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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Lesotho

    Lesotho Emergency and Resilience Programme (ERP), implemented by FAO and the Government of Lesotho since 2012, has been retained as Finalist in the “Expo Milano 2015 Call for Best Sustainable Development Practices (BSDP)”. The BSDP is a competition organised by the Universal Exposition taking place in Milan (Italy) from 1st of May to 31st of October 2015 having as a theme “Feeding the planet, energy for life”.

    Out of a total of 786 initiatives submitted worldwide, 18 were awarded as winners and 32 were finalists. Lesotho Emergency and Resilience Programme (ERP) aims to increase Basotho’s food security and natural resource base through integrated sustainable agriculture practices. ERP promotes the national upscale and adoption of Climate Smart Agriculture practices such as Conservation Agriculture (CA) and improved Home Gardening as well as nutrition awareness.

    The realisation of ERP would not have been possible without the constant dedication and support provided by the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS) and the Ministry of Forestry and Land Reclamation (MFLR) as well as the members of the National CA Task Force, Home Gardening and Nutrition Working Group (HGNWG) and HPG Advertising. The ERP is funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), the British Department for International Development (DFID), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF), Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) and Belgium.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Burkina Faso

    Millet, maize, and sorghum are the most important food commodities for household consumption. Millet is the staple of the most vulnerable households, while maize and sorghum also contribute to the food basket of a majority of all households. Sankaryare market is the largest and most important market in Ouagadougou and supplies other markets within the country and region. Koudougou is located in one of the most populated areas in the country, where a majority of households depend on the market for their food needs. Djibo is in the highly vulnerable Sahelian zone. Pouytenga is an assembly market for products from Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, and Togo. Solenzo is a rural market located in the middle of a surplus production zone. Bobo Dioulasso is important center for both consumption and production – it functions as both the economic capital of Burkina Faso and is located in an important cereal production zone


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Malawi

    Maize, rice, and cassava are the most important food commodities. Markets selected represent the entire geographic length of the country: two markets in each of the north, center, and south. In the north, Karonga is one of the most active markets in maize and rice and is influenced by informal cross-border trade with Tanzania. Mzimba is a major maize producing area in the northern region. Salima, in the center along the lake, is an important market where some of the fishing populations are almost entirely dependent on the market for staple cereals. Mitundu is a very busy peri-urban market in Lilongwe. In the south, the Lunzu market is the main supplier of food commodities such as maize and rice for Blantyre. The Bangula market in Nsanje district was chosen to represent the Lower Shire area, covering Chikwawa and Nsanje districts.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Senegal

    Rice, millet, sorghum, and maize are the primary staple foods in Senegal. Groundnuts are both an important source of protein and a commonly grown cash crop. Imported rice is consumed daily by the vast majority of households in Senegal particularly in Dakar and Touba urban centers. Local rice is produced and consumed in the Senegal River Valley. St. Louis is a major market for the Senegal River Valley. Millet is consumed in central regions where Kaolack is the most important regional market. Maize is produced and consumed in areas around Kaolack, Tambacounda, and the Senegal River Valley. Some maize is also imported mainly from the international market. High demand for all commodities exists in and around Touba and Dakar. They are also important centers for stocking and storage during the lean season. The harvests of grains and groundnuts begin at the end of the marketing year in October; and stocks of locally produced grains are drawn down throughout the marketing year. Senegal depends more on imports from the international market for rice than from cross border trade which mainly includes cattle from Mali and Mauritania that supply Dakar and surrounding markets.


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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: 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 cross-border 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: 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 Namuda 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: ACT Alliance
    Country: Cameroon, Nigeria

    Geneva, 27 February 2015

    1. Brief description of the emergency and impact

    Following the plethora of attacks orchestrated by Boko Haram in the north east of Nigeria and the Cameroon villages along the border with Nigeria, local populations have been forced to flee the massacres. These attacks have claimed many lives and caused the destruction of many important facilities (mosques and churches burned down, villages looted, farms devastated, cattle stolen, etc). Refugees from Nigeria and displaced people from the border areas started arriving in August 2014 and were registered in the councils of Mozogo, Koza, Moskota, Kolfota, Mogodé and Mora in the far-north region of Cameroon and Guider in northern Cameroon. To date 12,000 displaced are registered in the locality of Mozogo and more than 31,000 refugees have settled in Minawao. As of 24 February 2015 there has been a further significant new influx of refugees/displaced arriving in Mozogo, Koza and Moskota councils.

