Articles on this Page
- 05/23/15--11:22: _Mali: Ber: Le camp ...
- 05/23/15--11:23: _Mali: La MINUSMA la...
- 05/23/15--19:30: _Niger: World Bank S...
- 05/24/15--14:37: _Niger: Niger: Situa...
- 05/24/15--15:27: _Nigeria: Boko Haram...
- 05/24/15--18:35: _Mali: Ber: MINUSMA ...
- 05/24/15--20:29: _Chad: Community coh...
- 05/24/15--20:43: _Mali: Transitional ...
- 05/25/15--00:26: _Mali: Mali: An Impo...
- 05/25/15--07:49: _Nigeria: Boko Haram...
- 05/25/15--08:54: _Mauritania: 10 Fact...
- 05/25/15--20:25: _Mali: EU boosts ass...
- 05/26/15--03:53: _Nigeria: Nigeria Si...
- 05/26/15--06:03: _Mali: 1 Casque bleu...
- 05/26/15--08:03: _Mali: One Peacekeep...
- 05/26/15--08:10: _Nigeria: Suspected ...
- 05/26/15--09:59: _Mauritania: Food wo...
- 05/26/15--10:11: _Nigeria: Northeast ...
- 05/26/15--10:36: _Mali: Le PAM distri...
- 05/26/15--10:55: _Nigeria: Death toll...
- 05/23/15--11:22: Mali: Ber: Le camp de la MINUSMA attaqué
- The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.8 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.
- 05/24/15--15:27: Nigeria: Boko Haram 'in deadly raid on NE Nigeria town'
- 05/24/15--18:35: Mali: Ber: MINUSMA Camp Attacked
- 05/24/15--20:29: Chad: Community cohabitation around Lake Chad
- 05/24/15--20:43: Mali: Transitional justice in Mali: opportunities and challenges
- 05/25/15--00:26: Mali: Mali: An Imposed Peace? Africa Report N°226
- 'Villages razed' -
- 'Crying for relatives' -
- 05/25/15--08:54: Mauritania: 10 Facts About Hunger In Mauritania
- 05/25/15--20:25: Mali: EU boosts assistance for the Sahel to increase resilience
Several attacks directed mainly at two islands (Tchoukoutalia and Ngouboua) of the Lake, were registered during the first half of April 2015 .
Attacks of Boko Haram on the Lake Region prompted the implementation of new security measures. Henceforth, at least two cars convoy are required for mission on the route N’Djame-na-Bol-Bagasola.
Informed of the presence of 500 refugees from Dar Es Salam site to the municipality of Diffa, a joint UNHCR-CNARR mission assessment accounted only for 38 refugees heading to Maiduguri.
Following a sensibilization campaign to the Parents and Teacher Association (PTA) the number of students experience the raised of 164% (from 224 to 592 children)
- 05/26/15--06:03: Mali: 1 Casque bleu tué et un blessé à Bamako
- 05/26/15--08:03: Mali: One Peacekeeper Killed and One Injured in Bamako
- 05/26/15--09:59: Mauritania: Food worries widen in Mauritania
Aujourd’hui peu après 15h, le camp de la MINUSMA à Ber a été la cible d’une dizaine de tirs d’obus.
Cette attaque intervient au moment où une délégation composée de personnel civil de la Mission, accompagnée de représentants des autorités locales et de la société civile, assistait à la libération de 10 personnes détenues jusqu’alors par la Coordination.
L’attaque n’a pas fait de victimes et la libération a pu s’effectuer sous la protection de la Force de la MINUSMA.
La MINUSMA condamne avec force et vigueur cette nouvelle attaque terroriste.
« Ces actes n’affecteront en rien notre détermination à poursuivre la mission que le Conseil de Sécurité nous a confiée », a déclaré le Représentant spécial du Secrétaire général, M. Mongi Hamdi.
La MINUSMA a reçu des rapports inquiétants faisant état de violations graves des droits de l’Homme et du Droit international humanitaire, dont l’exécution hier d’un certain nombre de civils parmi lesquels pourrait se trouver un travailleur d'une organisation non gouvernementale internationale , dans le village de Tin-Hamma, dans la région de Gao.
Ces exactions feraient suite aux affrontements qui ont opposé le 20 mai des membres de la Plateforme et de la Coordination des Mouvements de l’Azawad (CMA).
Conformément à son mandat, la MINUSMA déploie ce jour même une équipe d’enquête sur le terrain pour rapidement établir les faits.
En attendant les résultats de cette enquête, la MINUSMA souligne que si les informations rapportées sont avérées, ces actes constitueraient des crimes graves dont les responsables devront rendre compte devant la justice.
La MINUSMA exprime sa plus vive inquiétude devant l’escalade alarmante des confrontations armées dans plusieurs localités du nord du Mali et condamne une fois de plus les violations flagrantes et continues du cessez-le-feu qui mettent en péril le processus de paix et dont les premières victimes sont les populations civiles.
Ces confrontations ne cessent d’entraîner des déplacements significatifs de populations civiles qui aggravent la situation humanitaire au Mali.
La MINUSMA déplore également que ces violences réduisent grandement l’espace humanitaire, déjà limité, et affectent négativement l’accès et la distribution de l’aide humanitaire destinée aux populations vulnérables, notamment les femmes et les enfants, qui ont un besoin urgent d’assistance.
La MINUSMA, rappelle aux parties prenantes qu’en vertu de la Résolution 2164 du Conseil de Sécurité, elles doivent se conformer aux obligations que leur impose le droit international humanitaire: respecter et protéger le personnel, les installations et les secours humanitaires, faciliter le libre passage des acteurs humanitaires afin que l’aide puisse être apportée à tous ceux qui en ont besoin, tout en respectant les principes directeurs des Nations Unies concernant l’aide humanitaire et le droit international applicable.
