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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/19/2013 23:16 GMT

    by Christophe Koffi

    ABIDJAN, Jan 19, 2013 (AFP) - West African leaders Saturday sought urgent UN aid for a regional force to fight Islamists in Mali as President Francois Hollande said French troops would remain as long as needed to stamp out "terrorism".

    The emergency summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc also called on member states and Chad, which has pledged 2,000 troops, to put words into action without haste.

    Only about 100 African soldiers of a planned 5,800 African force have so far reached Mali, while France said Saturday that 2,000 French soldiers were now on the ground after Paris launched an offensive a little over a week ago to stop Islamists swooping down from the north, which is under their control.

    A statement at the end of the Abidjan meeting called on the United Nations "to immediately provide financial and logistical backing for the deployment of MISMA", the African force.

    African troop deployments have always been long-drawn affairs. A diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "The truth is that ECOWAS has no money to transport its troops".

    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who also attended the summit, said it was time for the Africans to take charge of the task of halting the extremist advance "as soon as possible".

    "It is vital that the maximum number of countries worldwide contribute" to the effort, he said, speaking ahead of a donors' conference in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on January 29.

    "France was obliged to intervene very, very rapidly, otherwise there would have been no more Mali," Fabius said. "But it is well understood that it is the Africans that must pick up the baton."

    But Hollande, speaking in France, said: "I am often asked the question: how long will this last? I reply... 'As long as is necessary'. As long as is necessary so that terrorism can be defeated in that part of Africa".

    Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, who is also the current head of ECOWAS, said it was high time others did their bit to help end the crisis.

    "The hour has come for a broader commitment by the major powers and more countries and organisations to the military operations to show greater solidarity with France and Africa," he said.

    "We must speed up the re-establishment of Mali's territorial integrity with the logistical support of our partners ... (and) go beyond our current deployment numbers," Ouattara said, warning that the crisis threatened to destabilise the region.

    Malian soldiers, backed by French troops and air power, retook the key central town of Konna on Thursday from Al-Qaeda-linked rebels who had swooped down more than a week ago and threatened the capital Bamako.

    There were conflicting reports on another town, Diabaly, which the Malian army claimed was recaptured but the French defence ministry effectively denied this.

    Mali's interim President Dioncounda Traore, in an address on state television late Saturday, vowed to rout the Islamists who he said wanted "to impose a medieval ideology on our people".

    "This war will be without doubt costly and tiring," he said but added: "We will win this war in the name of civilisation and democracy."

    Traore also appealed to other countries to back the drive against the militants by extending "logistical and any other kind of aid to create a region that is rid of terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime".

    The French presence has been a lifeline for Mali's ill-equipped and demoralised soldiers, struggling to fight an amalgam of Islamist and Tuareg rebel groups.

    The Malian army proved no match for Tuareg separatist rebels who took them by surprise when they relaunched a decades-old rebellion in January last year.

    As anger rose over their defeats, a group of soldiers overthrew the government in Bamako in a disastrous March coup, which only made it easier for the Tuareg and their new Islamist allies to seize the vast arid north.

    bur-ach/gk

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/19/2013 20:14 GMT

    BAMAKO, Jan 19, 2013 (AFP) - Residents of the Islamist-held northern Mali town of Gao on Saturday killed a local jihadist leader to avenge the murder of a journalist, officials said.

    Sema Maiga, a deputy of the town's mayor, said the Islamists beat local journalist Kader Toure to death after accusing him of "working for the enemy", adding that residents then "killed an Islamist chief called Alioune Toure".

    A local teacher, who gave his name only as Issa, confirmed the killing in a telephone text message, saying "The Islamists beat a radio journalist to death accusing him of diffusing anti-Islamic ideas.

    "But the youths of Gao decided to punish the Islamist police. We lynched the head of the Islamist brigade. I hope the message has circulated. Fear has now changed sides and now the other camp is scared."

    Gao, which is about 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) northeast of Bamako, has for nearly nine months been under the control of Islamist militants from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad (MUJAO) who imposed a harsh form of Islamic law that included the amputation of the hands of thieves.

    They had briefly cut telecommunication links to the town to stop residents from passing information to advancing French and Malian troops.

    French air strikes that began on January 11 to halt an Islamist advance have subsequently driven the insurgents from their strongholds in the north to take shelter in the vast desert territory.

    sd/ach/gd

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: International Organization for Migration
    Country: Mali
    preview


    KONNA

    • 50% des personnes (plusieurs milliers) qui s’étaient déplacées de Konna dans les villages avoisinantes, incluant de l’autre cotée du fleuve, suite à l’attaque du 9 janvier seraient en train de retourner vers Konna (Source: autorités locales)

    • La ville de KONNA est actuellement sécurisée par les militaires français et maliens NIONO Peu de mouvement de population suite à la présence des troupes française et malienne à Diabaly (depuis hier) et Konna (avant-hier)

    KIDAL

    • Il y aurait des personnes qui se seraient déplacées de la ville vers les villages avoisinantes de Kidal et de Gao.

    • Une partie de la population se déplacerait vers l’Algérie ; certains peuvent passer la frontière mais d’autres non et s’installent dans des camps. Il faudrait prévoir que d’autres camps ou autre types de refuges soient érigés pour accommoder les personnes déplacées au long de la frontière.

    • Les déplacements de Kidal vers le Niger et Burkina Faso sont aussi observés.

    SIKASSO

    Il n’y aurait pas de nouveau déplacés selon les informations reçues.

    MARKALA

    La ville serait sécurisée par les militaires français et les travailleurs autochtones qui ‘étaient partis travailler à Konna reviennent.

    NB: Les données qui ont été recueillies hier sont en train d’être compilées et seront partagées demain (21 janvier)


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    Source: Kenya Daily Nation
    Country: Kenya

    By NATION CORRESPONDENT

    Farmers in Central, Rift Valley and Eastern regions of the country will benefit from a training programme on good crop husbandry, thanks to a campaign by an agro-chemical company.

    Greenlife Crop Protection Africa Ltd has been undertaking research on challenges faced by farmers and hopes to support them to boost production.

    “Most farmers are not able to recognise pest threats. Also, failure to use the right chemicals results in heavy losses,” said the company’s horticulture manager, Mr George Kariuki.

    “In the next two weeks, we have lined-up various meetings with farmers from Nakuru, Eldoret, Thika and Laikipia, with the national event being held in Naivasha,” he said.


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    Source: Catholic Relief Services
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger (the)

    As fighting increases in the West African nation of Mali, Catholic Relief Services is preparing to expand its lifesaving work that is now providing assistance to thousands of people displaced by the violence that has engulfed the northern part of the country for nearly a year.

