Category Archives: West Africa

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.

CHAD: FACT ready for ceasefire

Brussels 25.04.2021 The rebels, known as the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), intruded over the northern border from Libya on April 11 calling for an end to Deby’s 30-year rule. They came as close as 200-300 km (125-185 miles) from the capital N’Djamena before being pushed back by the army.
“FACT is ready to observe a ceasefire for a political settlement that respects the independence and sovereignty of Chad and does not endorse a coup d’etat,” FACT spokesman Kingabe Ogouzeimi de Tapol said.

Deby was killed on Monday, April 19, while visiting troops at the frontline, just after he won an election one more time. His death shocked the Central African country, which has long been a Western ally against Islamist militants. However the circumstances of his death remain unclear.

The air force has since bombarded rebel positions, the military and rebels said. The military said on Saturday it had “annihilated” the rebels.

After Deby’s death, a military council headed by his son, Mahamat Idriss Deby, seized power and said it would oversee an 18-month transition to elections. Opposition politicians called this a coup, and the rebels said they would not accept a “monarchy”.

Borrell arrives to Deby funeral

Brussels 23.04.2021 The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell has arrived to N’Djamena, the Republic of Chad, to attend the funeral of late President Idriss Deby. In a statement issued by the European External Action Service, Borrell expressed his views on the situation in this Sahel country, namely “…the need to guarantee the stability of Chad, and at the same time to return to constitutional normality as soon as possible. These two goals: stability, to ensure that the transition is going to take place in an orderly fashion and that this transition lasts as little as possible and that this leads again to constitutional normality”.
The diplomat has also underlined that the role of the neighbour Niger’s is fundamental.  In general, all the Sahelian countries are committed, “all together and the European Union, also to help this transition, by guaranteeing stability and the return to normality, I repeat, constitutional” he added.

The EU, France and the G5 Sahel countries, which together are fighting the jihadists in this region, expressed their “common support for the civil-military transition process” to the son of the late Chadian president Idriss Déby Itno killed by rebels.

According to official sources, Chadian President Idriss Déby Itno died on Tuesday April 20 at around 1 a.m., following fighting between the Chadian army and the rebellion of the Front for Alternation and Concord in Chad (FACT), not far from Mao in the Kanem region, in the center of the country. In power for 30 years, Déby had just been re-elected for a sixth consecutive term. His death was announced at 11 am on national television by army spokesman General Azem Bermandoa.

Some observers doubt this version of events and offer other, unconfirmed hypotheses about the circumstances of his death, including that of a negotiation meeting with FACT members that allegedly turned into a shooting.

It is no surprise that President Déby himself went to the battlefield. Coming to power in 1990, following a coup d’état against President Hissène Habré, whose army he had commanded, Déby has always made his military status his main political force. His armed forces had succeeded in repelling rebel assaults in 2006 and 2008, and most recently in 2019, thanks to the support of the French military, and he was not hesitant to go into combat himself.

In April 2020, he took the lead in a counter-offensive against a faction of Boko Haram, which had just killed nearly 100 Chadian soldiers on the shores of Lake Chad. Its commitment on the ground enabled it to mobilize and galvanize its troops and, at the same time, to stand as a guarantor of the integrity of the national territory. His death is therefore causing concern among many Chadians and plunging the country into uncertainty.

SAHEL: Deby death events arcane

Brussels 20.04.2021 President Idriss Deby has died of wounds suffered on the front line in the country’s north, while visiting soldiers battling insurgents, the Chad armed forces said.
The exact circumstances of Deby’s death remain arcane. As a Commander-in-chief Deby had been leading his army during the weekend as it battled rebels who had launched a major incursion into the north of the country on election day on April 11.

Recognised as a brilliant military strategist who has been able to survive numerous coup d’état attempts and rebellions, Deby never hesitated to lead soldiers on the battlefront. Last year, he took the title of Field Marshal of Chad.

On Monday, April 19, the army had claimed a “great victory” in its battle against the rebels intruding from neighbouring Libya, claiming it had killed 300 fighters, with the loss of five soldiers in its own ranks during eight days of combat.

The rebel raid in the provinces of Tibesti and Kanem was carried out by the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), based in Libya. The group has a neutrality pact with Marshal Khalifa Haftar controlling Libya’s oil-rich East.

FACT, a group mainly made up of the Saharan Dazaga (sometimes referred to as Gourane, an Arabian exonym Goran people), said in a statement Sunday, April 18, that it had “liberated” the Kanem region. The events in the remote desert combat zones are hard to verify.

A military council led by the late president’s 37-year-old son, four-star General Mahamat Idriss Deby, would take a lead for the next 18 month transition period. A curfew has been imposed in the capital N’Djamena and the country’s borders have been shut in the wake of the President’s sudden death.

Deby, 68, “has just breathed his last defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield” over the weekend, army spokesman General Azem Bermandoa Agouna said in a statement read out on state television on Tuesday, April 20, a day after Deby was declared the winner of a presidential election.

Deby was a herder’s son from the Zaghawa Sahelian Muslim ethnic group who took the classic path to power through the army ranks, and relished the military culture.

