Analysis

NIAS AFRICA WEEKLY
IN FOCUS | Challenges to peace in Eastern Congo

November 2022 | CWA # 830

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS AFRICA WEEKLY
China-Africa relations: Looking back and looking ahead

November 2022 | CWA # 815

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS AFRICA WEEKLY
IN FOCUS | Chad's political crisis

November 2022 | CWA # 812

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS AFRICA WEEKLY
Floods in West Africa: Nigeria and beyond

October 2022 | CWA # 804

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS AFRICA WEEKLY
IN FOCUS | Famine in Somalia

October 2022 | CWA # 803

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS AFRICA WEEKLY
IN FOCUS | Kenya Elections 2022

September 2022 | CWA # 802

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS AFRICA WEEKLY
IN FOCUS | The reinvention of Al Shabab

September 2022 | CWA # 783

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS AFRICA WEEKLY
IN FOCUS | Lavrov's visit to Africa

August 2022 | CWA # 782

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS AFRICA WEEKLY
IN FOCUS | Macron's visit to Africa

August 2022 | CWA # 781

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS Africa Weekly
IN FOCUS | Tunisia's political crisis

August 2022 | CWA # 772

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS Africa Studies
Tunisia’s political crisis: Five questions

July 2022 | CWA # 769

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS Africa Weekly
Tribal conflict in Blue Nile: Causes and Implications

July 2022 | CWA # 766

NIAS Africa Team

NIAS Africa Weekly
Sudan-Ethiopia border tensions and a profile of Blaise Compaoré

July 2022 | CWA # 756

NIAS Africa Team

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

June 2022 | CWA # 751

NIAS Africa Team

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

June 2022 | CWA # 748

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 : ALI BALIKCI | ANADOLU AGENCY, AFP

Somalia: President Mohamud launches anti al-Shabaab TV channel


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 24 November 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Somalia: President Mohamud launches anti al-Shabaab TV channel

On 24 November, the state media reported that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud inaugurated a new TV channel named Daljir to counter al-Shabab’s propaganda as the government intensifies its media campaign against the group. In October, the Somali government had banned over 500 social media accounts spreading al-Shabab’s ideologies. The information ministry said that the crackdown on al-shabaab linked media was part of “an all-out war” against the group which the president declared in August. (“Somalia launches anti-al-Shabab TV channel,” BBC, 24 November 2022)

Ethiopia: AU mediators visits Tigray

On 24 November, BBC reported that the African Union mediators are visiting the war-devastated Tigray region as part of their latest effort to implement a peace deal signed between the federal government and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Though a peace deal has been signed between the warring parties the BBC report says little food, medication and other essentials have reached Tigray. Another issue being the disarmament of Tigrayan forces, and the withdrawal of Eritrean forces. The government says the issue of presence of foreign forces will be dealt with when the federal forces are deployed in Tigray borders. (“AU mediators visit war-devastated Tigray,” BBC, 24 November 2022)



Photo : PA MEDIA

South Africa: President Ramaphosa visits Buckingham palace


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 23 November 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

South Africa: President Ramaphosa visits Buckingham palace

On 23 November, King Charles hosted South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as the first state visit of his reign at Buckingham palace. He hailed the cultural and trading links between the UK and South Africa as well as acknowledged the difficult legacy of colonialism. The King said: “We must acknowledge the wrongs which have shaped our past if we are to unlock the power of our common future.” He called for better partnerships which would tackle the “existential threats of climate change and biodiversity loss.” In response, Ramaphosa called for improved trade and investment relations with the UK and South Africa and to help the country in dealing with the power outage issue. (“King hails Mandela friendship on South Africa state visit Published,” BBC, 23 November 2022)

Ethiopia: Measles outbreak hit Oromia region

On 23 November, residents in the Oromia region of Ethiopia said that children have been dying from a measles outbreak for the past few months. They say that blackades caused by the ongoing conflict have hampered medical facilities reaching the region. The federal government and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) have been fighting a deadly insurgency in western insurgency. In October, the UN reported that humanitarian situation in the Oromia region “remains complex.” The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said: “Access, security and resources remain challenging to reach the affected population.” (“Ethiopia rebel stronghold hit by measles outbreak,” BBC, 23 November 2022)

Namibia: Statue of German colonial officer taken down

On 23 November, the statue of a controversial German colonial officer Von François was taken down after a successful petition. The statue was erected in 1965 honouring the officer as the city’s founder. Von François was a senior officer in the then colony of South West Africa, current day Namibia. He was the commanding officer during the Hoornkrans massacre which was an operation against the Nama rebellion where at least 80 people were killed. Activist Hildegard Titus, who led the petition to take down the statue said that François had “wrongly been called the founder of Windhoek'' and that he was a symbol of “colonial oppression.” (“Namibia takes down statue of German colonial officer,” BBC, 23 November 2022)



Photo : Afolabi Sotunde | Reuters

Nigeria: At least 130 people kidnapped by gunmen


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 22 November 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph and Apoorva Sudhakar

Nigeria: At least 130 people kidnapped by gunmen

On 22 November, BBC reported, at least 130 people were kidnapped by gunmen in Nigeria's north-western state of Zamfara. The state's information commissioner said that the gunment on motorcycles raided two regions and abducted women, children and the elderly. He added that the gunmen were using the victims as "human shields" following the ongoing "heavy bombardments" targeting their hideouts. However, separate reports said that the people abducted were farm workers who were busy during the harvesting season. Zamfara is one among the Nigerian States struggling with ransom kidnappings. (“Gunmen kidnap 130 in raids in north-west Nigeria,” BBC, 22 November 2022)

Burkina Faso: French embassy requests protection after violent protests

On 21 November, the French embassy requested the Burkinabe government for more protection after violent anti-French protests on 18 November. The protests were carried out in front of the French embassy and military base demanding French soldiers to leave. A French embassy letter said: "The events suffered in October and November are susceptible to be repeated in the coming days, if nothing is done." Burkina Faso's chief of staff of the national gendarmerie said that the security officers outside the embassy were not well equipped to handle the protest and that they were waiting for orders from authorities for reinforcement, which took several hours. The worsening Islamist insurgency in Burkina Faso is perceived as neo-colonial influence from Paris, subsequently calling for a partnership with Russia similar to Mali. ("French embassy asks Burkina Faso for more protection after protests," Reuters, 22 November 2022)

Mali: French-supported NGOs ordered to cease activities

On 21 November, the military government ordered non-governmental organisations, supported or funded by France, to stop their activities with immediate effect. The development comes a week after France halted development aid to Mali. The Malian government said the French move “intended to deceive and manipulate” public opinion for “destabilizing and isolating Mali.” The government also said that the French assistance was “dehumanizing aid used as a means of blackmailing rulers and actively supporting terrorist groups operating on Malian soil.” (“Mali bans NGOs supported by France amid diplomatic row,” whoownsafrica, 22 November 2022)



Photo : AFP

Zimbabwe: President opens Chinese-built new parliament


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 21 November 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Zimbabwe: President opens Chinese-built new parliament

On 16 November, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangawa formally opened a new 650-seat parliament in the capital, Harare. Manangagwa used the occasion to deliver a state of the nation address. The state-run Herald newspaper reported that the finance minister will present the 2023 national budget the next day. The project has been funded by China as a gift to Zimbabwe. ("Zimbabwe to open new Chinese-built parliament," BBC, 21 November 2022) 

DR Congo: Peace talks with rebels postponed

On 21 November, BBC reported that peace talks between the Democratic Republic of Congo government and rebel groups have been postponed. The talks were scheduled to begin on 21 November in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. The organisers of the Inter-Congolese peace dialogue said that they are trying to build a favourable environment to conduct the peace talks. Earlier this week, the clashes resumed in Rutshuru territory, towards the North Kivu province. ("DR Congo peace talks with rebels delayed," BBC, 21 November 2022) 

 



Photo : AFP

Mali: France suspends aid over ties with Russia


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 18 November 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Mali: France suspends aid over ties with Russia

On 18 November, a French foreign ministry source told AFP news agency that France suspended development assistance to Mali following the announcement of the end of Operation Barkhane. The French foreign affairs ministry quoted that it suspended aid over "the attitude of the Malian junta allied to the Russian Wagner mercenaries."  Several French NGOs denounced the decision in a letter to President Emmanuel Macron. It called on the government to review the decision saying that the suspension of aid jeopardises dozens of development projects that are under way or planned in the country over the coming years. (“France halts aid to Mali over Russia ties - reports,” BBC, 18 November 2022)

Uganda sends troops to DR Congo

On 18 November, the Ugandan army said that it will send nearly 1,000 troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo's Ituri region to fight the ongoing insurgency. Ugandan forces are already engaged with DRC forces fighting the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels in the region. The new troops are deployed as part of the East African force fighting nearly 100 other rebel groups. The announcement came a day after Kenya sent a second batch of its troops to the North Kivu region. (“Uganda to send more troops to DR Congo,” BBC, 18 November 2022)

West African countries meet in Ghana, discusses spiraling Islamist insurgency

On 18 November, officials of several West African countries met at Ghanaian capital, Accra, to discuss the worsening Islamist insurgency in the region. Ghana's National Security Minister Albert Kan-Dapaah said that cooperation is needed as "terrorist" activities are crossing borders. The meeting comes amid several countries announcing withdrawal of their troops fighting along with an international peacekeeping mission in the region. Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Ivory Coast are at risk of being affected by Islamist militants pushing southwards from Sahel countries. ("West African neighbours debate Islamist spill-over," BBC, 18 November 2022) 



Photo : Thomas Goisque | Wikimedia

Niger: France delivers attack helicopters


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 17 November 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Niger: France delivers attack helicopters

On 17 November, BBC reported that France has given two attack helicopters to Niger to boost its fight against the Islamist militancy. Niger’s Defence Minister Alkasoum Indatou said during the unveiling ceremony of the aircraft that the delivery of the equipment was a part of military cooperation between the two countries. According to the authorities, the aircraft included five military helicopters which cost nearly USD 24.8 million, having reconnaissance, surveillance and attack capabilities as well as included the training pilots. (“Niger receives two French attack helicopters,” BBC, 17 November 2022)

Ethiopia: Tigray officials accuses Eritrea of atrocities

On 17 November, a senior official of the Tigray region said that the Eritrean forces continue to commit human rights atrocities despite the ceasefire deal signed the previous week, which ended the two-year war. A spokesperson from Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) said that Eritrean forces are killing civilians and looting and destroying property. He also added that TPLF would not draw down its arms until the federal government ensures the complete withdrawal of Eritrean and other forces. Meanwhile, an Ethiopian official said that the Eritrean issue will be resolved after federal troops are stationed in Tigray’s borders. (“Eritrean army accused of atrocities in Tigray,” BBC, 17 November 2022)

 Nigeria: National Bureau of Statistics says 133 million people in poverty

On 17 November, Nigeria's National Bureau of Statistics said that nearly 133 million people in the country are living in poverty. The Bureau came up with the data looking at multidimensional poverty, where how much money someone has is calculated along with their access to education and basic infrastructure. It said lack of access to health and education as well as a clean energy for cooking are the key issues behind poverty. (“Six out of every 10 Nigerians in poverty - government,” BBC, 17 November 2022)



Photo : EPA

Sudan: UNHRC chief calls for political deal


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 16 November 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Sudan: UNHRC chief calls for political deal

On 16 November, the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Volker Turk urged Sudanese civilian and military factions to reach an agreement to end the worsening political and economic situation in the country following the coup last year. He said: “I really call on all sides involved in the political process to go the extra mile, to work towards the prompt restoration of civilian rule in the country, and bring an end to the uncertainty that has left much of the population in peril.” Talks between the Forces for Freedom and Change, and the military have been going for weeks. The civilian bloc said that it is seeking for a “framework agreement” with the military as a first step to end the political crisis. (“Sudan: UN human rights chief calls for political deal,” Africanews, 16 November 2022)

Kenya: Ruto condemns legislature’s comment to remove presidential term limits

On 16 November, Kenyan President William Ruto condemned the statement made by a legislature that the country should remove the term limits of the president. MP Salah Yakub, belonging to the ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA) said: “The terms of the presidency should not be limited to two terms, three terms, or even four. If the president is doing a good job he should extend his term.” In reply President Ruto said: “Do not spend your time pushing for selfish and self-serving legislation like changing the constitution to remove term limits, my focus is service to the people.” (“Ruto slams 'selfish' idea to scrap president term limit,” BBC, 16 November 2022)

Nigeria: At least 12 killed in gunmen attack

On 16 November, Reuters reported, the residents and the state governor said that at least 12 people were killed in a gunmen attack in the northern Nigerian state of Plateau. The governor said that there are frequent attacks and destruction of farm crops, livestock and properties within the state which are concerning. In October, nearly 23 people were killed in a clash between herdsmen and farmers in Benue state. (“At least 12 killed in Nigeria after gunmen attack villagers,” Reuters, 16 November 2022)



Photo : AFP

Ethiopia: PM vows to honestly implement ceasefire; TPLF faces criticism


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 15 November 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Ethiopia: PM vows to honestly implement ceasefire; TPLF faces criticism

On 15 November, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed promised “to implement honestly” the ceasefire signed with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) on 2 November. Abiy said: “We have moved one step forward. We have discussed, agreed and signed. The next thing expected from us will be to honestly implement what we have promised to make the peace sustainable.” Meanwhile, TPLF leader Getachew Reda defended the signing of the ceasefire after he faced criticism for allegedly selling out Tigrayans. BBC explains that critics of the TPLF decision said the Front does not have the authority to disarm the Tigray Defence Forces. (“Ethiopia PM Abiy vows ‘honest’ implementation of Tigray truce, “ Al Jazeera, 15 November 2022; Line Tsigab, “Tigray official defends peace deal amid criticism,” BBC, 15 November 2022)

Africa: Do not blame Africa for “taking sides,” says Rwanda President

On 15 November, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who is also the chairperson of the African Union Development Agency (Nepad) Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee addressed the G20 summit in Bali, stressing on the impact of the Ukraine war on Africa. Kagame outlined that the blockade on Russian supplies of fertilisers was affecting parts of Africa preparing for their cropping seasons. Outlining African countries’ voting in the UN sessions on Russia, Kagame said Africa should not be blamed for “taking sides,” adding, “What Africa wants to see is peace. We are confident that we cannot be accused of taking sides, simply by asking for peace. Africa is here for Africa and our productive relationship with the rest of the world.” Kagame said, too often Africans paid the price for external factors, be it climate change or the war in Ukraine. (“G20 Summit: Africa 'just wants peace', not taking sides in Ukraine war - Rwanda's Paul Kagame,” News24, 15 November 2022)

Russia is sending Africans to fight against Ukraine, says Kyiv

On 15 November, the Ukraine Foreign Ministry spokesperson tweeted that Russian President Vladmir Putin was “African citizens imprisoned in Russia to the war in Ukraine.” The development comes after a Zambian student, who had been serving a nine-year jail time, died fighting against Ukraine in September. The spokesperson said: “We call on the African Union and all African states to demand that Russia stop press gagging their nationals. Africans shouldn’t die for Putin’s sick imperial ambitions.” On 14 November, Zambia's foreign affairs minister said he would update the deceased student’s family updates on the death as Russia had not previously informed the Zambian government of the incident. (“Ukraine accuses Russia of pushing Africans to fight,” BBC, 15 November 2022)



Photo : AFP

Mali: UK announces withdrawal of troops from UN peacekeeping force


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 14 November 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Mali: UK announces withdrawal of troops from UN peacekeeping force

On 14 November, the UK’s Armed Forces Minister James Heappey announced that the UK would withdraw its 300 troops from the UN’s peacekeeping force in Mali. Heappey said: “This government cannot deploy our nation's military to provide security when the host country's government is not willing to work with us to deliver lasting stability and security.” Heappey opined that the two coups in Mali since 2020 had undermined international efforts to establish peace amid the growing violence linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State. The minister further added that Mali’s partnership with Russia’s Wagner Group was also counterproductive to the region’s security. (“Britain to withdraw troops from Mali peacekeeping force,” Reuters, 14 November 2022)

Somalia: US announces USD 10 million reward for information on al Shabaab leaders

On 14 November, the US Department of State announced that it would offer USD 10 million for any information on three leaders of al Shabaab, aiming to interrupt the group's financial flows. amid the group’s intensified attacks on civilians and the government troops. The three people are the “emir” of al Shabaab Ahmed Diriye, his second-in-command Mahad Karate and a US citizen Jehad Mostafa believed to lead al Shabaab’s foreign fighters and its media wing. The State Department said: “The FBI assesses Mostafa to be the highest-ranking terrorist with US citizenship fighting overseas.” (“US offers $10m for information on al-Shabab leaders, finances,” Al Jazeera, 15 October 2022; “US offers $10 million reward for leads on Somalia’s Al-Shabaab leaders,” France24, 14 November 2022)

Sudan: General Burhan warns against interfering with military

On 13 November, Sudanese President General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan warned Islamist groups and political factions against interference in the military as talks with civilian parties to establish a non-partisan government are ongoing. The development comes after Islamists loyal to former dictator Omar al Bashir protested against the ongoing talks. Reuters quoted Burhan: “We'll cut out the tongue of anyone who speaks on the military.” (“Sudan's Burhan warns Islamists and other factions against interfering with the military,” Reuters, 14 November 2022)

 



Photo : AP Photo/ Peter Dejong

Malawi president criticises wealthier countries for climate losses


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 11 November 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar and Anu Maria Joseph

Malawi president criticises wealthier countries for climate losses

On 11 November, Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera joined with other African leaders in criticising the developed countries for not paying enough to climate change induced issues. Speaking at the COP27 meeting in Egypt he said that African countries are contributing only little to pollute the climate and that wealthier countries should take more responsibility. He said: “That’s why we’re saying if you’re really serious about this it’s not about charity. This pays for what you have deliberately used and benefited you and you don’t want to pay up.” (“Paying for climate damage not charity - Malawi president,” BBC, 11 November 2022)

Tunisia: Ghannouchi released after trial for money laundering

On 10 November, Ennahda party leader Rached Ghannouchi was released after a trial for a case on money laundering and incitement of violence. Prior to his trial, Ghannouchi termed the case an “empty file” and an “invented problem.” The development comes as other Ennahda party members also face prosecution over transactions involving a digital content production firm which has been under    a probe since 2021 for alleged “plotting against state security.” Ghannouchi said these proceedings are “trumped-up and aimed at distracting the Tunisian people from the real problems we're facing.” (“Tunisia's Islamist leader Ghannouchi released after 'money-laundering' trial,” France24, 11 November 2022)

 Ethiopia: Government says federal forces controls 70 per cent of Tigray

On 11 November, the Ethiopian government said that currently the federal forces control 70 per cent of the northern region of Tigray. Ethiopian Prime Minister’s national security adviser stated through twitter: “70 per cent of Tigray is under the Ethiopian National Defence Forces'' and that aid was “flowing like no other times.” However, according to the AFP news agency reports, the spokesperson of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) had denied the claim. A TPLF spokesperson said: “He is plucking his facts out of thin air.” (“Ethiopian forces control 70% of Tigray - government,” BBC, 11 November 2022)



Photo : AFP

Ethiopia: WHO head says food and medicine not reaching Tigray


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 10 November 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Ethiopia: WHO head says food and medicine not reaching Tigray

On 10 November, the World Health Organization said that food and medicine are not reaching Tigray despite the signing of a ceasefire agreement the previous week. WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “I was expecting food and medicine to start flowing immediately after the ceasefire. That’s not happening.” Meanwhile, an Ethiopian official said that Tedros was trying to undermine the ceasefire agreement and that food and medicine were reaching Tigray. (“Food and medicine not reaching Tigray yet - WHO,” BBC, 10 November 2022)

 Ghana: Finance minister faces censure vote amid economic crisis

On 10 November, BBC reported that Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta will face a vote of censure for his failed handling of the economy as the annual inflation rate reached 40.4 per cent in October. This comes after the cost of essential commodities like staple food, fuel and utilities reached a record high. The ruling party in a statement said that the censure vote was “ill-intended and aimed at derailing government’s efforts at resolving current socio-economic upheavals.” (“Ghana's finance minister faces censure vote,” BBC, 10 November 2022)

DR Congo: At least two killed and 10 kidnapped by rebel forces

On 10 November, BBC reported that at least two people have been killed and 10 others were kidnapped by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group in Kabasha area near the city of Beni in north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. This comes after a series of air strikes by the Congolese forces targeting militia groups in Runyoni, Musongati, Chanzu and Bunagana regions. According to aid agencies, nearly 90,000 people have been displaced by the renewed fighting in the region over the past two months. (“DR Congo rebel forces kill two, kidnap 10 others,” BBC, 10 November 2022)



Photo : ASHRAF SHAZLY , AFP

Sudan: Protesters call for an end of violence in Nuba region


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 9 November 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Sudan: Protesters call for an end of violence in Nuba region

On 9 November, thousands of people belonging to Sudan’s Nuba ethnic group protested in the capital, Khartoum, calling for an end to violence in their region. The protesters carried placards saying “No to the genocide of the Nuba,” accussing the government of supporting the Arab militias trying to force out of their land. In October, at least 20 people were killed in a clash between Messiria Arabs and Nuba communities. (“Sudan protests call for end of Nuba region killings,” BBC, 9 November 2022)

 Kenya and South Africa signs visa-free entry deal

On 9 November, Kenya and South Africa agreed to a reciprocal visa-free entry deal which will be in effect from January next year. The two leaders also agreed to unveil a Pan-African airline between Kenya Airways and South African Airways. Kenyan President William Ruto said: “I express appreciation on the progress that we have made in the long awaited visa-free regime.” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “We both occupy strategic points on the continent and there is a great need for a strategic partnership to be struck.” (“Kenya and South Africa agree on visa-free entry,” BBC, 9 November 2022)