    “We have been helping those displaced since combat began and, though we have to take precautions to protect our staff and assets in the affected areas, most of our work has not been interrupted,” said Sean Gallagher, CRS country representative in Mali. “With the escalation of fighting in the north and incursions further south in Mali, we expect to see even more people arrive in Bamako. They’ll likely need assistance with shelter, food and cash to meet their most urgent needs, and we are preparing to help them meet those needs.”

    In Bamako, Mali’s capital, where hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the conflict have sought refuge, CRS continues to hand out emergency cash to help people pay rent, buy food and access health services. Elsewhere, CRS is preparing to distribute food to the most vulnerable. CRS also ran feeding programs in areas close to the fighting. Additional CRS staff is arriving in Mali to help the country program undertake new assessments to prepare to address the needs of the newly displaced.

    Since March 2012, Mali has essentially been divided in two, as Islamist rebels, taking advantage of instability in Mali’s government in Bamako, occupied the northern half of the country. Fighting has now intensified around several northern and central towns as French, and now African, troops have joined the Malian army’s attempts to keep the rebels from advancing further south and to win back territory.

    Since the last round of fighting began earlier this month, there have been more than 8,000 newly displaced people in southern Mali, bringing the total number to more than 228,000, according to the UN. Nearly 145,000 Malians have fled to neighboring countries since the beginning of the conflict, including Burkina Faso and Niger, where CRS county programs have been assisting them.

    CRS Regional Information Officer Helen Blakesley will arrive in Mali on Monday, January 21 and can assist journalists. For more information, contact:

    Helen Blakesley
    helen.blakesley@crs.org
    +221.77.333.4231 (From the U.S., dial 011.221.77.333.4231)
    Twitter: @hmblakesley
    Skype: helenblakesley


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    Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development
    Country: Kenya

    MARALAL, Kenya [ACTED News] - In the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands of Kenya, poor maintenance and management of water points, often shared between humans and animals, contributes to the unhygienic living conditions in the area. To tackle this situation and improve hygiene and sanitation in the area, ACTED teams have rehabilitated 12 water points and have created a Water Management Committee (WMC) for each site. The WMCs have all been trained by ACTED in management, operations and maintenance of the rehabilitated water points in order to ensure the cleanliness of the water points and to resolve any tensions around their usage. Proper oversight and maintenance of the water points is key to reducing health risks related to viral and waterborne diseases for the communities in the area. This project is supported by the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.


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    Source: Human Rights Watch
    Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Kenya, Mali, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan (the), Zimbabwe

    AU Summit: Rights Key for Addressing Crises

    Protecting Civilians in Mali, Eastern DRC Among Priorities

    (Addis Ababa, January 21, 2013) – The African Union (AU) should make human rights central to its discussions about crises situations in Africa at its summit meeting this week in Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch said today in an open letter to the AU chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The Ordinary Summit begins on January 21, 2013, and AU heads of state are due to meet on January 27 and 28 in Addis Ababa.

    The AU summit should address the human rights crises in Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and Somalia as well as the human rights challenges around upcoming elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe, Human Rights Watch said. Of particular concern are the human rights implications of the deployment of an African Union/United Nations-supported international military force in Mali and the need to ensure proper safeguards for protecting civilians and a human rights monitoring capability. Potential abuses not only by the Malian security forces but also by the armed forces of countries potentially taking part in the operation bring particular urgency to the situation, with the recent resumption of hostilities in Mali.

    “The AU summit is an important regional forum for ensuring that human rights considerations are injected into every crisis response,” said Tiseke Kasambala, Africa advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “The AU has a crucial role to play in ensuring that the military intervention in Mali does not contribute to further human rights violations in already insecure environments. That means abiding by international law and making civilian protection a priority.”

    In eastern Congo, concerted regional and international action is required to help end the cycle of abuses, Human Rights Watch said. Over the past nine months, M23 rebels in eastern Congo have committed widespread abuses amounting to war crimes, including deliberate killings of civilians, summary executions, rapes, and recruitment of child soldiers. The rebels have received significant logistical and military support from neighboring Rwanda.

    Talks between the M23 and the Congolese government, which began in December 2012 and resumed in January, appear to be faltering and so far, have made little progress.

    “The violence in eastern Congo continues to lead to appalling loss of civilian life,” Kasambala said. “Rwanda should immediately stop supporting the abusive rebel group M23 and the AU should insist that M23 commanders implicated in war crimes are brought to justice.”

    Ongoing talks over the deployment of an African-led intervention brigade as part of the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo should consider mandating this force to support arrest operations of suspects sought on international and national warrants for war crimes and crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said.

    In Sudan, the human rights and humanitarian situation has deteriorated, particularly in the conflict-affected areas of Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur. The fighting between the Sudanese armed forces and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army-North (SPLA-North) in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states has affected nearly one million people, forcibly displacing hundreds of thousands from both states since mid-2011. The Sudanese military has used indiscriminate aerial bombardments in populated areas of both states.

    Government forces along with government-affiliated militia are also responsible for other serious abuses against civilians in both states, such as ground attacks on villages, destruction of grain and water sources that are critical to the survival of the population, arbitrary detention, and sexual violence against women and girls. Sudan has blocked humanitarian aid groups from the areas outside government-controlled towns where civilians are in dire need of food aid.

    In Darfur, armed conflict between the government forces and militias and the rebel groups continues, in addition to inter-ethnic clashes over resources. Scores of people have been killed in the fighting and the AU/UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) peacekeepers have repeatedly come under attack. The Sudanese government restricts the movement of AU/UN peacekeepers and nongovernmental organizations, preventing access to large parts of the region. The AU should press the government of Sudan to grant immediate and unfettered access to humanitarian agencies in the conflict-affected areas of Darfur, and Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan, Human Rights Watch said.

    “An urgent response is required to resolve the humanitarian and human rights crisis in Sudan,” Kasambala said. “The AU should demand that the Sudanese government immediately stop the indiscriminate aerial bombardments and other violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.”

    During the past year, a new government replaced the transitional authority in Somalia, and AMISOM troops made significant military advances into territory held by the Islamist armed group Al-Shabaab. The human rights situation in Somalia nonetheless remains poor, Human Rights Watch said. State security forces have been implicated in serious violations of fundamental rights that contribute to the insecurity of the population. These include killings of journalists in government-controlled areas, rape, and severe restrictions on access to food and shelter for displaced people.

    Foreign forces including Kenyan forces under AMISOM command, as well as Ethiopian forces, have also committed abuses in south-central Somalia during military operations, including indiscriminate shelling.

    “The AU should urge the Somali authorities to end abuses by state security forces,” Kasambala said. “The AU should also ensure that respect for humanitarian law and accountability for abuses during military operations by AMISOM are a priority.”

    The deployment of a long-term AU election observer mission to Kenya this coming March is an important contribution to free and fair elections, but the possibility of election-related violence is a growing concern, Human Rights Watch said. In the past year, 400 people have been killed and over 200,000 people displaced in incidents of ethnic, resource-based, and politically motivated violence in the coast region of Northern Kenya and parts of Nairobi. The pre-election violence has been among the worst in Kenya since 1992.