    2. Why is an ACT response needed?

    The displaced people in Mozogo are being accommodated in churches, schools and in the open air. They currently have no organized assistance and are left to their own means.

    The refugees in the Minawao camp are being assisted by the UNHCR. However, they are also suffering as there is a continual influx of new refugees following attacks and consequently the resources available in the camp are overstretched.

    ACT member, the Eglise fraternelle luthérienne du Cameroun (EFLC) is present and well known in the areas concerned and can assist if resources are made available.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Niger

    2015 REVISED REQUIREMENT 376 millions
    FUNDING (1) 1 millions
    UNMET REQUIREMENT 375 millions


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    Bamako, Mali | AFP | vendredi 27/02/2015 - 18:40 GMT

    La médiation algérienne aux pourparlers de paix sur le Mali a présenté aux parties un nouveau projet d'accord, accueilli favorablement par le camp gouvernemental, mais avec réserves par la rébellion du nord du pays, a appris vendredi l'AFP auprès des intéressés.

    Dans un souci d'équilibre entre les exigences contradictoires de souveraineté et d'autonomie, ce texte de 30 pages, comprenant trois annexes, dont l'AFP a obtenu copie, appelle à "reconstruire l'unité nationale du pays sur des bases novatrices, qui respectent son intégrité territoriale, tiennent compte de sa diversité ethnique et culturelle".

    Il mentionne l'"Azawad", par laquelle les groupes rebelles à dominante touareg désignent cette région, comme "une réalité socio-culturelle, mémorielle et symbolique partagée par différentes populations du nord Mali".

    Daté du 25 février au soir, le texte a été remis aux délégations jeudi, a indiqué le ministre malien des Affaires étrangères Abdoulaye Diop dans une déclaration à la presse à Alger.

    "Nous nous sommes félicités de la qualité de ce projet d’accord qui, de notre point de vue, est un document équilibré", a-t-il dit, souhaitant "qu'un compromis se fasse rapidement autour de ce document".

    Le ministre s'est réjoui qu'il ne soit pas question dans le projet "de s'engager dans une fédération ou une autonomie quelconque et que l'intégrité territoriale du Mali, le caractère laïc et républicain de l'Etat, soient préservés en toutes circonstances".

    Un représentant de la Coordination des mouvements de l'Azawad, qui regroupe les rebelles du Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad (MNLA), du Haut conseil pour l'unité de l'Azawad (HCUA) et du Mouvement arabe de l'Azawad-dissident (MAA-dissident), a en revanche indiqué que celle-ci ne s'était pas encore prononcée.

    "On est en train d'écouter les commentaires de la médiation. Dans la journée de demain (samedi) on va leur renvoyer le document avec quelques suggestions", a indiqué à l'AFP Mohamed Ousmane Mouhamedoun, expliquant qu'il s'agissait de "rendre le document beaucoup plus comestible, acceptable par nous qui portons les revendications".

    "Notre souci est d'aller vers un accord. Depuis huit mois, nous avons fait le choix d'aller vers un accord", a-t-il assuré.

    'Développement du Nord'

    Un porte-parole des mouvements armés pro-gouvernementaux, Harouna Toureh, a salué "un document équilibré", affirmant qu'il serait paraphé à Alger "et signé à Bamako dans les prochains jours".

    "Les populations vont pouvoir se prendre en charge, assumer ensemble leur destin sans contrainte. Les questions de sécurité qui sont importantes pour la survie de notre pays sont au centre de cet accord", a-t-il dit à l'AFP.

    Le projet prévoit l'instauration d'une période intérimaire de 18 à 24 mois dès la signature d'un accord de paix.

    Pendant cette période, une Conférence nationale devra conduire "un débat approfondi entre les composantes de la nation malienne sur les causes profondes du conflit", afin d'aboutir à une "Charte pour la paix, l'unité et la réconciliation nationale".

    Le texte propose la création d'Assemblées régionales élues au suffrage universel direct, dotées de pouvoirs importants, dirigées par un président élu lui aussi directement, ainsi qu'une "plus grande représentation des populations du nord au sein des institutions nationales".

    Le projet dispose qu'à partir de 2018 le gouvernement mette en place un "mécanisme de transfert de 30 % des recettes budgétaires de l'Etat aux collectivités territoriales (...) avec une attention particulière pour les régions du Nord".

    Il porte création d'une Zone de développement du Nord dotée d'une stratégie visant à le "hisser au même niveau que le reste du pays en termes d'indicateurs de développement" dans un délai de 10 à 15 ans.

