Analysis

NIAS Africa Weekly
Africa’s continuing migration problem: Three issues

June 2022 | CWA # 750

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS Africa Weekly
Visit of the Belgium King to the DRC and tensions between the DRC and Rwanda

June 2022 | CWA # 747

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS Africa Weekly
Africa’s displacement crises: Three key drivers

June 2022 | CWA # 743

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS Africa Weekly
IN FOCUS | Into the Sixth Decade of African Unity

May 2022 | CWA # 741

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS Africa Weekly
IN FOCUS | Communal Tensions in Ethiopia

May 2022 | CWA # 738

NIAS Africa Team

Conflict Weekly Cover Story
Sudan, three years after Omar al Bashir

May 2022 | CWA # 733

S Shaji

NIAS Africa Weekly
IN FOCUS | Mali ends defence ties with France

May 2022 | CWA # 731

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS Africa Weekly
IN FOCUS | UK-Rwanda asylum deal

April 2022 | CWA # 726

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS Africa Weekly
IN FOCUS | Africa, Russia, and the War in Ukraine

April 2022 | CWA # 722

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS Africa Weekly
IN FOCUS | The rise of East African Community: From the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean

April 2022 | CWA # 718

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS Africa Weekly
IN FOCUS | Political Crisis in Tunisia

April 2022 | CWA # 713

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS Africa Weekly
60 years of Algerian independence

March 2022 | CWA # 710

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS Africa Weekly
In Focus: Libya

March 2022 | CWA # 705

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS Africa Weekly
IN FOCUS | Europe and Africa: Will AU and EU be equal partners?

March 2022 | CWA # 702

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS Africa Monitor
Europe and Africa: Will AU and EU be equal partners?

March 2022 | CWA # 700

Anu Maria Joseph

NIAS Africa Monitor
Africa’s slow COVID vaccination continues. Four reasons why

March 2022 | CWA # 696

Nireekshan Bollimpalli 

NIAS Africa Weekly
IN FOCUS: Conflict over the Nile Dam

March 2022 | CWA # 694

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS Africa Weekly
IN FOCUS: Instability in Burkina Faso

March 2022 | CWA # 690

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS Africa Monitor
Africa: The anti-France sentiments in Mali and beyond

February 2022 | CWA # 677

Mohamad Aseel Ummer

NIAS Global Politics Brief
Africa in 2021: Backsliding democracy and heightening humanitarian crises

February 2022 | CWA # 670

S Shaji

NIAS Africa Monitor
Coup in Burkina Faso: Five things to know

January 2022 | CWA # 665

Apoorva Sudhakar

NIAS Africa Monitor
Famine in Ethiopia: The government's refusal to acknowledge, worsens the crisis

December 2021 | CWA # 626

Harshita Rathore

NIAS Africa Monitor
South Africa: What is behind the pro-Zuma protests?

August 2021 | CWA # 534

Anu Maria Joseph

NIAS Africa Monitor
Impending famine in Tigray, should make Ethiopia everyone's problem

July 2021 | CWA # 519

Abigail Miriam Fernandez

NIAS Africa Monitor
Too late and too little is Ethiopia's international problem

July 2021 | CWA # 518

Anu Maria Joseph

NIAS Africa Monitor
Africa's Ethiopia Problem

July 2021 | CWA # 517

Sankalp Gurjar

NIAS Africa Monitor
Ethiopia's Tigray problem is Tigray's Ethiopia problem

July 2021 | CWA # 516

Apoorva Sudhakar

NIAS Africa Monitor
Beyond the apology to Rwanda: In Africa, is France still a 'silent colonizer'?

July 2021 | CWA # 513

Anu Maria Joseph

NIAS Africa Monitor
Migration in Africa: Origin, Drivers and Destinations 

July 2021 | CWA # 512

Mohamad Aseel Ummer

NIAS Africa Monitor
15 of the 23 global hunger hotspots are in Africa. Three reasons why

May 2021 | CWA # 470

Apoorva Sudhakar

NIAS Africa Monitor
Libya: A new unity government and rekindled hope, a decade after the fall of Gaddafi

April 2021 | CWA # 458

Apoorva Sudhakar

Daily Briefs


Photo : AFP/BBC

Sudan: Nine dead as anti-military protests turn violent


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 1 July 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Sudan: Nine dead as anti-military protests turn violent

On 1 July, the death toll from protests against military rule in Sudan rose to nine. On 30 June, Sudan witnessed the largest protests since the military coup in October. Doctors said several victims had been shot while security forces tackled protesters. A BBC news report quoted doctors as saying the security forces tried storming into hospitals while protesters were being treated. Police also used live ammunition, tear gas and water cannons against the protesters. Internet and telephone services were also blocked. (Emmanuel Igunza, “Death toll in Sudan protests rises to nine,” BBC, 1 July 2022)

Democratic Republic of the Congo: UN peacekeepers attack by rockets 

On 1 July, the UN said peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had come under rocket attacks by rebels in North Kivu province. The M23 rebel group has been blamed for the attack. The development comes after the UN Security Council was told, on 29 June, that the M23 operations seemed to be one of a conventional army with military capacities to overrun the UN forces. (Emmanuel Igunza, “Rebels fire rockets at UN peacekeepers in DR Congo,” BBC, 1 July 2022)

Ethiopia: Government claims successful military operation against rebels

On 30 June, prime minister Abiy Ahmed's spokesperson said the military operations against rebels in the Benishangul-Gumuz, Oromia and Amhara regions were successful. The spokesperson said the rebels' training bases had been destroyed and weapons were confiscated. The development comes after over 330 civilians were killed, reportedly by the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA). The UN-appointed Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia is investigating the incident and says that the increasing violence in the country is an "an early warning indicator of further atrocities." ("Ethiopia claims success in anti-rebel offensive," BBC, 1 July 2022, Kalkidan Yibeltal, "UN begins probe into Ethiopia minority killings," BBC, 1 July 2022)



Photo : Yassine Gaidi-Anadolu Agency

Tunisia: Proposed constitution increases presidential powers


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 30 June 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Tunisia: Proposed constitution increases presidential powers

On 30 June, president Kais Saied published the proposed new constitution that will be voted on in a referendum on 25 July. The draft constitution proposes that the government be answerable to the president and not the parliament; however, the parliament can withdraw support to the government with a two-thirds majority. The president will also have the power to present draft laws, be the sole power to propose treaties, draft state budgets, appoint or remove ministers and judges. The president can also extend the two-term tenure if the president felt an unavoidable threat to the country. Various other measures increasing the president’s powers are also listed in the draft. (Tarek Amara and Angus Mcdowall, “Tunisian president takes most powers in proposed constitution,” Reuters, 30 June 2022)

Nigeria: 20 people found dead along border with Libya 

On 30 June, Niger’s defence ministry said 10 migrants were found dead in the Niger state, along the border with Libya. The bodies were found summarily buried in Dirkou city and an investigation has been launched. The news report explains that Dirkou is a common route for smugglers carrying migrants weapons, and drugs to Libya and later, Egypt. On 29 June, 20 people who died of thirst were found in Libya along the border with Chad. (“Ten people found dead in Niger near Libya border,” News24, 30 June 2022)

Nigeria: Chinese nationals kidnapped in gunmen attack

On 29 June, at least four police officials, two local vigilante members, and a few soldiers were killed and four Chinese nationals were abducted in an attack by gunmen in Niger State. No group has claimed the attack. The development comes amid an increased number of attacks against Chinese nationals in African countries. In Nigeria, many Chinese nationals are engaged in mining, agricultural and construction sectors. (Ishaq Khalid, “Chinese miners kidnapped in deadly Nigerian raid,” BBC, 30 June 2022)

South Sudan: Elections in 2021 doubtful, says UN official

On 30 June, the UN peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said prospects for holding elections in the country in 2023 look bleak. The UNMISS head said political parties had conveyed that conditions are unfavourable to hold free and fair elections. The UNMISS said elections can be held if there is a good will and a serious intent. South Sudan, which became an independent country in 2011, has never held elections. (Nichola Mandil, “South Sudan elections in 2023 looking doubtful - UN,” BBC, 30 June 2022)



Photo : Reuters/TRT World

Sudan fires artillery along disputed region 


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 29 June 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Sudan fires artillery along disputed region 

On 28 June, Sudan continued firing artillery into the disputed al Fashqa region along the border with Ethiopia and captured the Jabal Kala al-Laban area. The first firing reportedly began on 27 June. However, no casualties were recorded. Ethiopia did not comment on the development. PReviously, Sudan’s military denied any movement along the region. (Sudan’s military strikes disputed region bordering Ethiopia,” Al Jazeera, 29 June 2022)

Over two dozens arrested for protests against rising cost of living

On 28 June, 29 protesters were arrested as people were protesting in the capital city Accra against rising cost of living. In June, inflation rose to over 27 per cent in Ghana which is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and is experiencing the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war. The protests started peacefully but turned violent after protesters started throwing stones at the police, following a stand-off. The police then used tear gas to disperse the protesters. (“Ghana police fire tear gas to disperse protest over living costs,” News24, 29 June 2022)

20 people die of thirst in Libya desert

On 29 June, 20 people were found dead in Libya’s Kufra region, near its border with Chad. Rescuers believed they died of thirst. The vehicle with the people broke down while moving from Chad to Libya. (“20 found dead in Libya desert after vehicle breakdown: rescuers,” News24, 29 June 2022)



Photo : The Statesman

Ethiopia: Ruling party urges AU to oversee peaceful resolution


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 28 June 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Ethiopia: Ruling party urges AU to oversee peaceful resolution

On 27 June, the ruling party called on the African Union to facilitate a peace process between the federal government and rebel forces from Tigray. The development comes weeks after prime minister Abiy Ahmed announced the formation of a committee to learn how the government should negotiate with the rebel forces. The committee’s report paved the way for the Prosperity Party to call on the AU to monitor a peaceful resolution. (“African Union should lead Tigray peace talks, Ethiopia's ruling party says,” Reuters, 28 June 2022)



Photo : Anadolu Agency

Gabon and Togo join the Commonwealth


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 27 June 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Gabon and Togo join the Commonwealth

On 25 June, Gabon and Togo, which were not British colonies, became the latest countries to be admitted to the Commonwealth of Nations. Togo's foreign minister said they joined the Commonwealth "to expand its diplomatic, political and economic network." Similarly, Gabon's foreign minister said joining the Commonwealth could assist the country in economic diversification. (James Tasamba, "Gabo, Togo join Commonwealth association," Anadolu Agency, 26 June 2022)

Libya: UN official calls for facilitation of return to electoral process

On 27 June, the UN political affairs chief called on the UN “to facilitate a return to the electoral process, based on a sound and consensual constitutional basis for elections,” adding, “This is what the Libyan people have asked for.” Referring to the rivalry between the government appointed by the House of Representatives and the UN-backed government, the UN official warned of an escalation of clashes between the rival groups if maximum restraint and dialogue are not maintained. (“Libya: UN highlights need to speed up progress towards national elections,” UN News, 27 June 2022)

Sudan-Ethiopia: Khartoum recalls ambassador from Addis Ababa after alleged murder of Sudanese soldiers

On 26 June, Sudan’s foreign ministry said it would recall its ambassador to Ethiopia and also summon Addis Ababa’s ambassador over the alleged killing of seven Sudanese soldiers by the latter’s military. On 25 June, Sudan claimed that seven soldiers had been captured by Ethiopia on Sudan’s territory on 22 June, killed and their bodies hung in Ethiopia’s public. However, on 27 June, Ethiopia denied Sudan’s claims and alleged that Sudanese soldiers entered Ethiopian territory, thus leading to skirmishes between the two sides. (“Sudan recalls envoy to Ethiopia after execution of seven soldiers,” Al Jazeera, 27 June 2022)

Nigeria: State governments asks locals to use arms against gangs 

On 27 June, BBC reported the Zamfara state government’s directive to locals to arm themselves against criminal gangs involved in kidnapping and violence. The state government suggested it would help address the increasing insecurity, and has also ordered the closure of markets in a few districts, and banned motorcycles and the sale of petroleum products. A shoot-to-kill order was reportedly issued against those using motorcycles. (“Nigerian state tells residents to take up arms against kidnap gangs,” Rhoda Odhiambo, BBC, 27 June 2022)

Tunisia: Trade union calls for another strike

On 27 June, the UGTT called on the government workers for a second general strike against the government’s proposed measures to meet the IMF conditions. The UGTT head said: “The government does not want dialogue, while social conditions are deteriorating, inflation rates are high, and key interest rates raised.” The move comes after the UGTT, previously, claimed it was being targeted for not taking part in talks regarding a new constitution. (Mike Thomson, “Tunisia's top union calls another general strike,” BBC, 27 June 2022; “Tunisian union calls for new public strike, escalates dispute with president,” News24, 27 June 2022)

Cameroon: Over 30 killed in Southwestern Region

On 27 June, a Reuters news report quoted sources who said at least 30 villagers had been killed in Southwestern Region; victims included women and children. The Presbyterian Church spokesperson said the massacre took place over a land dispute between Oliti and Messaga Ekol ethnic groups, dating back to violence that took place in April. The casualties also included five Nigerians. (“More than 30 die in ethnic violence in Cameroon,” News24, 27 June 2022)

Somalia: Hamza Barre sworn in as PM

On 26 June, all 220 members of parliament approved Hamza Abdi Barre as the new prime minister, thereby paving the way for a new government. Barre said he would create a government focused on an inclusive political stability that would complement the president’s vision of a “reconciled Somalia that is at peace with the world.” Following the swearing-in of Barre, president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud tweeted: “Our government has an ambitious policy programme which seeks to improve our security, strengthen our economy and deliver basic services for our people.” (“Somali MPs approve new Prime Minister,” Africanews, 26 June 2022)



Photo : REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

South Africa: Power company to increase load shedding


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 24 June 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

South Africa: Power company to increase load shedding 

On 24 June, South Africa’s state power company, Eskom, said it was forced to increase electricity cuts amid protests by workers demanding a 10 per cent hike in wages. With this, Eskom will increase the outages to Stage 4 from Stage 2, wherein 4000 megawatts will be shed. Eskom appealed to the labourers, unions and employees to consider the people of South Africa. Currently, despite having a 46,000 MW capacity, more than 20,000 MW could not be used because of breakdowns and maintenance. (Anait Miridzhanian and Alexander Winning, “Protests force South Africa's Eskom to widen power cuts,” Reuters, 24 June 2022)

UK-Africa: Commonwealth meet commences in Rwanda

On 24 June, delegations from 54 countries of the British Commonwealth met in Rwanda for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). From the UK, Prince Charles and prime minister Boris Johnson were present. Referring to slavery under the colonial rule, Prince Charles expressed “personal sorrow at the suffering of so many.” Around 10 million Africans were enslaved by Britain and other European colonisers between the 15th and 19th century.(Ayenat Mersie and Clement Uwiringiyimana, “Prince Charles expresses sorrow over slavery in Commonwealth speech,” Reuters, 24 June 2022)

Burkina Faso: Civilians asked to evacuate for military operation against rebels

On 24 June, an army spokesperson said civilians living in northern and southeastern parts of Burkina Faso were notified to evacuate the region within 14 days, ahead of proposed military operations against rebels in the area. However, the spokesperson did not specify how long the civilians had to stay away and where they had to go. The development comes after nearly 100 people were killed and thousands displaced in a rebel attack on 11 June. (“Burkina Faso: 14 days to evacuate before vast army operation,” Al Jazeera, 24 June 2022)



Photo : ZOUBEIR SOUISSI/Reuters

Tunisia: Trade union head rejects IMF conditions


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 23 June 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

Apoorva Sudhakar

Tunisia: Trade union head rejects IMF conditions

On 23 June, the head of the UGTT rejected the IMF's conditions to issue a loan to bailout Tunisia from its economic crisis. On 22 June, the IMF's regional director said the fund was ready to commence formal talks. The regional director said Tunisia would need to contain its civil service wage bill and replace generalized subsidies with transfers to the poor to address its fiscal imbalance. The UGTT head said though the union supports reforms, it does not support the vision of the current government, citing Tunisia's "low salaries, lack of means, rising poverty and unemployment." (“Tunisia trade unions chief rejects IMF reforms,” France24, 23 June 2022)

Sudan: Fear of new displacement crisis looms amid violence 

On 23 June, Reuters referred to a UN report which said violence in western Sudan in June had left over 84,000 people displaced. In June, the violence stemmed from the attack by Arab militias on the Gimir tribe; 125 people died and 50,000 were displaced in the Kulbus area.  Several aid workers raised alarms that the displacement crisis could be similar to the one in the 2000s when the Darfur conflict erupted. The news report quoted an official from the Norwegian Refugee Council who said that no facilities are in place to prevent a new large-scale displacement emergency, adding, “Before we finish responding to one emergency or major attack, another two have already happened.” (“Attacks in Sudan's Darfur bring new surge in people fleeing their homes,” Reuters, 23 June 2022)

Nigeria: Trans-Sahara gas pipeline talks resume

On 22 June, Niger oil ministry said talks between Niger, Nigeria and Algeria on a gas pipeline, proposed in 2009, across the Sahara resumed. The three countries have set up a task force and commissioned a feasibility study. The cost of the pipeline is estimated at USD 13 billion and is proposed to extend from Warri in Nigeria to Hassi R’Mel Algeria. The ministry statement said the pipeline could be an alternative to Europe which is looking to diversify its natural gas sources and will “also allow several African states to access this high-value energy source.” (“Algeria, Niger, Nigeria resume talks on Trans-Sahara gas pipeline,” Al Jazeera, 23 June 2022)



Photo : UN Photo/Mark Garten

Mali: UN chief expresses shock over mass killings


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 22 June 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Mali: UN chief expresses shock over mass killings 

On 22 June, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a statement over reports of mass killings one 18 and 19 June by armed groups in central Mali. At the same time, similar attacks took place in Mali’s northeast. Totally, over 100 people were killed in the attacks and thousands displaced. Guterres called on Mali’s military government to “redouble” efforts in establishing peace and stability. (“Mali: Guterres ‘shocked and outraged’ by reports of civilian massacres,” UN News, 22 June 2022)

Libya: PM says government wants to expel foreign fighters

On 22 June, prime minister Fathi Bashagha said his government would like to remove foreign mercenaries and forces from Libya. The remark comes after several oil facilities have been closed by rebels since April. Therefore, he said it was important to implement the 5+5 ceasefire involving five officers from each side of the conflict. Bashagha acknowledged the presence of the Russian private military contractor, the Wagner Group, and said all foreign fighters should be expelled. (“Libya's Bashagha says he supports removal of foreign fighters,” Reuters, 22 June 2022)



Photo : BBC/Reuters

East African heads of state call for ceasefire in DRC


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 21 June 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

East African heads of state call for ceasefire in DRC

On 20 June, Kenya’s presidency announced that the East African countries had called for an immediate ceasefire and end to hostilities between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. The development came after heads from countries under the East African Community (EAC) - Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, South Sudan and Kenya - met in Nairobi to discuss the situation in eastern DRC. Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta’s office released a statement wherein the seven heads of state called for deploying a regional force, cooperating the DRC military, to quell the rebels and establish peace. The DRC presidency tweeted: “Placed under the military command of Kenya, this force should be operational in the coming weeks and should not include within it elements of the Rwandan army.” (“East Africa leaders agree regional force for DRCongo, urge ceasefire,” France24, 21 June 2022)

Mali: Over 100 civilians killed in central Mali 

On 20 June, the government said at least 132 civilians had been killed in an armed attack in central Mali, suspected to be carried out by the Katiba Macina armed group between 18 and 19 June. The group, which is affiliated to al Qaeda, attacked at least three villages. The attacks comes as roads between north and central Mali are blocked by rebels. In another attack on 19 June, a UN peacekeeper was killed after sustaining injuries from an IED blast. (“More than 100 civilians killed in Mali attacks: Gov’t,” Al Jazeera, 20 June 2022)

Egypt-Saudi Arabia: Agreements worth USD 7.7 billion signed 

On 20 June, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Egypt, kickstarting his regional tour outside the Gulf. Saudi Arabia’s state news agency said the Crown Prince will meet leaders of Egypt, Turkiye and Jordan to discuss bilateral cooperation and other areas of mutual interest. On 21 June, Egypt and Saudi Arabia announced the signing of 14 agreements worth USD 7.7 billion. The agreements include developing a multipurpose terminal at the Damietta port in Egypt, a pharmaceutical city in Saudi Arabia by Egypt's Pharco Pharmaceuticals, and other projects. (“Egypt, Saudi Arabia ink deals worth $7.7 bln on crown prince's visit,” Reuters, 21 June 2022; “Saudi crown prince lands in Egypt on start of regional tour,” Reuters, 21 June 2022)



Photo : ZOUBEIR SOUISSI/Reuters

Tunisa: Tunis witnesses protests against constitutional reforms


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 20 June 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Tunisa: Tunis witnesses protests against constitutional reforms

