Tag Archives: France

Kabuga transfer to Arusha UN Court

High-level Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga,84, can be handed over to a United Nations tribunal for trial, a top French court ruled on 30 Septembere.

Kabuga is suspected of playing a major role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of Tutsi Rwandans were murdered by a Hutu uprising. Prosecutors accuse Kabuga of chairing a radio station that helped orchestrate the genocide, as well as working to create and fund a genocidal militia in the capital, Kigali. He used to be a wealthy businessman at the time.

The 84-year-old had evaded justice for 25 years but was caught outside Paris in May of this year.

The Court of Cassation in Paris upheld an order from a lower court to send Kabuga to a UN tribunal on charges including genocide, persecution and extermination.

He will now stand trial at the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) based in Arusha, Tanzania. The MICT took charge of prosecuting Rwandan genocide suspects after the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) formally closed in 2015.

His lawyers had argued that he should not be extradited due to his frail health and claimed that the UN tribunal would be biased.

France to pursue Barkhane operation in Sahel

France will pursue its military counter terrorist operations in Mali against Islamist insurgence despite the ousting of the country’s President two days ago by a coup d’état, the French armed force minister Florence Parly announced.

“The Barkhane operation, asked for by the Mali population and authorised by the U.N. Security Council, continues,” Florence Parly wrote on her offical Twitter micro blog.

Barkahne is an ongoing anti-insurgent operation which started six years ago (August 1, 2014), and is led by the French military against Islamist militiants in Sahel region. At present France located around 5 000 miliatry there, under operational command of headquarts in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.

“Barkhane brought a remarkable tactics success, but it has not reached the strategic victory yet” said the French military expert Arnaud Danjean in his recent interview to Le Figaro newspaper.

The operation is lead in cooperation with five countries, and former French colonies, which has entered new partnership with a former metropol: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.These countries are collectively referred to as the “G5 Sahel”. A crescent-shaped dune in the Sahara desert named Barkhane became the name of this military mission.

There are aslo around 100 Estonian troops focus on protection for the Barkhane base, undertaking checkpoints, providing escorts and conducting patrols. The need for strengthinging vigilance was put forward in 2019, when troops thwarted a suicide car bomb and gun attack at the Gao camp. Six Estonian personnel were injured in the incident.

Mali officers propose civil transition

After months of civil unrest, and absence of any meaningful response to the demands of the people, Mali military took the lead announcing their plan to nation on moving towards a civil and political transition.

International agreements will be respected, including the agreement with the Tuareg rebels. The resolutions of the national dialogue will be implemented. Credible and transparent elections will be organized, the group of officers said in a TV statement.

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta announced his resignation on the night of August 18-19, explaining that he had no choice but to submit to the will of his rebelling army to prevent blood from being spilled.

President Keïta, arrested in the company of his Prime Minister Boubou Cissé at the end of the afternoon and taken to the military camp from which a mutiny had started at the start of the day, appeared around midnight on public television ORTM, wearing a mask on the mouth.

Political tension has been accumulating since Keita won re-election in August 2018 in a poll that opposition parties said was marred by irregularities.

The government pushed ahead with a legislative election in March despite the coronavirus outbreak, causing further discontent after the Constitutional Court overturned 31 of the results. That decision handed Keita’s party 10 more parliamentary seats, making it the largest bloc.

Also in March, unidentified gunmen abducted Mali’s main opposition leader, Soumaila Cisse, as he campaigned in the country’s volatile centre. There is no inforamtion about him ever since.

IS captures Mozambique LNG port

Islamist insurgents have captured a strateguc port for LNG in the far northern Mozambique town of Mocimboa da Praia, close to the site of natural gas projects worth some $60 billion, local media reported. (Image above: illustration).

Local news site Zitamar said the port had been seized on Ausust 11 when naval forces ran out of ammunition to keep insurgents at bay after days of fighting in Mocimboa da Praia.

There have been no comments from Mozambique authorities so far.

AMENDED:

At the moment, terrorists have captured most of Mosimboa da Praia, entering the seaport area, which was defended by the Marine Corps of the Armed Forces of Mozambique” according to an article published at site free-news.su, siged by Oleg Soloviev (Oлег Соловьев).

