Tag Archives: Sahel

Côte d’Ivoire joined counterterrorist operation

Soldiers from Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso conducted their first joint operation against jihadists insurgency near their shared border, neutralising eight suspected militants and arresting 14 others, Ivorian army said on May 24.

Burkina Faso and its neighbours Mali and Niger in West Africa’s vast Sahel zone are conducting operaions against Islamist insurgencies with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State, claiming to re-consturct the historic Caliphe of Sokoto.

Those terrorist groups have been strengthening and expanding their range of operations, leaving coastal countries like Cote d’Ivoire at risk of violence and unrest breaking into their territories.

The joint operation was launched on May 11 with about 1,000 Ivorian soldiers participating from their side of the 580-kilometre border with Burkina Faso, Ivorian army announced in a statement.

The suspected militants were killed in Burkina Faso, the army confirmed, adding that the operation is ongoing.

Jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have escalated dramatically over the past year despite significant military support from France, which is engaged in partnerships with former colonies.

While Cote d’Ivoire has mostly been spared the violence affecting its neighbours, it was the victim in 2016 of an attack claimed by al Qaeda in which gunmen killed 19 people at a beach resort.
Image: illustration

EU welcomes Chad death penalty abolilition

On May 20, Chad adopted a new anti-terrorism law that no longer includes the death penalty for terrorism-related crimes, with life imprisonment as the maximum sentence. With this law, Chad has become the 22nd African state to abolish the death penalty for all crimes in law.

It is a strong signal to other countries in the world and contributes to the gradual abolition of the death penalty in Africa. 80% of the member states of the African Union are already abolitionist by law or apply a moratorium” reads the statement of the spokesperson of the European External Action Service.

“The European Union strongly opposes the death penalty in all circumstances.

“The Chad decision is also a step towards harmonizing the G5 Sahel’s legal framework in the fight against terrorism. In their Joint Declaration of 28 April 2020, the members of the European Council and the member states of the G5 Sahel stressed the importance of ensuring respect for human rights and international humanitarian law in the conduct of their actions”.

Image: Chad army celebrating victory of military operation

EU additional €50M aid across world

Today the European Commission announced an additional €50 million in humanitarian aid to help respond to the dramatic increase in humanitarian needs caused by the Coronavirus pandemic globally. The new funding follows increased appeals by humanitarian organisations, including the UN Global Appeal.

The new funding will help vulnerable people facing major humanitarian crises, notably in the Sahel and Lake Chad region, the Central African Republic, the Great Lakes region in Africa, Eastern Africa, Syria, Yemen, Palestine and Venezuela, as well as the Rohingya. It will provide access to health services, protective equipment, water and sanitation. It will be channelled through non-governmental organisations, international organisations, United Nations agencies, and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

“The Coronavirus pandemic is creating a humanitarian crisis of an enormous scale in some of the most fragile countries in the world. The pandemic threatens food security in countries where public health systems were already weak before this new crisis. We must act now to leave no area of the world unprotected. This is in our common interest. And it is crucial that humanitarian actors continue to have the access to carry out their life-saving work,” Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, said.

The €50 million allocation comes in addition to significant humanitarian funding and actions already provided by the European Commission to respond to the most pressing needs created by the Coronavirus pandemic:

In February 2020, €30 million was allocated to the World Health Organization. Since then, the Commission has, subject to the agreement of the EU budgetary authorities,planned around €76 million to programmes included in the United Nations Global Humanitarian Response Plan. In addition, the Commission is providing direct funding for the work of humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement, which are in the frontline of the humanitarian response to Coronavirus.

Previously, on 8 May, the Commission also announced the establishment of an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to transport humanitarian workers and emergency supplies for the Coronavirus response to some of the most critically affected areas around the world. The first flight on 8 May, operated in cooperation with France, transported around 60 humanitarian workers from various NGOs and UN agencies and 13 tonnes of humanitarian cargo to Bangui in the Central African Republic. Two subsequent humanitarian cargo flights to Central African Republic will transport a further 27 tonnes of humanitarian supplies in total.

On 15 May, on the second destination of the EU humanitarian air bridge 20 tons of supplies and humanitarian and health workers were flown to the West-African country of São Tomé and Principe. The flight was set-up in cooperation with the Portuguese government and several humanitarian partner organisations. On their return leg, the flight also brought back over 200 EU citizens and other passengers to Lisbon in a repatriation effort.

The additional humanitarian funding comes on top of some €20 billion in development and emergency funding from the Commission and Member States for both short-term and long-term needs around the world as part of a “Team Europe” approach.

Ukrainian soldier killed in Sahel

French Foreign Legion soldier died from injuries after anti-jihadist operation in Mali: Brigadier Dymyto Martynyouk was struck by an improvised explosive device during an “operation against terrorist groups” on April 23. He died from wounds on Mai 1, the Army announced in a communiqué.

