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    Source: US Institute of Peace
    Country: Mali


    • The international focus on counterterrorism and regime change in Mali risks obscuring the long-term political root causes of the current crisis.
    • There is national consensus that decentralization is the key to enhancing the political power of marginalized localities and improving security in the high-risk northern zone.
    • Prospects for strengthening the state and promoting national unity via decentralization are coming under threat by an increasing politicization of ethnic divisions.

    About this Brief

    Hannah Armstrong researches politics and security in the Sahara- Sahel region as a fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs. She has researched and reported on North Africa and the Sahara- Sahel region since 2006. She was based in Bamako, Mali, and has traveled widely throughout Mali, including the northern zone, during the turbulent past year when the country witnessed a Tuareg rebellion, coup d’etat, the loss of the north to al-Qaida-linked radicals, and a French-led military intervention. The views expressed in this brief do not necessarily express the views of the U.S. Institute of Peace, which does not take policy positions.

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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Somalia, World


    • AU spurred into action by French intervention
    • 1,500 soldiers for rapid deployment at any time
    • Troop contributions to new force will be voluntary
    • More heavy air lift aircraft needed

    JOHANNESBURG, 31 May 2013 (IRIN) - A newly sanctioned African Union (AU) force for quick deployment in conflicts such as in Mali is being promoted as a stop-gap measure ahead of the planned formation of the “rapid deployment capability” (RDC) African Standby Force (ASF).

    Unlike the ASF, which will also have policing and civilian duties, the African Immediate Crisis Response Capacity (AICRC) force will have “a strictly military capacity with high reactivity to respond swiftly to emergency situations upon political decisions to intervene in conflict situations within the continent,” Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the AU Commission, said in her recent report to the AU summit in Addis Ababa.

    While the AU’s failure to resolve crises in countries like Côte d’Ivoire, Libya and Mali has been a source of embarrassment to the continent-wide body, the AU Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) is widely regarded as a success, with the annual US$500 million running costs bankrolled by international partners.

    AMISOM provides “pride” for the AU, according to analysts, as African forces at the cost of significant lives (some estimates say thousands), were able to achieve what a far better equipped US force failed to do in Somalia - bring about an opportunity for peace.

    Spurred into action

    Dlamini-Zuma said in her report Mali was a spur for the AICRC’s formation and it was “obvious” an African military force with an RDC would have meant the French military intervention would not have been “the only recourse”.

    Solomon Dersso, a senior researcher at the Addis Ababa office of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), a Pretoria-based think tank, told IRIN Mali interim president Dioncounda Traoré’s reaching out to former colonial power France for military assistance to counter the Islamist rebels “left a bad taste in the mouths of many people here [Addis Ababa and AU headquarters] and led to discussions at the highest level of the AU.”

    According to Dlamini-Zuma, the AICRC will be drawn from a “reservoir of 5,000 troops, with operational modules in the form of tactical battle groups of 1,500 personnel that can be deployed rapidly… which must have a minimum initial self-sustainment period of 30 days”.

    The report said the AICRC would have three tactical battle groups, comprised of three infantry battalions of 850 troops each, an artillery support group and light armour elements, as well as an air wing of 400 troops, which would include strike aircraft and helicopters and logistical support, including strategic airlift capabilities. The unit would have a “10-day notice of movement”.

    The force headquarters will have a nucleus of 50 staff and AICRC duties would range from “stabilization, peace enforcement and intervention missions; neutralization of terrorist groups, other cross-border criminal entities, armed rebellions; and emergency assistance to Member States within the framework of the principle of non-indifference for protection of civilians,” Dlamini-Zuma’s report said.

    Lamamra Ramtane, AU commissioner for peace and security, said in a statement that troop contributions to the AICRC would be on a voluntary basis by member states and those countries participating would finance the AICRC so it could “act independently”.

    On the face of it, the AICRC looks like a prototype of the ASF, except there appear to be slight differences in the way the two forces can be deployed. Lamamra said: “Command and control [of the AICRC] will be ensured by the AU Peace and Security Council upon request of a Member State for intervention.”

    The ASF mandate under the Constitutive Act of the AU adopted in 2000, is a complete break from its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, which adopted a philosophy of non-interference in member states. The Act gave the AU both the right to intervene in a crisis, and an obligation to do so “in respect of grave circumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity”.

    Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for the South Africa foreign affairs department, told IRIN the AU remained committed to the ASF, and although any AICRC deployment was conditional on a government’s invitation, “there may be exceptional circumstances” where the force could intervene in the absence of such a request.

    Ad hoc forces

    Outside of AU and UN missions, African military operations have favoured ad hoc forces, such as the four-country force ranged against Joseph Kony’s Lord Resistance Army (LRA).

    The advantage of ad hoc forces, Sivuyile Bam, the AU Commission head of the Peace and Support Operations Division, told IRIN last year, was that it used the lead nation concept and was more direct, rather than dealing in the political intricacies of the ASF. “A country can go to the AU [with the ad hoc system] and say I have got a battalion. I will deploy it tomorrow.”