WASHINGTON, May 22, 2015 — The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today approved the Population and Health Support Project to support the Government of Niger to improve delivery of reproductive health and nutrition services to women and children in some of Niger’s poorest regions. The project aims to benefit 15 million individuals, of which 60 percent will be women, who will have access to reproductive health services in order to reduce maternal mortality, infant mortality and the high fertility in this targeted regions.
The US$103 million International Development Association (IDA)* combined grant and credit approved today aims to improve access to reproductive health and nutrition services in five regions, Dosso, Maradi, Tahoua, Tillaberi and Zinder, where the majority of Niger’s population resides. The project will contribute to improving the provision of high quality reproductive, maternal, newborn and child, adolescent health and nutrition services, increase the demand for these health services. The project will boost the demand for reproductive health and increase the Ministry of Population and the Ministry of Health’s capacity to manage, coordinate, monitor and evaluate services in these remote and underserved communities.
Using an innovative approach, the project will address the demand and supply for improved health care. To contribute to increased demand, the project will support community dialogue, including men and women, health care workers and community leaders, on the benefits of reproductive and health care. Younger women will benefit from life skills and school support for girls’ empowerment activities to help address socio-cultural barriers impeding the use of reproductive health services. To help improve the supply of health care, other project supported activities will provide technical support and training for health personnel to improve their skills and knowledge, and funds to reimburse health care centers for services that poor families are unable to afford.
“This project’s multi-pronged approach to stimulating the demand for services can help women and adolescent girls to acquire the tools that help them have more control over their socioeconomic environment and the ability to make choices,” said Nestor Coffi, the World Bank Country Manager for Niger. “Improving health and nutrition and supporting capacity building of the Ministry of Health will lead to improvements in the cognitive development of children, educational achievement and economic productivity, contributing to the elimination of extreme poverty in Niger.”
The maternal mortality ratio in Niger, at 535 deaths per 100,000 births, is higher than in most other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Niger’s fertility rate (now at 7.6 children per woman) has increased over the past five years and is the highest in the Sahel sub- region. Yet only 49 percent of the population has access to a health facility within five kilometers of their home. Lack of proper nutrition contributes to the high prevalence of stunting among children under-five, especially for those living in remote, rural communities.
“Women and children are at the core of a country’s current and future economic productivity,” said Djibrilla Karamoko, the World Bank Task Team Leader for this Project. “This project will give priority to the worst-off regions in Niger and benefit women and children, both of which will contribute to reducing geographical, socioeconomic, and gender inequities, helping poor families to lift themselves out of poverty and to contribute to Niger’s overall economic growth.”
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Kano, Nigeria | AFP | Sunday 5/24/2015 - 21:39 GMT
Boko Haram fighters killed several people and destroyed dozens of homes in a raid on a town in northeast Nigeria's Borno state, local residents, a vigilante and the military said on Sunday.
Scores of Islamist militants in trucks and on motorcycles stormed the town of Gubio, 95 kilometres (60 miles) by road north of the state capital, Maiduguri, on Saturday night.
"Boko Haram invaded our town last night and killed many of our people and burnt more than half of the town," resident Babor Kachalla, who fled to Maiduguri following the attack, told AFP.
"We all fled into the bush amid volleys of bullets and rockets. We lost many people in the attack because the gunmen overpowered the soldiers guarding the town," he added, without specifying a death toll.
Another resident, Adam Kakami, said the attackers, who were dressed in military uniform, withdrew after six hours.
"We stayed in the bush from where we could hear sounds of guns up to 3:00 am (0200 GMT) when the shooting stopped but we could see fire from all over the town," he added.
"We decided not to return and moved towards Maiduguri because we were afraid they would return."
Civilian vigilante Babagana Gunda predicted a high death toll because Boko Haram "had a field day".
Last November the rebels invaded Gubio but were repelled by troops and vigilantes guarding the town.
A military officer in Maiduguri, who asked not to be identified because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said reinforcements succeeded in pushing the Islamists out of the town.
"The terrorists suffered heavy casualties but they inflicted large-scale damage on the town as half of it was burnt with rockets fired by the terrorists," he added.
Boko Haram, which wants to create a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria, has been pushed out of captured towns and territory since February by Nigerian troops with assistance from Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
The six-year conflict has claimed at least 15,000 lives and made more than 1.5 million people homeless.
© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse
The MINUSMA camp in Ber was targeted by a dozen shells shortly after 3 p.m. today.
This attack occurred at the same time as a delegation consisting of civilian personnel of the Mission, accompanied by representatives of the local authorities and civil society, was present for the release of 10 persons who had been held by the Coordination.
The attack caused no casualties and the release of the detainees could be carried out under the protection of the MINUSMA Force.
MINUSMA strongly condemns this terrorist attack.
“These acts will in no way affect our determination to continue with the mission the Security Council has tasked us with,” said Mr. Mongi Hamdi, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General.
May 21 2015: Towns and villages around Lake Chad are absorbing refugees and migrants from around the region. Elie Djimbarnodji discusses the causes and consequences of this for community relations.
One of the major challenges in the Lac region of Chad concerns how best to ensure peaceful cohabitation between several neighbouring communities. There are four key groups of people:
•Nigerian refugees who have fled towns and villages in Nigeria because of the conflict there.
•Returnees – Chadian migrants who left for Nigeria but have now returned.
•Displaced people – Chadians who have left their villages because of the threat from Boko Haram and have moved towards more urbanised areas.