    Cette stratégie serait financée notamment par la communauté internationale, appelée à contribuer "promptement et généreusement" à une Conférence d'appel de fonds.

    Sur le plan de la sécurité, le projet prévoit le déploiement progressif d'une armée restructurée, notamment par l'intégration de combattants des mouvements armés, avec des patrouilles mixtes au plus tard deux mois après la signature de l'accord, et la création d'une police territoriale.

    sd-ac/sst/mrb/jpc


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    Source: Government of Germany
    Country: Mali

    On 26 February, the German Bundestag voted by a large majority to extend the participation of German servicemen and women in the EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) for a further 15 months, and to increase the number of soldiers involved. The aim is that up to 350 soldiers can be deployed in Mali in the future. Germany will take over as chair of EUTM in August 2015.

    The decision is intended to extend the Bundeswehr’s involvement in the training mission by 15 months, taking it to 31 May 2016. The personnel ceiling is also to be raised from 250 to 350 soldiers, meaning that more German instructors can be sent to Mali in future. The reason for this increase is that Germany will be taking on more tasks. From August 2015, it will take over as chair of EUTM Mali and provide the Mission Commander.

    Germany to take over as EUTM chair

    The aim of the EU mission remains unchanged, namely to support the Malian armed forces and Defence Ministry through training and guidance, thus enabling them to provide security and stability in the country without external assistance. The German servicemen and women also perform security‑related duties to protect the mission and ensure that EUTM is provided with medical support. Around 150 German soldiers are currently stationed in Mali.

    The humanitarian situation has improved significantly in the country since the military intervention by the international community against Islamist groups in northern Mali. There has also been progress as regards the political process needed to ensure long‑term stability in the country. It is now vital to foster the process of reconciliation between the conflict parties and to consolidate the integrity of the state.

    Involvement in the UN mission MINUSMA

    The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) is also in operation in Mali. The aim is to restore and stabilise state authority. The Bundestag agreed to mandate the involvement of armed German troops in MINUSMA until 30 June 2015. The personnel ceiling for that mission is 150 soldiers. The Bundeswehr currently has around 86 servicemen and women in Mali.

    Germany is also participating in a third mission in Mali: the civilian EU Capacity Building Mission in Mali (EUCAP Sahel Mali), which trains and advises the police, Garde National and Gendarmerie, thus augmenting the international community’s security‑policy role to date in Mali.

    Germany is also engaged in humanitarian relief efforts and development cooperation to improve conditions for people in Mali and the many refugees. The German Government has pledged a total of 12 million euros in humanitarian aid for Mali since 2012, primarily to fund food aid and improve the returnee situation in northern Mali. Bilateral development cooperation was restarted in March 2013. Over the 2013‑2014 period, the German Government spent more than 100 million euros as development cooperation activities were gradually resumed.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Senegal

    La soudure pastorale précoce menace les revenus des éleveurs au nord du pays

    MESSAGE CLES

    • Les marchés restent suffisamment approvisionnés malgré la baisse de la production de céréales de 37 pour cent par rapport à la moyenne. Les stocks bien que faibles par rapport à une année moyenne réduisent comme d’habitude la dépendance des ménages aux marchés en cette période.

    • La dépendance plus prolongée que d’habitude au marché en raison de l’épuisement précoce dès mars au lieu de juin des stocks et de la baisse des revenus agricoles ne permettent pas aux ménages agricoles pauvres de couvrir convenablement leurs besoins alimentaires. Par conséquent, ils seront en insécurité alimentaire aiguë de Stress (Phase 2 de l’IPC) de mars à avril et de Crise (Phase 3 de l’IPC) à partir de mai.

    • La soudure pastorale précoce à cause du déficit de pâturage et des dégâts de plus en plus importants de feux de brousse dans les zones du nord et du centre affectera négativement les productions animales et la survie du bétail et par conséquent les moyens d’existence des ménages agropasteurs et éleveurs


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    Source: Oxfam
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, India, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Peru, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, World, Yemen

    Syria crisis

    As the crisis nears its 4th anniversary in March, more than half the Syrian population is in need of humanitarian assistance. More than 200,000 people have been killed in the conflict and millions of people have been displaced internally or fled across the border as refugees. The crisis is however getting less global interest as it entered a chronic phase, and we’re doing our best to put it back onto the agenda of decision-makers to ensure there won’t be a fifth anniversary - more communications on this soon. We continue to deliver lifesaving assistance to crisis-affected people in the region, and have reached nearly half a million refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, and at least one million people inside Syria during 2014.
    In Syria we continue to work in Damascus city and four other areas near the capital, to keep clean water flowing for hundreds of thousands of people. In Aleppo we are helping the local authorities keep 5 generators going at a plant which supplies about 3 million people. To date our work has been fully focused on large-scale water infrastructure projects, but recent negotiations with the Ministry of Social Affairs could mean we broaden out into public health promotion, which will mean being able to get out and talk to communities.