    Few of those responsible for the violence that followed the 2007 elections in Kenya have been brought to justice, raising fears that those responsible for the violence during the 2007 elections could carry out further acts of violence in 2013.

    “The ongoing violence and lack of justice for victims of human rights abuses during the 2007 elections makes it vital for the AU to send a strong message to the Kenyan authorities that grave abuses should not go unpunished,” Kasambala said.

    The AU should provide for early deployment and sufficient numbers of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and AU election observers to Zimbabwe, where a lack of institutional and legal reform has raised the specter of violence and other rights abuses during elections to be held in 2013. The AU should keep the monitors on the ground after the elections, long enough to deter violence and intimidation.

    For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Mali, please visit: http://www.hrw.org/africa/mali

    For more Human Rights Watch reporting on the Democratic Republic of Congo, please visit: http://www.hrw.org/drc

    For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Sudan, please visit: http://www.hrw.org/africa/sudan

    For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Somalia, please visit: http://www.hrw.org/africa/somalia

    For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Kenya, please visit: http://www.hrw.org/africa/kenya

    For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Zimbabwe, please visit: http://www.hrw.org/africa/zimbabwe


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    Source: ICRC
    Country: Mali

    18-01-2013 Operational Update

    Central and northern Mali has been in the grip of crisis since early last year. Civilians continue to suffer the effects of the hostilities, which have entered a new phase in the past week.

    People are fleeing their homes in areas affected by the clashes, especially in central Mali.

    "Over 550 people have fled to Sévaré from the town of Konna and the surrounding area,” said Philippe Mbonyingongo, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Mopti. “It seems that some of Konna’s inhabitants have escaped to the other side of the Niger river, while others have chosen to stay put.”

    There is acute concern about the fate of civilians who remain in Konna and Diabali. Currently unable to access either town, the ICRC and the Mali Red Cross will try to assess the need for humanitarian aid in villages on the edge of the conflict zones.

    "Our priority is to help those who’ve been displaced or wounded," said Jean-Nicolas Marti, head of the ICRC delegation for Mali and Niger. “We’ll also be closely monitoring the welfare of the civilian population and striving to ensure that wounded and captured combatants are spared.”

    In central and northern Mali, the organization is working closely with the Mali Red Cross and its volunteers. The ICRC has around 100 staff in Mopti, Gao, Kidal and Tombouctou.

    In neighbouring countries, the ICRC and the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are closely monitoring the refugee situation, especially in Mauritania, Algeria and Burkina Faso.

    Since 10 January, the ICRC has also:

    • delivered medical and surgical supplies to Sévaré hospital
    • posted a surgeon and an anaesthetist to Gao hospital, furnished the facility with enough medicine and other medical supplies to treat up to 300 wounded patients, and provided the facility with electrical equipment
    • supplied Gao power station with 40,000 litres of fuel to maintain the water supply and cover people’s water needs for two weeks
    • stored sufficient food stocks in Mopti for up to 10,000 families.

    For further information, please contact:
    Germain Mwehu, ICRC Niamey, tel: +227 97 45 43 82 or +223 76 99 63 75
    Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 31 49 or +41 79 244 64 05


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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Chad

    By Jessica Mony

    GUERA, Chad, 18 January 2013 - The village of Banda is a neat collection of mud huts, each marked with a boundary fence of sticks. Through the sticks peek the inquisitive faces of children, eager to see the visitors who have arrived.

    One of those faces belongs to 2-year-old Adoun. He giggles and looks back to see where his mother Zenaba Issa is. He beams at her. She smiles back at him. Ms. Issa sits, surrounded by Adoun’s older siblings, four young boys and a girl, on a mat she wove herself.

    Every day a struggle

    The Issa family have struggled to eat each day since last year’s failed harvest. As head of the family, Ms. Issa alone bears this burden.

    Ms. Issa’s husband left soon after Adoun was born. A few months ago, in the midst of the ‘hunger gap’ between harvests, Adoun became so weak that he wasn’t able to walk. “When he was born, he was very big for his age. Then, when he was older, and it was time for him to eat food, I didn’t have anything to feed him. He started getting diarrhoea and became every weak and skinny.”

    Ms. Issa visited a traditional healer called a ‘marabou’. Adoun didn’t get better, and Ms. Issa got more and more worried.

    Health screening

    A few weeks later, UNICEF staff came to the village to screen children for malnutrition. Adoun was referred to an outpatient centre that had been set up with support from the local government. There, Adoun was given ready-to-use therapeutic food and was monitored for two months by UNICEF-trained health workers.

    Ms. Issa was given a mosquito net and soap, and was taught simple things she could do to prevent Adoun from becoming malnourished again.

    Today, months after he was so weak he couldn’t walk, Adoun is an energetic, excitable toddler who hangs on his older brother’s every word.

    And the rains bring hope for a better harvest this year.

    Steeling themselves against the threat of hunger

    For the most vulnerable families, like the Issas, the coming harvest could mean this year’s struggle for food is over. The hunger gap, however, comes every year. The threat of hunger is never far away.

    Ms. Issa is relentless in her determination to provide for her family. When her husband left, she taught herself to weave mats, hats and baskets from wild grasses to sell at market. “I had to tighten the belt,” she says. “As you can see, it was very difficult for me. That’s why I learnt to weave and farm.” But, with everyone around her facing the same challenges of poverty, there are limited coping mechanisms. “My main purpose in life is to feed my children. That is all I can do,” she says. “I want to send my children to school, but I can’t afford to now.”

    The strength and devotion of mothers like Issa saved countless children’s lives during the nutrition crisis in 2012. Thanks to the support of donors, partners and UNICEF, help was available for these mothers.

    Setting up nutrition centres to reach the most vulnerable children not only helps avert preventable deaths, but it also means children like Adoun can grow up to be the generation that helps build the resilience of the country.


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    Source: Human Rights Watch
    Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Kenya, Mali, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan (the), Zimbabwe

    La protection des civils au Mali et dans l'est de la RD Congo devrait figurer parmi les priorités du sommet

    (Addis-Abeba, le 21 janvier 2013) – L'Union africaine (UA) devrait placer les droits humains au centre de ses débats sur les moyens de résoudre les crises actuelles en Afrique, lors de son sommet cette semaine en Éthiopie, a déclaré Human Rights Watch aujourd'hui, dans une lettre ouverteà la présidente de la Commission de l'UA, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Le sommet ordinaire de l'organisation s'ouvre le 21 janvier 2013 à Addis-Abebaet les chefs d'État africains doivent s'y rencontrer les 27 et 28 janvier.

