«Editor Ruchita Beri Associate Editor Princy George Editorial Team Babjee Pothuraju Keerthi S Kumar Saurabh Mishra Africa Trends Volume 1, Number 2, ...»
docId=CNG.82f99a6e478d920f9407dc666cba263e.7e1 “Algerian diplomats kidnapped in northern Mali released”, Al-Arabiya News, April 8, 2012, at http:// www.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/04/08/206338.html “Malian official urges Algeria, Mauritania to intervene in north”, Echourouk El Youmi website, Algiers, April 16, 2012 “West African regional body pledges to ensure Mali’s “territorial integrity””, This Day website, Lagos, April 7, 2012 “Mali coup leaders agree on ECOWAS deal to stand down “, Aljazeera.net website, Doha, April 6, 2012 Africa Trends Volume 1, Number 2, March-April 2012 Toure officially resigned on April 8 and according to the handover deal, the military government handed over power to Parliament Speaker Diouncounda Traore. The deal also included lifting of ECOWAS sanctions and amnesty for those who involved in the coup. The transitional president, Traore, is tasked with organising elections and returning Mali to constitutional rule, in addition to handling the crisis in northern Mali.117 The agreement framework also stated that if elections were not possible within 40 days as required by the constitution, due to the situation in the north, a transition structure would be created in the interim.
Once seen as one of the most stable democracies in West Africa, Mali now faces a re-energised rebellion in its northern region. Malian officials are not ruling out intervention by foreign military forces to fight terrorism in these regions.
MAURITANIAMauritania sends military reinforcements to Mali border Mauritania sent military reinforcements to its eastern border with Mali following the military coup there, to fortify border security. Mauritanian government officials have been reported to be concerned over the growing influence of al-Qaeda and armed rebels in northern Mali.121
NIGERIAProtests against Boko Haram as attacks continue; Nigeria safe for local, foreign investors, says President Goodluck Jonathan; Germany, Italy, UK pledge support, offer assistance in fight against terrorism; Nigeria-India trade to hit US$ 19 billion; Poverty, unemployment heightens security situation As Boko Haram continued its attacks against schools, with gunmen setting fire to at least five schools in the first week of March,122 members of an inter-religious group held protests to condemn the violence. Christian and Muslim leaders denounced the continuing violence in the name of “Ousted Malian leader officially resigns ahead of power transfer”, Aljazeera.net website, Doha, April 8, 2012 “Mali’s Interim President Takes Oath of Office“, VOA News, April 12, 2012, at http://www.voanews.com/english/ news/africa/Malis-Interim-President-Sworn-Into-Office-147129275.html “Fleeing Malian soldiers seek refuge in neighbouring Niger”, Radio France Internationale, Paris, April 6, 2012 “Mali’s Interim President Takes Oath of Office“, VOA News, April 12, 2012, at http://www.voanews.com/english/ news/africa/Malis-Interim-President-Sworn-Into-Office-147129275.html “Mauritania sends military reinforcements to border with Mali - agency “, Al-Akhbar website, April 5, 2012 “Nigeria: Five schools set on fire by suspected Boko Haram members in Borno State”, Daily Trust website, Abuja, March 2, 2012 Africa Trends Volume 1, Number 2, March-April 2012 religion, expressed unity and encouraged peaceful co-existence in the country.123 The Nigerian police chief has noted an improvement in the security situation in the country and has pledged to liaise with the public, civil society groups and other key stakeholders to formulate more effective policing policies.124 Meanwhile, the Nigerian army chief has said that more measures need to be taken to tighten Nigeria’s porous borders in order to check the security threats posed by Boko Haram.125 The Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff has said that more than 1,200 people have been killed so far in Boko Haram attacks, noting that security forces have gained more intelligence from the frequent arrests of Boko Haram members. He said the Boko Haram’s days were numbered as security forces are decimating their network.126 Attempts by the Nigerian government to negotiate with the Boko Haram fell through in the last week of March with a Boko Haram spokesman calling the government “insincere”.127 Separately, President Goodluck Jonathan has stated that only a section of Nigeria has been affected by Boko Haram’s attacks and insisted that Nigeria is safe for both local and