The EU Foreign affairs Council exchanged views on the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Sahel and the role the EU can play as leading partner in the region. The debate has been centred on ways to increase the impact of the EU’s actions supporting security, stability and development. The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell deplored death toll in Sahel region – Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad, inderlinging the number of growing number of causalties last year amounting to five thousand people (4,779), among them 1500 soldiers.
The EU commitment to Sahel is considerable and unprecedented: because of the amounts mobilized but, above all, because of the longevity and intensity of the European political and human investment. Since 2014, the EU – Commission and Member States – has mobilized more than € 8 billion to respond to the multiple challenges of the region.
However the EU must do more, differently and better, and be more effective and better understood by the populations, the joint action must be rethought, the European diplomat said. The EU dialogue with our Sahelian partners must be more frank, more in-depth and be based on mutual trust in order to break the terrorist dialectic which seeks to divide all those who want peace in the Sahel.
In Somalia at least three people were killed and 20 injured, including several Turkish nationals, when a suicide car bomb targeted a police convoy, escorting Turkish contractors Anadolu new agency reports.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency over the phone, Somali government spokesman Ismail Mukhtar Oronjo confirmed the attack in the town of Afgoye, in the lower Shabelle region.
“Several people including soldiers were killed and 20 others wounded, and casualties could rise,” he said.
He also said among those injured were Somalia’s deputy commander of special forces.
Separately, Bashir Ahmed, a police official in Afgoye, told Anadolu Agency that three people, including soldiers, were killed in the attack.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca and the Turkish Embassy in Mogadishu said that some four to six Turkish citizens, including building contractors, were injured in the attack.
The French Defence minister Florence Parly (pictured) expected to arrive to the Sahel on Sunday January 19 with her counterparts from Estonia, Sweden and Portugal, the countries ready to support Barkhane’s trooops in the fight against jihadist armed groups.
“I am going to the Sahel on Sunday, I will be accompanied by the Swedish Minister for Defense, as well as by the Estonian Minister for Defense and finally the Portuguese Minister“, said Florence Parly on Europe 1.
“We will continue to support our Sahelian partners and, in addition, we are calling for internationalization, for partners to join us to help the countries of the Sahel to fight this fight,” she added.
Estonia has confirmed its participation in the future coalition of special forces (“Takuba”) which France has taken the initiative to support by 4,500 troops of Barkhane in the Sahel. Sweden and Portugal could also be present.
“We are not alone and there will certainly be more of us there when, in the summer, this Takuba force, which will be made up of European special forces, will be able to accompany the Malian armed forces,” said Florence Parly.
“Barkhane does not act alone. The last operation that we conducted recently, more than 50% of the forces that were involved in this operation were partner forces, Sahelian and European. ”
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.
The death toll from the January 9 attack on Niger army base next to Chinagodrar city has risen to at least 89, four security sources said, surpassing a raid last month in Inates that killed 71 soldiers as the deadliest against Nigerien forces in years.
Commenting on the recent attack the government officials informed that 25 soldiers had been killed, according to a provisional toll, while the troops have been successfully repelling the attack by assailants close to Chinagodrar.
Later four different security sources told Reuters news agency that at least 89 members of Niger’s security forces perished in the attack were buried on January 11 in the capital, Niamey.
One source said the actual death toll was most likely higher because some soldiers were buried immediately in Chinagodrar.
Defense Minister Issoufou Kara be said that an updated death toll would be announced after a national security council meeting on Sunday.
In early monrning hours around 4 AM Al-Shabaab militants launched an attack on the Manda-Magogoni naval base in Lamu. Heavy exchange of fire is ongoing, Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia confirms. (Image: sodial media).
In a brief statement the US military command for Africa, AFRICOM, confirmed there had been an attack, but did not provide any detail.
“U.S. Africa Command acknowledges there was an attack at Manda Bay Airfield, Kenya and is monitoring the situation. Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the incident. As facts and details emerge, we will provide an update.”
Militants from the Somali Islamist Shebaab group, affiliated with Al-Qaeda, launched an attack on a military base operated by American and Kenyan forces in Lamu (north of the country), near the Somali border, according to a local official Agnece France press reports. The press-release of the militants circulates in social media.
In the press-release Al-Shabaab group said the raid resulted in “severe casualties on both American and Kenyan troops stationed there.”
“The Mujahideen fighters covertly entered enemy lines, successfully stormed the heavily fortified military base and have now taken effective control of a part of the base,” the armed group announced.
The suicide bomber involved in the attack on Camp Simba in Manda Bay and fighters have taken control of part of the base, they claim. There are indications that plane was set on fire, while the heavy cloude of smoke has been seen from afar.
Military cargo plane from Turkey landed in Mogadishu on December 29 to evacuate people badly wounded in a truck bombing a day earlier that killed at least 90 people, including two Turkish nationals.
The plane also brought emergency medical staff and supplies, according to a tweet from the Turkish embassy, adding these had been transported to a Turkish-run hospital in Mogadishu.
Somali Information Minister Mohamed Abdi Hayir Mareye told state media that 10 badly injured Somalis would be evacuated to Turkey. He added that Turkey had sent 24 doctors to treat those wounded who would stay in the capital.