Category Archives: Security

Burkina Faso: EU hopes calm returns soon

Brussels 30.09.2022 European Commission follows with concern the situation in Burkina Faso, said the press person of the European External Action Service. The military movements were observed from 4:30 AM early morning hours. “The situation remains confusing and fluid”, she continued.(Image above: social media).

“We are in permanent contact with our delegation there, which informs us about the situation. It is clear that the European Union hopes that the situation will return to calm soon”. She added that the EU expects that civil society will stay united in these challenging times.

Reports of gunfire near the Presidential palace in Ougadougou flow on social media. It is unclear at the moment if it could be a mutiny? The current President Lt Col Paul Sandaogo Dimba who took power in January this year from Gen Roach Marc Kabore. At present his whereabouts are unknown.

Gunfire rang out early in Burkina Faso’s capital and the state broadcaster went off the air, sparking fears that another coup attempt may be underway, nine months after the democratically elected president was ousted from power, the AP reports.

Tigray: towards peace

Brussels 12.09.2022 “The Regional Government of Tigray announces its readiness to abide by an immediate cessation of hostilities and to participate in AU-led peace process. This opportunity should be seized by all. Now. EU ready to support” writes the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell.
Ethiopia’s Tigray rebels said Sunday, September 11, they were ready for a ceasefire and would accept a peace process led by the African Union, removing an obstacle to negotiations with the government to end almost two years of brutal warfare.

The announcement was made amid a flurry of international diplomacy after fighting flared last month for the first time in several months in northern Ethiopia, torpedoing a humanitarian truce.

“The government of Tigray is prepared to participate in a robust peace process under the auspices of the African Union,” said a statement by the Tigrayan authorities.

“Furthermore, we are ready to abide by an immediate and mutually agreed cessation of hostilities in order to create a conducive atmosphere.”

Mozambique: fighting terrorism

Brussels 12.09.2022 “Last week I was in Mozambique, a country where EU support plays a significant including through one of the largest recipients of EU support and host to one of our EU military training missions” writes the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell.

“My visit aimed to show that the EU does not forget crises in other parts of the world, despite facing the worst threat to European security since the end of World War II with the war of aggression against Ukraine. Mozambique’s fight against terrorism is one of these security crises that we help to tackle using all EU instruments.”
n Europe, we are very focused on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its implications for European security. But other crises and global problems do not stop. On the contrary, they have often been aggravated by the consequences of this war. We need more than ever to continue to work with our partners around the globe to defend the rules-based order and to keep up our work on global challenges. For this purpose, the EU’s close partnership with Africa is crucial.

The EUTM Mozambique, launched in November 2021, is a key element in the EU’s commitment to help Mozambique’s fight against this terrorism. Over the next two years, it will train 11 units of the Mozambican army (commandos and marines) that will be part of a future Quick Reaction Force. In addition to military training, the EUTM is also providing training on human rights and international humanitarian law, in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and relevant UN organisations. Ten EU member states participate to the Mission with 110 soldiers deployed at the moment. This mission is now fully operational, having already trained 600 soldiers. During my stay in Mozambique, I visited the mission to hand over European Peace Facility (EPF)-funded equipment and witness a change of command.

In all of this, we work closely with the Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), and during my visit, I announced the EU decision to provide € 15 million to this mission in addition to the € 89 million of EPF support. It is the first time ever that we train people while in parallel providing them with equipment. In the coming weeks, I hope that our member states will also agree on my proposal to support the Rwandese military mission that has been decisive to improve the situation in Cabo Delgado.

“This was the backdrop of my two-days visit to Mozambique. It is a coastal country in Southern Africa with an area bigger than any EU country, inhabited by some 30 million people. With its fast demographic growth (6 children per woman on average), its population is set to double by 2050 (and already now almost half of the population is under the age of 14). Mozambique ranks 181/189 on the Human Development Index and the poverty rate is above 60%. After the country became independent from Portugal in 1975, Mozambique went through a protracted civil war that ended in 1992, but it was only in 2019, that a “definitive” peace and reconciliation agreement was reached. My predecessor Federica Mogherini came to Maputo to witness the signature of this historic agreement that the EU supported significantly.

