Category Archives: West Africa

MALI: 25 perished in attacks

Islamist militants are suspected to be a group behind the killing 25 people including 13 soldiers in multiple attacks in central Mali, burning down an army base and ambushing troops sent as reinforcements, the army and local authorities said on October 13.

The attacks were the deadliest since the August 18 military coup d’état ousting unpopular President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, and came just days after scores of jailed jihadists were freed by the interim government in a prisoners for hostages swap.

Nine soldiers were killed in the first attack that took place overnight against a base in Sokoura near the border with Burkina Faso, the army statement reads.

At around 8:30 a.m. (0830 GMT) on Tuesday, on October 13, another three soldiers were killed in an ambush at a bridge near the base as their unit headed to the scene of the first attack, the army statement explains.

Nine militants were killed in clashes with the reinforcement unit and two of their vehicles destroyed by the air force.

In a third assault about 40 minutes later near the town of Bandiagara, gunmen ambushed a commercial truck, killing 12 traders and one soldier, according to Moulaye Guindo, the mayor of nearby Bankass, to which the traders were en route.

A witness said he saw nine bodies at the military base and helped transport 20 wounded to local medical centres.

“They (jihadists) took all the vehicles and burned those they could not take away. The camp is burned,” said the witness, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal.

A transitional government has been appointed since the military coup. But regional and international powers fear the violence could further destabilise the West African nation and undermine a French-directed military campaign against insurgents linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State in the wider Sahel region.

Mali: Swiss hostage death in absentia

Brussels 10.10.2020 A Swiss hostage – Béatrice Stockly (pictured) – Evangelical Missionary in Timbuktu, who had been held in Mali for four years was killed, the Swiss foreign ministry announced on October 9 in the evening after being informed by French authorities.

“She was apparently killed by kidnappers of the Islamist terrorist organization Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslim (JNIM) about a month ago,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.

It said the exact circumstances of the killing were still unclear, but that information had been obtained by the French authorities from a recently released French hostage.

Swiss authorities had worked with Malian authorities and international partners over the past four years to try to obtain the release of the hostage, the ministry said. It did not name the hostage.

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis condemned the killing in the statement. The ministry said it would try to find out more about the circumstances of the killing and whereabouts of the hostage’s remains.

Basel humanitarian Béatrice Stockly, kidnapped four years ago in Mali, was killed by her captors, those responsible are apparently members of an al-Qaeda group. She was allegedly killed by the kidnappers of the Islamist terrorist organization Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslim (JNIM) about a month ago.

“It is with great sadness that I learned of the death of our fellow citizen”, declared the head of the FDFA Ignazio Cassis. “I condemn this cruel act and express my deepest condolences to the relatives of the victim.”

Swiss evangelical missionary in the field Béatrice Stockly, who has been living in Timbuktu (Mali) for many years.

This woman who became Arabic-speaking, with a modest income, formerly in the service of the German mission “New Life Ghana”, had chosen to live, independently, within the population to develop local social action and offer a Christian alternative. Béatrice Stockly was kidnapped twice, in Mali, first in 2012 (Ansar Dine group) and then from 2016 (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb), because of her religious activity.

At the start of 2016, AQIM described her as “a disbelieving “evangelizer” who, through her work, has succeeded in bringing out of Islam a number of sons of Muslims” From a strict security point of view.

The exact circumstances of the Swiss hostage assassination are not yet clear. The French authorities were informed of this execution through the intermediary of the recently released French hostage, Sophie Pétronin.

EU supports Mali transition

“The European Union welcomes the appointment of the President of the Transition Mr. Bah N’daw, the Prime Minister Mr. Moctar Ouane, as well as the entry into office of a government paving the way for a civil transition in Mali for a period 18 months. The European Union welcomes the lifting of the sanctions adopted against Mali following the events of August 18, after several weeks of negotiations carried out with determination by the Economic Community of West African States”, reads the statement by High Representative Josep Borrell on the appointment of the President of the Transition and the new government.