On 19 June, hundreds of Tunisians protested in the capital city Tunis against Saeid’s proposed constitutional referendum scheduled for July. The protests were led by the coalition, Salvation Front. The development came after a similar demonstration was held the Free Constitutional Party on 18 June against the proposed economic reforms after the head of the constitution committee said the new draft of a “democratic” constitution will be submitted to Saied on 20 June. On the same day, judges extended their strike against the president’s decision to sack 57 judges, for the third week. (“Hundreds protest in Tunis against Saied's constitutional referendum plan,” France24, 19 June 2022)

Ethiopia: Over 200 Amhara-origin people killed in the Oromo region

On 19 June, The Guardian quoted witnesses in the Oromia region who said over 200 people of Amhara ethnicity had been killed on 18 June. The witnesses and the Oromia regional government accused the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) rebels of carrying out the attack, alleging that the rebel group failed to resist security forces’ operations. However, the OLA spokesperson dismissed these claims and accused the Ethiopian military and local militia of the offensive. On 20 June, prime minister Abiy Ahmed condemned the ethnic killings across Ethiopia, saying his government was committed to peace and security. (“Ethiopia: more than 200 Amhara people killed in attack blamed on rebels,” The Guardian, 19 June 2022; Kalkidan Yibeltal, “Ethiopia PM denounces 'horrific' ethnic killings,” BBC, 20 June 2022)

Mali: UN peacekeeper killed in attack on a convoy

On 19 June, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned an IED attack in northern Mali wherein a UN peacekeeper was killed. The attack took place during a UN convoy’s mine detection operation in Kidal city. Guterres said targeting UN peacekeepers could amount to war crimes and called on Mali to “spare no efforts” to bring the attackers to justice. Similarly, the UN Special Representative for Mali, who is also the head of the UN’s Mali mission, said the development “illustrates, once again, the complexity of the environment in which the Mission operates and of the security challenges it faces on a daily basis.” (“Mali: Latest attack against UN peacekeepers leaves Guinean 'blue helmet' dead,” UN News, 19 June 2022)



Photo : Mahamadou Issoufou - Copyright © africanews/Frank Franklin II/The Associated Press

Burkina Faso: Only 40 per cent of territory under state control, says ECOWAS mediator


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 18 June 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Burkina Faso: Only 40 per cent of territory under state control, says ECOWAS mediator

On 18 June, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mediator met with the military government leaders, including Lt Col Paul Henri Damiba to discuss a transition period. The mediator to Burkina Faso and former president of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou said 40 per cent of the country’s territory was not in the state’s control. Issoufou referred to recent instances of killings and said they prove the security challenges. Further, Issoufou termed Burkina Faso’s crisis multidimensional, in terms of security, humanitarian, political and socioeconomic issues. (“State controls just 60 percent of Burkina Faso: ECOWAS mediator,” Al Jazeera, 18 June 2022)

Online platforms for football become ground for homophobic and racist slurs 

On 18 June, FIFA president Gianni Infantino condemned hate and abuse towards football players, especially through social media posts. Infantino’s statement came after an independent study by FIFA revealed that majority of abuse against football players during the European Championship and the Africa Cup of Nations were homophobic and racist. Of more than 400,000 posts tracked by AI, 40 per cent were homophobic and 32 per cent racist. Infantino said there is no place for any form of discrimination in football and said FIFA would chart a plan for protection of teams, players and officials during the FIFA world cup in November. (“Euros, AFCON players faced racist, homophobic abuse online: Study,” Al Jazeera, 18 June 2022)

 



Photo : ZOUBEIR SOUISSI/REUTERS

UGTT organises countrywide strike as talks with IMF close in


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 16 June 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Tunisia: UGTT organises countrywide strike as talks with IMF close in

On 16 June, the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) held a countrywide strike of public sector employees to protest against president Kais Saeid's proposed wage cuts and rollback of subsidies. The strike by an estimated three million employees led to the cancellation of flights and restrictions on public transport. The strike was held against Tunisia's upcoming talks with the IMF wherein the government aims to secure a bailout plan. The government's proposal to the IMF includes a wage freeze on public sector workers, cuts on subsidies and restructuring of public companies. (“Tunisian labour union holds massive strike in challenge for President Saied,” France24, 16 June 2022)

Sudan: WFP warns of increasing food insecurity 

On 16 June, the WFP’s Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment (CFSVA) revealed that 15 million people in Sudan are subjected to food insecurity. The CFSVA links the situation to the prevalence of “conflict and displacement; climate shocks; and a poor harvest in the past agricultural season.” The war in Ukraine has also affected the situation as over half of Sudan’s wheat imports come from the Black Sea region. The CFSVA also predicts that the situation will deteriorate during the lean season and therefore, as previously warned by the WFP and FAO, the number of people facing insecurity would rise to 18 million. (“Sudan: One-third of population faces acute food insecurity,” UN News, 16 June 2022)



Photo : REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

European Court prevents the first batch of asylum seekers to be flown to Rwanda


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 14 June 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

European Court prevents the first batch of asylum seekers to be flown to Rwanda

On 14 June, the UK’s first flight carrying asylum seekers to Rwanda was halted after the European Court of Human Rights granted last-minute injunctions to stop the deportations. The court’s decision came after an Iraqi man said they should not be deported until a three weeks period expires after a judicial review’s final decision. The judicial review by the High Court in London is scheduled for July. Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel said the government should not be discouraged and should schedule the next flight. Patel said she had always known the policy would face challenges but was surprised that the ECHR intervened despite successful decisions in domestic courts. (Andrew Macaskill and Michael Holden, “UK migrant flight to Rwanda grounded as European Court steps in,” Reuters, 14 June 2022)

South Sudan: Funding crises forces WFP to cut down food aid

On 14 June, the WFP acting country director in South Sudan said owing to a funding shortage, the agency was suspending part of its food aid for the country. The WFP official said an estimated USD 426 million was required to sustain its operations for six months. The development comes despite the WFP’s decision to reduce the rations by half in 2021. (WFP suspends part of its food aid in South Sudan as funds dry up,” Al Jazeera, 14 June 2022)

Namibia: Carcasses of 11 rhinos raise concerns of poaching

On 14 June, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism said since June, 11 rhino carcasses have been found in Etosha National Park. Investigations indicate that the carcasses could be three weeks old or more and imply that poaching remains a challenge. The Ministry said since the beginning of 2022, as many as 22 rhinos have been poached. (“Poachers kill 11 rhinos in two weeks at Namibian park,” BBC, 14 June 2022)



Photo : BBC/Reuters

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Kinshasa blames Kigali for M23’s capture of Congolese town


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 13 June 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Kinshasa blames Kigali for M23’s capture of Congolese town

On 13 June, the military said it would defend the country’s territory after M23 rebels claimed the capture of Bunagana town in North Kivu province, along the border with Uganda. The province’s military governor’s spokesperson accused Rwanda for and termed the town’s capture “no less than an invasion.” The development comes after the DRC and Rwanda engaged in a series of accusations of cross-border firing amid escalation of tensions. Previously, on 11 June, the UN had condemned attacks against civilians and called for ceasing violence. Meanwhile, Uganda’s resident district commissioner for Kisoro district said the latest violence led to the arrival of 30,000 Congolese asylum seekers in Uganda. (“M23 rebels seize key DRC town, Congolese military blames Rwanda,” Al Jazeera, 13 June 2022; “UN urges ‘immediate’ halt to cross-border clashes in eastern DRC,” Al Jazeera, 11 June 2022)

UK-Rwanda: Appeals court gives permission for asylum seekers to be deported

On 13 June, the UK’s Court of Appeal approved the High Court’s decision to commence the deportation of the first batch of asylum seekers to Rwanda and also said further appeals could not be filed against the decision. On 10 June, the High Court rejected attempts to block the first flight; several activists criticised the UK’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda over concerns of human trafficking. On 14 June, the number of asylum seekers to be deported reportedly fell to less than ten. (“UK court says flight taking asylum seekers to Rwanda can go ahead,” Al Jazeera, 13 June 2022)

Burkina Faso: Several killed in two different attacks in the north

On 13 June, Al Jazeera reported a government spokesperson’s statement that at least 50 people had been killed in an attack spanning between 11 June and 12 June in a village in northern Burkina Faso. The exact death toll has not been released; various media sources have reported a varied number of casualties with some pinning the same at over 100. The UN and the EU condemned the attack and the latter called for an investigation to understand the circumstances of the killing. The latest attack comes after gunmen killed 11 military policemen in the same region on 9 June. (“UK court says flight taking asylum seekers to Rwanda can go ahead,” Al Jazeera, 13 June 2022; “Eleven military policemen killed in northern Burkina Faso,” Al Jazeera, 10 June 2022)



Photo : UNICEF

UNICEF outlines dire hunger situation; calls for widening gaze from Ukraine


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 7 June 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

UNICEF outlines dire hunger situation; calls for widening gaze from Ukraine

On 7 June, UNICEF warned of an "explosion of child deaths" in the Horn of Africa if the international community fails to tackle an impending hunger disaster. The UNICEF’s Deputy Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa said 386,000 children in Somalia require immediate treatment for acute malnutrition. This figure is higher than the 340,000 children who needed treatment during the 2011 famine. Further, the Regional Director said 1.7 million children across Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia need immediate treatment for severe acute malnutrition. The UNICEF official maintained the issue will not be addressed "if the world does not widen its gaze from the war in Ukraine." The UNICEF warning comes amid a consecutive failure of four rainy seasons in two years and likely failed monsoons next October-December. ("'Explosion of child deaths' imminent in Horn of Africa if world does not act immediately - UNICEF," UNICEF, 7 June 2022)

Cameroon: Nine civilians killed by soldiers, says government

On 7 June, the government said soldiers had killed nine villagers in the Northwest region; the victims included an 18-month-old child. The government termed the soldiers’ actions “manifestly disproportionate” and “hasty.” However, the Defence Ministry said the soldiers acted in self-protection after villagers refused to cooperate in a search for a missing comrade. The Ministry said four soldiers had been arrested and an investigation had been launched. (“Cameroon says soldiers killed nine villagers in "disproportionate" use of force,” Reuters, 7 June 2022)



Photo : picture-alliance/AP Images/Al-Hadji-Kudra Maliro

DRC: ADF attack in Ituri province claims dozens of lives


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 6 June 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

DRC: ADF attack in Ituri province claims dozens of lives

On 6 June, Al Jazeera reported that over 18 civilians had been killed in Ituri province amid the armed forces’ fight against the M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The army spokesperson confirmed the attack but did not mention the number of casualties; the armu blamed the Allied Democratic Forces for the attack. The regional chief estimated an initial death toll of 20. (“Over 18 people dead in rebel attack in eastern DR Congo,” Al Jazeera, 6 June 2022)

Nigeria: 50 people killed in a gunmen attack in a church

On 5 June, at least 50 people including children were reportedly killed in a gunmen attack in a Catholic church in southwestern Ondo state. Terming the attack “vile and satanic,'' Ondo Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said: “Our hearts are heavy, our peace and tranquillity have been attacked by the enemies of the people.” President Muhammadu Buhari released a statement: "Only fiends from the nether region could have conceived and carried out such dastardly act. No matter what, this country shall never give in to evil and wicked people, and darkness will never overcome light. Nigeria will eventually win." Though the country has regular events of gunmen attacks and ransom kidnappings, Ondo is a relatively peaceful region in Nigeria. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. ("‘Evil and wicked’: At least 50 killed in Nigeria church attack," Al Jazeera, 5 June 2022) 

Tunisia: Judges declare a strike against dismissal

On 5 June, over a hundred judges met and agreed to hold a week-long strike starting 6 June against Saeid’s decision. The Association of Judges’ president said the strike may be extended later. In the meeting, some dismissed judges said Saeid’ decision came after they refused intervention from the justice minister or others closely associated with Saeid. Previously, on 1 June, President Kais Saeid had dismissed 57 judges on allegations of corruption and protecting terrorists. (Tarek Amara, “Tunisian judges to strike for a week in protest over purge,” Reuters, 5 June 2022)



Photo : Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

AU delegation meets Putin; raises concern over grains and fertiliser shortage


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 3 June 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

AU delegation meets Putin; raises concern over grains and fertiliser shortage 

On 3 June, African Union Chairperson and Senegal’s President Macky Sall and AU Commission’s Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat met with Russia’s President Vladmir Putin in Moscow. Sall told Putin that though African countries were far from the war in Ukraine, they were “victims on an economic level.” Following the meeting, Sall tweeted that Putin had assured that Russia could ease Ukraine’s export of cereals and Russia’s export of wheat and fertiliser. Meanwhile, Russia blamed the West’s sanctions which impacted Russia’s exports. However, Germany rejected Russia’s position and accused Putin of attempting to frame the narrative “that it's the West that's responsible for the famine threatening Africa” and not Russia’s war in Ukraine. (“Africans 'victims' of the Ukraine war, AU head tells Putin,” Deutsche Welle, 3 June 2022)

UK to begin deportation to Rwanda on 14 June

On 3 June, BBC reported 17 asylum seekers near Sussex had launched a hunger strike after they received notices for deportation to Rwanda as part of the UK’s latest asylum deal. The hunger strike was launched after UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said the deportation of the first batch of asylum seekers would begin on 14 June. The Home Office did not specify the number of people that would be deported; however, an aid agency estimates around 100 asylum seekers who arrived in May have received warnings of deportation. (Mohamed Shalabey and Emir Nader, “Asylum seekers stage hunger strike as UK prepares Rwanda deportation,” BBC, 3 June 2022)

 



Photo : Anadolu Agency

Tunisia: President fires 57 judges alleging corruption and links to terrorists


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 02 June 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Tunisia: President fires 57 judges alleging corruption and links to terrorists
On 1 June, President Kais Saeid dismissed 57 judges on allegations of corruption and protecting terrorists. Saeid said before sacking the judges, he had provided “opportunity after opportunity and warning after warning to the judiciary to purify itself.” One of the judges had headed the Supreme Judicial Council which was replaced in February 2022. Saeid’s decision comes amid widespread opposition to his move to hold a referendum on the new constitution in July. (“Tunisian president sacks dozens of judges, tightening grip on judiciary,” France24, 2 June 2022)

Democratic Republic of the Congo: UN envoy urges military response to M23 rebellion
On 1 June, the UN Secretary General’s special representative to the Democratic Republic of the Congo said a strong military response was necessary to tackle the M23 rebellion. The UN official suggested other measures along with military operations were necessary, including a political solution through regional mechanisms and disarmament and reintegration of the rebels by the government. (Samba Cyuzuzo, “UN envoy urges 'strong response' against Congo rebels,” BBC, 2 June 2022)

Guinea: One protester allegedly killed by security forces in capital city 
On 1 June, one person was reportedly shot dead by security forces as people took to the streets in the capital Conakry protesting against a 20 per cent hike in gasoline prices. The security minister condemned the development and promised an investigation. A coalition of politicians said the security forces’ alleged actions was not in line with coup leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya’s claims when he seized power, wherein he criticized killings during demonstrations. (“One killed in first major protest under Guinea junta,” Reuters, 2 June 2022)



Photo : Anadolu Agency

Mali: UN peacekeeper killed in attack; military rejects report report on army killings


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 1 June 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Mali: UN peacekeeper killed in attack; military rejects report report on army killings 
On 1 June, the UN’s Mali mission said one of its peacekeepers had been killed and three injured in an attack on its convoy in Kidal region in the north. As many as 170 UN peacekeepers have been killed in Mali since it began its operation in 2013. The latest attack comes after the UN released a report which said over 500 civilians were killed in violence between Mali’s armed forces and rebel groups or Islamist militants. However, Mali’s military government rejected the report claiming that the allegations are “tedious, uncross-referenced, reported in non-contradictory ways, and not supported by any tangible evidence.” (“UN peacekeeper killed in Mali attack,” BBC, 1 June 2022; “Mali refutes UN report on alleged army killings,” BBC, 1 June 2022)

WHO official says Africa should not be sidelined in monkeypox fight
On 1 June, the WHO regional director for Africa said the world should avoid two different responses to the ongoing fight against monkeypox, one to the western world which was experiencing higher monkeypox transmission for the first time and another to Africa.The regional director outlined that the spread of monkeypox has changed and exemplified Nigeria wherein monkeypox was mostly in the south until 2019; by 2020, it had been reported in central, northern and eastern Nigeria. Therefore, the regional director highlighted the need to ensure availability and accessibility of vaccines against monkeypox to every community which requires it. (“'We must work together' - WHO says Africa must not be left behind in monkeypox fight,” News24, 1 June 2022)

World’s top 10 neglected displacement crises in Africa, says report 
On 1 June, the Norwegian Refugee Council released its annual report “The world’s most neglected displacement crisis in 2021.” For the first time, all top 10 countries facing the crises are African, with the Democratic Republic of the Congo being ranked first, for the second consecutive time. The other countries are in the following order: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, South Sudan, Chad, Mali, Sudan, Nigeria, Burundi, Ethiopia. The report results are based on three parameters: lack of international political will, lack of media attention, and lack of international aid. The report outlines the stark difference in which the international community responded to the Ukraine war and said: “The war in Ukraine has highlighted the immense gap between what is possible when the international community rallies behind a crisis, and the daily reality for the millions of people suffering far from the spotlight.” (“The world’s most neglected displacement crisis in 2021,” Norwegian Refugee Council, 1 June 2022)



Photo : Simon Wohlfahrt/AFP/Al Jazeera

Rwanda warns against attacks from the DRC


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 31 May 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Rwanda warns against attacks from the DRC
On 31 May, Rwanda’s foreign minister said Rwanda will respond if they are subject to more attacks, allegedly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The development comes after the DRC summoned Rwanda’s ambassador accusing the latter of supporting M23 rebels. The minister said Rwanda will not remain idle because it has the right to protect the security and citizens of the country. (Clement Uwiringiyimana, “Rwanda says 'will not sit idly by' if attacked in dispute with Congo,Reuters, 31 May 2022)

Over 500 civilians killed in three months, says UN report
On 30 May, the UN’s Mali mission (MINUSMA) released a report outlining that between January and March 2022 more than 500 civilians were killed in attacks by armed forces and Islamist groups. This indicated a 324 per cent rise in casualties compared to the same quarter in 2021. The MINUSMA report said the armed forces’ operations, sometimes supported by foreign elements, resulted in “serious allegations of violations of human rights.” The report said rights violations include alleged rape, looting, and arbitrary arrests by armed forces. (“Over 500 killed in Mali clashes as military junta loses grip,” Reuters, 31 May 2022)



Photo : BBC

Chad: Around 100 miners killed in clashes near the Libyan border


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 30 May 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar and Anu Maria Joseph

Chad: Around 100 miners killed in clashes near the Libyan border
On 30 May, BBC reported the government's claim that nearly 100 people had been killed and 40 injured in clashes between informal gold miners in the Kouri Bougoudi district near the border with Libya. The exact dates and casualties are unclear; the defence minister said the violence began after a minor dispute between two people escalated. The minister further said the clashes were between miners from Libya and Mauritania and that calm had been restored after a military contingent was sent to the area. However, the head of Chad's National Human Rights Commission estimated the death toll as around 200 and said the troops sent to restore calm had fired upon the people. (“Clashes between Chad gold miners leave 100 dead,” BBC, 31 May 2022)

EU building solidarity lanes to secure Ukraine’s exports to Africa
On 30 May, News24 reported European Union Commission president Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen’s virtual address to the African Union (AU) Extra-Ordinary Summit on 27 May. The EU Commission president said the EU was building solidarity lanes to help Ukraine export goods to Africa and other regions. The solidarity lane will connect Ukraine and Moldova to make a passage into Europe and thereby export at least 20 million tonnes of Ukraine’s wheat in less than three months. Von der Leyen also outlined that food security was critical in parts of the Horn of Africa, the Sahel and the Lake Chad region. (Lenin Ndebele, “EU comes up with 'solidarity lanes' to move grain from Ukraine to Africa,” News24, 30 May 2024)

Nigeria: 21 confirmed cases of monkeypox: NCDC
On 30 May, Aljazeera reported, that the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) said 21 confirmed cases of monkeypox with one death had been reported in the country in 2022. On 29 May, a statement released by NCDC said: "Among the 21 cases reported in 2022 so far, there has been no evidence of any new or unusual transmission of the virus, nor changes in its clinical manifestation documented (including symptoms, profile and virulence)". It said that the confirmed cases were reported in nine states including the capital Abuja. Six cases were confirmed in May alone. Though monkeypox is endemic in African countries of Nigeria, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the recent reports of more than 200 suspected and confirmed cases in over 19 countries have brought global concern. ("Nigeria CDC confirms 21 cases of monkeypox in 2022," Al Jazeera, 30 May 2022) 



Photo : AFP/The East African

UNSC extends sanctions on South Sudan; Foreign Ministry calls decision unproductive


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 27 May 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

