War against Boko Haram has failed —EU

20/01/2020 – The European Parliament which is the legislative branch of the European Union (EU), recently suggested that the Nigerian Army and the government had not been telling citizens the whole truth about the fight against terrorism in Nigeria.

This followed the EU parliament’s claim that progress in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria has been stalled. Continuer à lire … « War against Boko Haram has failed —EU »

AMU revamps Maghreb railway project

2018/19/02 – The Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) has received a grant from the African Development Bank to modernise an integrated regional railway network between Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, a step analysts said was crucial to strengthening ties in North Africa.“The idea of a railway linking Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco is very old,” said Yacine Bendjaballah, CEO of the National Company for Rail Transport. “Transport officials from the AMU have discussed it many times when they’ve met.” Continuer à lire … « AMU revamps Maghreb railway project »

Niger / Migration: EUCAP Sahel Niger as bridge builder between civil society and authorities

2018/08/29 – EUCAP Sahel Niger, an EU civilian capacity building mission, helps women leaders to get a better understanding of the work of security forces so that they can sensitize other women in their communities about the prevention of and fight against migrant smuggling. In 2017, the mission organised 198 training events for more than 3400 people on issues such as public order, crisis management, trafficking and others. Continuer à lire … « Niger / Migration: EUCAP Sahel Niger as bridge builder between civil society and authorities »

How far can Europe push back its borders? The case of France in Niger

2018/05/22 – Migration control is now “high politics” in Europe and a priority for the EU. For example, on May 2, 2018, the European Commission proposed that the budget for the management of external borders, migration and asylum – set at 13 billion euros for the period 2014-2020 – be raised to 34.9 billion euros. Continuer à lire … « How far can Europe push back its borders? The case of France in Niger »

Niger – G5 Police Workshop in Niamey

2018/04/11 – The goal of the three day workshop, under the Nigerien tenure of the presidency of the G5 Sahel, is to regionally support police forces from the G5 countries to discover how to improve synergies and cooperation. The G5 police workshop includes representatives of internal security forces from all the G5 countries, as well as top members of all three Nigerien Internal Security forces, the police, gendarmerie, and the national guard. Continuer à lire … « Niger – G5 Police Workshop in Niamey »

Algeria – Bulgaria’s Top Diplomat, Arab Ambassadors Discuss Bilateral Relations, Regional Conflicts #NorthAfrica

2018/03/07 – Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva discussed bilateral relations with the Arab countries during a working lunch Tuesday with their Sofia-based ambassadors held on the initiative of Palestinian Ambassador Ahmad al-Madbouh, who is dean of the diplomatic corps in Bulgaria, said the Foreign Ministry. Economic cooperation and the commercial exchange were among the highlights of the discussion. Continuer à lire … « Algeria – Bulgaria’s Top Diplomat, Arab Ambassadors Discuss Bilateral Relations, Regional Conflicts #NorthAfrica »

Mali – Norway supports civilian capacity building for the #G5Sahel joint force

2018/02/24 – The situation in the vulnerable Sahel region has deteriorated since the crisis in Mali broke out in 2012. Instability and terrorism are impeding long-term development and depriving the population of an entire region of opportunities to create a better future. The Government has intensified its efforts in countries and regions affected by conflict and fragility, and we are now increasing our support for the Sahel region by a further NOK 15 million to around NOK 455 million. The increased funding will go to a civilian component of the G5 Sahel cooperation, including capacity building within international humanitarian law and human rights,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.    Continuer à lire … « Mali – Norway supports civilian capacity building for the #G5Sahel joint force »

Niger/US – A Massive U.S. Drone Base Could Destabilize Niger — and May Even Be Illegal Under Its Constitution

2018/02/19 Late in the morning of October 4 last year, a convoy of Nigerien and American special forces soldiers in eight vehicles left the village of Tongo Tongo. As they made their way between mud-brick houses with thatched roofs, they were attacked from one side by dozens of militants, if not hundreds. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Nigeriens and Americans fled, some on foot, running for cover behind trees and clusters of millet, their boots caked in the light brown earth. By the time the fighting was over, five Nigeriens and four Americans were killed, their bodies left naked in the bush after the militants took their uniforms. Continuer à lire … « Niger/US – A Massive U.S. Drone Base Could Destabilize Niger — and May Even Be Illegal Under Its Constitution »

Mali – Amid growing insecurity, time to reassess UN peacekeeping presence in Mali, Security Council told

2018/01/24- Against the backdrop of worsening security in Mali’s central regions and with presidential elections just six months away, a senior United Nations official on Tuesday said it is time to reexamine the configuration of the UN peacekeeping presence in the West African country to reflect the changing circumstances on the ground.