    Le sommet de l'UA devrait s'occuper de la situation des droits humains créée par les crises au Mali, en République démocratique du Congo, au Soudan et en Somalie, ainsi que des défis posés aux droits humains par les prochaines élections au Kenya et au Zimbabwe, a affirmé Human Rights Watch. Parmi les sources de préoccupation particulières, figurent les implications potentielles pour les droits humains du déploiement au Mali d'une force militaire internationale soutenue par l'Union africaine et les Nations Unies, et la nécessité de mettre en place des garanties appropriées en matière de protection des civils, ainsi qu'un mécanisme de suivi de la situation des droits humains. La possibilité que des violations soient commises, non seulement par les forces de sécurité maliennes mais aussi par les forces armées des pays qui sont appelés à prendre part à l'opération, donne un caractère d'urgence particulier à la situation, avec la récente reprise des hostilités au Mali.

    « Le sommet de l'UA est un important forum régional qui peut être déterminant pour assurer que la problématique des droits humains soit intégrée dans le traitement de chacune des crises», a déclaré Tiseke Kasambala, directrice du plaidoyer auprès de la division Afrique à Human Rights Watch. « L'UA a un rôle essentiel à jouer pour faire en sorte que l'intervention militaire au Mali ne contribue pas à la commission de nouvelles violations des droits humains, dans un environnement qui est déjà peu sûr. Cela signifie qu'il faut respecter le droit international et faire de la protection des civils une priorité.»

    Dans l'est de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC), une action concertée à l'échelle régionale et internationale est nécessaire pour mettre fin au cycle des violations, a ajouté Human Rights Watch. Au cours des neuf derniers mois, les rebelles du M23 qui sévissent dans l'est de la RDC ont commis des exactions généralisées équivalant à des crimes de guerre, notamment des assassinats de civils, des exécutions sommaires, des viols et des opérations de recrutement d'enfants soldats. Ces rebelles ont reçu un appui logistique et militaire substantiel de la part du Rwanda voisin.

    Les pourparlers entre le M23 et le gouvernement congolais, qui avaient commencé en décembre 2012 et ont repris en janvier, semblent offrir des perspectives incertaines et ont fait jusqu'ici très peu de progrès.

    « Les violences dans l'est de la RD Congo continuent de causer des pertes effroyables en vies humaines parmi la population civile», a affirmé Tiseke Kasambala. « Le Rwanda devrait cesser immédiatement de soutenir le M23, qui est un groupe rebelle violent, et l'UA devrait insister pour que les commandants du M23 impliqués dans des crimes de guerre soient traduits en justice.»

    Les participants aux négociations actuellement en cours en vue du déploiement d'une brigade d'intervention menée par l'Union africaine, dans le cadre de la mission de maintien de la paix des Nations Unies en RDC, devraient envisager de charger cette force d'appuyer des opérations visant à arrêter les suspects faisant l'objet de mandats d'arrêt nationaux ou internationaux pour crimes de guerre et crimes contre l'humanité, a souligné Human Rights Watch.

    Au Soudan, la situation dans les domaines des droits humains et de l'humanitaire s'est détériorée, en particulier dans les zones de conflit du Sud-Kordofan, du Nil bleu et du Darfour. Les combats entre les forces armées soudanaises et les rebelles de l'Armée de libération du peuple soudanais-Nord (ALPS-Nord) dans les États du Sud-Kordofan et du Nil bleu ont affecté près d'un million de personnes, déplaçant de force des centaines de milliers d'habitants des deux États depuis le milieu de 2011. L'armée soudanaise s'est livrée à des bombardements aériens à l'aveugle de zones peuplées, dans les deux États.

    Les forces gouvernementales et les milices qui sont leurs alliées sont également responsables d'autres exactions graves à l'encontre des civils dans ces deux États, telles que des attaques de villages, la destruction de réserves de céréales et de sources d'eau qui sont indispensables à la survie de la population, des arrestations arbitraires et des violences sexuelles contre des femmes et des filles. Le Soudan a empêché les organisations humanitaires d'accéder aux zones situées hors des villes controlées par son gouvernement, où les civils ont un besoin urgent d'aide alimentaire.

    Au Darfour, le conflit armé entre les forces gouvernementales et les milices d'une part et les groupes rebelles d'autre part se poursuit, parallèlement aux affrontements inter-ethniques motivés par le contrôle des ressources. Ce conflit a fait des quantités de morts et les soldats de la Mission conjointe de l'ONU et de l'UA au Darfour (MINUAD) ont été attaqués de nombreuses fois. Le gouvernement soudanais limite les possibilités de déplacement des soldats de la MINUAD et des membres des organisations non gouvernementales, les empêchant d'accéder à de vastes secteurs de la région. L'UA devrait insister pour que le gouvernement soudanais accorde immédiatement aux organisations humanitaires un accès sans limite aux zones affectées par les conflits du Darfour, du Nil bleu et du Sud-Kordofan, a déclaré Human Rights Watch.

    « Une solution d'urgence est nécessaire pour résoudre la crise humanitaire et des droits humains au Soudan», a ajouté Tiseke Kasambala. « L'UA devrait exiger que le gouvernement soudanais cesse immédiatement ses bombardements aériens aveugles et ses autres violations des droits humains et du droit humanitaire international dans les États du Sud-Kordofan et du Nil bleu.»

    Au cours de l'année écoulée, un nouveau gouvernement a remplacé l'autorité de transition en Somalie et les troupes de la Mission de l'Union africaine en Somalie (AMISOM) ont obtenu d'importants succès militaires dans les régions jusqu'alors tenues par le groupe armé islamiste Al-Shabaab. Néanmoins, la situation des droits humains en Somalie demeure mauvaise, a indiqué Human Rights Watch. Les forces de sécurité gouvernementales ont été impliquées dans de graves violations des droits humains fondamentaux, ce qui contribue à maintenir un climat d'insécurité parmi la population. Ces violations comprennent des meurtres de journalistes dans les zones contrôlées par le gouvernement, des viols et de sévères restrictions à l'accès à la nourriture et aux logements temporaires pour les personnes déplacées.

    Les forces étrangères, notamment les forces kenyanes placées sous commandement de l'AMISOM, ainsi que les forces éthiopiennes, ont également commis des exactions dans certaines régions du sud et du centre de la Somalie lors d'opérations militaires, notamment des pilonnages d'artillerie effectués sans discernement.

    « L'UA devrait exhorter les autorités somaliennes à mettre fin aux violations commises par les forces de sécurité de l'État», a déclaré Tiseke Kasambala. « L'UA devrait également faire en sorte que le respect du droit humanitaire international et l'établissement des responsabilités pour les violations commises lors d'opérations militaires de l'AMISOM soient considérés comme des priorités.»