UNSC extends sanctions on South Sudan; Foreign Ministry calls decision unproductive
On 26 May, the UN Security Council implemented a one-year extension on the sanctions regime on South Sudan. The sanctions include a travel ban, arms embargo, financial restrictions and freezing of assets of designated individuals. On 27 May, the South Sudan Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ministry's press release said the African Union had termed sanctions and arms embargo unproductive in February. The East African quoted from the statement which said the dismissal of the AU’s stance “shows an old hubris with no value for a world shaken by wars, including Africa and Europe.” (“Security Council Extends Sanctions on South Sudan, Adopting Resolution 2633 (2022) by 10 Votes in Favour, with 5 Abstentions,”  United Nations, 26 May 2022; “South Sudan slams UN over renewed arms embargo, sanctions,” The East African, 28 May 2022)

Senegal: Health minister fired after eleven babies die in hospital fire
On 27 May, BBC reported that health minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr had been fired after eleven newborn infants were killed in a fire at a hospital in Tivaouane city. The city mayor said a short circuit led to the fire. The news report quoted AFP which referred to local media reports saying the hospital was newly-inaugurated. Meanwhile, president Macky Sall declared a three-day mourning period in the country. The incident comes a year after four infants were killed in a hospital fire in 2021 in Linguere town, due to an electric fault. (Nicolas Négoce, “Senegal hospital fire: Eleven newborn babies die in Tivaouane,” BBC, 27 May 2022)



Photo : ValerySharifulin/TASS Host Photo Agency/MoscowTimes

Spain, UK express concern over Russia’s influence in Africa


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 26 May 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

AU commission chairperson outlines impact of Ukraine war on Africa
On 25 May, observing Africa Day, the African Union commission’s chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said the continent was a collateral victim of the Russia-Ukraine war. Mahamat added: “By profoundly upsetting the fragile global geopolitical and geostrategic balance, it has also cast a harsh light on the structural fragility of our economies.” Mahamat outlined the fragilities evident in the food crises and COVID-19 pandemic were amplified by the war. Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described Africa as a “home for hope,” adding that African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and Decade of Women’s Financial and Economic Inclusion lay out a bright future for Africa. (“AU chairperson says Africa a ‘collateral victim’ of Ukraine war,Al Jazeera, 25 May 2022)

Spain, UK express concern over Russia’s influence in Africa
On 25 May, Spain and the UK’s defence ministers said Russia’s influence and activities in Africa were a threat to NATO countries and called on NATO to address the issue. The ministers said the alleged involvement of Russian private military companies led to organised crime and terror in countries like Libya and Mali. The UK’s defence minister Ben Wallace said Russia should open a grain corridor for Ukraine to export its grains to rest of the world, holding that rising instability in Africa, along with hunger, could impact Europe. (“Spain, UK say Russian influence in Africa threatens NATO security,” Al Jazeera, 25 May 2022)



Photo : https://www.africanunion-un.org/history

Africa Day celebrated with focus on health and nutrition


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 25 May 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Africa Day celebrated with a focus on health and nutrition
On 25 May, the world celebrated Africa Day, a day commemorating the founding of the  Organization of African Unity in 1963, which later became the African Union. In 2022, the AU’s theme for the year is “Strengthening Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent.” The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “On this year’s Africa Day, the world must join together in solidarity with all Africans to strengthen food security, and put nutrition within reach of every person.” The Africa Day celebrations come alongside an extraordinary summit in Equitorial Guinea between 25 May to 28 May. (“Africa Day harps on nutrition as AU meets in Malabo,” Africanews, 25 May 2022; “UN Secretary-General's message on Africa Day,” United Nations, 25 May 2022)

Niger welcomes military ties with Germany
On 24 May, BBC reported Niger’s president Mohamed Bazoum’s appreciation of the military cooperation with Germany after he met with Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz in capital Niamey. Bazoum welcomed Germany’s decision to train Niger’s special forces tackling Islamist militants. The development came Scholz is on a three-day visit to Africa. (“Niger hails military ties with Germany on Scholz tour,” BBC, 24 May 2022)



Photo : AFP/BBC

UN condemns attack by M23 on its troops


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 23 May 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF 

by Apoorva Sudhakar

UN condemns attack by M23 on its troops
On 23 May, the UN condemned attacks on its peacekeepers by M23 and called for ceasing hostilities. On 22 May, violence erupted in North Kivu’s Rutshuru territory forcings thousands to flee to Uganda. Meanwhile, the M23 spokesperson accused the UN mission of shelling their position. The spokesperson also accused the UN mission of assisting other militia. (Samba Cyuzuzo, “UN condemns M23 attacks on its forces in DR Congo,” BBC, 23 May 2022)

German’s Chancellor meets Senegal’s President
On 22 May German Chancellor Olaf Scholz commenced his three-day Africa tour; Scholz said Germany would try restarting the export of grains from Ukraine to Africa. Scholz emphasised the importance of the steady transfer of fertilisers and energy and suggested Germany’s interest in helping Senegal build a gas field off Africa’s west coast. Senegal’s President Macky Sall said they are “interested in supplying gas to the European market.” (“Olaf Scholz: Germany will work to restart Ukrainian grain exports to Africa,” Deutsche Welle, 22 May 2022)

American firms warned against conducting business in Sudan
On 23 May, the US Department of State, Treasury and Labor warned American businesses and individuals against conducting business with State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) and military-controlled companies. The press release outlined a growing reputational risk and expressed concerns over human rights issues in Sudan. The concerns were attributed to the “recent actions undertaken by Sudan’s Sovereign Council and security forces under the military’s command.” (“U.S. Government Issues a Business Advisory for Sudan,” US Department of State, 23 May 2022; “US warns American firms against business in Sudan,” BBC, 24 May 2022)

Journalists association condemns using Black people’s images to cover monkeypox in UK and US
On 21 May, the Foreign Press Association, Africa (FPAA) criticised media outlets for using Black people's images to report monkeypox cases in the US and UK. The FPAA said: “We condemn the perpetuation of this negative stereotype that assigns calamity to the African race and privilege or immunity to other races.” The FPAA termed the action insensitive and called for the updating of their image policy. The FPAA said while the world is tackling racism and racial stereotypes, media should assist in propagating positive images and narratives. (“African journalists condemn media outlets for using images of Black people in coverage of US, UK monkeypox,” Business Insider US, 22 May 2022)



Photo : AP Photo/Ben Curtis

US to provide emergency assistance of USD 215 million to Africa for food security


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 20 May 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

US to provide emergency assistance of USD 215 million to Africa for food security
On 19 May, BBC reported that US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had announced that the US would provide USD 215 million in emergency aid to ten African countries to tackle food insecurity. The beneficiary countries are Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Cameroon, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Mauritania. Blinken announced the aid when he met several African foreign ministers in New York during a global food security meet. (Emmanuel Iguanza, “US injects $215m into Africa food security,” BBC, 19 May 2022)

Legal challenges have not affected asylum plans, says UK; Rwanda expects migrants by end of May
On 19 May, Rwanda’s deputy government spokesperson said the first batch of migrants to be relocated from the UK are scheduled to arrive by the end of May. However, the spokesperson said only the British government knows how many migrants will be relocated and when. Meanwhile, the UK Home Office spokesperson said: “The first flights are expected to take place in the coming months, legal action has not yet had any impact on this.” (“Rwanda to get first batch of asylum seekers from UK this May,” Al Jazeera, 20 May 2022; “Rwanda asylum plan 'not delayed by legal challenges',” BBC, 20 May 2022)

Burkina Faso: 11 soldiers killed in attack on an army base
On 19 May, the armed forces communications unit said 11 soldiers were killed and 20 injured in an attack on a base in Madjoari in the east. The unit’s statement said shrapnel and projectiles were used in the attack; further, the statement said 15 militants attempting to escape were killed by the military air support and called on all units to be combat-ready to tackle enemies. (Lalla Sy, “Burkina Faso loses 11 soldiers in army base attack,” BBC, 20 May 2022)

TPLF to release prisoners on amnesty
On 20 May, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front said 4,208 prisoners, including 401 women, would be released on amnesty. The prisoners centre’s coordinator said most prisoners had previously been captured outside Tigray “and others joined the fight in a forced conscription.” The coordinator said priority would be given to prisoners with illnesses, disabilities and women who delivered babies in detention. The development came after military commanders from the federal government and Tigray held talks. (“Ethiopia’s Tigray forces announce release of thousands of POWs,” Al Jazeera, 20 May 2022)



Photo : Brian WJ Mahy/Reuters/Al Jazeera

Monkeypox outbreaks during COVID-19 were contained, says Africa CDC


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 19 May 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Monkeypox outbreak during COVID-19 were contained in Africa, says CDC
On 18 May, the acting director of the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention Ahmed Ogwell Ouma said Africa had contained numerous outbreaks of monkeypox during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ouma’s remarks come as European countries and the US are reporting cases of the same and he termed the development concerning. Monkeypox cases are mostly recorded in western Africa and rarely spread to rest of the world; Ouma suggested that sharing knowledge would be useful to trace the source of the current outbreak. (“Africa contained monkeypox outbreaks during Covid-19 - Africa CDC,” Al Jazeera, 19 May 2022)

Kenya: 70 elephants killed in one year in drought 
On 19 May, the tourism minister told BBC that the ongoing drought in East Africa had claimed 70 elephants’ lives in Kenya’s Tsavo National Park. The minister said giraffes have also died in the drought and said the government is planning to create water pans using an old dam to prevent animal deaths. (Joice Etutu, “Drought killed 70 Kenyan elephants in one year,” BBC, 19 May 2022)

Democratic Republic of the Congo: 1.5 tonnes of ivory seized in Lubumbashi
On 19 May, police said five people had been arrested after 1.5 tonnes of elephant ivory was seized in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Lubumbashi city. The smuggled ivory was discovered on 14 May; a lawyer for an environmental groups coalition said the contraband could amount to the slaughter of 80 to 100 elephants. However, the origin and destination of the smuggled good are unclear. The latest seizure marks one of the largest hauls in Africa; in 2013 and 2014, Kenya and Togo respectively seized four tonnes of ivory each. (“DR Congo authorities seize 1.5 tonnes of elephant ivory,” Al Jazeera, 19 May 2022)



Photo : Reuters/BBC

Somalia: President welcomes redeployment of US troops


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 18 May 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Somalia: President welcomes redeployment of US troops
On 18 May, BBC reported president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud welcomed the US’ redeployment of troops in Somalia. The official Twitter account of Mohamud tweeted that the US had always been a reliable partner in Somalia’s “quest to stability and fight against terrorism.” The development comes after the Joe Biden administration approved the deployment of 600 American troops in Somalia on 16 May to participate in operations targeting al Shabaab. (“Somalia’s new president welcomes US redeployment,” BBC, 18 May 2022)

Uganda-DRC:  Kampala to withdraw troops in DRC within two weeks 
On 17 May, Uganda's land forces commander tweeted that Uganda would abide by the agreement with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and withdraw its troops from the latter in two weeks. Ugandan troops had been deployed in the DRC, along with Congolese troops, since December 2021 to tackle the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The commander said Operation Shujaa was scheduled to last only six months and unless there are further instructions, Uganda will not continue to station its troops in the DRC. ("Uganda says it will pull out troops from DR Congo," BBC, 18 May 2022)

Burkina Faso: No survivors found in flooded mine 
On 17 May, the government’s information service said no survivor had been found in the mine where eight miners had been trapped since 16 April. The statement said the rescue team did not find anyone in the refuge chamber, thereby suggesting that the miners could not have reached the chamber when the mine was flooded by torrential rains. The mine is owned by a Canadian firm, Trevali Mining Corp. (“Burkina Faso rescuers find no survivors in flooded mine chamber,” Al Jazeera, 18 May 2022)



Photo : Reuters/BBC

Somalia: Parliamentarians elect new president


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 16 May 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Somalia: Parliamentarians elect a new president
On 15 May, the Somali Members of Parliament elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the country’s new president. Mohamud had previously served as the president from 2012 to 2017; in the latest election, he secured 217 votes against incumbent president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmaajo) who won 110 votes. Mohamud was immediately sworn in after Farmaajo concened defeat. In the capital city, Somalis defied curfews and held celebrations welcoming the election results. (“Somalia elects Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as new president,” Al Jazeera, 15 May 2022; Mohamud Ali, “Celebrations in Mogadishu as Somalia gets new leader,” BBC, 16 May 2022)

Tunisia: Tunisians protest against president's political measures
On 15 May, capital city Tunis witnessed protests as Tunisians denounced rising food prices and President Kais Saeid’s political steps. BBC qouted a coordinator from the Citizens against the Coup who said the people were against Saeid’s new constitution and termed it “unilaterally drawn up.” Similarly, an official from the Ennahda Movement said the protests are likely to transform into hunger strikes and sit-ins. (“Thousands hold protests against Tunisia president,” BBC, 16 May 2022)



Photo : Ladji Bama/BBC

Burkina Faso: Search team reaches closer to trapped miners


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 13 May 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Burkina Faso: Search team reaches closer to trapped miners
On 12 May, the government said the rescue team searching for eight mine workers have reached closer to the location where they have been trapped since 16 April. The mine workers - six Burkina Faso nationals, one Tanzanian and one Zambian - work for a Canadian-owned zinc mine and were trapped after the mine was flooded. Meanwhile, the the mine managers have been restricted from leaving the country and the government has launched a judicial investigation. (“Burkinabe rescuers 'in race to reach trapped miners',” BBC, 12 May 2022)

Nigeria: Christian student killed over alleged blasphemy
On 12 May, a college student was killed over alleged blasphemy in Sokoto state, after she reportedly made a comment on Prophet Muhammad. The young Christian girl was burned in the college premises; following this, the state governor ordered the immediate closure of the college. On 13 May, BBC reported the police had arrested two suspects. (“Mob kills student over ‘blasphemy’ in northern Nigerian college,” Al Jazeera, 12 May 2022; Ishaq Khalid, “Two seized over alleged blasphemy Nigeria killing,” BBC, 13 May 2022)



Photo : Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters/ Al Jazeera

Nigeria: President asks ministers with intentions to run for elections to resign


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 12 May 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

By Apoorva Sudhakar

Nigeria: President asks ministers with intentions to run for elections to resign
On 11 May, the information minister conveyed President Muhammadu Buhari’s message to his cabinet members. The minister said Buhari had called on members of the Federal Executive Council running for the elective office to resign before 16 May 2022. Currently, five cabinet members intend to succeed Buhari in 2023. The development comes after an appellate court ruled that part of the electoral law amended in 2021 was unconstitutional because it prevented a section of Nigerians from participating in elections. (“Nigeria’s Buhari asks ministers with political ambition to resign,” Al Jazeera, 11 May 2022)

Togo: Eight soldiers killed by suspected terrorists
On 11 May, eight soldiers were killed and 13 wounded in an ambush in Togo’s north, along the border wit Burkina Faso. This is the first attack of such kind in Togo and is suspected to be carried out by terrorists who have been operating in neighbouring countries like Mali and Burkina Faso. However, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The development comes after Togo announced that it had agreed to act as a mediator in Mali’s political crisis on 5 May. (“Togo: Eight soldiers killed in attack by suspected ‘terrorists,” Al Jazeera, 11 May 2022)

Libya: Eastern-based parliament wants Bashagha to operate from Sirte
On 11 May, BBC reported that the eastern-based parallel parliament wanted Fathi Bashagha’s government to operate from Sirte. In February, the parliament in the east had appointed Bashagha as the new prime minister. The announcement is an indication that Bashagha cannot capture capital city Tripoli, which is currently under Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah. (“Libya MPs want rival PM to work from Sirte amid row,BBC, 11 May 2022)



Photo : Anadolu Agency

Burkina Faso: 50 terrorists killed in two operations, says military


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 11 May 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Burkina Faso: 50 terrorists killed in two operations, says military
On 10 May, BBC reported a military statement which said at least 50 terrorists had been killed in two operations on 9 May. The statement said the military conducted the operations against an ambush in the northwest near the border with Mali. The statement said a commando unit had launched an attack in the southwest near the border with Ivory Coast. (Will Ross, “At least 50 jihadists killed in Burkina Faso - army,” BBC, 10 May 2022)

Democratic Republic of the Congo: 14 including children killed in suspected militia attack
On 10 May, an army spokesperson said at least 14 people had been killed in a militia attack on a camp for displaced persons in eastern Ituri. The Kivu Security Tracker confirmed the attack and the president of a civil society groups’ association said most victims were children. Blaming the Cooperative for the Development of the Congo (CODECO) militia for the attack, the association president said: “It’s shocking to see children chopped up by machetes.” The latest attack comes less than a week after over 30 were killed in a similar attack - suspected to be by the CODECO militia - on a mining encampment on 8 May in Ituri. (“DR Congo: Rebels carry out deadly attack on refugee camp in Ituri,” Al Jazeera, 10 May 2022)

Zimbabwe: Human-elephant conflict claims 60 lives
On 10 May, a government spokesperson tweeted that the human-elephant conflict had claimed 60 lives and injured 50 people, until May 2022. In 2021, 72 people had lost their lives. The news report quoted wildlife expert Tinashe Farawo who maintained that the conflict is likely to increase as the herds will begin to move searching for food and water in the dry season. ("Elephants killed 60 Zimbabweans this year - official," BBC, 10 May 2022)



Photo : BBC

Somalia: Farmajo to run for second term


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 10 May 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Somalia: Farmajo to run for the second term
On 9 May, Somalia’s president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo announced that he would run for a second term in office for the upcoming presidential election on 15 May. Farmajo said his decision was a response to the “Somali people’s call.” The development comes as Somalia is facing a political crisis after Farmajo stayed in power after elections were postponed in February 2021, due to a delay in parliamentary elections. (“Somali president announces candidacy for second term,” BBC, 9 May 2022)

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Several killed in suspected militia attack in Ituri province
On 8 May, an army spokesperson confirmed that over a dozen people had been killed in an armed attack on a mining camp in Ituri province. Three civil society leaders estimated that 30 to 50 people had been killed and accused the CODECO militia of the attack. The latest attack comes after 60 people were killed in a camp for displaced people and 18 were killed at a church in February. (“Dozens dead after suspected militia raid in eastern DRC,” Al Jazeera, 9 May 2022)

Aviation fuel shortage disrupts flights
On 9 May, BBC reported that the Airports Company of South Africa was trying to rectify the fuel shortage at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport after 14 flights were cancelled. The Central Energy Fund said if suppliers were unable to provide aviation fuel, it would help the international airlines for refuelling. The rail network providing fuel supply to the OR Tambo airport is operating only partially after it was damaged by the recent floods in Durban. Previously, in Nigeria, on 7 May, the Airline Operators of Nigeria said it would suspend all flights from 9 May because of the rise in fuel jet prices. The AON said cited the rise in prices due to Ukraine and said: “No airline in the world can absorb this kind of sudden shock from such an astronomical rise over a short period.” (Vumani Mkhize “Flights cancelled as Johannesburg hit by fuel shortage,” BBC, 9 May 2022; “Nigerian airlines suspend flights over soaring jet fuel prices,” Al Jazeera, 7 May 2022)



Photo : BBC

Somalia: Members of the federal parliament set to choose a new president


CWA # 730, 8 May 2022 The World This Week #169, Vol. 4, No. 18

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

By Ashwin Dhanabalan and Angkuran Dey 

Somalia: Members of the federal parliament set to choose a new president 
On 6 May, Somalia's lawmakers announced that they would select a new president by 15 May. Somalia has faced a protracted political crisis due to a civil war. The election process in the country had been destabilised by Al-Shabaab attacks and the political feud between the president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and the prime minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble. Furthermore, the IMF will also be reviewing its budget for Somalia on 17 May. One of the criteria for funding from the IMF is that the country must establish a new government before the stipulated time. Somalia depends on IMF funds for their necessities.

Guinea: Opposition parties condemn the proposed 39-month transition period to civilian rule
On 1 May, the opposition parties in Guinea unitedly condemned Colonel Mamady Doumbouya's announcement of the 39-month transition period to civilian rule. This comes as the UN chief Antonio Guterres called on the military regimes in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea to hand back power to the civilians. Doumbouya said he had chosen a "median proposal" as the army dominated forum suggested a transition period of 18 and 52 months. 

Togo: President Gnassingbe agrees to mediate in Mali
On 5 May, Togo's president Faure Gnassingbe mentioned that he had agreed to act as a mediator in the political crisis of Mali. Mali's foreign minister Abdoulaye Diop said: "We asked President Faure Gnassingbe to use his good office, wisdom and experience to facilitate dialogue with regional actors and more broadly dialogue with the entire international community." This comes as the military regime faces pressure to re-establish its civilian rule. The government had assured to restore civilian power, but with it failing to meet its commitments, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has placed sanctions on Mali. 

ECOWAS: leaders of the region agree to a regional strategy to tackle global warming
On 5 May, leaders of the Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mentioned that they have agreed to implement a regional strategy to counter global warming over the next ten years. The members agreed to spend USD 294 billion to deal with the climate crisis. The ECOWAS Commissioner for agriculture, environment and water resources Sekou Sangare mentioned how the strategy would raise awareness towards changing lifestyles and combating global warming. In the long run, the bloc also aims to create a regional policy that aligns with the Paris climate agreement.

