Tag Archives: Sahel

Five Mali soldiers killed in jihad

Five soldiers killed in an ambush, the  Malian army representatives said.  According to the statement  the soldiers were travelling between the towns of Hombori and Boni, about 100 km north of the Burkina Faso border, when they fell into an ambush. Their vehicle was also destroyed. Reinforcements have been immediately dispatched. (Image above: Hombori sunset).

It came days after gunmen killed 24 soldiers in an attack on an army unit in neighboring Burkina Faso.

Terrorist attacks targeting local security forces in the Sahel region have increased lately.

Since 2012, Islamists linked to al Qaeda have taken control of northern Mali, exploiting the downfall of Libyan state, and following Tuareg separatist uprising. The fragility of the Sahel region, is cause for international concern.
Despite French intervention and the deployment of joint forces from five Sahel countries, terrorist groups still control a large part of this region and are increasingly influential in Burkina Faso and Niger.

Libya: dozens killed in Murzuq airstrike

More than 30 individuals have been killed in an air strike on the southern Libyan oasis town of Murzuq in the historic region of Fezzan, populated mostly by Dawada people, but also by Tuareg. (Image above: illustration).

Eastern Libyan (historicaly region of Cirenaica) forces under the leadership  of Marshall Khalifa Haftar confirmed an assault on August 4, but denied any responsibility for the death of civilians.

Despite expected movement  for unity among the Tuareg and other southern Libyan minorities, at present the situation in Fezzan  stays fragile, and the future of the province remains obscure.

In reality Fezzan is unstable in absence of unity among Tuareg communities vis-à-vis the events in TripoliThe Tuareg are hugely disappointed with the results of the regime change, which did not fulfill any from the multiple promises made by the West.

Population of Fezzan is plagued by lack of basic healthcare, access to water, education and jobs – all resulting in low living standards, depression and crime. The infrastructures, including developed by state electric grids erected during Colonel Gaddafi rule, have dilapidated without maintenance, and are out of use, and there no opportunities to restore them until the conflict is ravaging Libya.
Many men left Fezzan to join different battling militant groups in search for earnings.

Both Fayez Al Sarraj in Tripoli, and Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi are struggling  for alliance with different tribes in Fezzan: Tuareg and Toubou (Teda and Dazagra). 

Like the supported by the West government of  Al-Sarraj, Haftar has equally alliances among Tuareg, multiplying promises.

For Europe significance of Fezzan has risen dramatically  after  Libyan state collapse, which left southern borders unattended, and opened a broad gate for illegal migration from from the Sahel to Mediterranean coast – the so called sub-Saharan migrant route.

AMENDED:

“Indiscriminate attacks on densely populated residential areas may amount to war crimes and must cease immediately. As High Representative / Vice-President Mogherini stated on behalf of the EU on 2 August, those committing war crimes and those breaching International Humanitarian Law must be brought to justice and held to account” the European External Action Service reacted on Murzuq attack on its official Twitter account.

Sahel: EU condolences to victims of terrorism

Hundred civilians were killed by armed groups in the village of Sobane in central Mali. On the same day, some 20 people were killed during an attack in the commune of Arbinda, in northern Burkina Faso.s

We offer our condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the people and governments of Mali and Burkina Faso. These abuses against populations may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. Investigations must be conducted immediately and the perpetrators brought to justice as soon as possible” reads the statement of the spokesperson of the European External Action Service.

“In the face of this rise in violence against civilians, it is urgent that the Malian and Burkinabe authorities redouble their efforts to ensure the protection of the population and engage in the implementation of processes of dialogue and reconciliation with the population. all communities. A process of disarmament and the dismantling of all the militias and self-defense groups operating in these areas must also be urgently undertaken.”

The European Union will continue to support Mali and Burkina Faso and stand alongside the entire Sahel region to contribute to peace, security and the satisfaction of people’s needs”.

Image above: Sahel village (illustration)

Image below: Sabane-Kou village on map.

Sobane

French soldiers slain in Burkina Faso hostage operation

Four hostages have been rescued by the military in Burkina Faso, the Ministry of foreign affairs of France informed in a communique.

Two French, one American woman and one South Korean woman.

It is with profound sadness that the government informed about the death of two French soldiers were slain during the operation. Four kidnappers were also neutralized.

The French hostages had been kidnapped in neighboring Benin on 1 May.

