Tag Archives: counter-terrorism

Michel addresses Nouakchott Summit

“I am not physically present at this time in Nouakchott but know that I am with all my heart with you“, said the President of the EU Council Charles Michel, addressing the Summit in Mauritania capital, Nouakchott via teleconference. In his speech “Alongside the G5 Sahel, the European Union keeps its commitments” he reiterated the message of support and determination of the EU to continue the strategy of joined international efforts to defend Sahel from criminal networks, and terrorism.

I naturally want to start by thanking you, in a friendly and warm way, dear President in office of the G5 Sahel, Mohamed Cheikh El Ghazouani. I would also like to thank the President of France, dear Emmanuel Macron, for joining me again in these essential exchanges. I also want to salute the participation of the different countries that join us. I see this as a sign of a dynamic that is encouraging.

The Pau Summit last January was an opportunity to give new impetus to our relations. It is up to us to transform the test, while the situation on the ground, as we know, remains difficult, remains worrying on different fronts. Violence has claimed some 4,500 lives in the Sahel in the past 6 months. And we know that the pandemic we are facing does not help the situation.

As you know, in January in Pau, we agreed to organize a G5 Sahel-EU summit. It took place virtually on April 28. It was an extension of our meeting in Pau. This April 28 Virtual Summit was a boost for our partnership. It was an opportunity to reaffirm our mutual responsibilities. It was an opportunity to re-mobilize all the European institutions and the Member States of the European Union. In a way, he “Europeanized” the Coalition for the Sahel. An additional step was taken with the Ministerial Conference on June 12 which “internationalized” this Coalition, which is naturally essential. I of course welcome the commitment of the United Nations, the African Union, ECOWAS, and the International Organization of La Francophonie.

Since the Pau Summit, we have made precise and very concrete progress. They are all testimony to this commitment that we want to strengthen alongside you:

– First, more and more European Member States are either already contributing or are going to contribute to Takuba, by deploying special forces or equipment, or by politically supporting this task force;

– Then, we have just adopted a new program to support Niger’s efforts in the fight against criminal networks linked to terrorism. You know that we were inspired for this by the excellent work of the Joint Investigation Teams which are already mobilized in the fight against the smuggling of migrants;

– The EU training mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) has seen its mandate extended and its budget reinforced. As I speak, 95% of the workforce requested has already been made available by the 22 out of 27 Member States participating. As soon as conditions allow, we will deploy the entire workforce;

– Finally, we reconstructed the Joint Force Command Post which has just been inaugurated in Bamako, two years after the attack which had destroyed the headquarters of Sévaré;

– In addition, nearly 200 million euros in additional funding has been announced to strengthen security, stability and resilience in the region. And concrete projects are ready to be launched;

– The same dynamic is at work concerning support for the deployment of the State and basic services. This is the keystone, as we well know, for our stabilization efforts, with the P3S initiative [1]. The European Union will also coordinate it;

– You also know that we are working to update our strategy for the Sahel, in dialogue and of course taking into account your priorities;

– Finally, a word, Mr President, you mentioned it and we have discussed it together in recent months, concerning debts. You know that this is an issue that is close to my heart and for which I wish to take action. Because I consider this question legitimate, certainly at a time when your economies, your societies, are under pressure, a fortiori in connection with this crisis of COVID-19 which strikes us and strikes you.

I can hear your appeal on the subject of debt cancellation. You know that I am committed to being sincerely involved on this subject, and I do intend to open the debate. It is done, in the European space this debate has now started. Within the European Union, the ministers for international cooperation have taken up the subject – an important subject also for Heads of State and Government. I also intend to conduct this debate within the framework of our international contacts. I thus had the opportunity, in the last virtual summits in which we participated, with Japan, with China also a few days ago, to systematically put this point of debts on the agenda. Because we understand that this is an issue that must mobilize the entire international community.

I also know that we can also count on Italy, which will assume the presidency of the G20 next year, and which, I am sure, will have a positive outlook, in particular on the debt moratorium. It is a work of conviction to carry out. And it is my intention, modestly but tenaciously, to take my part on behalf of the European Union. Finally, dear friends, you know that my ambition, my hope, is to be able to organize a meeting between the countries of the European Union and the G5 Sahel in order to continue to address all the subjects. As you can see, European commitment is not an artificial incantation: it is a reality with commitments and concrete effects. We can and must build together an area of security and economic prosperity. We must build an area where good governance reigns, and where the rule of law and fundamental rights also prevail. And I would like to say that the rule of law is not a footnote. The strength and honor of a state governed by the rule of law is not to fall into the trap of violence from its enemies. It’s not to look like the ones we fight. It is to make justice prevail – the same for all, the same for everyone. A word to conclude. We agreed at our previous summit to meet again with the leaders of the G5 Sahel. I am sure that with President Ghazouani, we will have the opportunity to work actively with you, with all of our peers, to try to continue to progress together. You can count on the commitment of the European Union. We stand by your side. I send you from Brussels my sincere and friendly greetings to those who are physically present in Nouakchott”

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.