Nigeria: UN chief visits Abuja and meets president Muhammadu Buhari
On 5 May, Nigeria's president thanked UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, for his visit to the country. Buhari was thankful as Nigeria felt the West had shifted its focus on Eastern Europe amid the War in Ukraine. Guterres said he visited Nigeria to express his solidarity with the victims of terrorism. Concerning Nigeria's battle against the Islamist groups, Buhari said: "When we assumed office, the North-East was the major security problem we inherited in 2015, but we have been able to make people understand that you cannot kill people and shout 'Allahu Akbar."



Photo : Anadolu Agency

Mali terminates defence accord with France over security violations


Conflict Weekly #122, 04 May 2022, Vol.3, No.5 An initiative by NIAS-IPRI and KAS-India Office

GP Daily Brief |

IN FOCUS

by Anu Maria Joseph

In the news
On 3 May, the Mali government announced the termination of defence ties with France, condemning multiple violations of its sovereignty by the French troops. In a statement, the military spokesperson, colonel Abdoulaye Maiga said: "For some time now, the government of the Republic of Mali notes with regret a profound deterioration in military cooperation with France." The accords that Mali ended were the framework for France's intervention in Mali, which was signed on 1 August 2014 to fight against Islamist militancy.
He cited multiple instances of French forces violating the country's air space. He also referred to France's decision on 3 June 2021 to end the joint military operation and on 17 February 2022 to withdraw its troops. A French foreign ministry spokesperson called the junta's decision "unjustified". He said: "France considers that this decision is unjustified and absolutely contests any violation of the bilateral legal framework".

The announcement came following the Mali junta accused the French army of "spying" and violating its airspace after Paris released drone footage of mass burial by "Russian mercenaries" at a former French military base. With the end of the agreement, France and European forces can no longer enter and move freely within the country.

Issues at large
First, Mali-France defence ties. France's defence ties with Mali began in January 2013 as Operation Serval, helping the government in their fight to clear Islamic militants from their urban stronghold in northern Mali. Turning into a prolonged conflict, Operation Serval was transformed into Operation Barkhane in August 2014. The objective was to provide continued counterterrorism support to the G5 Sahel member states. Approximately, 2,400 of France's 4,300 troops deployed in the Sahel were stationed in Mali scattered between the large base at Gao, others at Kidal, Timbuktu, Tessalit and Gossi. However, in February, France withdrew its troops from Mali following the breakdown of its relations with the country.

Second, growing tensions between France and Mali. Tensions between France and the military government increased since the coup in August 2020, reaching their peak with the second coup in May 2021. The relationship worsened as the junta resisted international pressure to oblige at the given time, returning to a democratic civilian rule. Besides, France opposed the junta's efforts to negotiate peace with the jihadist groups. Whereas Mali publicly accused France of training "terrorist groups" in the region and expelled the French ambassador. The growing presence of the Kremlin-linked security firm Wagner of deploying in Mali fuelled the tensions. These major disagreements, coupled with alleged abuses by the French troops, the failure of Operation Barkhane with further deterioration of the security situation in Sahel, France, witnessed a popular drawback.

Third, Russian involvement. The military junta has built closer links with Russia after its relations severed with the West, particularly France. Russia's presence in Mali positions itself to fill the power vacuum as French and European forces withdraw. Nearly 1000 Russian officials and instructors from the mercenary, the Wagnor group, are deployed. The government claims that the Russians are military instructors helping to restore order. However, the United Nations has accused the Wagnor of human rights violations, including indiscriminate killing alongside the regional forces. The suspected role of Russian mercenaries participating in an operation with Mali's army in March, in which about 300 civilians were allegedly killed over five days has raised concerns.

In perspective
First, the end of a long term relationship points to France's reluctance toward Mali's governance crisis, despite the rhetoric calling for democratization and Mali's resistance towards France's overwhelmingly militarized approach and involvement in its internal affairs.

Second, taking advantage of widespread anti-French sentiments and lack of trust in state institutions, the transitional military government seems to have captured public support that it is better capable than France and democratically elected officials.

Third, for Mali, the Russian involvement introduces a partner capable of fighting the jihadists without binding to the Western demands to respect human rights and pursue democratic governance. The new partnership, not concerned itself with trivialities like democracy, is likely to make the democratic transition difficult.


IN BRIEF

By Padmashree Anandhan, Sruthi Sadhasivam, Vijay Anand Panigrahi, Lavanya Ravi, and Sejal Sharma

Somalia: Al-Shabaab attacks African Union troops and kills three
On 31 April, Al- Shabaab terrorist group attacked the African Union peacekeeping mission in the Shabelle region in central Somalia. Three civilians died and five others were injured in the violence. Witnesses noted that it was a predawn attack and that the group had used two helicopters with gunfire targeting the military base in El Baraf. It took complete control of the base after defeating the peacekeeping forces. So far, the group has been targeting to overthrow the government and impose its interpretation of Islamic Sharia law on the Somali people.

Central African Republic: Wagner group involved in atrocities against civilians
On 31 April, a report released by Human Rights Watch stated that Russian mercenaries, especially the Wagner Group has been involved in torture and killing of civilians in the Central African Republic over the last three years. Last year, 12 unarmed men were killed at a roadblock by mercenaries. Wagner Group was also implicated in the massacre of 300-500 civilians in central Mali in late March. The role of Russian military contractors in Africa is on an unprecedented rise. Russia is aiming to expand its political influence to gain more revenue from Africa's natural resources by utilizing mercenaries. 

Senegal: UN secretary-general warns of triple crisis in Africa 
On 1 May, UN secretary general Antonio Guterres visited Senegal. In a meeting with Senegal's president Macky Sall, he discussed the impact of the Ukraine war on Africa. The Ukraine war has been driving up food prices all over the world and it could push the people of Africa into extreme hunger leading to political instability and violence. The Ukraine war adds another dimension to the already existing crises of climate change, covid-19 pandemic and ethnic conflicts in Africa, especially the Sahel region. Global Crisis Reponse Group on Food, Energy and Finance (GCRG) has termed this phenomenon a 'cascading crisis.' The UN estimates a quarter of a billion people could be pushed into extreme poverty this year because of the Ukraine war.



Photo : AFP

African Union: The EU fulfils its commitment to the AU's peace and security initiative


CWA # 728, 1 May 2022 The World This Week #168, Vol. 4, No. 167

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

By Ashwin Dhanabalan, Angkuran Dey and Meghna Manoj

African Union: The EU fulfils its commitment to the AU's peace and security initiative
On 28 April, the EU started funding the African Union (AU) peace and security initiatives and has allocated RAND 10 billion for the next three years. This comes as the EU seeks to fulfil its promise to Africa's heads of state and the AU following the sixth AU-EU summit, held in February. The EU mentioned: "The EU does not lose sight of its partnerships with other parts of the world, especially Africa, fully recognising the importance of addressing crises and violent conflict on the African continent jointly and in a comprehensive way."

IMF: Report on possible social unrest in Africa due to rising food and energy prices
On 28 April, the International Monetary Fund(IMF) cited possible social unrest and havoc in Africa, especially in the Sahara region, due to surging prices of food and oil caused by the war in Ukraine. The head of the IMF's African department Abebe Aemro Selassie said: "Fuel price increases feed into transportation costs, and people providing goods and services will raise their prices because they are now facing higher input costs." Many African states, hit hard by the pandemic, face the brunt of rising inequality, poverty rates and increased prices of essential goods.

Nigeria: Senate outlaws ransom payments 
On 27 April, Nigeria's Senate passed a bill imposing a jail term of up to 15 years for paying a ransom to free any individual who has been kidnapped. In addition, the bill has made the crime of abduction punishable by death in the cases where victims die. The bill serves as a mandate for Nigeria's terrorism law at a time when increasing gang kidnappings have killed thousands of people across the country. The chairman of the Senate's judiciary human rights and legal committee, Opeyemi Bamidele, said: "this would discourage the rising spate of kidnapping and abduction for ransom in Nigeria, which is fast spreading across the country."  

Democratic Republic of Congo: Resurgence of the Ebola virus 
On 27 April, a new Ebola virus outbreak in the DRC raised concerns about regional and international transmission risks. The resurgence of the virus in Northwestern DRC has left two dead, with 267 close contacts being identified in the town of Mbandaka. WHO stated: "The risk of regional and international spread of this epidemic cannot be ruled out as the town of Mbandaka borders the Congo River and has river and land connections with the capital Kinshasa, the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and Angola." However, the WHO has described the current risk as 'low' at an international level and 'moderate' at a regional level.



Photo : CNN

UK-Rwanda: Agreement to relocate asylum seekers sparks criticism


Conflict Weekly #121, 27 April 2022, Vol.3, No.4 An initiative by NIAS-IPRI and KAS-India Office

GP Daily Brief |

IN FOCUS

by Apoorva Sudhakar

In the news

On 22 April, Rwanda's president Paul Kagame defended the latest agreement with the UK to relocate asylum seekers to Kigali and said his country was not "trading human beings." Kagame said the UK had approached Rwanda because of how the latter handled Libyans after 2018 when he decided that Rwanda would shelter migrants attempting to cross to Europe who got stuck in Libya.

On 24 April, the UK government's legal department said a "refugee pushback" policy framed earlier to push back refugees arriving on dinghies from France through the English Channel had been withdrawn.  

On 20 April, Denmark's immigration minister said they were engaging with Rwanda to frame a process to transfer asylum seekers from Denmark to the latter. The minister said this would "ensure a more dignified approach than the criminal network of human traffickers that characterizes migration across the Mediterranean today."

Issues at large

First, the case of asylum seekers in the UK. The UNHCR estimates that the UK received 63 per cent more asylum applications in 2021, accounting for the highest number of applications in nearly two decades. The UK received 48,450 asylum applications in 2021; Iran, with 9800 applications, was the top nationality applying for asylum in the UK. Other countries included Eritrea, Albania, Iraq and Syria.

Second, profile of the Asylum Partnership Arrangement. Under the latest deal, also known as the Asylum Partnership Agreement, the UK would relocate asylum seekers who arrived in the country irregularly, by boats and trucks, to Rwanda to process the asylum requests. The asylum seekers would receive five years of training, integration, accommodation, and health care in Rwanda. After five years, the asylum seekers may choose to continue living in Rwanda. The UK believes this agreement would ensure the safety of migrants, deter migrants from taking dangerous routes, and tackle people smugglers. The UK has already paid 120 million pounds to Rwanda for a pilot project.

Third, response to the agreement. The UNHCR termed the deal a violation of international law and said it does not come within the "States' responsibility to take care of those in need of protection." The UN said the deal would increase risks as refugees opt for other routes. In Rwanda, the opposition asked the government to address issues which forced Rwandans to flee.

Fourth, the UK's anti-immigration position. The latest plan comes amid the UK government's larger anti-immigrant move. Like the now-withdrawn "refugee pushback" policy, the UK had also framed the nationality and borders bill. The UK Home Secretary had claimed the bill would ensure a safe and legal route for asylum seekers arriving in the UK; later, the Home Office reportedly admitted that the bill does not provide for any government-backed route.

In perspective

First, the UK's plan to relocate asylum seekers to Rwanda is ambiguous on various fronts, including what would happen to those whose asylum requests are rejected by Rwanda. Further, several questions have been raised regarding the state of human rights in Rwanda. In 2021, the UK also expressed concerns over Rwanda's alleged inaction against reports of curbs on civil and media freedom, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearances.

Second, in 2021, Denmark passed legislation to achieve its zero-refugee goal. Therefore, the UK's deal with Rwanda would act as an example to other countries like Denmark to pursue relocating asylum seekers to third countries.

Third, prior to the UK, Australia and Israel had adopted similar policies. The EU, too, signed a deal with Turkey wherein the latter would host asylum seekers who arrived in the EU countries. However, the results have varied and have not proved that relocation policies necessarily deter asylum seekers.


IN BRIEF

By Padmashree Anandhan, Lavanya Ravi, Sruthi Sadhasivam

Ethiopia: TPLF forces withdraw from Afar
On 25 April, TPLF spokesperson Getachew Reda stated that Trigray rebel forces have withdrawn from the region of Afar in Ethiopia. However, the Afar police commissioner said several districts in the region, the presence of rebels is still felt. TPLF forces have withdrawn in hopes of food aid arriving in Tigray upon their removal. The Ethiopian government has not given any statement yet, and it remains unclear if this was a negotiated move with Addis Ababa. The rebel withdrawal is a milestone in the Ethiopian conflict. The pull-out of forces by TPLF follows a ceasefire agreement a month ago where forces agreed to stop the violence as long as sufficient aid was promptly delivered to the region.

Sudan: West Darfur tribal massacre leaves a hundred dead and wounded
On 25 April, deadly attacks between the Arab and Masalit tribes in Kereinik, West Darfur, left 168 people dead and ten people injured. Eyewitnesses claim the joint forces deployed in the region for peacekeeping were responsible for the atrocities and violence in the area. People claim the joint forces withdrew as soon as the violence began. The attack lasted for six hours, claiming the lives of various people, including teachers, police officers, worshippers and children. The death toll is high because the injured were unable to reach the nearest El Geneina Hospital in time. The victims consider the withdrawal of the joint forces an unforgivable crime.

Mali and Burkina Faso: Soldiers and civilians killed in attacks
On 24 April, vehicles parked with explosives were ridden into military camps in central Mali. The attacks took place before dawn and claimed the lives of 15 soldiers and six civilians. The attacks were claimed by Katiba Macina, a group part of an Al-Qaeda linked alliance operating in the Sahel region. The three were hit in a near-simultaneous attack, within 5 minutes of each other. The military stated: "The situation is under control. The FAMa (Malian armed forces) are combing through the target sectors and security measures are being reinforced." UN Mission for Mali has received a request seeking the deployment of a rapid intervention force to the camps.

Horn of Africa: Severe drought causes a crisis for children
The number of kids facing severe drought conditions across the Horn of Africa has expanded by more than 40 per cent over about two months, cautions UNICEF. From February to April, the number of kids facing the effect of dry spells, including hunger, malnutrition and thirst, grew from 7.25 million to 10 million. This climate-induced emergency has increased UNICEF's emergency appeal from 119 USD million to 250 USD million. UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa stated: "We need to act now to save children's lives – but also to protect childhoods. Children are losing their homes, their education and their right to grow up safe from harm. They deserve the world's attention now."



Photo : Anadolu Agency

Tunisia: Kaïs Saïed interferes in the electoral body's functioning


CWA # 725, 24 April 2022 The World This Week #167, Vol. 4, No. 16

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

By Ashwin Dhanabalan, Angkuran Dey and Meghna Manoj

Tunisia: Kaïs Saïed interferes in the electoral body's functioning 
On 22 April, Tunisia's president Kaïs Saïed issued a decree replacing the independent electoral commission members with his own appointees. The commission was one of the last independent bodies in the country since Saïed took over executive powers and dissolved the parliament in 2021. In his decree, Saïed declared that he would be selecting three of the existing nine members of the electoral commission to stay on, who would be serving as a new-seven member panel alongside three judges and an information technology specialist.  

Cameroon: Biya inks a military pact with Moscow
On 16 April, Cameroon became the latest African country to sign a military deal with Russia in a meeting in Moscow. The deal is said to cover weaponry, intelligence gathering and training, and the exchange of UN peacekeepers. However, with the agreement, Cameroon's president, Paul Biya, appears not to be severing ties with France but rather widening his sources of support in the war against Boko Haram militants in the country's north.

Rwanda: Paul Kagame denies allegations surrounding UK asylum deal 
On 22 April, Rwanda's president Paul Kagame during a virtual seminar with US Brown University denied allegations of human trading. This aligns with the controversial USD 15 million deal with the UK about relocating asylum seekers arriving in the UK to Rwanda for processing and resettlement. Kagame added: "We are not trading human beings, please, we are actually helping." He further mentioned that the UK had approached Rwanda because of their efficient management of Libyan refugees in 2018.



Photo : AP Photo/Ben Curtis

Africa: UN allocates USD 100 million in aid to fight hunger


Conflict Weekly #120, 20 April 2022, Vol.3, No.3 An initiative by NIAS-IPRI and KAS-India Office

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

By Padmashree Anandhan, Sejal Sharma, and Vijay Anand Panigrahi

Africa: UN allocates USD 100 million in aid to fight hunger 
On 14 April, the United Nations released USD 100 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) towards relief projects in six African countries and Yemen. The CERF enables humanitarian assistance in crisis situations. This aid is directed towards enabling UN agencies in providing critical relief measures such as medical, nutritional and monetary aid. The funding will support humanitarian operations to battle food insecurity across the Horn of Africa region and Yemen, mainly driven by armed conflict, drought and economic turmoil. More than 4.5 million people are expected to be soon pushed into poverty, destitution and hunger.

South Africa: Death toll rises to 443 after devastating floods
On 18 April, KwaZulu Natal province accounted for 443 deaths, including two emergency workers and 63 people missing after the destructive flooding caused by torrential rains that started on 12 April. The storm has displaced more than 40,000 people and has caused extreme damage to infrastructure in the region. The government has declared a nationwide state of disaster and has deployed more than 10,000 military troops to assist with rescue operations. The military would also contribute to medical and relief measures ongoing at the local level. Climate change and changing weather patterns in the region have contributed to frequent extreme weather phenomena in recent times.



Photo : BBC/AFP

South Africa: Fatalities rise in Durban floods


CWA # 719, 17 April 2022 The World This Week #166, Vol. 4, No. 15

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

By Ashwin Dhanabalan, Angkuran Dey and Meghna Manoj 

South Africa: Fatalities rise in Durban floods
On 14 April, as unprecedented floods hit Durban with dozens still reported missing, the death toll has now climbed to 341. With lines of transport being hit in the region, sending supplies has become an arduous task as rescuers battle the calamity. The premier of the KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, stated: “The level of devastation of human life, infrastructure, and service delivery network in the province is unprecedented. A total number of 40,723 people have been affected.”  

Mali: EU ends its trading session with armed forces, citing Russian interference
On 12 April, the EU’s diplomat Josep Borrell announced that the EU would halt its training with Mali’s armed forces. This is because the authorities in Mali had failed to assure the EU that Russian military contractors would not interfere in the work. Borrell added: “We have decided to suspend, to stop, certain formations of our training mission in Mali focused on the units of the armed forces of the Malian national guard.” Mali and Russia have been defending their position by stating that the Wagner Group had sent trainers and not mercenaries to help its troops with equipment brought from Russia. 



Photo : Al Jazeera

Nigeria: Over 100 killed in another gunmen attack


Conflict Weekly #119, 13 April 2022, Vol.3, No.2 An initiative by NIAS-IPRI and KAS-India Office

GP Daily Brief |

IN FOCUS

by Apoorva Sudhakar

In the news
On 12 April, the Associated Press reported that gunmen had killed over 100 people across four villages in Plateau state, in central Nigeria, on 10 April. The death toll has not been confirmed; witnesses said nearly 130 had died as the gunmen ransacked and set fire to homes. The news report quoted a government statement wherein the state governor promised: “to make it difficult for terrorists and other criminals to set their bases in any part of the state.”
On the same day, the BBC reported mass burials conducted in the villages. The BBC estimated the death toll at 150 and said most victims were men and children; several residents are still fleeing to neighbouring villages. The news report quoted survivors who said security forces arrived nearly a day after the attacks. 

Issues at large
First, Nigeria’s gunmen problem. The gunmen, also known as bandits, have been operating in northwestern parts of Nigeria. They carry out frequent attacks and raids across villages; often, these raids are accompanied by mass killings or kidnapping for ransom. Several bandit groups are speculated to be linked to Boko Haram or the Islamic State West Africa Province.

Second, poverty and resource conflict as a cause. The Centre of Democracy and Development (CDD) for West Africa estimates hundreds of bandit groups from the Hausa and Fulani communities working with militants in the northwest. The CDD outlines that poverty in northwestern states is higher than the national average, and therefore, several community members turn to kidnappings and related activities as it is a source of easy money. Further, such attacks have also been linked to the larger conflict over resources between Hausa and Fulani communities in northwestern. These are farmer and cattle herder communities, respectively and therefore, clash over water and land resources.

Third, the government’s response. In January, the Nigerian government classified the activities of bandits as “acts of terrorism and illegality.” Security forces were directed to conduct air raids to target these groups. However, such actions have failed to quell the attacks. Instead, bandit groups seem to outnumber and outwit security forces. On several occasions, the government officials have negotiated with bandits for the release of victims. Details of such negotiations have not been made public, thereby raising questions of transparency and accountability. 

Fourth, the human cost of banditry. In January 2022, The East African referred to data collected by the Council on Foreign Affairs, which revealed that Nigeria witnessed 10,938 deaths in 2021. Of this, 4,835 were civilian deaths, and the rest were security personnel bandits (including kidnappers) and terrorists. Similarly, several schools were shut after bandits conducted mass abductions of school children over 2021; close to 1,500 children were kidnapped in 2021 during different attacks.

In perspective
First, the increasing frequency of attacks shows that the government response has been inadequate. Government measures like air raids and labelling bandits as terrorists do not address the root problem of the conflict. Instead, it provides only short-term solutions. 

