Category Archives: Conflict

Ethiopia fighting causes France concern

Brussels 02.08.2021 Brussels 02.08.2021 On 31 July 2021, the President of the Republic, Mr Emmanuel Macron, spoke with the Prime Minister of Sudan, Mr Abdalla Hamdok, and then with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Mr Abiy Ahmed. These conversations were an opportunity to highlight France’s concern about the increasing fighting in the north of Ethiopia and the evolution of the humanitarian situation in Tigray.

The President said that the very serious humanitarian situation and the need to deliver assistance to the people of Tigray required strong measures, including the lifting of all restrictions on delivery of aid. In this context, France supports the efforts of the chief of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Mr Griffiths, who is currently in Ethiopia.

The President also indicated that the development of the situation required the negotiation of a break in hostilities and the opening of political dialogue between the belligerents, with respect for the integrity and unity of Ethiopia.

France and its partners are ready to support Ethiopia accordingly.

Tigray: food as weapon of war

Brussels 30.07.2021 “Trucks carrying food supplies that could save countless lives in Tigray are being prevented from moving, apparently deliberately. Increasingly hard to avoid conclusion that access to food is used as weapon of war. It is the Ethiopian Government’s responsibility to provide access” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

United Nations Security Council resolution 2417 of May 2018 reaffirms that “using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare may constitute a war crime.”

The conflict in Ethiopia Tigray region has forced more than two million to flee their homes and left millions without resources, dependent on food aid. Deepening the crisis, Ethiopia’s government has repeatedly cut basic services to the Tigray region, including vital electricity supply and communications. These actions, together with the killing, pillaging, and rape, committed by all parties, has created a profound humanitarian crisis.

More than 100,000 children in Tigray are at risk and could suffer from life-threatening severe acute malnutrition in the next 12 months, a 10-fold jump over average annual levels, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Friday, July 30.

Tigray on brink of famine

Brussels 03.07.2021 The United Nations said the conflict could rapidly flare again in Ethiopia’s Tigray and that famine was worsening in the region, where local fighters declared victory this week after an eight-month war with central government and allied forces.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, provincial authorities which Ethiopian forces and troops from neighbouring Eritrea drove out last year, returned to regional capital Mekelle on Monday, June 28, to cheering crowds.

“There is potential for more confrontations and a swift deterioration in the security situation, which is extremely concerning,” U.N. political and peacebuilding affairs chief Rosemary DiCarlo told the U.N. Security Council.

The Ethiopian government declared a unilateral ceasefire on Monday which the TPLF dismissed as a joke. There are reports of continued clashes in some places as pressure builds internationally for all sides to pull back.

Acting U.N. aid chief Ramesh Rajasingham said shortages of food had worsened dramatically over the past two weeks and some 400,000 people in Tigray were now estimated to be in famine, with another 1.8 million on the brink of famine.

Both Russia and China did not object to Friday July 2 public meeting of the UN Security Council on Tigray, but
they made clear that they believed the conflict is an internal affair for Ethiopia. Russia’s UN ambassador Vasily Nebenzya said: “We believe that interference by the Security Council in solving it is counterproductive.”
Russia and China are both council veto-powers, along with the U.S., France and UK.

Ethiopia: EU condemns MSF killing

Brussels 26.06.2021 “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of three staff members of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Tigray today, outside Abiy Addi, while delivering aid to those needing it most. We offer our deepest condolences to their loved ones” reads the statement of Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell and Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič, on the killing of three humanitarian workers in Tigray.

“This atrocity is another horrific example of the escalation of the conflict in Tigray and a flagrant breach of International Humanitarian Law.

“It Follows the bombing of a market in Tigray earlier this week, targeting civilians and killing dozens. Indiscriminate and deliberate attacks against civilians have been ongoing been since the conflict started.

“Next to continuous blockings of humanitarian workers while trying to deliver assistance to the people caught in the conflict, this represents yet another tragic attack against humanitarian workers in Tigray.

