Category Archives: Security

EU provides Sahel with €194M

The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell participated in the EU-G5 Sahel videoconference.

The videoconference provided an opportunity to reaffirm the EU’s support to the region, including in facing the coronavirus pandemic and its impact. On this occasion, the European Commission announced an additional € 194 million to support the security, stability and resilience in the Sahel.

The new financial commitments announced today are composed of €112 million to help strengthen the security and defence capabilities of the G5 Sahel countries, while ensuring respect for human rights and international humanitarian law as well as re-establishing the presence of the State and basic services throughout the territory. The remaining €82 million will be mobilised to intensify development efforts and help improving living conditions, resilience and social cohesion of vulnerable populations.

“The situation in the Sahel keeps deteriorating and the coronavirus pandemic cannot make us forget how serious the situation is in a region whose challenges are our challenges as well. The Sahel must remain on top of the international agenda. Our meeting today showed a clear commitment by all to accelerate joint efforts. I want to underline the important initiatives taken by the G5 Sahel countries themselves, the engagement of ECOWAS and the coordination role of the African Union. I am pleased to see the support from the African Union, including with the upcoming adoption of a stabilisation strategy for the region and the operationalisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture,” High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell, underlined.

“The European Union, in the same way as the United Nations and the African Union, has welcomed the call from the G5 Sahel on 27 April to the international community to help them face the consequences of the pandemic in an already very fragile region. Hence, the EU, as Team Europe, stands in full solidarity with the G5 Sahel, with € 449 million to be mobilised to help reduce health and socio-economic impacts of the coronavirus in the region. The EU welcomes the call on debt relief by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for most vulnerable countries that has helped secure the G20 moratorium of 15 April.As we discussed at the G5 Summit in Mauritania last February, there can be no security without development and vice versa” Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said.

G5 Sahel request of debt cancellation

The President of the European Council, HE Charles Michel and the President in office of the G5 Sahel, HE Mohamed Cheikh El Ghazouani, co-chaired today, April 28, 2020, a videoconference with all the Heads of State of the G5 Sahel , the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and the EU High Representative Josep Borrell, in the presence of the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations and the President of the African Union Commission.

“During this videoconference, the leaders adopted a Joint Declaration by the members of the European Council with the member states of the G5 Sahel. The leaders agreed to continue joint efforts to expand the Coalition for the Sahel to other international partners.

“In view of the gravity of the situation in the G5 Sahel countries as well as their vulnerability to the spread of COVID-19, the co-Chairs stressed the urgency of effective solidarity from the international community in order to provide effective and sustainable response to the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, in Africa and in the Sahel in particular, in particular to limit the health and economic impact of this crisis.

“In this regard, the Co-Presidents wished to recall the Joint Declaration by the members of the European Council of 26 March 2020 and stressed the commitment of the European Union to international cooperation and to multilateral solutions to fight the pandemic and its consequences. The President of the European Council recalled that the European Union will do everything to help countries and communities to cope with the COVID-19 crisis, in particular to mitigate the negative socio-economic consequences of the crisis as well as to strengthen sustainability integrated global value and supply chains to adapt them as needed and to mitigate the negative socio-economic impacts of the crisis.

“The co-Chairs welcomed the appeal launched by several African and European leaders on April 15, 2020 – “Only a victory in Africa can end the pandemic everywhere“.

The co-Chairs welcomed the Declaration of the Extraordinary G5 Sahel Summit held on April 27, 2020, dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic in the G5 Sahel area. They took note of the request by the G5 Sahel from the international community to take into account the requests of the G5 Sahel to face the COVID-19 crisis. They undertook to inform the members of the European Council, as well as international partners, with a view to examining the requests of African countries for the outright cancellation of the African debt, in response to the consequences of this meaningless pandemic. previous.

“The co-Chairs call on the international community to continue efforts to support the G5 Sahel countries in their efforts to combat the consequences of COVID-19.

“The Chairman-in-Office of the G5 Sahel wanted to express his appreciation for the European Union’s response to the international dimension of this unprecedented global crisis. He praised the memory of the thousands of victims of COVID-19 in recent weeks.

“The co-Chairs have agreed that a follow-up meeting, in the form of a videoconference, will be organized within three months“.