•Local communities – who are absorbing the other three types of people.
At the root of their difficulties in living together is the big hit in economic activity which the region has suffered. Trade with Nigeria has become extremely difficult. Nomads and herders can no longer go to Nigeria with their cattle, and traders can’t import goods from across the border. Fishing on Lake Chad has been banned for security reasons. As such, local populations – whose three principal activities are raising livestock, trading, and fishing – have been left with few ways to pursue their livelihoods.
It is in this context that local inhabitants have seen waves of new arrivals. Unfortunately, their daily struggles have made relations difficult. Local people have complained that the new communities have caused problems, and will create shortages.
In particular, they claim three things:
•That the new arrivals have led to difficulties over shared resources, including pasture for livestock, land to cultivate and firewood.
•There is a climate of suspicion around the new arrivals, because they are not sure exactly who they are. This has led to questions surrounding their status: are there members of Boko Haram among them? Are there informers?
•Another source of worry is the humanitarian assistance which is primarily provided to refugees, returnees and displaced people by international NGOs and the UN. This is sometimes viewed badly by local groups, even though they also receive some assistance.
Although this is a broad analysis, it is instructive to reflect on the internal dynamics which lead to such conflicts. When poverty, inactivity, economic need and a lack of trust come together, small but key events can poison communities and worsen latent tensions. This means it is key to reflect on these actions and the ways in which these latent situations can be anticipated.
NGOs, local associations and organisations need to reflect on what work can be done to develop this fragile cohabitation. The public authorities are generally more inclined to response work than prevention, which is why action in anticipation would be useful. The first step is to identify the type of work and the relevant people who could undertake it. Based on the situations described and on the importance of tradition and religion, some of the principal community leaders who could be involved include imams and religious teachers, traditional authorities including heads of villages, cantons and ferricks (nomadic camps), and representatives of youth and other organisations.
Working with these leaders would help develop a shared recognition of the mutual need for peace, and could include training and awareness-raising activities as well as the development of a peaceful conflict resolution committee, bringing together members from each community.
This is not an exhaustive list. Once these actors have been identified and activities have been started, it would be beneficial to raise awareness of these issues among all the different populations involved, through or with their respective leaders. It would also be helpful to use this work to identify other people and activities who might become involved.
About the author
Elie Djimbarnodji is a Chadian communications specialist who has extensive peacebuilding and community support experience.
May 22 2015: The negotiations for a comprehensive peace deal in Mali have been marred by continuing violence and the refusal of key parties to sign the final document. Daniel Ozoukou discusses the prospects of the agreement making a lasting impact.
Transitional justice is always difficult, and nowhere is this truer than in Mali. The country, which is trying to negotiate a lasting settlement to its complicated conflict, will have to deal with a wide variety of issues as it seeks to establish procedures to deal with past and present crimes.
While the government and the Azawad movement argue over the signing of the Algiers Peace Agreement, deadly violence continues to affect Mali. But there are opportunities and challenges in this. Opportunities because there are incentives and initiatives for transitional justice in Mali, and challenges because there are still roadblocks to seeing it through.
What is transitional justice, and why is it relevant to the Malian context?
Transitional justice is the response to systematic violation of human rights in a country. This includes formal and judicial as well as traditional procedures, but all are aimed at documenting crimes, achieving prosecutions and building peaceful social and political relations.
Mali has experienced a violent conflict between non-state armed groups and Malian armed forces. Non-state armed groups affiliated to Al Qaeda occupied the northern regions of the country for several months in 2012. Investigations and reports reveal that many crimes have been committed by both the state army and the rebels. Consequently, tension and anger remain between many different groups, particularly in the north.
Various initiatives have been undertaken to build a lasting peace through reconciliation, truth and justice. Hence, in Mali there are some opportunities for transitional justice.
Opportunities for transitional justice in Mali
A Malian Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (CVJR) was established in January 2014 to replace the former Dialogue and Reconciliation Commission (CDR). The shift is important because the search for truth is an important pillar of transitional justice, including the right to judiciary process. The CVJR has the responsibility to investigate crimes committed between 1960-2013 – since independence – and make recommendations to the government. Its mission is to contribute to peace consolidation and national unity.
The Ouagadougou Peace Accord signed in 2013 and the Ceasefire Accord of May 2014 also reaffirm the creation of an international investigative commission. The International Criminal Court is also active in the country in order to investigate violations of human rights in the country following the 2012 crisis. These initiatives are key elements to engage in judiciary action to search for the truth and combat impunity.
Challenges to transitional justice in Mali
The first challenge to transitional justice in Mali is the security situation, which is once again becoming very unstable. The Mopti region, which was seen in the past as one of the most stable, is now threatened by the movement for the liberation of the Macina, which is strongly opposed to the presence of the Malian Armed Forces. Criminal attacks are increasing, and NGOs have reported more than 22 security incidents in April 2015. This is clearly a sign of the degradation of the security environment, and it is impeding the work of the investigators.
Furthermore, the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission is not yet completely operational, with its fifteen commissioners still to be nominated.
The Malian Peace Deal
The Government of Mali signed the Algiers Peace Accords after a long period of negotiation in March 2015, but some of its opponents, including the Coordination of Azawad Movements, have refused to sign. It is clear that without the accord the implementation of transitional justice initiatives will be compromised. On May 15, 2015, a final meeting for the signature of the Algiers Peace Accords was planned in Bamako, but the main rebel alliance said that despite agreeing to sign an initial agreement, it wanted further changes before agreeing to the final document.
