Category Archives: Crisis

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”.

Sudan: EU “great concern”

Brussels 13.11.2021 As stated in the declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on 26 October 2021 on the crisis in Sudan, the EU notes with great concern that arbitrary arrests in Khartoum and in the rest of the country are still ongoing and even increasing.

The EU urgently calls upon the military power to immediately release all detainees whom have been arrested since 25 October last. Equally, the EU emphasizes that the physical integrity of these detainees and the respect for their human rights are the full responsibility of the military power, and that they will be held accountable. It is essential for security forces to exercise restraint and respect the right for peaceful demonstration, with new announced peaceful demonstrations expected during the coming days.

The EU also notes with great concern that Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok (pictured) continues to be under house arrest and that his ability to communicate with the outside world is severely limited. The EU Ambassadors in Khartoum have not been able to meet him again after their visit following his release from military detention immediately after the coup d’Etat. The Prime Minister must be able to play his fully legitimate and indispensable role in navigating the country towards a return to the constitutional document and the Juba peace agreement. For this, he needs to be free to move and meet without condition or limitation. The EU therefore urges the military power to facilitate the international community to meet with the Prime Minister and to lift his house arrest, restoring his full liberty.

The EU also calls upon the military power to fully restore internet services throughout the country without delay. Free access to information for all Sudanese citizens is indispensable for achieving freedom, justice and peace for all.

Sudan in turmoil

Brussels 25.10.2021 “The EU condemns the detention of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other members of the civilian leadership by Sudan’s military forces. We call on the security forces to immediately release those they have unlawfully detained. The actions of the military represent a betrayal of the revolution, the transition, and the legitimate requests of the Sudanese people for peace, justice and economic development” reads the statement by the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell on the current political situation in Sudan.

“The right of peaceful protest must be respected; violence and bloodshed must be avoided at all cost; we also urge communication networks to be open” Borrell has underscored.

The EU will continue to support those working for a democratic Sudan with a fully legitimate civilian government ensuring peace, freedom and justice for the Sudanese people. This remains the best guarantee for the long-term stability of the country and the broader regions.

Soldiers arrested most of the members of Sudan’s cabinet on Monday and a military officer dissolved the transitional government, while opponents of the takeover took to the streets where gunfire and injuries were reported. Soraya Ali reports.

Protests have erupted in the capital Khartoum, and other cities. Three people were slain during the demonstrations. Military and civilian leaders have been at odds since President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown two years ago.

Video footage from Khartoum on Monday, October 25, showed large crowds in the streets, including many women. Barricades of burning tyres produce black smoke rising in various parts of the city.

#PandoraPapers: President Kenyatta hidden wealth

Strasbourg 05.10.2021 While Uhuru Kenyatta succeeded in a political comeback by campaigning against corruption, his family’s secret fortune was growing offshore, a massive new leak to @ICIJorg shows.

At his annual State of the Nation address last autumn, President Uhuru Kenyatta addressed Kenya’s Parliament acknowledging that too many Kenyans live in poverty and too many civil servants loot the country’s public resources.

During this address the son of Kenya’s first President and leader of one of Africa’s largest economies, the 59-year-old Kenyatta urged lawmakers to join him in fighting corruption and yet again repeated “the centrality of transparency, accountability and good governance as the anchors of sustainable development.”

However a massive amount of newly leaked documents show that Kenyatta’s family has for years been intensely accumulating a personal fortune behind offshore corporate veils.

Kenyatta, along with his mother, sisters and brother, have for decades shielded wealth from public scrutiny through foundations and companies in tax havens, including Panama, with assets worth more than $30 million, according to records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and shared with more than 600 reporters and media organisations around the world.

The records – from the Panamanian law firm Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Alcogal) – show that the family owned at least seven such entities, two registered anonymously in Panama and five in the British Virgin Islands. One BVI company owned a home in central London, according to the records, and two other companies held investment portfolios worth tens of millions of dollars. The Kenyattas’ offshore wealth, revealed here for the first time, represents part of an estimated half-billion-dollar family fortune amassed in a country where the average annual salary is less than $8,000 a year.

The family began to accumulate much of its offshore wealth while Uhuru Kenyatta was a rising star of politics, promising defeat corruption. Two offshore companies were created during an investigation into alleged looting of the public treasury during the watch of President Daniel arap Moi, Kenyatta’s former political patron.

Under Kenyan law, the President must provide a list of financial interests to the Ministry of Finance each year. Kenyatta and his family members did not respond to requests for comment, including whether he declared any offshore interests or was required to do so.

Details of the Kenyatta family’s offshore wealth have been brought to light by the leaked Pandora Papers, a collection of more than 11.9 million records from 14 law firms and other service providers based in the United Arab Emirates, the Seychelles, Panama, Singapore and other tax havens.

The investigation has revealed assets of 35 current or former world leaders, including the king of Jordan, the prime minister of the Czech Republic, and Kenyatta’s fellow African leaders Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon and Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of Congo.

