Tag Archives: featured

EU: Haavisto second mission to Ethiopia

Pekka Haavisto, Foreign Minister of Finland, mandated by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell, is undertaking a second mission to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Foreign Minister will discuss the situation in Ethiopia, notably the crisis in Tigray and its regional implications. Haavisto second mission to Ethiopia

During his visit, Haavisto will meet with Ethiopian authorities, and convey The EU’s continued concern regarding the humanitarian situation in Tigray, calling all parties to end hostilities and for the respect of International Humanitarian Law and International Refugee Law, as well as to allow independent investigations on alleged human rights abuse. He will also recall that Eritrean forces shall withdraw from Tigray. Finally, he will consult with the African Union to exchange views on the situation in Ethiopia as well as on regional issues.

On his way to Ethiopia, Haavisto is travelling to Saudi Arabia and to the United Arab Emirates for discussions on regional issues as well as the situation in Tigray.

He will report about his visit to European Ministers of Foreign Affairs during the next Foreign Affairs Council in April.

Mozambique: IS attack in Palma

In Mozambique on Monday March 29 the Islamic State fighters, according to their own claims, had carried out an attack on the northern town of Palma, where dozens were killed, thousands displaced and some people remain missing. The total number of dead or missing following the attack is unknown. While tens of thousands of people may have fled, according to three aid workers. (Image above: illustration).

Islamist insurgents targeted Palma, situated next to gas projects worth $60 billion, with a three-pronged attack during last week. Fighting continued on Monday, March 29, according to a security source directly involved in efforts to secure the town.

The Mozambique government confirmed on Sunday, March 28, that dozens of people were killed, including seven when their convoy of cars was ambushed during an escape attempt.

Islamic State claimed the attack via its Amaq news agency, saying its fighters had taken control of the town after days of clashes with security forces.

They had killed at least 55 people, including a number of soldiers, destroyed and taken control of buildings including factories and banks, and seized vehicles, the news wire informs.

Most communications to Palma have been cut off since last week.

The country’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado, where Palma is located on the border with Tanzania, has been plagued since 2017 by Islamist insurgency now linked to Islamic State.

“The jihadist attack on Palma, #Mozambique, is an attack on French interests and against the region’s economic development. It is also an attack of incredible barbarism. My condolences to the families of the victims” Member of French National Assembly Marine Le Pen wrote on her Twitter micro blog.

Somalia: EU calls for compromise

Brussels 23.03.2021 “Somalia’s leaders need to find a compromise leading to an immediate electoral process and a peaceful transfer of power, through the implementation of the September 17 agreement. The current lack of agreement seriously delays the pace of urgently needed reforms, for the detriment of Somalia’s citizens”, reads the statement of the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell on the current political situation. (Image: illustration)

“When individual priorities prevail over the general interest of the country, political leaders discredit themselves to represent their citizens. Those who undermine the dialogue or resort to the use of violence will be exposed to measures and will face the consequences of their actions”.

“Somalia’s federal and Member State leaders must honour their responsibilities to the people of Somalia and hold Parliamentary and Presidential elections immediately. No alternative, unilateral or partial process will receive our support”.

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.

EU condemns Niger attacks

Brussels 17.03.2021 “The EU condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack on March 15 that killed more than 58 civilians in Banibangou in #Niger. In this historic electoral period, the EU calls for social cohesion and reaffirms its commitment to Nigeriens. #AUEU” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

At least 58 people have been killed in Niger after attacks near the border with Mali, according to the government announcement.
Unidentified gunmen opened fire on four vehicles that were bringing people back from a market in the Tillabéri region. No group has claimed the attacks, which happened on Monday, March 15.
However, at present there are two jihadist campaigns in Niger – one in the west near Mali and Burkina Faso, and another in the south-east on the border with Nigeria.

In a statement read out on public television, the Niger government said that “groups of armed, still unidentified individuals intercepted four vehicles carrying passengers back from the weekly market of Banibangou to the villages of Chinedogar and Darey-Daye”.

“The toll from these barbarous acts [is] 58 dead, one injured, a number of grain silos and two vehicles burned, and two more vehicles seized” the statement concluded.

Green deal at heart of EU-Africa

Brussels 16.03.2021 “Africa is geopolitical priority for the EU. The EU-Africa Strategy is green and digital in the core of renewed partnership and sustainable recovery from COVID19. Priority on global solidarity and vaccines. With the Gulf States, we can promote a joined up approach and partnership” the EU Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen wrote.

In her Tweet the Commissioner referred tot he document issued in May 2020,stating that the EU is aimed to “unlock the potential of the Green Deal” and “harness the digital transformation to benefit our twin continents. We want to boost sustainable investments and jobs as well as private sector development. Together with our partners, we intend to continue working for peace and good governance, by defending our values and the multilateral order”.

The EU’s €1 trillion Green Deal project is placed at the heart of Ursula von der Leyen’s European Commission Presidency, and the bloc wishes to export its climate change policy, and make it central to its relationship with Africa.