    Bam envisaged a “combined system for the next 5-10 years. The ASF system is maturing and taking time to develop and still relying on the lead nation ad hoc concept. So when there is a need for an operation - send out a note to the (AU) member states saying `I need soldiers, please help me out’.”

    The AICRC is framed as a “temporary arrangement”, the ISS’s Dersso said, but “once it gets a life it may take a different course altogether, depending on its success,” and may evolve from an ad hoc force into a “fully fledged unit” at the disposal of the AU.

    Some analysts have argued that a functioning, efficient and well equipped ASF may still lack the capacity to simultaneously operate in places like South Sudan, the Sahel and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

    If and when the ASF eventually materializes, troop contributions to the five stand-by brigades will be based on Africa’s five regional economic blocs with each supplying about 5,000 troops, 720 police officers and 60 civilian members (e.g. human rights advisers, political affairs and public information officers) - and each regional bloc’s brigade will be placed on a six month rotational standby every two years to be available for rapid deployments.

    The ASF will fulfil a range of functions, for example, supplying troops for attachment to a regional military, political or UN mission; or it may deploy a regional peacekeeping force within a 30-day timeframe, or 14 days in “grave circumstances”, such as genocide.

    Question marks over military capacity

    An urgent need for quick reaction forces was highlighted in a recent ISS report that said “the risk of instability and violence [in Africa] is likely to persist and even increase in some instances.”

    Drivers of conflict cited by the report included: the fact that “many states were trapped somewhere in between autocracy and democracy;” the “bad-neighbourhood” syndrome resulting in the effects of conflict spilling across borders; and post-conflict states lapsing back into “repeat violence”.

    The imminent deployment of a 3,000-strong “robust, highly mobile” intervention force - comprising troops from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania - under the masthead of SADCBrig (Southern African Development Community Brigade) to “neutralize” armed groups in the eastern DRC under UN Resolution 2098 has a stronger resemblance to the AICRC’s mandate rather than to the ASF’s, as it will comprise a combat force without any civilian or policing appendages.

    However, deployment of the intervention force in DRC is being delayed by a combination of factors, including an increasing scarcity of available heavy air lift aircraft, and a paucity of landing strips capable of handling them, Helmoed-Romer Heitman, a senior correspondent for Jane’s Defence Weekly, told IRIN.

    “How do you deploy quickly if you don’t have heavy airlift?” he asked. African militaries were chartering aircraft “as usual”, but relied on former Soviet logistical aircraft, such as Antonovs, which were becoming obsolete, he said.

    South Africa ordered eight Airbus military A400m transport aircraft in 2005 at a cost of about US$1 billion, but later cancelled the order citing financial constraints and associated cost increases, and was reimbursed the $407 million down-payment in December 2011 by the European aircraft manufacturer. The transport aircraft were expected to enter service in 2013.

    Heitman also questioned how the AU defined the concept of “quick reaction”, alluding to recent events in Bangui, the capital of the Central Africa Republic (CAR), that saw the botched deployment of South African troops in support of CAR President Francois Bozizé. Thirteen South African troops were killed and two others died from wounds on their return.

    “A lot can happen in 48 hours. Putting a paratroop battalion on the ground in 24 hours is a quick reaction,” he said.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mali

    Millet, rice, and sorghum constitute the basic staple foods for the majority of the Malian population. Millet hastraditionally been the most widely consumed, but since 2005 rice has become a popular substitute in urban households. Sorghum is generally more important for rural than urban households. Markets included are indicative of local conditions within their respective regions. Ségou is one of the most important markets for both the country and region because it is located in a very large grain production area. Bamako, the capital and largest urban center in the country, functions as an assembly market. It receives cereals from Koulikoro, Ségou, and Sikasso for consumption and also acts as an assembly market for trade with the northern regions of the country (Kayes and Koulikoro) and Mauritania. Markets in the deficit areas of the country (Timbuktu and Gao) receive their supplies of millet and rice from Mopti, Ségou and Sikasso.

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mauritania

    Local rice and sorghum are the most consumed food products by poor households in Mauritania followed by imported wheat which is a substitute that these households turn to the most. Local rice is grown in the river valley (in the southern regions of Trarza, Brakna, Gorgol and Guidimakha). Sorghum is produced in all areas of production (rainfed) and in flood-recession areas. However, a significant portion is imported from Mali and Senegal. Mauritania depends greatly on food imports (70% in a good agricultural year and 85% in a bad year) than on internal production. Nouakchott is the principal collection market for imported products and also the distribution market where traders acquire supplies for the secondary markets referenced below. Cooking oil is consumed mainly in urban areas. The sale of animals is a lifestyle in all areas and an important source of income and food.