In the late afternoon of April 23, a Barkhane Force military tanker was hit by an improvised explosive device in Liptako (Mali) while the unit to which it belonged was engaged in an operation against armed groups of terrorists.

Both injured in the vehicle were immediately taken care of by the medical team deployed alongside them, while a Cayman helicopter, escorted by a Tiger helicopter, was engaged to provide medical evacuation to the Gao base surgical centre.

The two soldiers were evacuated to France on April 24 in order to be able to apply the appropriate care.

Brigadier Dmytro Martynyouk of the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment died on May 1 of his injuries. His comrade’s condition is stable, and his vital prognosis is not in jeopardy.

The Chief of the Defense Staff, General François Lecointre, bowed with deep sadness to the memory of this soldier who died for France. All his thoughts are with his family and his brothers in arms. (Image: illustration)

EU provides Sahel with €194M

The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell participated in the EU-G5 Sahel videoconference.

The videoconference provided an opportunity to reaffirm the EU’s support to the region, including in facing the coronavirus pandemic and its impact. On this occasion, the European Commission announced an additional € 194 million to support the security, stability and resilience in the Sahel.

The new financial commitments announced today are composed of €112 million to help strengthen the security and defence capabilities of the G5 Sahel countries, while ensuring respect for human rights and international humanitarian law as well as re-establishing the presence of the State and basic services throughout the territory. The remaining €82 million will be mobilised to intensify development efforts and help improving living conditions, resilience and social cohesion of vulnerable populations.

“The situation in the Sahel keeps deteriorating and the coronavirus pandemic cannot make us forget how serious the situation is in a region whose challenges are our challenges as well. The Sahel must remain on top of the international agenda. Our meeting today showed a clear commitment by all to accelerate joint efforts. I want to underline the important initiatives taken by the G5 Sahel countries themselves, the engagement of ECOWAS and the coordination role of the African Union. I am pleased to see the support from the African Union, including with the upcoming adoption of a stabilisation strategy for the region and the operationalisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture,” High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell, underlined.

“The European Union, in the same way as the United Nations and the African Union, has welcomed the call from the G5 Sahel on 27 April to the international community to help them face the consequences of the pandemic in an already very fragile region. Hence, the EU, as Team Europe, stands in full solidarity with the G5 Sahel, with € 449 million to be mobilised to help reduce health and socio-economic impacts of the coronavirus in the region. The EU welcomes the call on debt relief by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for most vulnerable countries that has helped secure the G20 moratorium of 15 April.As we discussed at the G5 Summit in Mauritania last February, there can be no security without development and vice versa” Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said.

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.

Chad army reduces G5 cooperation

Chad’s army will no longer participate in military operations beyond its borders, President Idriss Deby said on April 10, the decision undermining international efforts to defeat Islamist groups in the djihad-plagued Sahel and Lake Chad region.

Deby spoke during a visit to the Lake Chad area in the west of the country to mark the end of an offensive against jihadist group Boko Haram, which carried out its deadliest-ever attack on the army in March, killing nearly 100 soldiers in an ambush.

On April 9, the army officials informed that a further 52 soldiers had died and more than 100 wounded in the 10-day counter-operation against Boko Haram, claiming to neutralise 1,000 of the jihadists and expelling them from two island bases in the lake, which borders Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria.

Chad has felt alone in the fight against Boko Haram since we launched this operation,” Deby said in a speech broadcast on April 10.

Our soldiers have died for Lake Chad and the Sahel. From today, no Chadian soldier will take part in an external military operation,” he concluded.

According to him, 90% of Boko Haram terrorist have been destroyed and the other 10 percent escaped to Niger and Nigeria. President Deby was quoted as saying,

It was not immediately clear how the decision would impact the anti-jihadist operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) comprised of troops from countries bordering Lake Chad. Its mission had already been complicated by divisions and a lack of cooperation.

However the experts say that President Deby will not cut ties with his allies in the region, and the international community, but limit the participation of Chad in joint G5 operations, which will weaken the mission, because Chadian military have exceptional skills in conducting combat, adapted to the desert harsh conditions. The heavy losses of Chadians in battle for the lake, left bitter sentiment, reproaching the neighbouring countries in lack of solidarity.

Chad’s armed forces are among the most respected in the region, a reputation forged during decades of war and rebellions, and honed in a 2013 campaign against al Qaeda-linked Islamists in the deserts of northern Mali.

Its suspension of external military operations could also affect the France-backed G5 military force, which battles a growing Islamist militancy in the Sahel region with soldiers from Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad.

In recent years, militants linked to both al Qaeda and Islamic State terrorist groups have strengthened their affiliations, making large swathes of territory ungovernable and stoking ethnic violence, especially in Mali and Burkina Faso.

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