Photo : Olympia de Maismont, AFP

Africa: France ends Operation Barkhane in Sahel


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 8 November 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar and Anu Maria Joseph

Africa: France ends Operation Barkhane in Sahel

On 8 November, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the end of France’s anti-jihadist Operation Bakhane in Sahel. In a keynote address at the naval base at Toulon, Macron said: “I have decided, in coordination with our partners, to make official today the end of the Barkhane operation.” He added that the decision was a consequence of what France has experienced in the region, and a new strategy would be developed within six months. Macron said: “Our military support for African countries will continue, but according to new principles that we have defined with them.” (“France officially ends anti-jihadist Barkhane operation, ponders new strategy,” Africanews, 8 November 2022)

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Army operations target M23 rebels, says civil society leader

On 8 November, Al Jazeera reported that the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s troops had bombed areas controlled by M23 rebels in the east. The news reported quoted the president of a civil society group who said the people had urged the army to finish their operations faster as people had already been displaced and several were living in camps with little humanitarian assistance. The reporter said around 90,000 people have been displaced after fighting in the region resurged in October. Meanwhile, the M23 spokesperson termed the army operations counterproductive, stating that they put the civilian lives at risk. (“DR Congo jets bomb M23 rebel targets in east, official says,” Al Jazeera, 8 November 2022)

Uganda: Ministry announces early closure of schools amid rising ebola cases

On 8 November, the education minister announced that schools will be closed from 25 November, two weeks prior to the scheduled end of the term amid the rising number of ebola cases, including the death of eight children. The minister said this “will reduce areas of concentration where children are in daily close contact with fellow children, teachers and other staff who could potentially spread the virus.” As of 6 November, the WHO said 64 people had died from the current outbreak. On 8 November, The Telegraph reported that Uganda’s health ministry expects around 250 casualties by January and 500 by late April 2023. (“Uganda to close schools early after eight children die of Ebola,” Al Jazeera, 8 November 2022; “Ebola outbreak projected to surge as response repeats mistakes of Wuhan,” The Telegraph, 8 November 2022)

Africa: Children of African children face higher level of discrimination, says report

On 8 November, the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent presented a report to the UN General Assembly outlining the discrimination faced by children of African descent. The report said the level of discrimination meted to these children reached an extent that they were not considered children, even by the law. The report highlighted that children of African descent were subjected to “heavier policing, including more arrests, police surveillance, racial profiling, strip searches and excessive use of force.” The Chair of the Working Group attributed such actions against children to racial discrimination, stereotypes and xenophobia. (“Children of African descent ‘not considered children at all’, rights experts charge,” UN News, 8 November 2022)



Photo : UNICEF, UNI308360, Desjardins

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Children at risk of gender-based violence, says UN


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 7 November 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Children and young adults at risk of gender-based violence, says UN

On 7 November, the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said the resurgent violence and consequent internal displacement has placed children and young adults at the risk of “gender-based violence in the extremely cramped camps.” The UNICEF Emergency Manager said around 100,000 people had fled the intense fighting in the Rutshuru territory in the last ten days. (“Mass displacements in eastern DR Congo threaten young lives,” UN News, 7 October 2022)

Ethiopia: Government and Tigray forces agree to set up hotline

On 7 October, the African Union’s chief mediator said that following the latest agreement between the Ethiopian federal government and Tigray, both sides had established a hotline. The development comes after the two sides agreed to cease hostilities on 2 November. The mediator opined that exchanging a hotline was the first sign of progress. (“Ethiopian gov’t, Tigray forces establish hotline following truce,” Al Jazeera, 7 November 2022)



Photo : AFP

Somalia: Over a hundred al Shabaab terrorists killed, says ministry


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 4 November 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Somalia: Over a hundred al Shabaab terrorists killed, says ministry

On 4 November, the Defence Ministry said at least 100 al Shabaab terrorists had been killed in their clashes with the army and allied militias in the Hiran region. The development comes after 120 people were killed in twin bombings outside the education ministry in Mogadishu on 29 October. Reuters reported that pictures of bodies of the alleged terrorists were circulated on Telegram through a channel linked to the army. Meanwhile, al Shabaab claimed that dozens of soldiers had been killed in clashes with security forces on 3 November. (“Somalia army says at least 100 al Shabaab fighters killed in clashes,” Reuters, 4 November 2022)

Kenya: Drought claims hundreds of wildlife lives amid drought

On 4 November, the tourism minister said 205 elephants and several wildlife were killed between February and October 2022 amid the ongoing drought. The species most impacted were elephants, 681 wildebeest, 381 common zebras, 49 Grevy’s zebras, 12 giraffes and 51 buffalo. This comes after the Grevy’s Zebra Trust, in September, said the drought had claimed 40 Grevy zebras in three months. (“Kenya drought killed 205 elephants in 10 months – minister,” Al Jazeera, 4 November 2022)

 Africa: Climate-related health emergencies highest since 2000, says WHO

On 4 November, News24 reported a WHO analysis which said the number of disease outbreaks and climate-related health emergencies rose to an all-time high in the Horn of Africa. Assessing Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda, the report outlined that there were 39 disease outbreaks and floodings in these countries between January and October 2022. The outbreaks included anthrax, chikungunya, yellow fever, and other infectious diseases which accounted for 80 per cent of acute public health events. The WHO analysis said this was the highest number since 2000. (Lenin Ndebele, “From drought to floods: Climate-related health emergencies are peaking in Horn of Africa, says WHO,” News24, 4 November 2022)



Photo : Themba Hadebe, AP

Ethiopia: Government and Tigray forces signed ceasefire agreement


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 3 November 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph and Apoorva Sudhakar

Ethiopia: Government and Tigray forces signed ceasefire agreement

On 3 November, Ethiopian government and Tigray People’s Liberation Front reached a ceasefire agreement halting the two-year conflict which led to thousands of deaths and warnings of famine. The deal comes after the AU led formal peace talks which were held in South Africa. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said: “The commitment to peace remains steadfast and our commitment to collaborating for the implementation of the agreement is equally strong.” The head of the Tigray delegation said: “Ultimately, the fact that we have now signed an agreement speaks volumes about the readiness on the part of the two sides to lay the past behind them to chart a new path of peace.” A spokesperson to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “It is very much a welcome first step, which we hope can start to bring some solace to the millions of Ethiopian civilians that have really suffered during the conflict.” (“Five key takeaways from the Ethiopia peace deal,” Al Jazeera, 3 November 2022)

South Sudan: UN says more than one million affected by floods

On 3 November, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) said that over one million people are affected by floods caused by torrential rains across South Sudan. Ocha said that lack of funds, damaged infrastructure, renewed violence, insecurity and inaccessibility are hampering the flood responses in the region. (“More than a million hit by flooding in South Sudan - UN,” BBC, 3 November 2022)

South Sudan: Millions at risk of food shortage in upcoming lean seasons, say UN agencies

On 3 November, UNICEF and WFP warned that 7.8 million people, or two-thirds of the population, are at the risk of facing food shortages in the 2023 lean season from April to June. The two UN agencies said the shortage may persist because of a “combination of conflict, poor macroeconomic conditions, extreme climate events, and spiralling costs of food and fuel.” A joint statement outlined that despite these developments, funding towards humanitarian assistance for South Sudan has declined. (Waakhe Simon Wudu, “Two thirds of South Sudan population risk severe hunger in 2023 - U.N.,” Reuters, 3 November 2022)



Photo : Brendan McDermid, Reuters

Kenya announces deployment of its force in DRC


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 2 November 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Kenya announces deployment of its force in DRC

On 2 November, Kenya announced the deployment of its first contingent of a regional peacekeeping force to Democratic Republic of  Congo. President William Ruto will preside at the flagging-off ceremony in Nairobi for the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) joining the regional forces. The Kenyan troops will be a part of the East African Community (EAC) force, with an objective to help the Congolese army fighting M23 rebel insurgency. (“Kenya due to deploy army to fight DR Congo rebels,” BBC, 2 November 2022)

Somalia: US sanctions IS group over arms smuggling

On 2 November, the US sanctioned the Islamic State group (IS) and several individuals belonging to the group in Somalia over arms smuggling in East Africa. The sanctioned individuals are accused of providing intelligence support to the group and coordinating high-profile attacks. Since 2O15, IS Somalia has been active in the Horn of Africa. Despite significant regional and international support, Somalia continues to fight Islamist militancy and illicit arms network. (“US sanctions IS group in Somalia over arms smuggling,” BBC, 2 November 2022)

Nigeria: Thousands displaced by insurgency, says HRW

On 2 November, the Human Rights Watch warned that more than 200,000 people who have been displaced due to Islamist insurgency in north-east Nigeria are struggling to meet basic food and shelter needs. The rights group said that the situation worsened when the Borno regional state authorities shut down the camps for internally displaced people. It said by August alone nearly 140,000 people were asked to leave the camp. (“Nigerians displaced by insurgency struggling - HRW,” BBC, 2 November 2022)



Photo : Al Jazeera/Ramzi Boudina/Reuters

Algeria: Arab League commences amid uncertainties regarding Palestine


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 1 November 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar and Anu Maria Joseph

Algeria: Arab League commences amid uncertainties regarding Palestine

On 1 November, Algeria commenced the first Arab League since several Arab countries normalised ties with Israel in 2020. The last Arab League was held in 2019. Algeria is a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause and had also mediated a reconciliation process between the Fatah and Hamas factions. UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for unity among the Arab countries and said: “Division opens the door to foreign, non-Arab, interference, to terrorism, to manipulation, and sectarian strife. But united, your leadership can shape a region that makes the most of its enormous potential and contributes to global peace and security.” Guterres also stressed on the necessity to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative amid the war between Russia and Ukraine, and called on rich countries to lead the fight against climate change. (“In speech to Arab League, UN chief appeals for greater regional unity,” UN News, 1 November 2022)

Mali: At least 13 killed in military raid

On 1 November, BBC reported, at least 13 people were killed during a raid by the Malian army and a group which locals identified as Russia’s Wagner mercenary group on 30 October. Residents said the army and mercenaries targeted ethnic Fulanis, where a woman and child were among those killed during the attack in Guelledje village in the Mopti region. (“Raid by Mali army and 'mercenaries' kills 13,” BBC, 1 November 2022)



Photo : Reuters/BBC

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Thousands protest against Rwanda’s alleged support to M23


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 31 October 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Thousands protest against Rwanda’s alleged support to M23 

On 31 October, thousands took to the streets of Goma to protest against Rwanda’s alleged support to M23 rebels following Kinshasa’s recalling of its interim acting ambassador in Kigali. Al Jazeera quoted a civil society representative from the protests: We denounce the hypocrisy of the international community in the face of Rwanda’s aggression.” The development comes after M23 rebels two towns along a highway leading to Goma. Previously, on 29 October, the Democratic Republic of the Congo ordered the Rwandan ambassador to Kinshasa to leave the country within 48 hours. (“Thousands join anti-Rwanda protests in DR Congo’s Goma,” Al Jazeera, 31 October 2022)

Democratic Republic of the Congo: UN chief concerned over uptick in violence

On 31 October, a statement from the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed concern over the surge in violence in the east between government troops and M23 rebels. Guterres called for immediate de-escalation of violence and ensured continued support to the mediation. He urged the M23 to disarm unconditionally and respect the DRC’s sovereignty. On 29 October, two UN peacekeepers were injured during attacks in North Kivu. The UN Mission in the DRC, known as the MONUSCO, condemned the attack and outlined that they may amount to war crimes. (“DR Congo: Guterres ‘deeply concerned’ by resurgence of fighting between Government troops and M23,” UN News, 31 October 2022)



Photo : Reuters/BBC

DRC-Rwanda: Kinshasa orders Kigali envoy to leave within 48 hours


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 30 October 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

DRC-Rwanda: Kinshasa orders Kigali envoy to leave within 48 hours

On 29 October, the Democratic Republic of the Congo directed Rwanda’s ambassador to leave the country within 48 hours, on Kigali’s alleged support to the M23 rebels in DRC’s east. The decision came after the defence council met to discuss the capture of two towns by the rebels. The government spokesperson cited “a massive arrival of elements of the Rwandan element to support the M23 terrorists.” On 30 October, Rwanda accused DRC of scapegoating Kigali “to cover up and distract from their own governance and security failures.” (“DR Congo expels Rwandan ambassador as M23 rebels seize towns,” Al Jazeera, 30 October 2022)

DRC: 11 killed in stampede at Martyr’s stadium

On 29 October, 11 people, including two police personnel, were killed in a stampede at the Martyr’s stadium in Kinshasa where people had gathered for Fally Ipupa’s concert. The interior minister said the stadium had gone past the 100 per cent capacity and blamed the organisers for the casualties. Reuters reported that several people forced their way into the VIP section after the 80,000 seats were filled. Prior to the incident, security forces allegedly dispersed the crowd outside the stadium using teargas. (“Stampede at Fally Ipupa concert kills 11 in DRC’s capital,” Al Jazeera, 30 October 2022)

Somalia: Nearly 100 killed in car bombings in the capital

On 30 October, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said at least 100 people had been killed and 300 injured after two car bombs exploded in capital city Mogadishu on 29 October. A police officer told Reuters that the first bomb explosion targeted the education ministry and another explosion while people were running towards ambulances with victims. The President has accused al Shabaab of the attack and said the . Previously, in 2017, an explosion in the same location outside a hotel had claimed over 500 lives. (“At least 100 killed, 300 hurt in ‘heinous’ Mogadishu car bombings,” Al Jazeera, 30 October 2022)



Photo : The Guardian/Reuters

Africa: Thousands displaced by flooding in central and west Africa


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 28 October 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar and Anu Maria Joseph

Africa: Thousands displaced by flooding in central and west Africa

On 28 October, the UNHCR said 3.4 million were in need of assistance amid the flooding in west and central Africa. Currently, the floods have claimed over 600 lives in Nigeria and left 1.3 million displaced. Similarly, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso also witnessed above-average rainfall leading to the death and displacement of hundreds. The UNHCR spokesperson outlined the impact of climate change in the region and across Africa stating that the temperature in Sahel was increasing 1.5 times faster than the global average. The spokesperson further said that extreme weather across Africa had “killed hundreds and forced millions to flee their homes.” (“Millions face flooding threat across west and central Africa,” UN News, 28 October 2022)

Nigeria: Police increase security amid terror attack warnings

On 28 October, the Nigerian police called on all “strategic police managers in charge of commands and tactical formations” to increase security, particularly in the Federal Capital Territory. The inspector general of police ordered the activation of all emergency numbers for “a 24/7 prompt response with combatant officers and men on standby.” The development came after the US, on the same day, asked family members of diplomats and non-emergency staff to leave from Abuja. (“Nigeria ups security as US orders diplomats’ families to leave,Al Jazeera, 28 October 2022)

Western Sahara: UN Security Council voted for the resumption of peace negotiations

On 28 October, the UN Security Council voted for the resumption of negotiations between parties to the disputed Western Sahara. The resolution called on the parties to resume negotiations "in good faith with a view to achieving a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution." Thirteen countries in the 15-member council voted in favour of the resolution, while Kenya and Russia abstained. Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, is disputed by Morocco and the Algerian backed Polisario Front. (“UN votes for Western Sahara talks to resume,” BBC, 28 October 2022)



Photo : AP/The Guardian

Mali: UN criticises military government’s partnership with Wagner


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 27 October 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar and Anu Maria Joseph

Mali: UN criticises military government’s partnership with Wagner

On 26 October, the US State Department's undersecretary for political affairs said Mali’s security situation had significantly worsened because of the military government’s choices, including its relations with Russia’s Wagner Group. The official said that the US ability to assist Mali on its security was limited “by the choice that the Mali government made to get into bed with Wagner.” The US official claimed that with the Mali government’s invitation to Wagner, terrorism had increased by 30 per cent and that there are “broad reports of human rights abuses across the region where (Wagner forces) are working.” The official added: “We worry that these forces are not interested in the safety and security of the people of Mali, but instead are interested in enriching themselves and strip-mining the country -- and are making the terrorism situation worse.” (“US blames Russia's Wagner Group for worsening security in Mali,” France24, 27 October 2022)

Zambia: World Bank approves USD 279 million loan

On 27 October, the World Bank said that it has approved a USD 270 million loan to Zambia to help it recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and to manage the debt crisis. In August, the International Monetary Fund had approved a USD 1.3 billion loan to help Zambia to restructure its loan as it failed to repay the same since 2020. In addition, the president of the World Bank has called on other countries to help reduce Zambia's debt. (“World Bank approves $275 million in development support for Zambia,” Africanews, 27 October 2022)



Photo : AFP

Tigray: Government forces enters Tigray, UN calls for urgent resumption of peace talks


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 18 October

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

Anu Maria Joseph and Apoorva Sudhakar

Tigray: Government forces enters Tigray, UN calls for urgent resumption of peace talks

On 18 October, the Ethiopian government said that the military had taken control of three towns from TPLF rebel forces in Tigray. The government said in a statement: “The ENDF (Ethiopian National Defence Force) has taken control of the towns of Shire, Alamata and Korem without fighting in urban areas.” Earlier, the Tigrayan rebel forces said that the government forces and their allies have entered the city of Shire in Tigray, adding that they continue to to engage in a “life and death struggle.” The Tigrayan authorities said: “If we don't defend ourselves against our enemies, they will continue the atrocities.”(“Ethiopian army captures several towns in war-torn Tigray,” Al Jazeera, 18 October 2022)

Mali: Four UN peacekeepers die in attack in the north

On 18 October, the UN mission in Mali said the death toll of peacekeepers from an attack in Kidai region had risen to four on 17 October. Prior to the fourth peacekeeper’s death, three died on the day of the attack and three were injured after their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device. ("Death toll rises to four U.N. peacekeepers killed in Mali attack," Reuters, 18 October 2022)

Somalia: US blacklists alleged funders of militants

On 18 October, the US blacklisted multiple individuals in Somalia accusing of give financial and material assistance to the Islamist al-shabaab group. Meanwhile, earlier Somali authorities had warned businesses in the capital, Mogadishu against paying taxes to al-Qaeda affiliates. The previous week, the information ministry had suspended dozens of social media accounts and pages for publishing al-Shabaab propaganda. (“US blacklists alleged funders of Somali militants,” BBC, 18 October 2022)



Photo : AFP

Ethiopia: Government aims to take control of federal entities, UN calls for immediate resumption of


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 17 October

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Ethiopia: Government aims to take control of federal entities, UN calls for immediate resumption of peace talks

On 17 October, the Ethiopian government said that it aims to take control of airports and other federal facilities in Tigray “to protect Ethiopia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” The statement added that the move is necessary to protect its airspace which has been “violated by hostile foreign actors supporting the TPLF.” Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that the “situation in Ethiopia is spiralling out of control” and has called for an urgent resumption of peace talks. The same day, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) called on the international community to “compel the Eritrean army to withdraw from Tigray” and “press the Ethiopian government to come to the negotiating table.” (“Ethiopia war spiralling out of control - UN chief,” BBC, 17 October 2022) 

Nigeria: “Overwhelming” flood disasters leaves 600 dead

On 17 October, BBC reported, the minister for disaster management said that recent flooding in Nigeria had become an “overwhelming” disaster and many states were unprepared despite warnings. Nearly 600 people have died in the devastating floods which the country has seen in a decade. More than 1.3 million people have been displaced and at least 200,000 homes have been destroyed. Government has blamed unusual heavy rains and climate change for the calamity. Discharge of excess water from dams in Nigeria and neighbouring Cameroon are other factors that caused the flooding. (Ishaq Khalid and Elsa Maishman, “Nigeria floods: 'Overwhelming' disaster leaves more than 600 people dead,” BBC, 17 October 2022)

Eritrea: Security agents detains catholic bishop

On 15 October, a catholic bishop was arrested by Eritrean security agents at Asmara international airport. The government has not publicly commented on the arrest. The previous week another priest was arrested without unknown reasons. The arrest comes amid Catholic bishops repeatedly calling the Eritrean government for an inclusive democracy and ending authoritarian behaviour. In 2019, the authorities shut down Catholic-run schools and hospitals alleging that they were imposing regulations that stipulate that religious bodies cannot run such institutions.(“Eritrea detains Catholic bishop - sources,” BBC, 17 October 2022)



Photo : Reuters

Somalia: Oxfam says hundreds could die of hunger


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 14 October

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Somalia: Oxfam says hundreds could die of hunger

On 14 October, Oxfam said that one person is likely to die every 36 seconds till the end of this year in the Horn of Africa in ravaging drought. Major East African countries including Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are going through a fifth failed rainy season. Millions of people are leaving the rural areas for makeshift camps near towns. The agency said that the number of people facing acute hunger in Somalia is more than the number of people affected by famine in 2011. (“Hundreds could die every day in Somalia from hunger - Oxfam, BBC, 14 October 2022)

Mali: At least 11 killed in bus blast

On 14 October, BBC reported, at least 11 people were killed in central Mali in a bus blast. Jihadist insurgecy in the country has left thousands dead and forced thousands to leave thier homes. A report by the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) said that mines and explosive devices have killed more than twenty by the end of August this year. (“At least 11 killed in Mali bus blast,” BBC, 14 October 2022)