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Nigeria

    Sorghum, maize, millet, cowpea, gari (fermented cassava starch), and rice are all found in Nigerian markets. Sorghum, millet and maize are widely consumed by most households, but especially in the north, and are used by various industries. Maize is mainly used by the poultry industry as a raw material for feed while sorghum is used by breweries for producing beverages. Sorghum and millet are important for households in the north, particularly the border markets where millet is also heavily traded with Niger. Gari is widely consumed by households in the south and some in the north. Rice is produced and consumed throughout the country. The north is a major production and consumption area for cowpea which flows to the south for use by households and food processing industries. Ilela, Maidua, and Damasak are all critical cross-border markets with Niger. Saminaka, Giwa, Dandume, and Kaura are important grain markets in the north, which are interconnected with the Dawanu market in Kano,the largest wholesale market in West Africa, and some southern markets such as the Bodija market in Ibadan. Millet, sorghum, maize, and cowpea are among the most important cereals traded at Dawanu, while cassava and some cereals are traded with Bodija.

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Niger

    Millet, maize, cowpea, and imported rice are the most important food commodities. Millet is consumed by both rural and poor urban households throughout the country. Maize and imported rice are most important for urban households, while cowpea is mainly consumed by poor households in rural and urban areas as a protein source. Niamey is the most important national market and an international trade center, and also supplies urban households. Tillaberi is also an urban center that supplies the surrounding area.
    Gaya market represents a main urban market for maize with crossborder connections. Maradi, Tounfafi, and Diffa are regional assembly and cross-border markets for Niger and other countries in the region. These are markets where households and herders coming from the northern cereal deficit areas regularly buy their food. Agadez and Zinder are also important national and regional markets. Nguigmi and Abalak are located in pastoral areas, where people are heavily dependent on cereal markets for their food supply. They are particularly important during the rainy season, when herders are confined to the pastoral zone.

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Niger

    Le mil, le maïs, le niébé et le riz importé sont les produits alimentaires les plus importants consommés au Niger. Le mil est consommé aussi bien par les ménages ruraux que les ménages pauvres urbains dans l’ensemble du pays. Le maïs et le riz importé sont plus importants pour les ménages urbains, tandis que le niébé est principalement consommé par les ménages pauvres des régions rurales et urbaines en tant que source de protéine. Niamey est le marché national le plus important et un centre du commerce international ; elle approvisionne en outre les ménages urbains. Tillaberi est aussi un centre urbain approvisionnant les localités environnantes. Le marché de Gaya est le principal marché urbain pour le maïs avec des liens transfrontaliers. Maradi, Tounfafi et Diffa sont des marchés de regroupement régionaux et des marchés transfrontaliers pour le Niger et d’autres pays de la région. C'est dans ces marchés que vont régulièrement acheter leur nourriture les ménages et les éleveurs des régions déficitaires en céréales du nord. Agadez et Zinder sont également d’importants marchés nationaux et régionaux. Nguigmi et Abalak se trouvent dans des zones pastorales, où la population dépend largement des marchés céréaliers pour leur approvisionnement alimentaire. Ces deux marchés sont particulièrement importants pendant la saison des pluies, lorsque les éleveurs sont confinés dans la zone pastorale.

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mali

    Le mil, le riz et le sorgho constituent les aliments de base de la majorité de la population malienne. Le mil est l'aliment le plus consommé traditionnellement, mais depuis 2005 le riz est devenu un substitut populaire chez les ménages urbains. Le sorgho est généralement plus important pour les ménages ruraux que pour les ménages urbains. Les marchés inclus sont révélateurs des conditions locales dans leurs régions respectives. Ségou est l’un des marchés les plus importants tant pour le pays que pour la région, dans la mesure où il se trouve dans une très vaste zone de production de céréales. Bamako, la capitale et le centre urbain le plus étendu du pays, fonctionne comme un marché de regroupement. Elle reçoit des céréales de Koulikoro, Ségou et Sikasso destinées à la consommation et fait également office de marché de regroupement pour les échanges avec les régions nord du pays (Kayes et Koulikoro) et avec la Mauritanie. Les marchés des régions déficitaires du pays (Tombouctou et Gao) reçoivent leurs approvisionnements en mil et en riz de Mopti, Ségou et Sikasso.

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mauritania

    Le riz local et le sorgho sont les produits alimentaires les plus consommés par les ménages pauvres de la Mauritanie suivis par le blé importé qui est l'aliment de substitution auquel ces ménages recourent le plus. Le riz local est cultivé dans la vallée du fleuve (dans le sud des régions du Trarza, du Brakna, du Gorgol et du Guidimakha). Le sorgho est produit dans toutes les zones de production (sorgho pluvial) et dans les walo et barrages (sorgho de décrue). Toutefois, une importante partie est importée du Mali et du Sénégal. La Mauritanie vit beaucoup plus de ses importations (70 % en bonne année agricole et jusqu'à 85 % en mauvaise année) que de sa production interne. Nouakchott est le principal marché de collecte pour les produits venant de l'extérieur et également le marché de distribution où viennent s'approvisionner les animateurs des marchés de distribution secondaire que sont les autres marchés référenciés. L'huile de cuisson est essentiellement consommée dans les zones urbaines. La vente des animaux est une mode d’existence dans toutes les zones et une importante source de revenus et de nourriture.