“These conditions now being met, the European Union is ready to support the Transition on the one hand, to organize credible elections leading to the reestablishment of constitutional order, and on the other hand to carry out priority reforms to deal with structural challenges. and long term from Mali. This transition period constitutes an important window of opportunity to recreate a national pact around more accountable and more inclusive public institutions, as has been clearly expressed by the Malian people. As part of a demanding partnership, the European Union will be particularly attentive to concrete actions, particularly in the areas of governance, the fight against impunity, the fight against corruption, more efficient, more transparent and more accountable management. defense and security forces, as well as a more effective presence of State services in the most fragile regions for the benefit of the populations. The implementation of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, as underlined by President N’daw in his inaugural address, remains an imperative”.

The Gambia: EU concerns over constitution review

“The European Union has been at the forefront of support to the democratic transition in The Gambia since 2017 and to the reforms aiming at entrenching democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Over the last months, it has observed with growing concern a marked slowdown in the pace of the reform process and in particular noted the recent important setback with the rejection of the draft new Constitution. It is key for the 2021 Presidential elections to take place on the basis of a new social contract” reads the statement of the head of the EU diplomacy Josep Borrell.

“The constitutional review process is linked to other pillars of the democratic transition, in particular the transitional justice process with the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), as well as the Security Sector Reform (SSR). It therefore remains important to lay the foundations for the follow-up of these processes. Moreover, taking forward other significant reforms, such as the revision of the Public Order Law, media and access to information laws prior to the 2021 Presidential elections, requires decisive Government action.

“The European Union calls upon the Government to take the lead in building the necessary national consensus around the future direction of the democratic transition, with a new Constitution at its core”  the EU top diplomat wrote.

In December 2017, the National Assembly of the Gambia had established a Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) to draft a new statute book to replace the 1997 constitution, which many analysts believed had many undemocratic provisions. This constitution had been drafted three years after a military coup led by Yahya Jammeh, who amid high drama was overthrown, by a seven-party political alliance loosely called Coalition 2016.

But since then Gambian President Adama Barrow has walked out from the coalition that brought him to power and has launched his political party he National People’s Party (NPP).

Experts say that that the country’s transition that received praise from the international community and counted as one of the successes of post-dictatorial democratic transition on the rocks. They say, that democracy has become trapped under the complexities of power struggle.

After registering his new party in January, Barrow made it clear that he plans to run for president again in 2021, although he indicated when he was elected that he would be a one-term president.

The constitution bill would have created a two term limit, with the President serving five years per term. A clause in the bill for a transitional president, such as Barrow, would have his current term counted as one term.

EU awaits ECOWAS decision on Mali

Brussels 04.10.2020 The EU once again reiterated its full support to ECOWAS on the issue of lifting Mali sanctions, imposed by West Africa the regional powers.  Meanwhile the transitional government is hopeful that sanctions placed on Mali by ECOWAS are likely to be lifted soon. Mali’s newly appointed transitional President, Bah Ndaw held a meeting with the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Permanent Representative to Mali, Boly Hamidou to discuss the blockade problem, which has grave consequences for population of the country, and neighbourhood regions, involved in cross-border trade.

“After the swearing-in of the President of the Transition, Mr. Bah N’daw on September 25, the appointment of a civilian prime minister, Mr. Moctar Ouane, on Sunday, September 27, we are following the developments in view of the Transition on a track in accordance with ECOWAS requirements” said the EU spokesperson to Africa Diplomatic, while commenting on the issue. “In this context, the EU awaits the decision of ECOWAS regarding the sanctions imposed on Mali.” 

“The confirms her readiness to work in close collaboration with the UN / AU / ECOWAS Follow-up Committee in support of a successful transition. The EU gives full support to ECOWAS, whose heads of state are calling for a transfer of power to a transition led by a civilian President and Prime Minister, who can ensure the transition to a return to constitutional order” the spokesperson has underlined.

ECOWAS requires that the position of vice president, instituted by the board, be deprived of the prerogative to replace the president if the latter is unable to exercise the position. The post of vice president was handed over to the head of the military who led the coup d’état – Colonel Assimi Goita.