Burkina Faso: Coup leader to become interim president

On 14 October, Captain Ibrahim Traoré, who led the latest coup in Burkina Faso was named as the country's interim president until elections in July 2024. However, a national forum said that the leader would not be allowed to contest in the polls. Traoré seized power two weeks ago from Lt General Paul Henri Damiba, who led a coup in January blazing the authorities of failing to deal with Islamist insurgency. (“Burkina Faso coup leader to become interim president,” BBC, 14 October 2022)



Photo : Reuters

Africa: 26 African countries support UN resolution against Russia


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 13 October

GP Daily Brief |

IN  BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Africa: 26 African countries support UN resolution against Russia

On 13 October, BBC reported 26 African countries voted in favour of a UN resolution rejecting Russia’s referendum on four Ukrainian territories that Moscow declared a part of Russia and 19 countries abstained. Among those who abstained was Eritrea which had previously rejected a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In July 2022, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had visited three countries which abstained - Republic of Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia. (“African countries divided over UN vote against Russia,” Africanews, 13 October 2022)

Sudan: Nine prisoners of war handed over by rebel group

On 13 October, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) handed over nine prisoners of war to Sudan’s ambassador in South Sudan. The ambassador said South Sudan had welcomed the development.  The SLPM-N General Secretary said the nine prisoners, captured in September after clashes in South Sudan’s Kordofan province, were being released on humanitarian grounds. The SPLM-N leader said: “As individuals we don't have problems with them but we have problems with the government.” (Waakhe Simon Wudu, “Sudan rebels hand over prisoners of war, boosting ongoing talks,” Reuters, 13 October 2022)



Photo : AFP

Chad: Military leader appoints former opposition leader as PM


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 12 October

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Chad: Military leader appoints former opposition leader as PM

On 12 October, President General Mahamat Deby appointed former opposition figure Saleh Kebzabo as the prime minister. Kebzabo defended his decision to accept the appointment and said he believes that Deby is "a young man who believes in democracy." Kebzabo was a strong opponent to Gen Deby’s father and former president Idriss Deby. The latest development comes after Deby was sworn in as the president on 10 October, on a promise to establish civilian rule in Chad, when the national dialogue approved a 24-month political transition instead of 18. (“Chad's Deby taps ex-opposition figure Saleh Kebzabo to head interim cabinet,” France24, 12 October 2022)

South Sudan: Dozens killed in communal violence in Warrap

On 11 October, the Warrap State’s lawmaker said at least 25 people had been killed in clashes between two neighbouring communities over a disputed border in the north. The lawmaker said violence began when youth from the Twic community attacked people from the neighbouring Abyei town; 15 people from the Twic community and 12 people, including women and a child, died from the Abyei side. Both sides accuse each other of encroachment along the border. ( Waakhe Simon Wudu, “At least 25 people killed in South Sudan communal land violence,” Reuters, 12 October 2022)



Photo : UNHCR, Simon Lubuku

Democratic Republic of Congo: Thousands displaced amid inter-communal violence, says UN


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 11 October

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar and Anu Maria Joseph

Democratic Republic of Congo: Thousands displaced amid inter-communal violence, says UN

On 11 October, the UN refugee agency said it is alarmed by a deadly inter-communal violence which displaced thousands of people in the west of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since July, at least 140 people have been killed  in Kwamouth town in Mai Ndombe province.The clashes erupted over a long-running land dispute which escalated when chiefs from the Teke community demanded the Yaka people to pay them more taxes.(“Thousands fleeing violence seek refuge in Congo-Brazzaville - UN,” BBC, 11 October 2022)

Tanzania: Government urges international community to back Burundi repatriations

On 11 October, in a UN refugee agency meeting in Switzerland, Tanzania’s internal affairs minister said that Burundi needed support to encourage and facilitate voluntary repatriation of nearly 120,000 refugees. He said: “In order for this plan to be successful, all has to be restored in Burundi. The most important thing is to support Burundi and make it a favourite for those who seek refuge in Tanzania.” The refugees currently live in two camps in Tanzania’s western Kigoma region near the Burundi border. Humanitarians say Burundian refugees have suffered abuses including arbitrary arrests by Tanzanian officers in cooperation with Burundian authorities. ("Tanzania urges UN nations to back Burundi repatriations," BBC, 11 October 2022)

Ethiopia: Tigrayan political parties says AU unprepared for mediation

On 11 October, three political parties in the Tigray region described the African Union unprepared, unable and ill-equipped to help end the conflict between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the federal government. They said the “African solution to African problems” stance by the international community has led to the loss of many lives in Tigray. They also urged the United Nations, the US and the European Union to engage with AU in the peace talks. (“Tigrayan parties criticise AU over Ethiopia mediation,” BBC, 11 October 2022)

Africa: Decades of efforts to reduce hunger being undone, says FAO official

On 10 October, the FAO assistant director general, also the regional representative for Africa, said impacts of climate change, conflict and the global economic slowdown were reversing decades-long efforts to reduce hunger in Africa. The official opined that Africa lacked resilience and mechanisms to address the shocks of climate change, COVID-19 pandemic or the surge of fuel prices due to the war in Ukraine. The African Union Commissioner for Agriculture suggested that Africa should build a sustainable and resilient food system to protect itself against external shocks. (“‘Overlapping shocks’ are undoing efforts to end hunger in Africa, UN warns”,” The Guardian, 11 October 2022)



Photo : Reuters

Lesotho: Newly formed party wins legislative election


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 10 October

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph and Apoorva Sudhakar

Lesotho: Newly formed party wins legislative election

On 10 October, the electoral commission of Lesotho published the final results of the parliamentary elections which  said the Revolution for Prosperity, a new political party, set up six months ago by a millionaire businessman Sam Matekane won the elections. The party secured 56 out of 120 seats but fell short of securing a parliamentary majority. For a decade, Lesotho’s politics have been marred by coup attempts, inflighting within political parties and defection which has often led to fragile coalitions. (“Political rookie’s new party wins Lesotho vote but no majority,” Al Jazeera, 10 October 2022)

Chad: Opposition criticises Deby's appointment as President

On 10 October, General Mahamat Deby was sworn in as the president after a new 24-month transition period was approved in a national dialogue with various rebel groups. Deby would remain in power until October 2024 and will also contest the next elections. The dialogue faced several challenges including a boycott by opposition parties and rebels. The deputy leader of opposition party Les Transformateurs, threatening to establish a parallel government, said Deby's role as president was a case of democratic regression. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Albert Pahimi Padacke resigned from his position as Deby is expected to appoint someone new for the position. (“Chad appoints opposition leader, Kebzabo, as new PM,” Africanews, 10 October 2022)

 



Photo : Africanews

Kenya’s President Ruto visits Ethiopia


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 7 October

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Kenya’s President Ruto visits Ethiopia

On 6 October, Kenya’s President William Ruto met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to discuss bilateral cooperation and regional issues and deepen economic and strategic ties. Marking President Ruto’s first visit to Ethiopia after being elected, ongoing conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region is of primary focus. (“Kenya’s President Ruto visits Ethiopia for bilateral meeting,” Africanews, 7 October 2022)

Lesotho: More than 50 parties contests for parliamentary elections

On 7 October, Lesotho, a landlocked country inside South Africa, held its parliamentary elections where more than fifty parties contested hoping to end a long-standing political instability. The political landscape of the country has been dominated by two parties; the All Basotho Convention (ABC) and the Democratic Congress (DC). However, over a decade, no party has won an absolute majority, leading to coalition governments which were frequently marred by splits and defections. ("Lesotho: Polls close after parliamentary vote, counting begins," Africanews, 7 October 2022)

Burundian asylum seekers increasing in Belgium

On 7 August, BBC reported, the Belgium authorities said that the number of Burundian asylum seekers arriving in the country have drastically increased, overwhelming the reception centres. In July, Belgian authorities recorded 263 asylum seekers up from 34 in May to 112 in June. Majority of the asylum seekers are young people seeking a better life in Belgium, as 96 per cent of Burundian asylum cases were accepted last year. (“Eight-fold rise in Burundians seeking Belgium asylum,” BBC, 7 October 2022)



Photo : Vincent Bado, Reuters

Burkina Faso: Traore appointed as new president


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 6 October

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Burkina Faso: Traore appointed as new president

On 5 October, Captain Ibrahim Traore was appointed as the president days after he overthrew Lt Col Paul-Henri Damiba on 30 September. The spokesperson for the military government announced the appointment and said that Traore would be the “guarantor of national independence, territorial integrity... and continuity of the State." Prior to this, on 4 October, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held a meeting with Traore and other leaders, wherein the latter said the meeting was held to “make contact with the new transition authorities.” (“Traore officially appointed as president of Burkina Faso after coup,” France24, 6 October 2022)

The Gambia: WHO issues global alert over four cough syrups from India

On 6 October, the WHO issued a global alert on four cough syrups produced by India’s Maiden Pharmaceuticals after 66 children died in The Gambia. The alert said the syrups were potentially linked to the kidney injuries and death of the children. Maintaining that the manufacturer may have used the contaminated material in other products and that they “may have been distributed, through informal markets, to other countries or regions,” the WHO said global exposure was possible. Meanwhile, India has requested the WHO to share evidence of links between the death and the syrups and launched an investigation. (“WHO alert over India-made cough syrups after deaths in The Gambia,” BBC, 6 October 2022)

Half of the world’s terror victims in Africa, says UN official

On 6 October, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime told the UNSC that Africa is witnessing an increased threat of terrorism with millions being deprived of their livelihood due to illegal trafficking. The UN official said that nearly 3,500 victims of terrorism, or half of the victims worldwide, were in sub-Saharan Africa, outlining that the Sahel was “home to some of the most active and deadly terrorist groups.” The UN official said “illegal exploitation of precious metals and minerals” was an income for extremists, and therefore, fuelling extremist groups. She said: “We have established that illegally mined gold and other precious metals are being fed into the legitimate market, providing huge profits for traffickers.” (“Nearly half of world’s terror victims are African, with organised crime increasingly entrenched,” UN News, 6 October 2022)



Photo : Reuters

Central African Republic: Three peacekeepers killed in blast near Cameroon border


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 5 October

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Central African Republic: Three peacekeepers killed in blast near Cameroon border

On 3 October, three UN peacekeepers were killed in a roadside bomb blast, near the country’s border with Cameroon in the northwest. The peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA, said the blast took place when one vehicle in the battalion carrying out a patrol hit an explosive. MINUSCA condemned the use of explosive devices by armed groups but did not name any suspected group. (“Roadside bomb kills 3 UN peacekeepers in Central African Republic,” Al Jazeera, 5 October 2022)

Ethiopia: Government and TPLF accept invitation for peace talks

On 5 October, the National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister said the government had accepted the African Union’s invitation for peace talks on the conflict in Tigray. The spokesperson said the invitation met the principles of peaceful resolutions and the government's demands of holding talks without preconditions. Similarly, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) leader said the group would send negotiators to the talks but enquired about the participants, observers and guarantors. (“Ethiopian government, Tigray rebels accept peace talks invitation,” Al Jazeera, 5 October 2022)

Uganda: President removes son as commander of land forces

On 5 October, News24 reported that President Yoweri Museveni had removed Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, his son, as the land forces’ commander of the Uganda People's Defence Force. The move followed Kainerugaba’s tweets that started diplomatic differences with Kenya. However, the Defence Ministry said the move was a promotion for Kainerugaba, who will now be a general continue as the head of the senior presidential advisor for special operations  Kainerugaba had tweeted that Uganda’s forces could march into Kenya and capture Nairobi. (Lenin Ndebele, “Uganda's Museveni removes his army general son as 'commander' after Kenya invasion tweets,” News24, 5 October 2022)



Photo : BBC

Ukraine foreign minister begins Africa tour


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 4 October

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Ukraine foreign minister begins Africa tour 

On 4 October, Ukraine Foreign Affairs Minister, Dmytro Kuleba visited Senegal as part of his African tour. Kuleba met with Senegal’s Foreign Minister Aissata Tall Sall and signed several bilateral cooperation deals. Kuleba is said to be on a counteroffensive tour in Africa after Russia’s Sergei Lavrov visited the continent in July. Next year, Russia plans to host the second Russia -Africa summit in Ethiopia. (“Ukraine foreign minister begins Africa tour in Senegal,” BBC, 4 October 2022) 

Nigeria: At least 12 killed by gunmen

On 4 October, BBC reported, Nigerian police said gunmen killed at least 12 people and stole dozens of cattle in the north-eastern state of Taraba. Residents said the attackers disguised themselves as security guards and raided the village of Mobizen. Later, they opened fire on the crowd after pretending to be searching for armed criminals. Violence led by armed criminal groups as well as Islamist insurgents are exacerbating the security situation in the country. (“Nigeria gunmen disguised as guards kill 12 people,” BBC, 4 October 2022)

Ethiopia: Tigray rebels accuse the federal forces and Eritrea of deadly strike

On 4 October, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front accused the Ethiopian and Eritrean forces of killing dozens of people including children in an airstrike. There has been no comments from either the Ethiopian or the Eritrean government side. Humanitarian workers said an air strike in the same area killed at least six people the previous week. The series of incidents came after the satellite image reports of troops and heavy weapons mobilizing near the Eritrea border. (“Rebels accuse Ethiopia and Eritrea of deadly strike,” BBC, 4 October 2022)



Photo : Al Jazeera

Somalia: At least nine killed in al Shabaab attacks


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 3 October

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Somalia: At least nine killed in al Shabab attacks

On 3 October, BBC reported, police in Somalia said at least nine people, including senior regional officials were killed in two car bomb attacks in Central Somali town of Beledweyne. The Islamist group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack. The attack is said to be a possible retaliation for the killing of a senior al-Shabaab leader the previous week. The Somali government said Abdullahi Nadir, a senior al-Shabaab leader was killed in a drone strike. Recently, Somalia expanded its fight against al-Shabab militancy. (“Car bomb attacks leave nine dead in Somalia,” BBC, 3 October 2022)

Democratic Republic of Congo: At least 14 killed in rebel attack

On 3 October, BBC reported, at least 14 people were killed in a rebel attack on a village in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Local officials said the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) fighters entered the village of Kyamata in Ituri province and killed people using machetes. Around 30 houses were torched. The residents said the lack of soldiers in the region is causing the regular attacks. ("Rebels kill 14 villagers in DR Congo machete attack," BBC, 3 October 2022)

Burkina Faso: Country facing emergency in every sector, says the new military leader

On 3 October, Burkina Faso’s new military leader, who seized power through a coup the previous week, said the country is facing an emergency in every sector. He said urgent action is needed in defense, health and infrastructure sectors. On 30 September, army captain Ibrahim Traore led a coup, second this year in the country. Failure to end the jihadist insurgency was used as a reason to justify the coup. ("Burkina Faso facing emergency 'in every sector'," BBC, 3 October 2022) 



Photo : Vincent Bado, Reuters

Burkina Faso: Army captain overthrows coup leader Damiba


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 30 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar and Anu Maria Joseph

Burkina Faso: Army captain overthrows coup leader Damiba

On 30 September, army captain Ibrahim Traore declared the overthrow of Lt Col Paul-Henri Damiba who had led the military coup in January. Traore justified the decision claiming that Damiba was unsuccessful in addressing the Islamist insurgency in Burkina Faso. Traore further announced the closure of borders and suspension of political activities. The African Union and the Economic Community of West African States condemned the development, terming it unconstitutional. The development comes after 11 soldiers were killed in an attack on a convoy in the country's north on 26 September. (George Wright, “Burkina Faso unrest: Military officers remove leader Damiba," BBC, 30 September 2022, "Burkina Faso: Military officers remove President Damiba in a coup," Al Jazeera, 30 September 2022) 

Ethiopia: At least six killed in airstrikes in Tigray

On 30 September, BBC reported, an aid worker said at least six people were killed in airstrikes in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. The TPLF has accused the Eritrean forces of carrying out the attack. The Eritrean government which is accused of fighting alongside the Ethiopian soldiers has not responded to the allegations. The Tigrayan authorities said air strikes were carried out “repeatedly” and destroyed many houses. The previous week, satellite images by a US company showed troops and heavy artillery were mobilizing along the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea. ("Fresh air strikes kill civilians in Ethiopia's Tigray," BBC, 30 September 2022) 

Tanzania: East African court upholds Maasai eviction

On 30 September, a East African regional court dismissed the case by the Maasai community against the Tanzanian government evicting them from their ancestral land. The East African Court of Justice upheld the government's decision to protect 1,500 square kilometers of land in the Ngorongoro conservation area around Serengeti National Park. The court said the Maasai community failed to prove that the eviction took place outside the park and doesn’t have evidence of violence and brutality during the evictions. The government says that population growth among the Maasai community is disturbing the wildlife. ("East African court upholds controversial Maasai evictions," BBC, 30 September 2022) 



Photo : Afolabi Sotunde, Reuters

Nigeria: At least six killed by suspected separatists


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 29 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Nigeria: At least six killed by suspected separatists

On 29 September, BBC reported, the Nigerian officials said five soldiers and a civilian were shot dead in the south-eastern state of Anambra. This year alone, more than 100 soldiers were killed in the region as insecurity issues intensified.  A banned armed seperatist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob), is often blamed for the violence. The group is seeking a separate state and denies carrying out attacks. (“Six shot dead by suspected Biafran separatists,” BBC, 29 September 2022) 

Uganda: Students protest against EU over Uganda oil row

On 29 September, hundreds of students in Uganda protested against the European Union parliament, after it opposed an oil pipeline project with Tanzania. EU parliament passed a resolution against the pipeline project warning human rights abuse and the social and environmental risk. The 1,443 km long pipeline connects from Lake Albert in western Uganda to the Tanga port of Tanzania on the Indian Ocean. (“Students hold anti-EU protest over Uganda oil row,” BBC, 29 September 2022) 

Nigeria: Presidential candidates pledges peaceful campaigns

On 29 September, three top Nigerian presidential candidates signed a “peace” deal to ease tensions during the 2023 election campaigns. Past Nigerian elections have been marred by violence, fraud, legal challenges and ethnic tensions. INEC election commission chairman, Mahmood Yakubu said: “Commitment to a peaceful and issue-based electioneering campaign should resonate beyond presidential candidates.” The upcoming elections replace President Muhammadu Buhari, who is stepping down after two terms. The Country’s struggling economy and insecurity are a major challenge for Buhari's successor. (“Nigerian presidential candidates pledge peaceful campaigns,” Africanews, 29 September 2022)



Photo : AFP

Burkina Faso: At least 11 killed in jihadist attack


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 28 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Burkina Faso: At least 11 killed in jihadist attack

On 28 September, BBC reported, the government said eleven soldiers dies and 50 civilians missing in Burkina Faso in a suspected jihadist attack. A supply convoy escorted by the army was attacked while traveling to the northern town of Djibo. AFP news agency said the government called the incident a “barbaric attack”. The authorities said the attack, which no one has yet claimed responsibility for, has caused significant material damage. On 5 September, in another attack on a convoy, at least 35 civilians were killed and 37 wounded. Both the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda affiliated militant groups are exacerbating the jihadist insurgence in the Sahel region amid France’s Mali withdrawal. (“Burkina Faso attack: 11 soldiers killed in ambush,” BBC, 28 September 2022) 

Ethiopia: Satellite image show military mobilization in Ethiopia-Eritrea border, says US company 

On 28 September, a private US company said satellite images showed military forces mobilizing in towns on either side of Ethiopia's northern border with Eritrea. Images taken on 26 September showed military forces, vehicles and artillery positions in the town of Shiraro. The images taken on 19 September showed the deployment of heavy weaponry in Serha town, near Tigray border. On 13 September, Tigray forces accused the Eritrean troops of shelling Tigrayan towns and taking control of the town of Shiraro. The Ethiopian and Eritrean authorities have not responded to the accusations. (“Satellite images show military build-ups in Ethiopia, Eritrea - Maxar,” Reuters, 28 September 2022)

Mali Prime Minister says it will not respect ECOWAS sanctions on Guinea

On 28 September, the interim prime minister said Mali does not respect and will not apply sanctions imposed by the ECOWAS on Guinea over last year's coup. The previous week the ECOWAS imposed sanctions on Guinea's military government for delaying elections and a democratic transition after seizing power last year. The sanctions included freezing military government official's financial assets and a travel ban to other countries in the region. Mali's interim prime minister, Abdoulaye Maiga said: "Taking into account the solidarity and fraternity between Mali and Guinea, the transitional government has decided to break away from all illegal, inhumane and illegitimate sanctions imposed on (Guinea) and will take no action on them." (“Mali says it will not respect regional sanctions on Guinea,” Reuters, 28 September 2022)



Photo : AFP

Uganda: Ebola cases rise, 23 deaths, says WHO


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 27 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Uganda: Ebola cases rise, 23 deaths, says WHO

On 27 August, the World Health Organization said 23 people died after the declaration of the Ebola Sudan strain outbreak in Uganda. It said there have been 36 Ebola cases- 18 confirmed and 18 probable cases. The outbreak has now spread to three districts in central Uganda, raising a fear of further spread. Uganda’s health ministry  said: “The Ministry of Health Rapid Response Teams remain on ground to the confirmed cases.”  The East African countries have issued alerts following the announcement of the outbreak. The WHO says the Ebola Sudan strain has a lower fatality rate than Ebola Zaire, a strain that killed 2,300 in Democratic Republic of Congo between 2018 and 2020. (“Uganda Ebola cases rise amid 23 deaths - WHO,” BBC, 27 September 2022)