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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Mali, Mauritania

    Zeinabou, a mother of eight, fled with her family from conflict in her native Mali in January. There were rumours that a plane would come and bomb her town. She did not wait to see whether they were true; the family rented a car and fled to south eastern Mauritania. But life in the Mbera refugee camp is hard, she is pregnant and would like to return home, so her child can be born there.

    In Léré, where she came from, Zeinabou ran a small business and a hairdressing salon. But when they fled, she and her children had just a few possessions. “We arrived at the border town of Fassala where we stayed for six days without any form of assistance until we were transferred to the camp of M’bera thanks to a convoy organized by UNHCR.

    “I was lucky in that I already knew people in the camp at Mbera, who could help me out when I arrived. Their support was invaluable in the first weeks in precarious conditions before I received my tent," she said. WFP is providing food assistance for around 72,000 Malians at the M’bera camp. As well as the monthly rations, special nutritious foods are being provided for those who need it most, pregnant and nursing mothers and young children.

    “Conditions in the camp are difficult. We don’t have access to many food products like meat and milk, the water points are far away and it is often expensive to carry the water to the tent. Often we have to pay a donkey cart because each water tank is 20 litres and too heavy to carry on your head, but the cart charges you 10 ouguiyas per tank.

    A joint assessment in the camp in May by the UN agency for refugees (UNHCR) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) found that many residents were fearful of returning home. It identified the urgent need to go beyond immediate life-saving assistance in an effort to help refugees become more self- reliant.

    In a small way, Zeinabou is trying to do just that. To complement the food ration provided by WFP with other with missing food products, she makes donuts and sauce condiments and sells them next to her tent.

    M’bera is located in Hodh el Chargi, one of Mauritania’s poorest regions, where 14 percent of local residents are food insecure. In addition to providing support to the refugees, WFP is providing assistance to host communities in villages surrounding M’bera. There are few employment or trade opportunities, so displaced people struggle to be self-sufficient.

    I am ready to go back as I am weary of the situation in the camp. In Léré I have a house and a field and I don’t know what has happened to them. My field will die if I don’t go back. I want to go back to give birth there, settle and rebuild my life.”

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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali


    · The number of new Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) admissions from January to end of April 2013 amounts 18,014 children, representing 15% of the annual target. The number is slightly low because in May Burkina Faso central level Nutritional Directorate received only 13% of April nutritional statistics from district and regional SAM treatment health centres.

    · To date, 49,975 Malian refugees are registered in Burkina Faso; 54.3% of them are children between 0-17 years of age.

    · The school enrolment coverage in refugee camps increased in May 2013 from 26.8% to 32.1%. UNICEF, Government of Burkina Faso and humanitarian partners work closely together to improve schooling conditions and to make schools a friendly place for children.

    · In Child Protection, UNICEF and partners started to extend humanitarian response to integrated and holistic service provision for physically and mentally disabled children

    · As of May 2013, no meningitis and no cholera cases were reported from refugee camps. Out of a total of 2,448 reported cases of measles with 8 deaths in the country, 860 cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Dori, Gorom Gorom, Sebba and Djibo districts in the Sahel region. UNICEF continues to support the Government in Expanded Program on Immunization for all children including refugees and children affected by the nutritional crisis.

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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Mali, Niger


    · As of 24 May, UNHCR confirmed that just over 50,000 refugees are in country. As of 1 May, some 6,920 refugees were relocated from Agando and Chinwaren to Intikane, while discussions are on-going to open a new vast refugee hosting area (similar to Intikane) in Tazalite to relocate the 2,680 refugees who arrived in March in Mentes and Midal.

    · Following the declaration of a state of emergency in three federal states in neighbouring Nigeria, an estimated 2,367 Niger citizens and 126 Nigeria citizens have crossed the border into Niger in the region of Diffa. On 28 May, UNHCR Niger will lead an interagency mission in Diffa town and region to assess the situation.

    · As of 19 May, 121,142 children under-five have been admitted to therapeutic feeding centres for severe acute malnutrition (SAM), while another 168,818 have been receiving treatment for moderate acute malnutrition (MAM). Nutritional status is still under control but fragile given the increasing food prices observed due to a series of reasons including political insecurity in neighbouring Mali and Nigeria.

    · On 10 May 2013, the government of Niger officially declared a cholera epidemic. As of 26 May, a cumulative number of 281 cases including 8 deaths (with a case fatality rate of 2.85 percent) have been reported, including 240 cases in Ayorou and 20 in Mangaize, where the refugee camps of Tabareybarey and Mangaize are located, respectively.