foreign investors to do business. Jonathan was speaking at the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit in South Korea.128 On a state visit to Germany in the third week of April, Jonathan appealed to the German government to assist in tackling the Boko Haram threat through deployment of German technology to track down the group’s network. German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed Germany’s resolve to work with the Nigerian government to bring the situation under control. The Italian government has also offered to provide security services to Nigeria to address the Boko Haram issue; Italy has said it wants to strengthen bilateral ties to help Nigeria tackle terrorism, human trafficking and poverty.129 The British government is set to increase the £30 million budget earmarked for a programme to improve security in Nigeria, to £50 million within its five year duration. The programme is intended to facilitate changes in law enforcement and the judiciary and includes assisting the Nigeria Police Force to be more accountable to the public and enable community policing by creating model police stations.130 Bilateral trade between Nigeria and India was projected to hit US$ 19 billion at the end of the 2010-2011 financial year. India, with an investment of US$ 5 million, was the largest investor in Nigeria in 2010. These figures were noted at the opening of the Second India-Africa Academic “Nigeria: Muslims, Christians in Rivers State hold protest against Boko Haram”, Daily Trust website, Abuja, March 2, 2012 “Nigerian police chief notes “tremendous improvement” in security situation”, Vanguard website, Lagos, March 2, “Nigerian borders remain porous - army chief “, Daily Trust website, Abuja, March 7, 2012 “Chief of defense staff says Boko Haram killed 1,200 people in Nigeria”, Vanguard website, Lagos, March 10, 2012 “Nigeria: Boko Haram withdraws from talks with government”, Radio France Internationale, Paris, March 21, 2012 “Nigerian president says country Safe for investors despite attacks by Boko Haram “, The Guardian website, Lagos, March 27, 2012 “Nigerian leader seeks Germany’s help in tackling militant group”, Vanguard website, Lagos, April 20, 2012 “UK government to provide funds to improve security in Nigeria”, Daily Trust website, Abuja, April 16, 2012 Africa Trends Volume 1, Number 2, March-April 2012 Conference organised by the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) and the Indian Council on World Affairs (ICWA). Both institutions called for increased interaction between research institutions in both countries in order to facilitate exchange of ideas and inputs, and promote better mutual relations between the two countries. The Nigerian foreign minister added that India, with its rich credentials as a democracy must move beyond its “pro-sovereignty, antiinterventionist approach to international politics to become proactive” in its support for democratic consolidation in Africa. He also asked that India assist in tackling and redefining the unequal global power balance.131 Nigeria has signed an economic cooperation agreement with Iran. The signing took place at the closing of Fourth Joint Economic Commission between the two countries held in Tehran on April
17. Nigeria-Iran bilateral trade amounts to US$ 50 million. The agreement aims to boost bilateral relations in all economic fields.132 The opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has expressed concern over rising poverty in the country. According to Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the percentage of Nigerians living in poverty was estimated to be around 60 per cent in 2010,133 while a 2011 news report notes that 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population lives below the poverty line.134 The ACN statement also noted that poverty levels were the highest in the northwest and northeast of the country that have been worst hit by Boko Haram activities, revealing the correlation between poverty and social disorder. High poverty rates have likely provided a fertile recruiting ground for the Boko Haram. The Nigerian labour minister has also pointed to the high unemployment figures in the country. The NBS has placed unemployment rate at 23.9 per cent, with 21 per cent unemployment among the youth population. He indicated that the lack of jobs has meant that young job seekers turn to part-time or temporary jobs as assassins, kidnappers or thugs to earn a living. A senior military official has also stated that the wave of insecurity in Nigeria could be partially attributed to the lack of job security.135
