Category Archives: West Africa

Nigeria: EU condemns Owo attack

Brusssels 07.06.2022 The European Union is shocked by and condemns Sunday’s armed attack on churchgoers in Owo, Ondo State, Southwest of Nigeria, in which scores of defenceless worshippers were killed.

“The unacceptable attacks by non-state armed groups are becoming recurrent in various parts of Nigeria and the senseless violence has now spread to the hitherto peaceful state of Ondo” read the statement by the High Representative Josep Borrell on the killing of worshippers in Owo.

“The EU stands in solidarity with the people of Ondo state, and in particular the families who have lost their loved ones. Those responsible for the despicable act should be speedily brought to justice”.

“The EU remains committed to working with the Nigerian authorities to stop this spiral of violence, find a lasting solution. We continue to support Nigeria in its efforts in building sustainable peace, deepening democracy and ensuring protection of fundamental human rights of all its people, including the right of worship and freedom of religion or belief”.

Niger laments Sahel G5 “death”

Brussels 22.05.2022 Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum said that Mali’s decision, which came after it was not allowed to assume the group’s rotating presidency, meant the Sahel force was now “dead”.(Image: illustration)

“The isolation of Bamako in West Africa is bad for the whole sub-region,” Bazoum told French newspaper La Croix in an interview published on Wednesday.

But the force’s executive secretary adopted a more measured tone over Mali’s decision.

Eric Tiare echoed Pobee in calling Bamako’s decision “regrettable” but told the UNSC meeting that it had enjoyed some successes in combatting armed groups and helping foster socioeconomic development in the region. Tiare also called on the world body to offer it more support.

France’s envoy to the UN, Nicolas de Riviere, also lamented Mali’s withdrawal from the force, as did other UNSC members.

The force, which includes troops from Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania, was formed in 2017 to counter armed groups who have swept across the region in recent years, killing thousands of people and forcing millions to flee their homes.

But it has been hobbled by a lack of funding and has struggled to reduce the violence.

Meanwhile, Mali’s withdrawal further isolates the country – which has been hit with sanctions by West Africa’s regional political bloc, impacting jobs and industry – on both the regional and global stage.

Burkina-Faco: President Compaore sentenced

Brussels 06.04.2022 Burkina Faso’s former President Blaise Compaore was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for complicity in the 1987 murder of his predecessor Thomas Sankar a in a coup d’état, a military tribunal ruled on Wednesday, April 6.

Burkina Faso’s former President Blaise Compaoré has received a life sentence in absentia for his role in the assassination of his charismatic predecessor, Thomas Sankara. Sankara, 37, was gunned down along with 12 others during the 1987 coup d’état that brought Compaoré to power.

The pair had been close friends and had jointly seized power in 1983. Sankara remains a hero for many across Africa because of his anti-imperialist stance and austere lifestyle.

After seizing power at the age of just 33, the Marxist revolutionary known by some as “Africa’s Che Guevara”, campaigned against corruption and oversaw huge increases in education and health spending.

The Gambia: EU awaits EOM report

Brussels 08.12.2021 “The Gambia conducted Presidential elections on 4 December. The European Union welcomes the calm, peaceful, and transparent manner in which the elections were conducted. The high voter turnout shows the commitment of the Gambian people to the democratic path that they have taken since December 2016”.

“The EU expects all the candidates to act in good faith, and urges all to comply with the rule of law and to use the available legal procedures if they deem necessary to challenge election outcomes”.

“The EU deployed for the first time an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to observe a presidential election. The preliminary statement of the EU EOM issued on 6 December 2021 shows where reforms are needed. We look forward to its final report that will be made public at the end of the process, including recommendations for future electoral processes”.

The EU looks forward to continuing its close cooperation with The Gambia on the path of democratic reform and national reconciliation.

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.

Sierra Leone: deadly fuel explosion

Brussels 06.11.2021 A massive explosion at a petrol station in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, killed at least 80 people, burning people in cars and streets nearby, a rescue worker and nurse said Saturday, November 6.