Nigeria: Catastrophic health crisis in the country, says MSF

On 27 September, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), an international medical charity agency said there is a catastrophic health crisis in north-western Nigeria. It said an extraordinarily large number of children are suffering from acute malnutrition. It added, this year alone, the group has treated nearly 100,000 children with the condition where 17,000 required hospital care. The Humanitarian response towards the region had been poor, with greater attention is given to north-eastern Nigeria which has been going through a long-running Islamist insurgency. (“Nigeria facing health crisis - MSF,” BBC, 27 September 2022)

Sao Tome and Principe: Oppositions win the legislative elections

On 27 September, the National Electoral Commission’s (CEN) preliminary data showed the Independent Democratic Action (ADI), the opposition party, led by former Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada, won the legislative elections in Sao Tome and Principe. According to the CEN data, the ADI won the elections with a total of 36,549 votes. The Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe\Social Democratic Party (MLSTP\PSD) led by the current Prime Minister Jorge Bom Jesus came second with 25,531 votes. Patrice Trovoada, the former Prime Minister of the country and the leader of ADI claimed the victory with majority seats, announcing that he will head the government. (“Sao Tome opposition wins legislative vote,” Africanews, 27 September 2022)



Photo : AFP

Libya: At least five died during clashes


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 26 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Libya: At least five died during clashes 

On 26 September, the Defense Post reported, a security source said at least five people were killed and 13 wounded in western Libyan town of Zaouia during a clash between rival forces. The fighting broke out between the group linked to the defense ministry and the other to the interior ministry after a member of one group was killed by the other over a fuel smuggling dispute, which is common in the region. The country has been going through a political crisis amid the clashes between the rival prime ministers Abdulhamid Dbeibah and Fathi Bashagha. (“Five Dead in Western Libya Clashes,” Defense Post, 26 September 2022) 

Tunisia: Anti-government protest against rising food prices

On 26 September, anti-government protests took place in multiple suburbs of the Tunisian capital Tunis. The protesters criticized President Kais Saied for failing to tackle the inflation and rising food prices. In one district in the outskirts of Tunis, police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators who were blocking the roads. The protest was triggered after the suicide of a local man who was allegedly harassed by police for selling fruit without permission. (“Tunisians protest against high food prices,” BBC, 26 September 2022)

Ethiopia: Drone debris strike UN aid truck

On 26 September, the World Food Programme told the Reuters news agency that debris from a drone strike in Ethiopia’s Tigray region hit an aid truck. A WFP spokesperson said: “Flying debris from the strike injured a driver contracted by WFP and caused minor damage to a WFP fleet truck.” A spokesperson from the Tigray rebel group, TPLF described the incident “an outrageous crime”. Following the incident, the Ethiopian government warned aid organizations against operating in the areas where the government forces are targeting the Tigrayan rebels. (“Ethiopia tells aid groups to avoid active military zones,” BBC, 26 September 2022, “Air strike debris hit aid lorry in Tigray - WFP,” BBC, 26 September 2022)



Photo : Mike Segar, Reuters

Guinea: ECOWAS impose sanctions on military government officials


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 23 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Guinea: ECOWAS impose sanctions on military government officials 

On 23 September, the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) imposed sanctions on the military government officials of Guinea in response to the coup in 2021. The AFP news agency reported, the leaders of the bloc, attending the UN General Assembly, agreed on “gradual sanctions” on a list of individuals in the military government who will be identified “very soon”. The Guinean junta say they need three years to return democracy and they are unhappy with Ecowas’s demand for faster transition. Guinea was suspended from the bloc following the coup. ("West African bloc imposes sanctions on Guinean junta," BBC, 23 September 2022)

South Sudan: Rape so common, women no longer bothered, says UN

On 23 August, a United Nations human rights team said rape has become a common incident in South Sudan in a way that women are no longer bothered to report repeated sexual abuses. Besides, the victims lack access to medical and trauma care, including those who have been gang raped multiple times. Yasmin Sooka, the chairperson of the team said: “Just imagine what it means to be raped by multiple armed men, pick yourself up for the sake of your children an then for it to happen again and again and again.” The team have been participating in meetings at the UN General Assembly to speak about the situation in South Sudan. ("South Sudan rape so common women do not report it - UN," BBC, 23 August 2022)

Uganda: Ebola death toll rise to three

On 23 September, the health ministry of Uganda said three more people died of Ebola virus bringing the total number to four since the announcement of the outbreak. The World Health Organization said the Ebola Sudan strain, which currently spreads in Uganda, is less transmissible and has a lower fatality rate than Ebola Zaire. Between 2018 and 2020, the Ebola Zaire strain killed more than 2,000 people in Democratic Republic of Congo. ("Uganda Ebola death toll jumps by three,"  BBC, 23 September 2022) 



Photo : AP

Somalia: 27 Al Shabab fighters killed in US airstrike


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 22 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Somalia: 27 Al Shabab fighters killed in US airstrike

On 21 September, the US military said 27 Al Shabab fighters had been killed in an air strike in the Hiran region. The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said the deceased were militants attempting to overthrow the West-backed government in Somalia and implement stricter Islamic law. Reuters quoted from the AFRICOM statement: “The defensive strikes allowed the Somali National Army and African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) forces to regain the initiative and continue the operation to disrupt al Shabaab in the Hiraan region of central Somalia.” (“U.S. says it kills 27 al Shabaab militants in Somalia air strike,” Reuters, 22 September 2022)

South Sudan: UN Secretary General seeks report on sexual abuse allegations in UN-run camp

On 22 September, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for an urgent report on the revelations of sexual abuse by aid workers in a UN camp in South Sudan. The allegations were revealed by an investigation by Al Jazeera and The New Humanitarian wherein survivors recalled experiences of abuse, including rape of minors, at the hands of aid workers from the World Food Programme, World Vision, International Organization of Migration, and Doctors without Borders (MSF) agencies. Guterres’s spokesperson said: “The Secretary-General is appalled by these allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse which causes irreparable harm to victims and their families.” (“UN boss seeks ‘urgent report’ after S Sudan sex abuse allegations,” Al Jazeera, 22 September 2022)

Ethiopia: EU criticises movement of Eritrean troops into Tigray

On 22 September, BBC reported EU's criticism of the alleged movement of Eritrean troops across the Ethiopian border into Tigray. The EU foreign affairs chief called on all parties to forget military solutions and instead join efforts to benefit all populations. Previously, on 20 September, the US envoy had condemned the fighting and the Eritrean fighters’ crossing into Tigray, after the region’s spokesperson claimed that Eritrean forces were fighting alongside Ethiopian forces in Tigray. (“EU criticises Eritrea's reported offensive in Tigray,” BBC, 22 September 2022)



Photo : AFP

Chad: At least 19 killed in farmer-herder fighting


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 21 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Chad: At least 19 killed in farmer-herder fighting

On 21 September, Reuters reported a government spokesperson’s announcement that at least 19 people were killed and over 20 injured in clashes between nomadic herders and sedentary farmers in the Moyen-Chari region of southern Chad. The news report explained that such clashes are common wherein the farmers accuse the herders of grazing animals on the latter’s lands.  The latest fighting took place across five villages over three days. (“At least 19 killed in south Chad in clashes between farmers, herders,” Reuters, 21 September 2022)

Tunisia: Ghannouchi released after interrogation

On 21 September, BBC reported that the Ennahda party leader Rached Ghannouchi had been released by the counter-terrorism police after a night-long interrogation. Ghannouchi had been accused of smuggling jihadi fighters to Syria and Iraq. Meanwhile, the Ennahda party criticised the detention and interrogation of Ghannouchi and that of former prime minister Ali Laarayedh, terming the moves a violation of human rights. (“Tunisia releases opposition leader after questioning,” BBC, 21 September 2022)

Ethiopia: Government rejects UN report on Tigray

On 21 September, BBC reported Ethiopia’s rejection of a UN commission report which claimed that Ethiopia’s national army had carried out large-scale killings in Tigray. Ethiopia dismissed the claims terming the report “incomplete, incoherent and unsubstantiated,” and said it was released with an intention to demonise Ethiopia. The government further said the report was “a manifestly political statement issued under the guise of an investigation report.” (“Ethiopia rejects UN report on Tigray atrocities,” BBC, 21 September 2022)



Photo : AP

Nigeria: More than 300 killed in heavy rains since July


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 20 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar and Anu Maria Joseph

Nigeria: More than 300 killed in heavy rains since July

On 20 September, BBC reported that since July over 300 people had died and 100,000 people displaced in torrential rains. The rains had impacted 29 of the 36 states; the National Emergency Management Agency said Nigeria is likely to experience more floods in the upcoming weeks and therefore, called on state governments to evacuate people from flood-prone areas. The news report said that along with heavy rains, the floods were caused by the release of excess water from dams within Nigeria and neighbouring Cameroon. (Ishaq Khalid, “Nigeria floods kill hundreds of people,” BBC, 20 September 2022)

Ethiopia: TPLF accuses Eritrea of launching big offensive in Tigray

On 20 September, a spokesperson from Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) said the Eritrean troops have launched a full-scale offensive in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. He said: “Eritrea is deploying its entire army as well as reservists. Our forces are heroically defending their positions.” Meanwhile, the US has condemned the Eritrean presence in Tigray. The US envoy to the region, Mike Hammer said: “They’re extremely concerned and we condemn it. The presence of Eritrean troops in Ethiopia only serves to complicate matters, and inflame an already tragic situation.” Both the Eritrean and Ethiopian governments have not yet commented on the accusations. (“Eritrea starts big offensive in Ethiopia's Tigray region - TPLF,” BBC, 20 September 2022)



Photo : AP

Somalia: More than 100 militants killed in army operations


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 19 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Somalia: More than 100 militants killed in army operations

On 19 September, a press release from the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism said that the Somali National Army (SNA) had killed over 100 members of Al Shabab. The press release said the casualties were recorded during the SNA’s operations, conducted with the US’s air support, in Yasoman and Aborey in Hiran region. On 18 September, the army said over 75 militants had been killed in a joint operation with clan militia. In response, an Al Shabab spokesperson said the group would retaliate to the involvement of clan militia. (“Somalia says over 100 militants killed in operations,” BBC, 20 September 2022)

Chad: Foreign Minister resigns amid talks with rebels

On 19 September, Foreign Minister Cherif Mahamat Zene announced his resignation citing disagreement with senior leaders amid the government’s efforts to engage with rebel groups in Doha. Zene wrote a letter to the President saying his willingness to serve Chad was “at odds with parallel actions and initiatives of certain members” of the government and the cabinet. Zene said certain developments “had stripped his department of its prerogatives” limiting him to a “mere background role.” (“Chad foreign minister resigns as government engages rebels in talks,” Reuters, 19 September 2022)



Photo : BBC

Nigeria: At least 50 villagers abducted by gunmen


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 16 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Nigeria: At least 50 villagers abducted by gunmen

On 16 September, BBC reported, at least 50 villagers were abducted from Nigeria’s Katsina state. According to the residents, the attackers rode in on motorcycles, started shooting, leaving one person dead and at least seven others injured. A police spokesperson said the security forces clashed with the gunmen, but failed to prevent the kidnapping. The authorities said actions are being taken to track down the assailants and free the captives. President Muhammadu Buhari has been facing severe criticism for the Nigerian government’s inability to address the insecurity issues including the frequent kidnappings for ransom. (“Gunmen abduct dozens of villagers in northern Nigeria,” BBC, 16 September 2022)

Uganda condemns EU resolution opposing oil project

On 16 September, the Ugandan parliament condemned the EU parliament passing a resolution urging Tanzania and Uganda to halt the development of their oil and gas project in the East African region. Uganda’s deputy speaker, Thomas Tayebwa said the resolution was based on deliberate misinterpretation of facts on the environment and Human Rights protection. He said it is a higher level of imperialism and neo-colonialism violating the sovereignty of Tanzania and Uganda. The East African Crude Oil Pipeline (Eacop) project, which spans 1,443 km (896 miles) from Lake Albert in western Uganda to the Tanzanian port of Tanga on the Indian Ocean will be the world's longest heated oil pipeline when it is finished. (“Uganda condemns EU opposition to oil project,” BBC, 16 September)

South Africa: Biden and Ramaphosa pledges to strengthen US-South Africa ties

On 16 September, US President Joe Biden acclaimed South Africa as a “vital voice” while the country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa visited Washington for talks with Biden on the climate crisis, trade and Ukraine war. President Biden said: “Our partnership is essential in addressing many of the world’s pressing challenges … and South Africa is a vital voice on the global stage.” Ramaphosa expressed gratitude to the US for its “considerate support” on the COVID 19 pandemic while he met with Vice President Kamala Harris. He added, Washington has a “key role” to play on security issues in Africa. The South African president said: “The visit really is about strengthening the relationship between South Africa and the United States.'' The US Vise President said the leaders discussed strategies to respond to the climate crisis and efforts each country has taken on global health. She said: “They also agreed to cooperate closely on matters of peace and security affecting the continent. (“Biden and Ramaphosa vow to strengthen US-South Africa ties,” Al Jazeera, 16 September 2022)

 Nigeria and Morocco sign agreement to construct gas pipeline

On 16 September, Morocco and Nigeria signed an agreement to construct a major gas pipeline from south east Nigeria across the Sahara and through other 15 African countries. The 7,000 km long pipeline originating from Brass Island will connect with the Maghreb European pipeline in Morocco. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) said that the project will improve living standards, mitigate desertification in west Africa as well as provide a new export route to Europe. The project is expected to supply nearly three billion cubic feet of gas per day. (“Nigeria and Morocco sign gas pipeline agreement,” BBC, 16 September)



Photo : EPA

Angola: Joao Laurence sworn in as President, pledges economic reforms


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 15 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Angola: Joao Laurence sworn in as President, pledges economic reforms

On 15 September, Joao Laurence sworn in as Angola's president for a second five year term. During the inaugural speech he said: “Congratulations for the patriotism and high degree of tolerance and civility shown in what are already considered the most disputed general elections in the history of the young Angolan democracy.” He claimed that Angola had chosen “continuity” and would be assured of “stability” by electing him and his party, pointing to greater economic liberalization in the country. He also promised to reform the private sector, goods and service sector and fight youth unemployment. The major opposition party, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola UNITA said in a statement: “This setup aims to intimidate citizens who want to demonstrate against the election results on the day of the inauguration of the president without legitimacy. (“Angola’s Lourenco pledges more economic reforms at swearing-in,” Al Jazeera, 15 September 2022)

Ethiopia: EU says drone strikes risk ‘fragile hope’

On 15 September, the European Union said the series of air strikes in Ethiopia’s Tigray region endanger “a very fragile hope for peace.” The previous week, at least 10 people were killed and 18 were injured in a series of drone strikes in the city of Mekelle. The TPLF accused the Ethiopian government for the attack. The EU, in a statement urged both parties to end the violence and negotiate a permanent ceasefire. It also said the role of Eritrea continues to impede peace efforts. The TPLF forces accuse the Eritrean forces of supporting the Ethiopian troops in the renewed fighting. Neither the Ethiopian nor the Eritrean government has commented on the accusations. (“EU says drone strikes risk Ethiopia 'fragile hope',” BBC, 15 September 2022)

Ivory Coast denounces Mali “unacceptable blackmail”

On 14 September, Ivory Coast top security organ held a meeting chaired by President Alasane Ouattara, to discuss the 46 Ivorian soldiers detained in Mali since 10 July. In a statement, the National Security Council (NSC) denounced the “unacceptable blackmail” of the Malian authorities for asking for the repatriation of Mali people exiled in Ivory Coast in exchange for the release of the Ivorian soldiers. The CNS said it has asked the foreign affairs ministry to refer the issue to the West African Regional Bloc (ECOWAS). The Ivorian authorities say Mali’s demands confirm that the detained soldiers are held hostages. On 15 August, the soldiers were accused by the Malian judiciary for attempting to disturb the security of the state. However, the Ivorian authorities said they were on a mission for the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (Minsuma). (“Ivory Coast denounces Mali 'blackmail'”, BBC, 15 September 2022)



Photo : REUTERS, FRANCIS KOKOROKO

Ghana: economic issues worsen with rising inflation


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 14 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Ghana: economic issues worsen with rising inflation

On 14 September, BBC reported, the Ghana Statistical Service released a report on the country’s economy which continues to worsen day by day. According to the reports, the rate of inflation in the country rose to 33.9 per cent in August, up from 31.7 per cent in July. The cost of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels increased over 46 per cent. Mismanagement and corruption is popularly perceived as attributes of the economic situation. However, the government says the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic and the Ukraine crisis is behind the downturn. ("Ghana economic woes deepen with rising inflation," BBC, 14 September 2022) 

Ethiopia: Tigray fighters losing control of towns, says TPLF

On 14 September, TPLF army commander said the Tigrayan fighters in war-torn northern Ethiopia lost control of a town near the Eritrean border. He told a regional news agency that joint Ethiopian and Eritrean troops have taken the Sheraro town. He also said the federal forces had taken control of Addi Arkay, a town between the borders of Tigray and the neighboring Amhara region. Neither governments have yet commented on the reports. He added the government forces have plans “to control Axum, Adigrat, Shire and enter Mekelle” and the ultimate goal was “to disarm” Tigrayan forces. Earlier this week, the TPLF had accused the government of conducting a series of airstrikes in Mekelle that reported civilian casualties. The move came after the Tigrayan forces agreed to take part in peace talks mediated by the African Union. ("Tigray fighters losing ground - TPLF general," BBC, 14 September 2022) 

Kenya: Government plans to cut ties with SADR, says President Ruto

On 14 September, the new Kenyan President William Ruto said his government plans to cut ties with Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). He said the country supports the United Nations framework as the mechanism to find solutions for the issues in Western Sahara. The announcement came shortly after His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco congratulated Ruto for his victory. SADR has been provoking a transition from a semi-autonomous territory to self-rule. However, Morocco strongly opposed the attempt for the region to decide its future through a referendum. ("Kenya cuts links with Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic," BBC, 14 September 2022)



Photo : Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP

Zimbabwe: UN’s WFP planning food relief for 700,000 people


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 13 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Zimbabwe: UN’s WFP planning food relief for 700,000 people

On 13 September, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) official said that it was planning a food relief programme for 700,000 people in Zimbabwe who are affected by a poor harvest and the Ukraine war. WFP told the Reuters agency that it is working with the Zimbabwe’s government to provide food aid for 3.8 million people. The government said that the staple maize harvest would fall by nearly half this year, to 1.56 million tonnes from last year's 2.72 million tonnes due to failed consecutive rainy seasons. Annually, the country requires 2.2 million tonnes of maize for human and livestock consumption. ("UN’s WFP plans food relief for 700,000 people in Zimbabwe," Al Jazeera, 13 September 2022) 

Ethiopia: at least 10 died in air strikes in Tigray

On 13 September, Al Jazeera reported, a hospital said that at least 10 people have been killed in a series of airstrikes in Mekelle. The TPLF has accused the Ethiopian military for the attack. There were no responses to the air strikes by the Ethiopian government. The attack came a day after the TPLF announced that it is willing to hold peace talks led by the African Union. However, the Ethiopian government, which has long insisted on peace talks brokered by the AU, have not yet responded to the TPLF’s announcements. ("Ten dead in second day of air raids in Ethiopia’s Tigray region," Al Jazeera, 13 September 2022) 

Somalia: Half million children in the country faces worst famine, says UNICEF

On 13 September, the UN’s children agency said that more than 500,000 children in Somalia who are under five are expected to suffer severe acute malnutrition and risk death from famine. James Elder, spokesperson for the UN’s children’s agency UNICEF said: “We’ve got more than half a million children facing preventable death. It’s a pending nightmare.” In August, the UN has warned that parts of Somalia will be facing famine in coming months as the Horn of Africa region faces severe drought followed by a fifth failed consecutive rainy season. ("Half a million Somali children face hunger in world's worst famine this century," Reuters, 13 September 2022)



Photo : Eduardo Soteras, AFP

Ethiopia: AU welcomes TPLF’s decision to take part in peace talks


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 12 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Ethiopia: AU welcomes TPLF’s decision to take part in peace talks

On 12 September, the African Union welcomed the announcement by the Tigrayan rebels that they are willing to take part in peace negotiations. The head of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat said that it was a unique opportunity to end the conflict and urged the government and the rebels to enforce an immediate ceasefire. Tigrayan rebel leaders were against an AU led mediation, instead favored outgoing Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to lead the talk. On 11 September, the Tigrayan leaders said that they were ready to participate in  peace talks led by the African Union. However, there has been no response from the Ethiopian government.  In August, the fighting between the federal forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) resumed, destroying the five months ceasefire. ("AU welcomes Tigray call for Ethiopia peace talks," BBC, 12 September 2022) 

 Nigeria: at least nine people died in flooding in northern Jigawa state

On 12 September, BBC reported, the authorities said that at least 9 people have been killed and two others missing following severe flooding in northern Jigawa state of Nigeria. The local leaders said that many homes and farms have been destroyed by the flood which affected at least seven villages in the Ringim area. The floods followed by the torrential rains displaced hundreds. The Nigerian government said that more than 500,000 people have been affected by a series of floods across the country. (“Nine killed in northern Nigeria floods,” BBC, 12 September 2022)

DR Congo: Uganda pays USD 65 million as reparations

On 12 September, the Democratic Republic Congo authorities said that Uganda had handed over USD 65 million in the first installment of a fine it was ordered to pay as compensation for losses caused by wars in the 1990s when the Ugandan troops invaded Congolese territory. The Ugandan finance ministry spokesperson Apollo Munghinda said: “It's true we have paid USD 65 million as the first installment.” In February, the International Court of Justice ordered Uganda to pay USD 325 million as reparations. It covers USD 225 million for damages to persons, USD 40 million for damages to property and USD 60 million for looted resources. In 2005, the ICJ said that civilians were killed and tortured and villages were destroyed after Ugandan troops invaded DRC. Along with Rwanda, Uganda was supporting rebels trying to overthrow the late president Laurent Kabila. Two million people were killed and thousands were displaced during the conflict. ("Uganda pays first installment of $325m war reparations to DRC," Al Jazeera, 12 September 2022)



