Category Archives: Conflict

Cameroon: MEPs concern about human rights

Strasbourg 26.11.2021 MEPs are deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Cameroon. The adopted European Parliament resolution notes that the country is facing a number of political and security challenges simultaneously, including threats from terrorist group Boko Haram in its Far North region and an internal armed separatist rebellion, which has been ongoing for almost five years in its Anglophone Northwest and Southwest regions. The latter conflict between militias and state authorities has so far killed thousands of people, witnessed heinous abuses, and led to a full-blown humanitarian crisis in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions.

Parliament urges both the Cameroonian government and the political and military leaders of separatist groups to agree on a humanitarian ceasefire and encourages the parties to the conflict to agree on confidence-building measures, such as freeing non-violent political prisoners and lifting school boycotts. MEPs call on President Paul Biya’s government and the Anglophone separatists to immediately re-initiate peace talks, while pleading for the international community, especially the African Union, Central African states and the EU, to help facilitate dialogue by offering to take on a mediation role.

The resolution also calls on the Cameroonian authorities to stop bringing people to trial before military tribunals, in particular civilians, predetermining outcomes and imposing the death penalty, which is unlawful under international human rights law. MEPs remind Cameroon that it must uphold the right of all citizens to a fair trial before independent courts of law and recall that military courts should not have jurisdiction over the civilian population.

The text was adopted by 614 votes in favour, 32 against and 40 abstentions.

MEPs condemn Russia Wagner Group

Strasbourg 26.11.2021 The European Parliament adopted a resolution assessing human rights violations committed by the Russian paramilitary paramilitary Wagner Group.

MEPs condemn in the strongest terms the heinous crimes committed by the Russian paramilitary organisation the Wagner Group and related private military entities in various conflict areas.

The Russian state appears to bear responsibility for the funding, training, management and operational command of these paramilitary groups, MEPs say, while pointing out that the Wagner Group’s activities correspond with the spread of Russia’s influence in conflict zones. The Wagner Group, and other Russian-led security contractors, should be treated as proxy organisations of the Russian state, MEPs insist.

The resolution notes that the Wagner Group is present in many conflicts around the world, notably in Ukraine, Syria, Sudan, Mozambique, Libya, the Central African Republic and Venezuela. Given their track record of violations, MEPs welcome the statement made by EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell on the imminent adoption of targeted EU sanctions against “relevant individuals and entities affiliated with the Wagner Group”, as well as individuals and entities working with them. They call for these sanctions to include travel bans and assets freezes on Wagner operatives.

In addition, the resolution urges all countries using the services of the Wagner Group and its affiliates, particularly the Central African Republic, to cut all ties with the group and its employees. It calls on the European Commission to ensure that EU funds cannot, under any circumstances, be used by recipient countries to fund private military companies with such terrible human rights records.

The text was adopted by 585 votes in favour, 40 against and 43 abstentions.

MEPs called for the matter of the activities of the Wagner Group and other private military companies in Africa to be thoroughly discussed during the upcoming EU-Africa Summit.

The Members of the Europarliament are of the opinion that strengthening EU training missions (EUTMs) would more effectively contribute to security sector reform in partner countries; is of the opinion that the swift implementation of the European Peace Facility, in full compliance with the Council Common Position on arms export controls.

Nigeria: abducted victims liberation

Brussels 10.09.2021 Nigerian authorities rescue over 200 abduction victims in a week. The security agents have rescued nearly 200 kidnapped people during raids on camps of criminal gangs in dense tropical forest in the country’s northwest, police said.

Heavily armed criminal gangs known locally as bandits have plagued northwest and central Nigeria for years, raiding and looting villages and abducting people for ransom.

Nigeria forces rescue nearly 200 abducted victims in northwest
The 187 victims were freed in Zamfara state, where they had been seized in separate attacks, police say.

The rescue was part of a weeks-long broader military operation in Zamfara and other northwestern states
Nigerian security agents have rescued nearly 200 kidnapped people during raids on camps of criminal gangs in dense forests in the country’s northwest, police said.

Heavily armed criminal gangs known locally as bandits have plagued northwest and central Nigeria for years, raiding and looting villages and abducting for ransom.

The rescued victims, including 187 men, women and children, were freed in Zamfara state, where they had been abducted in separate random attacks, police said late on Thursday, October 8.

Images and video were sent by police to the media showing some exhausted people with torn clothes and struggling to sit as they waited to be transported back to their homes.

“The abducted victims who spent many weeks in captivity were unconditionally rescued following extensive search and rescue operations that lasted for hours,” Zamfara state police spokesman said in a statement.

The rescue was part of a weeks-long broader military operation in Zamfara and other northwestern states that has included intentional telecoms blackouts to disrupt gang’s communications.

The criminal groups, who maintain camps hidden in forests straddling Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Kaduna states, have been increasingly attacking schools where they kidnap pupils for ransom.

Hundreds of schoolchildren have been abducted in mass kidnappings since December. Most have been freed or released after ransoms were paid but dozens are still being held.

Schools have become targets for mass kidnappings for ransom in northern Nigeria by various armed groups. Such kidnappings in Nigeria were first carried out by jihadist group Boko Haram, and later its offshoot Islamic State West Africa Province, but nowadays the tactic has been adopted by other criminal gangs.

The United Nations children’s agency UNICEF said that 1 million Nigerian children could miss school this year as the new term begins amid a rise in mass school kidnappings and insecurity.

EU congratulates UN Western Sahara Envoy

Brussels 07.10.2021 “The European Union congratulates Staffan de Mistura (pictured) for his appointment as the new UN Secretary-General Personal Envoy for Western Sahara” reads the statement by the spokesperson on the appointment of the new UN Secretary-General Personal Envoy for Western Sahara.

“We are confident that as an outstanding diplomat with a long experience in the region and in international negotiations, de Mistura will contribute to give a new impetus to the UN-led process on Western Sahara”.

“The European Union looks forward to engaging with the new Personal Envoy in his efforts to relaunch negotiations to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution.

“We also encourage all the parties to engage in a cooperative search for a solution in accordance with the Security Council resolutions and the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations”.

Algeria reacted on Thursday to the appointment of Staffan De Mistura as the UN SG’s special envoy for the Western Sahara, while calling for the “demilitarisation” of Guerguerat.

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.

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