“We recovered 80 bodies from the site of the accident last night with our ambulances,” the rescue worker from the Red Cross told AFP, adding rescue operations were ongoing on Saturday morning.

A nurse at a hospital where the victims were taken confirmed the number of dead to AFP, adding he had also tended to many women, men and children with “serious injuries”.

According to witnesses, the accident happened when a vehicle caught fire in a petrol station after a road accident.

The flames then spread in the area, burning people in cars and on roads nearby.

Sierra Leone’s Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh had arrived on site on Saturday.

Gulf of Guinea: Russian anti-piracy drills

Brussels 13.10.2021 The Russian Northern Fleet task force deployed on an anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Guinea in the Eastern part of the Atlantic Ocean practised freeing a vessel simulating a situation of being seized by pirates, the Fleet’s press office reported on Wednesday, October 13.

“The crews of the large anti-submarine warfare ship Vice Admiral Kulakov, the medium sea tanker Academic Pashin and the rescue tug Altai held drills for freeing a notional vessel seized by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea of the Atlantic Ocean near the coast of the African continent,” the press office said in a statement.

Under the scenario of the drills, the pirates captured a tanker whose crew managed to hide in the vessel’s machinery compartment and send a distress signal. The Russian naval sailors successfully stormed the vessel and freed its crew. A Ka-27PS helicopter that took off from the deck of the anti-submarine warfare ship Vice Admiral Kulakov provided fire support for the drills from the air, the press office said in a statement.

Following the drills for releasing the captured vessel, the crew of the large anti-submarine warfare ship practiced firing a 100mm AK-100 artillery gun and a Kinzhal surface-to-air missile system against the target that simulated the pirates boat.

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 calls for liberation of Mali president

Brussels 25.05.2021 During the press-conference in Brussels the President of the EU Council Charles Michel called for the immediate liberation of the kidnapped Mali President and Prime Minister. “We have followed the situation in Mali, the recent developments, we condemn what has taken place in Mali in recent hours, the kidnapping of the President and the Prime Minister, and we support the declaration made by the ECOWAS and the African Union, we are calling to the return to the transition, which should have been civilian. What has taken place is grave and serious, and we are prepared to take the necessary measures”.

The composition of the new government had barely been announced on ORTM airs when the situation in Bamako, Mali capital, suddenly became tense. Troop movements were observed at the Kati military camp, about 15 km from Bamako, as well as in several points of the capital.

According to our information, the President of the Transition, Bah N’Daw, as well as the Prime Minister, Moctar Ouane, were taken under military escort to Kati. Sources within the National Transition Council (CNT), Minusma and a West African diplomat confirmed this to Jeune Afrique online.

This sudden rise in tension comes after the announcement of the sidelining, in the Moctar Ouane II government, of two influential members of the former National Council for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), which led the putsch. of August 18, 2020 against Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (IBK).

Nyiragongo volcano: no victims reported

Brussels 23.05.2021 The volcanic eruption seems to have subsided, according to the Goma Volcano Observatory, which monitors the volcano. Authorities in the city activated an evacuation plan as a precaution.
The volcano’s last major eruption in 2002 killed 250 people and displaced thousands.
Goma is on the edge of Lake Kivu on the Democratic Republic of Congo’s border with Rwanda. The current urban area population of Goma in 2021 is 670,000, according to a projection by the UN, World Bank and others.

Peyre-Costa from Norwegian Refugee Council, who is residing in Goma, said a number of nongovernmental organisations in the region believe Goma’s population is closer to one million.

Volcanologist Honore Chiraba of the Goma Volcano Observatory told CNN there are two fractures in the volcano. Chiraba is following the volcanic activity closely with the governor of North Kivu, the province where the city of Goma is located. “The lava is flowing but not very fast,” Chiraba said. “At this stage we don’t think anyone is injured but we can’t know for sure.”

« Older Entries