“Looking forward, central Mali is likely to command sustained attention and to become an increasingly prominent feature in peace and reconciliation efforts,” said Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, briefing the Security Council, and noting that Mopti region has the highest number of terrorist attacks documented.

Describing the situation as “a race against time,” with growing insecurity claiming hundreds of civilian lives in the north and centre of Mali, Mr. Lacroix said the human rights and humanitarian situation is worsening as well, with aid workers estimating that 4.1 million Malians, or 22 per cent of the population, possibly facing food insecurity in 2018 – a proportion that could reach 30 to 40 per cent of inhabitants in the north and centre.

The goal now must be to create conditions conducive for elections and, going forward, the peace process, he said.

The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was established by Security Council resolution 2100 of 25 April 2013, following an uprising by armed groups earlier that year. The Mission supports the transitional authorities of Mali in the stabilization of the country and implementation of the transitional roadmap.

“Five years after the Mission’s establishment and two years and a half after the signature of the peace agreement, we believe the time has come to reassess the assumptions that underpin MINUSMA’s presence, review its key mandated tasks against achievements on the ground and reexamine the Mission’s layout through a comprehensive strategic review,” he said.

Recalling the Council’s request to develop a mission-wide strategic plan for a phased implementation of mission mandate and a transition plan that would hand over relevant tasks to the UN Country Team, Mr. Lacroix said that “it would be important that these two plans be informed by the findings of the strategic review to be conducted in the next weeks.”

In the meantime, MINUSMA continues to focus on core mandated tasks with notable achievements in its good offices and ‘protection of civilians’ efforts, he added.

He said that despite persisting capability gaps, including for crucial assets such as helicopters, MINUSMA has pursued its efforts to project the robust posture mandated by the Council, noting that since the beginning of the year, peacekeepers repelled three attacks against advance positions in Kidal region and one ambush in Mopti region, while three improvised devices exploded against Mission vehicles.

While these attacks resulted in only minor injuries to two peacekeepers, the review on peacekeepers fatalities recently conducted by General Santos Cruz highlighted the need to further enhance efforts, such as ensuring that all peacekeepers receive the training and equipment necessary to operate in such hostile conditions.

“We are currently working with MINUSMA to take all necessary measures to implement the recommendations of the report,” Mr. Lacroix said

Senegalese UNPOL Officers patrol the streets of Gao, Mali (file). Photo MINUSMA/Marco Dormino

The peacekeeping chief noted that Prime Minister Maiga convened a Cabinet meeting dedicated to addressing insecurity in the central region while the national coordination body of the integrated plan for security for the region is now operational.

Turning to the operationalisation of the G5 Sahel joint force, comprising Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, to combat terrorism and transnational organized crime in the restive region, he welcomed the launch of its second operation, as well as the establishment by the G5 Sahel Secretariat of a coordination cell to provide political oversight to the operations of the joint force.

Meanwhile, consultations for the conclusion of the technical agreement between the G5 Sahel, the UN and the European Union (EU) are progressing, Mr. Lacroix said, noting that the UN is working closely with the EU and the African Union on a joint resource mobilization strategy, ahead of the donors conference of 23 February in Brussels.

Development partners are also stepping up their efforts. Since October 2017, the Peace Building Fund launched four projects focused on Mopti and Sÿgou regions for a total of $8 million. These projects aim at enhancing the participation of women and youth in reconciliation efforts and prevent inter-community conflicts, including by restoring traditional conflict mediation mechanisms.

However, most of these initiatives remain in the inception phase and are yet to produce significant changes on the ground, he said, stressing that the upcoming presidential elections will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the stabilization of Mali.

Source: United Nations/ Photo: Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, addresses the Security Council on the situation in Mali. Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe