Category Archives: West Africa

Cameroon: EU promotes inclusive dialogue

We have expressed out support to Switzerland, mediating in the crisis, and we would like to promote a political dialogue which will be accepted by all stakeholders” the European External Actions Service spokesperson said, reflecting upon the latest episode of violence in Cameroon where the mayor of Mamfe, the youngest the country, was assassinated recently.

European diplomacy has taken note of the violence episode in the south-west of the Cameroon, where Mayor of Mamfe was killed, one more act reflecting profound crisis which has been ongoing for some years, effecting the country. The EU has been calling the government and the separatists to do their utmost to put an an end to the down spiral of violence and engage into constructive inclusive dialog, considering interests of all stakeholders.

The EU has been continuously expressing concerns about violations of human rights that are effecting the population.

Via the EU delegation in Cameroon the European diplomacy is engaged in a regular political dialogue with the authorities and the stakeholders as “civil society and religious leaders to encourage them to come up with the peaceful solution to the peaceful solution to the crisis” the spokesperson of the EU diplomacy added.

Cameroon mayor on errand killed

In Cameroon the attack on the mayor’s convoy happened as he was travelling from Mamfe to the nearby village of Eshobi, state broadcaster CRTV said.

Ashu Priestley Ojong, mayor of Mamfe, approximately 500km (300 miles) from the capital Yaounde, was killed by the “terrorist secessionists” on May 10 in the morning, Bernard Okalia Bilai said in a statement on May 11.

The convoy travelled there after receiving a tip-off that some rebels would be laying down their arms, the report said.

Ojong is among a few senior elected officials killed in the conflict between Cameroon’s army and the English-speaking militias. He was elected in February in legislative and municipal polls the separatist rebels insisted to be boycotted.

English speakers are the liguistic minority, and represent one-fifth of the 24 million Cameroonians, who are mainly French-speaking.

The conflict began after the government cracked down violently on Enlgish-speakers peaceful protests by lawyers and teachers in 2016 who complained of marginalisation by the French-speaking majority.

Years of neglected grievances produced a declaration of independence in the Anglophone regions in October 2017, which was followed by a government crackdown.

The declaration has not been recognised internationally and President Paul Biya (87),in power for almost four decades, has definitely refused demands to return to a federal system.

However, the government has lately decentralised some of its powers after a “national dialogue” on the anglophone crisis which was nevertheless boycotted by the separatists.

Human Rights groups have accused both sides of atrocities in the conflict, which has left more than 3,000 dead, 700,000 displaced, and severe disruption in health and education systems.

#TBT: Namib Desert oldest on Earth

#TBT The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over part of the Namib Desert in western Namibia. At 55 million years old, Namib is considered the oldest desert on Earth.

In this image, captured on 27 October 2019, a large portion of the Namib-Naukluft National Park is visible. The park covers an area of almost 50 000 sq km and encompasses part of the Namib Desert and the Naukluft Mountains to the east. Straight, white lines visible in the right of the image are roads that connect the Namib-Naukluft National Park with other parts of Namibia.

The park’s main attraction is Sossusvlei – a large salt and clay pan visible in the centre of the image. The bright white floors of the pan contrasts with the rust-red dunes that surround it.

Sossusvlei acts as an endorheic basin for the Tsauchab River – an ephemeral river flowing from the east. Owing to the dry conditions in the Namib Desert, the river rarely flows this far and the pan usually remains dry most years. In the past, water from the Tsauchab has reached the Atlantic coast a further 60 km away.

The dunes in this area are some of the highest in the world. The tallest, nicknamed ‘big daddy,’ stands at around 325 m. The dunes facing the river valley are called star dunes and are formed from winds blowing in multiple directions, creating long ‘arms’ that point into the valley from both sides.

These dunes contrast with the saffron-coloured dunes visible in the Namib Sand Sea, just south of Soussusvlei. The sand sea consists of two dune seas, one on top of another. The foundation of the ancient sand sea has existed for at least 21 million years, while the younger sand on top has existed for around 5 million years. The dunes here are formed by the transportation of materials from thousands of kilometres away, carried by river, ocean current and wind.

The Namib Sand Sea is the only coastal desert in the world to contain large dune fields influenced by fog – the primary source of water for the Namib Sand Sea. Haze is visible in the bottom left of the image, the last leftovers of fog coming from the Atlantic Ocean.

Copernicus Sentinel-2 is a two-satellite mission to supply the coverage and data delivery needed for Europe’s Copernicus programme.

Barkhane: EU reiterates support to Sahel

“… French contribution is making overarching contribution in the region” of Sahel said the EU spokesperson, while expressing condolences to families of two slain French soldiers in Mali recently in course of the counter-terrorist operation in the region of three borders.

“We have seen in Sahel the continuous deteriorating in the situation with the terrorist attacks on the daily basis targeting both military and civilians” she continued.

The European Union member-states are heavily mobilised in the Sahel with the commitment of more than €4,5 bn for 2014-2020 period.