So the Malian government signed the peace accord with pro-government fighters. That is the easy part. But the main player in the crisis is the Coordination of the Azawad Movement (CMA), and its refusal to sign means that peace will not yet come to Mali.
Those who did attend included high level delegations from Ecowas, the UN, African Union and civil society organisations, as well as 20 heads of state. I heard government officials and allied groups say that peace is back. But the deal signed in Bamako cannot positively impact on the peace process for the government has signed with its own militias without the significant opponent side – the CMA.
Two weeks ago the governmental militia, GATIA perpetrated a violent attack against the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) positions in Menaka, near Gao in the north of the country. This was followed by an ambush against the Malian army in the Timbuktu region.
Across the country violence is sparking, with armed groups claiming different parts of territory; in this case, the Macina Liberation Front (FLM) which operates in the centre of Mali, around the Mopti and Segou regions. The resurgence of criminal attacks, with IEDs and ambushes, suggest the conflict may soon escalate.
The head of peace operations at the UN, Hervé Ladsou, spoke of his regret at the non-participation of some of the parties to the conflict.
He also denounced the violations of the ceasefire, calling on all parties to resume dialogue and ultimately peace talks. In reaction to that statement, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s comments made the malaise between the UN operations in Mali and the government clear; the government accuses the UN of impartiality.
In Mali, people believe that the peace deal signed on Friday will lead to nothing.
The way forward
Real transitional justice could be a possibility in Mali. But it is facing many challenges including security, the inertia of the CVJR and the lack of a peace accord between the government and the Coordination of Azawad Movements.
An active civil society is key in supporting transitional justice mechanisms and initiatives. And Malian civil society is more and more active in transitional justice issues with the support of ABA ROLI and Freedom House. Twenty-two local organisations have been trained on transitional issues and a network of human rights advocates has been set up to monitor the situation across the country. The network has monitored human rights violations since the 2012 crisis and published a report in 2014. That report reveals 500 cases of human rights violations across the regions of Segou, Mopti, Gao, Timbuktu, Kidal and Bamako.
The local peacebuilding organisation WALIA is playing a leading role in mobilising communities to understand transitional justice and catalyse full participation from society. It stands at the forefront of the struggle against impunity and the achievement of sustainable reconciliation. In a country as fragile as Mali a strong civil society is a requisite to holding people accountable for their crimes and put pressure on the government. Malian civil society could play an important role in the transitional justice process.
The full report is available in: French
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
After eight months of negotiations between Malian parties, the government and some armed groups signed an agreement on 15 May 2015 in Bamako. Fighting has resumed, however, in the north and centre of Mali. Crucially, the Azawad Movements Coalition (CMA) has still not signed the agreement. It initialled the text on the eve of the ceremony but demands further discussion before fully accepting it. An agreement without the signature of the main coalition opposing the government is of little value and will likely make disarmament impossible. The mediation team should establish a framework that would allow for further talks and Malian parties should return to the negotiating table at the earliest opportunity. The UN Security Council and its UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), backed by France, must take a stronger stance against violations of the ceasefire.
All actors bear responsibility for the recent resumption of fighting. A significant part of the Malian political and military leadership still pursues the idea of seeking revenge for their earlier defeat at the hands of rebels through military means. There is a real danger that elements within the government try to portray non-signatories to the Bamako deal as spoilers to be dealt with militarily – an option that would have disastrous consequences. The government has problematic ties with groups within the Platform coalition, northern opponents of the CMA that regained control of the town of Menaka on 27 April. Meanwhile, some of the CMA’s demands are unrealistic and it continues to ignore the profound diversity of the northern populations, not all of which support all aspects of the CMA’s agenda. International mediators have imposed their own security agenda and have been too quick to close the door to further talks. Despite weeks of pressure the CMA has refused to sign the peace agreement but the mediators were nonetheless adamant about holding the ceremony on 15 May. During the ceremony, tensions between the Malian president and the UN under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations revealed substantial divergences on the process that should follow the signing.
Although no agreement is perfect, the proposed document has clear shortcomings. It repeats mistakes of the past, encouraging, for example, models of decentralisation and clientelism that have failed to bring peace. Rather than trying to change a deeply flawed political system, it seeks only to strengthen the institutions within it. The Malian parties, who refused to engage in direct dialogue, inherit a document that is written mostly by international mediators and in part reflects the mediators’ own interests. It prioritises the restoration of order and stability rather than aiming to meet a desire for genuine change that runs deep among northern populations. The agreement makes scant mention of issues like the access to basic social services, jobs or justice – concerns at the heart of popular demands. Prioritising security overshadows the need to restore the state’s social function across the Malian territory.
While the signing of the agreement closes the framework of dialogue without being able to include all belligerent parties, renewed fighting over recent weeks threatens parts of the country. The attack on Menaka took place on 27 April following the CMA’s proposal to initial the agreement in exchange for a resumption of talks before signing. The renewed fighting indicates that months of negotiations did not resolve the lack of trust between the parties. Hardliners on both sides appear uninterested in signing an agreement that includes all actors and instead took advantage of the deadlock to relaunch offensives. Neither the presence of MINUSMA nor the threat of sanctions has been sufficient to deter ceasefire violations in late April.
The Platform’s groups, which represent genuine interests in the north, are in part being manipulated by hardliners within the Malian government, who use them as proxies to avoid the Malian army directly engaging in combat. The risks of the conflict spreading are all the more worrying given that other parts of central Mali have been the scene of unprecedented insecurity in recent months. With armed groups becoming increasingly community-based, the resumption of fighting can lead to their further fragmentation and additional civilian casualties. To prevent Mali entering a new cycle of violence despite the signing of the Bamako agreement, political discussion must prevail over diplomatic coercion or military force.