The two soldiers who were killed during the rescue were named as Cédric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello, described by officials as belonging to a special operations unit.

The French military posted photos of the soldiers on social media.

Burkina Faso has suffered more than 230 attacks in just over three years. In April more than 60 people died in ethnic clashes fueled by Islamic radicals attempting to gain control over Sahel.

Sahel stability as key to EU security

“The EU supports the efforts the G5 Sahel countries in the fight against terrorism, organised crime and any other threat to security and peace” says the text of conclusions adopted by the EU Foreign Affairs Council.

“The EU wants to reinforce its regional approach in the Sahel with the aim of supporting cross-border cooperation, regional cooperation structures, and, in this context, of enhancing national capacities of the G5 Sahel countries. Stability in the Sahel region is also key for European security” EU Foreign Ministers Council, February 18, 2019.

Tajani: “We can’t stop migration”

“Until 2016, 90% of irregular migrants travelled through the Niger to Libya and Europe. In just 2 years, Niger reduced migration flows by 95%, from over 300,000 to about 10,000 in 2018. We need to support this model and extend it to other Sahel countries following the example with Turkey, where we committed 6 billion euros to close the so-called ‘Balkan route’, ” declared European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, at the end of his official visit to Niamey in Niger where he headed a mission of entrepreneurs, researchers, and representatives of international organisations.

“Together with effective control of external borders, the migration crisis must be tackled at source, with investments and economic partnerships triggering economic development and opportunities for young Africans. I am convinced that the mission of economic and technological diplomacy that accompanied me here is a first step to attracting European investment and technology transfers to Niger, “ added Tajani.

President Tajani also underlined the need for a common and strategic European approach to relations with African countries and in particular those in the Sahel region (in addition to Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Chad): “Irregular migration and Africa’s growth require a European-level strategy. Any solution taken at national level ends up being temporary, isolated and ineffective. We need a medium to long term vision, with a real ‘Marshall Plan’ capable of mobilizing large-scale public and private investments in the African continent. In this sense, the collaboration with Niger has been extraordinary and represents a model for many other African countries “.

The President of the European Parliament also visited a refugee reception center run by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) attended by persons evacuated to Niger from Libya. At the center, Tajani expressed his commitment to strengthen the fight against the traffickers who perpetrate unspeakable violence and torture to men, women and children: “These young Somali and Eritrean women refugees told me about the horrible violence they suffered in the Libyan camps. They have been saved thanks to the work of UNHCR and the EU. Their agony drives us to up the fight against the traffickers”.

President Tajani was received in Niamey by the President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou, the President of the Nigerian National Assembly Ousseini Tini, and Prime Minister Brigi Rafini. Tajani had meetings and talks with the Presidents of the National Assemblies of the G5 Sahel countries and with the Secretary General of the Community of the 29 States of Sahel and Sahara (CEN-SAD), Ibrahim Sani Abani.

Tajani also stressed the importance of starting a process of democratization in Libya with the aim of stabilizing the entire region: “Apart from Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania are also our key partners to reach a solution to the Libyan crisis. Consequently, I invited representatives from these countries to participate in the conference in support of the organization of democratic elections in Libya that the European Parliament will organize in Brussels on 10 October, ” Tajani announced.

During his visit, the President of the European Parliament also undertook to strengthen the Erasmus + programme for Nigerian students and to conduct further joint initiatives in the strategic sectors of renewable energy, agriculture, water management and digital.

 

EU determined to support Mali in counterterrorism

Mali headquarters of an international counterterrorism task force, G5 Sahel, were attacked on Friday in a car bomb blast, killing six people and leaving many injured, according to officials. “Shortly after Friday prayers, a suicide bomber in a vehicle painted with UN colours blew up at the entrance to the G5 base in Sevare. It was a huge blast,” a military source in the G5 Sahel force told press.

The terrorist attack that has just hit the headquarters of the G5 Sahel regional force in Sévaré, central Mali is directly directed against all those who pledge to bring peace and stability to Mali and the Sahel” –  says the Joint statement by EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini and European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica.

The European Union offers its condolences and expresses its support for the families of the victims, the Malian government and the G5 Sahel countries.As emphasized at the EU / G5 Sahel Ministerial meeting on 18 June, we reiterate with renewed determination our full support for the Joint Force of the Sahel and our commitment to support the efforts of Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Chad, as well as the entire international community, for the peace, security and development of these countries and the region“, – the statement concludes.

 

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