“The targeting of civilians and aid workers adds to existing allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity as well as the use of starvation and sexual violence as weapons of war. We reiterate the urgent call for an immediate ceasefire in Tigray and unrestricted humanitarian access to all those affected by the conflict in the region, and recall in the strongest possible terms that civilians and aid workers must not be a target”.

CAR: UN accuses Russians

Brussels 05.05.2021 In the Central African Republic, the brutal methods of the Russian “instructors” who fight alongside the Central African army are giving rise to growing fear and concern. On March 31, the United Nations Working Group on Mercenaries warned of a long series of serious human rights violations attributed to them. RFI had access to many confidential documents and collected words from victims. Investigation.

In Bangui, the presence of Russian mercenaries and the abuses of which they are accused are subjects of which one speaks in low voices, in private, and in anonymity.
“It’s the elephant in the middle of the room,” said a diplomatic source. “We only see him, but we pretend he’s not there.” Officially, they are not here. The Russian narrative on the subject is extremely well established. The Russian ambassador in Bangui acknowledges the dispatch of 535 men whom he describes as “instructors” who “do not take part in the fighting” except “if they are targeted.”

However, many national and international security sources contradict this version. They mention 800 to 2,000 mercenaries deployed in the CAR, alongside the Central African armed forces, often “on the front line” during clashes and also present at checkpoints and strategic locations.
For part of the public, weary of the occupation and violence of armed groups, the Russians are Saviours. They played a decisive role in the counter-offensive which made it possible to retake most of the country’s major cities. Their action is also supported by an active communication campaign from the authorities. Few dissenting voices publicly dare to question their methods, in the climate of fear that has taken hold in certain regions of the country.

On March 31, for the first time, a group of independent experts came to break this silence. In a press release, the UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries attached to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, denounces the increased use of private security companies by the authorities in Bangui. And alert on a long list of abuses which are “attributable” to them: “mass summary executions, arbitrary detentions, torture during interrogations, enforced disappearances, forced displacement of civilians, indiscriminate targeting of civilian installations, violations of the right to health and growing attacks on humanitarian actors.”

Three Russian entities are cited in this press release: the “Wagner Group”, considered to be the private armed wing of Moscow, some of whose fighters have recently come under charges for a possible war crime in Syria; “Sewa Security Services”, a company incorporated under Central African law founded in Bangui in 2017 and considered as the subsidiary of Wagner in the country; and finally “Lobaye Invest SARLU”, a mining company founded in the Central African Republic in 2017, one of whose officials has been placed under sanctions by the United States. The Task Force says it has gathered evidence of their “involvement in a series of violent attacks” in the Central African Republic since last December.

Several internal United Nations reports that RFI has consulted support these accusations. One of them lists at least a hundred victims of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed either by the Faca and their Russian allies or by Russian elements alone, between January 1, 2021 and mid-January. April. Among these violations: 26 extrajudicial executions, 5 rapes as well as 27 cases of arbitrary arrests and deprivation of liberty.

“Many civilians have been killed or injured (…) although they are very far from legitimate military targets,” the report concludes.

Among the most affected prefectures: that of Ouaka, north-east of Bangui. Fo two months, Bambari, capital of this prefecture, located 370 kilometers from the capital.

CHAD: Deby death events ambiguous

Brussels 23.04.2021 The rumours and speculations around the events of late Chad President Idriss Deby multiples. Officially Idriss Déby Itno died as a warrior, leading his army. According to the Chadian military, which broke the news on state television, the newly re-elected president died of “injuries received at the front”, located 300 km north of the capital N’Djamena.

“The President of the Republic, Head of State, Supreme Head of the Armed Forces, Idriss Déby Itno, has just had his last breath in defending territorial integrity on the battlefield. It is with deep bitterness that we announce to the Chadian people the death on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 of Marshal of Chad “, announced the spokesman of the army General Azem Bermandoa Agouna.