“As has been clarified by the Chadian authorities, President Idriss Déby’s announcement does not call into question the commitment of their troops to regional military systems, in particular the G5 Sahel Joint Force.
We also welcome the Chadian contribution, alongside the other contingents, in the fight against terrorism in the region
The G5 Sahel, is and remains well, central in the fight against terrorism and in favor of security in the Sahel. It is the European Union’s reference partner in the region, and that’s the meaning of today’s high-level meeting”
said EU spokesperson in a comment after the video conference.

The comment followed the announcement of Chad President Idriss Deby to restrain from participation in combat operations of G5 Sahel outside the territory of the country.

On few occasions President Deby expressed his disappointment with feeble participation of international partners in counter-terrorist military operations.

At the eve of the meeting President Idriss Déby called on his G5 Sahel peers to “make a choice”, saying that “the same meetings, the same meetings, the same debates, the same discussions, the same broken promises” had already taken place in the past.

Sudanese refugee kills two Frenchmen

A knife attack in Romans-sur-Isère (pictured) southeastern France a Soudanaise refugee has killed two people, and left several others injured. The incident took place in morning hours around 10:45 on April 4, Holy Saturday, at eve of Catholic celebration of Easter. A terror investigation is now underway suspecting deliberate premeditated action.

Five people were reported to have been wounded, and two killed one of them a man(44) who attempted to protect his wife and child (13). Minster of Interior Christophe Castaner visited the community of Romans-sur-Isère the same day.
The assailant has now been identified as Abdallah A.Osman, reported to be in his 30s, born in 1987 according to his affidavit. He is in a regular situation in France. The Ofpra – French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons – granted him refugee status on June 29, 2017, and therefore in possession of a 10-year residence permit. Presumably he did not work, but received an allocation for refugees, and social housing.

Witnesses told local press that the assailant appeared to target random pedestrians while moving around empty streets in the center of the town.
Anyone who had the misfortune to find themselves in his way were attacked,” the town’s mayor, Marie-Helene Thoraval, told AFP.

First assailant entered press-tobacco shop, attacking a man (63), and his wife, both injured, then he left his knife there and headed to a boucher’s shop, where he jumped over the desk to get a bigger knife before killing a client (55); he fled after, and started to search for new victims in the empty streets. Further he injured one more pedestrian (59) next to the supermarket, and a man (44), who opened window shutters. A man (63) and his wife (63), who were walking along the street were next victims of the attack.

Counterterrorism prosecutors have initiated a probe into “murder linked to a terrorist enterprise.”
David Olivier Reverdy, from the National Police Alliance union, said the assailant had called on the police to kill him when they came to arrest him.
He was found on his knees on the pavement praying in Arabic,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

President Emmanuel Macron has called it “an odious act“.

The national anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office said that the preliminary investigation has “brought to light a determined, murderous course likely to seriously disturb public order through intimidation or terror.”
France is currently on lockdown as it battles the coronavirus pandemic. People are allowed to go grocery shopping but are encouraged to stay at least two meters (six feet) from others.

Uganda: lockdown clashes

Uganda has banned all public transport for two weeks in accordance with decision of the President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, explaining the measure is needed to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic, which has so produced 14 established cases of contamination there. The measure is complementary to the insturction to stay home from 22 March.

However there are reports of police chaisng street vendors in Kampala unwilling to stope trade after the public were called to stay home for 32 days starting March 22 to curb the spread of coronavirus epidemic.

There are videos shared via social media, showing police dispercing the crowds unwilling to respect the imposed lockdown.

EU increases support to Mali

The EU Foreign Affairs Council today decided to expand the scope of the mandate of the European Union military mission contributing to the training of the Malian Armed Forces (EUTM Mali). The mission will be able to provide military assistance to the G5 Sahel Joint Force and to national armed forces in the G5 Sahel countries through military advice, training and mentoring. The Council also prolonged the mission’s mandate until 18 May 2024.

The Council also provided an increased indicative budget to the mission of €133.7 million for a four-year period.

The activities of the mission will continue to be conducted in close coordination and cooperation with other actors such as the United Nations, the Barkhane operation and the Economic Community of West African States.