    Le déploiement à partir de mars prochain par l'Union africaine d'une mission de longue durée qui sera chargée d'observer les préparatifs et le déroulement des élections au Kenya, est un facteur important devant contribuer à ce que ces élections soient libres et équitables, mais la possibilité que les scrutins s'accompagnent de violences suscite des préoccupations croissantes, a averti Human Rights Watch. Pendant l'année écoulée, 400 personnes ont été tuées et plus de 200.000 ont été déplacées lors d'incidents violents motivés par des questions d'ethnicité, d'accès aux ressources naturelles ou politiques, dans la région côtière du nord du Kenya et dans certains quartiers de la capitale, Nairobi. Les violences pré-électorales ont atteint l'un de leurs pires niveaux au Kenya depuis 1992.

    Très peu des responsables des violences consécutives aux élections de 2007 au Kenya ont été traduits en justice, ce qui fait craindre que certains d'entre eux puissent récidiver en 2013.

    « Les violences actuellement commises et le déni de justice pour les victimes de violations des droits humains lors des élections de 2007 créent la nécessité impérieuse que l'UA adresse un message de fermeté aux autorités kenyanes, selon lequel les graves violations ne doivent pas rester impunies», a conclu Tiseke Kasambala.

    Enfin, l'UA devrait assurer le déploiement rapide et en nombre suffisant d'observateurs électoraux de la Communauté de développement de l'Afrique australe (SADC) et de l'UA au Zimbabwe, où l'absence de réformes des institutions et du système judiciaire fait planer la menace de violences et d'autres violations des droits humains lors des élections qui doivent se tenir en 2013. L'UA devrait maintenir ces observateurs sur place après les élections, assez longtemps pour décourager les recours à la violence et aux intimidations.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/21/2013 12:15 GMT

    by Jean-Pierre Campagne

    DIABALI, Mali, Jan 21, 2013 (AFP) - French and Malian troops Monday entered the central frontline town of Diabaly as they pushed north in their bid to flush out radical Al Qaeda-linked rebels who have threatened reprisal attacks.

    Paris said the aim of the 11-day-old military offensive is the "total reconquest" of Mali, whose north was seized 10 months ago by Islamist hardliners who imposed their brutal version of sharia law in key desert towns.

    The French onslaught, backed by embattled Malian troops, forged ahead despite threats of further retaliation from jihadists after a stunning hostage attack at a gas plant in neighbouring Algeria resulted in scores of deaths.

    A convoy of about 30 armoured vehicles transporting some 300 Malian and French troops moved into the key frontline town of Diabaly, 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of the capital Bamako, early Monday, meeting no resistance.

    Diabaly has been the theatre of air strikes and fighting since it was seized by Islamists a week ago.

    A colonel in the Malian army said earlier that a "fringe of the Diabaly population adheres to the jihadists' theories and we must be very careful in the coming hours".

    French television footage from Diabaly has shown charred pick-up trucks abandoned by the Islamists amid mud-brick homes.

    One resident said the rebels had fled the town which was abandoned by many of its residents, and those remaining lacked food and other essentials.

    On Sunday French troops buttressed their position as they prepared the drive north, moving into the key central towns of Niono and Sevare.

    Sevare has a strategically important airport about 630 kilometres (390 miles) northeast of Bamako that could help serve as a base for operations further north.

    France swept to the aid of the crippled and weak Malian army on January 11, a day after the hardline Islamists made a push towards Bamako in the government-held southern triangle of the bow-tie shaped nation.

    The crisis in Mali began when the nomadic Tuaregs, who have long felt marginalised by government, launched a rebellion a year ago and inflicted such humiliation on the Malian army that it triggered a military coup in Bamako.

    In the ensuing political vacuum, the central government lost control of the north to the insurgents, and the Tuaregs were instrumental in helping a triad of Islamist rebel groups including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) seize control of huge swathes of territory.

    But the Tuaregs' alliance of convenience with the Islamists quickly disintegrated. AQIM and other Islamists began to run territories under their control like a particularly brutal medieval emirate and imposed a harsh form of sharia law.

    This spiked fears abroad that the occupied area could become a new haven for terrorists.

    The Islamists, armed with an arsenal scored from Libya after the downfall of Moamer Kadhafi, have proved a well-armed and formidable foe.

    "The goal is the total reconquest of Mali," French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in televised remarks on Sunday. "We will not leave any pockets" of resistance.

    In retaliation to the French assault, a jihadist group run by a former leader of the regional Al-Qaeda franchise, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, attacked a gas plant in neighbouring Algeria.

    A 72-hour stand-off at the complex came to a bloody end on Saturday, but reports are still unclear on the numbers of dead among assailants and hostages.

    On Sunday, the assailants, calling themselves "Signatories in Blood", vowed "more operations in all the countries which have taken part in the crusade" against northern Mali if it did not halt immediately.

    Meanwhile the planned deployment of nearly 6,000 African soldiers continued slowly into Bamako, hampered by cash and logistical constraints. Only 150 African troops had arrived by Sunday.

    Eight west African nations are contributing to the African mission which is expected to take over the baton from France, and Chad has also pledged 2,000 soldiers.

    The head of the Commission of regional west African bloc ECOWAS, Desire Kadre Ouedraogo, estimated the cost of an African offensive against the armed Islamist groups at about $500 million (375 million euros).

    The European Union has pledged 50 million euros to the International Support Mission for Mali (MISMA).

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    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan (the), South Sudan (Republic of)
    preview


    WFP ETHIOPIA 2013 Planned Assistance*

    Targeted Beneficiaries 7.1 million

    Food Requirements 845,758 metric tons

    Cost US$ 765.9 million

    Shortfall (% of total cost) 73%

    See page 4 for break down

    *Plans will be adjusted in accordance to the new Humanitarian Requirements Document expected to be released in late January.

    Food Security Summary

    Food security continues to be stable across the country due to the positive impact of the recent seasonal rains, the provision of humanitarian assistance, and the start of Meher harvest.

    Pasture and water availability, as well as livestock conditions and productivity have improved in most parts of the country following the recent rains. Despite this overall improvement, they remain poor to below average in some areas and may not sustain the livestock for more than two months into 2013. Areas now experiencing below normal pasture and water availa-bility are several lowland areas of East and West Harerghe, and Bale zones of Oromia; Dasenech woreda in South Omo Zone; Tselemt, woreda in North Gondar; and isolated pocket areas in central and southern Somali, eastern parts of Tigray; and some areas in Afar. Shortages of these pastoral resources and declines in livestock conditions are expected to continue until the coming Belg/Gu/Genna rains hopefully reverse the situation.

    Some of the chronically water insecure woredas of the country have continued to report shortages of water for human consumption. Where shortages of water and pasture are pro-nounced early outmigration of livestock to nearby but relatively better off woredas/zones have already taken place. There is some concern that if concentration of livestock in some pocket areas intensifies, it could result in rapid depletion of pastoral resources in those spots and possibly trigger an outbreak of conflict between host communities and migrants over the scarce resources.

