Category Archives: Terrorism

France ends assistance to Mali

Brussels 17.11.2022 France has suspended development assistance to Mali after concluding its move to end its 10-year military presence in the country, a foreign ministry source told the AFP news agency.

French mass-media quoted the foreign affairs ministry as announcing it had suspended aid over the “attitude of the Malian junta allied to the Russian Wagner mercenaries”.

The decision was said to have been taken “two to three weeks ago”.

A group of French NGOs are said to have denounced the decision in a letter sent to President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, calling on him to review the position.

According to the NGOs, the suspension of aid jeopardises dozens of development projects that are under way or planned in the country over the coming years.

This suspension comes amid the increasing isolation of Mali.

The UK on Monday said it would withdraw its 300 troops deployed in support of the UN peacekeeping mission there, a decision prompted by the junta’s partnership with the controversial Russian group Wagner.

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”.

MEPs address Somalia crisis

Strasbourg 26.11.2021 The European parliament expresses its grave concern at the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Somalia. MEPs condemn all violations and abuses of human rights and indiscriminate attacks on civilians, humanitarian workers, journalists, election officials and the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) by terrorist groups, notably Al-Shabaab.

The resolution recalls that lasting stability and peace in Somalia can only be achieved through social inclusion and good governance. It calls, therefore, on the country’s leaders to step up efforts to complete the country’s electoral process and finish holding inclusive and credible elections for the Lower House of Parliament before the end of this year. The longer the election process is delayed, the more resources will be diverted away from important national priorities, such as responding to the humanitarian emergencies, MEPs point out.

Somalia is on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe, with an estimated 5.9 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and over 2.7 million facing emergency levels of food insecurity across the country, MEPs note. They call on the EU, its member states and international partners to urgently increase humanitarian assistance and provide additional assistance to the country’s COVID-19 response, in particular through vaccine sharing and the provision of essential medical supplies.

The text was adopted by 625 votes in favour, 6 against and 55 abstentions.

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.

Niger: EU condemns violence

Brussels 06.11.2021 Eleven soldiers killed on Thursday,November 4, and nine went missing after gunmen opened fire in southwest Niger. (Image: illustration)

The soldiers were defending the rural village of Dagne, the country’s defense ministry said Friday,November 5, media reported. The gunmen appeared suddenly to the village in cars and motorcycles.

No group has taken responsibility for the attack yet. The area has faced several attacks this year from militants of the local affiliate of the Islamic State terrorist group.

An NGO group tracking political violence, said more than 530 civilians have been killed by the Islamic State in Niger this year, five times more than last year.

Another attack in southwest Niger occurred the same day, with gunmen killing 69 people, including a mayor.

No group claimed responsibility yet for that attack either. Authorities found 15 people alive and started a search operation in hope for other survivors.

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.

Mali: france ends Barkhane operation

Brussels 10.06.2021 At a press conference, Emmanuel Macron announced this Thursday, June 10, afternoon, June 10, the end of the anti-jihadist military operation Barkhane in the Sahel, at least in its current form.(Image: illustration)

Reports citing military and diplomatic sources had indicated that an “adjustment” in the French presence would depend on the involvement of other European countries in the Takuba Task Force fighting armed groups in the Sahel alongside the Malian and Nigerien armies. Those forces have ramped up in recent months.

At the February summit, the leaders of the G5 countries had warned Macron against the dangers of a rapid pullout. Since then, the veteran leader of Chad and close French ally, Idriss Deby Itno, has been killed, while Mali has suffered a second coup that has badly strained relations with Paris.

Speaking of a “profound transformation”, the President of the Republic evoked “the end of Operation Barkhane as an external operation to allow an operation of support, support and cooperation to the armies of the countries of the region. who wish ”. The modalities of this new international cooperation will be worked out at a coalition gathering by the end of June.

“The lasting presence in the framework of France’s foreign operations cannot substitute for the return of the state and state services to political stability and the choice of sovereign states,” the president finally clarified.

“At the end of consultations (..) we will initiate a profound transformation of our military presence in the Sahel”, he said during a press conference, announcing the “end of Operation Barkhane as a ‘foreign operation’ and the implementation of ‘an international alliance bringing together the states of the region’.

The “time has come” to initiate “a profound transformation of our military presence in the Sahel”, declared the head of state during a press conference at the Elysee Palace.

Believing that France’s role had never been to replace African states, Emmanuel Macron indicated that discussions would take place in the coming weeks to set the “new framework” for intervention in the Sahel.

The “transformation” of Operation Barkhane will include the closure of French army bases and the priority given to the fight against the jihadists by the special forces.

The fight against terrorism will be carried out “with special forces structured around (operation) Takuba with obviously a strong French component – with several hundred more soldiers – and African, European and international forces”, which “will have vocation to make interventions strictly in the fight against terrorism, ”the French president said during a press conference.