    In Jordan in the Za’atari camp we are about to begin a program of connecting individual households to the water network which will give the entire population of the camp (about 85,000 people) their own connection. Designs are being finalized during February, and in April work will begin on what could be the only household level water network ever built in a refugee camp. If you want to have an idea of Oxfam’s work and what life is like in this huge camp-city have a look at this picture-blog from Za’atari. (Photo1: Za'atari refugee camp from atop one of Oxfam's water tanks, Oxfam February 2015. Photo 2: Oxfam 95 cubic meters of water can support a water system,
    Za'atari refugee camp, Jordan. Oxfam. February 2015).


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Chad, Nigeria

    Une forte hausse atypique du prix du maïs dans le Lac Tchad affecte les ménages pauvres

    MESSAGES CLÉS

    • Les récoltes de cultures de contre-saison (berbéré et maraichage) viennent de commencer dans le Sila, Guera, Batha, Mayo Kebbi, Chari Baguirmi et Moyen Chari. Elles renforcent le niveau de stock des ménages pauvres et très pauvres dans les zones ou la production pluviale de 2014 a été déficitaire.

    • L’approvisionnement des marchés est moyen. Les prix des céréales connaissent une hausse autour de 30 pourcent à Sarh, Moundou et Kélo comparée à la moyenne. Dans la zone sahélienne, les prix sont en hausse à N’Djamena, Abéché et Bol. La hausse la plus significative s’observe sur le prix du maïs à Bol (81 pourcent). Les exportations de bétail sont particulièrement affaiblies par l’insécurité au Nigeria.

    • Dans le Kanem, Bahr El-Ghazel, Guera et Sila, le niveau des stocks céréaliers est faible et les ménages pauvres et très pauvres auront une consommation alimentaire réduite. Ainsi, ils seront en situation de stress (Phase 2 de l’IPC) en février et mars. Par contre, les ménages pauvres du Lac Tchad seraient une phase de plus sans assistance alimentaire.

    • Les populations de la région du Lac Tchad, compte-tenu de la hausse atypique du prix des denrées de base due à la présence massive des refugiés et retournés du Nigeria, les ménages pauvres ne seront pas capables de protéger leurs moyens d’existence et seront à peine capables de couvrir leurs besoins alimentaires et seront en Stress (Phase 2! de l’IPC 2.0).


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Burkina Faso

    Trois communes de l’extrême nord du pays en Stress

    Messages clés

    • Due à l’épuisement précoce de leurs réserves alimentaires ainsi qu’à une absence quasi-totale de fourrage pour leurs animaux, beaucoup de ménages pauvres de l’extrême nord du pays (Zone 8), sont contraints à un exode et à une fréquentation des sites d’orpaillage beaucoup plus accentués que d’habitude pour des revenus. Les mouvements de transhumance vers les zones de pâturage sont plus précoces avec une amplitude plus importante.

    • Dans les communes de Nassoumbou, Koutougou et Tin-Akoff, les ménages pauvres vivent déjà une insécurité alimentaire de Stress (Phase 2 de l’IPC) et les prix des céréales de base et de l’aliment pour bétail sont particulièrement élevés. Par contre leurs revenus principalement issus de la vente du bétail est en-dessous de la moyenne quinquennale du fait des prix relativement bas des animaux.

    • Dans le reste du pays sur les marchés, l’offre des produits alimentaires de base notamment céréaliers est supérieure à la normale, alors que la demande des ménages reste faible, ce qui fait que les prix de ces denrées restent globalement similaires à la moyenne quinquennale.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    Bamako, Mali | AFP | Friday 2/27/2015 - 19:27 GMT

    Algerian mediators hosting peace talks between the Mali government and militants have produced a draft agreement transferring a raft of powers from Bamako to the country's restive north.

    Ethnic divisions run deep in the west African nation's northern desert, the cradle of a Tuareg separatist movement which has spawned several rebellions since the 1960s.