    Even though production of long-cycle maize and sorghum, two important staple crops in the country, has significantly dropped mainly due to weather irregularities at the beginning and end of the last Meher rainy season, the overall prospect of the 2012 Meher production looks promising especially in central, western and northwestern parts of the country. This should normally have a positive impact on market supply and prices of staple foods at least in the first three months of 2013. Already, prices of cereals are showing either stability or slight declines in some of the markets. Further declines in food pric-es are normally expected as the harvest season comes to an end and much more grain flows to the markets.

    In some areas of the country, harvests will be less than average due to localized damages to crops by hailstorms, floods, wa-ter logging, moisture stresses, frost, crop diseases and pest infestations, Significant decline in crop production is actually expected in some low-lying areas of Eastern, Southern and Southeastern Tigray; several lowland parts and few highland areas of eastern Amhara; A similar poor production is anticipated in the lowland parts of East and West Harerghe, parts of Borena, Bale, Arsi, North Shewa and West Shewa zones of Oromia Region. Crop production in most agro-pastoral and sed-entary farming areas of Somali Region is also not promising. All this is heavily associated with the late start of Belg/Genna/Gu rains at the time of land preparation and planting for long-cycle crops, long dry spells during the season, and early cessa-tion of the Kiremt rains well before some crops attained full maturity.

    The HRD for the first half of 2013, which will be based on the findings of the recently concluded multi-sector emergency needs assessment, is now under preparation. The HRD is expected to be released by DRMFSS in early February 2013.


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    Source: Guardian
    Country: Somalia

    Laila Ali and Hamza Mohamed in Mogadishu

    For university students in Somalia, the threat of violence has been the biggest concern in recent years. But as peace returns to the capital, Mogadishu, high tuition fees rather than civil war are more of a barrier for students wishing to attend classes.

    Read the full article in the Guardian


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/21/2013 13:11 GMT

    Par Jean-Pierre CAMPAGNE

    DIABALI (Mali), 21 jan 2013 (AFP) - L'armée française et les soldats maliens sont entrés lundi à Diabali et à Douentza, deux villes qui étaient sous le contrôle des islamistes, poursuivant leur traque des combattants liés à Al-Qaïda qui occupent une grande partie du Mali.

    L'Union européenne, discrète jusqu'à présent, a proposé lundi d'organiser une réunion internationale au niveau ministériel sur le Mali le 5 février à Bruxelles, avec la participation de l'Union africaine, de la Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao) et de l'ONU.

    Les Européens avaient décidé jeudi d'accélérer le déploiement des 450 Européens d'une mission chargée de remettre sur pied l'armée malienne, afin de la rendre opérationnelle "au plus tard à la mi-février".

    Sur le terrain, les 2.150 soldats français de l'opération Serval déjà présents au Mali progressent vers le Nord au côté des troupes maliennes.

    Une colonne d'une trentaine de véhicules blindés dans laquelle se trouvaient quelque 200 soldats maliens et français est entrée à Diabali, à 400 km au nord de Bamako, sans rencontrer de résistance, selon le journaliste de l'AFP accompagnant les militaires.

    Des habitants sont sortis saluer l'arrivée des soldats, certains immortalisant l'événement en prenant des photos avec des téléphones portables. Soldats français et maliens avançaient avec prudence, craignant notamment la présence de mines ou de pièges.

    Des habitants avaient affirmé à l'AFP que les islamistes, qui s'étaient emparés par surprise de la ville le 14 janvier, l'avaient abandonné après des frappes aériennes françaises, le 17.

    A Paris, le ministre français de la Défense Jean-Yves Le Drian a confirmé la reprise du contrôle de Diabali, de même que celle de Douentza, à 800 km au nord-ouest de Bamako.

    "Cette avancée de l'armée malienne vers les villes tenues par leurs ennemis constitue une réussite militaire certaine pour le gouvernement de Bamako et pour les forces françaises, intervenant en soutien dans ces opérations", a-t-il déclaré dans un communiqué.

    Douentza, qui se trouve à environ 100 km de Konna (centre), reprise jeudi par l'armée malienne aux islamistes, était tombée sans combats le 1er septembre aux mains du Mouvement pour l'unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest (Mujao).

    Elle se trouve sur une route stratégique d'où peuvent être menées des opérations vers les grandes villes du Nord, Tombouctou, Gao et Kidal, prises fin mars 2012 par les groupes jihadistes, dont Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi), qui ont mis en déroute l'armée malienne.

    Repli des islamistes vers Kidal

    Plusieurs sources ont fait état d'un repli des islamistes depuis le centre du pays vers Kidal, dans l'extrême nord-est, à 1.500 km de Bamako, près de la frontière algérienne. Kidal avait été la première ville du Nord conquise par les rebelles touareg du Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad (MNLA) et les islamistes, qui en avaient ensuite évincé leurs anciens alliés.

    De nouveaux pays ont répondu dimanche aux demandes d'aide logistique et financière de la Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao) pour le déploiement de la Misma (Mission internationale de soutien au Mali), qui à terme, sera composée de quelque 6.000 soldats africains.

    Le président de la Commission de la Cédéao, Désiré Kadré Ouédraogo, a appelé la communauté internationale à "se mobiliser" pour boucler le financement de la Misma. Selon lui, une "première évaluation" situe les besoins à "environ 500 millions de dollars" (375 millions d'euros).

    Le financement des opérations de la Misma était évalué jusque-là entre 150 et 200 millions d'euros. L'Union européenne (UE) a décidé d'y participer à hauteur de 50 millions d'euros.

    Quelque 2.000 soldats de la Misma doivent être déployés d'ici au 26 janvier, mais jusqu'à présent, moins de 200 sont arrivés à Bamako.

    Le président tchadien Idriss Deby Itno a rencontré dimanche le premier contingent de 200 soldats tchadiens, sur 2.000 promis, stationnés sur une base militaire à Niamey (Niger) avant qu'ils n'aillent au Mali.

    Les Tchadiens, aguerris et rompus au combat dans le désert, devraient apporter une forte plus-value à la Misma.

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    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/20/2013 23:04 GMT

    ABIDJAN, 20 jan 2013 (AFP) - L'intervention africaine en préparation contre les groupes islamistes armés occupant le nord du Mali nécessite un financement estimé à environ 500 millions de dollars, a indiqué dimanche un responsable ouest-africain.

    Une "première évaluation" situe les besoins à "environ 500 millions de dollars" (quelque 375 millions d'euros), a déclaré le président de la Commission de la Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao), Désiré Kadré Ouédraogo.

    "Mais ce chiffre peut varier en fonction des nécessités" sur le terrain, a-t-il précisé à la télévision publique ivoirienne RTI.

    Les besoins pour les opérations de la Mission internationale de soutien au Mali (Misma) étaient évalués jusque-là entre 150 et 200 millions d'euros. L'Union européenne a décidé de participer au financement à hauteur de 50 millions d'euros.

    "La communauté internationale doit se mobiliser", a insisté M. Ouédraogo.

