Tag Archives: France

CAR: France suspends Military cooperation

Paris suspended its military cooperation and budgetary aid to the Central African government, terming the Central African Republic (CAR) “complicit” in an anti-French campaign. (Image: illustration)

The French military ministry said that it considered the Central African state as “complicit” in a Russian-led anti-French campaign.

“On several occasions, the Central African authorities have made commitments that they have not kept, both politically towards the opposition and in terms of their behaviour
towards France, which is the target of a massive disinformation campaign in CAR,” Paris said.

“The Russians are not to blame, but the Central Africans are at best accomplices in this campaign,” it added.

In April, five French military aid workers who were posted to the Central African Defence Ministry were recalled to Paris. The military training provided to the Central African Armed Forces (Faca) by troops stationed in Gabon has also been suspended, the ministry stated, confirming information from the French news website Mediapart.

France, a former colonial power, continues to contribute around 100 soldiers to the European mission EUTM-RCA, which mobilizes nearly 200 soldiers to train the FACA.

Ten of the soldiers do participate in the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca), which has 12,000 blue helmets in the region.

When prompted by AFP on the budgetary restrictions imposed, the French Foreign Ministry however did not reveal any figure.

France, which intervened from 2013 to 2016 through Operation Sangaris to stop the violence, handed over some 1,400 assault rifles to the Faca in December 2018 after obtaining an exemption to the UN embargo.

A few months earlier, Russia had made a remarkable entry into this former French “prĂ© carrĂ©” by delivering arms to the Faca at the beginning of 2018 and by installing a contingent of military instructors.

Last December, reportedly Russia urgently dispatched hundreds of paramilitaries to the aid of President Faustin Archange TouadĂ©ra’s army, threatened by a rebellion.

Numerous witnesses and NGOs claim that these paramilitaries are fighters from the Russian private security group Wagner, which Moscow continues to deny.

SAHEL: President Deby son takes lead

Brussels 20.04.2021 The Chadian army have confirmed that General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, a four-star general who is the son of slain president Idriss Deby Itno, will replace him at the head of a military council.

Mahamat Mahadi Ali, head of the Change and Concord in Chad group, said Deby went to visit the combat zone on Sunday,April 18, near to Nokou, close to Niger border, about 280 kilometres north of the capital N’Djamena, in the Kanem region, in western Chad.

As part of measures following Deby’s death the country’s constitution has been suspended and Chad will be ruled by a military council led by Deby’s son Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, for 18 months.

Deby’s son had served as an officer in the Chadian army and was until Tuesday, April 20, morning the head of the presidential guard.

Deby was seen as a strong ally of France and had earlier this year announced a deployment of Chadian troops to bolster the G5 Sahel force operating in Mali.

N’Djamena is also home to a French military base, which supports France’s Operation Barkhane, focused on fighting Islamist insurgents in Mali.

France: knife attack in Pau

A Sudanese asylum seeker who fatally stabbed an employee at a migrant reception centre in city of Pau in southern France on Friday, February 19, had no terrorist intentions, the Pau prosecutor said on Saturday February 20.

Prosecutor Cecile Gensac said that the assailant was not on a national list of terrorism suspects. Following Friday’s attack he was detained by staff at the asylum centre.

“Two employees of the centre intervened, with a lot of courage. They held him by the arms and locked him in an office. He put up no resistance,” Cecile Gensac a news conference.

The Prosecutor said the 38-year-old assailant had arrived in France in 2015 and had spent some time at the immigration centre.

Following two convictions and jail time for acts of violence in 2017-2019, he had lost the right to apply for asylum and was set to be deported to his home country, but he had not responded to a request to report to immigration authorities, she said.

She added that he had come to the centre several times in recent days to try and get documents that might extend his stay in France and that he held a grudge against staff at the centre.

The victim was the head of the asylum service at the centre, who died there an hour after being stabbed repeatedly in the throat, the prosecutor said.

The attack led to new calls from the far-right for a tougher stance on immigration.

“After all we have suffered, why was a Sudanese migrant still on our territory after he had been condemned and imprisoned for what seemed to be armed violence,” far-right Rassemblement National vice president Johan Bardella wrote on his Twitter feed.

“The question is not why this Sudanese was not deported. It is knowing what this guy was doing with us.
But for Darmanin it still has nothing to do with migration. He is right.This is no longer immigration.
This is an #invasion. ENOUGH!” French polemist Jean Messiha wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

SAHEL: Chad to deploy thousand troops

Chad will deploy some 1,000 troops in Sahel to the tri-border region of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali to reinforce national armies that, backed by French and European allies, are battling Islamist groups, according to French and Chadian sources. (Image: illustration).

The deployment will be announced during a summit on February 15-16 in the Chadian capital N’Djamena held to tackle the situation in the Sahel, a French presidency official and a senior Chadian security official said.

The move is announced while France, which sent troops to the region in 2013 to repel jihadists who had occupied northern Mali, considers adjusting its military presence. This could entail France pulling some of the 5,100 soldiers that are involved in counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel.

Although France has claimed military successes against Islamist insurgents over the past year, it is searching for an exit strategy. The grinding operation has cost billions of euros and left 55 French soldiers dead, yet violence is persisting with signs it is spreading to coastal West Africa.

The French official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said President Emmanuel Macron could decide to hold off for a few weeks before adjusting his forces as he continues to consult with Sahel and European partners on the way forward.

“We now have very encouraging signals of an imminent deployment of the Chadian battalion,” the official told reporters in a briefing ahead of the summit. Financing from partner countries and equipment from France had been secured.

Chadian troops were last year mostly engaged in fighting insurgents from Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa in the Lake Chad region.

Chad’s armed forces are among the most respected and battle hardened in West Africa, a reputation forged during decades of regional wars and rebellions, and honed in the 2013 campaign in the deserts of northern Mali.

Their deployment to the tri-border theatre would enable French and other forces to re-orient their military mission to central Mali and to target Islamist leaders linked to al Qaeda.

The Chadian security source said the troops were already en route to the tri-border region, known as Liptako-Gourma, a region slightly larger than Germany, where the allies are trying to wrest back control of terrain from the insurgents.

Niger’s ruling party presidential candidate Mohamed Bazoum told a campaign rally in the Tillabery region, situated in Liptako-Gourma, that Chadian troops will be based there.

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 KeĂŻta 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 (OлДг ĐĄĐŸĐ»ĐŸĐČŃŒĐ”ĐČ).

“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.

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