1. Reestablish and ensure the observance of the ceasefire. To this end, MINUSMA must, with the support of the UN Security Council, show its determination to implement targeted sanctions in cases of proven violation.
2. Secure Menaka for an interim period following the Platform’s negotiated withdrawal and CMA’s commitment to maintain its troops outside the city.
3. Adjust the missions of the Barkhane French force to help MINUSMA ensure the observance of the ceasefire and secure Menaka following the Platform’s negotiated withdrawal.
4. Extend the activities of the Barkhane force to dissuade the main drug traffickers from engaging in military activities to conquer or protect territories.
5. Convince, together with other Malian partners, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (IBK) to clearly rule out any military options promoted from within his entourage and to pursue dialogue with the CMA.
To all Malian parties involved in the conflict:
6. Abstain from violating the ceasefire or face serious consequences. Signatory parties must refrain from considering all non-signatories to the agreement as hostile to the peace process as long as they respect the ceasefire agreement.
7. Accept the international mediation team’s offer to engage in a final round of discussions intended to secure all parties’ support and find room to improve the agreement.
To the Malian government and the 14 June Platform:
8. Favour direct political dialogue with CMA following signature of the agreement and, for this, call on moderation from the Platform coalition rather than encourage military operations.
To the Azawad Movements Coalition (CMA):
9. Publicly accept direct dialogue with the government as well as with the 14 June Platform.
10. Drop the most unrealistic demands at this stage of the negotiation process and recognise the profound diversity of the northern populations in relation to the CMA’s political agenda.
To the international mediation team:
11. Revive a complementary phase of negotiations that brings in as many actors as possible in support of the peace agreement.
12. Strengthen the agreement with additional clauses and by seeking consensus on its implementation. These clauses should suggest specific ways to resolve local conflicts, an important component of the crisis in northern Mali, through political dialogue instead of armed violence. They should also give priority to restoring the state’s social function across the Malian territory and underline the need for effective implementation of development programs.
Dakar/Brussels, 22 May 2015
Kano, Nigeria | AFP | Monday 5/25/2015 - 15:36 GMT
by Aminu ABUBAKAR
Boko Haram fighters hacked to death 10 people in remote northeast Nigeria, a local government official said on Monday, as the military claimed to have thwarted a fresh attack.
The attack happened early on Friday in the village of Pambula-Kwamda, the local government chairman of Madagali in the north of Adamawa state told AFP.
"The attackers went into the village around 4:00 am (0300 GMT) while residents were still asleep and used machetes to attack their victims," Maina Ularamu added.
News of the killings only emerged on Monday because of the remote location and communications difficulties caused by the insurgency.
It followed Boko Haram assaults on nearby Sabon Gari Hyembula village last weekend, in which three people were killed and seven women were kidnapped, Ularamu said.
"We believe they were the same people," he added.
Northern Adamawa state, which the military declared "clear" of insurgents in March, has been hit several times as troops target rebels in their Sambisa Forest stronghold, just across the border in Borno state.
Soldiers have rescued hundreds of kidnapped women and children from the forest.
On Sunday, 31 people who were freed last week -- most of them children under 12 -- were brought to the Malkohi camp outside the Adamawa state capital, Yola, relief officials said.
A camp worker, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said: "About four (of the women) gave birth in the forest. The children are looking really malnourished."
Some 275 women and children freed earlier this month were last week transferred to an undisclosed location to receive medical attention and counselling to help them come to terms with their ordeal.
Several women recounted seeing their husbands killed in front of them as they were abducted and then forced to marry their captors.
Some 10 women were visibly pregnant when AFP visited the camp earlier this month.
On Monday, defence spokesman Chris Olukolade said troops had thwarted an attack on Mafa, 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.
About 30 Boko Haram fighters were killed and "many others" wounded, he added.
Boko Haram on Saturday attacked the town of Gubio, 95 kilometres north of Maiduguri, with many feared killed, locals and vigilantes said.
Fleeing residents meanwhile said Nigerian fighter jets razed four villages occupied by Boko Haram near the border with Cameroon.
At least three jets bombed Duwu, Jarawa, Mallum Maja and Mudu in the Kalabalge area of Borno state over six hours on Sunday.
"It is very unlikely if anyone in the villages survived, going by the scale of the bombardment," said Idris Hassan, from the nearby Malawaji village.
Hassan was one of many locals who fled to Fotokol, across the border in northern Cameroon, to escape the aerial assault.
Residents there reported hearing huge explosions from the direction of Kalabalge from morning until afternoon on Sunday.
"Refugees from the affected villages living here have been crying for their relations trapped in the villages who were held hostage by Boko Haram," Umar Babakalli said.
Boko Haram fighters have flooded the Kalabalge district for the last two months as a result of a sweeping military offensive that drove them out of their Gwoza and Bama strongholds in Borno.
Thousands fled across the border into Chad and Cameroon as a result.
But the insurgents prevented residents from leaving the Kalabalge area in the past two weeks, said Yamani Bukar, who managed to escape from Jarawa on Saturday.
"Boko Haram gunmen would not allow people in the villages to leave and would return anyone they saw trying to leave, saying we must stay and die with them," he added.
He said the militants were short of weapons and had resorted to using crude weapons including bows and arrows, machetes and swords.
25 May 2015
Here are ten facts that shed light on the hunger situation in Mauritania. Please help WFP raise awareness by sharing these important facts on Twitter.
1) Mauritania is a food-deficit country, meaning that it does not produce enough food for the population to live on. It depends on imports for around 70 percent of its cereals needs.