    Algeria and the United Nations are leading mediation talks in Algiers between ministers and six armed rebel groups amid a recent uptick in violence that threatened to jeopardise the peace process.

    The 30-page "Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali from the Algiers Process", seen by AFP on Friday, calls for "reconstruction of the country's national unity" in a manner that "respects its territorial integrity and takes account of its ethnic and cultural diversity".

    The text was greeted with enthusiasm by the government, which called for it to be the basis of quick resolution to the talks, but has so far had a lukewarm reception from the anti-Bamako militants.

    The draft deal proposes the creation of powerful elected regional assemblies led by a directly-elected president, as well as "greater representation of the northern populations in national institutions".

    From 2018 the government will set up a "mechanism to transfer 30 percent of budget revenues from the state to local authorities... with particular attention to the North", according to the document.

    It envisages an internationally-funded Northern Development Zone to raise living standards to the levels enjoyed by the inhabitants of the rest of the country within 10-15 years.

    The document refers to "Azawad" -- the local name for a swathe of disputed territory the size of Texas -- as "a socio-cultural reality... shared by different populations of northern Mali".

    • 'Balanced document' -

    The draft sets out plans for a national conference bringing all sides together within two years of the signing of a "final and comprehensive peace agreement".

    That meeting will aim to conduct "a thorough debate between the components of the Malian nation on the root causes of the conflict" in order to achieve a "charter for peace, unity and national reconciliation".

    Ministers have been negotiating with the armed groups in a fifth round of talks that started on February 16 to bring a lasting peace to northern Mali, which remains unstable despite French-led military intervention against Islamist rebels launched in 2013.

    The militant organisations are dominated by Tuareg and Arabs, however, and no jihadist group has been invited to the dialogue.

    "We commend the quality of the draft agreement which, in our view, is a balanced document," Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop said in a statement to reporters in Algiers.

    He said he was pleased there was no suggestion of moving towards federalism or autonomy for the north, noting that the document preserved the territorial integrity and "secular and republican nature" of Mali.

    The pro-government militant groups hailed a "balanced document" that they were happy to sign.

    "People will be able to take charge of their own affairs, map out their own destiny without constraint," a spokesman told AFP.

    But Mohamed Ousmane Mouhamedoun, a spokesman for the rebel side of the armed groups, said they had yet to decide whether to adopt the draft.

    "We are listening to the comments of the intermediaries. During the day tomorrow we will send them back the document with some suggestions," he told AFP.

    sd/sst/mrb/ft/pvh


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Nigeria

    Kano, Nigeria | AFP | Friday 2/27/2015 - 17:44 GMT

    Boko Haram fighters have raided villages in northeast Nigeria on the border with Cameroon, apparently in reprisal for a Chadian offensive against its hideouts, residents told AFP on Friday.

    Scores of heavily armed militants on Wednesday rampaged through more than a dozen villages in the Kala-Balge district in Borno state, shooting, hacking residents to death and razing homes.

    Hundreds of residents fled across the border into Cameroon, prompting Chad -- part of a regional coalition against the Islamists -- to respond by bombarding rebel positions, they said.

    "They targeted mainly Shuwa tribesmen, who are from the same ethnic group as a large number of the Chadian troops," said Adum Walfannea, himself a Shuwa Arab, from Anguduram village.

    Kurso Khala, who fled one of the worst-affected villages, Mudu, said the militants besieged a local market and blocked all but one entrance.

    "They would ask if a person is Kanuri or Shuwa before asking him to go," said Khala by telephone from Fotokol, across the border from the Nigerian town of Gamboru in the far north of Cameroon.

    "Once a person was identified as Shuwa‎ he would be shot in the back as soon as he stepped out of the market entrance to leave."

    Walfannea and Imar Koshnana, from Musiye village, both said the death toll from the attacks could be high but there was no official confirmation of numbers.

    News of the raids come as Nigeria's military trumpets its success in recapturing several towns from Boko Haram and after President Goodluck Jonathan said the "tide had turned" against the militants.

    Details were slow to emerge because the insurgents have destroyed telecom masts since the insurgency began in 2009.

    The attacks follow a Chadian ground and aerial offensive against Boko Haram enclaves in the Kala-Balge district that began on February 17 after troops seized the strategic town of Dikwa.

    Residents said Boko Haram suffered heavy casualties in the Chadian attacks, which were near the group's Sambisa Forest stronghold, where they have long had camps.

    One resident from the herding village of Gonori near Gamboru, Umar Sanda, said troops fought back after Boko Haram stole more than 400 cattle and killed four residents in a pre-dawn raid on Tuesday.