Second, the issue is spreading now from the northwest to other regions. The activities of bandits in central Nigerian states indicate that bandits are expanding their bases. 

Third, poverty and competition over resources have manifested into violent crimes, indiscriminate killings and abductions. These criminal activities have led to insecurities, like the closure of schools, hindering socio-economic development in the northwest. Therefore, the region is stuck in a cycle wherein poverty has led to conflict resulting in a lack of development and vice versa.


IN BRIEF

by Padmashree Anandhan, Sejal Sharma, Vijay Anand Panigrahi, and Lavanya Ravi

Sudan: Protests over Bashir regime
On 11 April, protestors gathered in Khartoum and other cities to mark the third anniversary of ousting of former leader Omar al-Bashir. Protestors blocked main roads, burned tires, banged drums, and chanted revolutionary slogans. Bashir was overthrown in a coup by his top generals after three years of unpopular rule, and the new government was formed through a power-sharing agreement between the generals. The arrangement lapsed on 25 October when the military leaders staged a coup, and the country stepped into chaos. 

Sudan: Agreement to end the civil war
On 13 April, South Sudan President Salva Kiir ordered the unification of military officers to the vice-president, Riek Machar into the army as a unified force. The decision is seen as a peace process taken towards the Horn of Africa. Kiir and Machar’s arm forces signed an agreement in 2018 to bring the civil war to an end. But due to lag in the peace process and clash between opponents forces over the problem of power-sharing. On 8 April, two leaders met to submit the list of military officers to be included in the security services. The spokesperson of the SPLM-IO party called it a positive step to stop the ceasefire violations.

Mali: Russia blocks the UNSC plan to investigate Moura massacre 
On 8 April, the UNSC proposal to investigate into Moura massacre in Mali was blocked by Russia and China. The statement of the UNSC, it pointed out the concerns raised by the member countries on human rights violations and abuses taking place in Mali. It called for an independent investigation to track those responsible for such violations, but with Russia and China opposing the move, the proposal was called off. The Mali officials claimed that 203 jihadists had been neutralized, which is now being demanded by the UNSC for enquiry.

Democratic Republic of Congo: 20 civilians killed in an attack in Ituri
On 11 April, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on the killing of 20 civilians by assaulters (M-23 group rebels). The assaulters were responsible for looting homes and shops. According to OCHA, taking the recent killings into count, the total number of civilians killed in the past week was 40. Due to the violence, displacement of people is constant, and the workers from the aid organizations have become the targets. To help the displaced, UNHCR has been providing shelter facilities and non-food items for their basic survival. The M-23 group announced its withdrawal from the villages of DRC after clashes with the government troops.



Photo : UN News/ICC

Sudan: Former militia leader denies committing war crimes at ICC trial


The World This Week #165, Vol. 4, No. 14

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

By Ashwin Dhanabalan, Angkuran Dey and Meghna Manoj

Sudan: Former militia leader denies committing war crimes at ICC trial
On 5 April, the former militia leader of Sudan, Ali Muhammad, who had been accused of leading thousands of pro-government fighters in Darfur into committing a series of humanitarian excesses, denied all allegations at the landmark trial in Hague. However, he has been accused of 31 war crimes and crimes against humanity. The pillage in the Darfur region had left around 300,00 people dead, and millions were displaced. 

Burkina Faso: Ex-President Roch Kabore released from house arrest 
On 7 April, the former president Kabore, who had been kept under house arrest since the country's military takeover, was released. The interim government has promised to take additional security measures towards guaranteeing his safety. Security measures come as tensions remain high over the verdict to hand out a life sentence for the former president. President Blaise Compaoré was unseated in the 2014 uprising. This came after the West African leaders had called for the leader's release and laid out an acceptable timeline for a return to democracy. 

Mali: HRW opens investigation into the alleged massacre in Moura 
On 5 April, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) alleged that the Malian forces and Russian mercenaries executed 300 civilians in an anti-jihadist operation. Local witnesses said hundreds of men were executed in small groups during the anti-jihadist operation on 23 March in the central town of Moura. Witnesses also claim that over 100 Russians were also involved in the operation. West Africa Director at HRW stated: “The Malian government is responsible for this atrocity, the worst in Mali in a decade, whether carried out by Malian forces or associated foreign soldiers.”



Photo : Anadolu Agency

Tunisia: Another political deadlock, as President dissolves the Parliament


Conflict Weekly #118, 6 April 2022, Vol.3, No.01 An initiative by NIAS-IPRI and KAS-India Office

GP Daily Brief |

IN FOCUS

by Apoorva Sudhakar

In the news
On 30 March, President Kais Saied dissolved the Parliament. Saied said: "Today, at this historic moment, I announce the dissolution of the Assembly of Representatives of the people, to preserve the state and its institutions." Saied added: "We must protect the state from division … We will not allow the abusers to continue their aggression against the state." Earlier, on the same day, parliamentarians met virtually and voted to repeal a presidential decree which had suspended the Parliament in July 200. The meeting was led by the former parliamentary speaker and leader of the opposition party Ennahda, Rached Ghannouchi. Saied termed the meeting as a coup attempt and maintained that elections will not be held within three months. Instead, he said there would be a new draft constitution for a referendum in July and elections would be held in December.

On 1 April, Ghannouchi said the anti-terrorism police had summoned him for questioning; several other parliamentarians in the virtual meeting were also summoned.

Issues at large
First, Saied's power grab. The dissolution of the Parliament comes eight months after Saied suspended Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and the Parliament in July 2021. Saied invoked Article 80 and assumed executive powers; he replaced cabinet ministers with acting ministers. In September 2021, Saied announced to rule by decree wherein he could appoint a cabinet and draft and implement policies without objections. In December 2021, Saied extended the suspension until December 2022 and said elections would be held on 17 December. The date marks the beginning of the Tunisian Revolution which sparked the Arab Spring in 2011. In February, Saied also issued a decree to abolish the High Judicial Council and establish the Supreme Judiciary Council. With this, Saied gained powers to select, promote, appoint and transfer, and act as a disciplinary chamber to remove judges.

Second, the debate on the constitution. In 2014, Tunisia adopted a new constitution; Saied, however, opines: "This constitution is based on putting locks everywhere and institutions cannot proceed with locks or deals." The current constitution provides for the direct election of the President and a coalition elects the PM. Saied has been calling for a transition to a presidential system, while the opposition prefers a full parliamentary system. The largest opposition party, Ennahda, rejected the idea of rewriting the constitution and said, deviating from the 2014 constitution implies moving away from democracy.

Third, sentiments on the ground. Tunisians have been holding demonstrations against Saied's power grab. Al Jazeera quoted several protesters who said that Saied's has failed to see the ground reality; Tunisia has been undergoing an economic crisis and unemployment, exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. In January, Saied launched an online poll to assess the public's opinion on rewriting the constitution. However, less than six per cent of the voters participated in the poll.

In perspective
First, over the last year have Tunisia has been in a political fix. Under the Kais Saied administration, Tunisia is witnessing one of the most tumultuous periods since the 2011 revolution. People have lost hopes for a better future as they bear the brunt of a political and economic crisis.

Second, the move to suspend and dissolve the Parliament, and interfere in the judicial process has helped Saied solidify his power. Therefore, Saied's decisions have been taking Tunisia further away from the democratic reforms that the revolution had once envisioned.


IN BRIEF

By Padmashree Anandhan, Sejal Sharma, Satyam Dubey, and Vijay Anand Panigrahi

Mali: Army reports the killing of combatants in a military operation
On 2 April, Mali's army killed 203 combatants in an operation with the UN peacekeeping mission. The operation took place in the Mora region, where the army sized a large number of weapons and arrested 51. In the statement issued by Mali's military, it reported that after information on social media on the killing of 300 civilians, it said that through the operation 300 terrorists were neutralized. According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, "disastrous consequences for the civilian population."

Somalia: The UNSC votes to authorize AMISOM
On 1 April, the UNSC voted uniformly to approve African Union's new transitional mission in Somalia  (AMISOM) to give the legal authority to act against armed groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS. AMISOM located in the Horn of Africa has been involved in building peace and security along with the AU Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). The recent years have been chaotic in Somalia due to the al-Shabab group and the rise of ISIL-linked armed groups. The US Deputy Ambassador Richard Mills said: "The ATMIS mandate provides the opportunity to adapt and reinvigorate the African-led, international effort against al-Shabab."

Africa: UN urges Europe to ease border access for Libyan Migrants
On 4 April, the UN's refugee agency requested Europe to be "generous and welcoming," to the migrants from other parts of the world. A recent report states that close to 90 people had drowned in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to cross from Libya to reach Europe. The EU has been under constant criticism for cutting off migrants from the Libyan Coast Guard reaching the shores of Europe. Post crossing the Libyan migrants also face abuses in the detention centres. The UNHCR chief, Filippo Grandi said: "It must now urgently consider how to apply this to other refugees and migrants knocking, in distress, at its doors."



Photo : Anadolu Agency

Tunisia: President Kais Saied dissolves the parliament 


The World This Week #164, Vol. 4, No. 13

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF 

By Ashwin Dhanabalan, Angkuran Dey and Meghna Manoj 

Tunisia: President Kais Saied dissolves the parliament 
On 30 March, Tunisia's President Kais Saied announced the dissolution of the parliament. The move comes eight months after the Tunisian President had sacked the Prime Minister, Hicham Mechichi and suspended parliamentary proceedings after violent anti-government protests broke out in several Tunisian cities. Saied stated: "Today, at this historic moment, I announce the dissolution of the Assembly of Representatives of the people, to preserve the state and its institutions."

Mali: Russia sends military equipment to Bamako's government
On 31 March, Mali's military accepted two combat helicopters and two sophisticated radar systems from the Russian authorities to help fight against Islamist militants. With the withdrawal of French forces from the region, Russia has developed closer ties with the military regime. Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group are believed to be helping the military in fighting the jihadist threat. The French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves le Drian, conveyed that the military leaders of Mali had become hostage to the mercenaries. However, Mali's Defence Minister, Col. Sadio Camara, disregarded the criticism and pointed out that the Russian equipment provided autonomy to the military in battling the insurgents.  

Somalia: UNSC unanimously votes for a new peacekeeping force 
On 1 April, the UN Security Council passed a unanimous vote for a new peacekeeping force in Somalia. The statement released by the UNSC presidency, held by the UAE, pointed out that the UNSC has adopted a resolution for reconfiguration of the current African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The current mission comprises 20,000 soldiers, police, and civilians helping the local authorities fight the militia. The approved resolution has called for the gradual retreat of peacekeepers from the region in four phases until the last peacekeepers leave the country by the end of 2024.

Congo: Kinshasa becomes a member of the East African Community
On 29 March, the Democratic Republic of Congo became the seventh member of the East African Community (EAC), giving massive impetus towards expanding the trade territory under the bloc. The inclusion of the Democratic Republic of Congo will expand the consumer market of EAC to almost 300 million. The Congolese President, Felix Tshisekedi, lauded the association and stated: "I have always considered the East African community as the best compared to other sub-regional economic blocs in Africa, in terms of free movement of people and goods, infrastructure integration and trade."



Photo : UN Photo/Sabir Olad

Somalia: Militants attack increases to halt presidential election


Conflict Weekly #117, 30 March 2022, Vol.2, No.53 An initiative by NIAS-IPRI and KAS-India Office

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

By Sejal Sharma, Satyam Dubey and Padmashree Anandhan

Somalia: Militants attack increases to halt presidential election  
On 27 March, the militants in Somalia recently attacked the Af Urur military base in the north of the country, killing four soldiers. The ambush comes after two deadly attacks on 24 March, one on Halane base near the airport and other twin blasts in the city of Beledweyne in which Amina Mohamed Abdi, a prominent opposition politician outspoken government critic, was killed along with 47 other people. Al-Shabab had taken responsibility for the attacks to target politicians contesting in the upcoming elections in Somalia which will pave the way for the lawmakers to pick a president. Earlier, Somalian President Mohamed Abdullahi extended his tenure for two years after his term expired in April 2021. Somalian Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble said the ambush was aimed at disrupting the elections. 

Nigeria: 7,000 Boko Haram and ISWAP fighters surrendered within a week   
On 24 March, around 7000 members from different fighter groups, including the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram, have surrendered within a week in the northeast region of Nigeria. The Nigerian army will profile the surrendering fighters and their families before they undergo the rehabilitation process. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), until now, 350,000 people have been killed and three million civilians displaced in fighting that has been going on for more than a decade in the country. A top commander in northeast Nigeria informed: “This is evident as thousands of the insurgents comprising combatants, non-combatants, foot soldiers, alongside their families, continued to lay down their arms in different parts of Borno to accept peace.” 

Ethiopia: Tigray rebels agree to a cessation of hostilities 
On 25 March, the Tigrayan rebels have agreed to a cessation of hostilities immediately in northern Ethiopia and urged the government to hasten the delivery of emergency aid to the people facing starvation in the region. The rebel's move comes just after the Abiy Ahmed government's surprise announcement of an indefinite humanitarian truce that would pave the way for resolving the 17-month war in northern Ethiopia. The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed has called on the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to desist from any act causing further aggression and withdraw from the area of neighbouring regions that the rebels have occupied during the war. 



Photo : AFP/The Economist

Ethiopia: Tigray rebels agree to a cessation of hostilities


The World This Week #163, Vol. 4, No. 12

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

By Ashwin Dhanabalan, Angkuran Dey and Meghna Manoj 

Ethiopia: Tigray rebels agree to a cessation of hostilities 
On 25 March, the Tigray rebels announced a cessation of hostilities, marking a turning point in the 17-month long war in the northern region. On 24 March, the government announced an indefinite humanitarian truce. The rebels, in a statement, reinforced their commitment to the truce and also urged Ethiopia to deliver aid to Tigray urgently. UN's Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric hailed the ending of hostilities and stated: “These positive developments must now translate into immediate improvements on the ground.” 

Sudan: The US sanctions on Sudan’s Central Reserve Police 
On 21 March, Washington issued sanctions on Sudan’s Central Reserve Police, accusing it of using excessive force to put down peaceful demonstrations against the military coup. The US Department of Treasury stated: “The Central Reserve Police, a heavily armed division of Sudan’s police force, has been at the forefront of the violent response of Sudanese security forces to peaceful protests in Khartoum.” The US further mentioned that the police had used live ammunition, chased, arrested, beaten, and shot at protestors. 



Photo : AllAfrica/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team/NASA GSFC

Mozambique: Tropical cyclone Gombe makes landfall


Conflict Weekly #116, 23 March 2022, Vol.2, No.52 An initiative by NIAS-IPRI and KAS-India Office

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

By Padmashree Anandhan, Sejal Sharma, and Satyam Dubey

Mozambique: Tropical cyclone Gombe makes landfall 
On 17 January, northern and central parts of the country experienced heavy torrential rainfall and damaging winds as tropical cyclone Gombe hit the mainland. The cyclone has resulted in heavy damage to infrastructure and human life. So far, 53 people have died and 80 people injured with at least 400,000 displaced. Southern Africa has seen a sharp rise in the intensity and frequency of tropical storms, which is suspected to be a consequence of global climate change. 

Sudan: Armed groups attack Jabal Moon
On 17 March, an armed militia locally known as the Janjaweed killed at least 17 people and burned down four villages in the Jabal Moon mountain region. Three workers with Darfur-based Human Rights Monitors present there to assess and monitor the situation in the region were among those killed. The region has seen several attacks like these from the militia, also known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The attacks are a part of the conflict between residents, RSF, and corporations over creating mining projects in the gold-rich area. 

DRC: Attack on camp for displaced people kills 14 
On 20 March, Coopérative pour le développement du Congo (CODECO) militiamen entered Drakpa and killed 14 people in a machete attack. CODECO is an association of various Lendu militia groups operating within the Democratic Republic of Congo. The victims included seven children, including a two-year-old child. The victims were displaced people from Ngotshi who were living in a camp in the Ituri region of Drakpa. 

Sudan: UN Report on atrocities in Unity State 
On 22 January, the UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR, issued a report on multiple killings and rampant sexual violence targeted towards civilians, especially women and children, in South Sudan’s Unity state. The report gave a horrific account of violence inflicted on civilians since the civil war started in 2013. The OHCHR has called for an immediate investigation into the matter and has called these acts constituting war crimes. The UN Mission in Sudan, UNMISS, and other humanitarian actors have increased efforts to assess and de-escalate the conflict.



Photo : AFP/The Jakarta Post

Algeria: Evian peace accords turns 60


The World This Week #162, Vol. 4, No. 11

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

By Ashwin Dhanabalan, Angkuran Dey and Meghna Manoj

Algeria: Evian peace accords turns 60
On 18 March, 60 years of signing a peace agreement between France and Algeria was observed. In 1962 both signed the agreement, ending a conflict that paved Algeria’s independence. The settlement had called a ceasefire and ended the eight-year-long conflict for Algerian independence. However, France has managed to hold on to its oil extraction rights and nuclear testing sites even after handing over Algeria. 

Burkina Faso: ECOWAS to continue working in Ouagadougou
On 18 March, ECOWAS claimed to continue working with the military government of Burkina Faso even after suspending it from the bloc. Ghana’s Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway said: “The issues and the problems that plague Burkina Faso are our problems, as well. It is not in this time of need of Burkina Faso that ECOWAS will abandon it.” ECOWAS’s position has been different in the case of Burkina Faso because it imposed sanctions on neighbouring Mali and Guinea, but not Ouagadougou. The reasons for its differing approach are not clear. 
 
Ivory Coast: US Secretary of State visits Côte d’Ivoire
On 15 March, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with the Prime Minister of Ivory Coast Patrick Achi. The two leaders discussed the war in Ukraine and condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They also discussed the USD 524.7 million grant under the Millennium Challenge Corporation(MCC). The two countries are involved in joint terrorism operations in the region. Achi said: “We have also reinforced our equipment, and above all, we have invested in basic social infrastructure as well…for the integration of young people to be able to improve the living conditions of the populations on the northern borders, to try to curb terrorism, which is threatening.”

Africa: Questions of neutrality on the Ukraine war 
On 18 March, the US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield called out the African States for their neutral position on the war in Ukraine. Earlier, at the UN General Assembly voting against Russia, 17 states abstained from voting while eight did not vote. She further said that there could be no neutral ground during a crisis and added that this was not a Cold War competition. She also mentioned that the US would support South Africa’s mediation offer between Ukraine and Russia.



Photo : AFP/The Economist

Ethiopia: Ethiopian Human Rights Commission reports 750 civilians killed


Conflict Weekly #115, 16 March 2022, Vol.2, No.51 An initiative by NIAS-IPRI and KAS-India Office

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

By Padmashree Anandhan

Ethiopia: Ethiopian Human Rights Commission reports 750 civilians killed 
On 11 March, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission reported that close to 750 civilians were killed in the Amhara and Afar regions in the latter half of 2021. According to the report, the reasons behind the killing were due to enforced disappearances, looting, torture, and various destructions. Many others have been reported to have died in extrajudicial killings, drone attacks, and artillery firing.
Peace and Conflict from Europe and the Americas

Nigeria: NUSA release statement on extrajudicial killings
On 11 March, the President of Nigeria Union South Africa (NUSA) released a statement revealing the killing of two Nigerians in the attack by South Africans over drugs. The Union urged both countries to end extra-judicial killings. It reported that two of its member were previously killed similarly, alleging the involvement of drugs. The President of the Union said: “We do not condone crime but justice must be served by the court of law should anyone be found guilty of any criminal act.”



Photo : UNOCHA/Mahmoud Fadel-YPN

Africa: Aid drains as funds move to Ukraine


The World This Week #161, Vol. 4, No. 10

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

By Ashwin Dhanabalan, Angkuran Dey and Meghna Manoj

Africa: Aid drains as funds move to Ukraine
On 10 March, aid agencies expressed concerns as the crisis in Ukraine was diverting the funds that were kept aside for the conflicts in West Africa and droughts in the east. Donors have cut funding for emergencies on the continent. Norwegian Refugee Council and Oxfam said, in Burkina Faso, donors were cutting their funding by 70 per cent to support their operations in Ukraine. While in Somalia, the country is undergoing a drought which is affecting a third of the population. 

South Africa: World Bank report emphasis on inequality
On 10 March, the Inequality report by the World Bank cited South Africa as the most unequal country in the world. The report stated: “race remains a key driver of high inequality in South Africa, due to its impact on education and the labor market…The legacy of colonialism and apartheid, rooted in racial and spatial segregation, continues to reinforce inequality.”



Photo : Anadolu Agency

Mali: Jihadist launch another attack on the military camp


Conflict Weekly #114, 9 March 2022, Vol.2, No.50 An initiative by NIAS-IPRI and KAS-India Office

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IN BRIEF

by Padmashree Anandhan

Mali: Jihadist launch another attack on the military camp
On 05 March, an attack was launched by the Jihadists on the military camp in central Mali. In the attack, 27 soldiers and 47 terrorists were brought under control as per the army report. The country has been experiencing Jihadist movements and Islamic State group for the past decade. Recent attacks are seen due to a shift in the military scope in the Sahel as France withdraws from Mali and Russia have entered.



