Mali: ECOWAS gives junta 12 months to restore democracy

AUTHORITY of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has told the new military junta in the Republic of Mali that it has just one year to return the country to civilian rule.

This was one of the conditions given by the ECOWAS authority at the end of its second virtual extraordinary session on the socio-political situation in Mali. Continuer à lire … « Mali: ECOWAS gives junta 12 months to restore democracy »

ISS: Chad’s illegal drug trade contributes to regional insecurity

Written by ISSAfrica
25/08/2020 – On 24 July, a court in Chad sentenced ten people including high-ranking security and intelligence officials as part of a transnational tramadol trafficking cabal. Tramadol is a synthetic opiate and anti-inflammatory medication.

Although not a first, this case is unprecedented in its scope and involvement of senior officials. In January 2020, a shipment of 246 boxes (about 47kg) of tramadol, worth XAF12.3 billion (around €18.8 million), coming from India via Douala, Cameroon, and bound for Libya, was seized by Chadian customs.

Chad is positioned south of Libya, on the eastern edge of the Sahel and Lake Chad, west of Sudan and north of the Central African Republic (CAR). There’s latent conflict in the CAR, Boko Haram in the west, intensifying community conflicts on the border with Sudan and various armed gangs, and a volatile situation in southern Libya.

This complexly insecure environment makes it a lucrative market for contraband. Apart from tramadol, other smuggling activities involve arms, other types of drugs (particularly hashish), stolen vehicles and humans.

Even with prominent members of the network behind bars, fighting drug trafficking will be long and arduous.

Considering possible connections between trafficking and insecurity in the country and the neighbourhood, trafficking must be curbed to prevent entrepreneurs of violence and insecurity (armed gangs, highway robbers, highway criminals and violent extremist groups) in Chad from creating destabilising interdependencies.

With one of the trafficking routes into Chad, the Cotonou road, now under surveillance, traffickers have changed routes and are increasing the scale of their operations. The corridor from northern Chad to Libya also sees other types of insecurity and illicit activities including armed gangs, organised crime and smuggling, despite a state security presence. This could become an alternative route for trafficking into and from Chad. It’s a huge desert area that’s impossible to completely control and is well known to traffickers.

Due to its proximity to Libya, northern Chad has suffered the full impact of the Libyan conflict for almost a decade. The conflict in Libya has made it a corridor for various types of trafficking. This area also often escapes effective state control.

Even before the Libyan civil war, northern Chad had been the object of Chad-Libyan contestation (1978-1987). The discovery of gold deposits there has accentuated conflict and insecurity dynamics by attracting actors from different backgrounds, including armed gangs eager to profit from the illicit exploitation and trafficking of this resource.

In other contexts, entrepreneurs of insecurity and violence take advantage of illicit activities to strengthen logistical, operational and financial bases and enhance their resilience to state responses. In 2017, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime also warned of the extent of tramadol trafficking in the Sahel and its use by non-state armed groups.

In July 2019, two senior officials of Chad’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs were arrested for tramadol trafficking from India via Cotonou, Benin. Beninese authorities apprehended the escort with the cargo. The Chadian senior officials involved tried to have him released on the pretext that the cargo was destined for the Chadian national army. The senior officials were tried and imprisoned in Chad and the escort in Benin.

Chad is cited as one of the most corrupt countries in Africa.

A corollary to trafficking is often corruption of administrative authorities. Indeed the huge sums of money involved deepen mistrust in Chad, which is cited as one of the most corrupt countries in Africa. The tramadol trial has set a precedent, but much remains to be done to clean up the system once and for all.

It is important to continue the work to restore the integrity of the security and intelligence environment, from agents using their positions to organise the trafficking, to strengthen the capacity of the judiciary to better track down and try traffickers.

The National Agency for Financial Investigation (ANIF) and the Task Force on Money Laundering in Central Africa (GABAC) should also be asked to track systems through which money gained from the illicit drug trade is being laundered in Chad’s economy and regionally. Asset forfeiture of those involved in trafficking could be effective in this regard.