    Une conférence des donateurs est prévue le 29 janvier à Addis Abeba, sous l'égide de l'Union africaine, pour accélérer la mobilisation des financements.

    La Misma est attendue pour prendre le relais des militaires français qui combattent depuis le 11 janvier, avec des soldats maliens, les groupes islamistes armés du Nord.

    Par ailleurs, M. Ouédraogo a annoncé que la Côte d'Ivoire --qui avait fait savoir qu'elle ne fournirait pas de troupes à la Misma-- "a fait part de son intention de contribuer avec un bataillon logistique", lors du sommet extraordinaire de la Cédéao sur le Mali, qui s'est tenu samedi à Abidjan.

    C'est "une contribution très appréciable" du pays qui préside actuellement la Cédéao, a-t-il souligné sans en dire davantage sur ce bataillon ivoirien.

    Quelque 2.000 membres de la Misma doivent être déployés d'ici au 26 janvier au Mali. Plus de 150 soldats sont déjà arrivés à Bamako, dont une cinquantaine de Sénégalais sur les 500 promis par Dakar.

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    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: ECOWAS
    Country: Guinea-Bissau, Mali
    1. La Session Extraordinaire de la Conférence des Chefs d’Etat et de Gouvernement de la Communauté Economique des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CEDEAO) s’est tenue le 19 Janvier 2013 à Abidjan, République de Côte d’Ivoire, sous la Présidence de S. E. M. Alassane Ouattara, Président de la République de Côte d’Ivoire, Président en exercice de la Conférence.

    2. Le Sommet a été convoqué à l’effet d’évaluer les derniers événements politique et sécuritaire au Mali, en particulier les modalités d’un déploiement accéléré de la Mission Internationale de Soutien au Mali (MISMA) au regard de la détérioration de la situation sécuritaire dans les territoires occupés au lendemain de l’adoption de la Résolution 2085 (2012) par le Conseil de Sécurité des Nations Unies. Le Sommet a également évalué les dernières évolutions de la situation politique et sécuritaire en Guinée Bissau.


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    Source: Caritas Australia
    Country: Niger (the)

    Caritas Australia is currently supporting a resilience project in the Tillaberi region of Niger in West Africa. The project is called ‘Bonbatu’ which means resilience in Zarma, the literal translation being to ‘protect myself’ or ‘I become stronger’ which is what this project aims to do for families vulnerable to food insecurity.

    The Caritas network has worked in the Tillaberi region for years, providing emergency assistance when needed. Most recently, this was urgently required during 2012 when millions of men, women and children across the Sahel, in West Africa were at risk of chronic food insecurity. Fortunately due to emergency relief interventions and the subsequent arrival of good rains, the crisis has been reduced and the region has been able to produce a good harvest for 2012. However this does not mean that problems of food insecurity will not re-emerge. Cycles of drought, extreme flooding, poor soil and locust invasions are common challenges for farmers in Niger, particularly in the Tillaberi region.

    Caritas Australia is therefore working with farmers to enable them to build resilience and reduce their vulnerability in the face of these inevitable future challenges. How?

    Many households employ short-term strategies to cope in times of food insecurity. These strategies include taking out credit on the value of their future harvest to pay off debts, as well as selling assets such as animals and jewellery, with the expectation that the future harvest will deliver a good crop. While these strategies help families meet short term needs they expose households to risk, particularly if the anticipated harvest is poor in which case it plunges them into further cycles of vulnerability.

    Therefore, despite a good harvest in 2012, a common reality for many families in Niger right now is that they owe money to those they borrowed from during the lean season. If families sell their crops now at a low cost to pay off the debt, they will not only make less from their harvest, but they will also be selling the food supplies which are meant to see them through until the next harvest. Therefore despite the fact many families have had a good harvest, their food security is still threatened.

    For such families Caritas has identified an effective way to help. Caritas Australia is assisting households to pay off their debts now through a cash-for-work scheme. By earning extra cash these households won’t need to sell their crops at low prices to pay back their loans. This way, they will also be able to keep sufficient food in stock until the next harvest, thereby ensuring food security in the long term.

    The cash-for-work activities are also beneficial to the community as they provide important opportunities for Natural Resource Management (NRM). NRM activities include supporting natural regeneration of forest and pasture by planting trees in half-moons which collect rainwater to foster the trees’ growth. These NRM activities are essential in Tillaberi, an area where 90% of the land is degraded or eroded and rainfall is low.

    Caritas will work closely with local officials and regional government departments to deliver this project in order to ensure its sustainability. They will also work with the local village management committees (composed of equal representation of women and men) to support project implementation.

    According to national studies Tillaberi is the most vulnerable of the eight regions of Niger. Therefore although emergency relief activities are important and essential, sustainable development program such as Bonbatu are also vital to build the long-term resilience of farmers, and to empower them to ‘become stronger’.

    The West Africa food crisis has affected more than 18 million people across the Sahel region. Tillaberi in Niger is just one of the districts Caritas has been working in, and there is still great need in across the whole region.


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    Source: ECOWAS
    Country: Mali

    N°: 013/2013

    19 janvier 2013 [Abidjan - Cote d'Ivoire]

    Le chef de l’Etat ivoirien et président en exercice de la Conférence des chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement de la CEDEAO, M. Alassane Ouattara, a réaffirmé la solidarité totale de la Communauté avec l’Etat et le peuples maliens, confrontés depuis quelque temps à une occupation terroriste d’une partie de leur pays et à une menace de partition du territoire malien.

    Dans son allocution, à l’ouverture, ce samedi 19 janvier 2013 à Abidjan, en Côte d’Ivoire, d’une session extraordinaire de la Conférence des chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement de la CEDEAO, M. Ouattara a souligné l’importance de cette rencontre, la dixième du genre depuis mars 2012, qui se tient dans un «contexte particulièrement grave marqué par le déclenchement de l’offensive militaire contre les extrémistes et les narcoterroristes qui occupent le nord du Mali».

    Le président ivoirien a salué tout particulièrement la présence à la rencontre de son homologue du Tchad, M. Idriss Déby Itno, dont le pays, bien que non membre de la CEDEAO, a décidé de s’impliquer militairement au Mali par l’envoi de 2.000 hommes, et du ministre des Affaires étrangères français, M. Laurent Fabius, dont les troupes mènent actuellement l’offensive antiterroriste aux côtés de l’armée malienne.

    «Au moment où notre sous-région fait face à son plus grand péril sécuritaire et humain, je salue la détermination de la communauté internationale, en particulier l’engagement et le soutien de la France, qui a empêché la conquête d’un Etat, de son territoire, de son peuple, de ses institutions et de sa souveraineté par un véritable consortium terroriste», a déclaré le président Ouattara.