“The besieged government marines were assisted by employees of the South African private military company Dyck Advisory Group (DAG). They, using helicopters, fired at the advancing groups of militants, holding back their advance. However, this assistance was short-lived, since the main DAG base is located 350 km to the south, in the city of Pemba, so the “choppers” could only be in the sky above the target for 15 minutes. In addition, DAG helicopters were used to deliver ammunition to the Marines” Soloviev continues.

“By the evening of August 11, the situation of the defenders of the security forces became more complicated. The Marines ran out of ammunition, so they were forced to retreat. At the same time, the jihadists did not experience a shortage of ammunition, since before that they had captured a large arsenal of army men.

“As a result, according to Mozambique media reports, IS militants completely captured the port of Mosimboa da Praia. In addition, the terrorists damaged one of the French HSI32 interceptor boats, which are in service with the Mozambique Coast Guard”.

Nantes: Rwanda migrant admits arson

The Rwanda irregular migrant has been arrested again, he had previously been questioned and then released after the July 18 blaze that destroyed the precious baroque organ, shattered stained glass windows, and blackened the insides of the Cathedral of St.Peter and St.Paul of the French city of Nantes.

The 39-year-old, a failed asylum-seeker from Rwanda who has lived in France for several years, was detained again on July 25 after laboratory analysis determined that arson was the highly likely cause of the cirminal blaze, the local prosecutor’s office said.

The man had previously been questioned and then released after the July 18 blaze that destroyed the organ, shattered stained glass windows, and blackened the insides of the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul of the western French city of Nantes.

«My client is cooperating,» lawyer Quentin Chabert said at a news conference in Nantes, without speculating what prompted the attempt to burn down the Cathedral,and destroyed precious orgue and other artefacts.

«Obviously it was a relief for him to show, as he would say, his repentance. As a believer, it’s important for him to show this effort,» he said.

BFMTV, citing a source close to the investigation, said that the defendant had been in France since 2012 and was obliged to leave French territory at the end of 2019. His residence permit expired in March of this year and became invalid, and he has exhausted all the legal procedures to stay in France further. Before the fire in the cathedral, the perpetrator had no record of law violations.

The rector of the Nantes cathedral, Hubert Champenois, admitted that he fully trusted the accused, who served in the church for several years.

The version of deliberate arson was a priority from the early stage of the investigation.The fires appeared simultaneously in three places at a considerable distance from each other. Upon closer examination of the consequences of the fire, experts found traces of a flammable liquid.

The accused was the last one to leave the cathedral before the fire and lock its doors. During the first interrogation by the police, he was confused in testimony regarding his future pastime and was the main suspect.

The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul is the cathedral of the Diocese of Nantes, the largest Gothic church in historic Brittany and one of the largest in France, just 6 meters below Notre Dame Cathedral, and surpasses it in the height of the nave under the arches.

The cathedral was built for almost five hundred years – from 1434 to 1891. This is the fourth church in this place. It was preceded by an early Christian Roman chapel at Namnet (3rd century), a 6th-century cathedral, and an 11th-century Romanesque cathedral.

The ‘grand orgue’, the masterpiece of Jacques Giradet, was constructed in 1620, escapting fire in 1972, has been destroyed to ashes this time.

The instrument of the master Jacques Girardet was equipped with 27 stops. Over the centuries, the organ has been in constant evolution while surviving the upheavals of French history. It has undergone five restorations, bringing their number to 74, or 5,500 pipes.

France calls for Mali opposition leader release

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on July 8 called for the release of Malian opposition leader Soumaila Cisse (pictured), who has been held hostage by suspected Islamist militants since March.

“France expresses its outrage over Mr Soumaila Cisse’s situation. He is the opposition leader, he was candidate in the presidential election and he was taken hostage three months ago and we are strongly calling for his release,” Le Drian told the National Assembly when asked about Cisse.

Cisse and several members of his delegation were ambushed by unidentified gunmen in March on the campaign trail in the northern region of Timbuktu. His bodyguard was killed and two others wounded, Cisse’s Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) said at the time.

Militants with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State stage frequent attacks on civilian and military targets in the area, but there was no claim of responsibility and no request for ransom has been received.

France, the former colonial ruler, has troops in Mali to counter the jihadist threat.

Cisse, 70, is Mali’s leading opposition figure and was finance minister from 1993 to 2000. He lost the 2013 and 2018 elections to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Mali’s government has said the military is trying to find the hostages. Mali has been in political turmoil since the disputed election in March.