EUTM Mali is part of the EU’s integrated approach to security and development in the Sahel. The mission was established in 2013, at the request of the Malian Government, to respond to the need to strengthen the capabilities of the Malian Armed Forces, the ultimate goal being a safe and secure environment within Malian borders and a reduction of the threat posed by terrorist groups. To this effect, EUTM Mali contributes to improving the operational capacity of the Malian Armed Forces through the provision of military advice, training, education and mentoring. The tasks carried out by the mission are under the control of Mali’s legitimate civilian authorities and do not comprise combat operations.

The headquarters of the mission are located in Bamako, Mali. The commander of the mission is Brigadier General João Boga Ribeiro, a Portuguese national who took up his duties in December 2019.

There are two other CSDP civilian missions in the region: EUCAP Sahel Mali, which assists the internal security forces with reasserting the government’s authority over the whole of the country, and EUCAP Sahel Niger, which supports the fight against organised crime and terrorism in Niger. In addition, a Regional Advisory and Coordination Cell initiates and coordinates capacity-building activities for all G5 countries and the G5 structures with the support of the existing CSDP Missions.

Mali: kidnapped couple released

A Canadian woman and Italian man kidnapped in Burkina Faso in December 2018 have been released to the United Nations’ MINUSIMA peacekeeping mission in neighbouring Mali and appear to be in good health, a mission spokesman said on March 14.

Edith Blais and Luca Tacchetto went missing while travelling through Burkina Faso, a country where jihadist groups have affiliations to al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

UN mission spokesman Olivier Salgado wrote on his Twitter microblog that Blais and Tacchetto were received by peacekeepers on March 13 evening and were handed over to Malian authorities later on 14.

Nigeria: Dozens killed in Kaduna

More than 50 civilians were killed on Sunday evening in six villages in Kaduna province of Nigeria in an attack which started March 1 afternoon.
The mlitiary opearation of Nigerian ground forces and aviation is ongoing.

Image: social media.

French solders neutralise Islamists

In a combat operation French soldiers neutralised more than 30 Islamist militants in Mali in three separate missions on February 6-7, targeting al Qaeda and Islamic State affiliated groups, France’s armed forces announed.

France, the former colonial power in a number of West African countries, has about 4,500 soldiers in Sahel region in its counter-terrorism taskforce Operation Barkhane. The United Nations has a 13,000-strong peacekeeping operation in Mali.

In the Gourma region, soldiers of the French Barkhane force killed about 20 militants and destroyed several vehicles, while in the Liptako region, a stronghold of Islamic State, 10 more were killed, the French troops officaial informed.

Сameroon soldiers on trial for homicide

Cameroonian military accused in homicide of two women and two children face justice after the incident caused wave of indignation worldwide. The trial started today behind closed doors, media reports.

Government and army officials initially qualified the video as “fake news” aimed at damging the government’s image, but later announced arrests in the case.

The sources said the trial began on Monday in a court in Yaounde, capital of the West African country.

Six of the soldiers admitted to having participated in the killings but underlined that they obyed the order to open fire, said to Reuters sources, who were not authorised to speak publicly about the case.

The commander has denied giving the order, the sources said.

Barkhane: France sends 220 troops

Faced with a persistent jihadist threat, the leaders of the G5 Sahel countries and France announced the establishment of a new operational framework with redefined priorities and concentrated action on the so-called “three borders” area between Mali , Niger and Burkina Faso.

The military coalition will have a “joint command” between the Barkhane force and the joint force of the G5 Sahel, “by integrating our intelligence forces, our military forces” in the area of the three borders, “with a much stronger latitude of engagement. ”, said Emmanuel Macron.

“Beyond that, I decided to engage additional combat capabilities – 220 soldiers to initiate this dynamic will swell the troops already present on the Barkhane field”, which currently counts 4,500 men, added the French head of state.

“The priority is the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS), which does not prevent us from fighting all the armed terrorist groups but it is the priority enemy because the most dangerous,” he said. for follow-up. A month after threatening to withdraw French troops from the region in a context of anti-French sentiment, Emmanuel Macron estimated that he had obtained the necessary “clarification” from his partners who in a joint declaration expressed the wish to see the Barkhane operation.

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