Photo : Reuters/Tiksa Negeri

African Union: Bloc assess reports on Africans escaping Ukraine


The World This Week #160, Vol. 4, No. 09

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

By Ashwin Dhanabalan, Angkuran Dey and Meghna Manoj

African Union: Bloc assess reports on Africans escaping Ukraine
On 1 March, the African Union said it was disturbed by reports that mentioned African nationals were being stopped from fleeing Ukraine. The bloc said: “[A]ll people have the right to cross international borders during the conflict, and as such, should enjoy the same rights to cross to safety from the conflict in Ukraine, notwithstanding their nationality or racial identity.” The African students accused Ukrainian security forces of breaching international law. African countries have been scrambling to evacuate their citizens from the conflict zone. 

Libya: UN encourages opposition to appoint a joint committee 
On 4 March, the UN advisor to Libya, Stephanie William, discussed with rival factions to come together to try and resolve the country’s constitutional arrangements. As reported by BBC: “has sent letters to parliament and the High State Council, which represent separate administrations, to each nominate six members for a joint committee.” This comes after Fathi Bashaga was sworn in as the new Prime Minister. However, a power rivalry exists as Tripoli’s incumbent premier Abdulhamid Dbeibah refused to step down. 

Burkina Faso: Albert Ouedraogo, the new civilian Prime Minister
On 4 March, the military regime in Burkina Faso appointed Albert Ouedraogo as the transitional Prime Minister. Ouedraogo is an economist and has prior experience in public administration, national development, and in dealing with private companies. His appointment comes after Col Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba was sworn in on 2 March as the interim President since the regime seized power in the military coup.



Photo : AFP/BBC

Tunisia: Migrants bodies found dead after a boat capsized near coast


Tunisia: Migrants bodies found dead after a boat capsized near coast

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Padmashree Anandhan and Satyam Dubey

Tunisia: Migrants bodies found dead after a boat capsized near coast 
On 1 February, Tunisian Defence Ministry informed that nine migrants were found dead after their boat capsized near its coast. The Tunisian coast guards recovered nine bodies while the Navy rescued nine other migrants from different African nations in critical condition. However, it is not clear how many peoples were there on the boat which sank near the port of Mahdia in the Tunisian central-east region from where many people cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. According to UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration, at least 1300 migrants either drowned or went missing in the Mediterranean Sea in 2021.

Congo: Allied Democratic Forces suspected for recent attacks
On 28 February, the northeastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was under attack, as reported by the President of a local activist organisation in the village of Kikura. Close to 20 civilians were killed in the attack, and houses were set on fire. The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) group is currently being suspected due to the group’s history of launching attacks and killing citizens. The unrest is continued to be seen in Congo since the 2013 launch of a joint operation by DRC and Ugandan troops opposing the ADF.

South Africa: Government authorises hunting endangered black rhinos, leopards and elephants
On 25 February, the government of South Africa authorised the hunting of 10 critically endangered black rhinos through their annual hunting and export licences. It also allowed the hunting of a similar number of leopards and 150 elephants. Although the International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies black rhinos as severely endangered, their number rose to more than 5000 in the last three decades. These hunting and export permits were granted by international regulations for trading endangered animals. The government stated that the hunting enterprise brought around ZAR 1.4 billion in 2019.



Photo : AP/Deutsche Welle

Mali: Regime approves a new charter for democratic transition


The World This Week #159, Vol. 4, No. 08

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Ashwin Dhanabalan, Angkuran Dey and Meghna Manoj

Mali: Regime approves a new charter for democratic transition
On 21 February, the lawmakers of Mali approved a plan allowing the transitional government to rule for up to five years. The plan was headed by Colonel Assimi Goïta and was adopted by the120 members of the 121 seated interim parliament who voted to approve the bill. The bill was passed in examining the draft law on the revision of the transition charter. However, the new charter does not mention when the next Presidential elections will be held. Nevertheless, it states that the serving President Kornel Goïta will not participate. 

Ethiopia: The Grand Renaissance Dam starts electricity production 
On 20 February, Ethiopia started electricity production from its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile. The initiation comes despite objections from its downstream neighbours of Sudan and Egypt. The Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed officially inaugurated the multibillion-dollar project. It is expected to double Ethiopia’s total electricity output. He further stated: “Ethiopia’s main interest is to bring light to 60 per cent of the population who is suffering in darkness, saving the labour of our mothers who are carrying wood on their backs to get energy.” 

Burkina Faso: Panel backs a 30-month transition delay until elections
On 24 February, a panel appointed by the military government recommended a 30-month delay until the next elections. The 15-person panel included military officers and technocrats appointed by the coup leader and current President Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba. The panel had been tasked to chart a return of the West African country to its constitutional order. The report submitted by the panel has also called for setting up a transitional government consisting of 20 members and a transitional parliament of up to 50 members.    

FIFA: Suspension of the Zimbabwean and Kenyan football federations
On 25 February, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) suspended the membership of the Zimbabwean and Kenyan associations due to continued government interference in the functioning of these countries’ bodies. The FIFA President, Giovanni Infantino, while announcing the suspension, stated: “We had to suspend two of our member’s associations, Kenya and Zimbabwe, both for government interference in the activities of the football associations of these (countries). As a result, associations are suspended from all football activities with immediate effect.”



Photo : Reuters/CBS News

Burkina Faso: Explosion in gold mining site kills 59 people


Conflict Weekly #112, 23 February 2022, Vol.2, No.48 An initiative by NIAS-IPRI and KAS-India Office

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Padmashree Anandhan, Sejal Sharma, and Satyam Dubey

Burkina Faso: Explosion in gold mining site kills 59 people  
On 22 February, the explosion, believed to be caused by the stocking of chemicals used to treat gold at the mining site in southwestern Burkina Faso, has killed around 59 people and left more than 100 others injured. A forest ranger who is the witness of the explosion at the mining site, Sansan Kambou, informed that: “I saw bodies everywhere. It was horrible.” Burkina Faso is the fastest growing gold producer in Africa, and topping the list of exports shows that it is the mainstay of Ouagadougou’s economy.  
 
Nigeria: Military airstrike wounds 12 children
On 20 February, seven children were killed and five wounded in an air attack by the Nigerian military. The Governor of Maradi Chaibou Aboubacar said that the airstrike took place in Nachade village, a few kilometres away from the Nigerian border, which mistakenly resulted in the victimization of 12 children. Nigerian Director of Defence Information Major General Jimmy Akpor said: “As a matter of policy, the Nigerian Air Force does not make any incursions into areas outside Nigeria’s territorial boundaries. That’s our policy.”  
 
Ethiopia: Addis Ababa opens mega-dam despite condemnation  
On 20 February, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmad inaugurated a mega-dam on the river Nile to produce electricity from its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) Sudan and Egypt, its neighbours, consider as a blockade to cause severe water shortage downstream. Abiy said: “Ethiopia’s main interest is to bring light to 60 per cent of the population who is suffering in darkness, to save the labour of our mothers who are carrying wood on their backs to get energy.” Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Hassan Shoukry, accused Addis Ababa of ‘persisting in its violations’ of the deal signed between three countries in 2015 prohibiting any of the parties to take unilateral action on the river water use.  
 
Somalia: Suicide bomber killed 13 people on the eve of voting   
On 19 February, 13 people were killed after a suicide bomber in central Somalia detonated an explosive in a restaurant full of politicians and local officials. The attack was led by Al-Shabab, an extremist organization that monitors armed groups online, which had claimed its responsibility. The attack took place despite tightened security in Beledweyne on the eve of the completion of a first round of voting for parliamentary seats in the constituency. A Police spokesman said: “the blast caused huge damage as the dead were mostly civilians along with two deputy district commissioners and 20 others were wounded in Beledweyne.”  



Photo : newsroom.consilium.europa.eu

EU-Africa Summit, and France’s exit from Mali


The World This Week, CWA # 683, 19 February 2022

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IN FOCUS

The EU- Africa summit 2022: Issues and Challenges of a “special relationship” 
by Anu Maria Joseph

What happened?
On 17 and 18 February, the leaders of the EU and African Union met for the sixth European Union - African Union summit in Brussels. The summit aims to lay the foundations for a renewed and deeper AU-EU partnership of greater political involvement with mutual trust and understanding. The summit defined a new financial and economic deal, supporting Africa in its post-pandemic recovery policies. The EU reaffirmed its allegiance to providing 450 million vaccine doses to Africa by mid-2022. About 425 million euros will be allocated to ramp up the pace of vaccination. The focus was also given to investment in infrastructure, including transport, energy transition and digital transformation. Besides, the summit also discussed education, culture, mobility, and migration.

European Council chief Charles Michel proclaimed, "We are not here to carry on business as usual”. At the opening address, AU's chairman and Senegal's President Macky Sall said: "Our common ambition, Africans and Europeans, for this summit, is to achieve a renewed, modernized and more action-oriented partnership."

What is the background?
First, a renewed EU-Africa relationship. The summit expects to evolve beyond usual donor-recipient commitments to a renewed special relationship aiming to deliver concerted solutions to global challenges. The objective is to establish an ambitious alliance with Africa focused on the future, to build an area of solidarity, security, prosperity and mobility.

Second, growing stability concerns and vaccine inequalities in Africa. A wave of military coups over the past 18 months, probing Islamist militancy and ethnic-regional conflicts in the Horn of Africa has become a growing concern in Africa.  Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Sudan were suspended from the African Union over the past year after their governments were deposed by the military. Europe is also worried about the Kremlin shadow in Africa, especially the role of the Russian 
Further, the AU has been requesting a patent waiver on Covid-19 vaccine production. However, the proposal by countries including South Africa is currently opposed by the EU, which is likely to be a contentious topic at the summit.

Third, the EU investments in Africa. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced USD 170 billion worth of investment in Africa under the Global Gateway scheme to fund digital transformation, green transition and sustainable development. 
Fourth, Africa’s quest for equal partnership. Fred Ngoga Gateretse, head of the AU’s conflict prevention and early warning division, said: “What you want from Africa, you should also expect Africa to want from you”. For AU, the summit will be an opportunity to forge a partnership of equals that "maximizes our ability to benefit from our own resources", he added. AU expects the summit to be more participatory, as African nations are more assertive to move ahead of the donor-recipient mentality that had previously resulted in obedience to EU proposals.

What does it mean?
First, The sixth EU-Africa Summit is significant as  Africa is at the centre of geopolitics. China has made a significant influence on the continent through diplomacy and major infrastructure investments. Russia, India, Japan and Turkey also have an increasing interest in the region.

Second, the postcolonial view of Africa as a continent in need of European charity has now been outdated. Europe needs Africa as much as Africa needs Europe. However, the summit outcomes are questionable to match the EU’s rhetoric on “partnership of equals”. The EU's initiatives of “prosperous and sustainable partnership” appears to be under European interest rather than shared interests of EU and AU.


Mali: France’s troop withdrawal amid friction with military government
by Apoorva Sudhakar

What happened?
On 17 February, France and its European and African allies released a joint statement announcing the withdrawal of their troops from Mali. The statement mentioned that the conditions in Mali, including “obstructions” created by the military government, were not suitable to continue their operations. French President Emmanuel Macron said: “Victory against terror is not possible if it’s not supported by the state itself.” Macron maintained that the withdrawal did not signify the failure of France in its mission against the insurgency in Mali and clarified that the military operations will now be headquartered in Niger. Further, Macron claimed that Russia had deployed its private military company Wagner in Mali. France24 quoted Macron: “This is the hiring by the Malian junta, using financing which they themselves will have to explain to the Malian people, of mercenaries who are essentially there to secure their own business interests and protect the junta itself.”

On 18 February, Nigerien President Mohamad Bazoum accepted the French proposal to redeploy troops from Mali in Niger. Bazoum tweeted: “Our goal is for our border with Mali to be secure” and reasoned that terrorist groups are likely to expand their influence in light of the latest developments. 

What is the background? 
First, the French operation in Mali. France deployed its forces in Mali in 2013 under Operation Barkhane to fight groups linked to al Qaeda and later ISIS. France had a significant military presence in the Sahel region with 4,300 troops, of which 2,400 were posted in Mali. However, over the years, France has been facing criticism from local communities in Mali and the Sahel due to increased insecurity.

Second, the friction in France-Mali relations. France has been criticising the political developments in Mali. The coups in August 2020 and May 2021 further deteriorated the relations. It got worse by the end of 2021, when interim President and coup leader Colonel Assimi Goita proposed to extend the transition period to 2025 instead of holding elections in February 2022. 
Third, Europe’s efforts in erstwhile colonies. In recent years, various European countries have attempted to mend relations with their erstwhile colonies, and apologise and compensate them for colonial atrocities. The efforts were evident in the Belgium King Philippe’s note to the Congolese President in 2020, regretting the humiliation and suffering cause to Congolese under the Belgian colonial rule; similarly in 2021, France acknowledged and regretted its role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. 

Fourth, role of Russia. Mali has confirmed that Russian trainers are present in the country under a bilateral arrangement to reportedly assist Mali’s National Defence and Security Forces.  However, Mali has denied the presence of Russian mercenaries. Meanwhile, Malians have called for increased Russian presence in a bid to counter the French presence. 

What does it mean?
First, the withdrawal and redeployment of troops are visible signs of increasing challenges that France has to address if it wants to maintain its presence in the Sahel. It also signifies the gravity of anti-French movement in Mali, which is gradually spreading to neighbouring countries including Niger. 

Second, if the Russian mercenaries are indeed present in Mali, it would be a positive development for Russia which is building inroads into Africa through military relations. It would also be a testimony to the increasing involvement of private military companies in Africa, as was previously witnessed in Libya, the Central African Republic and Mozambique. 


IN BRIEF

by Ashwin Dhanabalan, Angkuran Dey and Meghna Manoj

Malawi: Lilongwe detects the first case of wild polio in five years
On 18 February, Malawi declared a polio outbreak after a case of wild poliovirus was detected for the first time in Africa in over five years. WHO, in a statement, said the strain detected in Malawi is similar to the one that has been circulating in Pakistan. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative detected the case in a three-year-old girl. The initiative further stated: "Detection of WPV1 outside the world's two remaining endemic countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, is a serious concern and underscores the importance of prioritising polio immunisation activities." 

Tunisia: Presidential decree undermines judicial independence 
On 13 February, Tunisian President Kais Saied issued a decree for establishing a provisional Supreme Judiciary Council, granting him additional power over the top judicial body. The decree says the President would control judges' selection, appointment, and transfer and act in certain circumstances as a disciplinary body in charge of removals. The International Court of Justice stated: "It brings Tunisia back to its darkest days when judges were transferred and dismissed on the basis of executive whim." 



Photo : Zoubeir Souissi/Reuters/Aljazeera

Unfreezing the Afghan assets, Tunisia’s judicial crisis and Libya’s new political deadlock


Conflict Weekly #111, 16 February 2022, Vol.2, No.47 An initiative by NIAS-IPRI and KAS-India Office

GP Daily Brief |

IN FOCUS
Tunisia: Presidential decree to create a new judicial watchdog, and consolidate his power
by Poulomi Mondal 

In the news
On 13 February, Tunisia’s President Kais Saied issued a decree establishing a new provisional Supreme Judiciary Council. He abolished the existing High Judicial Council and has now acquired additional powers to control Tunisia’s top judicial organization. The decree says that the President controls the selection, promotion, appointment, and transfer of judges and, in certain circumstances can act as a disciplinary body in charge of removals. 
 
On the same day, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stated on Twitter that the decree “consolidates power in the hands of the President,” effectively leading to the termination of “any semblance of judicial independence in the country.”
 
Protestors took to the streets of Tunis, waving flags and chanting: “Shut down the coup…take your hands off the judiciary.” Ambassadors to Tunisia from countries in the G-7 group, inclusive of major donor countries to Tunisia, voiced ‘deep concern’ regarding the dissolution of the judicial council and said that an independent judiciary was essential to democracy. 
 
Issues at large
First, the consolidation of power by the President. Though President Kais Saied’s narrative is on the need for a judicial overhaul to address the inefficiency of its functioning, the real reason is to consolidate his power. Abolition of the high judicial council to be replaced by a provisional council will go against the idea of separation of powers in a democracy and would make the executive stronger.
 
Second, executive vs judiciary. The discontent regarding the inefficiency of the high judicial council among the people justifies the actions taken by the President. Specifically, the issues of rising internal corruption, failures in terrorism rulings and stalling of investigations in high-end assassinations. The conspiracy theories behind these assassinations are also tactfully directed by the President in the debate to mobilize the public sentiments and attack the judiciary.
 
Third, internal opposition. The resignation of Tunisia’s Chief of staff Nadia Akacha, often considered the ‘right-hand’ woman to Saied based on fundamental disagreements highlights that all is not well in the internal power dynamics. Besides, there has been widespread opposition from civil society against the President. It only exposes the conflict between Saied and the Ennhada Islamic movement that presents him with a multi-directional problem at home. 
 
Fourth, external response. While the overt support by UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt for the coup and especially against the Ennhada Islamic movement have been favourable to Kais Saied’s efforts.
 
In perspective
First, the democratic reversal. Steps were taken by the President in July 2021 (suspension of the Parliament, declaring a state of emergency, abolishing democratic constitution, stripping of parliamentary privileges) and in January 2022 (prosecution of opposition political leaders, and the puppeteering of unelected Prime Minister Najla Bpuden) highlights the efforts to consolidate power. This also dismantles democratic pillars like the Constitution, Parliament, and the judiciary.
 
Second, the Tunisian revolution. It has been ten years since the revolution. Tunisia presented a model of democracy and a progressive constitution. Unfortunately, the very same institutions and principles which helped in the Tunisian democratic transition is under threat. 


Libya: With two Prime Ministers, a new political crisis
by Harshita Rathore

In the news
On 10 February, the Libyan Parliament appointed former Interior Minister Fathi Bashaga as its new Prime Minister. The decision comes due to the failure of the existing Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah to conduct national elections in December. Dbeibah refused to accept the decision and swore to remain in power until national elections. He said: “accept no new transitional phase or parallel authority.”
 
On 11 February, protestors gathered in large numbers in Tripoli and Misrata objecting to the appointment and demanded Dbeibah’s National Unity Government to stay. They also called for elections to be held as per the Geneva Agreement.
 
On the same day, UN Chief Antonio Guterres made a statement: “All parties to continue to preserve stability in Libya as a top priority.” The UN warns of renewed fighting and political instability. Earlier it appointed Dbeibah as part of the UN-led peace process to resolve the conflict.
 
On 12 February, Joint Operation Force gathered at Tripoli’s Martyrs Square in support of Dbeibah. According to Colonel Ibrahim Mohamed, Field Commander of the Joint Operations Force said: “…the reason for our presence here in the first place is to preserve the democratic path in Libya. We are here to defend international legitimacy, and our goal is to preserve legitimacy.”
 
Issues at large
First, the political divide in the east and west Libya. The divide can be seen from the existence of two governments - one backed by the UN and the other by the militia leaders of the east. Libya has been governed by a constitutional political system after the killing of Muammar Qadhafi in 2011. Since then, there was a divide between the east and west. 
 
Second, the external actors. The West has urged the current government to remain until elections to prevent chaos. In terms of accepting the appointed new Prime Minister, the stance of the West, and other countries - Turkey, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates is unclear. Apart from them, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the new government. The UN has constantly backed the Government of National Unity (GNU) and recognizes Dbeiba’s leadership. If the elections take place, it will replace the current power-sharing structure with Prime Minister leading the government with a three-person presidential council and a single President. External actors hope that the elected President would act as the push toward a new constitution, ban foreign mercenaries inside Libya and bring one bank, one military force.
 
Third, the problem of transition. Since 2011, the political system of Libya is tangled. Even after the constitutional government came to power, Qadhafi’s political system has not been modified. The elections were to be conducted in December 2021. The political transition is yet to happen.
 
In perspective
First, the possibility of conflict continuing. Looking at the current scene and tensions brimming between the east, west, and the militia, the conflict is likely to continue. Second, political instability in Libya. Until an agreement or a common dialogue is agreed between the parties, Libya will remain unstable.


IN BRIEF

by Padmashree Anandhan, Sejal Sharma and Satyam Dubey

Sudan: pro-democratic protests in Khartoum and other cities
On 14 February, various cities in Sudan once again witnessed pro-democratic protests in Khartoum, Omdurman, Port Sudan and Wad Madani, demanding to installation of a civilian government. The protest was delt by security forces using ammunition and tear gas, where two men were shot down. Authorities in the capital city warned the protestors to assemble in public to prevent physical clash, and despite the warning, with continued protests, more than 2,200 were wounded. The internal situation of Sudan has deteriorated since the coup.

Burkina Faso: French air raids kill armed group related to Benin attacks 
On 13 February, 40 militants involved in recent Benin attacks were killed in a joint operation carried out by French forces. The French-led Barkhane forces in the Sahel region carried out the attack on the militants. The operation was conducted in view of the recent attacks on park rangers, where 9 people were killed including a French chief law enforcement instructor. The armed terrorist group had carried out two deadly attacks this week where lives were lost due to explosion in the W National Park, a wildlife reserve bordering the disputed Nigeria and Burkina Faso regions. 
 