Photo : AFP

Mali: Dozens killed in jihadist attack


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 9 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Mali: Dozens killed in jihadist attack

On 9 September, Africanews reported, the local officials said that dozens of civilians were killed the previous week in Talataye, a town in north-eastern Mali. The attack was reportedly carried out by EIGS fighters who have ties with the Islamic State organization. A local official said that 45 civilians were killed, while an Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA) fighter said the death toll is 30. The exact casualties remain unknown. Since 6 September, militants from the EIGS group, the al-Qaeda-affiliated group JNIM/GSIM and armed organizations including the Tuareg dominated MSA have been allegedly fighting in the region. It is the first time Talataye town has suffered a large-scale attack by Islamic State. (“Dozens of civilians killed in eastern Mali,” Africanews, 9 September 2022)

Mozambique: EU to provide military aid

On 9 September, the head of European diplomacy announced military aid to Mozambique aiming to help the country face “terrorism”. During his two-day visit to Mozambique, in the capital Maputo, he met with President Filipe Nyusi and Foreign Minister Veronic Macamo, held a press conference to “express the commitment and solidarity of the EU with Mozambique in its fight against terrorism.” He said that the EU has approved an additional EUR 15 million in military aid to support the fight against jihadist instabilities in province of Cabo Delgado. Nyusi welcomed the EU’s support and Macamo described the Euro-Mozambican relationship as “excellent”. Since 2017, the jihadist attacks has intensified in the country killing nearly 4,000 people and caused 820,000 people to flee. ("EU boosts military aid to Mozambique after jihadist attacks," Africanews, 9 September 2022)



Photo : AFP

Burundi: President replaces PM after suspected coup attempts


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 8 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Burundi: President replaces PM after suspected coup attempts

On 7 September, President Evariste Ndayishimiye replaced Prime Minister Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni with Security Minister Gervais Ndirakobuca. Bunyoni and the Chief of Staff General Gabriel Nizigama were sacked in a reshuffle and Ndirakobuca secured the support of all 113 lawmakers. Ndirakobuca is under EU sanctions for his suspected role in the violence against government opponents during the unrest in 2015. Al Jazeera explains that the violence was launched by Ndayishimiye’s predecessor, leaving 1200 dead, and drawing sanctions from the US and the EU. (“Burundi president names new PM after coup plot claims,” Al Jazeera, 8 September 2022)

More than half a million lives lost to drought incidents, says WMO report

On 8 September, the World Meteorological Organization released the “State of the Climate in Africa 2021” report outlining the water stress in the continent. The report raised concerns over droughts, disrupted rainfall, devastating floods, disappearing of glaciers and shrinking of lakes. The report estimated that by 2030, around 700 million in Africa would be displaced due to the water stress. The report observed that over the last 50 years, more than half a million lives were lost to drought-related tragedies. Increased temperature also led to a 34 per cent fall in agricultural productivity growth in Africa since 1961, the highest across all regions in the world. (“WMO: Climate change in Africa can destabilize ‘countries and entire regions’,”  8 September 2022)

Number of children missing school increasing in Sub-Saharan Africa

On 8 September, BBC quoted UNESCO and reported that Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where the number of children and young people dropping out of school is on the rise. The current number of children and young people out of school in Africa stands at 98 million. Nigeria accounts for 20 million of the above figure, followed by Ethiopia at 10.5 million, Democratic Republic of the Congo at 5.9 million and Kenya with 1.8 million. (Brian Osweta, “Children missing school in sub-Saharan Africa rising,” BBC, 8 September 2022)



Photo : Zoubeir Souissi, Reuters

Tunisia: Opposition announces boycott of December elections


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 7 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Tunisia: Opposition announces boycott of December elections

On 7 September, Tunisia’s main opposition alliance, the National Salvation Front, announced a boycott of the parliamentary elections scheduled for December. The head of the Front Ahmed Nejib Chebbi said the decision was a response to the electoral law framed by President Kais Saied “alone” in the latter’s “coup against constitutional legitimacy.” If held, the elections would be the first in over a year and a half, after Saied suspended the assembly and dismissed the government in 2021. (“Tunisia opposition to boycott polls, slams electoral law written 'by president alone',” France24, 7 September 2022)

Cameroon: Six killed in suspected separatist attack

On 6 September, the head of a regional hospital said at least six civilians were killed and eight were wounded after suspected Anglophone separatists opened fire on a bus. The bus was travelling from Douala to Kumba. A parliamentarian for the constituency confirmed the attack, but did not announce the death toll. (Amindeh Blaise Atabong, “At least six civilians killed after Cameroon separatists open fire on bus,” Reuters, 7 September 2022)



Photo : AFP

Burkina Faso: 35 killed in IED blast


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 6 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph and Apoorva Sudhakar

Burkina Faso: 35 killed in IED blast

On 5 September, 35 civilians were killed and 37 injured in northern Burkina Faso in an IED explosion. The victims were traveling to the capital city Ouagadougou in a convoy escorted by the army when one of the vehicles ran over an IED between Djibo and Bourzanga area. The development comes after 15 soldiers were killed in a double IED blast in early August in the same area. (“Dozens killed, injured in attack in northern Burkina Faso,” France24, 6 September 2022)

Angola: Court rejects opposition party’s bid challenging the election results

On 6 September, Angola’s constitutional court rejected the UNITA party’s petition to annul the election results. The court ruled that the part0079’s complaint did not meet the requirements to nullify the election results. The UNITA leader, Adalberto Costa Junior said that his party “did not recognize the final results” by the election commission. On Facebook, he said: “The MPLA did not win the election … we have been in peace for 20 years, and we now need to embrace a true democratic rule of law.”  The MPLA, which has been in power for 50 years, secured a narrow majority with 51 per cent votes, handing President Joao Lourenco a second term. ("Angola court rejects opposition bid to annul election," BBC, 6 September 2022, "Angolan opposition files legal challenge, seeks annulment of vote," Al Jazeera, 2 September 2022) 

Somalia: UN says, around 730 children died of malnutrition

On 6 September, Africanews reported, the United Nations said that around 730 children have died in nutrition centers across Somalia since January. It warned that the true figure could be much higher as the country reached a severe famine. Wafaa Saeed, the Somalia representative for the UN children's agency UNICEF said: "Malnutrition has reached an unprecedented level. Around 730 children are reported to have died in nutrition centers across the country." She added that nearly 1.5 million children, nearly half aged under five are at risk of acute malnutrition. Among which, 385,000 needed treatment for severe acute malnutrition. In June, the World Bank estimated that nearly 66.4 million people in the Horn of Africa are experiencing food crises and food emergencies. Affected by the worst drought in 40 years and failed consecutive rainy seasons added with global food crisis after the Ukraine war has exacerbated the condition in the region. ("UN: Around 730 children dead In Somalia nutrition centres," Africanews, 6 September 2022) 

Chad: Heavy rainfall leaves capital city and other areas flooded

On 6 September, Reuters reported Chad was experiencing the heaviest rainfall in 30 years, leaving parts of the capital city N’Djamena flooded and accessible by boats only and displacing thousands from their homes since August. The news report suggested that though rains are common from May to October, the current rainfall was early and abundant, thereby overwhelming the drainage systems and ponds. With this, Chad joined the countries in West and Central Africa which experienced above-normal rainfall in the same time period. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that by the end of August, 442,000 people had been affected by floods. (Mahamat Ramadane, “Thousands battle 'catastrophic' floods after Chad's heaviest rains in 30 years,” Reuters, 6 September 2022)



Photo : Mwangi, Reuters

Kenya: Odinga welcomes but disagrees with Supreme Court decision on elections


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 5 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph and Apoorva Sudhakar

Kenya: Odinga welcomes but disagrees with Supreme Court decision on elections

On 5 September, former prime minister and presidential candidate Raila Odinga accepted the Supreme Court’s decision to nullify his petition challenging William Ruto’s victory in the presidential elections. Odinga tweeted: “We respect the opinion of the court although we vehemently disagree with their decision today.” Previously on the same day, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld Ruto’s victory; Chief Justice Martha Koome said the court did not find proof that the results were tampered by hacking the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s servers. (“Odinga accepts but disagrees with court decision on Kenya election,” Al Jazeera, 5 September 2022)

Somalia: Famine is "at the door", UN warns

On 5 September, UN’s humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths warned, famine is “at the door” in parts of Somalia. During a press conference in the capital, Mogadishu, he said that there are concrete indications of famine that could occur in south-central Somalia between October and December. According to the aid agencies, the worst drought and four failed rainy seasons have displaced more than one million people in the Horn of Africa region. The UN World Food Programme has estimated that 22 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are at risk of severe hunger. (“Famine knocking on Somalia's door, UN warns,” BBC, 5 September 2022)



Photo : Reuters

Ethiopia: At least 55 killed in Oromia region


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 2 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Ethiopia: At least 55 killed in Oromia region

On 2 September, residents in western Ethiopia said that at least 55 people were killed in the Oromia region. They claim that the Fano militia- affiliated with the Amhara ethnic group is responsible for the attack. As the civil war in the northern part of the country has resumed, ending five-months truce, violent attacks keep erupting in various parts of the country. The UN and the US have raised concerns and called for "immediate ceasefire". (“Fear as dozens killed in Ethiopia's Oromia attacks,” BBC, 2 September 2022)

Angola: the opposition files legal challenge against MPLA winning elections

On 2 September, Angola main opposition party Unita filed a case in the constitutional court challenging the last month’s election results in which the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) was declared the winner. The Unita leader, Adalberto Costa Junior said that his party “did not recognize the final results” by the election commission. In his facebook page he said: “The MPLA did not win the election … we have been in peace for 20 years, and we now need to embrace a true democratic rule of law.”  The MPLA, which has been in power for 50 years, secured a narrow majority with 51 per cent votes, handing President Joao Lourenco a second term. ("Angolan opposition files legal challenge, seeks annulment of vote," Al Jazeera, 2 September 2022)

Sudan: Seven killed in renewed tribal clashes

On 2 September, Africanews reported, Sudan’s Suna news agency said that seven people have been killed and 23 wounded after a renewed tribal clash in Blue Nile state. Mohammed Mokhtar, a resident told AFP news agency said: “shooting and house burning have been taking place since morning.” In July, nearly 105 people were killed in a clash between Hausa and Barta tribes which later agreed to a ceasefire and promised to renegotiate a lasting peace. The conflict between the two tribes has been prevailing for years over the ownership of land. (“Sudan: seven dead in new tribal clashes in Blue Nile,” Africanews, 2 September 2022)



Photo : Reuters

Ethiopia-Tigray war: The resumption of conflict, violence spreads to multiple regions


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 1 September

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Ethiopia-Tigray war: The resumption of conflict, violence spreads to multiple regions

On 1 September, Tigray forces accused the government and its Eritrean allies of launching "massive offensives" In the north-west region in Ethiopia. The same day, the government called the TPLF a "terrorist group" and said "the duty of halting from its destructive activities has fallen on the government and people of Ethiopia." Meanwhile, UK's Africa minister, Vicky Ford said: "The return of fighting in Ethiopia's civil war is catastrophic for the people of Ethiopia. The renewed conflict risks deepening the already dire humanitarian situation. Twenty two months since fighting first began, it is clear that there is no military solution." The fighting continues to intensify and spread to other regions after the resumption of the conflict, following a five-month truce.(“Rebels accuse Ethiopia of 'massive' Tigray offensive,” BBC, 1 September 2022, “Fresh Ethiopia fighting is catastrophic for the people - UK,” BBC, 1 September 2022, “Ethiopia government 'has duty' to halt Tigrayan attacks,” BBC, 1 September 2022)

Mozambique: five killed in jihadist attacks

On 1 September BBC reported, five villagers were killed, many abducted and more than 100 burnt in two separate jihadist attack in Accuabe district of Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province. On 31 August, three men were beheaded in Megaruma village. Also, there are reports of abductions in different areas. The incidents have caused unrest and tension in Megaruma, Metro and surrounding regions.("UN: Around 730 children dead In Somalia nutrition centres,” BBC, 1 September 2022)



Photo : SEBASTIEN KITSA MUSAYI, AFP

DRC: At least 14 killed in rebel attack in eastern DR Congo


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 31 August

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

DRC: At least 14 killed in rebel attack in eastern DR Congo

On 31 August Al Jazeera reported, a local human rights group said that at least 14 were killed and more than dozens were kidnapped in an attack in Ituri province of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. An army spokesperson blames the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan militia having allegiance to the ISIL group, for the attack. Military spokesperson Antony Mwalushayi said that the army killed five fighters and rescued a five year old girl who had been kidnapped. The military group ADF carries out frequent deadly attacks in villages in easetrn Congo despite the joint efforts by the Congolese and Ugandan armies. ("At least 14 dead in rebel attacks in eastern DR Congo," Al Jazeera, 31 August 2022) 

Ethiopia: Tigray forces accuses government forces conducting drone strikes in Mekelle

On 31 August, BBC reported, Tigrayan forces in Ethiopia’s northern region accused the government of conducting drone strikes in regional capital Mekelle. The government has not yet responded to the allegations. However, the previous week,  it warned people to stay away from military targets. The UN said that the airstrikes conducted the previous week in Mekelle killed civilians including children. A Tigrayan official said that three bombs were dropped in the city and hospital was targeted in the latest strikes. The communication blackout in the region has made it difficult to get further information. Meanwhile, the fighting continues to intensify and spread to other regions after the resumption of the conflict, following a five-month truce. ("Tigray forces say hospital targeted in drone strikes," BBC, 31 August 2022) 

Mali: At least 50 Malian civilians killed in military operation, says UN mission

On 31 August, the UN said that at least 50 Malian civilians were killed by Malian soldiers in a military operation on 19 April, aided by what it called "foreign" military personnel. The UN's mission in Mali, Minusma said that the incident happened in Hombori municipality in the central Douentza region after a military convoy was attacked. Minusma stated: "At least 50 civilians (including a woman and a child) were killed and more than 500 others arrested." The military did not respond to the allegations. Though the foreign fighters were not specified, Russian mercenaries are active in the country after France withdrew its troops amid tensions. ("Dozens of civilians killed in April by Mali’s army: UN report," Al Jazeera, 31 August 2022)



Photo : Ed Harris, Reuters

Madagascar: At least 18 died in police firing


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 30 August

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Madagascar: At least 18 died in police firing

On 30 August, Al Jazeera reported, at least 18 people were killed in Madagascar after the police opened fire on protesters demonstrating over the kidnapping of a child with albinism. People with albinism are regularly the target of violence in the country. According to the UN, more than a dozen were abducted, attacked and murdered in the past two years.  In the previous week, Four suspects were arrested, following the abduction of the child. However, the residents forced their way into the police station, armed with blades and machetes demanding that suspects be handed over, which triggered the clash. (“Madagascar police shoot 18 dead in albino kidnap protest: Medic,” Al Jazeera, 30 August 2022)

The UN chartered Ukrainian ship for the Horn of Africa arrives in Djibouti

On 30 August, the World Food Programme reported that a United Nations chartered ship loaded with Ukrainian wheat for millions at risk of starvation in Ethiopia arrived in Djibouti. The bulk carrier MV Brave Commander carrying 23,000 tonnes of grain reached the Horn of Africa port two weeks after leaving Black Sea port in Ukraine. WFP executive director, David Beasley said on Twitter: “We have officially docked! The first WFP ship to carry Ukrainian grain since February has just arrived in Djibouti. Now, let's get this wheat offloaded and on to Ethiopia.” The previous month, the UN agency reported that 20.4 million people in Ethiopia are in need of food support because of the worst drought and global food crisis amid the war in Ukraine. ("First Ukraine ship for Horn of Africa docks in Djibouti port – UN," Al Jazeera, 30 August 2022) 

Ethiopia: Aid delivery to Tigray suspended, says UN

On 30 August, the UN said that the humanitarian aid delivery efforts to the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray have been suspended after the resumption of fighting the previous week. The violence erupted is currently concentrated in the neighboring Amhara region is worsening besides calls for de-escalation. The UN says, aid delivery by road transport and flights transporting aid workers to Tigray has been suspended. Meanwhile, a UN team of international human rights experts set up to probe allegations of abuses in Ethiopia said it is “outraged” about the renewed hostilities and called for an end to the violence. (Kalkidan Yibeltal, "UN says aid delivery to Tigray suspended," BBC, 30 August 2022) 



Photo : Hazem Turkia, Anadolu

Libya: At least 32 killed as clashes broke out between rival governments


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 29 August

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Libya: At least 32 killed as clashes broke out between rival governments

On 28 August, the UN called for an immediate ceasefire to hostilities following deadly clashes between two political factions. The UN’s Libya mission said that the fighting had included “indiscriminate medium and heavy shelling in civilian populated neighborhoods'' and called for an immediate ceasefire, which has been backed by the US ambassador to Libya. On 27 August, the health ministry of Libya said that at least 32 people were killed and 159 wounded in a clash between two political factions in Tripoli. The ministry added that  hospitals and medical centers were shelled and ambulances were blocked from evacuating the wounded, in acts that “amount to war crimes”. Nearly 64 families had to be evacuated from the area. Since the 2011 uprising that ousted the long-serving ruler Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has been in chaos. However, the past two year have been relatively calm. The UN backed Government of National Unity (GNU) said: “The clashes were triggered by a military group firing randomly at a convoy passing in the Zawia Street area, while armed groups were gathering at the 27th gate west of Tripoli and the Jebs Gate south of Tripoli.” The country’s interim Prime Minister and head of GNU, Abdulhamid Dbeibeh is based in Tripoli and the rival government led by Prime Minister Fathi Bashaga is seated in the eastern parliament. Bashagha has been trying to take over Tripoli claiming GNU is illegal. While GNU has refused and claimed power should be handed peacefully through elections, not force. (Alys Davies, “Libya clashes: UN calls for ceasefire after 32 killed,”  BBC, 28 August 2022, “At least 32 people dead following violent clashes between rival militias in Libyan capital of Tripoli,” CNN, 29 August 2022)

Japan announces USD 30 billion to Africa during the TICAD8 in Tunisia

On 27 August, Japan held the eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8) in Tunisia, pledged USD 30 billion in aid for development in Africa, aiming to work closely with the continent. During the summit, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tokyo would work to ensure grain supply to Africa amid global shortage. He said: “If we give up on a rules-based society and permit unilateral changes of the status quo by force, the impact of that will extend not only through Africa, but all the world.” In the opening speech at the conference, Tunisisan President Kais Saied urged to “search together for ways for African peoples to achieve the hopes and dreams of the first generation after independence.” The summit gave president Saied biggest international platform after broadening his powers enshrined through a constitutional referendum that opposition lebells a coup. (“Japan pledges $30bn in aid for Africa at Tunisia conference,” Al Jazeera, 27 August 2022)

Sierra Leone: Six people killed in flash floods in capital Freetown

On 29 August, BBC reported, at least six people have been killed after torrential rains caused flash floods and landslides in parts of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown. The landslides swept away houses in Looking Town, Kanikay and Kaningo, many houses were under water and roadways became flowing rivers. Freetown Mayor, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr visited the area. He said: “As I spoke with survivors and neighbors, I could clearly see a huge boulder positioned precariously above the community. A poignant reminder of the risk of disaster this community lives daily.” President Julius Maado Bio said: “poor urban planning and mismanagement of the city’s resources as an enormous contributor to the problem.” He also cited climate change as another major factor. He said: “The heavy downpour experienced this August points to the impact and consequence of global warming and climate change.” (“Six deaths after Sierra Leone flash floods - report,” BBC, 29 August 2022)

Angola: The ruling MPLA party wins elections

On 29 August, the National Electoral Commission (CNE) of Angola declared the Movement of the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) won the elections gaining 51.17 per cent of votes against the Unita opposition party which gained 43.95 per cent, marking the tightest elections in the country's history. The CNE head said: “The CNE proclaims Joao Manuel Gonclaves Lourenco president of the republic.” The MPLA party, a former liberation movement since independence, has been in power for 50 years, now extends its decades long rule giving president Joao Lourenco a second term in office. The previous week, Adalberto Costa, leader of UNITA, rejected the provisional results and called for an international panel to review the vote count. He cited disparities between the commission’s count and the main opposition coalition’s own tally.  However, he did not respond to the declaration of final results. (“Angola’s MPLA ruling party wins elections and presidency,” Al Jazeera, 29 August 2022)

Chad: National dialogue suspended amid scuffle

On 29 August BBC reported, according to the pro-government website Alwihda, Chad’s national dialogue has been suspended over the conflicted composition of the steering committee. The proposed steering committee was rejected by few members, who felt that the “names were not reflective of the country’s fabric.” The Alwihda report said: “Anger immediately spread in the meeting room after former Prime Minister Guelengouksia Ouaidou read out the proposed list of names.” The disagreement forced the chairperson of the Organizing Committee for the Inclusive National Dialogue (CODNI), Acheikh Ibni Oumar, to suspend the session. The national dialogue started on 20 August following the government signing of an agreement for peace with 40  rebel groups, expected to lead to free and democratic elections and transfer of power to civilians. (“Chad national dialogue suspended over representation row,” BBC, 29 August 2022)



