Category Archives: West Africa

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.”

DRC: Nyiragongo volcano erupted

Brussels 23.05.2021 02:30 UPDATE: UPDATE: according to ICCN officials, the lava has slowed down drastically.

Brussels 23.05.2021 The Mount Nyiragongo volcano burst into activity Saturday, May 22, spewing red fumes into the night sky, said an AFP reporter in the nearby Democratic Republic of Congo city of Goma. Power was cut in the city and some residents began leaving their homes and heading towards the nearby border with Rwanda.

The last time Nyiragongo erupted was January 17, 2002, killing more than a hundred people and covering almost all of the eastern part of Goma with lava, including half of the airport’s landing strip.

Hundreds of thousands fled the city. The deadliest eruption of the 3,000-metre high volcano was in 1977, when more than 600 died. The Goma region, which lies in North Kivu province, bordering Rwanda and Uganda, has six volcanoes, all higher than 3,000 metres.

A lava flow from the Nyiragongo volcano, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), reached the airport in the city of Goma, on the southern slope of the volcano, an official said on Saturday (May 22nd). local. “The situation has worsened,” noted in a message to his staff, an official of the Virunga National Park, where the volcano is located.

The sudden eruption caused panic among the population, who fled en masse to neighboring Rwanda, or heading west, to the Masisi region. On the night of Saturday to Monday, impressive images circulated on social networks, but not independently verified, showed homes on fire, slowly swallowed and then engulfed by glowing molten lava, in the northeastern outskirts of Goma. , especially in the Buhene district.

The deadliest eruption occurred in 1977 with over 600 deaths. According to a scenario that may turn out to be similar to the eruption on Saturday, lava slowly flowed towards the city, which it cut in two to flow into Lake Kivu.

Nigeria: kidnapping at rise

Brussels 20.05.2021 Оne killed, 12 kidnapped as culprits numbering more than 40 invaded Kwankwashe Suleja Area of Niger State of Nigera. The attack which began about 12 AM lasted more than two hours in spite of the efforts of the local vigils. The attackers were repelled later when the the police unit arrived.

This incident follows the day after the suspected “bandits” have killed at least eight worshipers in another attack in Kaduna State on Wednesday, May 19.

The armed bandits also burnt down Assemblies of God Church and several other buildings in Ungwan Gaida community, near Kurmin Kaso, Chikun Local Government Area of the state.

The state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs confirmed the attacks to newsmen.

Abduction and forced disappearance events more than doubled in Nigeria last year. ACLED Nigeria Senior Researcher Dr.Olajumoke Ayandele and Research Analyst Curtis Goos revealed the data on the the kidnapping crisis, mapping the key players, targets, and trends.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation. In spite of its oil wealth, about two-thirds of its estimated 203 million population lives on less than one US dollar per day. The development of the country is held back by poor overall governance, widespread corruption, weak and complex institutions, massive inequality and very limited access for most of the population to basic services.

EU €210M budget for Sahel

Brussels 11.05.2021 The EU is reaffirming its solidarity with vulnerable people in countries in the Sahel and Central Africa through a humanitarian budget of €210 million in 2021. The funding will be allocated to humanitarian projects in the following eight countries: Burkina Faso (€24.3 million), Cameroon (€17.5 million), the Central African Republic (€21.5 million), Chad (€35.5 million) Mali (€31.9 million), Mauritania (€10 million), Niger (€32.3 million) and Nigeria (€37 million).

“Worsening instability and armed conflicts, together with the COVID-19 pandemic and natural hazards, are having a devastating impact in the Sahel and countries in Central Africa. The EU remains committed to help reduce suffering among people in need in the region. While humanitarian aid is there to bring emergency relief, longer-lasting improvements can only be brought about through the political will of national governments and good governance” Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said.

The EU’s humanitarian funding in the Sahel and Central Africa countries is targeted to:

provide life-saving assistance to the people affected by conflict and to the communities hosting people who had to flee;
provide protection to vulnerable people and support the respect of International Humanitarian Law and the humanitarian principles;
support measures to address food crises and severe acute malnutrition among children under 5;
enhance the immediate response in terms of basic services to most vulnerable population, especially as concerns health care for all or education for children caught up in humanitarian crises; and
strengthen fragile communities’ preparedness for crises, such as mass displacements of people, or recurrent food or climate-related crises.
This assistance is part of the wider EU support provided to the region, including through the ´Team Europe´ contributions to the Coronavirus Global Response, support to the vaccine distribution effort through the COVAX Facility, and other actions providing longer-term support to strengthen fragile health systems.

As part of the EU’s Coronavirus Global Response and its target to make COVID-19 vaccines a global public good, Team Europe provided €2.2 billion to the COVAX Facility. The COVAX Facility is supporting the delivery of 1.3 billion doses of vaccines to 92 low and middle-income countries by the end of 2021 and has recently decided that up to 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be made available for use in humanitarian contexts.

In addition, the European Commission is providing €100 million in humanitarian assistance to support the rollout of vaccination campaigns in countries in Africa with critical humanitarian needs and fragile health systems.

The EU is a leading, long-standing humanitarian donor in the Sahel and Central Africa, one of the world’s poorest and most fragile regions. In 2020, the EU supported humanitarian interventions in the region with more than €213 million. More than 19 million people in need benefitted from EU-funded humanitarian operations initiated in 2020 in West and Central Africa, including around 6.3 million people who were provided with food security and livelihood support, more than 3 million people assisted on disaster preparedness and risk reduction, around 2.8 million people offered access to health services, and almost 1.8 million people receiving protection support.

In order to support longer-term achievements, the EU is working to build effective synergies between humanitarian, development and peace initiatives. The life of many in the Sahel and Central Africa countries continues to be disrupted by conflict, poverty, climatic changes, recurrent food crises, or a combination of all. It is estimated that there are more than 35 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in the eight priority countries covered by the EU’s 2021 Humanitarian Implementation Plan for West and Central Africa. The major humanitarian needs relate to shelter, emergency food aid, access to health care and clean water, treatment for malnourished children, and protection for the vulnerable.

Against this backdrop, the coronavirus pandemic is posing additional challenges, both as concerns the pressure on already fragile health systems but also the effects of the containment measures on vulnerable people’s access to food and livelihoods.

At the same time, humanitarian actors are facing the combined challenges of delivering humanitarian assistance in an increasingly insecure context, where access is further restricted due to the pandemic.

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