Category Archives: Conflict

Darfour: scores of killed and injured

Reports of killings of more than 60 people and nearly 60 others wounded during an armed attack in a village in Sudan’s fragile Darfur region on July 25, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

The attack in Masteri village in the West Darfur state “was one of the latest of a series of security incidents reported over the last week that left several villages and houses burned, markets and shops looted, and infrastructure damaged,” the U.N. body announced in a statement. It did not reveal the source of its information.

There was no official word from the government on the incident and Reuters was not able to reach officials for comment.

Sudan authorities made clear they would deploy joint forces from various state security services in Darfur after renewed violence there recently, SUNA, the state news agency, reported.

The forces will be deployed to the region’s five states “to protect people and secure the agriculture season”, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said during a meeting in Khartoum with a delegation of women from Darfur.

The country’s Security and Defense Council has underlined the importance of “using the force necessary to save lives and property, confront all forms of lawlessness and support equal citizenship rights,” it said after a meeting on Sunday, July 26.

In a separate incident, at least 20 people died and 22 others were injured after gunmen from an unidentified militia attacked a village in the state of South Darfur, witnesses and a local community leader said during the weekend.

On Sunday,July 26, three people, including a woman, were killed during a renewed dispute between farmers and shepherds in the Al-Jarf area in North Darfur state, SUNA reported, adding that security forces intervened and separated the two sides.

Recent violence by militias in North Darfur prompted authorities to declare a state of emergency on July 13.

“The escalation of violence in different parts of Darfur region is leading to increased displacement, compromising the agricultural season, causing loss of lives and livelihoods and driving growing humanitarian needs,” the United Nations said.

The conflict started in Darfur, in the west of Sudan, in 2003 after mostly non-Arab rebels rose up against the Khartoum government. Government forces and mainly Arab militia, which moved to suppress the revolt, were accused of widespread atrocities.
According to different international official sources more than 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, according to U.N. estimates.

21:20 AMENDMENT:

Increased inter-communal violence in several parts of Darfur has claimed more than 60 lives in West Darfur in recent days. All violence must be prevented and the perpetrators of these acts must be brought to justice. These incidents further underscore the need for continued engagement to protect civilians in Sudan and to respond to local demands for security, accountability and protection. The EU stands ready to support the civilian-led transitional government in its efforts to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Sudanese people. Much of the EU’s development cooperation in Sudan focuses in particular on peripheral areas, in particular Darfur, in order to foster peace” the European External Actions Service spokesperson said, reacting upon evens in Darfour.

Libya: Macron expresses «grave concerns»

We met today in Brussels on the sidelines of the European Council to discuss the situation in Libya. We share serious concerns about rising military tensions in that country and the increased risk of regional escalation. We therefore call on all the Libyan parties and their foreign supporters to immediately cease the fighting and end the ongoing military escalation across the country” reads the text of the statement of President of France Macron, issued during the European Summit in Brussels on July 18.

We also call on all foreign actors to end their growing interference and to fully respect the arms embargo established by the United Nations Security Council. We take our responsibilities and are determined to ensure the full effectiveness of Operation Irini in order to prevent any escalation on the ground. We are ready to consider a possible use of sanctions if embargo violations at sea, on land or in the air continue and look forward to the proposals that the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and security policy will do to this end.

We support the efforts of the United Nations to obtain the signing of a lasting and credible ceasefire agreement within the framework of the negotiations under way within the 5 + 5 Committee. At this critical moment, we also encourage the United Nations to explore all options to reduce tensions, including those of a large disengagement of forces or even possible demilitarization in certain regions. We reaffirm the need for a special representative of the Secretary-General in Libya to be appointed promptly.

We remind all Libyan and international parties that a political settlement to the Libyan crisis must be fully inclusive and based on the conclusions of the Berlin Conference. We also recall that it is necessary to quickly lift the oil blockade and to guarantee a fair and transparent distribution of oil revenues for the benefit of all Libyans”.