“While the agreement holds for most of the country, the northern Cabo Delgado province has suffered from armed attacks since 2017 leading to an unprecedented humanitarian and security crisis. Fighting have resulted in over 4.000 deaths, some 950,000 internally displaced persons and 1.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in this region. This insurgency is inspired and driven by ISIS, while local grievances and domestic root causes also play a significant role. Foreign fighters are involved and their transit to Cabo Delgado poses risks to neighbouring countries. Due to this instability, the region has become a hotspot of organised crime (heroin, wildlife, wood and gemstone trafficking for instance) in Mozambique and the entire Southern African region.

“Following the establishment of an EU training mission and the deployment in 2021 of Rwandan and Southern African Development Community (SADC) troops to Cabo Delgado to support the efforts of the Mozambican army, these armed groups temporarily lost the initiative. However, security incidents have continued in the province as the armed groups have dispersed and changed tactics.

But we know that you cannot win a war against terror with soldiers and weapons only. To win this kind of war, one needs to win the peace as well. This is why we work closely with the Government of Mozambique to cover the full spectrum of humanitarian, development, security and peace-building actions. In parallel to our security support, we focus on education, access to water and sanitation, energy, nutrition and climate change. This includes a package of € 428 million for the period 2021-2024, in addition to around €R 36 million of humanitarian assistance (mainly to Cabo Delgado since 2021).

Some journalists in Mozambique have asked me whether our support to the fight against terrorism in Cabo Delgado is linked to the gas reserves in this region. My answer was clear: the gas discoveries in Mozambique should benefit the Mozambican people first and foremost, while they can also help to tackle the global energy crisis and energy demand. But that is not the primary reason of our engagement in Mozambique. The security of Europe starts in places that can be sometimes thousands of kilometres away. The Somali crisis have had profound repercussions on the neighbouring countries and the ship traffic in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel crisis also started in a limited area and quickly spread all over the region. We need to help avoid that kind of large scale destabilization happening in another place on the continent. This is why we support the efforts of Mozambique in Cabo Delgado”.

France troops withdrawal from Mali

Brussels 17.02.2022 Ahead of the EU-Africa Union Summit President Macron announces French troops are withdrawing from Mali and will be stationed in other parts of the African region.
France and its allies in the long-term anti-jihadist operation in Mali have announced a “coordinated withdrawal” of their forces. A joint statement cited “multiple obstructions” by the country’s ruling “military junta”. (Image above: illustration).

Announcing the move during a Thursday news conference in Paris, Macron accused Mali’s ruling military junta of neglecting the fight against Islamic extremists and said it was logical for France to withdraw since its role is not to replace a sovereign state on the battlefield.

“Victory against terror is not possible if it’s not supported by the state itself,” the French leader said.
France has about 4,300 troops in the Sahel region, including 2,400 in Mali. The Barkhane anti-terrorist force is also involved in Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

Macron said the French withdrawal would be done “in an orderly manner” in coordination with the Malian military. France will start by closing military bases in the north of Mali, and the withdrawal will take between four or six months, he said.

Mozambique: Borrell cancels visit

Brussels 31.01.2022 The visit to the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell to Mozambique was cancelled due to positive COVID19 test of one of the delegation members. Following medical advice as the head of delegation Borrell decided to return to Brussels.

However Borrell had telephone conversations with the President of the Republic of Mozambique Filipe Jacinto Nyusi to express his regrets, and also with the Ministers, including the Minister of National Defence Cristóvão Artur Chume, and Foreign Affairs Minister Verónica Macamo Dlhovo the European External Actions Service spokesperson (pictured) confirmed.

However on Sunday, January 30, Charles Fries, Deputy Secretary General in charge of the Common Security and Defence Policy & Crisis Response who has been this weekend in Mozambique met the Minister of Defence General Chume and visited the EU training camp in the Katembe.