On Saturday, April 17, intense fighting of the Chadian army against a column of rebels advancing towards the capital N’Djamena were reported. This Libyan-based rebel group, the Front Front for Change and Concord in Chad (abbreviation FACT in French language), had advanced south after attacking a border post.

According to army spokesman Azem Bermendao Agouna, Chadian government forces halted the rebel advance in a battle that took place the same day in Kanem province. Five government soldiers were killed and 36 others reported injured. On the rebel side, the losses would have been much heavier: N’Djamena speaks of more than 300 rebels killed and 150 prisoners, however the information war is suspected, while the facts are difficult to verify. However, videos show dozens of rebels captured by government troops, just as they also show drops of equipment and ammunition that could only have been carried out by France.

On Monday evening, April 19, a meeting between late President Déby and the FACT leaders would have taken place in Mao city, close to the border of the Sahara desert. There is a word that this meeting could have degenerated into a fight causing the death of Déby and four of his generals.

This sudden death caused the dissolution of the Assembly and the establishment of a military body (the Transitional Military Council, CMT) which ensures power. At its head is one of the Marshal’s sons: General Mahamat Déby Itno (37), who commands the Presidential Guard, the promotion that angers FACT rebels, insisting that Chad is not a monarchy.

Déby, 68, a career soldier who seized power in 1990 following a coup d’état, promoted to the rank of Marshal last August, had just been re-elected for a 6-year term with 79.32% of the votes cast, according to provisional results announced Monday, April 19, evening by the national electoral body.

The Chadian president was often considered as a stabilising element in a tormented region even if the turbulent Déby mistreated his world and especially his opponents. But it appeared to be the stabilising element of a tormented region, with states as failed as Libya, the Central African Republic or Sudan. And when the fire burned in the Sahel and in Central Africa, he answered present, unleashing his warriors who can be found today in Mali in the ranks of the UN and those of the Joint Force of the G5 Sahel.

CHAD President Idriss Déby perished

Brussels 20.04.2021 #BREAKING: Chad’s President Idriss Déby has died suddenly in clashes with rebels in the north of the country close to Niger border. His death came shortly after provisional election results projected he would win a sixth term in office, with 80% of the vote.
Déby was reportedly wounded on the battlefield on Sunday, April 18, and was then flown to the capital 400km way by helicopter.
According to rebel leader Mahamat Ali, #IdrissDeby was in combat on Sunday and Monday, near Nokou, close to Niger border. After Deby had fallen slain at the battlefield he was evacuated to Ndjamena. Tanks were deployed around the palace. Déby was to speak at the Place de la Nation on Monday, April 19 but failed to attend.

According to a confirmation from the national army of Chad read on national television, the newly re-elected President Idriss Déby has died of wounds he received while commanding his army in battles against rebels in the north.

In a swift change of fate, after news had come in that Chad’s veteran president, Idriss Déby had won a sixth term, by 79.3%, in the latest provisional results in on Monday, an announcement broadcast on national television today has announced his death.

The latest clashes began on Saturday, April 17. An army general said that 300 insurgents were killed and 150 were captured. Five government soldiers were killed and 36 were injured, he said. The figures could not immediately be verified.

EU confirms Sahel strategy

Brussels 19.04.2021 The EU Council approved conclusions reaffirming the importance of a solid and long-term partnership between the EU and the Sahel, and on the EU’s integrated strategy in the region. (Image above: Barkhane, Les Black Hawk suédois rejoignent la Task Force Takuba).

The Council approved conclusions reaffirming the importance of a solid and long-term partnership between the EU and the Sahel, and of stepping up that partnership through an ambitious EU strategy setting the framework for its policies and actions in the region.

Since 2012 the Sahel has faced a profound security crisis that has hampered its development and, together with other long-term trends such as climate change, demographic pressure, the access to natural resources and epidemic risks, risks wiping out the progress made in recent decades.