2) Although Mauritania is a huge country – over 1,000,000 square kilometres – over 80 percent of the country’s land surface is desert. Less than 4 percent of the land is arable.
3) Nearly 10 percent of children under five suffer from acute malnutrition.
4) Multiple climate shocks have undermined the resiliency of people across the country. About 15 percent of the population is consistently food insecure, meaning that they struggle to have enough food to eat on a day-to-day basis.
5) About 25 percent of Mauritanians live on less than US$1.25 a day.
6) Half of the population does not have access to clean drinking water.
7) In 2015, WFP aims to assist more than 638,120 people living with food insecurity, including over 143,015 children under five, and over 22,495 pregnant and nursing mothers suffering from acute malnutrition.
8) Mauritania hosts the largest number of Malian refugees. As of 31 March 2015, over 52,000 refugees are living in Mbera refugee camp. Since the beginning of the political turmoil in Mali, WFP has been providing life-saving food assistance to refugees who continue to depend largely on external support to meet their most basic survival needs.
9) Primary school retention rates are very low in Mauritania. 42 percent of boys complete their basic education, and only 34 percent of girls complete theirs.
10) WFP provides school meals to over 156,000 primary school children from food insecure and vulnerable households, which supports their access to primary education.
Brussels, 22 May 2015
The European Commission is providing assistance worth €34 million for immediate food aid for the most vulnerable people in Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso. Coming at the start of the lean season in the Sahel region, this funding will help bridge the gap until the next harvest.
"Millions of people in the Sahel are exposed to the risk of hunger and it is crucial that we keep helping to meet their immediate needs. This emergency aid continues in parallel with the European Union's work with the Sahel countries and partners on strengthening the resilience of the most vulnerable people to future crises," said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.
The assistance will be delivered through cash, vouchers or food, depending on the local market situation.
This new funding comes from the 11th European Development Fund reserve and brings the Commission's total humanitarian aid for the Sahel region to €185 million in 2015. Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International cooperation and Development added: "Building resilience is a major priority in EU development cooperation. We stand side by side with our Sahel partners to improve food and nutrition security and enhance resilience through our support to agriculture, health, water and education".
The Sahel crisis remains extremely complex. One in seven people in the region - more than 20 million in total - do not have enough affordable and nutritious food for healthy life. As many as 5.8 million children suffer from acute malnutrition and 4.3 million people need emergency relief.
The conflict in northern Nigeria and Mali further aggravates the situation that drove hundreds of thousands of refugees looking for shelter in Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Cameroon, where host communities themselves often struggle to survive.
Another problem is drought in the second half of last year which has jeopardised harvests and is making it even harder for the poorest to buy food.
The growing humanitarian needs require both massive relief aid and measures to address the root causes of food insecurity and malnutrition and increase the resilience of the poorest people. The European Commission has been instrumental in the creation of AGIR, a global alliance to strengthen resilience in West Africa which has set itself a ‘Zero hunger’ goal by 2032.
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Hier soir vers 19h30, un incident impliquant un véhicule de la MINUSMA a eu lieu dans les environs de l’aéroport de Bamako.
Un Casque bleu a été blessé, un autre a succombé suite à ses blessures.
L'enquête actuellement en cours permettra de déterminer les circonstances exactes de l’incident.
La MINUSMA présente ses condoléances à la famille du défunt et souhaite un prompt rétablissement au blessé.
An incident involving a MINUSMA vehicle took place near the Bamako airport yesterday evening at around 7:30 p.m.
One peacekeeper was wounded, while another died of his injuries.
The investigation currently underway will allow MINUSMA to determine the exact circumstances of the incident.
MINUSMA extends its condolences to the family of the deceased and wishes a speedy recovery to the peacekeeper who was injured.
Lagos, Nigeria | AFP | Tuesday 5/26/2015 - 14:40 GMT
Suspected Fulani herdsmen killed at least 23 people in central Nigeria, the latest clash in a long-running battle with farming communities in the restive region, police said Tuesday.
"There was an attack by unknown gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen on three villages in Logo local government area, (Benue) state," said police spokesman Austin Ezeani, referring to Saturday's violence.
"As at yesterday, 23 people were (confirmed) killed," he told AFP.
Benue is part of Nigeria's so-called Middle Belt, where the mainly Christian south meets the predominately Muslim north.
The Fulani, who are mostly Muslim, have been blamed for waves of attacks on largely Christian agrarian groups, with tensions high over access to land and other basic rights.
Fulani groups have accused farmers in Benue of stealing their cattle.
Ezeani said the motive for the latest attack had not yet been established and that officers had been deployed to the targeted villages.
"The people are still living under fear and panic but we have assured them of adequate security," the spokesmen said.
Though often portrayed as the aggressors in central Nigeria's sectarian strife, the Fulani receive inferior treatment under the law in Benue and neighbouring Plateau state.
They are not considered indigenous to the area, meaning they have reduced access to land, education and political office, with most key positions held by members of Christian ethnic groups.
The Fulani are repeatedly accused of encroaching on farmland that belongs to so-called indigenous people but some Fulani have lived in central Nigeria for decades, or longer.
The fighting has typically been cyclical, with one incident capable of sparking a series of reprisals.
Ezeani said ethnic Tiv farmers in Benue had accused herdsmen of "destroying their farmlands and raping their women".
He did not say if there was any evidence to support such accusations.
By Mamoudou Lamine Kane and Jennifer Lazuta
NOUAKCHOTT, 26 May 2015 (IRIN) - As the food security situation in Mauritania continues to deteriorate, aid workers say the next few months could be among the most difficult in years, particularly for those living in the southern and eastern parts of the country.