    · In education, immediate needs have increased due to new influx of refugees and settlement of new camps and sites located in the Northern part of the country. The lack of emergency funding could jeopardize the 2013-2014 school year for all refugee children in Niger. An estimated US$2 million is urgently required to ensure uninterrupted emergency education.

    · Despite the fact that protection issues are on the rise in camps, funding is not forthcoming. US$1.5 million needs to be mobilized for this sector (refer to funding section below for further information). Gender-Based Violence, Children Associated with Armed Forces and other armed Groups, Separated and Unaccompanied Children, and psychosocial distress affecting children remain threats to their well-being that need to be addressed through prevention, tracing and/or treatment.

    · To ensure that host communities have equitable access to WASH facilities and are not deprived of their rights, UNICEF is advocating to immediately mobilize US$2.5 million for this sector (refer to funding section below for further information).

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    05/31/2013 20:42 GMT

    BAMAKO, 31 mai 2013 (AFP) - Une coalition de vingt-quatre partis maliens et organisations de la société civile ont exigé vendredi la libération de la ville de Kidal (nord), occupée par la rébellion touarègue qui y refuse la présence de l'armée et l'administration maliennes.

    Cette coalition "exige la libération de Kidal, le retour de l'administration et des forces armées et de sécurité (maliennes) comme préalable à la tenue des élections" présidentielles dont le premier tour est prévu le 28 juillet avant un éventuel second tour le 11 août, selon une déclaration lue vendredi par son porte-parole, Oumar Hammadoun Dicko.

    La coalition est formée de deux regroupements, le Front pour la démocratie et la République (FDR), composé de partis parmi les principaux au Mali dont l'Alliance pour la démocratie au Mali (Adéma) du président intérimaire Dioncounda Traoré, et l'Alliance pour la sauvegarde de la démocratie et de la République (ADR), qui réunit des organisations de la société civile.

    Le FDR et l'ADR, tous deux opposés au putsch du 22 mars 2012 qui avait renversé le président élu Amadou Toumani Touré, ont exigé la libération de Kidal lors d'une rencontre ayant réuni quelque 2.000 personnes à Bamako, selon un journaliste de l'AFP.

    L'intervention militaire française qui a débuté le 11 janvier au Mali a permis, au côté des militaires maliens et d'autres armées africaines, de chasser en grande partie les jihadistes liés à Al-Qaïda qui ont occupé le nord de ce pays pendant plusieurs mois en 2012.

    Mais la ville de Kidal reste occupée par la rébellion touareg du Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad (MNLA) et de petits groupes alliés, revenus à Kidal à la faveur de l'intervention de l'armée française. Celle-ci est toujours présente sur l'aéroport de la ville et collabore avec la rébellion touareg.

    Le premier tour de la présidentielle, prévu le 28 juillet, doit se tenir sur toute l'étendue du territoire malien, y compris Kidal, mais cela ne pourra se faire qu'en présence de l'administration et de l'armée maliennes dans la ville, estime l'écrasante majorité des Maliens.

    Des négociations sont actuellement en cours à Ouagadougou pour tenter de parvenir à un accord sur le vote à Kidal le 28 juillet.


    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    05/31/2013 22:10 GMT

    OUAGADOUGOU, 31 mai 2013 (AFP) - Les groupes armés touareg qui occupent la ville de Kidal, dans le nord-est du Mali, compromettant la tenue de la présidentielle le 28 juillet, tentent toujours de se rapprocher en vue de discussions avec Bamako, a-t-on appris vendredi de sources concordantes.

    Les délégations du Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad (MNLA) et du Haut conseil pour l'unité de l'Azawad (HCUA), qui refusent pour l'heure la présence de l'armée et de l'administration maliennes à Kidal, mènent depuis mardi soir à Ouagadougou d'intenses tractations, sous l'égide du Burkina Faso, pays médiateur au nom de l'Afrique de l'Ouest.

    "Les discussions que nous avons entamées avancent très bien. On s'achemine vers un accord avec le HCUA qui va nous permettre de négocier de façon unitaire avec Bamako le moment venu", a affirmé à l'AFP Mossa Ag Attaher, porte-parole du MNLA.

    Selon lui, le MNLA a soumis au HCUA un projet d'"accord-cadre" qui, "s'il est adopté, sera le document de référence lors des discussions avec les autorités maliennes".

    Selon des sources concordantes, les deux groupes, aux visions pour l'instant éloignées sur des points-clés, travaillent actuellement sur deux documents: un "canevas" de sortie de crise proposé par la médiation et l'"accord-cadre" proposé par le MNLA.

    Dans ce projet d'accord-cadre, le MNLA "accepte pour un premier temps la tenue des élections dans tout le nord du Mali, y compris à Kidal, sans les troupes maliennes" et réclame "dans une seconde phase des négociations sur l'autonomie de l'Azawad (Nord malien, ndlr) avec le président qui sera élu", d'après les mêmes sources.