G5 Sahel request of debt cancellation

The President of the European Council, HE Charles Michel and the President in office of the G5 Sahel, HE Mohamed Cheikh El Ghazouani, co-chaired today, April 28, 2020, a videoconference with all the Heads of State of the G5 Sahel , the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and the EU High Representative Josep Borrell, in the presence of the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations and the President of the African Union Commission.

“During this videoconference, the leaders adopted a Joint Declaration by the members of the European Council with the member states of the G5 Sahel. The leaders agreed to continue joint efforts to expand the Coalition for the Sahel to other international partners.

“In view of the gravity of the situation in the G5 Sahel countries as well as their vulnerability to the spread of COVID-19, the co-Chairs stressed the urgency of effective solidarity from the international community in order to provide effective and sustainable response to the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, in Africa and in the Sahel in particular, in particular to limit the health and economic impact of this crisis.

“In this regard, the Co-Presidents wished to recall the Joint Declaration by the members of the European Council of 26 March 2020 and stressed the commitment of the European Union to international cooperation and to multilateral solutions to fight the pandemic and its consequences. The President of the European Council recalled that the European Union will do everything to help countries and communities to cope with the COVID-19 crisis, in particular to mitigate the negative socio-economic consequences of the crisis as well as to strengthen sustainability integrated global value and supply chains to adapt them as needed and to mitigate the negative socio-economic impacts of the crisis.

“The co-Chairs welcomed the appeal launched by several African and European leaders on April 15, 2020 – “Only a victory in Africa can end the pandemic everywhere“.

The co-Chairs welcomed the Declaration of the Extraordinary G5 Sahel Summit held on April 27, 2020, dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic in the G5 Sahel area. They took note of the request by the G5 Sahel from the international community to take into account the requests of the G5 Sahel to face the COVID-19 crisis. They undertook to inform the members of the European Council, as well as international partners, with a view to examining the requests of African countries for the outright cancellation of the African debt, in response to the consequences of this meaningless pandemic. previous.

“The co-Chairs call on the international community to continue efforts to support the G5 Sahel countries in their efforts to combat the consequences of COVID-19.

“The Chairman-in-Office of the G5 Sahel wanted to express his appreciation for the European Union’s response to the international dimension of this unprecedented global crisis. He praised the memory of the thousands of victims of COVID-19 in recent weeks.

“The co-Chairs have agreed that a follow-up meeting, in the form of a videoconference, will be organized within three months“.

“As has been clarified by the Chadian authorities, President Idriss Déby’s announcement does not call into question the commitment of their troops to regional military systems, in particular the G5 Sahel Joint Force.
We also welcome the Chadian contribution, alongside the other contingents, in the fight against terrorism in the region
The G5 Sahel, is and remains well, central in the fight against terrorism and in favor of security in the Sahel. It is the European Union’s reference partner in the region, and that’s the meaning of today’s high-level meeting”
said EU spokesperson in a comment after the video conference.

The comment followed the announcement of Chad President Idriss Deby to restrain from participation in combat operations of G5 Sahel outside the territory of the country.

On few occasions President Deby expressed his disappointment with feeble participation of international partners in counter-terrorist military operations.

At the eve of the meeting President Idriss Déby called on his G5 Sahel peers to “make a choice”, saying that “the same meetings, the same meetings, the same debates, the same discussions, the same broken promises” had already taken place in the past.

Burkina-Faso mourns victims of jihad

Thirty-five civilians, including 31 women, were killed on Tuesday in a jihadist attack in Arbinda, in the north of Burkina Faso, one of the deadliest tolls in the history of this Sahel country, which declared 48 hours of national mourning. Four soldiers and three gendarmes also perished, and “80 terrorists” and seven members of security forces were killed, according to the president and the staff of the Burkinabè armies, who had announced the attack earlier in a statement.

It is the Burkinabè president Roch Kaboré in person, who has often been criticized for his lack of grip in the face of terrorist groups, who announced on Twitter the macabre record of this “barbaric attack”.
    
He praised the “commitment and bravery” of the Defense and Security Forces, which “repelled the attack on the Arbinda detachment”.

On December 25 morning hours, “a significant number of terrorists attacked simultaneously the military detachment and the civilian populations of Arbinda”, in the province of Soum, according to the general staff of the armies. The attack, of “rare intensity”, lasted “several hours”.