More than 1.3 million people nationwide are currently food insecure, according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) assessment, which is conducted by stakeholders such as the World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Oxfam and Save the Children.
Among them, nearly half a million people are expected to fall into severe food insecurity by June and be “unable to meet their food needs without external assistance." Around 21,000 will suffer extreme food insecurity, or a near complete depletion of their livelihoods.
“Mauritania is a country which is affected by climate change, as well as recurrent climate-related shocks, like the drought,” said Janne Suvanto, WFP's country director in Mauritania. “In recent years there have been successive shocks that have seriously affected the food and nutrition security of the country, and this has particularly undermined the resilience capacity of the most vulnerable populations.”
Many families still have not recovered from the 2012 drought, which left more than 800,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance.
Suvanto told IRIN that recent assessments show that the food security situation has gradually worsened in Mauritania since mid-2013 and that it is now at the same levels as during the 2012 drought.
Not enough water
Mauritania, which is about 75 percent Saharan desert and 25 percent Sahel, normally sees an average annual rainfall of less than 100 millimetres per year, according to the FAO. In recent years, locals say the rains have become even less frequent and more erratic.
Due to poor soil and agricultural conditions, many people rely on pastoralism and animal husbandry for their livelihoods.
“These last few years, have been more and more difficult,” said Hussein Ould Imijen, who has already lost 10 animals this year due to hunger and thirst. It is a devastating loss, as like most people in the community, Imijen’s ability to feed his family depends on the sale of his livestock.
In Taboit town, local resident Zeinabou Mint Mamadou Ould Neji told IRIN: "Low rainfall in recent years has not helped restore groundwater.”
She said the water levels in the wells are barely enough to cover drinking and cooking needs, never mind watering crops or gardens.
Even in towns, such as Azgueiloum in Gorgol, in southern Mauritania, which is located along the Senegal River, water is scarce.
“We have some beans and corn this year, but early drought this year has cost us dearly,” said Aminetou Mint Abeid, who is part of a women’s gardening association in Nabaam. “The assistance of international NGOs has allowed us to be a little more independent and meet our needs, but in hard times it isn’t [enough].”
Souleymane Sarr, who works for Oxfam, which has been working to improve access to water in Gorgol, agreed.
"Water is central to all these areas,” he told IRIN. “You can’t help them achieve anything without the assurance of the sustainable access to water.”
Not enough food
Dry-cereal harvests last year, such as millet, sorghum and rice, were 38 percent lower than the average of the last five years due to poor rainfall, which, according to WFP’s Suvanto, is “quite a significant figure” and will make this year’s lean season even more difficult than usual.
Many families have begun to cut down on the number of meals they eat each day as well as the quality of the food. Many people have begun selling off assets to afford staple foods.
Nearly 140,000 children under the age of five and pregnant or lactating mothers are now affected by acute malnutrition.
The health of school-aged children could be affected by the suspension of WFP's school feeding programme in March, due to lack of funding, which helped nourish some 86,000 primary school-aged children from the country’s most vulnerable families.
Some people blame the government for not doing more.
"None of the families you see in this village received even one feed bag they were supposed to receive from the government,” said Isselmou Ould Mohamed. “Without Oxfam, ACF, or some local NGOs, there would be many more dead animals.”
"These are criminal acts,” said another angry resident in the town of Monguel, who wished to remain anonymous. “Here, our children are hungry and our cattle die. And still [the government] does not propose a solution.”
The Ministry of Rural Development, which is in charge of agriculture and livestock programmes, declined to comment.
In addition to rural areas, where the majority of food insecure people are normally concentrated, aid workers say particular attention needs to be paid to urban areas, where hunger issues are spreading.
Recent WFP assessments show that the food security situation in the outskirts of the capital, Nouakchott, for example, have been deteriorating since 2011, due in large part to the migration of the rural population to cities in search of food or work.
WFP’s Suvanto said that the organization has been working with the government and other partners on the ground to build up the safety nets of the country’s most vulnerable families by distributing food and cash.
Funding shortfalls, however, continue to limit operations.
The current WFP project is just 32 percent funded, with at least $28.1 million needed to continue operations through the end of December. The current budget allows WFP to cover just 45 percent of needs in those areas where the work is concentrated.
ABUJA, Nigeria, 26 May 2015 – More women and children have been used as suicide bombers in Northeast Nigeria in the first five months of this year than during the whole of last year, according to reports collated by UNICEF.
In 2014, 26 suicide attacks were recorded, compared to 27 attacks as of May 2015. In at least three-quarters of these incidents, women and children were reportedly used to carry out the attacks.
“Children are not instigating these suicide attacks; they are used intentionally by adults in the most horrific way,” said Jean Gough, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria. “They are first and foremost victims – not perpetrators.”
The frequency and intensity of the suicide attacks involving women and girls have increased sharply this year. Girls and women have been used to detonate bombs or explosive belts at crowded locations, such as market places and bus stations.
Since July 2014, nine suicide incidents involving children aged between approximately 7 and 17 years – all of them girls – have been reported. Their identity and exact ages have not been verified, as estimates are based primarily on eyewitness accounts.
An estimated 743,000 children have been uprooted by the conflict in the three most affected states in Nigeria; the number of unaccompanied and separated children could be as high as 10,000, according to UNICEF estimates.
“Many children have been separated from their families when they fled the violence, with no one to look after them,” said Gough. “Without the protection of their families, these children are at greater risk of exploitation by adults, and this can lead to involvement in criminal or armed group activities.”