Photo : Ludovic Marin, AFP

Algeria: Macron announces ‘renewed partnership’ during his visit


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 26 August

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Algeria: Macron announces ‘renewed partnership’ during his visit

On 26 August, France 24 reported, the French presidency said that President Macron will head back to Algeria capital Algiers “to sign a joint declaration for a renewed concrete and ambitious partnership.” The three-day trip to the country comes after months of tensions between France and its former colony. The same day, along with French military officials Macron laid a wreath at a monument to those who “did for France”, in the mixed Christian-Jewish Saint Eugene cemetery, a burial ground during colonial times. Macron is also set to meet young Algerian entrepreneurs to discuss the French -Algerian incubator for digital start-ups which his office says aims to “rebuild and develop” relations with a view to the future. In a joint press conference, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune praised “promising prospects for improving the special partnership” between the two countries. President Macron said: “We must look at it and recognize it, but we have a responsibility to build our future for ourselves and our youth.”  (“Macron announces 'renewed partnership' during Algeria visit,” France24, 26 August 2022)

Ethiopia: The Tigray forces says civilians killed in airstrikes

On 26 August, BBC reported, Tigrayan forces in northern Ethiopia said that the federal government conducted fresh airstrikes in Mekelle. Tigrai Television run by Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) released images of destroyed buildings and said civilians were killed in the strikes. However, the reports of casualties are not verified. Meanwhile, a government statement said, people in Tigray should stay away from the areas where the TPLF’s military equipment and training facilities are located. The attacks and subsequent allegations would further escalate the renewed fighting that resumed after five months of a ceasefire.  (Kalkidan Yibeltal, “Civilians killed by Ethiopian air strikes - Tigray,” BBC, 26 August 2022)

High chance of persistence of worst drought in the Horn of Africa, says WMO

On 26 August, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said that the October-December forecasts show a high chance of persistence of the ongoing worst drought in more than 40 years. Guleid Artan, director of the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Center (ICPAC), WMO’S regional climate center for East Africa said: “Sadly, our models show with a high degree of confidence that we are entering the fifth consecutive failed rainy season in the Horn of Africa.” He added: “In Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, we are on the brink of an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.” Nearly 10 million children are suffering under failed consecutive rainy seasons- killing wide livestock, crops and drying water sources. More than 1.8 million children in East Africa are in need of urgent treatment for life threatening acute malnutrition. More than one million people left their homes in search of food and water. In June, the World Bank estimated 66.4 million people in the Horn of Africa experiencing food crisis and emergency. Besides, the global rise in food and fuel prices after the Ukraine war has exacerbated the condition. (“Horn of Africa drought could go on for 5th season: UN weather body,” Al Jazeera, 26 August 2022)

 



Photo : John Wessels, AFP

Angola: the Ruling party leads the elections, says election commission


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 25 August

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Angola: ruling party leads the elections, says election commission

On 25 August, the election commission said that 86 per cent of ballots had been counted which suggests the ruling Marxist People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) is likely to win the elections - giving President Joao Lourenco a second five-year term. The MPLA party holds a majority with 52 per cent of votes, while the main opposition Unita holds 42 per cent, marking a narrow lead. The MPLA has been in power for 50 years since independence. Abel Chivukuvuku, Unita’s vice-president candidate, dismissed the provisional results saying they were not reliable. He said: “Tomorrow morning we will have clearer and more concrete indicators and whoever wants to celebrate will … I hope it’s us”. The election was widely seen as the country’s most competitive in history. (“Angola’s ruling party leads in election, with most votes counted,” Al Jazeera, 25 August 2022)

Sudan: US sends first ambassador in 25 years

On 25 August, the US sent its first ambassador to Sudan in 25 years. The decision came two years after it removed Sudan from the list of countries that sponser terrorism. On 24 August, Ambassador John Godfrey arrived in the capital, Khartoum. He said via twitter: “I am delighted to arrive in Sudan. I look forward to deepening relations between Americans and Sudanese and to supporting the Sudanese people’s aspirations to freedom, peace, justice, and a transition to democracy". In 1993, Sudan was listed with the countries that sponser terrorism over the accusations of supporting al-Qaeda. In 1997, the US removed its downgraded representation in Sudan from ambassadors and imposed economic sanctions. (“US sends first ambassador to Sudan in 25 years,” BBC, 25 August 2022)

Macron visits Algeria, expects to repair stranded relations

On 25 August, French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Algeria, expected to repair fractured relations with the country. The move came as the country’s oil and gas reserves have new strategic importance due to Europe’s impending energy crisis. The visit comes after longtime tensions over Algeria’s bloody war of independence. Last year, Algeria recalled its ambassador to Paris, signaling a mutual interest to reset the relations. According to the Elysee palace, President Macron has “made the choice to orientate this visit towards the future … and lay down the basis for a relaunching of the relationship”. (Hugh Schofield, “France's Emmanuel Macron to mend Algeria ties as energy crisis bites," BBC,  25 August 2022)



Photo : Ben Curtis, AP Photo

Fresh fighting between Ethiopia and Tigray forces, UN and African Union raises concerns, calls for p


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 24 August

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Fresh fighting between Ethiopia and Tigray forces, UN and African Union raises concerns, calls for peace talks

On 24 August, Tigray forces accused Ethiopian forces of launching a fresh offensive on the southern border with Amhara. Later, the Ethiopian government blamed Tigrayan forces for starting the fighting. The Ethiopian military said that they hit an airplane in Mekelle carrying weapons for the TPLF. Meanwhile, UN chief Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply shocked” by the renewed fighting and called for an “immediate cessation of hostilities” and to resume peace talks, humanitarian access and re-establishing public services in Tigaray. The head of African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat called for “de-escalation” and  “talks to seek a peaceful solution”. The AU’s Horn of Africa envoy, Olusegun Obasanjo has been leading the peace talks to end the 21-month Tigray conflict. Last week, the Ethiopian government appealed for a formal Tigray ceasefire agreement. The government wants the AU envoy to lead the peace talks, however, Tigray authorities want former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta to lead the talks. Re-emergence of tensions between the two sides is threatening to undo a humanitarian truce reached in March. (“UN calls for ceasefire amid renewed fighting in northern Ethiopia,” Al Jazeera, 24 August 2022, Kalkidan Yibeltal, Tigray forces accuse Ethiopia of fresh offensive, Al Jazeera, 24 August 202)

Angola: vote counting begins after polls closed

On 24 August, the ballot counting began in Angola after the polls closed. The current President Joao Lourenco of the governing MPLA stood against Adalberto Costa Junior, leader of the former rebel group Unita and other six candidates, widely seen as the most competitive vote after independence. Nearly 14.7 million people were registered to vote. The MPLA has been in power for 50 years, criticized for rising inflation, poverty and unemployment. (“Vote counting begins in tight Angola election,” Al Jazeera, 24 August 2022)

South Africa: trade unions protests against rising cost of living

On 24 August, hundreds of South African people protested in the executive and legislative capitals of Pretoria and Cape Town amid rising inflation, the highest in 13 years. The protests were led by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), a longtime ally of the African National Congress. The protesters marched through central Pretoria towards Union Buildings, which houses the office of President Cyril Ramaphosa holding placards saying “stop basic food items”. Last month, the central bank increased the interest rates, highest in 20 years, to curb inflation. (“South African unions go on protests against high cost of living,” Al Jazeera, 24 August 2022)

 



Photo : Reuters

Egypt hosts Arab summit, GERD on agenda


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 23 August

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Egypt hosts Arab summit, GERD on agenda

On 23 August, BBC reported, according to Egyptian media, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al- Sisi is hosting a five-nation Arab summit in the Mediterranean coastal city of New Alamein. The leaders of Bahrain, the UAE, Iraq and Jordan are reportedly attending the summit. The summit is expected to discuss the conflicts in Yemen, Syria and Libya and Egypt and Sudan’s dispute with Ethiopia over the Grand Renaissance Dam. (Israel Campos, “Egypt hosts Arab summit with Nile Dam row on agenda,” BBC, 23 August)

Nigeria: military reportedly kills 25 Islamist militants

On 23 August the Nigerian military reported that it killed 25 militants belonging to Islamic State West Africa Province (Iswap) in a series of air strikes in the north-east of the country. Nigeria military spokesperson said that Iswap’s local leader Fiya Ba Yuram was also targeted, but it is not confirmed if he was killed. The military also said it killed an unidentified number of militants in another attack on 20 August, in Tunbuns area on the shores of Lake Chad and in Borno state. Iswap broke away from Boko Haram in 2016. The two groups continue to carry out attacks in the region. (Ishaq Khalid, “Dozens of Islamists killed in Nigeria, military says,” BBC, 23 August 2022)

Libya: UN raises concerns over political tensions

On 23 August, the UN said it is deeply worried about the ongoing clashes between armed groups in Libya and the threat of using force in solving the country's political crisis. Libya has been in a political crisis for months after the country's eastern based parliament appointed a new prime minister, in spite of the fact that there was already a prime minister who refused to cede power without an election. There have been multiple armed fights between the supporters of both men, which the UN says concerned, having capability to reignite wider conflict after two years of comparative peace. (Mike Thomson, “UN fears Libya violence could reverse progress,” BBC, 23 August 2022)



Photo : Feisal Omar, Reuters

Burundi soldiers deployed in DRC


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 22 August

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Burundi soldiers deployed in DRC

On 22 August, Burundi soldiers were deployed in eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo as part of the recently formed East African regional force. A spokesperson from the Burundi army told the Associated Press : “As you have seen, our soldiers have been received officially. They are in Congo on an official mission”. The deployment was confirmed by a DRC army spokesperson. He said: "The mandate is to track down all foreign and local armed groups in order to restore peace”. The rift between Rwanda and DRC which the former accused the latter of supporting the M23 rebel group, led to the East African Community creating the new regional force fighting militant groups. (“Burundi sends troops to DRC for regional peacekeeping force,” Al Jazeera, 22 August 2022)

Angola to hold presidential elections, expects tight competition

On 22 August, BBC reported, Angola will hold their presidential elections on 24 August, determining whether President João Lourenço wins a second and final five-year term in office. He is running for the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) against Angola’s largest opposition party Unita, headed by Adalberto Costa Junior and other six opposition candidates. Many of the analysts assume that MPLA, which ruled the country for 50 years since independence in 1975 will win again, while many others claim that this will be the country’s closest elections so far. One other section claims that after five decades under MPLA, young people in Angola hope for a change. (Israel Campos, “Angola braces for closely fought elections,” BBC, 22 August 2022)

Somali PM pledges to take action after the deadly hotel siege

On 22 August, Somali Prime Minister Hamsa Abdi Barre pledged to take severe action on officials who failed to prevent the deadly al-Shabab attack on Hayat Hotel in Mogadishu. He said: “ We cannot tolerate a repeat of what happened, those who neglected their duties would be held accountable”. Health Minister Ali Hajji Aden said that 21 people were killed and 117 wounded during the 35-hour seige between the security forces and al-Shabab militants. (Abdi Dahir, “Somali PM vows action after deadly hotel siege,” BBC, 22 August 2022)

Mali appoints new military prime minister

On 22 August, Mali appointed a new interim prime minister, as reports say civilian Prime Minister Choguel Maiga has been admitted to hospital. The new Prime Minister, Col. Abdoulaye Maiga was previously minister of territorial administration and government spokesperson. The most senior government positions are held my the military as Col. Abdoulaye Maiga appointed the new Prime Minister. He is a major critic of France, accusing Paris of being neo-colonial and involvement in Malian security and democracy. (“Mali appoints new interim military prime minister,” BBC, 22 August 2022)



Photo : Aurelie Bazzara-Kibangula, AFP

Rebel leaders return back to Chad amid the planned national dialogue


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 18 August

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Rebel leaders return back to Chad amid the planned national dialogue

On 18 August, Al Jazeera reported, Timan Erdimi, leader of Union of Resistance Forces (URF), a prominent rebel group, returned back to the country amid planned national dialogue between civilians, armed oppositions and the transitional government. He was in exile for 17 years, trying to overthrow the late president Idriss Deby. He told the reporters: “I hope that everything will go well to achieve peace, reconciliation and serenity in the country”, adding his intention to transform  UFR into a political party. Another rebel leader Mahamat Nouri, head of the Union for Democracy and Development (UFDD) was also reported to return back to the country. On 8 August, the military government signed an agreement for peace with 40 other rebel groups in Qatar, where it planned to conduct a national dialogue on 20 August. The national dialogue is expected to  lead to free and democratic elections and transfer of power to civilians. (“Rebel leader Timan Erdimi returns to Chad after 17 years in exile,” Al Jazeera, 18 August)

At least 38 killed Algeria forest fires

On 18 August, BBC reported, at least 38 were killed and dozens injured in the wild fires in northern Algeria. Authorities said that 39 fires are spreading in various parts of northern Algeria. The civil protection agency said that the city of El Tarf is the most affected  with 16 fires. Northern Algeria is affected by wildfires every year. Since August, 106 fires have broken out in the country destroying 800 hectares of forest and 100,000 hectares of woodland. (“Algeria forest fires: At least 38 dead, emergency officials say,” BBC, 18 August 2022)



Photo : Ben Curtis, AP

Ethiopia: Government and the Tigray rebels to begin peace talks


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 17 August

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Ethiopia: government and the Tigray rebels to begin peace talks

On 17 August, BBC reported, a committee organized by the Ethiopian government with the Tigrayan forces with the objective to end the civil war said that it is working with the African Union to begin peace talks quickly. The committee in a statement said that preparations are underway to “create conditions that will enable a ceasefire to be declared” and basic services to be restored in conflict affected areas. Though the federal government accepted the negotiations under the advice of the African Union, Tigrayan forces favored outgoing Kenyan President Uhuru Kennyatta to lead the talks. Since March, the amount of aid reaching Tigray has significantly increased after a humanitarian truce was agreed. However, no cessation of aggression has been declared. (“Tigray peace talks hasten to end war - committee,” BBC, 17 August)

Mali accuses France of violating airspace and supporting armed groups

On 17 August, Mali accused France for violating its airspace and sending weapons to militant groups. In a letter to the UN Security Council, Mali’s foreign affairs minister, Abdoulaye Diop said that France has violated its airspace more than 50 times this year, using drones, military helicopters and fighter jets. According to Reuters news agency, the letter said: “These flagrant violations of Malian airspace were used by France to collect information for terrorist groups operating in the Sahel and to drop arms and ammunition to them”. In response, the French Embassy replied: “France has obviously never supported, directly or indirectly, these terrorist groups, which remain its designated enemies across the planet”. Meanwhile , On 15 August France announced its complete withdrawal of its troops from Mali, ending a nine year fighting the Islamist militants. (“Mali accuses France of sending weapons to armed groupsAl Jazeera, 17 August 2022)

Tunisia’s new constitution comes into effect granting the president wider powers

On 17 August, Reuters reported, Tunisia's head of the Independent High Electoral Commission announced final results of the referendum on 16 August that the new constitution giving the president greater powers will come into effect. The new constitution has been approved by 96.4 per cent of votes in the referendum with 30 per cent turnout. The opposition accused the electoral board controlled by president Kais Saied of "fraud". Popular opinion upon the referendum is divided. For many, his move sparked fears of return of autocracy, while others welcomed being fed up with high inflation, unemployment and corruption. Meanwhile, the US State Department said that it noted "concerns that the new constitution includes weakened checks and balances that could compromise the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms".(“Tunisia approves a new constitution,'' Africanews, 17 August 2022)



Photo : REUTERS, Benoit Tessier, File Photo

France’s last troops leave Mali, ends nine year deployment


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 16 August

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

France’s last troops leave Mali, ends nine year deployment

On 16 August, France said its final troops of Operation Barkhane left Mali, ending a nine year bilateral military cooperation. The French military statement said: “Today at 1pm Paris time [11:00 GMT] the final contingent of the Barkhane forces still on Malian territory crossed the border between Mali and Niger”. On 15 August French Presidency said: “France remains engaged in the (wider) Sahel (region), in the Gulf of Guinea and the Lake Chad region with all partners committed to stability and to the fight against terrorism”. In 2013, France initially intervened in the country at request by Malian authorities under Operation Serval, to fight Tuareg separatists. The withdrawal comes after fallen relations between Paris and Bamako, which currently maintains close relations with Russia. (Last French troops leave Mali, ending nine-year deployment,” Al Jazeera, 16 August 2022) 

South Sudan: 80 civilians killed in ethnic violence

On 16 August, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) revealed that in July alone at least 80 civilians were killed in Eastern Equatoria state. Ethnic clashes in Kapoeta were the reasons behind the killings, though it is not clear what triggered the clashes. The Ocha says more than 17,500 people were displaced due to the violence. Rising food insecurity, inter-communal violence, conflict and disease outbreaks worsened the situation. (Nichola Mandil, “Over 80 killed in South Sudan recent ethnic violence,” BBC, 16 August 2022)

Kenya’s defeated Odinga rejects the elections calling “null and void”

On 16 August, Raila Odinga, major opponent to William Ruto who won Kenya’s presidential elections, rejected the election results saying the figures are “null and void”. He said:  “What we saw yesterday was a travesty and a blatant disregard of the constitution of Kenya''. The enraged Odinga supporters turned the situation violent in many regions. Most of the businesses were closed in Kisumu region where Odinga has a stronghold. The new elected president William Ruto said:  “I want to commit to the people of Kenya that I will build on the foundation that President Kenyatta and I put together and take this country to the next level”. (“Kenya’s defeated Odinga calls presidential election outcome a ‘travesty,” France24, 16 August 2022, “Ruto's supporters celebrate disputed election results,” Africanews, 16 August 2022)



Photo : Tony Karumba, AFP

Deputy President William Ruto wins Kenya presidential elections


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 15 August 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Deputy President William Ruto wins Kenya presidential elections

On 15 August, according to the results announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), William Ruto won the elections to be the fifth president of Kenya. The announcement was delayed after scuffles and allegations of vote rigging by Odinga supporters. Four election commissioners said that they could not support the “opaque” vote count before the results were declared. Juliana Cherera, the vice Chairperson of IEBC said: “We cannot take ownership of the result that is going to be announced because of the opaque nature of this last phase of the general election”. Odinga supporters staged protests and blocked roads in Kisumu and Nairobi. Ruto received 50.49 per cent of the vote, while his opponent Raila Odinga received 48.85 per cent, marking a narrow victory. Ruto, 55, Deputy President of Kenya since 2013, ran for the first time in presidential elections, but fell out with President Uhuru Kenyatta, who backed Odinga. (“William Ruto wins Kenya elections as results questioned,” Al Jazeera, 15 August 2022)

Burkina Faso army accused of killing 40 civilians

On 15 August, BBC reported, The Collective Against Immunity and Stigmatization of Communities, a rights group based in Burkina Faso accused the army of killing more than 40 civilians in the village of Taffogo in Tougouri. It said the victim’s bodies were found on the road blindfolded with their hands tied. The Observatory of Human Dignity, another rights group, said most of the victims belong to the Fulani ethnic group of semi-nomadic herders. (“Burkina Faso troops accused of killing 40 civilians,” BBC, 15 August 2022)

Nigeria’s inflation reaches 19.64 per cent

On 15 August, Reuters reported, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the inflation rate in Nigeria rose to 19.64 per cent, which is highest since the 24.32 per cent recorded in September 2005. In July, food prices hiked 22.02 percent, caused by increase in prices of bread and cereals, potatoes, meat, oil and other items. Rising inflation and economic instability are major issues as the country looks forward  to the national election in February 2023. (“Nigeria's annual inflation rises to highest level since 2005,” Reuters, 15 February 2022)

Egypt announces suspension of its UN forces  in Mali

On 15 August, Egypt announced it will temporarily suspend its participation in the UN peacekeeping force in Mali over security concerns. The decision follows the killing of seven Egyptian troops serving the UN mission in Mali (Minusma) during multiple attacks since January. The move also comes after activists supporting Mali’s military government continue to demand Minusma’s expulsion over its perceived failure protecting civilians from attacks. The country has not mentioned how long the suspension would last. About 1,000 Egyptian soldiers are deployed in Mali as  part of Minusma providing logistical support. (“Egypt to suspend role in UN force in Mali,” BBC, 15 August 2022)



Photo : REUTERS, Feisal Omar

Somalia: At least 10 people killed in gunmen attack in a famed hotel


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 19 August

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Somalia: At least 10 people killed in gunmen attack in a famed hotel

On 19 August, the officials reported that at least 10 people were killed after gunmen attacked a hotel in the capital Mogadishu. The security forces are battling to end the 20-hour seige at the hotel. The al-Shabab armed  group linked to al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attack. The fighters of the armed group entered the Hayat hotel on 19 August and triggered explosions and gunfire. The hotel is known to be frequented by government officials. The attack is a major incident since Somalia's new leader took office in May. (“Somali forces battle to end deadly hotel siege in Mogadishu,” Al Jazeera, 19 August 2022)

UN peacekeeping troops leaves DR Congo

On 19 August, a DR Congo government official reported that UN peacekeeping forces (Monusco) in the country left the eastern town of Butembo over the deadly protests last month. Gen Constant Kongba Ndima, the governor of North Kivu province said: “Monusco has already left. As for the equipment still in the city, we are going to meet in Goma with those in charge of the mission to see how to transfer it, as well as the few personnel remaining in Butembo''. A Monusco spokesperson said: “the mission has proceeded to a temporary redeployment of its personnel outside Butembo…after consultations with local and national authorities”. In July, a popular protest erupted in North Kivu demanding the troops to leave the country. About 36 people were killed and 170 others were injured during the demonstrations that turned violent. (“UN peacekeepers leave Congolese town - governor,” BBC, 19 August 2022)