Libya: Borrell on foreign interfiernece

The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell insisted on need to «stop all interferences fuelling the conflict and join forces to support an inclusive, Libyan-owned and Libyan-led process leading to a political solution». In the statement on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya he said the following:

«…The protracted conflict in Libya caused immense suffering for all Libyans and has become a major challenge for the region and ultimately the international community.

https://twitter.com/euatun/status/1280976520597639168?s=21

As European Union, we believe it is high time to put an end to this military conflict, right on our doorstep, and manage a proper transition in Libya. We must preserve the country as one single Libya -a united, stable, prosperous and reliable partner for all.

This meeting brings together all countries which have the capacity, if genuinely committed, to contribute to a political transition in Libya. We all took strong commitments in the Berlin conference in January; it is now time to translate our words into concrete actions. We need to work collectively, under a strong United Nations leadership, to implement truly the conclusions of Berlin, which everybody accepted. The polarisation, which has turned Libya into a theatre of proxy wars, needs to stop. Actions in support of one or the other Libyan party fuel the conflict, and some constitute clear provocations. Unilateral initiatives go against the spirit of the consensual international dialogue which Libya urgently needs and which we need to encourage.

“…We must go back to our Berlin-commitments, starting with the enforcement of the United Nations arms embargo, which unfortunately continues to be violated on all sides and every day, in all impunity, as we heard from the United Nations and as Heiko [Maas, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany] has recalled. And we need a collective effort to favour the return of the Libyan parties to the negotiating table, starting with the UN-led 5+5 military talks to reach an agreement on a sustainable ceasefire. And we support the initiative to de-militarise the conflict around Sirte and Jufra.

We, the European Union, are doing our part. I have promoted a strong European Union commitment to the Berlin process, to respect and implement what we all agreed. That is why we launched Operation Irini, with core tasks to implement the United Nations arms embargo and to stop the flow of weapons into Libya, as well as to monitor oil smuggling. We are reporting regularly to the United Nations Panel of Experts on the basis of the mandate given by the United Nations Security Council. It is also clear that control of arms flow into Libya requires action beyond the maritime domain. But for that, the United Nations Security Council should enlarge the mandate.

As co-chair of the Economic group, we also hope to find a sustainable solution for the exploitation of oil resources in Libya, a key issue in the conflict, which is directly linked to the increasing build-up of presence in Sirte. And that is of utmost importance, all of the European help to Libya is the equivalent of the oil revenues that Libya could generate in one week.

Later this month, we will co-host the next international follow-up committee on Libya, where these discussions can continue».

Guterres on foreign interference in Libya

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the Security Council on July 8 that the conflict in Libya has entered a new phase “with foreign interference reaching unprecedented levels.”

“The conflict has entered a new phase with foreign interference reaching unprecedented levels, including in the delivery of sophisticated equipment and the number of mercenaries involved in the fighting,” Guterres said.

“We are very concerned about the alarming military build-up around the city, and the high-level of direct foreign interference in the conflict in violation of the U.N. arms embargo, U.N. Security Council resolutions, and commitments made by Member States in Berlin,” Guterres said.

Between April and June this year the U.N. mission has documented at least 102 civilians deaths and 254 civilians injuries – a 172% increase compared to the first quarter of 2020. He said there had also been at least 21 attacks on medical facilities, ambulances and medical personnel.

Guterres also called on the Security Council to take action over the obstruction by several key national officials of an international audit of the Central Bank of Libya.

The Secretary-Genearl said the United Nations was making efforts to mediate an end to a blockade imposed in January by eastern-based forces that has resulted in more than USD6 billion in lost revenue for OPEC member Libya, aiming “to alleviate economic hardship compounded by the conflict and COVID-19.”

The confirmed number of coronavirus cases in Libya increased seven-fold in June to more than 1,000, but Guterres said “the true scale of the pandemic in Libya is likely to be much higher.”

