Category Archives: Crisis

Cameroon refugees continue to arrive to Nigeria

The principal and one teacher are still with the kidnappers. Let us keep praying,”  said Samuel Fonki, a minister of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon who negotiated to free 78 children, adding that one child had escaped independently.

The freed children were unharmed although their clothes were dirty and they appeared exhausted,

Cameroon Army spokesperson Didier Badjeck said the kidnappers released the children after the military found out their location. Two other children were still missing, along with the principal and teacher, he confirmed.

The number of Cameroonian refugees fleeing violence and seeking refuge in Nigeria crossed the 30,000 mark this week, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) report.  Refugees fleeing the South-West and North-West Regions of Cameroon have been arriving since September 2017. Almost 600 arrived in refugee settlements in the last two weeks.

France proposes sanctions against Tripoli militias

At  the U.N. Security Council France proposes to implement sanctions on militias involved in ongoing clashes between rival factions Tripoli, which has undermined U.N. efforts to hold elections in Libya by year-end to unite the  country.

More than hundred people have been killed and 400 injured in hostilities between the Seventh Brigade, or Kaniyat, from Tarhouna, a town 65 km southeast of Tripoli, against the Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigades (TRB) and the Nawasi, two of the capital’s largest armed groups.

Tripoli and western Libya are lead by a U.N.-backed government mainly supported by armed groups, while Eastern Libya is controlled by a rival administration, supported by Tobruk Parliament.

“In the face of the worsening security situation in Tripoli, there is a responsibility to support the Libyans and that means we must be tougher on those that want to keep the status quo for their benefits,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said reporters ahead of a meeting hosted by France on Libya on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

In 2013, France opened an investigation into the allegations after French news website Mediapart published reports following the claims by Franco-Lebanese businessman, Ziad Takieddine. Takieddine alleged he transferred €5 million from Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi to the head of Sarkozy’s campaign  –  Claude Gueant.

Belgium sends Special Envoy to Burundi

Burundi’s long-serving President Pierre Nkurunziza promised on Thursday to step down when his term ends in 2020, easing fears of fresh violence in the impoverished country.

Nkurunziza had been widely expected to take advantage of recent changes to the constitution to stand for two more terms – raising concerns that Burundi would see a repeat of the unrest that erupted after he stood for a third time in 2015.

My term is ending in 2020” – he said a ceremony.

This constitution was not modified for Pierre Nkurunziza as the country’s enemies have been saying. It was amended for the good and better future of Burundi and the Burundian people,” he said in the speech broadcast on state television.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders welcomes the announcement by the President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza of the end of his mandate in 2020. The principle of democratic alternation lies at the heart of the Arusha Accords and of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

Following this announcement, Belgium hopes that the authorities of Burundi will now start working on opening up the public and democratic space, as an essential step towards the elections in 2020. Belgium therefore pleads for a resumption of an inclusive dialogue, under the aegis of the region and in the spirit of the Arusha agreement. Minister Reynders has decided to send his Special Envoy for the Great Lakes to Burundi to bring this message.

 

Libya conference in Paris

This week the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini attended the International Conference on Libya organised in Paris, the event aims to support the United Nations ongoing work to forge a lasting solution to the crisis in Libya and implement the UN action plan.

The European Union continues to encourage and accompany the political process in Libya under the lead provided by the United Nations, including within the Libya Quartet together with the African Union and the League of Arab States.

The diplomat  had a number of bilateral meetings in the margins of the conference. In the afternoon, the same day Mogherini addressed  the situation in Libya at the plenary meeting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The Paris meeting, included eastern Libya leader Marechal Khalifa Haftar, backed by Tobruk Parliament; Tripoli Prime minister Fayez el-Sarraj, backed by the UN, and the leaders of rival parliamentary assemblies, aimed to urge them to agree general principles for ending the conflict and moving towards elections.

Although there were signatures, the conference was concluded by a statement, fixing elections on December, 10, however there should be a legal framework adopted mid-September.

“The parties have committed to set the constitutional basis for elections and adopt the necessary electoral laws by September 16, 2018 and hold Parliamentary and Presidential elections on December 10, 2018,” the statement said.

Outbreak of cholera in Nigeria

A cholera outbreak has killed 12 people and may have infected at least 134 others in the northeast Nigerian state of Adamawa, an official said on Wednesday (23/05/2018).

So far 12 people have died from the disease and there are many more cases”, said Ezra Sakawa, medical director of the general hospital for Mubi, the town where the disease has struck.

We have little manpower to deal with an outbreak of such magnitude,” Sakawa said, adding that nurses were on strike.

Belgium downgraded diplomatic presence in DRC

Bertrand de Crombrugghe is no longer the ambassador of Belgium in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Belgian Foreign Ministry confirmed it on Monday (30/04/2018) after the publication of an article in the Dutch newspaper De Standaard.

In January, the diplomat left Kinshasa amid diplomatic tensions between the two countries, officially for “a series of consultations“. Finally, he was relieved from his duties.
When Bertrand de Crombrugghe abruptly left Kinshasa at the end of January, some had already spoken of a “rupture” of relations, however  the Foreign Ministry was downplaying the crisis. “This is not a reminder in the diplomatic sense of the term,” explained one of his spokespersons. Technically, it is a return to Brussels for discussions for ten days, he added.

Three months later, it was finally decided to call him back. The reason given is “the bilateral context”. In other words, the diplomatic turmoil  between the two countries, but not only bilaterally.  Kinshasa has announced the closure of the new Belgian development agency and  the EU Schengen house. Brussels also recalls that the DRC has no ambassador in Belgium for over a year. But the Dutch-language newspaper De Standard coming up with the news, points to a “breach of trust” between the ambassador and the Belgian Foreign Ministry.

Belgium says it is maintaining dialogue with the DRC and hopes that bilateral tensions can be resolved “so that Belgium and the DRC can again be represented at a level of ambassador in Kinshasa and Brussels. Meanwhile, the interim at the Belgian Embassy in Kinshasa is provided by Philippe Bronchain, former Belgian Consul General in Lubumbashi, where the Consulate was closed upon DRC request last February.

MEPs discuss slave trade in Libya

The mistreatment of migrants and refugees in Libya, and arrangements for their resettlement or return, are debated with UNHCR in the European Parliament on Monday, 5/03/2018.

The ways to end the mistreatment of migrants and refugees stranded in Libya, the point of departure of up to 90% of people crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, will be discussed by Civil Liberties Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs, members of the Delegation for relations with Maghreb countries and UNHCR, Commission and External Action Service representatives.

Following several media reports that migrants have fallen victim to the slave trade in Libya, the EU and the African Union, together with the UN, agreed in November 2017 to set up a joint Task Force to save and protect lives along the African migration routes and in particular inside Libya, accelerating assisted voluntary returns to countries of origin, and the resettlement of those in need of international protection.

Fighting smuggling and easing returns to countries of origin are EU priorities.

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