SA: King Zwelithini special burial

King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulu nation in South Africa has died on March 12 in hospital where he was being treated for diabetes-related issues. The king, 72, was the leader of South Africa’s largest ethnic group and an influential traditional ruler.
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi made the tragic announcement that the king took his last breath at the hospital on Friday morning. He later told SABC’s Ukhozi FM that the monarch, who was being treated for diabetes in the ICU, succumbed to Covid-related illnesses.
The monarch had been admitted to hospital in KwaZulu-Natal last week to monitor his ongoing diabetes condition.

The king’s prime minister thanked South Africa for its “continued prayers and support in this most difficult time”.

Scores of amabutho, or Zulu warriors, traditional leaders, hospital staff and members of the public sang, danced and ululated as the body of the late Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini left the Inkosi Albert Luthuli hospital on its way to Nongoma on Saturday morning, March 13.
King Zwelithini was a direct descendent of King Cetshwayo, who led the Zulu nation during the war with the British in 1879.

Throughout his 50 year-reign he was a strong advocate for preserving cultural identity.

The Royal Family has appealed to mourners not to travel to KwaNongoma to pay their last respects.
President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a special official funeral for the King and will be broadcast live to allow the nation to honour Him from homes.

Tanzania: President whereabouts unknown

Questions persist over the health of Tanzanian President John Magufuli who has not been seen in public for 11 days. Opposition leader Tundu Lissu has told the BBC that according to his sources the President is being transported to Kenya for treatment in hospital against COVID-19. The BBC has not been able to verify this report independently.

Mr Magufuli has faced criticism for his coping with COVID-19 sanitary crisis, with his government refusing to buy vaccines. The East African nation has not published its coronavirus cases since May.

Its 61-year-old president has called for prayers and herbal-infused steam therapy to counter the virus.

Earlier this month, at a funeral for a top presidential aide, President Magufuli said Tanzania had defeated COVID-19 last year and would win again this year.

Mr Lissu says he was told that President Magufuli had been flown to Kenya for treatment at Nairobi Hospital on Monday night.

According to the opposition leader, the president has suffered a cardiac arrest and is in a critical condition.

There has been no official response from the government, which has warned against publishing unverified information about the Tanzanian leader, who was last seen at an official event in Dar es Salaam on 27 February.

Chad: killings in N’Djamena

At least two people were killed after security forces went to arrest Chad’s opposition candidate Yaya Dillo at his home on Sunday morning, February 28, Dillo and the government said.

Dillo, who plans to run against President Idriss Deby in a presidential election in April, told he was attacked at home by members of the presidential guard and that five family members were killed, including his mother.

The government said in a statement that security forces went to Dillo’s home to arrest him after he refused to respond to two judicial mandates and were met with armed resistance. It did not say what the mandates were concerning.

Two people were killed and five wounded in the ensuing fight, including three policemen, it said.

Internet has been cut off in N’Djamena since early Sunday morning, a witness said.

Dillo said his house has been surrounded by government forces since the incident.

Dillo is a formal rebel leader who fought against Deby in 2006 before joining his government and becoming a minister. More recently, he served as Chad’s representative to the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC).

He is one of 16 people who have announced they will run against Deby in April’s election.

Deby, who has been in power since 1990, pushed through a new constitution in 2018 that reinstated term limits but could let him stay in power until 2033.

Hundreds took to the streets earlier this month to protest his candidacy in the upcoming election.

Deby has faced strikes and protests in recent years over economic woes caused by low oil prices and armed rebellions in the north, but has drawn on his effective control of state media and institutions to maintain political dominance.

Chad is a key ally of Western nations in the fight against Islamist militants in West and Central Africa.

Niger elections protests

The Republic of the Niger national electoral commission on Tuesday, February 23, declared ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum the winner of the February 21 runoff election with 55.75% of the vote, but his rival, Mahamane Ousmane, a former president, has alleged fraud and claimed he won with 50.3%. The incumbent President Mahamadou Issoufou is stepping down after two five-year terms.

The supporters of the losing candidate refused to accept the failure, and turned to violence, setting several buildings ablaze, burning tyres and threw rocks at the police on , as the authorities announced that two people had been killed in post-election protests this week.

Since then, two people have been killed and 468 detained during protests by Ousmane’s supporters in the capital Niamey, Interior Minister Alkache Alhada said.

“They want to wreak havoc,” Alhada said at a news conference, blaming opposition leader Hama Amadou for the violence.

There was no immediate response from Amadou, who finished runner-up in the 2016 election. He was barred from running this time because of a criminal conviction and threw his support behind Ousmane.

The election is meant to lead to the first transition from one democratically elected leader to another following four coups since independence from France in 1960.

On Thursday, February 25, small groups of Ousmane supporters took to the streets again to lob rocks at police and national guard troops, who responded by firing tear gas. Internet access has also been severely limited since Wednesday, February 24.

« Older Entries