The EU reiterates its strong commitment to the Sahel, and personally the High Representative Josep Borrell who has paid tribute to fallen soldiers defeating terrorism in Sahel. The EU continues to pursue contributing to the Security and Stability of the Sahel region, plagued by different militant groups, claiming their affiliation to the Islamic State terrorists.

Slain soldier Kevin Clément belonged to the 1st foreign cavalry regiment of Carpiagne (Bouches-du-Rhône). His death in Liptako on April 4 rises to 43 the number of French soldiers killed in the Sahel since the start of the operation in 2013, according to a count made from figures published by the general staff.

Barkhane: French soldier killed in Mali

French soldier Kévin Clément, 21, belonged to the 1st foreign regiment of cavalry of Carpiagne (Bouches-du-Rhône) engaged in Sahel since February within the Barkhane force, died in combat in Liptako, Mali, in the morning on May 4, during a “sweeping action against armed terrorist groups” in the area known as “three borders“.

The press release from the CEMA services specifies that two jihadists were “neutralised“, but that the first class legionnaire Kévin Clément, boarded in a light armored vehicle, was seriously wounded by enemy fire.

His death was declared later at the surgical unit in Gao, Mali, despite immediate care by the medical team of his unit. AFP reported he succumbed to the head injury.

During this combat operation, 1st class Kévin Clément, boarded in a light armored vehicle, was seriously injured by enemy fire. Immediately taken in charge by the medical team deployed within the unit, he was evacuated by helicopter towards the surgical unit in Gao, where his death was announced in the official press release.

A Reaper drone was immediately engaged to contribute to securing the unit, and revealed that the tactical sub-group had been engaged in a combat encounter with isolated terrorist elements.

In a press release, Florence Parly, Minister for the Armed Forces, underlined that “the legionnaire Clément joins in the ultimate sacrifice his comrade Brigadier Dmytro Martynyouk, who died on May 1. This heavy tribute paid by the Foreign Legion does not undermine its determination or its effectiveness… ”

The Ministry of the Armed Forces, and in particular the Army, are alongside the family of 1st class legionnaire Kévin Clément and all the soldiers of Operation Barkhane” added the official press release.

The Minister of the Armed Forces bowed to the engagement of the 1st class legionnaire Kévin Clément who served France until the end of his mission,” With honor and loyalty “as the motto of the Foreign Legion so aptly puts it” wrote Florence Parly. “France never forgets any of those who chose it and fought for her,” said the ministerial press release.

In recent weeks, the French army has multiplied the offensives in this region of the Sahel, claiming the “neutralization” of several dozen jihadists in total since the beginning of the year. Barkhane’s workforce has recently increased from 4,500 to 5,100 soldiers. Paris hopes that this reinforcement will make it possible to reverse the balance of forces on the ground, where jihadist groups have multiplied the attacks in recent months.

Nigeria 40% population in poverty

Nigeria National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in a report monitoring poverty and inequality from September 2018 to October 2019, said 40% of people in the country lived below its poverty line of 137,430 naira ($381.75) per year. It signifies that it represents 82.9 million people of the most populaous country in Africa.

Nigeria is the top oil exporter in Africa, which has generated wealth related to crude sales that account for more than half of government revenue. But a failure to diversify the economy and build much needed transport and power infrastructure has retained growth and the spread of wealth beyond a rich elite.

Rapid population growth exceeds economic growth, which stands at around 2%. The United Nations (UN) estimates that Nigeria will have a population of 400 million ihnabitant by 2050.

Nigeria was already struggling to shake off the impact of a 2016 recession before the new coronavirus pandemic hit economies worldwide.

Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and culturally diverse federation which is formed by 36 autonomous states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Inequality in terms of income and opportunities has been progressing rapidly and has affected poverty reduction. The North-South divide has widened in recent years due to the Boko Haram insurgency and a lack of economic development in the northern part of the country.

Large pockets of Nigeria’s population still live in extreme poverty, without adequate access to basic services, and could benefit from more inclusive development policies. The lack of job opportunities is at the core of the high poverty levels, of regional inequality, and of social and political unrest in the country.

COVID19: Cote d’Ivoire PM evacuated to France

Cote d’Ivoire Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly (61), the candidate in October’s presidential election from the ruling party, was evacuated on May 2 to France for medical examinations, the presidency informed.

The brief statement from the presidency on May 3 provided no further details about Gon Coulibaly’s condition. Gon Coulibaly self-isolated in late March because of possible exposure to the coronavirus, but the COVID-19 test was negative.

Defence Minister Hamed Bakayoko, who recovered from the coronavirus last month, will serve as interim Prime minister in Gon Coulibaly’s absence, the statement said.

Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara designated Gon Coulibaly in March as the ruling RHDP party’s candidate for the presidential election after excluding a third term himself.

Ivory Coast has recorded more than 1,300 cases of the coronavirus, one of the highest totals in West Africa, and 15 deaths.

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