Niger: Borrell on defeating terrorism

Brussels 23.03.2021 “A few days after the attack on Banibangou, Niger is grieved by another massacre in the Tahoua region” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell tweeted, reacting upon the recent events in the Sahel region.
(Picture above: illustration).

“In one week, more than 200 civilians were victims of the indiscriminate and borderless violence of terrorist groups”.
“Nigeriens have not been intimidated by the various attacks that have marked these past weeks. On the contrary, they have completed a historic democratic process which constitutes a decisive stage for the consolidation of democracy in their country. They can count on the European Union to continue to lead with them the fight which will bring back security and stability to their country”, Borrell continued.

“By perpetrating these attacks against defenseless civilians, terrorists strengthen our resolve to confront them” the European diplomat concluded.

At least 137 Nigerien civilians were killed on Sunday, March 21, in an attack on several localities near the Malian border, the Nigerien government said in a statement late Monday.

“In the afternoon of Sunday March 21, 2021 at around 1 p.m. (1200GMT), the localities of Intazayane, Bakorat, Wirsnat and several other hamlets and camps located in the department of Tillia, Tahoua region, witnessed an attack perpetrated by armed bandits,” said the statement read on national TV by government spokesperson Abdourahamane Zakaria.

At least 137 people were killed and several others were injured, Zakaria said, adding that “reinforced security and health measures have been taken in the area and an investigation has been opened”.

The spokesperson also announced a three-day national mourning to pay tribute to the victims of the attacks.

It is the second deadly attack on Nigerien civilians in a week. On March 15, unidentified gunmen attacked and killed at least 58 civilians returning from a weekly market in the Banibangou department, Tillaberi region, near the Malian border, according to Zakaria.

Niger’s Tillaberi and Tahoua regions, bordering northern Mali, have been facing recurrent armed attacks since 2017 attributed to terrorist groups operating in northern Mali. As a result of these attacks, the entire Tillaberi region and part of Tahoua were placed under a state of emergency.

Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali in the Sahel are at the epicenter of one of the world’s fastest-growing displacement and protection crises.

The region hosts 851,000 refugees and nearly 2 million displaced people, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

In January, around 100 people were killed in attacks in two Tillaberi villages after the first round of presidential elections.

DRC: Italy investigators head to Goma

An investigation Italian Carabinieri unit is expected in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) today, February 23, to establish the facts of the assassination of the Italian Ambassador Luca Attanasio. The mission will be accomplished with the support of the Congolese authorities and the United Nations Mission in Congo.
The remains of Italian Ambassador and the officer will be repatriated Tuesday to Kinshasa before heading to Rome, according to local media reports.

Congo’s government has blamed the Rwandan Hutu rebel group known as FDLR for the killings, a charge they have denied. Congo’s insecure east is home to more than 120 armed rebel groups.

Democratic Republic of Congo has already dispatched a team to support investigators on the ground in Goma,the capital of North Kivu province, where the Italian Ambassador, an Italian Carabinieri police officer and their local driver were ambushed and killed Monday, February 22.

Rwandan Hutu rebels denied allegations they were behind the assassination of the Italian ambassador to the DRC and instead accused the armies of the DR Congo and Rwanda of responsibility.

Burkina Faso elections: Kabore leads

Brussels 25.11.2020 Burkina Faso’s president, Roch Marc Christian Kabore,63, is clearly leading in results announced from more than half of the country’s voting districts following weekend elections.

Kabore, bidding for a second term at the helm of the troubled Sahel state, has 58.14 percent of the vote, according to the ongoing count conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI).

Opposition leader Zephirin Diabre has 14.25%, while Eddie Komboigo, who heads a former ruling party, has 13.62%, it said.

The figures are derived from results from 196 out of the 368 districts, embassies or consulates where votes for Sunday’s elections were cast.

Kabore is seeking an overall majority from voting day to avoid a runoff in which he would stand against a single candidate backed by a united opposition.

He has been under fire for his response to a five-year-old jihadist campaign that has rolled in from Mali, claiming at least 1,200 lives and forcing around a million people to flee their homes.

The elections on Sunday were for Burkina’s legislature as well as its presidency, where executive power in the is concentrated.

Opposition parties insist the vote was marked by fraud and flawed procedures.

Burkina Faso: 14 soldiers killed in ambush

Brussels, 13.11.2020 At least 14 soldiers perished and eight others were wounded in an ambush against a military convoy in Burkina Faso, the government said late Thursday.
The incident occurred on Wednesday along the Tinakof-Beldiabe road in Burkina Faso’s northern province of Oudalan.
“A unit of the Tin-Akoff military detachment in the province of Oudalan, Sahel region fell into an ambush on Wednesday perpetrated by a group of terrorists, killing 14 and eight wounded, three of whom were serious,” Communication Minister Remis Dandjinou said.

The Minister said defense and security forces engaged in search operations to track down the perpetrators of the attack.

“I am suspending my campaign for 48 hours in order to sympathise with the entire Nation and particularly the #FDS (The Burkina Faso Armed Forces ) at the disappearance of our brave Soldiers. May they rest in peace!” wrote Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, the former Prime-Minister and the candidate for the presidency.

Last month, unknown assailants attacked a village in northern Burkina Faso, killing at least 24 people, leaving another 18 injured in the attack, the number of kidnapped remained unknown.

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.

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