conclusion of the electoral process to deliver on the aspirations of the Somali people for a stable and prosperous future”.

Mali sanctions suspended

Brussels 25.03.2022 A top court ordered the suspension of sanctions imposed on Mali in January after the junta delayed elections. The court of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) on Thursday, March 24, gave the order against the sanctions.(Image: Assimi Goita,Interim President of Mali)

“The decision was rendered this morning. It is a suspension measure pending a detailed ruling of the court,” spokesperson Aminata Mbodj said. It was not immediately clear whether UEMOA would follow the court decision.

Malian authorities have repeatedly asked for the sanctions to be lifted and filed a legal complaint with the UEMOA court last month, saying they would have severe consequences for the population.

UEMOA in January had instructed all financial institutions under its umbrella to suspend Mali after the junta decided to delay elections intended to restore democratic rule after coups in 2020 and 2021.

The measures were imposed in conjunction with sanctions by the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which froze Malian state assets, closed its borders and suspended non-essential financial transactions.

ECOWAS heads of state are due to meet on Friday in Ghan

France troops withdrawal from Mali

Brussels 17.02.2022 Ahead of the EU-Africa Union Summit President Macron announces French troops are withdrawing from Mali and will be stationed in other parts of the African region.
France and its allies in the long-term anti-jihadist operation in Mali have announced a “coordinated withdrawal” of their forces. A joint statement cited “multiple obstructions” by the country’s ruling “military junta”. (Image above: illustration).

Announcing the move during a Thursday news conference in Paris, Macron accused Mali’s ruling military junta of neglecting the fight against Islamic extremists and said it was logical for France to withdraw since its role is not to replace a sovereign state on the battlefield.

“Victory against terror is not possible if it’s not supported by the state itself,” the French leader said.
France has about 4,300 troops in the Sahel region, including 2,400 in Mali. The Barkhane anti-terrorist force is also involved in Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

Macron said the French withdrawal would be done “in an orderly manner” in coordination with the Malian military. France will start by closing military bases in the north of Mali, and the withdrawal will take between four or six months, he said.

Sudan: Abdalla Hamdok resigns

Brussels 02.01.2022 Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said on Sunday, January 2, he was resigning, less than two months after being reinstated as part of a political agreement with the military.
In a televised speech, he said a roundtable discussion was needed to come to a new agreement for Sudan’s political transition to democracy.

EU: Sahel needs more engagement

Brussels 15.11.2021 “The Sahel will also be part of our work today. Last night, there was another attack in Burkina Faso. 20 more people dead, killed. Our security starts in the Sahel and we had to engage more with the region” said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell, while addressing press at the doorstep of the Europa building in Brussels, where the Council of the Ministers of foreign affairs takes place today, November 15.

An attack by insurgents killed 19 Burkina Faso military police and a civilian on Sunday, November 14, in the tri-border northern region where the West African nation is battling Islamist militants, Burkina Faso Security Minister Maxime Kone said.

Gunmen have killed at least 19 gendarmes and a civilian in northern Burkina Faso, in the tri-border region where the country has for years been battling armed groups.

Security Minister Maxime Kone told state media on Sunday the toll from the attack on a military police outpost near a gold mine in Inata was provisional.

“This morning a detachment of the gendarmerie suffered a cowardly and barbaric attack. They held their position,” Kone said, adding that 22 survivors had been found.

There were fears the death toll could rise.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, one of the deadliest against defence and security forces since Burkina Faso was gripped by conflict in 2015.

Sudan: EU condemns violence

Brussels 14.10.2021 “With reference to the joint statement of the Troika, EU and Switzerland last Friday, November 12, the EU condemns in the strongest terms the violence perpetrated against peaceful civilian protestors on Saturday 13 November” reads the statement by the EU spokesperson on the latest developments in Sudan.

“We are also very worried about the detention of journalists. Freedom of expression, access to information and ability to communicate are part and parcel of the basic freedoms and universal human rights. We therefore continue to call for the release of all detainees including journalists arrested since 25 October.

“We will hold authorities accountable for violations of human rights and lack of protection of civilians, which has been induced since the end of the democratic transitional process.

“The EU calls upon the military to return to the path of a fair and open dialogue with civilians, as they have done in August 2019, and which has brought the country back into the light from a very dark time.

“The interventions by the military since 25 October last are undoing much of the progress achieved under the civilian-led government, in full respect of the democratic aspirations of the Sudanese population.

“This will have serious consequences for the support of the European Union. This is not what the people of Sudan deserve and demand. Only a return to an inclusive dialogue will guarantee freedom, peace and justice for all in Sudan”.

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