Niger – It’s Not Just Niger — U.S. Military Activity Is a “Recruiting Tool” for Terror Groups Across West Africa

The mission never made the front page of the New York Times or the Washington Post. It wasn’t covered on CNN or Fox News. Neither the White House chief of staff, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, nor the president ever addressed it in a press briefing. But from mid-January to late March 2013, Green Berets from the 10th Special Forces Group deployed to the impoverished West African nation of Niger. Working alongside local forces, they trained in desert mobility, the use of heavy weapons, and methods of deliberate attack.

On May 15 of that year, another contingent of Special Forces soldiers arrived in Niger. For nearly two months, they also trained with local troops, focusing on similar combat skills with an emphasis on missions in remote areas. From the beginning of August until mid-September, yet another group of Green Berets traveled to the hot, arid country for training, concentrating on desert operations, heavy weapons employment, intelligence analysis, and other martial matters, according to Pentagon documents obtained by The Intercept via the Freedom of Information Act. Continuer à lire … « Niger – It’s Not Just Niger — U.S. Military Activity Is a “Recruiting Tool” for Terror Groups Across West Africa »

L’Afrique de l’Ouest veut toujours sa monnaie unique en 2020

La Communauté économique des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest a redit mardi sa volonté de créer une monnaie unique pour ses 15 pays dès 2020, mais le Nigeria, poids lourd de la zone, a exprimé sa réticence.

Serpent de mer dont il est question depuis 30 ans, une monnaie unique pour les 15 pays de la Cédéao, qui remplacerait le franc CFA et sept autres devises nationales, apparaît difficile à mettre en place rapidement au vu des difficultés citées lors du sommet des chefs d’Etat de la zone qui s’est tenu mardi à Niamey. Continuer à lire … « L’Afrique de l’Ouest veut toujours sa monnaie unique en 2020 »

Mali : Le Cameroun déploie 1.400 casques bleus à l’étranger

YAOUNDE, 24/10/2017 – Environ 1.400 casques bleus camerounais participent en ce moment à des missions de maintien de la paix menées par les Nations Unies dans plusieurs pays étrangers, principalement en République centrafricaine (RCA), a révélé mardi à Yaoundé le ministre des Relations extérieures, Lejeune Mbella Mbella.

Selon le ministre, pour un effectif global d’environ 1.400 membres des forces de défense et de sécurité nationales (militaires, gendarmes et policiers), le Cameroun fournit des contingents aux forces onusiennes déployées dans le cadre des efforts visant à la résolution des crises qui affectent notamment la RCA, le Mali, la République démocratique du Congo (RDC), Haïti.

La priorité est surtout accordée à la RCA, pays voisin, où un contingent de 1.200 hommes et femmes, l’un des plus importants, est mis à disposition pour le compte de la Mission multidimensionnelle intégrée des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en Centrafrique (MINUSCA), une force de 12.000 soldats déployée depuis septembre 2014, a précisé à Xinhua un responsable du ministère de la Défense. Continuer à lire … « Mali : Le Cameroun déploie 1.400 casques bleus à l’étranger »

Mali – Despite regulatory creep, Mali remains ‘model’ mining country – Randgold

Africa (26/10/2017) -focused miner Randgold Resources said on Thursday that Mali was in many ways a model of its kind for Africa’s other mining countries, despite “some concern” that continued “upward revisions” to its mining code was diminishing its ability, relative to its peers, to attract investment.

According to CEO Mark Bristow, any further changes should involve all stakeholders and in particular, the mining industry, which has made and committed more investment than any other sector of the economy.

“We, as partners, need to reach a common understanding of the mining investment conventions when it comes to tax and other revenue collection,” he said in a press release.

LSE- and Nasdaq-listed Randgold characterised its Mali operations as a “robust”, with the prospect of exceeding their production targets for 2017.

Bristow pointed to the sustained profitability that the Morila and the Loulo-Gounkoto complex have delivered, bolstering the miner’s contribution of between 6% and 9% of Mali’s yearly gross domestic product. Since the mines were commissioned, their direct contribution to the country’s economy, in the form of taxes, salaries and payments to local suppliers had amounted to $2-billion for Morila, $2.9-billion for Loulo and $0.7-billion for Gounkoto.

Randgold is set to continue facilitating investment in the country.