ECOWAS is concerned that the army may regain control in a transition in which it already plays a prominent role. The position of vice-president and his duties must be included in a “letter,” a kind of fundamental document, to which the board refers to organize the transition.

However, no final official version of this text, according to which the president and vice president took office on September 25, has not been published. ECOWAS is requesting the publication of this document. A source close to the Mali officers said it could be revealed soon but would remain anonymous.

Meanwhile Nigeria President Buhari is reluctant to lift up sanctions, after the meeting with the Special Envoy to present a formal report to the new ECOWAS Chairman, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, “who will then write us officially, and we then determine the next steps.”

The Nigerian President said with about two-thirds of Mali currently under occupation by terrorists, “the priority of the military should be to secure their country,” rather than hold on to power, former army General Buhari said. Buhari is a retired general of the Nigerian Army and served as military head of state from 1983 to 1985, after taking power in a military coup d’état.

Mali: Moctar OUANE transition Prime Minister

Moctar Ouane,64, the Malian career diplomat and politician has been appointed as transition Prime-minister of Mali. He served in the government of Mali as Minister of Foreign Affairs from May 2004 to April 2011. Among other high status appointments he served as Mali’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1995 to 2002.

After leaving office as Foreign Minister in 2011, Ouane became Diplomatic Adviser to the West African Economic and Monetary Union (ECOWAS) in January 2014.

EU: Mali Ba N’Daou – man of “integrity”

Brussels 22.09.2020 The European Union reacted positively on appointment of the former Defence Minister Ba N’Daou,70, as an interim President of Mali. The member of government, and close ally of late President Traoré, he is seen as man of needed qualities to lead the transition period, phrased for his “independence” and “integrity”.

“The nomination of Mr.Ba N’Daou as an interim President is a big step forward. There will be 18 months transition period, this allows the organisation of the elections to return to Constitutional order. Appointed by the inclusive committee of 17 persons, this person is a retired colonel, well-known for his integrity and independence, meeting the requirements formulated by the ECOWAS for the transition period led by civilians. In the current fragile context the choice of the Prime Minister who should also be a civilian will be very important for the legitimacy of the transition period”, the EU diplomacy spokesperson said, while commenting on developments in Mali.

Former Defence Minister of late President Traoré, and a carreer military, Ba N’Daou is held in high esteem by his compatriots, known for his integrity, and high professionalism.
The National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), led by Coloenl Assimi Goita, announced on September 21 that Ba N’Daou was appointed as President of the new transitional government for the period of 18 months.
Mali’s new head of state was born on August 23, 1950 in San in the Ségou region of Mali, ten years before Mali’s independence. After obtaining the baccalaureate, he was conscripted into the army on June 1, 1973 at the age of 23. As an excellent solider he was appointed by the Malian military authorities to take a helicopter pilot course in the USSR the following year.

The new leader of the transition is not a new public figure to Malians, known since he was l’aide-de-camp to the former president of Mali, the late General Moussa Traoré who died on September 15, 2020, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Deputy Chief of Staff of the national guard, director of military engineering, chief of defence cabinet at the prime minister’s office, director general of equipment for the armed forces, official in charge of the MDAC. A remarkable career crowned with designation and appointment.

Thus, in 2008, he was promoted to director of the national office for retired military veterans and victims of war (ONAC). An officer of the national order, he was decorated with the medal of military merit and that of national merit.

The young soldier nicknamed “The Great” he joined the all new air force. holds a higher military study certificate in France. He was also patented from the School of War (CID) in 1994. He was in the 7th promotion (1973 in the Combined Arms School (EMIA) of Koulikoro.

MALI: Assimi GOITA VICE-PRESIDENT

Brussels 22.09.2020 The National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), led by Coloenl Assimi Goita, announced on September 21 that it was appointing former Defence Minister Ba N’Daou,70, as president of the new transitional government.

The announcement came a week after the 15-member Economic Community of West African States took the decision, insisting on transition of power to civilians.