These announcements are part of the political will already outlined by Emmanuel Macron to reduce the French military presence in the area in the medium term. Paris is deploying some 5,100 soldiers against jihadists affiliated with the Daesh group and Al-Qaeda, a major support for the weakened armies of the Sahel states who are struggling to fight them alone.

In mid-February, during a summit in N’Djamena with G5 Sahel partners (Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania), the French president announced that Paris did not intend to reduce “in the immediate” Barkhane workforce. However, he had outlined an exit strategy, in favor of European reinforcements ready to join them, while France has been fighting massively the jihadists in the Sahel since early 2013.

Malian commitments
The situation has become more complicated in recent weeks, on the one hand with the brutal death of President Idriss Déby in Chad, and especially the second coup d’etat in eight months in Mali, the central country of Operation Barkhane.

In this regard, Emmanuel Macron also deplored that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) “recognized” Colonel Assimi Goïta as president of the transition in Mali, after a second putsch, including seeing a “bad case law” for Africa and a “mistake”.

EU reacts on Burkina-Faso terrorist attack

Brussels 05.06.2021 “Burkina Faso has just been the victim of one of the most grave terrorist attacks in recent years. The EU stands more than ever alongside the country and the G5 Sahel SE to face terrorism and extremism together” the EU Council president Charles Michel wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

Armed men have killed around 100 people in an attack on a village in the north of Burkina Faso, President Roch Kabore said.

During the overnight raid on Solhan, homes and the market were also burned, Reuters news agency reports quoting a government statement.

No group has said it was behind the violence, but Islamist attacks are increasingly common in the Sahel country, especially in regions bordering Niger and Mali.

President Kabore has declared three days of national mourning saying, in a tweet, that “we must stand united against the forces of evil”.

The security forces are currently looking for the perpetrators, he added.

Burkina Faso: journalists assassination

Brussels 29.04.2021 “By assassinating journalists at Burkina Faso, terrorists have once again shown their cowardice and true criminal face: that of defenders of an obscurantism that destroys all freedom of expression and speech. Our full solidarity with bereaved families”, the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog, reacting upon news about the bodies of the missing journalists found.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed Tuesday, April 29, that two Spanish journalists have been killed in an attack in Burkina Faso.

“The worst news is confirmed. All our condolences for the relatives and friends of David Beriain and Roberto Fraile, who were murdered in Burkina Faso,” he tweeted, praising “those who, like them, carry out courageous and essential journalism from conflict zones.”

Spain’s foreign minister said on Tuesday, April 28, that two bodies found in Burkina Faso appear to be those of a pair of Spanish journalists abducted while filming a documentary there, although authorities are still awaiting final confirmation.

“The situation is confusing,” Arancha Gonzalez Laya told a news conference, explaining that she was in constant contact with Burkinabe authorities, who provided the information about the dead bodies, via Spain’s Embassy in Mali.

According to the experts, there was no doubt that the attackers from jihadists groups, prolific in Sahel region, in spite of efforts of the governments of the G5 countries and international forces to ensure security of the population.

The incident took place on Monday at around 9am, on the road joining Fada N’Gourma and Pama. The reporters were in the area, located near Arli National Park, to film a documentary on the government’s fight against poachers. The convoy was made up of two pick-up trucks and around 20 motorbikes, on which journalists, environmental agents and a military escort were travelling. The convoy left Natiaboani in the morning made a pause at distance at 60 km, when the Spanish journalists got out of one of the trucks and started operating a drone to take aerial photos. It was the moment when the attack began, according to El Pais newspaper.

Local sources cited by Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that two other members of the group, an Irish national and a man from Burkina Faso, have also disappeared and that at least three people were wounded in the attack.

EU condemns Niger attacks

Brussels 17.03.2021 “The EU condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack on March 15 that killed more than 58 civilians in Banibangou in #Niger. In this historic electoral period, the EU calls for social cohesion and reaffirms its commitment to Nigeriens. #AUEU” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

At least 58 people have been killed in Niger after attacks near the border with Mali, according to the government announcement.
Unidentified gunmen opened fire on four vehicles that were bringing people back from a market in the Tillabéri region. No group has claimed the attacks, which happened on Monday, March 15.
However, at present there are two jihadist campaigns in Niger – one in the west near Mali and Burkina Faso, and another in the south-east on the border with Nigeria.

In a statement read out on public television, the Niger government said that “groups of armed, still unidentified individuals intercepted four vehicles carrying passengers back from the weekly market of Banibangou to the villages of Chinedogar and Darey-Daye”.

“The toll from these barbarous acts [is] 58 dead, one injured, a number of grain silos and two vehicles burned, and two more vehicles seized” the statement concluded.

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