Madagascar: Cyclone Batsirai death toll revised to 120 
On 11 February, in the aftermath of Cyclone Batsirai, the death toll reached 120. The coastal town of Mananjary was the most affected, with entire surrounding villages swept away. More than 30,000 people have been displaced and 124,000 were rendered homeless due to the destruction caused by the cyclone. Several affected communities are still trapped and unable to receive aid owing to the road closures caused by landslides. German and French rescue teams are contributing to local aid efforts and reconstruction in the affected regions. The cyclone comes as the second destructive storm to hit Madagascar in the past two weeks. 
 
Somalia: Several killed in a suicide bombing   
On 10 February, a suicide bomber targeted a minibus carrying election delegates, in Mogadishu. However, the terrorist missed the target and ended up killing six civilians while 13 others were injured. The attack comes ahead of the Parliamentary elections happening across the country. The targeted delegates were responsible for selecting the lawmakers. The Al-Qaeda linked group Al Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. The group aims to dismantle the disputed central government in order to seize power and carry out an attack to disrupt the ongoing elections. 
 
Uganda: ICJ orders war reparations to be paid to the Democratic Republic of Congo 
On 9 February, Kampala was directed by the ICJ to pay USD 325 million to Kinshasa for damages caused during the brutal war in the 1990s. The ruling for reparations was made in 2005 but had not been followed by Uganda yet. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had demanded an amount of USD 11 billion, however, the court deemed only a fraction of it as justifiable. This comes as a shock to DRC as after decades of legal battles the court ruling stated insufficient evidence to support the complainants' claim for compensation. The ruling was perceived as unjust by the DRC’s Foreign Ministry.



Photo : AFP/BBC

Burkina Faso: Another coup in Africa


Conflict Weekly #108, 26 January 2022, Vol.2, No.44 An initiative by NIAS-IPRI and KAS-India Office

GP Daily Brief |

IN FOCUS

by Mohamad Aseel Ummer

In the news
On 24 January, in a televised broadcast, a group of soldiers representing the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (MPSR) informed that they had detained the President, citing the worsening insecurities in the country. The government has been dissolved and the constitution suspended, but the group assured that a constitutional order would be retained in "reasonable time". The whereabouts of the President and other members of the government have not been disclosed yet. The coup unravelled a week after the arrest of 11 soldiers accused of plotting to overthrow the government led by President Roch Marc Christian. The statement released by the coup leaders informs that the putsch had taken place "without any physical violence against those arrested, who are being held in a safe place, with respect for their dignity." The coup comes after days of tensions and public unrest in the capital - Ouagadougou. On 22 January, people gathered on Saturday in large numbers to protest against the government and its failure to fight the growing threat of Islamist Insurgency in the country.
 
On 25 January, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the military takeover and urged the coup leaders to "lay down arms". The African Union and ECOWAS have also released similar statements holding the armed forces responsible for the current instability. Ned Price, the state department Spokesperson of the United States, condemned the coup and called for "Restraint by all actors". EU representative Joseph Borell urged for the adherence to "constitutional order" and expressed concern over the deposed President's whereabouts.
 
Issues at large
First, weak democratic institutions. The country has witnessed a maximum number of coups and attempted takeovers in Africa, indicating an unstable political context in Burkina Faso. The recent events can be attributed to the 2015 elections that brought Kabore to power. Misgovernance, corruption, and the economy undermined the country's political institutions. The elected leadership failed to recognize public demands and insecurities (Insurgency) and fell short in the deliverance of governance.
 
Second, increasing Islamist insurgency. Burkina Faso has been a haven for Islamist insurgency since 2016. Various regions in the north of the country around the tri-border region with Mali and Niger are primarily under militant groups with affiliations to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. According to observers, Kabore's government has failed to curb the threat. With an under-funded, poorly equipped and inadequately trained armed forces, the situation was exacerbated in 2021 with some of the worst attacks in recent times. This has driven millions into forced displacement and caused hundreds of deaths, making the Burkinabe conflict one of the worst of its kind.
 
Third, the mutiny by the soldiers leading to the coup. The soldiers mutinying earlier were demanding the reversal of the recent reforms in military leadership, which was brought last year due to public unrest and improved training and allocation of military resources to fight the ongoing threat of insurgency. The arrest of the mutinying soldiers, coupled with growing public sympathy and support for the military, was incentivized by MPSR to carry out the coup.
 
In perspective
The situation in Burkina Faso is inching towards a catastrophic outcome. With the military in power, Burkina Faso becomes the third country in the last 18 months to witness a military takeover in the region. The coup also marks the end of the short-lived Burkinabe democracy; the country now looks at a bleak economic future with possible sanctions and a tumultuous political atmosphere.


IN BRIEF

by Padmashree Anandhan, Sejal Sharma and Satyam Dubey

Africa: UNICEF on millions of children in dire need of life-saving treatments
On 21 January, UNICEF issued alerts regarding the threat to life for over 1.5 million children due to the unavailability of life-saving treatments for acute malnutrition in Africa's eastern and southern regions. Funding shortfalls and limited access have continued to push an estimated 3.6 million children and their families into a nutrition tragedy. Despite a positive trend in outreach programs in recent years, food insecurity continues to rise due to the climate crisis and ongoing conflicts in the region. Families are forced to function below subsistence levels causing permanent development damage in children.
 
Sudan: Three children killed while escaping armed raids 
On 25 January, the UN reported casualties, including children, from the violence that erupted in the eastern Jonglei state on Sunday. The armed youths from the Murle group opened fire and torched property in the Dungrut and Machined villages, causing the civilians from the Dinka Bor community to flee. At least thirty two people were killed, including three children who drowned while escaping the raids. The UN Mission in South Sudan reported the incident condemning the attack on civilians and calling for action to avoid further escalation. 
 
Central African Republic: UN investigates recent killings with alleged Russian involvement  
On 22 January, the UN officials reported more than 30 civilian deaths in the January 16-17 violence in the town of Bria that attacked the Union for Peace rebel group. The killings were allegedly carried out by the Central African Republic (CAR) forces and mercenaries of Wagner, a Russian private military company. The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Central Africa (MINUSCA) has dispatched a team to the region to assess the situation and take action. In mid-2021, concerns were raised about Wagner's involvement in the region; however, Russia rejected claims stating that the company had an unarmed involvement in the CAR military. 



Photo : EPA/Aljazeera

Mali: Tensions escalate as ECOWAS imposes sanctions


The World This Week #153, Vol. 4, No. 02

GP Daily Brief |

IN FOCUS

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Mali: Tensions escalate as ECOWAS imposes sanctions
What happened?
On 13 January, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Mali's military government to outline an "acceptable election timetable." Al Jazeera quoted Guterres: "I am working with the ECOWAS and the African Union to create conditions which can allow the government of Mali to adopt a reasonable and acceptable position to accelerate a transition which has already been under way for a long time."

On 9 January, the Economic Community of West African States imposed sanctions on Mali, ordering for the closure of land and air borders, a trade embargo, freeze over Mali's assets in ECOWAS banks, and suspending non-essential financial transactions. 

On 10 January, the military spokesperson announced Mali's decision to recall its ambassadors to the ECOWAS countries and close its borders in response to the sanctions. On the same day, coup leader and head of Mali's transitional government Colonel Assimi Goita termed the sanctions "illegitimate, illegal and inhumane." However, he said, Mali was open to dialogue to reach a consensus with the ECOWAS. On the same day, France backed the ECOWAS decision at the UN Security Council; however, Russia and China blocked the French endorsement. 

What is the background?
First, the immediate background. The sanctions signify the ECOWAS's rejection of the junta's revised timeline for the transition period. On 30 December, citing deepening insecurity in Mali, the military government proposed that the presidential and legislative polls scheduled for February 2022 be delayed by six months to five years. With this, the transition to civilian rule would be completed by 2026. The ECOWAS, however, insisted on the polls being held in February. 

Second, Mali's suspension from the ECOWAS. In May 2021, following the second coup by Goita, in less than nine months, Mali was suspended from the ECOWAS. The coup had taken place despite the threat of sanctions looming since the first coup in August 2020. The August coup was briefly met with sanctions which were lifted after Goita assured the ECOWAS of a return of civilian governance. 

Third, internal responses in Mali. Mali's response to the revised timeline and sanctions has been mixed. A 10-party coalition rejected the proposed extension of the timeline, maintaining that the decision had not been discussed and was unreasonable. Some civilians, too, called for the re-establishment of democracy. On the other hand, the junta also enjoys popularity in Mali as it acknowledges the anti-French sentiment among the population. Following the announcement of sanctions, the junta called on protesters to demonstrate against the ECOWAS decision. 

Fourth, the role of foreign powers. The junta believes the sanctions were influenced by external powers, hinting at France with a strong external presence in Mali since 2013. In recent times, France and other Western powers have expressed concern over reports speculating the presence of Russian mercenaries, from the Wagner Group, in Mali. Mali has denied the presence of Russian mercenaries. Meanwhile, Russia termed the Western apprehensions double standards and maintained that Mali has the right to have ties with other partners.

What does it mean?
First, the imposition of sanctions shows that ECOWAS can put its foot down, contrary to previous notions of the regional organization being weak. The decision could also send a message to other countries in the region, like Guinea, which witnessed a coup in September. Meanwhile, the willingness to hold dialogue with the ECOWAS indicates that Mali understands the impact the sanctions are likely to have on the country. 

Second, the junta's stance that external interests drive the sanctions could work in its favour. Since Goita came to power in May 2021, the transitional government has been looking for justification for the coup to the population, which is increasingly wary of the French presence in the country.
Third, the West's apprehensions over the alleged Russian involvement and the latter's denial could lead to increased complexities within Mali, making it a hotspot soon. 

IN BRIEF

By Ashwin Dhanabalan, Angkuran Dey and Meghna Manoj

Ethiopia: Nobel Prize committee asks the head of state to end the Tigray conflict
On 13 January, the Nobel Peace Prize committee called on Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali to cease the conflict in Tigray. The Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, commented on the issue, saying: "As prime minister and winner of the Peace Prize, Abiy Ahmed has a special responsibility to end the conflict and contribute to peace." The strife in Tigray started in November 2020 when Abiy sent troops against the Tigray People's Liberation Front for the attacks against federal army camps. The conflict has led to the displacement of thousands of people and has left many homeless.

Somalia: UN urges Somalia to uphold election schedule
On 11 January, the United Nations urged Somali leaders to uphold their agreement on creating a new election timetable as the delays were sparking a political crisis. The UN stated: "The UN encourages Somalia's political leaders to continue in a spirit of cooperation, avoid provocations that risk new tensions or conflict and stay focused on delivering a credible electoral process quickly for the benefit of all Somalis." The delay in the elections was caused by a power struggle between President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble. The polls are to conclude by 25 February.



Photo : The National/Reuters

Sudan: Uncertainty looms as military reinstates PM Hamdok


Conflict Weekly #98, 25 November 2021, Vol.2, No.34 An initiative by NIAS-IPRI and KAS-India Office

GP Daily Brief |

IN FOCUS

by Apoorva Sudhakar

In the news
On 22 November, Abdalla Hamdok was released from house arrest and reinstated as the Prime Minister to lead a technocratic Cabinet until elections are held in 2023. The reinstatement came after Hamdok signed a 14-point deal with the military; this includes a transfer of power to elected civilian leadership at the end of the transitional period, a probe into the killing of anti-coup protesters, and release of all political prisoners.
On the same day, the US Embassy in Khartoum tweeted a statement by the US, EU, UK, Switzerland, Norway, and Canada, stating that they were encouraged by the development. On 23 November, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed the reinstatement. Blinken's spokesperson said that he saw the move as an "important first step."

On 23 November, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), which consists of political parties and pro-democracy groups, said it would not accept the deal, terming it a move to legitimize the coup. Twelve ministers from the FFC who were part of the transitional government prior to the coup submitted resignations in protest of the deal.

Issues at large
First, the pressure on the military. The decision to reinstate Hamdok came amid external pressure. Following the coup, on 25 October, the US suspended aid worth USD 700 million to Sudan. The World Bank too, paused all its disbursements to Sudan. Similarly, the African Union suspended Sudan, calling for the restoration of the transitional rule. The UN Secretary-General had urged coup leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to bring back constitutional order.

Second, the widespread unrest. Sudan is witnessing one of the largest uprisings since the 2019 protests, which led to the ouster of dictator Omar al-Bashir. The people have maintained their stance that they would not settle for anything less than a democracy. There has been a shift in the goals of the protesters, who initially pushed for an end to military rule. Yet, the reinstatement of Hamdok has not satisfied their demands, as they claim to have lost in him.

Third, the clampdown on movement and internet. Sudanese police have accused protesters of instigating violence and have refused to take responsibility for the casualties caused since the coup. Similarly, communication channels were cut off after the coup when the military announced an internet shutdown. Following the coup, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to condemn the coup and assign an envoy to map these alleged violations.

In perspective
The details of the deal signed recently are unclear regarding the power-sharing between the transitional PM and the military. The military is likely to find it challenging to win the people's confidence until the transitional period ends. Furthermore, Hamdok is likely to face trouble bringing the rest of the political parties on board, given their reluctance to accept the deal with the military. Despite this, the international community, including the major powers, seems to have accepted the ongoing political scenario in Sudan.

The ouster of al-Bashir gave new hope to Sudan. However, the October coup, which followed a similar attempt in September, signals that the transitional period in 2019 had a fragile foundation.

IN BRIEF
by D. Suba Chandran

Africa: "57.5 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance" in West and Central Africa region, says the latest UNICEF report
On 23 November, in its recent report titled, "Protecting children in West and Central Africa," the UNICEF mentions: "Major humanitarian crises continue to unfold across the West and Central Africa region (WCAR). 57.5 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance, a figure that has almost doubled since 2020, due to a surge in armed conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic." According to the finding: "Between 2005 and 2020, 1 out of 4 United Nations verified grave violations against children in the world was committed in West and Central Africa. In 2020 alone, over 6,400 children were victims of one or more grave violations in the region. One in three victims was a girl."

Ethiopia: PM Abiy Ahmed in the front lines to lead State troops against Tigrayan forces; France and Germany ask their citizens to leave Ethiopia immediately 
On 23 November, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed went to the battleground, where the State forces were fighting the separatist Tigrayan forces. Al Jazeera quoted his tweet: "The time has come to lead the country with sacrifice…Those who want to be among the Ethiopian children who will be hailed by history, rise up for your country today. Let's meet at the battlefront." Ethiopia's forces have been fighting the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) amidst fears of famine. In a related development, France and Germany had advised their citizens to leave Ethiopia.



Photo : AFP/The Economist

Ethiopia: One after a year of the Tigray conflict, back to square one


Conflict Weekly #95, 4 November 2021, Vol.2, No.31 An initiative by NIAS-IPRI & KAS-India Office

GP Daily Brief |

IN FOCUS

by Apoorva Sudhakar

In the news
On 4 November, Ethiopia marked one year of the beginning of the Tigray conflict after the federal government launched a military offensive into the country's northern region in 2020.

On 1 November, the Ethiopian cabinet declared a state of emergency and called on the citizens to defend the capital city Addis Ababa from the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). The justice minister termed the situation with the TPLF a threat to Ethiopia's "existence, sovereignty and unity" and said the danger cannot be averted "through the usual law enforcement systems and procedures." The development came after the TPLF claimed to have captured two towns in Tigray's neighboring region, Amhara. The TPLF spokesperson said: "We have to make sure that our children are not dying from hunger and starvation. We have to make sure that there is access to food, so we'll do what it takes to make sure that the siege is broken. If marching to Addis is what it takes to break the siege, we will."

On 2 November, the head of Addis Ababa's Peace and Security Administration Bureau directed residents to register their firearms within two days. The chief also said that the youth would be recruited and organized to coordinate with the security force.

Issues at large
First, a brief recap of the conflict. The ongoing conflict flared up on 4 November 2020, when the federal government ordered a military offensive into Tigray, alleging that the TPLF had attacked some federal military bases. The TPLF justified its attacks claiming that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had plans to send soldiers into the region as it defied federal orders not to conduct elections; despite the orders, the Tigray region held elections in September 2020. On 28 November, PM Abiy declared an end to the offensive and announced the capture of Tigray's capital, Mekelle. However, after a brief retreat, Tigrayan forces returned to fight, and in June 2021, Tigrayan forces recaptured Mekelle; since October 2021, Ethiopia has been carrying out a series of airstrikes on Tigray.

Second, the unraveling of ethnic fault lines. Following the outbreak of the conflict in Tigray, different ethnic groups have exploited the situation leading to massacres of rival communities in other regions like Afar, Amhara, and Oromia. Some of the incidents include the Mai Kadra massacre and repeated clashes between the Oromos and Amharas. Ethnic violence is also cropping up across other regions in Ethiopia, like in the country's west, where the Gumuz has targeted both Amharas and Oromos.

Third, the role of regional actors. The tensions between Eritrea and the TPLF can be traced back to the 1990s when the TPLF led the ruling coalition in Ethiopia. Following the military offensive in November 2020, the TPLF accused Eritrea, Ethiopia's neighboring country, which borders Tigray, of siding with the Ethiopian troops. After dismissing these claims several times, PM Abiy confirmed the presence of Eritrean troops in March 2021. Despite these developments, regional organizations like the African Union have not come down on Ethiopia or Eritrea. In August, professionals including former chief justices, authors, academicians from across Africa wrote an open letter criticizing the AU for the "lack of effective engagement" in the conflict.

Fourth, mounting international pressure. The United Nations, United States, and European Union have repeatedly called for an end to hostilities, reiterating that there is no military solution to the conflict. The US had also placed sanctions on the Chief of Staff of the Eritrean Defence Forces for the alleged role in abuses against Tigrayans. Further, rights organizations like Amnesty International have released several reports on the rights abuses in the region and have called for international action. However, PM Abiy has brushed aside such developments and termed them conspiracies of the West.

Fifth, the worsening humanitarian conditions. The actual number of casualties over the last one year remains unknown; meanwhile thousands have fled to Sudan. Media outlets like The New York Times have reported on mass rapes at the hands of security forces in Tigray; Eritrean troops have also been accused of systematic rape in the region. In another development, the UN has issued several warnings of famine in Tigray, the risk of malnourishment among pregnant women, and acute malnutrition in children under five years. In short, the humanitarian conditions seem to deteriorate over the days. 

In perspective
One year since the beginning of the conflict, the situation seems to be spiralling down for Ethiopia. Despite having declared a victory within three weeks of the conflict, with the airstrikes in October, Ethiopia and Tigray are back to square one. Though PM Abiy won the long-delayed elections held in July; however, the situation in Tigray seems to be going out of his control.  Once the West's hero, Abiy Ahmed seems to have fallen out with the international community. Meanwhile, the TPLF finds it difficult to sustain its fight without support; reports suggest that the TPLF and the Oromo fighters had joined forces during the conflict. The situation is not suitable for either side.

On the humanitarian front, the international community is rightfully concerned; however, calling for an end to hostilities and imposing sanctions will not convince the two sides to give up their fight.

 

IN BRIEF

By Abigail Miriam Fernandez and Apoorva Sudhakar

Burkina Faso: Unidentified gunmen kill ten
On 1 November, sources told Reuters that 10 people were killed and four others had gone missing following an armed attack by unidentified men on civilians going to the market in Markoye town, which falls under the country's Sahel stretch. The region borders Mali and Niger and has been witnessing Islamist attacks. President Roch Kabore said: "We will get through it together, or not at all."



Photo : Aljazeera/Marwan Ali/AP Photo

Sudan: Tensions flare-up as the military dissolves the civilian government


Conflict Weekly #94, 28 October 2021, Vol.2, No.30 An initiative by NIAS-IPRI & KAS-India Office

GP Daily Brief |

IN FOCUS

by Mohammad Aseel Ummer

In the news
On 25 October, General Abdel Fattah Burhan, head of Sudan’s armed forces, in a televised broadcast announced that the civilian leadership of the transitional government has been dissolved due to political infighting which can lead to a civil war. Prior to the announcement, various news sources reported heavy deployment of security forces in the capital - Khartoum and key civilian leaders like Prime Minister Abdella Hamdock being detained from their residences.
Government supporters who had been demonstrating since last week as a response to a call for military coup took to the streets in Khartoum and other major cities demanding an immediate release of detained leaders and reinstating the civilian government back to power. The armed forces responded with live ammunition and military-grade weapons to disperse the protesters who gathered in front of important military and governmental establishments. By the second day, with a military enforced lockdown in the capital, seven individuals were recorded killed and nearly 140 wounded, with some in critical conditions as the military struggles to re-establish order.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the military take-over and called out for the immediate release of the civilian leaders, including the Prime Minister, in a statement. The EU Policy Chief Joseph Borell expressed strong contempt over the coup and said, “the actions of the Military represent betrayal of the revolution and the transition”. Chairperson of African Union Moussa Mahamat demanded the immediate release of the detained leaders and reminded that “dialogue and consensus is the only relevant path to save the country and it’s democratic transition.” Sudan’s neighbors like Egypt and Ethiopia have expressed their concerns over the developments in Khartoum as any rise in tensions can ignite a spill-over causing regional instability.
On 26 October, White House Spokesperson Ned Price informed that Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a dialogue with Abdella Hamdock over telephone and re-stated his concern over the developments in Sudan.