UNICEF is concerned that the increasing use of children as suicide bombers could lead to children being perceived as potential threats, which would put all children associated with armed groups at risk of retaliation and would impede their rehabilitation and reintegration in their communities.
UNICEF and partners are working with national authorities to reduce children’s vulnerability by identifying children who are without parents or relatives and providing them with appropriate care. In addition, over 35,000 children have been reached with psychosocial support to help them cope with the acute distress they have suffered as a result of the conflict.
As the incoming President of Nigeria is expected to be sworn-in this week, UNICEF calls on the Nigerian authorities to place the safety and well-being of all children, especially those affected by the crisis in the Northeast, at the center of the political agenda.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
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BAMAKO – Le Programme Alimentaire Mondial des Nations Unies (PAM) a commencé à distribuer une assistance alimentaire à quelque 29 000 personnes déplacées suite à la recrudescence de violence dans le nord du Mali. Le PAM a fourni 13 tonnes de barres de céréales énergétiques samedi dernier et a maintenant commencé à distribuer des rations alimentaires pour un mois.
Environ 31 000 personnes ont été obligées de fuir au cours des deux dernières semaines, la plupart dans la région de Tombouctou, suite à une escalade d’attaques par des groupes armés. Au cours des derniers jours, plus de 500 personnes ont traversé la frontière vers le Niger, la Mauritanie et le Burkina Faso voisin.
Les personnes nouvellement déplacées dans la région de Tombouctou ont trouvé refuge dans les villes de Tonka, Goundam et Gourma Rharous dans le nord du Mali et logent dans des abris temporaires ou dans des familles d'accueil. Ils font face à un besoin urgent d'eau, de nourriture, d'autres articles de première nécessité et d’abris.
"Les combats dans le nord du Mali sont en train de réduire considérablement l’espace humanitaire, déjà limité, et entrave l'assistance humanitaire vitale pour de nombreuses personnes très vulnérables. Le transport fluvial et routier est sérieusement affecté par les combats ce qui perturbe la mise en œuvre de l’assistance alimentaire par le PAM et nos partenaires ", a déclaré Sally Haydock, la représentante du PAM au Mali.
"L'état actuel des choses ne fait qu’empirer une situation déjà difficile puisque plus de 3 millions de personnes luttent pour avoir assez à manger, et les communautés d'accueil se préparent à faire face à une période de soudure difficile," a-t-elle ajouté.
Une enquête nationale sur la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition conduite récemment a révélé que 410 000 personnes avaient besoin d'une assistance alimentaire d’urgence. Ce nombre est susceptible d'augmenter pendant la période de soudure quand les stocks alimentaires diminuent en attendant la nouvelle récolte. Le PAM prévoit d'assister au moins 350 000 personnes pendant la période allant de juin à septembre.
"Si la situation continue à se détériorer, nous nous attendons à une augmentation du nombre de personnes nécessitant une assistance alimentaire vitale", a déclaré Sally Haydock. "A ce jour, moins de la moitié des besoins de financement du PAM sont couverts. Le PAM a besoin de toute urgence de 64 millions de dollars E.-U. supplémentaires afin de répondre aux besoins croissants ".
En 2015, le PAM prévoit d’assister 1,2 million de personnes au Mali en apportant une assistance d'urgence et un appui supplémentaire aux communautés sortant d’une situation de crise.
Le PAM prévoit aussi de fournir une assistance alimentaire aux réfugiés maliens nouvellement arrivés au Niger, au Burkina Faso et en Mauritanie.
Le PAM est la plus grande agence humanitaire qui lutte contre la faim dans le monde en distribuant une assistance alimentaire dans les situations d'urgence et en travaillant avec les communautés pour améliorer leur état nutritionnel et renforcer leur résilience. Chaque année, le PAM apporte une assistance à quelque 80 millions de personnes dans près de 75 pays.
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Maude Berset, WFP/Mali, Mob. +223 76 71 26 29
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Elisabeth Byrs, WFP/Geneva: +41 79 473 4570
Frances Kennedy, WFP/Rome: +39 0665133725
Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-646-5566909, Mob. +1-646-8241112
Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, Tel. +44 20 72409001, Mob. +44 7968 008474
Maiduguri, Nigeria | AFP | Tuesday 5/26/2015 - 17:42 GMT
A weekend attack by Boko Haram in the northeast Nigerian town of Gubio left 37 people dead, with more than 400 buildings destroyed by fire, local vigilantes said Tuesday.
The civilian fighters gave the toll to Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima, who visited the town to assess the devastation.
"The terrorists killed 37 people, including two young boys," said Bukar Mondama, the leader of the vigilantes who briefed the governor.
Scores of Islamist militants in trucks and on motorcycles stormed Gubio, 95 kilometres (60 miles) north of Maiduguri, Borno's capital, on Saturday night.
Mondama said the vigilantes were caught off guard as they were playing football when the strike was launched.
"They destroyed over 400 structures, including eight mosques, four schools, the local governments secretariat, 22 vehicles and several motorbikes," he added.
His account was supported by another vigilante, Modu Yusuf, who also briefed Shettima.
No death toll was given in initial reports of the attack that emerged on Sunday but locals described Boko Haram as having had "a field day".
The governor offered compensation to the victims, vowing to rebuild homes and schools.
"You should persevere... terrorists will never succeed. We will defeat them," he told survivors of the attack.
Last November the rebels invaded Gubio but were repelled by troops and vigilantes guarding the town.
Boko Haram, which wants to create a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria, has been pushed out of captured towns and territory since February by Nigerian troops with assistance from Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
The six-year conflict has claimed at least 15,000 lives and made more than 1.5 million people homeless.
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