    Il a ensuite insisté sur la nécessité d’accélérer le rétablissement de l’intégrité territoriale du Mali, saluant, dans cet esprit, le déploiement des forces armées de plusieurs Etats membres de la CEDEAO en dépit des contraintes logistiques, comme le Nigéria, le Bénin, le Burkina Faso, le Sénégal, la Sierra Leone, le Niger et le Togo. Il a confondu dans les mêmes hommages les Etats-Unis et le Canada qui ont décidé de s’engager auprès de la France en vue de renforcer le dispositif en place.

    «Il nous faut, a encore dit le président Ouattara, accélérer le rétablissement de l’intégrité territoriale du Mali avec l’appui logistique de nos partenaires et assumer notre responsabilité en toute légitimité sous le chapitre VII de la Charte des Nations unies», dont le Conseil de sécurité a adopté, en décembre 2012, la résolution 2085 autorisant le déploiement d’une Mission internationale de soutien au Mali (MISMA).

    Ce soutien massif et inconditionnel exprimé aujourd’hui autour du déploiement rapide de la MISMA constitue «un encouragement supplémentaire pour la démarche que la région a toujours défendue dans le règlement de la crise sécuritaire au Nord Mali», a estimé pour sa part le président de la Commission de la CEDEAO,

    M. Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo.

    Dans son allocution à l’ouverture de cette session d’une journée, tenue en présence d’une vingtaine de pays et institutions invités spécialement, M.
    Ouédraogo a martelé que l’heure était venue pour la concrétisation de la démarche visant à empêcher qu’un sanctuaire de terroristes soit établi dans le Nord malien.

    Au reste, l’espoir qui renaît dans la partie septentrionale du Mali avec le recul des groupes terroristes depuis le 12 janvier dernier prouve que «la stratégie adoptée par la CEDEAO est porteuse et qu’il faut aller au bout de notre logique», a-t-il indiqué, souhaitant que soit renforcée la coordination et la complémentarité des actions entre la sous-région et ses partenaires.

    C’est dans le même esprit que s’est exprimé le ministre français des Affaires étrangères, M. Laurent Fabius, en soulignant que Bamako était sous la menace de l’offensive des terroristes venus du nord du Mali et qu’après une demande d’aide du président malien «face à cette urgence extrême», le France a décidé de déployer des éléments de ses forces.

    «Il fallait stopper cette agression terroriste qui menaçait l’existence même du Mali en tant qu’Etat, avant de menacer probablement celle de ses voisins, car (…) le terrorisme n’a pas de frontière. Il fallait donc éviter, pour le Mali et pour la sous-région, un avenir fait de violence, d’intolérance et de terreur», a expliqué M. Laurent Fabius.

    En intervenant ainsi, la France n’a fait qu’assurer ses responsabilités et remplir ses obligations dans le respect de la légalité internationale, restant ainsi fidèle aux vœux de la CEDEAO, de l’Union africaine et du Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies, a ajouté M. Fabius, précisant que l’opération, baptisée Serval, n’a pas vocation à se substituer à l’action de la MISMA.

    «Bien au contraire, la France a pour objectif de permettre l’application pleine et entière des résolutions des Nations unies et donc le déploiement le plus rapide possible de la MISMA et des initiatives de soutien qui l’accompagnent», a conclu sur ce point le ministre français.

    Outre les chefs des Etats membres de la CEDEAO, le sommet extraordinaire d’Abidjan s’est ouvert en présence de l’ex-président burundais Pierre Buyoya, haut représentant de l’Union africaine pour le Mali et le Sahel, ainsi que du représentant du secrétaire général des Nations unies pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest, M. Saïd Djinnit.

    On notait aussi la présence des représentants des invités spéciaux suivants :
    Etats-Unis, Allemagne, France, Royaume-Uni, Belgique, Egypte, Afrique du Sud,
    Algérie, Tchad, Libye, Mauritanie, Tunisie, Maroc, Espagne, Italie, Burundi,
    Nation unies, Commission de l’Union africaine, Union européenne.


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    Source: Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic (the), Chad, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (the), Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger (the), Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines (the), Samoa, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan (the), Syrian Arab Republic (the), Tajikistan, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe, South Sudan (Republic of)
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    This week severe monsoon rains caused major flooding in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, affecting 250,000 people and displacing 18,000.

    According to UNAMID, the tribal clashes which erupted on 9 January in North Darfur, Sudan, led to the displacement of a total of 70,000 people.

    In Syria the conflict continues to affect large parts of the country with escalating tensions in Homs, Aleppo, Idlib and Damascus provinces.

    The ground offensive against Islamist rebels in Mali continued on 21 January with French forces entering the central Malian town of Diabaly.

    The Government of Myanmar declared a ceasefire in the conflict with Kachin rebels on Friday 18 January; however Kachin rebels reported on 21 January that fighting continues. At least 2,000 people are newly displaced due to latest fighting.

    Global Emergency Overview web interface


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/21/2013 13:39 GMT

    BRUSSELS, Jan 21, 2013 (AFP) - The European Union offered Monday to host talks on the Mali crisis on February 5 in Brussels and said it had activated a logistical "clearing house" to back up an African-led military force in Mali.

    "We have offered to host on February 5 a ministerial meeting of the international support and follow-up group on the situation in Mali," said a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

    "That will be organised together with the African Union, (the regional west African group of states) ECOWAS and the United Nations," Michael Mann told a news briefing.

    He gave no further details on the offer of talks, prompted by the crisis in Mali where French forces are leading a campaign to remove Islamist rebels in control of the north of the west African country.

    French troops moved in at the request of government forces 11 days ago.

    A 3,300-strong UN-approved African-led intervention force known as AFISMA is currently being set up but needs up to 200 million euros ($265 million).

    The United States and Canada are expected to pick up a substantial part of the tab, with the EU said by sources to be ready to contribute around 50 million euros.

    A donors' meeting has been set to be held in Ethiopia at the end of the month.

    Meanwhile, Ashton said in a statement that she had directed the EU Military Staff to activate a so-called "clearing house" mechanism to centralise requests for and offers of logistical support to AFISMA by EU and others.

    "It will act as a single point of entry for the registration of requests from ECOWAS via EU Liaison Officers based in Abuja in Nigeria, or Bamako in Mali, as well as for the registration of any support offered by EU Member States or third countries," the statement said.

    "Possible logistical support to AFISMA can range from technical, material or advisory support to the provision of strategic air lift, planning and training. The 'Clearing House' will then allocate all requests for a final decision by the ECOWAS HQ," it added.

    "This mechanism relies on voluntary inputs by donors and recipients but will ensure greater coordination of donor effort and coherence with other activities acting in support of the people and government of Mali," it said.

    EU spokesman Mann also said a small EU team of "technical experts" would arrive in Mali later Monday to prepare for an advance wave of EU trainers for the Mali army who are to arrive around mid-February.

    The 500-strong EU military training mission, which will have no combat role and be made up of soldiers from some 10 EU nations, will provide instruction to the Malian army on command and control, logistics, civilian protection and humanitarian law.

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    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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