Category Archives: West Africa

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.

Burkina Faso: EU hopes calm returns soon

Brussels 30.09.2022 European Commission follows with concern the situation in Burkina Faso, said the press person of the European External Action Service. The military movements were observed from 4:30 AM early morning hours. “The situation remains confusing and fluid”, she continued.(Image above: social media).

“We are in permanent contact with our delegation there, which informs us about the situation. It is clear that the European Union hopes that the situation will return to calm soon”. She added that the EU expects that civil society will stay united in these challenging times.

Reports of gunfire near the Presidential palace in Ougadougou flow on social media. It is unclear at the moment if it could be a mutiny? The current President Lt Col Paul Sandaogo Dimba who took power in January this year from Gen Roach Marc Kabore. At present his whereabouts are unknown.

Gunfire rang out early in Burkina Faso’s capital and the state broadcaster went off the air, sparking fears that another coup attempt may be underway, nine months after the democratically elected president was ousted from power, the AP reports.

Burkina Faso capital under gunfire

Brussels 30.09.2022 The situation is Burkina Faso’s capital is “confused” after heavy gunfire was reported, the BBC reports. Armed soldiers have taken positions at several points in Ouagadougou. (Image: illustration).

The country’s leader Col Paul-Henri Damiba, who seized power in January, is “in the capital and doing well,” news site Jeune Afrique reports.

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.

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