South Africa’s Zulu nation to coronate new king amid tensions

On 19 August, Al Jazeera reported, South Africa’s ethnic Zulu nation is preparing for the coronation for its new king on 21 August. King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini, son of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini will undergo the traditional ritual known as ukungena esibayeni marking the accession of the new king. The Zulu ethnic group is South Africa’s largest, having more than 12 million people mainly located in the KwaZulu-Natal province. They are historically recognised for their resistance to British colonialism under King Shaka Zulu between 1816 and 1828. It is also one of the richest and influential ethnic groups in the country. The coronation event is held despite a certain succession dispute within the royal family. (“South Africa’s Zulu nation to coronate new king amid tussle,” Al Jazeera, 19 August 2022)



Photo : REUTERS, Benoit Tessier, File Photo

France’s last troops leave Mali, ends nine year deployment


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 16 August

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

France’s last troops leave Mali, ends nine year deployment

On 16 August, France said its final troops of Operation Barkhane left Mali, ending a nine year bilateral military cooperation. The French military statement said: “Today at 1pm Paris time [11:00 GMT] the final contingent of the Barkhane forces still on Malian territory crossed the border between Mali and Niger”. On 15 August French Presidency said: “France remains engaged in the (wider) Sahel (region), in the Gulf of Guinea and the Lake Chad region with all partners committed to stability and to the fight against terrorism”. In 2013, France initially intervened in the country at request by Malian authorities under Operation Serval, to fight Tuareg separatists. The withdrawal comes after fallen relations between Paris and Bamako, which currently maintains close relations with Russia. (Last French troops leave Mali, ending nine-year deployment,” Al Jazeera, 16 August 2022) 

South Sudan: 80 civilians killed in ethnic violence

On 16 August, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) revealed that in July alone at least 80 civilians were killed in Eastern Equatoria state. Ethnic clashes in Kapoeta were the reasons behind the killings, though it is not clear what triggered the clashes. The Ocha says more than 17,500 people were displaced due to the violence. Rising food insecurity, inter-communal violence, conflict and disease outbreaks worsened the situation. (Nichola Mandil, “Over 80 killed in South Sudan recent ethnic violence,” BBC, 16 August 2022)

Kenya’s defeated Odinga rejects the elections calling “null and void”

On 16 August, Raila Odinga, major opponent to William Ruto who won Kenya’s presidential elections, rejected the election results saying the figures are “null and void”. He said:  “What we saw yesterday was a travesty and a blatant disregard of the constitution of Kenya''. The enraged Odinga supporters turned the situation violent in many regions. Most of the businesses were closed in Kisumu region where Odinga has a stronghold. The new elected president William Ruto said:  “I want to commit to the people of Kenya that I will build on the foundation that President Kenyatta and I put together and take this country to the next level”. (“Kenya’s defeated Odinga calls presidential election outcome a ‘travesty,” France24, 16 August 2022, “Ruto's supporters celebrate disputed election results,” Africanews, 16 August 2022)



Photo : Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS

Blinken visits Rwanda, raises concerns over M23 rebels


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 11 August 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Blinken visits Rwanda, raises concerns over M23 rebels

On 11 August, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Rwanda for talks on alleged cooperation with the M23 rebels operating in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. Blinken is also expected to pressure the authorities for the release of Paul Rusesabagina, Oscar nominated, for the film Hotel Rwanda, whom the US government says is “wrongfully detained in Rwanda”. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison on terrorism charges last year. The US State Department said: “Blinken will meet Rwandan leaders and civil society members on a range of key issues”. After talks with President Paul Kagame, Blinken expressed concerns over the human rights issues in the country. President Kagame replied: “No worries…there are things that just don't work like that here!!”. The M23 rebels are controlling parts of North Kivu province in eastern DRC. (Marcus Erbe, “Blinken raises concern over human rights in Rwanda,” BBC, 11 August 2022;  Samba Cyuzuzo, “Blinken arrives in Rwanda amid row over M23 rebels,” BBC, 11 August 2022)

Mali: 42 soldiers killed in Islamist attack

On 11 August, BBC reported, Mali authority says nearly 42 soldiers were killed in an Islamist attack on  7 August. The officials added, another 22 troops were wounded and 37 Islamic State militias were killed. The attack took place at Tessit, a town sharing borders with Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Following the attack, thousands of residents fled the area. (Mark Pivac, “Mali troops death toll from attack rises to 42 ,” BBC, 11 August 2022)

South Sudan: UN Mission condemns execution of rebels

On 11 August, the UN Mission in South Sudan, Unmiss condemned the alleged execution of four rebel fighters in the northern oil-producing Unity state. The footage of the execution has been circulating on social media where three of the South Sudan People's Movement/Army(ESPN/A) being fired and the fourth rebel being burnt alive. The government condemned the executions. Meanwhile, South Sudan People's Defense Forces(SSPDF) said it will investigate the incidents. Nicholas Hysom, the head of Unmiss said: "Unmiss joins the government in expressing grave concern over reports that four officers from the rebel SSPM/A have been summarily executed in Mayom county". (UN condemns execution of South Sudan rebels,” BBC, 11 August 2022)

Sierra Leone anti-government protests: dozens including six police officers killed

On 11 August, police authorities reported dozens of civilians including six police officers were killed in the anti-government protests. About 130 people have been arrested. The protesters were blocking roads, throwing rocks and burning tyres perpetuating the violence. The armed officers are patrolling the streets and  using tear gas to contain the violence. The popular demonstrations are taking place in Freetown, Makeni and Kamakwie regions. The public discontent over the high cost of living, corruption and police brutality has caused the outbreak. (“Smoke and tear gas as Sierra Leone protests continue,” BBC, 11 August 2022)



Photo : Umaru Fofana/Reuters

Sierra Leone: reported casualties as Anti- government protests turns violent


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief | 10 August 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Anu Maria Joseph

Sierra Leone: reported casualties as Anti- government protests turns violent 

On 10 August, BBC reported casualties in capital Freetown after police opened fire on anti-government demonstrators. The clashes broke out when protesters blocked roads. Longstanding tensions with the ruling government exacerbated with the rising prices of cost of living, corruption and police brutality. Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh said: “lives of both policemen and civilians were lost”, without giving further details on how many people had been killed. A police spokesperson told AFP news agency that two police officers, a male and a female were killed during the clash. A nationwide curfew has been announced following the violence. Meanwhile, ECOWAS condemned the violence and called for “all to obey law and order and for the perpetrators of the violence to be identified and brought before the law”. (“Sierra Leone imposes curfew amid anti-government protests,” Al Jazeera, 10 August 2022)

Guinea: military government dissolves opposition coalition

On 10 August, the military government issued a decree dissolving the leading opposition movement, accused of carrying out violent demonstrations which were said to be banned. The National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), an alliance of political parties, trade unions and civil society groups, led the protests that overthrew the former president Alpha Conde last year. FNDC led demonstrations have been going on over the military government’s reluctance to return to civilian rule. The opposition alliance was dissolved stating its behavior threatens national unity and peace. (Will Ross, Guinea junta dissolves opposition coalition,” BBC, 10 August 2022)

US concerned about Rwanda supporting DR Congo M23 rebels

On 10 August, US Secretary  of State Antony Blinken, speaking at Kinshasa, the Congolese capital, raised concerns over the reports of Rwanda providing support to the rebels in DRC. He called on all parties to cease any cooperation with the M23 rebel group. The M23 rebels control and carry out attacks in different regions of the country, displacing thousands of people. (David Banford,US concerned by reports Rwanda backing DR Congo rebels,” BBC, 10 August 2022)

Mali receives Russian military jets and helicopter

On 10 August, the Mali military government received five military jets and a combat helicopter from Russia. Russia has become a close ally for Mali in its fight against jihadist militancy. The relations between the countries have grown since the coup in May 2021. The Junta’s decision to hire Russian mercenaries following the second coup was said to be the reason for France’s pullout from the country. The Jihadist attacks have increased recently. On 7 August, nearly 17 soldiers and four civilians were killed in an attack by the militants in the town of Tessit. (Will Ross, “Mali junta receives Russian jets and helicopter,BBC, 10 August 2022)



Photo : DW/JohanWessels/AFP

Senegal: Ruling coalition, opposition fail to secure majority


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 4 August 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Senegal: Ruling coalition, opposition fail to secure majority 

On 4 August, the provisional results revealed that President Macky Sall’s ruling coalition had failed to secure the majority in the parliamentary elections by one vote. The coalition has won 82 of the 165 seats. Meanwhile, the opposition too failed to secure the majority with 80 seats. The remaining three seats, won by small parties will decide the final results. This is the first time a National Assembly will be formed in Senegal without a clear majority; this development also indicates a fall in Macky’s popularity. (“Senegal: Governing coalition loses legislative majority,” Al Jazeera, 4 August 2022)

South Africa: Migrants attacked by mob for alleged criminal acitvities

On 4 August, local residents of the Krugersdorp township attacked migrants accusing them of criminal activities in the area. The development comes after 130 people were arrested on charges of eight women near a mining dump on 28 July. The residents attacked the migrants with machetes, and hammers; they also stripped and whipped the migrants before setting the migrant camps on fire. A person present at the demonstration against the migrants said: “We want support from the police because the illegal miners are terrorising us. We cannot simply walk around the neighbourhood at night because they rape us.” Krugersdrop houses several criminal gangs attempting to exploit the abandoned mines in search of any leftover gold. Several immigrants from Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe live in the area. (“Mob attacks illegal miners after rapes shock South Africa,” Reuters, 4 August 2022)

South Sudan: Unity government leaders extend transitional period

On 4 August, President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar signed a deal to extend the transitional period to 2024. This move was criticised by foreign observers as the deal signed by the unity government formed in February 2020 provided for general elections to be held in February 2023. The minister for cabinet affairs said the decision aimed “to address the challenges that impede the implementation of the peace agreement.” The US, UK and Norway boycotted the decision expressing “profound concern that fully inclusive consultations must take place with civil society, faith-based groups, business, women's groups, youth representatives, eminent persons and international partners before the (peace deal) is amended.” (“South Sudan extends transitional government by two years,” News24, 4 August 2022)



Photo : BBC/AFP

Burkina Faso: Army admits to killing civilians in operation


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 3 August 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Burkina Faso: Army admits to killing civilians in operation

On 3 August, the army admitted to having killed civilians in a counter-terrorism operation in the southeast few days earlier; 37 fatalities were recorded in a village near the border along Togo. An army statement said the civilians were unfortunate victims amid the operation to neutralise terrorists. (Thiam Ndaiaga, “Burkina Faso army admits killing civilians in counter-terrorist strike,” Reuters, 3 August 2022)

DRC: MONUSCO spokesperson expelled over remarks

On 3 August, the foreign ministry released a statement expelling the spokesperson on the MONUSCO claiming that the UN official had stoked tensions leading to the week-long protests. The government accused the spokesperson of making “indelicate and inappropriate” statements and therefore maintained that the UN official’s presence will not “promote a climate of mutual trust and calm between Congolese institutions and MONUSCO.” (“DR Congo expels UN peacekeeping mission spokesman after protests,” Al Jazeera, 3 August 2022)

The Gambia: Two dead in heaviest rain in 30 years

On 3 August, the government said two people had died after The Gambia recorded its highest ever rainfall in 30 years. The Department of Water said 276mm of rain was recorded after torrential rains started on 30 July, leading to widespread floods. Previously, 1988 witnessed the highest rainfall at 175.4mm. (“Floods affect thousands in Gambia after heaviest rainfall in decades,” News24, 3 August 2022)



Photo : UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti

DRC: Government to reevaluate UN withdrawal


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief | 2 August 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

DRC: Government to reevaluate UN withdrawal

On 1 August, the government said it would reevaluate the UN peacekeeping mission’s (MONUSCO) withdrawal schedule. The development comes following a week of protests against the MONUSCO wherein at least 36 people, including four peacekeepers, died. Currently, the MONUSCO mandate says the mission has to withdraw in 2024. (“Congo to reassess U.N. withdrawal plan after deadly protests,” Reuters, 2 August 2022)

Somalia: Former al Shabaab official to be religion minister

On 2 August, the prime minister announced that Muktar Robow, a former al Shabaab spokesperson and deputy leader, had been appointed as minister of religion in the new cabinet. Robow split from the terrorist group in 2013; he was under house arrest since 2019. (“Somalia names former al-Shabab spokesperson as religion minister,” Al Jazeera, 2 august 2022)

Ghana: Marburg death toll rises to three

On 2 August, the WHO said a child infected with the Marburg virus had died, bringing the total number of fatalities to three in Ghana. The virus is transferred from fruit bats to people and the 2022 outbreak is the second such outbreak in West Africa, the first one being in 2021. The virus can be spread through the transfer of bodily fluids and the symptoms include diarrhea, fever, nausea and vomiting. (“Child infected with Marburg virus dies in Ghana,” Al Jazeera, 2 August 2022)

Ethiopia: US, EU envoys call for restoration of amenities

On 2 August, the US and EU envoys to Ethiopia traveled to Tigray for the first time since the conflict in Tigray broke out in November 2020. An joint statement by the Embassy of the US in Ethiopia and the Delegation of the EU to Ethiopia said political dialogue between Ethiopia’s federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) was necessary to achieve long-lasting peace. The envoys called for the “swift restoration of electricity, telecom, banking, other basic services and “unfettered humanitarian access to Tigray and the Afar and Amhara neighboring regions affected by the conflict.”  (“EU, US envoys urge Ethiopia to restore services in Tigray,” Al Jazeera, 2 August 2022)



Photo : REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Abandon neocolonial attitude, Mali tells Macron


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 1 August 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Abandon neocolonial attitude, Mali tells Macron

On 31 July, Mali’s military government criticised France’s President Emmanuel Macron’s view on Mali. The government spokesperson said: “The transitional government demands President Macron permanently abandon his neocolonial, paternalistic and patronising posture to understand that no one can love Mali better than Malians.” The statement comes after Macron’s remarks during his West Africa tour wherein he said it was the responsibility of West African countries to ensure that Malians “express the sovereignty of the people.” (“Mali junta criticises Macron's 'neocolonial and patronising' attitude,” France24, 1 August 2022)

Ruling coalition and opposition claim victory in parliamentary elections

On 1 August, the governing coalition and the opposition claimed victory in the parliamentary elections which concluded polling on 31 July. The head of the ruling coalition claimed that they had secured 30 of the 46 administrative departments; however, the opposition dismissed the claims and said it had defeated the ruling coalition in most departments. The elections took place amid speculations that President Macky Sall may extend his tenure beyond the two terms. (Ngouda Dione and Diadie Ba, “Senegal's ruling party, opposition both claim victory after legislative vote,” Reuters, 1 August 2022)

Over 80 people arrested for gang rape for eight women

On 1 August, 84 people were arrested allegedly in connection with a gang-rape of eight women on 28 July, in a town close to Johannesburg. The women were shooting a video near a mining dump when illegal miners ordered young men to rape the women aged between 19 and 37. The men were also ordered to rob the women. On 1 August, the police started producing the suspects before the court. The Police Minister said the incident was a “matter of shame” to South Africa. (“SA gang rape is 'shame of the nation' - police minister,” BBC, 1 August 2022)

Two killed as UN peacekeepers open fire

On 31 July, two people were killed when UN peacekeepers opened fire while trying to enter DRC from Uganda. Deutsche Welle quoted a statement and reported that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was "outraged" by the incident and demanded accountability. The special representative of the Secretary-General of the UN in Congo said the suspects had been arrested. ("Democratic Republic of Congo: 2 dead as UN peacekeepers open fire," Deutsche Welle, 31 July 2022)



Photo : UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti

Democratic Republic of the Congo: AU condemns attacks on UN peacekeepers


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs | 29 July 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

DRC: AU condemns attacks on UN peacekeepers

On 29 July, BBC reported the African Union’s condemnation of the attacks against the UN peacekeeping forces in the east. The comes after a UN base in Beni was petrol-bombed on 28 July, with protesters accusing the UN of failing to ensure protection to all citizens from attacks by rebel groups. On the same day, the US urged the national government and local governments to protect the UN forces. (“AU condemns attacks on UN bases in DR Congo,” BBC, 29 July 2022; “U.S. calls on Congo authorities to ensure protection of U.N. personnel,” Reuters, 29 July 2022)

Guinea: One dead during anti-military protests, says opposition

On 28 July, the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) said one person had been killed during protests against the military government in the capital city Conakry. The FNDC claimed that a bullet had hit the deceased. The development comes days after the FNDC called for resistance against the military’s alleged “unilateral management” of restoration of civilian rule. Meanwhile, on 28 July, the public prosecutor called for legal action against the protest organisers. (“Protests against military administration paralyse Guinea capital,” Al Jazeera, 29 July 2022)

Kenya: NCIC threatens to suspend Facebook 

On 29 July, BBC reported that the National Integration and Cohesion Commission (NCIC) had written to Meta asking for a response on allegations that Facebook had weak controls on moderating the content online. The NCIC warned Facebook to suspension if the latter failed to comply with the NCIC requirement within seven days. The development came after two advocacy groups released a report that said Facebook had not identified advertisements with inflammatory content in English and Swahili. (Richard Kagoe, “Kenya threatens Facebook suspension over hate speech,” BBC, 29 July 2022)



Photo : The Statesman

Ethiopia: Government ready for talks with Tigray


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs 28 July 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Algeria, Nigeria, and Niger revive gas pipeline deal

On 28 July, BBC reported Nigeria, Niger and Algeria had signed an MoU to construct a gas pipeline across the Sahara. The development comes after the deputy director-general of the European Commission’s energy department said that Europe was seeking alternatives to Russia’s potential supply cuts. The pipeline through the Sahara is proposed to supply 30 billion cubic metres of gas to Europe. The deputy director-general said currently, Nigeria was  supplying 14 per cent of the EU’s gas imports He said: “If we can get up to beyond 80%, at that point, there might be additional LNG that could be available for spot cargoes to come to Europe.” The revival of the pipeline comes more than a decade after an agreement was signed in 2009. (Ahmed Rouaba, “Algeria, Nigeria and Niger agree gas pipeline deal,” BBC, 28 July 2022; “EU looks to replace gas from Russia with Nigerian supplies,” Reuters, 23 July 2022)

Ethiopia: Government ready for talks with Tigray 

On 28 July, the security advisor to the prime minister tweeted that the government is ready to hold talks with the leaders of Tigray “anytime, anywhere,” without preconditions. The government has also lifted restrictions on diplomats from the US, EU, UK and UN from travelling to Tigray. Further, the security advisor called on the African Union to lead the negotiations and “solicit logistical support from any source.” (Hanna Temauri, “Ethiopia ready for talks with Tigrayans 'anytime',” BBC, 28 July 2022)

Tunisia: Blinken expresses concern over new draft constitution

On 28 July, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement on the US concerns over the new draft constitution in light of the referendum held on 25 July. The statement said the new constitution could “weaken Tunisia’s democracy and erode respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.” The statement outlined that the threat to democracy has been evident since July 2021 when Saied suspended the parliament, consolidated executive power and weakened independent institutions like the judiciary. (“Tunisia’s July 25 Referendum,” US Department of State, 28 July 2022)



Photo : Russian Foreign Ministry/Reuters/The Guardian

Lavrov concludes tour of four African countries


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs 27 July 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Lavrov concludes tour of four African countries

On 27 July, Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov concluded his tour to four African countries appreciating their stance on the Russia-Ukraine war. Lavrov conveyed that Russia was a better partner for Africa as it does not draw from a colonial mindset the US and other Western countries allegedly have. Lavrov visited Egypt, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, and Ethiopia during the tour. (Russia’s Lavrov in Congo as Moscow courts Africa,” Al Jazeera, 27 July 2022)

DRC: 15 killed in anti-UN protests in the east

On 26 July, at least three UN peacekeepers and 12 civilians were killed in protests against the UN which began on 25 July in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The protesters said the UN has failed to protect civilians from armed militia groups. On 27 July, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the violence; the UN deputy spokesperson said Guterres maintained that “any attack directed against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime.” Guterres also called on the DRC government to investigate the same. On the other hand, some media reports quoted activists and Reuters journalists who said the UN forces also shot at protesters resulting in some of the deaths. (Djaffar Sabiti and Fiston Mahamba, “At least 15 killed as anti-U.N. protests flare in east Congo,” Reuters, 27 June 2022; Silja Fröhlich, “DR Congo: Death toll from deadly anti-UN protests rises,” Deutsche Welle, 28 July 2022)



Photo : REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

Tunisia: Exit poll reveals massive support for president’s new constitution


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs 26 July 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Tunisia: Exit poll reveals massive support for president’s new constitution

On 26 July, Reuters reported the exit poll results of the referendum on the new constitution wherein it was revealed that 92.3 per cent voted “YES” to approve the draft proposed by president Kais Saied. However, the voter turnout remained low at 27.5 per cent of all registered voters. The referendum was boycotted by the opposition and its supporters who questioned its integrity. (“Tunisians back new constitution, but with low turnout,” Reuters, 26 July 2022)

Cameroon: Russia using global food crisis as a weapon on war, says Macron

On 26 July, France’s president Emmanuel Macron, during his visit to Cameroon, said Russia was using the global food crisis as a weapon of war and denied claims that Western sanctions were the cause of the same. Macron said that Russia was also using energy as a weapon of war. Macron’s visit to Cameroon is part of a three-leg tour of Africa, where is scheduled to visit Benin and Guinea-Bissau later. (“Macron, in Cameroon, says food is Russian weapon of war,” Reuters, 26 July 2022)