Finally, the international scope of trafficking raises the need for transnational cooperation involving not only Chad’s neighbours (Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger, Libya, Sudan and the CAR), but also the countries that serve as corridors for this trafficking, particularly Benin, to curb it. An intergovernmental institution such as Interpol, but also existing regional mechanisms such as ANIF and GABAC, should be reinforced to facilitate this cooperation.

Written by Remadji Hoinathy, Senior Researcher, ISS Regional Office for West Africa, the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin. Republished with permission from ISS Africa. The original article can be found here.

Sahel-Elite (Bamako-Mali)

‘Local politics, porous borders benefit Boko Haram’

21/08/2020 – While many extremist terror groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS/Daesh have largely faded from the world scene, their African counterpart, Boko Haram continues to wreak havoc in Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon. Continuer à lire … « ‘Local politics, porous borders benefit Boko Haram’ »

Nigeria – DHQ differs with U.S on ISIS movement

From Okodili Ndidi, Abuja

11/08/2020 – The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said the recent warning by the United States of America (U.S.A) about bandits’ infiltration of the West African region was meant to sustain the onslaught against Boko Haram terrorists and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). Continuer à lire … « Nigeria – DHQ differs with U.S on ISIS movement »

How Mali’s political crisis could affect Nigeria – Obasanjo

Former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has warned that the ongoing political crisis in Mali, could affect Nigeria. Continuer à lire … « How Mali’s political crisis could affect Nigeria – Obasanjo »

Mali – ECOWAS names ex-president Jonathan special envoy for Mali

Coalition urges regional body to prioritise intervention in crisis

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has appointed former Nigerian President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, as special envoy to lead its mediation mission in Mali. Continuer à lire … « Mali – ECOWAS names ex-president Jonathan special envoy for Mali »

Niger : démantèlement d’un réseau de trafic d’armes

13/07/2020 – La brigade de la Gendarmerie nationale de Guidan-Roumdji, dans la région nigérienne de Maradi (centre-sud), proche de la frontière avec le Nigeria, vient de démanteler un réseau de trafic d’armes avec la saisie d’une vingtaine d’armes de guerre et de munitions, ainsi que l’arrestation de deux suspects, a rapporté samedi la télévision publique nigérienne. Continuer à lire … « Niger : démantèlement d’un réseau de trafic d’armes »

We Killed 40 Nigerian Soldiers, Snatched Five Military Vehicles, Weapons, Says ISIS

10/07/2020 – The Islamic State in statement have claimed its fighters killed 40 Nigerian soldiers and injured others in an ambush along Damboa/Maiduguri Highway, about 30 kilometres away from Damboa town.

ISIS in the statement seen by SaharaReporters said ISWAP fighters captured five four-wheel drive vehicles, weapons and ammunition, and burned an armoured vehicle during the attack. Continuer à lire … « We Killed 40 Nigerian Soldiers, Snatched Five Military Vehicles, Weapons, Says ISIS »

Nigeria – Military new frontiers

09/07/2020 – From every indication, it definitely looks as if it’s the populace that wants to determine who should be or not to be ascribed as members of the elite service Chiefs. Their persistent call on every radio Talk Show programs are all indicative or majorly the  voice of Jacob but the hand of Esau .

Their voices are voiceferous and could be  almost misleadingly convincing. Unfortunately, the officers many want out of their seat are the Chief of Army Staff , Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, Chief of Air Staff Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar and Chief of Naval Staff Ibok Ekwe Ibas all the above mentioned officers are constitutionally mandated to save guard Nigeria from external aggression. Continuer à lire … « Nigeria – Military new frontiers »

Nigerian govt signs deal for solid minerals transport in biggest industrial project

09/07/2020 – The Nigerian Government Wednesday said it had signed a deal with Sealink Promotional Company Limited for transportation of solid minerals on  waterways through the jetty landing port of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited. Continuer à lire … « Nigerian govt signs deal for solid minerals transport in biggest industrial project »