ECOWAS leaders who attended an Extraordinary Summit in Accra, Ghana, on September 17 issued a communique on several decisions aimed at speedy return to civilian rule, as the major condition of lifting up blockade of the Sahel country.

In addition to being a former defence chief, he was aide-de-camp to former President Moussa Traore who died September 15 in the Malian capital.

Ba N’Daou also served as deputy chief of the aviation. During his military career he received the highest distinctions, including the Medal of Military Merit, the Medal of National Merit and the National Order of Mali. The CNSP said Colonel Assimi Goita, the coud d’état leader, will serve alongside Ndiaw’s as vice president of the transition.
The announcement comes several weeks after an August 18 coup d’état ousting unpopular President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Mali’s new head of state was born on August 23, 1950 in San in the Ségou region of Mali, ten years before Mali’s independence. After obtaining the baccalaureate, he was conscripted into the army on June 1, 1973 at the age of 23. As an excellent solider he was appointed by the Malian military authorities to take a helicopter pilot course in the USSR the following year.

The new leader of the transition is not a new public figure to Malians, known since he was l’aide-de-camp to the former president of Mali, the late General Moussa Traoré who died on September 15, 2020, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Deputy Chief of Staff of the national guard, director of military engineering, chief of defence cabinet at the prime minister’s office, director general of equipment for the armed forces, official in charge of the MDAC. A remarkable career crowned with designation and appointment.

Thus, in 2008, he was promoted to director of the national office for retired military veterans and victims of war (ONAC). An officer of the national order, he was decorated with the medal of military merit and that of national merit.

The young soldier nicknamed “The Great” he joined the all new air force. holds a higher military study certificate in France. He was also patented from the School of War (CID) in 1994. He was in the 7th promotion (1973 in the Combined Arms School (EMIA) of Koulikoro.

Mali ex-dictator state funeral

Mali held a state funeral for ex-dictator Moussa Traore,83, on September 18, attended by the head of the ruling military commanders and other former leaders, according to AFP journalists following the event.
Traoré, who ruled Mali for 22 years before being deposed in a 1991 coup d’état, died in the capital Bamako on September 15.

The former autocrat was buried at a Bamako military camp, where a funeral band played at the arrival of his coffin, which was draped in the Malian flag.
Soldiers dressed in full regalia stood at attention, while two planes performed a flypast overhead.
As a young lieutenant in 1968, Traoré was the main instigator of a coup that overthrew Modibo Keita, the country’s first president after independence from France in 1960.

EU deplores Cote d’Ivoire violence

“As part of the current electoral process, the European Union (EU) reiterates its attachment to the principles of inclusiveness, freedom of expression, transparency, respect for the rule of law and any independent observation mechanisms. , necessary to ensure a ballot with credible results accepted by all”  reads statement by the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell on behalf of the European Union on the presidential election in Cote d’Ivoire on October 31, 2020.

“The EU deplores the violence and clashes in recent weeks, which have claimed the lives of several people, and calls on the authorities to investigate them in order to prosecute the perpetrators. It also calls for respect for public freedoms, including the right for every citizen to demonstrate peacefully, within the framework provided by law, without being worried, and to express political opinions without being arrested or imprisoned.

“The EU takes note of the decision of the Constitutional Council on September 14 on the candidates selected for the presidential election. While it is not for it to pronounce on this matter, the EU recalls that it is the primary responsibility of the competent Ivorian authorities and institutions to guarantee an impartial, transparent, inclusive and fair electoral process, winning the support of the citizens. It notes the various procedures opened before the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) relating to the electoral process and recalls its attachment to respect for international justice.

“The EU calls on the entire political class and civil society, as well as the administrations concerned, to dialogue and engage in a responsible, constructive and peaceful manner and to ensure that this electoral process can sustainably consolidate reconciliation between all Ivorians. It also encourages the authorities to take the initiative to help calm the political climate.

“As a long-standing partner of the Ivory Coast, the EU will continue to accompany and support the country in this process, with all the actors concerned”.

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