SENEGALSenegal polls show “high political maturity”, says Iran minister Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, has wished success to the newly elected president Macky Sall. He said that the presidential election indicated the high degree of political maturity of Senegal and the growing trend towards more development and democracy.136 “Nigeria, India’s bilateral trade volume projected to hit 19bn-dollar mark”, The Guardian website, Lagos, March 14, 2012; Also see “India, Nigeria trade set to touch $12 b in FY’11", The Hindu Business Line, March 16, 2012, at http:/ /www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/economy/article1543370.ece “Iran, Nigeria sign economic cooperation agreement”, Islamic Republic News Agency website, Tehran, April 17, 2012 “Opposition ACN raises concern over worsening poverty in Nigeria”, The Guardian website, Lagos, March 8, 2012 “Nigeria’s Poverty Ratio Rises to 70% of Population, Trust Says“, Bloomberg News, January 18, 2011, at http:// www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-18/nigeria-s-poverty-ratio-rises-to-70-of-population-trust-says.html “Nigerian labour minister says unemployment fuelling insecurity in country “, The Guardian website, Lagos, March 8, 2012 “Polls in Senegal show “high political maturity” - Iran deputy foreign minister”, Islamic Republic News Agency website, Tehran, March 27, 2012
Despite the establishment of anti-corruption agencies, Burundi is facing a deepening corruption crisis that threatens to jeopardise a peace that is based on development and economic growth bolstered by the state and driven by foreign investment.137 Bugesera district mayor Louis Rwagaju asserts that short cuts have been closed because some criminals had started entering the country with drugs, alcohol and illegal business. Rwagaju asserts that the decision was taken by officials of both Rwanda and Burundi.138
COMOROSComoran island Mayotte is now a French department; Minister seizes newspaper’s supplement, suspends editor Despite strong protests from the government of Comoros, the island of Mayotte has officially become the 101st department of France, or an integral part of the French territory. Mayotte is a part of the Comoran archipelago in the Indian Ocean, with Comoran language and culture being the dominant on the island. But as Comoros gained independence from France in 1996, the population of Mayotte voted in favour of staying a French colony. Since then, Comoros has slipped from one political crisis to another, also plagued by weak economic development.139 Reporters Without Borders is dismayed by Comorian Interior Minister Hamada Abdallah’s decision to withdraw the state daily Al Watan’s latest monthly supplement from distribution and to issue a decree suspending its managing editor, Pétan Mouignihazi. The supplement had a special report on corruption and waste in the state sector.140
DJIBOUTIDjibouti, US and French Navies Share Best Maritime Practices Sailors from three nations assembled at the Djibouti National Navy Headquarters, February 27 through 29, to discuss best practices for ensuring the sovereignty of the seas around the Horn of “Burundi: A Deepening Corruption Crisis”, International Crisis Group, March 21, 2012, at http:// www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/central-africa/burundi/185-burundi-la-crise-de-corruption.aspx “Rwanda-Burundi Illegal Routes to Be Closed”, News of Rwanda, April 19, 2012, at http://newsofrwanda.com/ ibikorwa/6617/rwanda-burundi-illegal-routes-closed/ “Comoran Island Mayotte is now a French Department”, Afrol News, March 3, 2012, at http://www.afrol.com/ articles/37509 “Minister seizes newspaper’s supplement, suspends editor”, Reporters without Borders, April 11, 2012, at http:// en.rsf.org/comores-minister-seizes-newspaper-s-11-04-2012,42297.html Africa Trends Volume 1, Number 2, March-April 2012 Africa. This was the first time the Djiboutian Navy coordinated and executed an event of this type together with the American and French navies. In this exchange, the three navies shared best practices on building support operations and raising maritime domain awareness.141
ERITREA Provocative attacks by the TPLF regime
As reported, with much bravado, by the news media of the TPLF regime, its armed forces “penetrated 18 km inside sovereign Eritrean territory to carry out an attack on Eritrean army outposts”. This is not surprising, nor is it occurring for the first time. However, it amplifies the extraordinary situation where the culprit “strikes but cries first” while all along pleading with its protectors to “disarm the victim”.142