Photo : REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

Tunisia: Citizens vote on referendum on new constitution


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs 25 July 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Tunisia: Citizens vote on referendum on new constitution

On 25 July, Tunisians voted on the referendum on the new constitution proposed by president Kais Saied; the date also marked one year of the suspension of the parliament and dismissal of the government by Saied. The new constitution will replace the previous one drafted in 2014 after the Arab Spring of 2011. After the voting, Saied said: “Our money and our wealth are enormous, and our will is even greater, to rebuild a new Tunisia and a new republic, one that breaks with the past.” The referendum was carried out amid massive countrywide protests led by the opposition parties. On 23 July, the head of an anti-referendum coalition said: “The Tunisian people will deal a major blow to Saied on the day of the illegal referendum and will prove to him that it is not interested in his populist path.” (Sebastian Usher, “Tunisia referendum: Voters decide whether to increase president's powers,” BBC, 25 July 2022; “Hundreds protest Tunisian referendum,” Reuters, 23 July 2022)

Thousands of migrants from Libya and Tunisia arrive in Italy

On 25 July, BBC reported nearly 1,200 migrants, from Africa, Middle East and Asia had arrived in Italy in 24 hours by boats from Libya and Tunisia; 674 had been rescued from a fishing boat off the Calabria coast and five people were found dead. Another 522 were rescued from 15 boats and brought to Lampedusa port on 23 July. Lampedusa is a major arrival port for entering Europe. The rescued migrants included Afghanis, Pakistanis, Somalis, Sudanese and Ethiopians. (Matt Murphy, “Italy migrants: Nearly 1,200 arrive by boat in 24 hours,” BBC, 25 July 2022)



Photo : Reuters/Arab News

13 killed in clashes involving forces loyal to Presidency Council


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs 22 July 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

13 killed in clashes involving forces loyal to Presidency Council

On 22 July, 13 people were killed and 27 injured  in capital Tripoli during clashes between rival factions in areas housing diplomatic missions, international and government agencies. An interior ministry spokesperson said the fighters involved were affiliated to the Presidency Council, the body acting as the transitional head of state. In response to the fighting, the prime minister’s office said the interior minister was replaced. (“Fighting rips through Libyan capital, killing 13,” Reuters, 22 July 2022) 

Africa: Leaders welcome Russia-Ukraine deal on grains export

On 22 July, African Union chairman Macky Sall welcomed the deal between Russia and Ukraine to allow the export of wheat and maize from Ukraine's ports. South Africa's president echoed the same and said that the ongoing war in Ukraine was a wake up call. The president said: "Our continued reliance on massive amounts of grains from that part of the world should be seen as a risk and a real danger to African countries' 1.3 billion people." Similarly, the Ivory Coast president insisted that Africa should be given priority during the grain export "because of the fragility of its economies and the social situation in many countries." (“The Chairperson of the African Union Commission welcomes signing of Russia/Ukraine agreement to resume grain exports under auspices of Turkiye and United Nations,” African Union, 22 July 2022; “African leaders welcome Ukraine wheat deal,” BBC, 22 July 2022)



Photo : REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

UK envoy disowns predecessor’s memo on asylum deal with Rwanda


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs 21 July 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

UK envoy disowns predecessor’s memo on asylum deal with Rwanda

On 20 July, the current UK High Commissioner to Rwanda Omar Daair tweeted that Rwanda is a safe country that supports asylum seekers and reiterated that the UK government is “committed to delivering this policy to break the business model of criminal gangs and save lives.” Daair’s tweet is a dismissal of the memo sent to the UK Home Office by his predecessor warning against the asylum deal with Rwanda, criticising the human rights situation in the country. (“UK ambassador disowns memo on Rwanda asylum plan,” BBC, 21 July 2022)



Photo : MICHELE CATTANI/AFP/RFI

Mali: Government expels UN mission spokesperson


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 20 July 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Mali: Government expels UN mission spokesperson

On 20 July, the military government asked the spokesperson of the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to leave the country within three days after the UN official tweeted about the 49 Ivory Coast soldiers who had been arrested in Mali on 10 July.  Following the arrest, the military government suspended the MINUSMA’s troop rotations. The MINUSMA spokesperson tweeted that the 49 soldiers had arrived in Mali as part of the rotation. However, the government asked for proof of authorisation and said the spokesperson failed to provide the same. (“Mali junta expels U.N. peacekeeping mission spokesman over tweets,” Reuters, 20 July 2022)

Eight cheetahs from Namibia to be relocated to India

On 20 July, India's environment minister confirmed that eight cheetahs will be relocated to India from Namibia for "re-establishing ecological function in Indian grasslands that was lost due to extinction of Asiatic cheetah." Officials from both sides have been working on the relocation since 2020; cheetahs had previously gone extinct in India in 1952 owing to habitat loss and poaching. The eight cheetahs will be relocated to Madhya Pradesh. (Mabel Banfield-Nwachi, "Wild cheetahs to return to India for first time since 1952," The Guardian, 21 July 2022)

Malawi: 76 people arrested during protests

On 20 July, 76 people were arrested amid protests against the judiciary's slow processing of corruption cases and demands for the president's resignation. The protests were organised by the Human Rights Ambassadors group which maintained that the judiciary provided "selective justice" and accused the president of inaction against corruption and high cost of living. (“Police in Malawi arrest 76 over anti-judiciary protests,” Anadolu Agency, 20 July 2022)



Photo : MARTIN OKUDI/Daily Monitor

Uganda: At least 200 die of hunger across two districts in the northeast


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs 19 July 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Uganda: At least 200 die of hunger across two districts in the northeast

On 19 July, Reuters reported over 200 people had died of hunger caused by drought and insecurity, in July in Uganda's northeast. The head of Kaabong district's local government said 184 people had died in the district and at least 22 had died in Kitodo district. The news report attributes the starvation to lack of development and increasing raids on cattles by armed groups. A spokesperson from the prime minister's office did not mention the exact death toll but said the government had sent food trucks to the region earlier in July. (“More Than 200 People Die as Drought Ravages Northeast Uganda,” US News, 19 July 2022)

Home Office was warned against asylum policy, reveal documents in High Court

On 19 July, The Guardian reported the High Court proceedings on the UK's policy to relocate asylum seekers to Rwanda. The documents submitted to the High Court indicate that several UK government officials had cautioned the Home Office against the policy on many grounds, including that Rwanda was accused of recruiting refugees to carry out armed operations in neighbouring countries and that the UK had placed Rwanda on the amber/red list over human rights concerns. One of the claimants in the court said: "The revelations at today’s hearing are extraordinary. They paint a picture of a home secretary desperate to railroad this policy through even in the face of serious reservations being raised by senior departmental officials." (Diane Taylor, "UK officials raised concerns over Rwanda policy, documents show," The Guardian, 19 July 2022)



Photo : The Economist

Sudan-Ethiopia: Khartoum reopens Galabat border crossing


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs 18 July 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Sudan-Ethiopia: Khartoum reopens Galabat border crossing

On 17 July, a Sudanese army spokesperson said the Technical Committee of the Security and Defence Council had decided to reopen the Galabat border crossing after it was closed on 26 June. The statement from the committee said the decision came after leaders from both sides agreed to resolve the border problems "in return for the goodwill measures shown by the Ethiopian side to prevent the infiltration of armed elements into Sudanese territory." (“Sudan reopens border crossing with Ethiopia,” Sudan Tribune, 17 July 2022)

Chad: Rebel groups suspend peace talks in Doha

On 16 July, over 20 rebel groups withdrew from the negotiations in Doha, claiming that the Chadian military government was sabotaging the peace efforts and accusing the latter of “harassments, intimidation, threats and disinformation.” The groups’ announcement came after president Mohamad Idris Deby set 20 August as the date for dialogue. On 18 July, the head of the Popular Front for National Renaissance mentioned that negotiations with the government since March have not been direct and said: “It takes two to negotiate, both to make peace and war. For the moment, we find ourselves alone.” (“Over 20 rebel groups suspend participation in Chad peace talks,” Al Jazeera, 18 July 2022)

Niger: EU announces EUR 25 million assistance; launches operational partnership to tackle migrant smuggling

On 18 July, the European Council announced assistance of EUR 25 million to Niger "to strengthen the capabilities and resilience of the Nigerien Armed Forces" for civilian protection and defending territorial integrity. The assistance would be directed to the construction of an Armed Forces Technician Training Centre and a military operating base in the Tillaberi region on the border between Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. Previously, on 15 July, the EU and Niger launched an operational partnership to address migrant smuggling. Niger's interior minister said the partnership would protect and improve the living conditions of migrants and their hosts. (“European Peace Facility: Council adopts an assistance measure to support the Nigerien Armed Forces,” Council of the European Union, 18 July 2022; “Strengthening cooperation in the fight against migrant smuggling: the European Union and Niger launch operational partnership to tackle migrant smuggling,” European Commission, 15 July 2022)



Photo : BBC

Morocco: One casualty recorded as wildfires rage across northern mountain forests


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs 15 July 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Morocco: One casualty recorded as wildfires rage across northern mountain forests

On 15 July, Larache regional officials said one person had died in the wildfires sparked on 13 July. At least 1,600 hectares of woodland has been destroyed in Larache, Taza, Tetouan and Ouezzane provinces and 1,100 families have fled. The wildfires were preceded by a heatwave with temperature reaching 45 degree Celsius. (“One dead as Morocco forest fires rage,” France24, 15 July 2022)

Ivory Coast: President meets predecessors Gbago and Bédié

On 14 July, president Alassane Ouattara met with former presidents Laurent Gbagbo and Henri Konan Bédié, marking the first meeting between the three political rivals since 2010. Gbagbo termed the meeting "a reunion meeting to renew contact and exchange in truth their views." A government spokesperson said the meeting was in line with recommendations for political dialogue involving the government, opposition and civil society. In 2010, Gbagbo's refusal to concede his presidential position to Ouattara had sparked violence leading to the death of over 3000 people. (Loucoumane Coulibaly, “Ivory Coast President Ouattara meets predecessors in reconciliation drive,” Reuters, 15 July 2022)

Togo: Army admits to killing children in blast

On 14 July, the army admitted to carrying out a blast that killed seven children and wounded two on 9 July in Tone prefecture. The army said they had mistaken the civilians for jihadists after they received intelligence that warned of “infiltration by armed gangs wanting to conduct terrorist attacks” against local communties. The armed forces Chief of Staff said an investigation had been launched to identify the perpetrators. (“Togo army says it was behind blast that killed several civilians,” France24, 15 July 2022)



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

DRC: Over 30 killed in clashes in the east


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs 14 July 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

WHO concerned over rise in zoonotic disease outbreak

On 14 July, the World Health Organization said that in the 2012-2022 decade, Africa had witnessed a 63 per cent increase in zoonotic disease outbreaks, compared to the 2001-2011 decade. Of the 1,843 public health events, 30 per cent were zoonotic outbreaks and Ebola accounts for 40 per cent of the zoonotic outbreaks, said WHO. The WHO statement came in the backdrop of the rising cases of monkeypox across the world. The rise in the number of cases is also attributed to better testing measures, especially in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (“Africa sees 68% jump in zoonotic outbreaks over last decade,” News24, 14 July 2022)

Macron calls for rethinking strategy in Africa

On 13 July, France’s president Emmanuel Macron addressed French troops ahead of French officials’ visit to Niger on 15 July. Macron said he would want to “rethink” France’s military postures in Africa and called on ministers and army chiefs to deliberate the same. (“France's Macron wants 'rethink' of French military postures in Africa,” Reuters, 14 July 2022)

DRC: OVer 30 killed in clashes in the east

On 14 July, BBC reported at least 31 people, including children, had been killed in renewed clashes between the DRC’s armed forces and multiple rebel groups  in Beni territory in the east. In 2022 so far, an estimated 700,000 people have been displaced in the Ituri and North Kivu provinces, thereby bringing the total number of displaced people in DRC to six million. (Emmanuel Igunza, “Death toll in DR Congo violence rises to over 30,” BBC, 14 July 2022)



Photo : World Economic Forum

Rwanda, Namibia among top ten countries on the Global Gender Gap report 


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs 13 July 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Rwanda, Namibia among top ten countries on the Global Gender Gap report 

On 13 July, the World Economic Forum released its annual Global Gender Gap 2022 report which outlined that it would take 132 years for the world to reach full gender parity. From Africa, Rwanda and Namibia rank sixth and eighth respectively among the top ten countries with the least gender gap. Of the 146 countries ranked, Benin, Algeria, Mali, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo from Africa rank at 138, 140, 141, 142, and 144 respectively.  On the regional front, Sub-Saharan Africa has closed 68.7 per cent of the gender gap, followed by Middle East and North Africa which closed 63.4 per cent of the gap; the MENA has the second largest gender gap to close, only second to South Asia. (“Global Gender Gap Report 2022,” World Economic Forum, 13 June 2022)



Photo : UNICEF

Democratic Republic of Congo: 24,000 grave violations against children recorded in 2021, says UN rep


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Briefs 11 July 2022

GP Daily Brief |

IN BRIEF

by Apoorva Sudhakar

Democratic Republic of Congo: 24,000 grave violations against children recorded in 2021, says UN report
On 11 July, the UN released its report on "Children and Armed Conflict" focusing on the impact of conflict escalation and protraction, military coups, and violation of international law. The report says there were 24,000 grave violations against children in 2021; the violations include killing and maiming of children, recruitment into armed forces and armed groups, and restrictions on humanitarian access. In 2021, children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Israel and parts of Palestine, Somalia, Syria and Yemen faced the highest number of grave violations. However, 2021 also witnessed some progress; 12,214 children were rescued from armed forces and armed groups in Myanmar, Syria, Colombia, the Central African Republic and the DRC. ("Thousands of children endure ‘horrific conditions’ in conflict zones: UN report," UN News, 11 July 2022)

United Nations: Global population expected to reach eight billion in November 2022
On 11 July, the United Nations released the World Population Prospect report which predicts that world population would reach eight billion on 15 November 2022, 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and peak at 10.4 billion in the 2080s. The report noted that the population growth rate had been the slowest since the 1950s, after dropping to less than one per cent in 2020. According to the report, eight countries, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tanzania would lead the increase in global population until 2050. ("World population to reach 8 billion this year, as growth rate slows," UN News, 11 July 2022)



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Africa celebrates first Kiswahili Day


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 8 July 2022

GP Daily Brief |

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by Apoorva Sudhakar

Africa celebrates first Kiswahili Day

On 7 July, Africa celebrated its first Kiswahili Language Day. Celebrations were held across Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda wehre the language is widely used. With this, Kiswahili is now included in the official languages of the African Union. The other languages are English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Portuguese. In November 2021, UNESCO had declared 7 July as Kiswahili Day. Across the world, 200 million people are estimated to speak the language and ranks among the 10 most spoken languages globally. (Andrew Wasike, “Africa celebrates 1st World Kiswahili Language Day,” Anadolu Agency, 7 July 2022)

Tunisia: Opposition parties call for boycott of referendum on constitution

On 7 July, hundreds of protesters attempted to gather at the electoral commission office to demonstrate against the upcoming referendum on a new constitution proposed by president Kais Saied. The protests were led by the Free Constitutional Party; however, police and security forces pushed back the protesters. On 8 July, BBC reported that the Ennahda Party had also called on its members to boycott the referendum and the party spokesperson said the vote was not in Tunisians’ interests. (“Tunisians protest against referendum for controversial new constitution,” Reuters, 8 July 2022; Mike Thomson, “Tunisia's Islamist party urges referendum boycott,” BBC, 8 July 2022)



Photo : www.cadtm.org

Burkina Faso: Compaore returns for reconciliation summit


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 7 July 2022

GP Daily Brief |

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by Apoorva Sudhakar

Burkina Faso: Compaore returns for reconciliation summit 

On 7 July, former president Blaise Compaore returned to Burkina Faso from his exile in Ivory Coast. Compaore returned after he was invited by the current president Paul Henri Damiba for a reconciliation summit. Compaore previously fled to Ivory Coast amid an uprising in 2014. In April 2022, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for complicity in Thomas Sankara, his predecessor’s murder in 1987. (“Burkina Faso’s ousted ex-President Compaore returns for summit,” Al Jazeera, 7 July 2022)

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Clashes intensify in the east

On 7 July, clashes between the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s army and M23 rebels intensified in the east. The development comes a day after presidents of DRC and Rwanda, Felix Tshisekedi and Paul Kagame agreed to de-escalate tensions. The M23 spokesperson termed the agreement irrelevant and said: “We are Congolese, not Rwandan. If there's a cease-fire, it can only be between us and the Congolese government.” (“M23 rejects ceasefire deal signed between Congo and Rwanda,” Deutsche Welle, 7 July 2022)



Photo : Picture-alliance/SergiCamara/AFP/DPA

Mali: 22 die in boat tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 6 July 2022

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by Apoorva Sudhakar

Mali: 22 die in boat tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea

On 5 July, the ministry of Malians abroad said 22 people from Mali died in a boat tragedy off the coast of Libya; the casualties included three children. The boat carrying 83 passengers, mostly Malians, had been stranded since 22 June. The International Organization for Migration said that on 2 July, 61 people were rescued and taken to a detention centre in Libya. The 22 casualties were caused by drowning and dehydration. The number of deaths along the Mediterranean route has been increasing; in 2021, the IOM recorded around 2,000 migrant deaths, an increase from the 1,408 deaths in 2020. (“22 Malians, including children, die in boat disaster off Libya,” Al Jazeera, 6 July 2022)

Algeria: President hosts Palestinian leaders

On 6 July, president Abdelmadjid Tebboune hosted the president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas and the chief of the Hamas politburo Ismail Haniya. This marked the first meeting of Abbas and Haniya in 15 years. It was unclear whether the two leaders held separate talks but the meeting witnessed the two Palestinian leaders shaking hands and an embrace between Abbas and the Hamas delegation. (Youssef Taha, “Algerian president hosts rival Palestine leaders,BBC, 6 July 2022)

Nigeria: OPEC secretary-general passes at 63

On 6 July, the state oil company NNPC announced the death of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) secretary-general Muhammad Barkindo (63) in capital city Abuja. The OPEC tweeted that “his passing is a profound loss to the entire OPEC Family, the oil industry and the international community.” Barkindo was in Nigeria for his farewell as his six-year tenure was coming to an end in July. The cause of death remains unclear. (Ishaq Khalid, “Opec chief Muhammad Barkindo dies in Nigeria,” BBC, 6 July 2022)



Photo : Sudan Tribune

Ethiopia and Sudan agree to hold talks over border issues, says PM Abiy


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 5 July 2022

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by Apoorva Sudhakar

Ethiopia and Sudan agree to hold talks over border issues, says PM Abiy

On 5 July, Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed met Sudan’s military leader General Abdel Fattah ah-Burhan in Nairobi on the sidelines of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit. In a tweet, Abiy said Ethiopia and Sudan had committed to a “dialogue and peaceful resolution to outstanding issues” amid the ongoing border dispute between the two countries. Gen Burhan did not comment on the issue but said that the IGAD summit had paved the way for taking stock of the response to regional challenges. (“Ethiopia says Sudan agrees to border dispute 'dialogue',” Deutsche Welle, 5 July 2022)

Burkina Faso: Several killed in separate attacks over the weekend

On 4 July, the number of people killed in separate attacks across villages on 2 and 3 July, in northern Burkina Faso, stood at 34. On 3 July, 22 people were killed in the Kossi province; some were shot dead and some were killed after armed men opened fire on the people. On 2 July, 12 people were killed in Yatenga province. (“Dozens killed in two suspected jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso,” France24, 5 July 2022)

Mali: Two UN peacekeepers killed in explosion

On 5 July, two UN peacekeepers were killed and five injured in an IED explosion in northern Mali,  between Tessalit village and Gao city. Since 2013, the UN mission in Mali has lost 174 peacekeepers and 420 have been injured. (“Explosive kills at least two U.N. peacekeepers in north Mali,” Reuters, 5 July 2022)



Photo : Sudan Tribune

Sudan: Military to make way for civilian government, says Gen Burhan


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 4 July 2022

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by Apoorva Sudhakar

Sudan: Military to make way for civilian government, says Gen Burhan

On 4 July, military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said the military will not involve itself in any national talks and thereby, will pave the way for a civilian government. Burhan said political parties and revolutionary groups should lead the way to install civilian rule. Burhan announced that the current Sovereign Council, consisting of military and civilian leaders, will be dissolved once an executive government is formed. Instead, a Supreme Council of armed forces will be installed. The development comes after thousands of Sudanese held protests across the country; as of 1 July, nine protesters had lost their lives. However, the protesters refused to believe Burhan’s announcement. (“Sudan’s Burhan says army will make way for civilian government,” France24, 4 July 2022)

Mali: ECOWAS lifts economic sanctions

On 3 July, the heads of state of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) announced an immediate lifting of the economic and financial sanctions on Mali. The decision came after Mali released an election timetable to hold presidential elections in February 2023, against the initial plan to conduct the polls in 2026. The presidential elections will be preceded by a referendum on a revised constiution in June 2023, followed by local and legislative elections in October and November 2023. (Annie Risemberg, “ECOWAS Lifts Sanctions Against Mali,” Voice of America, 4 July 2022)



Photo : AFP/BBC

Sudan: Nine dead as anti-military protests turn violent


NIAS Africa Studies Daily Brief 1 July 2022

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 |

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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 |

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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 |

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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 |

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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

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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 |

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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

GP Daily Brief |

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

GP Daily Brief |

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

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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."