    De son côté, le chef de la diplomatie burkinabè Djibrill Bassolé a poursuivi vendredi ses va-et-vient entre le MNLA et le HCUA.

    "Notre souhait est qu'ils se retrouvent à la table des négociations ensemble", a-t-il rappelé.

    M. Bassolé a souligné qu'il devrait rencontrer "la semaine prochaine" des représentants des Nations unies, de l'Union africaine, de la France et de la Suisse pour "faire le point de la situation" avant "un dialogue direct" entre les groupes rebelles et le gouvernement malien sous les auspices du président burkinabè Blaise Compaoré.

    La situation à Kidal déchaîne de plus en plus les passions au Mali à l'approche de l'élection.

    Les autorités maliennes ont rétabli leur souveraineté sur le reste du Nord grâce à l'intervention militaire franco-africaine engagée en janvier contre les mouvements islamistes armés liés à Al-Qaïda qui occupaient toute la région depuis 2012.


    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Japan, Mali, World

    06/02/2013 07:14 GMT

    by Kyoko Hasegawa

    YOKOHAMA, Japan, June 02, 2013 (AFP) - Japan said Sunday it would give $1 billion in aid to help stabilise the Sahel region of Africa, months after the deaths of 10 Japanese in a hostage crisis there.

    The money is part of a $14 billion aid package to be given to Africa over five years, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Saturday at the start of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development.

    "Japan will provide 100 billion yen ($1 billion) in assistance over five years for the development and stability of the Sahel," Abe told heads of government from around 40 African nations.

    The cash comes in addition to a $120 million aid pledge Tokyo announced in January, days after Islamist gunmen overran a gas plant in the Algerian desert and killed dozens of foreigners.

    The four-day crisis ended bloodily when Algerian commandos stormed the plant.

    Graphic pictures and accounts that emerged in the days after the assault indicated executions and sent a collective shudder through Japan, whose energy and infrastructure firms are heavily committed in the region.

    Japan's death toll of 10 was the highest of any nation whose citizens were caught up in the crisis. It was an unusual taste of jihadist anger for a country far removed from violence in the Muslim world.

    Despite the Japanese public's wariness of unrest in far-off and little-known places, government, industry and academic leaders warned the resource-poor archipelago cannot withdraw its energy interests from areas like the Sahel.

    Instead, they said, Tokyo must take the lead in helping to create stability, through social programmes and development that can divert anger and tackle the unemployment and poverty that experts say leads to extremism.

    Katsumi Hirano, chief researcher at the Institute of Developing Economies, said Tokyo needed to be seen to be doing something.

    Abe's latest pledge "is important to show Japan's commitment to the peacebuilding in Africa", he said.

    Abe said that in addition to the financial aid unveiled Sunday, Japan will also support the training of 2,000 people in counter-terrorism and security maintenance activities.

    "We believe that the assistance we provide in line with the concept of human security, such as the strengthening of social systems, with particular focus on food, education and health... will bring hope for economic development to the people of the region, thereby contributing to stability," he said.

    "It is our sincere wish that the Sahel region is restored to peace and stability and recovers its place as the centre of prosperity in northern and western Africa. In order to do so, we must take action together," he said.

    Dioncounda Traore, interim president of Mali, said security in the region was improving, thanks in part to intervention by French-led forces after Islamist rebels seized control of his country's north in the wake of a military coup last year.

    "What lessons have we learned from all these? Firstly, the necessity to build well-equipped armies so that we can face threats against security and peace," he said.

    But as well as military power, he said, there must be an effort to improve governance, boost schemes to counter food shortages and provide work for the unemployed.

    Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, sounded a grim warning against the world taking its eye off the Sahel.

    "We cannot look at Mali in isolation," Guterres said, noting the area is prone to food crises and conflict, which can lead to displacement of people, organised crime and extremism.

    "If these factors are not properly addressed, including at the regional and global level, we face the risk of a series of interlinked crises from Libya to Nigeria and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Aden," Guterres said.


    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Algeria, Chad, Japan, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Sudan, World

    06/02/2013 08:42 GMT

    Par Patrice NOVOTNY

    YOKOHAMA (Japon), 02 juin 2013 (AFP) - Le Japon a annoncé dimanche une aide de 750 millions d'euros en cinq ans pour stabiliser la région du Sahel, afin de rassurer des entreprises nippones tentées par le marché africain mais inquiètes depuis une sanglante prise d'otage dans le sud algérien.

    Ce soutien financier entre dans le cadre d'un paquet de 10,6 milliards d'euros d'aide publique au développement sur cinq ans pour le continent, annoncé samedi à l'ouverture de la conférence internationale de Tokyo pour le développement de l'Afrique (Ticad) à laquelle participent une quarantaine de chefs d'Etat et de gouvernement africains.