EU on COVID19 in Nigeria

“Attacks, abductions and killings of civilians by armed groups in northern Nigeria have killed over 160 people including 130 civilians since 28 May. Such heinous acts of terrorism and violence are intolerable. These attacks pose a serious threat to Nigeria’s security and to that of the wider region, including in the increasingly restive Northwest of the country” read the text of the Declaration of the top EU diplomat Josep Borrell and Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič on the latest attacks.

“The ongoing conflict, growing food insecurity and COVID-19 pandemic significantly increase humanitarian needs in northeast Nigeria. International humanitarian law must be safeguarded and respected by all parties to the conflict, in Nigeria and elsewhere. Civilian and humanitarian personnel should not be targeted, and all parties should facilitate unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need.

“The EU stands by Nigeria and its people in this period of increased violence and instability”.

Darfur: Sudan willing ICC trials

Sudan government said it was willing to discuss trials for people wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), a group that includes ousted leader Omar al-Bashir, Bloomberg Africa reports.

The Information Ministry on June 10 also welcomed the detention in neighboring Central African Republic  (CAR) of Ali Muhammad Ali Abdi-Al-Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb, who’d been indicted on war-crimes charges for his role in the Darfur conflict in 2003 and 2004.

In February the Transitional government of Sudan said that all ICC suspects would appear before the Court as a condition of a peace deal that’s being negotiated with rebels. Authorities haven’t clarified whether this would mean they would be transported to the Hague or standing trial remotely.

Borrell reacts on Mali killings

“Several killings took place in central Mali between June 3 and 5. More than 40 people were killed, including women and children. Serious suspicion hangs over the possible involvement of the Mali Armed Forces” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said in a statement, reacting upon allegations, including charges that Malian soldiers killed 43 people during attacks on two villages last week.

“The European Union wishes to express its indignation and deep concern at what constitute clear human rights violations. The European Union encourages the Government of Mali to complete the investigations which have been opened, to create the conditions necessary for the exact circumstances of these attacks to be established, for justice to be done and to fight against the impunity of those who would be guilty of such acts, whatever they are”.

“The European Union is fully mobilized alongside the states of the region for stability, development and security in the Sahel. Our commitment is conditioned and based on respect for human rights and international humanitarian law which are essential principles of our action. Nothing can justify abuses that will only strengthen the very people we fight”.

Security forces in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso have been accused of unlawfully killing or causing the disappearance of around 200 people. Amnesty said this could constitute war crimes.

The deliberate killings of unarmed civilians by security forces in Mali and Burkina Faso may constitute war crimes under international law and should be thoroughly investigated,” said Amnesty.
There have been multiple accusations of human rights abuses against the forces, which they have either denied, or promised to investigate in the future. The issue was also debated by the UN Security Council on June 5.

Image: illustration

Cameroon neglected conflict

English-speaking separatists conflict in Cameroon has been rated as the most-neglected crisis in the world by the Norwegian Refugee Council. The annual list of neglected crises is based on three criteria: lack of funding, lack of media attention, and political and diplomatic neglect.

The Anglophone minority are fighting for autonomy to re-establish their cultural identity after decades of neglect by the central government and the French-speaking majority.

A group of the separatists have declared autonomy over two regions, the perspective rejected by President Paul Biya. Some African media reported in the beginning of June that Nigeria and Cameroon would donate part of their territories to form a new state identified as Ambazonia, being created by the United Nations. The acting Director-General of the National Boundary Commission (NBC), Mr. Adamu Adaji dismissed there reports that UN planned to cede 24 local government areas to a new country. However the have been not much of political will form the behalf of the international community to resolve the ongoing conflict.

The report also highlighted the ongoing armed conflict in the Sahel region, that includes Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, which has resulted in the deployment of military forces from a host of European nations. There are nine African nations in the list of 10, with Venezuela being the only non-African this year.