    "For more than two hours we kept hearing sounds of gunfire and explosions," he added. "The Chadian troops killed scores of the Boko Haram gunmen and recovered our cattle."

    abu/phz/har


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    Algiers, Algeria | AFP | Saturday 2/28/2015 - 19:36 GMT

    by Amal Belalloufi

    Mali's government and six militant groups from the country's violence-strewn north are to sign a peace accord in Algiers on Sunday, the Algerian foreign ministry announced.

    "The Malian parties will sign a peace accord on Sunday morning under the auspices of Algeria" at a ceremony in the capital, a ministry source said on Saturday.

    The ministry invited the media to the signing ceremony at 8:30 am (0730 GMT).

    Ethnic divisions run deep in the west African nation's northern desert, the cradle of a Tuareg separatist movement which has spawned several rebellions since the 1960s.

    Algeria and the United Nations have led mediation talks in Algiers since last July between ministers and six armed rebel groups amid an uptick in violence that threatened to jeopardise the peace process.

    The militant organisations which took part are dominated by Tuareg and Arabs, however, and no jihadist group was invited to the dialogue.

    Militants linked to Al-Qaeda seized control of northern Mali for more than nine months until a French-led military intervention of 2013 that partly drove them from the region.

    The accord transfers a raft of powers from Bamako to the country's restive north.

    The 30-page "Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali from the Algiers Process", seen by AFP on Friday, calls for "reconstruction of the country's national unity" in a manner that "respects its territorial integrity and takes account of its ethnic and cultural diversity".

    The draft deal proposes the creation of powerful elected regional assemblies led by a directly elected president, as well as "greater representation of the northern populations in national institutions".

    - 'Azawad reality' -

    From 2018 the government will set up a "mechanism to transfer 30 percent of budget revenues from the state to local authorities... with particular attention to the North", according to the document.

    It envisages an internationally funded Northern Development Zone to raise living standards to the levels enjoyed by the inhabitants of the rest of the country within 10-15 years.

    The document refers to "Azawad" -- the local name for a swathe of disputed territory the size of Texas -- as "a socio-cultural reality... shared by different populations of northern Mali".

    The draft sets out plans for a national conference bringing all sides together within two years of the signing of a "final and comprehensive peace agreement".

    A fifth round of talks started on February 16 aimed at bringing a lasting peace to northern Mali, which remains unstable despite the French-led intervention against Islamist rebels.

    Under the draft, militants are to be integrated into the Malian army to be redeployed in the north of the country, with joint patrols to start within two months of the deal being signed.

    On the economic front, a development zone will be set up for northern Mali to bring it up to the level of the rest of the country, with a share of the state budget being transferred to the north and revenues from natural resources being shared, within a period of 10 to 15 years.

    Finances are to be raised at an international donor conference.

    An international commission of inquiry will be tasked under the accord to probe war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and other serious violations of human rights committed in the Mali conflict.

    Political scientist Rachid Tlemcani, contacted by AFP, said the accord would be "a great victory of Algerian diplomacy" if it succeeds, but remained "sceptical" that it would resolve the root causes of the conflict.

    amb/vl/hc/srm

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


    0 0

    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali

    FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

    • Another above-average cereal crop was gathered in 2014

    • Cereal prices stable or declining, reflecting adequate regional supplies

    • Humanitarian assistance continues to be needed mostly for Malian refugees in northern Sahel region


    0 0

    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mauritania

    De faibles revenus et des termes d’échange en régression pour les ménages pauvres

    MESSAGES CLÉS

    • Les marchés de toutes les zones de moyens d’existence sont bien approvisionnés en céréales (riz, blé, maïs) et en denrées alimentaires importées. Toutefois, la forte baisse des revenus saisonniers limite la capacité d’achat des ménages pauvres de l’ouest de la Zone agropastorale, du centre de la Vallée du Fleuve Sénégal et du sud de la Zone oasienne. Ces ménages commencent à vivre une situation de Crise (Phase 3 de l’IPC).

    • La dégradation des conditions pastorales dans le sud de la partie centrale du pays pousse les éleveurs et agropasteurs à procéder à des ventes saisonnières atypiques. La baisse des prix des ovins et bovins dans les zones rurales accentue la dépréciation continue des termes d’échange. Le déficit des moyens d’existence qui affecte déjà les ménages pauvres pourrait s’étendre aux ménages moyens les plus fragiles, entre avril et juillet.


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