    Le Premier ministre japonais, Shinzo Abe, a détaillé la partie de cette assistance dédiée à la vaste zone comprise entre l'Afrique du Nord et l'Afrique sub-saharienne et qui englobe des territoires de nombreux pays dont le Mali, la Mauritanie, le Niger, l'Algérie, le Tchad, le Soudan et la Libye.

    Le Japon attache beaucoup d'importance à cette région, particulièrement depuis une prise d'otages mi-janvier au complexe gazier d'In Amenas dans le sud de l'Algérie, au cours de laquelle dix de ses ressortissants avaient été tués, traumatisant le Japon.

    Cette assistance sera consacrée à "l'alimentation, l'éducation et la santé, avec également un soutien pour les femmes et les jeunes", a précisé M. Abe, pour qui "cela ramènera l'espoir d'un développement économique dans la région et contribuera ainsi à sa stabilité".

    Le Japon va fournir en outre un soutien distinct spécifique à la lutte contre le terrorisme et au maintien de la sécurité sur place, pour lesquels il formera 2.000 personnes.

    Parmi les pays du Sahel confrontés à des troubles, le Mali fait l'objet d'une attention particulière et une force onusienne de 12.600 hommes doit y prendre le relais des quelque 4.000 soldats français déployés en janvier qui ont chassé du nord du pays - avec l'appui de contingents d'Afrique occidentale - les groupes armés islamistes qui avaient conquis ce vaste territoire.

    Le président malien par intérim, Dioncounda Traoré, a souligné dimanche que les conditions sécuritaires s'amélioraient peu à peu dans la région, autant grâce aux interventions armées qu'aux efforts pour améliorer les conditions alimentaires et d'emploi des populations.

    Mais le haut-commissaire de l'ONU aux réfugiés, Antonio Guterres, a prévenu que la vulnérabilité des populations, au Mali et dans les autres régions du Sahel, devait rapidement être prise en charge pour "éviter une série de crises de la Libye au Nigéria et de l'Océan Atlantique au Golfe d'Aden".

    Katsumi Hirano, chercheur à l'Institut japonais des Economies en Développement, a jugé que la promesse de M. Abe était de ce point de vue "importante pour montrer l'engagement du Japon à participer aux efforts de paix en Afrique", tant aux Africains qu'aux Japonais eux-mêmes, alors que justement des investisseurs nippons s'inquiètent des risques sécuritaires.

    Si la sécurité est garantie, les firmes nippones pourraient doubler leur nombre d'employés en Afrique de 200.000 à 400.000 en cinq ans d'après Tokyo, des investissements perçus comme nécessaires au déclin d'une pauvreté qui fait le lit du terrorisme.

    "Les gens doivent avoir à manger, de quoi travailler!", a souligné le secrétaire général de l'ONU, Ban Ki-Moon. "Sinon, il y aura toujours des plaintes et des griefs contre les gouvernements, ce qui peut conduire à de l'instabilité politique".

    Or si les entreprises japonaises hésitent à se lancer, leurs homologues chinoises n'ont pas ces états d'âmes, au point de créer un sentiment d'urgence au Japon sur la nécessité de ne pas laisser à la Chine l'essentiel des ressources africaines.

    A Yokohama, les dirigeants africains ont exhorté les entreprises japonaises à ne pas manquer les opportunités créées par la croissance solide du continent (5% par an en moyenne depuis une décennie) et le président de l'Union africaine, Hailemariam Desalegn, a rappelé que les "nouveaux venus" n'attendaient pas, sans citer nommément les Chinois.


    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali

    Poor households in northern pastoral areas will be “Stressed” from July to September


    • Very poor and poor households are currently able to meet their consumption needs with two to three regular meals per day and without the need to resort to any unusual coping strategies. As a result, at least 80 percent of households are facing Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.

    • High staple food prices and limited streams of nonfarm income, due to a focus on on-farm agricultural activities, will affect the quantity and quality of food access between July and September. During this period, at least 25 to 30 percent of households in livelihood zones 8 and 7 in the north will have food security issues, and will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity.

    • Near or above-normal levels of income from on-farm labor, gold-washing activities, and livestock sales, as well as the effects of cash transfer and malnutrition prevention programs, will bolster household food access and will help to limit losses to livelihood assets throughout the outlook period.

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Niger

    Une flambée des prix avec des impacts localisés sur la sécurité alimentaire des ménages


    • Les prix des céréales en avril ont atteint des niveaux jamais égalés au cours des cinq dernières années.
      L’essentiel des hausses est intervenu dans les régions de Maradi et Diffa où les prix (mil, sorgho) dépassent de 30 à 50 pour cent la moyenne saisonnière. Cette situation est liée à la baisse d’approvisionnement des marchés suite à la forte réduction des échanges commerciaux avec le Nigéria, qui constituent une composante importante de disponibilité pendant cette période.