 

Niger and Burkina Faso appeared on the list for the first time.

Humanitarian crises in all countries mentioned in this year’s list are expected to worsen throughout 2020, aggravated by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Cameroon has also been hit by a refugee crisis from the neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) and continuous attacks in the north from the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

Protests against French majority rule in Cameroon’s English-speaking northwest and southwest regions broke out in November  2016 after decades of heated debates on how both English and French-speaking cultures and languages can be more equitably represented in public life. The protesters amplified demands by Anglophone lawyers and teachers to have the Common Law and the English education system in their regions.

Cameroon’s English-speaking minority makes up 20% of the country while the French-speaking majority makes up the other 80%.

Clashes between separatist groups and state police and military have led to at least 2,000 deaths and about 500,000 people displaced. English-speaking separatist groups in southern Cameroon seek to break from French-majority Cameroon and create Ambazonia, a new nation.

By January 2017, the Cameroon government shut down the internet in its English-speaking regions for more than a year. The internet blackout — which lasted until March 2018 — occurred after a significant volume of images of torture and death appeared online that the government intended to prevent from being seen.

Next to French and English there are over 200 languages and cultures in Cameroon.

Rwanda: fugitive Bizimana pronounced dead

Serge Brammertz said fugitive Augustin Bizimana, who was indicted on 13 charges including genocide, murder and rape, is believed to have died in Pointe Noire, in the Republic of the Congo in 2000. His remains were identified by DNA testing.

Brammertz is prosecutor of a successor U.N. court with dual offices in Arusha, Tanzania and The Hague, Netherlands, that continues to function for remaining suspects and appeals.

“Bizimana was alleged to be responsible for the murders of former Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian United Nations peacekeepers, and for the murder of Tutsi civilians” in five Rwandan regions, Brammertz said in a statement.

The announcement of Bizimana’s death follows the arrest in Paris last week of Felicien Kabuga, another of a handful of prominent suspects from the Rwandan genocide who had been on the run for more than two decades.

“The key lesson from the death of Augustin Bizimana is that the world should give timely justice,” said Naphtal Ahishakiye, executive secretary of genocide survivors’ organisation Ibuka.

“The suspects should be brought to justice before their deaths, also to avoid survivors dying before hearing the cases of those who killed their loved ones.”

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda conducted 50 trials before closing its doors in 2015. Brammertz is prosecutor of a successor U.N. court with dual offices in Arusha, Tanzania and The Hague, Netherlands, that continues to function for remaining suspects and appeals.

The statement said prosecutors had conducted DNA analysis “late last year” on remains that had earlier been recovered from a grave site in Pointe Noire.

Borrell and Al-Serraj discuss IRINI

Josep Borrell, the EU top diplomat, called the Chair of the Government of National Accord (GNA) of Libya, Fayez al-Serraj, on 18 May to discuss the latest developments in the country.

The EU diplomat conveyed his concerns over the escalation of fighting in and around Tripoli and the increasing shelling on densely populated residential areas, that have resulted in casualties and a deteriorating humanitarian situation.

Borrell commended the Chair for his government’s openness to participate actively in the Berlin process and reiterated the importance for all the parties of the conflict to halt the fighting, agree on a lasting ceasefire and resume political negotiations. He underlined the EU’s continued firm commitment to a political solution to the Libyan crisis through the implementation of the Berlin Conference conclusions and reminded the Al-Serraj of the EU’s active engagement to advance towards that objective.

Borrell and al-Serraj also spoke about the EU’s new military CSDP Operation Irini, which aims to end the illegal flow of weapons and military equipment to Libya that have been fuelling the ongoing conflict.

The Operation IRINI is one of the EU’s contributions to the return of stability in Libya and an operational expression of its concrete commitment to the UN-led Berlin process on Libya.

The Operation is deploying its naval and aerial assets and using satellite imagery to ensure the broadest possible coverage, operating in the framework of relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

« Older Entries