Sudan: Juba Peace Agreement anniversary

Brussels 02.10.2021 The European Union congratulates the Sudanese people on the first anniversary of the signature of the Juba Peace Agreement (JPA). The agreement is a significant milestone of the transitional period towards freedom, peace, democracy and justice. If well implemented, the people of Darfur, of the Two Areas and of all other parts of Sudan can finally live in peace and have a say on their future.

The European Union commends the JPA signatories for their partnership and for the efforts done so far to implement some elements of the agreement, including the steps forward made in transitional justice. We are, however, concerned by the delays in implementing many other aspects of the JPA. The situation in the war-affected areas, which have been marginalized for decades, has not changed yet for the better, and the dividends of peace have not yet reached most Sudanese.

The European Union, as the witness to this agreement, is therefore urging the signatories to make up for the delays by setting up the joint forces, speeding up the implementation of security arrangements and establishing the institutions foreseen in the JPA. At the same time, we urge the leadership of the SPLM-N/al Hilu to return to Juba and resume negotiations with the transitional authorities on the basis of the March 2021 Declaration of Principles.

The EU, as a staunch supporter of the December 2018 revolution and Sudan’s democratic transition, will continue to support politically and financially the implementation of the JPA as well as the continuation of the peace process in Juba to achieve sustainable peace and justice.

Guinea: Colonel Doumbouya ascends power

Brussels 06.09.2021 Colonel Mamady Doumbouya is regarded as the new leader in charge of Guinea after he headed a unit of elite soldiers seizing power on Sunday, September 5.

Announcing the military takeover, the 41-year-old former French legionary said the army had little choice because of the rampant corruption, disregard for human rights and economic mismanagement under President Alpha Condé.

“The president is with us, he’s in a safe place,” Colonel told French media on Sunday after the coup.

Dressed in a red beret, sunglasses and army fatigues, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya had announced earlier on Guinea’s state TV that “the Guinean personalisation of political life is over. We will no longer entrust politics to one man, we will entrust it to the people”.

Alpha Condé remains in detention while the UN, African Union and regional body ECOWAS all condemn the military junta ascending power in a coup d’état.

After meeting ministers from Alpha Condé’s government on Monday, the Colonel announced a new “union” government would be formed within coming weeks and promised there would be no “witch-hunt” against former officials.

“I condemn the seizure of power by force in # Guinea and call for the immediate release of President Alpha Condé” the European Union top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.
“I invite all actors to act with respect for the rule of law, the interests of peace and for the well-being of the Guinean population”.

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.

South Africa epic looting

Brussels 13.07.2021 In South Africa’s most populous province of Gauteng, which includes the largest city, Johannesburg, at least six people had died, officials announced early on Tuesday, July 13. Another 10 bodies were discovered in the aftermath of the looting spree in the Johannesburg township of Soweto.

The deployment of 2,500 soldiers to support the South African police hadn’t stopped the rampant looting on Tuesday, July 13, although a number of arrests were being made at some areas in Johannesburg.

What had been sporadic pro-Zuma violence degraded into the epic mass looting of the malls and warehouses.
So far the mayhem had not spread to South Africa’s other nine provinces.

The Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court, heard Zuma’s application to have his sentence rescinded on Monday. Zuma’s lawyer presented his arguments that the top court made errors when sentencing Zuma to prison. After 10 hours of testimony on Monday, the court judges said they would study the arguments and announce their decision at a later date.

Police Minister Bheki Cele told journalists on Tuesday that, if the looting continued, there was a risk areas could run out of basic food supplies.

However, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said there was not yet a need to declare a state of emergency over the violence.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said some 26 people had been killed in the province so far. In Gauteng the death toll is 19, including the 10 who died at the mall in Soweto.

South Africa: 30 deaths among looters

Brussels 13.07.2021 Protesters clashed with security forces in several areas of South Africa and looters ransacked shopping malls on Tuesday, July 30, as frustrations over poverty and inequality boiled over in to the country’s worst unrest in years, with the death toll rising to more than 30. (Image above: social networks).

The national defence force is set to quell “free Zuma” protests, after violence and looting in response to the former president’s arrest spread from KwaZulu-Natal to Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

Many of the deaths occurred in chaotic stampedes as scores of people looted food, electrical appliances, liquor and clothing from retail centres.

Yesterday’s events brought a lot of sadness. The number of people who have died in KwaZulu-Natal alone stands at 26. Many of them died from being trampled on during a stampede while people were looting items,” said Zikalala.

The bodies of 10 people were found on Monday evening after a stampede at a Soweto shopping mall as looting continued in Gauteng province, premier David Makhura said on Tuesday, July 13.

Security officials said the government was working to ensure the violence and looting did not spread further, but they stopped short of declaring a state of emergency.

“No amount of unhappiness or personal circumstances from our people gives the right to anyone to loot, vandalise and do as they please and break the law,” Police Minister Bheki Cele told a news conference.

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