Tag Archives: amnesty

Mozambique: EU offers security support

The European Union will offer Mozambique support in addressing a wave of militant attacks in the country’s north by rebels with links to international terrorist groups, the EU’s ambassador to the southern African nation informed via his Twitter micro blog on October 9. Militant attacks in Cabo Delgado grew by 300% in the first four months of 2020, compared to the same period last year, according to Amnesty International.

The rebel attacks in Cabo Delgado province date back to 2017 but the violence has gathered pace this year with insurgents seizing important towns for brief periods and hitting military and other strategic targets.

Mozambique had asked the EU for help in training its armed forces to battle the insurgency, which has raised fears for stability and security in southern Africa.

“The government of Mozambique has asked for help and we will give, but it is more aid in terms of training, logistics and medical services for the forces that are fighting terrorism in northern Mozambique,” the EU’s ambassador to Maputo, Antonio Sánchez Gaspar, said.

“So far all of our efforts have been on the humanitarian emergency and development side. We will continue to make efforts on the security side, which is just beginning,” he said.

Rights group Amnesty International last month accused Mozambican soldiers of committing atrocities in the northern conflict zone, but the defence ministry dismissed the reports, saying militants regularly impersonated soldiers.

A growing Islamist insurgency in northern Mozambique entered its fourth year this week, with experts saying there is no end in sight for a conflict that has killed and displaced thousands of people.

Since the first attack in 2017 by al-Shabaab in the province of Cabo Delgado, militants have taken control of territory in the northern province, including a strategic port, and burned down dozens of villages. Al-Shabaab is considered the Mozambique affiliate of Islamic State.

The United Nations says the violence has forced over 300,000 people to flee their homes, seeking refuge in safer parts of Cabo Delgado and neighboring provinces. More than 2,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the conflict.

The Republic of Mozambique has a very young and rural-based population. Since the end of the 15 year long civil war, Mozambique has had a high economic growth rate linked to economic reform and the revival of the agriculture, transportation, and tourism sectors. The country is highly exposed to climate hazards, such as droughts, floods, and coastal storms, and will need to adapt to climate change.

Mozambique’s development is expected to improve thanks to the country’s important reserves of coal and natural gas provided that security and stability are achieved in these regions

Borrell reacts on Mali killings

“Several killings took place in central Mali between June 3 and 5. More than 40 people were killed, including women and children. Serious suspicion hangs over the possible involvement of the Mali Armed Forces” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said in a statement, reacting upon allegations, including charges that Malian soldiers killed 43 people during attacks on two villages last week.

“The European Union wishes to express its indignation and deep concern at what constitute clear human rights violations. The European Union encourages the Government of Mali to complete the investigations which have been opened, to create the conditions necessary for the exact circumstances of these attacks to be established, for justice to be done and to fight against the impunity of those who would be guilty of such acts, whatever they are”.

“The European Union is fully mobilized alongside the states of the region for stability, development and security in the Sahel. Our commitment is conditioned and based on respect for human rights and international humanitarian law which are essential principles of our action. Nothing can justify abuses that will only strengthen the very people we fight”.

Security forces in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso have been accused of unlawfully killing or causing the disappearance of around 200 people. Amnesty said this could constitute war crimes.

The deliberate killings of unarmed civilians by security forces in Mali and Burkina Faso may constitute war crimes under international law and should be thoroughly investigated,” said Amnesty.
There have been multiple accusations of human rights abuses against the forces, which they have either denied, or promised to investigate in the future. The issue was also debated by the UN Security Council on June 5.

Image: illustration

COVID19: Nigeria prisons relief

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the chief judge to free prisoners who have been awaiting trial for six years or more for relief of the overcrowded cells as the coronavirus pandemic spreads, a spokesman said on April 21.

A statement quoted Buhari as saying 42% of 74,000 prisoners were awaiting trial. The President urged Chief Judge Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad to reduce that number “since physical distancing and self-isolation in such conditions are practically impossible”.

Buhari said inmates with no confirmed criminal cases against them, elderly prisoners and those who were terminally ill could be discharged.

Most of these custodial centres are presently housing inmates beyond their capacities and the overcrowded facilities pose a potent threat to the health of the inmates and the public in general in view of the present circumstances, hence the need for urgent steps to bring the situation under control,” Buhari said.

Two weeks ago, the President pardoned 2,600 prisoners who were either 60 or older, terminally ill, or had less than six months left to serve of sentences of three years or more.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, with some 200 million people. On April 20 it said it had registered 665 cases of the coronavirus and 22 related deaths.

Its measures to stop the spread of the virus include closing its borders and locking down the capital Abuja, the commercial hub, Lagos, and the adjacent state, Ogu