EU committed to G5 Sahel

The joint invitation of the Mauritanian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, in the presidency-in-office of the G5 Sahel the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell Fontelles, and the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, a ministerial meeting of the Coalition for the Sahel in plenary format was held by videoconference, this Friday, June 12, 2020.

https://twitter.com/eu_eeas/status/1271691438472994823?s=21

This first meeting of the Coalition, in response to the call from the G5 Sahel countries, brought together some sixty representatives of states and international institutions. The first works of the Coalition were thus able to be held in an enlarged format, as the European Union and the heads of state of the G5 Sahel had called for during the video conference on April 28, 2020 which devoted the joint establishment of the Coalition for the Sahel and the Partnership for Security and Stability in the Sahel (P3S).

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Participants expressed their commitment to support the implementation of G5 Sahel action. Their intervention will be carried out according to the four pillars of the Coalition for the Sahel: fight against terrorism, strengthening of the military capacities of the G5 Sahel States, support for the return of the State and the administrations in the territory, development aid.

They took note of the progress made and the initiatives under way. These include the implementation of the Priority Investment Program, the ramp-up of the G5 Sahel Joint Force, the launch of Task Force Takuba, the military contribution of the African Union currently underway. finalization, progress within the framework of the peace process in Mali, strengthening of the mandate and enlargement of the geographical scope of the European training mission EUTM Mali, commitment of the European Union in favor of the redeployment of the ‘State under the P3S, as well as exchanges within the Sahel Alliance in favor of a more integrated territorial approach.

The participants underlined their common determination to support the efforts of the G5 Sahel to face the challenges that remain and to tackle the structural causes of instability: poverty, fragile growth and development, climate shock, while respecting human rights. and international humanitarian law, and the protection of the most disadvantaged.

The general principles of the Coalition were recalled: mobilization and solidarity with the Sahel, mutual accountability, representativeness of each participant, common and balanced integrated approach between the four pillars, subsidiarity and complementarity: no duplication or authority over existing structures .

To this end, the partners agreed to hold a meeting in restricted format in July to prepare for a next ministerial meeting after the summer. According to the progress of the work, the G5 Sahel will host, in agreement with the partners of the Coalition, during 2021, an extraordinary Summit of Heads of State.

Islamist warlord killed in Mali

Al-Qaeda warlord in north Africa, Abdelmalek Droukdel, is pronounced dead by French authorites after an operation in Mali.

Defence Minister Florence Parly said Droukdel along with members of his inner circle were neutralised in the north of the country on June 3.

French forces had also captured a senior Islamic State group commander in Mali in anther operation in May, she said.

The Minister described actions as “daring operations” had dealt “severe blows to the terrorist groups”.

Droukdel was in charge of all the al-Qaeda affiliates in north Africa and also commanded al-Qaeda’s Sahel affiliate, Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), which has been active in the north of Mali and Burkina Faso.

The captured Islamic State group commander, Mohamed Mrabat, was a jihadist was a long recored and had a senior role in the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) group, she said.

ISGS has been active in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

Rwanda genocide fugitive arrested in Paris

Genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga (84), who is accused of funding Rwanda militias that massacred about 800,000 people, was arrested on May 16 near Paris after being 26 years at large, the French justice ministry said.

Rwanda’s most-wanted man ($5 million U.S. reward), was living under a false identity in a flat in Asnieres-Sur-Seine, according to French authorities.

French gendarmes arrested him at 0530 GMT on May 16, the Ministry said.

Kabuga was indicted in 1997 on seven criminal counts including genocide, complicity in genocide and incitement to commit genocide, all in relation to the 1994 Rwanda tragic events, according to the UN-established International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT).

Rwanda’s two main ethnic groups are the Hutus and Tutsis entered a civil war in the early 1990s.

A Hutu businessman, Kabuga is accused of funding the militias that massacred some 800,000 Tutsis and their moderate Hutu allies during 100 days in 1994.

Since 1994, Felicien Kabuga, known to have been the financier of Rwanda genocide, had with impunity stayed in Germany, Belgium, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, or Switzerland,” the French ministry statement said.

Kabuga’s arrest opens the juridical procedure at Paris Appeal Court and later expected to be transferred to the custody of the international criminal court in the Hague, Netherlands and Arusha, Tanzania.

In due procedures the fugitive would then be brought before UN judges, an IRMCT spokesman said.

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.

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