Morila, which was the first mine Randgold built on an orebody it had discovered, was successfully converted into a tailings retreatment operation and has now also started mining Domba, the first of three satellite pits close to its plant. These are expected to extend its life to 2020, bolstering its continued profitability as well as its capacity to fund its own eventual closure, Bristow said.

“At Gounkoto, work has started on the pushback for the superpit, which has been approved by the Minister of Mines. Both at Gounkoto and at Loulo, brownfields exploration should again enable the complex to replace all the reserves it consumed in what is expected to be a record production year. Loulo-Gounkoto still has at least another ten years of life ahead of it. Exploration is also continuing to the north and south of the key orebodies, with promising results, the company advised.

Randgold has guided for consolidated full-year 2017 gold production of 1.25-million to 1.3-million ounces at total cash cost of production ranging between $580/oz and $630/oz.


Mali – Des jihadistes revendiquent une attaque ayant tué deux soldats au Mali

Bamako – Le Groupe de soutien à l’islam et aux musulmans, organisation jihadiste née de la fusion de plusieurs groupes du Sahel, a revendiqué l’attaque ayant tué deux soldats maliens dans le nord du Mali dans la nuit de mardi à mercredi, a rapporté jeudi le centre américain de surveillance des sites jihadistes SITE.

Des hommes armés ont attaqué le village de Soumpi, à une vingtaine de kilomètres de la ville de Niafunké, avait indiqué mercredi le ministère malien des Forces armées, faisant état d’un bilan de deux militaires tués et un blessé, ainsi que « deux à trois véhicules perdus ».

« Une brigade de moudjahidine a monté une attaque contre le camp de Sumpi, dans le cercle de Niafunké, qui garde (le site) de la société française Satom », indique le groupe jihadiste, lié à Al-Qaïda, dans un communiqué cité par SITE.

« Après l’attaque surprise et des échanges de tir, au cours desquels au moins deux soldats ont été tués et d’autres blessés, tandis que les autres prenaient la fuite, le camp a été mis sous contrôle. Un véhicule et des armes, munitions et équipements militaires ont été saisis, et des véhicules militaires et civils ont été incendiés », ajoute le communiqué.

Continuer à lire … « Mali – Des jihadistes revendiquent une attaque ayant tué deux soldats au Mali »

Niger – AFRICOM 2- star general tasked to lead Niger attack investigation

Military Times  – The two-star chief of staff for U.S. Africa Command has been assigned to lead the Army’s official investigation into the Niger ambush that led to the deaths of four U.S. soldiers earlier this month, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said Thursday.

Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier, Jr. will lead the 15-6, as the Army’s investigation is commonly known, to answer why the 12-person U.S. special forces team and 30 Nigerien partnered forces ended up in an hours-long firefight with what the Pentagon suspects were Islamic State-affiliated militants. Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson and Sgt. La David Johnson died in the attack.

Dunford would not say whether the mission ultimately diverted from its original tasking and pursued an Islamic State target. He said as part of his review into the attack, he requested the original order that sent the troops on their Oct. 3 overnight mission. The unit was ambushed during their return to base the morning of Oct. 4.

“I read the original document that set that patrol out, and it was a patrol to go out and identify information about the local area. It was not targeted or focused on any specific Islamic State leader or location. Because that would have made the mission, enemy contact, more likely. The estimate at the time was enemy contact was not likely,” Dunford said to reporters traveling with him.

“What I don’t know, and what the investigation will find out is, ‘Did they have a change of mission at any given point? If so, how did they get that change of mission? Who approved that change of mission? What was that mission?’ Those are all things that I am seeing bits and pieces of, but honestly I wouldn’t say any of it is fact until the investigation is complete.”

Dunford said a normal line of duty investigation takes about three to four weeks, but he expected this would take longer, given the complexity of interviewing the Nigerien, French and U.S. forces and determining all of the facts on the ground.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is also looking into the incident.

Mali – Islamist militants ‘taken out of action’ in Mali, says French military

The operation involved French Mirage jets, attack helicopters and forces on the ground, the spokesman said, although he would not provide details on how many of the 15 militants targeted had been killed or wounded.

France intervened in Mali to ward off an offensive by islamist militants that began in 2012. Around 4,000 of its troops remain in  the region as part of Operation Barkhane, where they work alongside 10,000 U.N peacekeepers in  Mali.

France 24 / Reuters