During the period of the previous EU Sahel strategy (2011-2020), the EU has mobilised all instruments at its disposal, from humanitarian aid to security forces, to support the Sahel populations, and now intends to intensify its political efforts through a new, ambitious, inclusive and flexible strategy based on the principle of mutual accountability with Sahel partner authorities.

In line with international coordination efforts within the Sahel Coalition, the EU emphasises the importance of a ‘civilian and political leap forward’ focusing both on short-term stabilisation and long-term prospects for sustainable social, environmental and economic development, above and beyond military involvement.

The promotion protection and fulfilment of all human rights will continue to remain at the heart of EU support for the Sahel, as well as efforts in the areas of governance and the rule of law, anti-corruption, and the provision of basic public services to all people.

Recognizing past as well as emerging trends, the EU will continue to support Sahel partners in fighting terrorist armed groups, and support their efforts in the field of security sector reform.

The EU will continue strengthening the multilateral system, with the United Nations at its core, alongside regional organisations.

EU: Haavisto second mission to Ethiopia

Pekka Haavisto, Foreign Minister of Finland, mandated by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell, is undertaking a second mission to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Foreign Minister will discuss the situation in Ethiopia, notably the crisis in Tigray and its regional implications. Haavisto second mission to Ethiopia

During his visit, Haavisto will meet with Ethiopian authorities, and convey The EU’s continued concern regarding the humanitarian situation in Tigray, calling all parties to end hostilities and for the respect of International Humanitarian Law and International Refugee Law, as well as to allow independent investigations on alleged human rights abuse. He will also recall that Eritrean forces shall withdraw from Tigray. Finally, he will consult with the African Union to exchange views on the situation in Ethiopia as well as on regional issues.

On his way to Ethiopia, Haavisto is travelling to Saudi Arabia and to the United Arab Emirates for discussions on regional issues as well as the situation in Tigray.

He will report about his visit to European Ministers of Foreign Affairs during the next Foreign Affairs Council in April.

ICC: Uganda Ongwen-victim and villain

04.02.2021 The Hague, The Netherlands: War crimes judges deliver their verdict in the case of Dominic Ongwen, a Ugandan child soldier turned top field commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group known for extreme violence and forcing women into sexual slavery.

Ongwen, 45, faces 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity and could be imprisoned for life if convicted. Judges will not address sentencing on Thursday, February 4.

Ongwen’s case is complex because under the law “you have either a victim or a perpetrator and anything in between is very difficult to squeeze in,” said Barbora Hola, senior researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement.

The ruling at the International Criminal Court (ICC) will be the first dealing with crimes by the LRA, New York-based Human Rights Watch said.

It highlights the difficulty of trying somebody who, as a conscripted child soldier, is both an alleged perpetrator and a victim. His lawyers have asked for acquittal.

Detained in 2015, Ongwen remains in the court’s custody, and his 3.5-year-trial ended in March 2020.

Ongwen’s lawyer insisted that the brutal life in the LRA affected his mental health and his capacity to make independent decisions.

“When Ongwen was abducted he had no option, he was made a slave. That slavery continued until he left the bush,” lawyer Krispus Odongo said to the judges in closing arguments.

But prosecutors countered that Ongwen was an adult at the time of the alleged offences and cannot be excused of responsibility.

Led by fugitive warlord Joseph Kony, the LRA terrorized Ugandans for nearly two decades as it battled the government of President Yoweri Museveni from bases in the north of the country and in what is now South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

The case at the ICC focused on 2002-2005, when prosecutors said members of the LRA carried out crimes including murder, rape, sexual slavery, forced marriage, torture, pillaging and the conscription of children under the age of 15 for fighting.

After being abducted by the LRA as a boy, Ongwen worked his way up to a commander, overseeing the Sinia Brigade, one of the group’s four main operational units with up to 800 fighters.

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