Issues at large
First, the multiple attempts by the military to jeopardise the civilian leadership. With the civilian leadership being dissolved, the majority of the Sudanese population believe that the transition chalked out in 2019 has been entirely jeopardized. It is unlikely that the military would surrender its control and facilitate the elections expected to be held in 2023 as the military has previously made multiple attempts to monopolize governance in the past two years, which eventually strained the relations between the civilian and military leadership of the interim government.

Second, the rights violation amid the protests. The excessive and brutal force used by the military to control the protesters has raised international concerns as death tolls are expected to climb in the coming days. Human Rights Watch has already condemned the violence and stated, “the coup is a major blow to the Sudanese transition”. Various News agencies have also reported that there are internet and communication blackouts in the country, and some suggest that the military has taken complete control over State media.

Third, the deterioration of the economy. The plummeting economy is expected to take further blows in the coming days. The Eastern port of Sudan, a major shipping point that facilitates international trade is under a blockade enforced by local tribesmen. The restrictions are expected to be temporarily lifted, but analysts suggest that the instability lurking in the country can prevent foreign trade and with the chances of sanctions and the Biden Administration’s decision to suspend a financial assistance package worth 700 million USD, Sudanese economic future seems bleak.

In perspective
First, the tensions can escalate as the larger Sudanese population seems convinced that military administration cannot be the most promising option, and with the civilian leaders, except for Hamdock and his wife who were returned to their residence according to the military, while others being detained the ongoing protest will reach intensified extends causing further loss of life and damage to Sudan’s political landscape. On 27th, The Doctor’s Union has officially declared their active solidarity along with various other civilian organizations and are expected to participate in the ongoing protests.
Second, the international community is evidently concerned about the recent developments in Sudan and any further hinderance to the transition can place the country in a critical position. For instances, in December 2020, after 27 years US removed Sudan from the list of States which sponsored terrorism. Without a clear de-escalation of the current tensions, Sudan could be blacklisted or become a pariah state. 

IN BRIEF

By Abigail Miriam Fernandez and Apoorva Sudhakar

Ethiopia: Addis Ababa continues airstrikes on Tigray
On 26 October, Ethiopia carried out an airstrike on a town five kilometres away from Mekele, Tigray’s capital. The town has been under the control of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) since June. France24 quoted the Ethiopian government spokesperson who said: “A special-forces training centre for the terrorist group TPLF has been the target of today's airstrike,” adding, “(A) large number of the group's illegally recruited military personnel were taking military trainings at this center.” However, a TPLF spokesperson dismissed any such facility and accused the Ethiopian government of intending to terrorise Tigrayans.

Eswatini: Pro-democracy protests continue; King calls for calm and national dialogue
On 21 October, the Public Works Minister stopped all city and town municipalities from issuing permits for protests. The move comes amid ongoing pro-democracy protests, led majorly by students, across Eswatini. Prior to the announcement, protesters said one among them had died from a gunshot as security forces tried to control the protests. On 25 October, Africanews reported that the King of Eswatini called for “an end to all violence, as no dialogue can take place when tempers are so high” and a national dialogue. However, political parties rejected the call and said: “We will not let the king who has blood on his hands decide how and when the dialogue will be held," adding, "There can be no calm or peaceful dialogue while the security forces continue to kill and maim people.”

Somalia: Over 120 killed in three days in clashes between Army and ASWJ militia
On 25 October, a senior member of the Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama'a (ASWJ) militia said that more than 120 people had been killed and 600 injured in three days as clashes ensued between the ASWJ and the Somali Army in Galmudug state. The ASWJ was previously an ally of the Army; however, claiming that the government has failed to quell the Al Shabaab insurgency, the ASWJ is fighting the terrorist group. Meanwhile, the Galmudug Information Minister said that 16 government soldiers were killed and 45 wounded in the clashes which erupted on 23 October.



Photo : The Guardian/Mohammed Abu Obaid/EPA

Sudan: Political instability deepens as anti-government protesters demand a military takeover


Conflict Weekly #93, 21 October 2021, Vol.2, No.29 An initiative by NIAS-IPRI & KAS-India Office

GP Daily Brief |

IN FOCUS

by Mohammad Aseel Ummer

In the news
On 16 October, anti-government protesters took to the streets of Khartoum and protested in front of the presidential palace demanding the dissolution of the interim government and calling for a military takeover.
 
On 18 October, an emergency cabinet meeting was held to bring in various factions of the civilian-led government led by the coalition locally identified as the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC). On the same day, tensions between protesters and security officials intensified, and the former were heard chanting "Down with the Hunger Government." The protesters called for General Abdel Fatah Al Burhan, the head of the country's armed forces and the Joint Military-Civilian Sovereign Council to assume leadership of the country through a coup; the pro-military protesters were forcefully dispersed from the vicinities of the presidential palace in an attempt to re-establish order.
 
Issues at large
First, Sudan's current political scenario. The country is currently undergoing its worst political crisis since the ousting of former President Omar-Al-Bashir in 2019, who is currently serving imprisonment for his involvement in the Darfur conflict. The recent political unrest is a result of a failed coup attempt on 21 September by the loyalists of Bashir which the interim government claimed to have foiled successfully. Various clashes were reported between pro-government supporters and the protesters.

Second, militaristic attempts to Sabotage the transition. The civilian administration has been a constant critic of the armed forces of the country and for their alleged attempt to hinder the functioning of the interim government. A former minister of trade criticized the increasing militaristic attempts as "They (armed forces) aim, by weakening the civilian authority through economic sabotage and encouraging ethnic protests to create a reality that allows them to take control of power in Sudan". It is widely alleged that many of the close ringleaders of the former president still hold important positions in defense and the recent attempted coup is seen as tendencies that can severely damage the delicate fabric of Sudanese politics.

Third, ineffective governmental responses to public demands.  Prime minister Abdella Hamdock's administration has failed to resolve ongoing ethnic tensions in various parts of the country. The Sudanese economy struggles to stay afloat while a major port in eastern Sudan remains under the blockade placed by local tribesmen hindering international trade; this has caused significant damage to the image of the interim government in power. According to pro-military groups and factions within the FFC aligned with the military, it is highly unlikely that the current administration can emerge effective.

Fourth, a divided civilian administration between government supporters and pro-military groups has enabled the military to use the lack of unity to their advantage. Various factions in the FFC which are loyal to former political oligarchies that reigned control under Bashir's regime have been making efforts to topple the existing interim administration.
 
In perspective
First, the ongoing tussle will effectively determine the political future of the country for the coming decades. The military appears to have gained enormous popular support in the past few years as the civilian administration struggled to maintain stability. Despite Bashir's ouster from power, much of Sudanese political elite undoubtedly are inclined towards Bashir and the military, this leaves the political scale of the country highly unpredictable.
 
Second, the civilian administration must buckle-up and enhance their administrative capabilities to improve a popular image which can possibly prevent a major military intervention. A sudden change in power can have serious regional ramifications as the country borders conflict-ridden neighbours like Libya, Egypt and Ethiopia. If the military takes complete control, the country can attract both regional and international sanctions, which will inflict further damage over its economy as the country is heavily dependent on international aid. Finally, if Sudan falls under military-rule through a coup, it will become the fourth country to have a military takeover in the Sahel region. 

IN BRIEF

By Abigail Miriam Fernandez and Apoorva Sudhakar

Eswatini: UN Secretary-General raises concern overuse of force against student demonstrations
On 18 October, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the use of excessive force against school demonstrations. The statement read: "The Secretary-General reiterates the importance of enabling the people of Eswatini to exercise their civil and political rights peacefully." With this, the Secretary-General called on the government "to ensure that security forces act in conformity with relevant international human rights standards, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child."

Ethiopia: Airstrikes continue to target Tigray
On 20 October, residents said that the Ethiopian government had carried out new airstrikes in Tigray. This follows the airstrikes on 18 October wherein three children lost their lives and one person was injured in a series of airstrikes in the region; the state media said that Ethiopia had carried out the airstrikes. The state media coverage came even after the Ethiopian government spokesperson denied carrying out the airstrikes. Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) opined that "intensification of the conflict is very alarming."

Nigeria: 43 killed by gunmen in Sokoto 
On 17 October, at least 43 people were killed in an attack by gunmen at a weekly market in Sokoto State's Goronyo weekly market. The attacks continued well into 18 October. The Sokoto government spokesperson said: "We're faced and bedevilled by many security challenges in our own area here, particularly banditry, kidnapping and other associated crimes."



Photo : ZoubeirSouissi/Reuters/AlJazeera

26 September 2021

Tunisia: President announces rule by decree


The World This Week, 26 September 2021

GP Daily Brief |

IN FOCUS
by Mohammad Aseel Ummer

Tunisia: President announces rule by decree
What happened?
On 22 September, Tunisian President Kais Saied declared that he will 'rule by decree' and defy the constitution's parts that challenge his executive and legislative authorities. According to the new rules that have been published in the official Gazette allows him to release 'Legislative text' upon his decree, he is also entitled to appoint a cabinet and determine its policies and direction of implementation without any interferences. The announcements raised immediate concerns among the Opposition; a senior leader of the Heart of Tunisia party rejected the presidential decisions calling it a "premeditated coup". The leaders of the Ennahda, the largest opposition party condemned it, as the declaration meant "cancelling the constitution".

On 23 September, Attayar, Al Joumhouri, Akef and Ettakatol parties released a joint statement calling for an end to Saied's intervention. These minor parties have significant influence among the non-elite sections of the country. The statement questions the President's authority and rejects his legitimacy, "He will be held responsible for all the possible repercussions of this dangerous step". A senior official of the UGTT union said, "Tunisia is heading towards absolute, individual rule."

On 24 September, the UGTT labor Union, a powerful political entity in the country said in a statement the recent developments can be a "danger to Democracy".  The union had earlier welcomed Saied's decision to dissolve the Parliament but had called for an immediate return political stability and to operate within the bounds of the constitution. The head of Amnesty International commented that the development is worrying and cautioned," the warning signs are blinking red".

What is the background?
First, the suspension of the Parliament. Kais Saied suspended the Parliament and dismissed Rached Mechichi as the Prime Minister on 25 July; he took over the legislative and executive powers. The decision came after series of nationwide protests against the misgovernance of the moderate-Islamic Ennahda party resulting in a plummeting economy. The party was accused of being instrumental in establishing a highly a corrupted administration that failed to handle the covid pandemic effectively. The legal immunity enjoyed by all Parliamentarians were withdrawn, and travel bans imposed. The Opposition condemned the suspension to be a constitutional coup. 

Second, the delayed decisions. The suspension was declared to be for 30 days, followed by the naming of a new Prime minister along with the cabinet. By 25 August, the interim administration was brought under both growing international and domestic pressure to name a new Prime minister. 

The Opposition headed by Ennahda and other minor parties called nationwide mobilization against Saied's administration and called for a swift return to the former status quo. Meanwhile, many supporters of the recent interventions have openly expressed concerns regarding the absence of clarity of Saied's roadmap to a new government.

What does it mean?
First, Kais Saeid, despite denying any aspiration to rule, can become an authoritarian ruler in the future. The new administration lacks support from the existing political parties and bureaucracy. He is criticized for lacking any prior experiences in governance; critics warn of the formation of a highly authoritarian regime that is incapable of delivering efficient governance. The security forces have remained uninvolved after the suspension, but in the light of the recent reforms, Tunisa's military and intelligence can be a critical factor in the new administration.

Second, the fragmented and divided Opposition that had created disunity and lack of collective consensus is being brought under a single banner to resist Saied's administrative reforms collectively. A strong and combined opposition that resist the new governance can possibly recreate the bloody images of the 2011 Arab Spring that swept across various countries in the region. 

Third, Tunisia was often seen as the beacon of democracy among the nations that was part of the Arab Spring. The new governmental policies can undermine the ideals and achievements of the revolution. A political tussle in Tunisia in the future can also cause regional instability in the North African Belt. 

IN BRIEF
 

Mali: Protests break out in support of the interim government and Russia 
On 22 September, protests broke out in Mali in support of the transitional government. Thousands gathered in the capital city of Bamako and called for closer ties with Russia while they dismissed relations with France. The protests broke out after the diplomatic tensions between Mali and France, which is pressuring the country to hold elections in February and end relations with the Russian mercenary group Wagner. The protests were against the French presence in the country. South Sudan

South Sudan: United Nations report points out threat to human rights and the peace process
On 23 September, the United Nations released a report according to which the extreme plundering of South Sudan's public coffers posed a threat to the human rights of the people and challenged the peace process. The country has been posed with numerous challenges since its independence, such as the civil war, chronic instability, economic chaos, ethnic violence and a hunger crisis. The Commission on Human Rights Chair Yasmin Sooka said: "Corruption, embezzlement, bribery, and misappropriation of State funds by political elites are merely the tip of the iceberg. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the National Revenue Authority, and a number of foreign corporations have all been complicit in this."



Photo : Reuters/BBC

22 September 2021, Wednesday

Rwanda: 'Hotel Rwanda' hero Paul Rusesabagina sentenced for terrorism offences


Conflict Weekly, 22 September 2021

GP Daily Brief |

IN FOCUS
by
Mohammad Aseel Ummer

In the news
On 20 September, Paul Rusesabagina was sentenced to 25 years of prison under charges of terrorism by a court in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Rusesabagina had climbed to popularity after the release of the Hollywood movie 'Hotel Rwanda' in which he was portrayed as the humanitarian hotel manager that housed nearly 1200 Tutsis during the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. The prosecutors of the legal row had sought life imprisonment for Paul under several charges, including terrorism, kidnappings, arsons and forming a terrorist organization.

Ned Price, a US Department of State spokesperson, commented that the US is concerned by the verdict and questions the fairness of the trial. Belgium's Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes resented the verdict and observed that Paul did not benefit from a fair trial. Paul's supporters and human rights activists call the trial a political sham and accused the Kagame government of arbitrariness.

Issues at large
First, the political intolerance in Rwanda.  President Paul Kagame has been criticized internationally for his totalitarian approach towards dissent and opposition at the domestic and international levels. Earlier in 2014, the Human Rights Watch had released a report titled 'Repression across Borders', which documents nearly 10 cases of mistreatment in the form of attacks and threats faced by critics in exile. Paul Rusesabagina is a prominent political figure and a critique of Paul Kagame and his administration. He has remained as a strong voice of the opposition coalition Rwandan Movement of Democratic Change (MRCD) overseas, especially in the west. He is also recognized to be among the leadership of the (MRCD). He is held responsible along with 20 other defendants for various acts of violence committed by the radical and armed wing of the Ihumure party called the National Liberation Front (FLN). Earlier in 2018, he openly expressed his support for FLN and called for armed resistance against the Kagame administration. However, he denies the allegation of being an active member of FLN. Many opposition figures and rights groups have condemned the trial as they view it as a strong expression of judicial unfairness.

Second, the questionable judicial trial. The Rwandan Intelligence Bureau detained Paul Rusesabagina from Dubai after being tricked to travel in a plane which he was given the impression would take him to Burundi, instead landed in Kigali. He was later kept in solitary confinement for nearly 250 days; according to Nelson Mandela rules for the treatment of prisoners (UN), this is a form of torture. Paul's legal team also accuses the Rwandan authorities of preventing proper audience with the defendant, and his international legal aids have been prevented from contacting him. In protest, Paul had boycotted the recent hearings while the other defendants attended.

Third, dwindling popular support to Paul Rusesabagina. The national hero has been facing increased criticism; many of his critics identify him as a 'manufactured hero' who had unjustly benefited from the genocide. According to the state-run media, his popular image is largely a product of the western interpretation of the genocide and contradicts the facts. Authors like Alfred Ndahiro, in his work on the genocide, provides an alternative reality based on the accounts of the survivors of the genocide who were at the hotel Paul managed. Such campaigns have caused significant damage to Paul Rusesabagina's popularity in the country.

In perspective
The opposition has unequivocally condemned the verdict. "In a country where freedom is limited, all power is in the hands of the executive, how could a judge dare to take a decision incompatible with the wishes of the president" commented an opposition leader. Paul has been acquitted of creating and running an armed group, but with the remaining allegations, he is expected to serve his sentence.

IN BRIEF
by Abigail Miriam Fernandez and Apoorva Sudhakar

Burundi: Lakhs displaced due to rise in Lake Tanganyika
On 19 September, the Save the Children organization said at least 103,305 people had been displaced due to crises including floods, landslides and storms, all linked to climate change. According to the organization, 84 per cent of the displacement has been linked to the rise in the water level of Lake Tanganyika to 776.4 meters above sea level in April, in contrast to the lake's average, 772.7 meters. Of the total displaced, seven per cent are less than one-year-old babies.
 
Burundi: Several dead in series of blasts in two days
On 20 September, at least five people were killed and 50 injured in a series of blasts in Bujumbura. Witnesses said two blasts took place at a bus parking lot and another in a marketplace. This comes after two people were killed in a grenade attack in Gitega, the country's administrative capital, on 19 September. Earlier on 18 September, an attack was carried out in the airport as the President was leaving for New York to attend the UN General Assembly; a Congo-based rebel group Red Tabara claimed responsibility for that attack.
 
Cameroon: Several killed in two attacks in English-speaking regions 
On 20 September, the Defence Ministry said heavily armed terrorists had killed 15 soldiers and several civilians in two attacks in the Northwest Region on 16 September. The Ministry said the attackers had used IED and an anti-tank rocket launcher in the attacks, which targeted the English-speaking regions of Cameroon. Al Jazeera quoted from the Ministry that said it had observed "links and exchanges of sophisticated weaponry" among "secessionist terrorists" and "other terrorist entities operating beyond the borders."
 
Sudan: Coup attempt thwarted; PM blames individuals linked to Omar al-Bashir
On 21 September, the government said military officials and civilians in ties with former President Omar al-Bashir had attempted to carry out a coup on 20 September, which was immediately thwarted; several arrests have been made, and interrogations are underway. The current Prime Minister linked the coup attempt to "remnants from the previous regime" aiming to foil "the civilian democratic transition."



Photo : Africa news

19 September 2021

ECOWAS imposes sanctions on the military government in Guinea


The US government prepares to sanction individuals and groups in Ethiopia

GP Daily Brief |

AFRICA THIS WEEK
Egypt: Government signs 14 MoUs with Unity government in Libya
On 16 September, the Egyptian government signed a series of deals with the Unity government in Libya. The deals include cooperative agreements and infrastructure projects as Egypt tries to engage with its oil-rich neighbour. A total of 14 memorandums were signed with Libya, covering industry, hydrocarbons, agriculture, communications and civil aviation. The deals mark the first engagement of Egypt with the Unity government after it backed it opponent in the previous conflict which lasted for almost a decade.  

Sahel: French troops kill IS head in Greater Sahara
On 16 September, the French President Emmanuel Macron reported the death of the head of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi. He referred to the death and called it "another major success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel." Although Macron did not disclose the details of the attack, the French Defence Minister Florence Parly tweeted that the death was caused by Operation Barkhane force's strike. She called it: "a decisive blow against this terrorist group and the fight continues."

Guinea: ECOWAS imposes sanctions on the military government 
On 16 September, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposed sanctions against the military government of Guinea and held it responsible for slowing Mali's post-coup transition. The sanctions include freezing of assets and a travel ban on Guinea's military leaders and their family members and demanded the release of President Alpha Conde. The ECOWAS also pressured Mali to hold elections in February 2022 and come up with an electoral road map by the next month. It also threatened to impose sanctions on anyone who restricted the elections in Mali. 

Ethiopia: The US government prepares to sanction individuals and groups 
On 17 September, US President Joe Biden gave his consent to sanction individuals and groups engaging in violence and restricting humanitarian aid in Ethiopia. Although the names of the individuals and groups have not been named, the sanctions are considered to be one of the strongest warnings issued by the US to Ethiopia. On the same day, the UN World Food Programme revealed that since July 2021, more than 445 trucks with food had been dispatched to the Tigray region, but only 38 have returned. The lack of trucks has caused an obstacle to international organizations and prevent them from reaching out to the famine-struck population in the region. 

Somalia: President restricts Prime Ministers powers 
On 16 September, the Somalian President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed suspended the Prime Minister's power to hire and fire until the end of the election later this year, further deepening the conflict in the country. Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble was accused of violating the transitional constitution by President Mohamed. He said: "The prime minister has violated the transitional constitution so his executive powers are withdrawn, especially his powers to remove and to appoint officials, until the election is completed." Roble also reacted to the development by rejecting the order and said: "The prime minister reminds the president to preserve the principles of the constitution of the separation of powers of the government's institutions."