Category Archives: Africa

Chad: Borrell condemns violence

Brussels 23.10.2022 “The European Union strongly condemns the violence perpetrated today in several towns in Chad which has led to the death of some fifty people. The repression of demonstrations and the excessive use of force constitute serious attacks on the freedoms of expression and demonstration which undermine the ongoing transition process” reads the Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell on the violence in Chad.

“The European Union calls on the transitional authorities to quickly identify the perpetrators of this violence and bring them to justice.

“The European Union reiterates the importance of a rapid return to constitutional order and of a time-limited transition that guarantees respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. A real engagement with all civil and political actors is also essential in order to guarantee the credibility and legitimacy of the ongoing process”.

Burkina Faso capital under gunfire

Brussels 30.09.2022 The situation is Burkina Faso’s capital is “confused” after heavy gunfire was reported, the BBC reports. Armed soldiers have taken positions at several points in Ouagadougou. (Image: illustration).

The country’s leader Col Paul-Henri Damiba, who seized power in January, is “in the capital and doing well,” news site Jeune Afrique reports.

Mozambique: fighting terrorism

Brussels 12.09.2022 “Last week I was in Mozambique, a country where EU support plays a significant including through one of the largest recipients of EU support and host to one of our EU military training missions” writes the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell.

“My visit aimed to show that the EU does not forget crises in other parts of the world, despite facing the worst threat to European security since the end of World War II with the war of aggression against Ukraine. Mozambique’s fight against terrorism is one of these security crises that we help to tackle using all EU instruments.”
n Europe, we are very focused on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its implications for European security. But other crises and global problems do not stop. On the contrary, they have often been aggravated by the consequences of this war. We need more than ever to continue to work with our partners around the globe to defend the rules-based order and to keep up our work on global challenges. For this purpose, the EU’s close partnership with Africa is crucial.

The EUTM Mozambique, launched in November 2021, is a key element in the EU’s commitment to help Mozambique’s fight against this terrorism. Over the next two years, it will train 11 units of the Mozambican army (commandos and marines) that will be part of a future Quick Reaction Force. In addition to military training, the EUTM is also providing training on human rights and international humanitarian law, in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and relevant UN organisations. Ten EU member states participate to the Mission with 110 soldiers deployed at the moment. This mission is now fully operational, having already trained 600 soldiers. During my stay in Mozambique, I visited the mission to hand over European Peace Facility (EPF)-funded equipment and witness a change of command.

In all of this, we work closely with the Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), and during my visit, I announced the EU decision to provide € 15 million to this mission in addition to the € 89 million of EPF support. It is the first time ever that we train people while in parallel providing them with equipment. In the coming weeks, I hope that our member states will also agree on my proposal to support the Rwandese military mission that has been decisive to improve the situation in Cabo Delgado.

“This was the backdrop of my two-days visit to Mozambique. It is a coastal country in Southern Africa with an area bigger than any EU country, inhabited by some 30 million people. With its fast demographic growth (6 children per woman on average), its population is set to double by 2050 (and already now almost half of the population is under the age of 14). Mozambique ranks 181/189 on the Human Development Index and the poverty rate is above 60%. After the country became independent from Portugal in 1975, Mozambique went through a protracted civil war that ended in 1992, but it was only in 2019, that a “definitive” peace and reconciliation agreement was reached. My predecessor Federica Mogherini came to Maputo to witness the signature of this historic agreement that the EU supported significantly.

“While the agreement holds for most of the country, the northern Cabo Delgado province has suffered from armed attacks since 2017 leading to an unprecedented humanitarian and security crisis. Fighting have resulted in over 4.000 deaths, some 950,000 internally displaced persons and 1.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in this region. This insurgency is inspired and driven by ISIS, while local grievances and domestic root causes also play a significant role. Foreign fighters are involved and their transit to Cabo Delgado poses risks to neighbouring countries. Due to this instability, the region has become a hotspot of organised crime (heroin, wildlife, wood and gemstone trafficking for instance) in Mozambique and the entire Southern African region.

“Following the establishment of an EU training mission and the deployment in 2021 of Rwandan and Southern African Development Community (SADC) troops to Cabo Delgado to support the efforts of the Mozambican army, these armed groups temporarily lost the initiative. However, security incidents have continued in the province as the armed groups have dispersed and changed tactics.

But we know that you cannot win a war against terror with soldiers and weapons only. To win this kind of war, one needs to win the peace as well. This is why we work closely with the Government of Mozambique to cover the full spectrum of humanitarian, development, security and peace-building actions. In parallel to our security support, we focus on education, access to water and sanitation, energy, nutrition and climate change. This includes a package of € 428 million for the period 2021-2024, in addition to around €R 36 million of humanitarian assistance (mainly to Cabo Delgado since 2021).

Some journalists in Mozambique have asked me whether our support to the fight against terrorism in Cabo Delgado is linked to the gas reserves in this region. My answer was clear: the gas discoveries in Mozambique should benefit the Mozambican people first and foremost, while they can also help to tackle the global energy crisis and energy demand. But that is not the primary reason of our engagement in Mozambique. The security of Europe starts in places that can be sometimes thousands of kilometres away. The Somali crisis have had profound repercussions on the neighbouring countries and the ship traffic in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel crisis also started in a limited area and quickly spread all over the region. We need to help avoid that kind of large scale destabilization happening in another place on the continent. This is why we support the efforts of Mozambique in Cabo Delgado”.

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.

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