On 30-31 January, High Representative Borrell planned to travel to Mozambique to meet with President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi and Foreign Minister Verónica Macamo Dlhovo. The EU top diplomat programme included the talks on the EU-Mozambique cooperation, the implementation of the Maputo Peace and Reconciliation Accord, the work of the EU military training mission in Mozambique (EUTM Mozambique) and the EU integrated approach to address security challenges in Cabo Delgado and surrounding provinces.

High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, visited Kenya on 28-29 January and planned to visit Mozambique on 30-31 January.

This visit to Africa comes ahead of the sixth EU – AU Summit in Brussels on 17-18 February, attended by the leaders of the European Union and African Union Member States.

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.

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.

Borrell visits Libya

Brussels 08.09.2021 EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell arrived to Libya today, 8 September. This mission comes at an important juncture for the country, with presidential and parliamentary elections in December.

Today, High Representative Borrell will hold a bilateral meeting in Tripoli with Libyan Minister for Foreign Affairs Najla El Mangoush, after which they will both hold a joint press point at 13:00 CET. Audiovisual coverage will be provided by Europe by Satellite (EbS). The High Representative’s remarks will be available in writing on the EEAS website. In the afternoon, Josep Borrell will also meet with United Nations Special Envoy Ján Kubiš, as well as with President of the Presidential Council Mohammed Mnefi and Vice-President Moussa Al Koun

Uganda welcomes Afghan refugees

Brussels 27.08.2021 The first group of 51 refugees from Afghanistan has arrived in Uganda.The group landed at Entebbe International Airport aboard a private chartered flight on Wednesday morning, August 25, Uganda’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry says the group is transiting through Uganda and will move on to the US and other countries.
It is not clear for how long they will be hosted in Uganda.

The evacuees include men, women and children who have undergone Covid-19 testing and will go into quarantine, the statement says.The evacuation followed the US government’s request to Uganda to take in some of the people fleeing the crisis in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover.

Last week, a Ugandan junior government official said that Uganda was to take in 2,000 Afghan refugees at the request of the US government, but several senior officials later indicated that the discussions on the issue were still under way.

Uganda hosts more than one million refugees who have fled several conflicts and other disasters across eastern Africa.

EU: Ethiopia elections ahead

Brussels 18.06.2021 Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union:
“On June 21, a majority of Ethiopian voters will be invited to participate in elections. Some constituencies will vote at a later stage, in part due to security and logistical challenges. The European Union (EU) takes note of this important step and recalls the fundamental democratic right of all Ethiopian citizens to be able to vote, everywhere in the country” reads the Declaration by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell on behalf of the European Union. (Image: illustration).

“Aware of the importance of these elections for the political transition in Ethiopia, the EU has supported the electoral process and the work of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE). The EU commends the efforts deployed by NEBE personnel around the country, and welcomes the public commitment of the Ethiopian government to hold democratic and peaceful elections. Yet, the EU regrets the impossibility of sending an election observation mission.

“Ethiopia remains in a complex domestic situation. Concerned with ongoing violence across the country, human rights violations and political tensions, harassment of media workers and detained opposition members, the EU calls upon the government and local and regional authorities to ensure a transparent and safe process, to guarantee the free and equal participation of all political parties and candidates who are running, to facilitate the participation of all citizens, to ensure freedom of the press and of expression as well as the safety of journalists, other media workers and election observers and to provide full logistical and administrative support to NEBE. The EU also calls on all actors to refrain from spreading hate speech and from calling for acts of violence.

“The elections could be an important step in Ethiopia’s democratic process. The EU also recalls the importance to engage in and foster a comprehensive, inclusive and transparent national dialogue with the participation of women and youth and all relevant stakeholders, including civil society organisations, political parties and regional authorities, in order to strengthen democracy and to support conflicts resolution as well as reconciliation. The EU will stand by Ethiopia in the implementation of democratic reforms as well as reconciliation efforts that would emerge from an inclusive and transparent dialogue”.

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