    • A partir ces niveaux exceptionnellement élevés des prix, les autres facteurs de sécurité alimentaire se situent dans la tendance saisonnière normale et leurs effets positifs conjugués assurent une consommation alimentaire du niveau IPC Phase 1 : « minimale ». On s’attend à une continuation d’insécurité alimentaire minimale dans la plupart du pays d’ici septembre.

    • La sécurité alimentaire est toutefois dégradée dans la région de Diffa où les réductions des revenus sous l’effet conjugués de la chute de la production du poivron et des baisses des prix des animaux vont maintenir un niveau d’insécurité alimentaire Phase 2 : Stress d’ici septembre.

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    06/02/2013 19:44 GMT

    BAMAKO, 02 juin 2013 (AFP) - Des habitants de Kidal ont affirmé dimanche à l'AFP que des membres du Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad (MNLA, rébellion touareg) s'en sont pris aux populations noires de cette ville du nord-est du Mali pour les "expulser" vers Gao, localité située plus au sud.

    Le MNLA a démenti toute "chasse aux Noirs", assurant rechercher des éléments "infiltrés" envoyés par les autorités maliennes.

    "Une chasse à l'homme noir est engagée à Kidal depuis ce matin. Le MNLA s'attaque aux populations noires, y compris femmes et enfants. Ils disent qu'ils vont les renvoyer vers le Mali, c'est-à-dire à Gao avec une complicité flagrante des Français qui ne font rien", a affirmé un habitant de Kidal, joint au téléphone depuis Bamako.

    Des soldats français sont basés à l'aéroport de Kidal, ville occupée par le MNLA revenu dans cette localité à la faveur de l'intervention militaire française qui a débuté le 11 janvier au Mali. Cette intervention, au côté des militaires maliens et d'autres armées africaines, a permis de chasser en grande partie les jihadistes qui ont occupé le nord de ce pays pendant plusieurs mois en 2012.

    "Des coups de feu sont entendus dans la ville de Kidal. Le MNLA prévoit d'embarquer les expulsés" noirs dans des camions vers Gao, la plus grande ville du nord malien, a ajouté cet habitant, dénonçant "du racisme pur et simple".

    "Le MNLA exige des Noirs à Kidal de les appuyer dans les manifestations contre le Mali et de s'affirmer +azawadiens+ ou de quitter Kidal de force. Il n'y pas de mort, pas de blessé connu", a indiqué la même source.

    L'"Azawad" est le nom donné par les autonomistes touareg à l'immense région nord du Mali, considérée comme le berceau de cette communauté. Le MNLA refuse la présence de l'armée et l'administration maliennes à Kidal, compromettant pour l'heure la tenue du premier tour de la présidentielle prévu dans tout le Mali le 28 juillet.

    Des négociations sont en cours à Ouagadougou pour un accord sur le vote à Kidal.

    "Depuis ce matin, le MNLA arrête les Noirs dans la ville de Kidal. Ils disent qu'ils veulent se venger des Maliens qui ont tué des Tamasheq (touareg) à Gossi (dans la région de Gao)", a affirmé un autre habitant de Kidal.

    Le maire de Gossi, Oumar Wadarassane, un Touareg noir, avait été attaqué mardi à son domicile, puis "ligoté par des hommes armés", selon la presse locale.

    Le MNLA a déclaré que "plusieurs dizaines de personnes", dont un "officier" malien, ont été arrêtées dimanche par ses hommes à Kidal, mais a affirmé qu'il était "archifaux" de dire qu'il fait la "chasse aux Noirs".

    "Nous ne faisons que rechercher des infiltrés dans notre zone", a expliqué le porte-parole du MNLA Mossa Ag Attaher, présent à Ouagadougou pour des discussions entre les groupes touareg et les autorités du Burkina Faso, pays médiateur dans la crise malienne.

    Selon lui, parmi les personnes interpellées figure "un officier de l'armée", qui "a indiqué qu'il y a huit autres officiers maliens dans Kidal".

    "Nous allons pousser les enquêtes, ceux qui n'auront rien à voir avec des actes criminels" ou des "actes d'espionnage" seront "libérés", a assuré M. Attaher.


    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Lesotho

    Minimal food insecurity outcomes expected as household food supplies increase


    • As the majority of crops have reached maturity, poor rural households are meeting food requirements from their own production, and this is being supplemented with humanitarian assistance. Acute food insecurity outcomes through June are projected to be Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) throughout the country as household food supplies increase.

    • Despite a number of production constraints experienced during the 2012/13 agricultural season, cereal supplies from own production is expected to be better than last year’s levels given that the cereal harvest is estimated to be 83 percent and 11 percent higher than the previous season and five year average, respectively.

    • Findings from a USAID Food for Peace led rapid food security assessment indicate that most poor households in the Mountains and Senqu River Valley livelihood zones are likely to achieve an average food harvest for this consumption year. With humanitarian assistance planned to continue through December 2013, Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) acute food insecurity outcomes are projected among poor rural households between July and September.

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