President Roch Marc Kabore declared two days of national mourning in the west African country in response to the attack.

After several hours, troops repelled jihadists and seized a large number of weapons and motorbikes, the army said in a statement.

“As they fled, in a cowardly way the terrorists killed 35 civilians of whom 31 were women,” the government said in separate statement. It said 80 militants and seven members of the security forces were killed in the earlier fighting.

The incident followed an attack on a mining convoy in November killed nearly 40 people – victims of an Islamist insurgency that has ignited ethnic tensions and rendered large parts of the country ungovernable this year.

13 French military perish in Mali

During counter-terrorist operation in Mali thirteen French soldiers have been killed in a helicopter collision, the French president’s office announced.

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed “deep sadness” over the biggest single loss of life for the French military since the 1980s.

An investigation has begun into how the two helicopters crashed into each other.
It happened around 19:40 local time (19:40 GMT) on November 25 near the borders of Burkina Faso and Niger where the aircraft were reinforcing ground troops who were pursuing djihadists, the French military explained.

Thousands of French troops have been deployed in Mali in anti-terrorist operaiton Barkhane in Mali.

Zintan military moving to Tripoli

The launch of the second phase of the battle for Tripoli, has been reported by the local portal Al-Wasat.

The spokesman for the General Command, Major General Ahmad Al-Mismari, announced that “the commander of the western military zone, Major General Idris Madi, is heading a large force from the city of Zintan under the Tripoli liberation operations room and has received his combat mission.”

At the moment the Libyan National Army has begun to form additional combat units. This happened after fixing on the western theater of operations, according to the representative of the armed association Ahmed al-Mismari,

He also added that that  the LNA Air Force did not perform any flights on April 22. According to al-Mismari, the forces of the Libyan army were seen above the LNA airbase.

Earlier it became known that the capital of Libya was subjected to rocket fire. According to a number of media outlets, the strikes were inflicted by the forces under the leadership of Khalifa Haftar, however, LNA representatives denied this information.

 

 

Haftar troops control Tripoli Airport

Libyan Marshal Khalifa Haftar troops took control over Tripoli Airport, Al-Arabiya TV channel reports, quoting a relevant press-release, issued by the Commander. (Image above: illustration).

The march on the capital has been announced as an counter-terrorist operation, which will be ongoing until the terrorists are “eliminated”, the Commander explained to the UN Secretary General  Antonio Guterres. Marshal Haftar march on Libyan capital is endorsed by Tobruk Parliament, the document is available in Arabic language.

Haftar march on Tripoli continues

I leave Libya with a heavy heart and deeply concerned. I still hope it is possible to avoid a bloody confrontation in and around Tripoli. The UN is committed to facilitating a political solution and, whatever happens, the UN is committed to supporting the Libyan people” wrote the Antonio Guterres in his Twitter micro blog. The message came after his visit to Libya for meeting with eastern commander Khalifa Haftar who has declared his troops are marching on the capital Tripoli in an counter-terrorist operation, supported by Tobruk Parliament. Marshal Khalifa Haftar told UN Secretary General that counter-terrorist operation will continue until complete ‘elimination of terrorism‘, Al-Arabiya TV reported.

At present there are conflicting reports about an ongoing offensive in Tripoli area.

The same pan-Arab channel reported Marshal Haftar troops “took control ” of Suq al-Khamis  village some 40 km south of Tripoli, further they moved took over Ben-Hashir, a town 34 km from Tripoli, and now there are heading the airport.

 

Image above: illustration.

Niger strikes Boko Haram along Komadugu river

Niger governmental troops  have eliminated more than 280 Boko Haram militants in combat and in air strikes since an operation against the radical Islam group last week, the defence ministry said.

Boko Haram has intruded Niger, Chad and Cameroon from its base in northeast Nigeria, where it has been fighting for more than nine years to establish a religious Islamic state – Caliphate.

The defence ministry informed that the army mounted an intense operation against the militants in the end of 2018 along the Komadugu river, which separates Niger from Nigeria.

More than 200 militants were “neutralized” by air strikes and 87 were killed by Nigerien troops in combat it said.

Italy dismantels jihadist network

Italian police arrested five Maghrebins as part of  a major operation against suspected supporters of Islamist terrorism in central and southern Italy. Previously a teacher, indoctrinating children with martyrdom ideology was also arrested in counter-terrorism operation.

“A vast anti-terrorism operation” was being carried out by special investigation forces based in Rome and region, namely in the nearby town of Latina, police said in a statement.

 The five Tunisians detained are suspected of being part of a broader network connected to Anis Amri, the other migrant from Tunis who killed 12 people when he drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin (2016).

Amri was shot dead by Italian police near Milan four days after the Berlin attack.

 

« Older Entries