Showing posts with label Mali. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mali. Show all posts

Several Dozen Jihadists, Including Commander, Killed In Mali, UN

More than 40 jihadists, including a senior commander, were killed last week after they attacked United Nations peacekeepers in northern Mali, the UN force MINUSMA said on Monday.

A UN source previously said about 20 of around 100 assailants were killed in a three-hour counter-attack after they raided a camp of Chadian peacekeepers, leaving four troops dead.

But on Monday, MINUSMA chief Mahamat Saleh Annadif said a search of the battlefield on Sunday and Monday showed that the death toll among the attackers was roughly twice this number.

“As of today, we have counted more than 40 dead terrorists, including a right-hand man to Iyad Ag Ghaly, by the name of Abdallaye Ag Albaka,” Annadif told AFP.

Ag Ghaly, a veteran jihadist, is the leader of the shadowy Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) in the Sahel, affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

Ag Albaka, a former mayor of the town of Tessalit, has long had a reputation for being one of Ag Ghaly’s lieutenants, entrusted with a senior military role in northern Mali, the cradle of an insurgency in 2012 that has since spread to Niger and Burkina Faso.

A UN security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Ag Albaka was No. 3 in the GSIM organisation.

The attack targeted a Chadian contingent of MINUSMA at Aguelhok in northern Mali, around 200 kilometres (120 miles) from the border with Algeria.

The dawn raid was carried out by a mobile force on motorbikes and in vehicles.
“The peacekeepers have inflicted a serious setback on the terrorists, that’s for sure, even though we are mourning the death of four” peacekeepers, said Annadif, who is also the secretary general’s special representative for Mali.

Four jihadists were captured on Friday and handed over to Malian forces, the security source said.

The UN also said 34 of its troops had been injured. The number of wounded was previously put at 19.

MINUSMA, whose deployment to Mali began in 2013, is a 15,000-person mission, of which 12,000 are troops.

It has lost more than 140 members to hostile acts, the highest death toll of any UN peacekeeping mission. Ten fatalities have occurred this year alone.

The force has been criticised in some quarters for failing to respond aggressively to the insurgency.


Bandits in North recruited from Mali, Sudan

Bandits from Mali and Sudan are operating in some parts of the North, a governor said on Wednesday.

According to him, the bandits came into the country on motorcycles and are recruited through the social media – especially facebook.

Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello, who stated this on Wednesday, said he had tabled the matter and other security challenge facing his state before President Muhammadu Buhari.

He spoke to reporters at the State House after meeting with the President.

Niger is one of the states in the North where banditry and kidnapping are rampant.

Sani-Bello added that the other bandits attacking his people are from neigbouring Zamfara and Kaduna states.

The governor added that besides kidnapping and other forms of crimes, which the bandits commit, they are also threatening the nation’s food security by attacking farming, burning farms and killing animals and livestock.

The governor explained that he visited President Buhari to seek federal help against banditry and the repair of deplorable roads in the state.

He said: “The situation is very bad. Niger is 73,000 square kilometers. It’s the size of the entire Southsouth and Southeast (put together). So, first of all, we have limited number of security personnel and I think we have to start thinking of increasing the number so that we are able to cover most of the local government within the state.

“Some of our local governments are up to 6,000 to 7,000 square kilometers. For example, the Bobi Grazing Reserve, established by the state government, the CBN and the Federal Government to stop the movement of cattle and avoid herders/farmers conflict, has become a target.

“That is the only location where you can find in one constituency 5,000 to 6,000 herds of cows. So, most of the bandits have started focusing their attention on the Bobi Grazing Reserve. Because we have investors that have started investing in capital, equipment and processing facilities. We do not want to discourage them. So, we applied most of our resources and efforts towards protecting the grazing reserve.

“But we are having influx of bandits from neigbouring states, especially Zamfara and Kaduna states. It is difficult to patrol those areas because vehicles do not go there and it is a forest, which means we will need the federal might, especially the Air Force. By the way, the Air Force has been doing a extremely well in recent times to support our ground operations.

“In one particular case, we arrested bandits that are foreigners from as far as Sudan and Mali and they came on motor cycles.

“They are being recruited through social media, through Facebook in some cases. They confessed to this. They governor said the activities of bandits differ from place to place. Some are cattle rustlers. Some believe they are fighting some kind of jihadist activity. Some believe they are fighting corruption. They see any uniformed person, political office holders as corrupt.

“We have a major problem and it must stop.”

He said: “The dynamics of the criminal activities have changed. They started with armed robbery. Then, they moved to cattle rustling and then, to kidnapping as a means of getting money.

“But recently, the trend has changed. They started burning farms and animals. So, this has given me some concerns and at the same time, it has kept me thinking. What is the motive?

“I can understand if you kidnap,  you are looking for money. But, when you burn farms, then, there is something else happening. Or when you kill animals. They go to villages and kill animals. They don’t steal.

“So, if you stop people from going to farms, it means you are trying to deprive that nation of food security. Why will someone want to deprive people of food security? Niger State has the capacity of feeding the entire country. We have the water bodies for dry season farming, we produce a lot of rice, maize.”

He said although he had attended a meeting with bandits, “I cannot imagine myself as a state governor and chief security officer of a state, sitting down and negotiating with bandits.”

He said bandits “are never honest in their talks. Even when they were given the opportunity they failed to keep the agreement. And whenever they surrender their arms and they don’t ask for anything in return, then, you can tell it is not an honest negotiation.”

On the efforts being made by the state to contain banditry, he said: “Let me tell you what has worked so far and we have made a lot of progress. I moved the responsibility of security to the committee level. And at the committee level, they know themselves.

“Vigilantes are controlled by the local government, they are defending their farmlands. They are defending their families.

”The bandits are being invited by some locals. In fact, we have arrested some village heads. Now, if a whole village head invites bandits or habours bandits, then, where are we headed to? The village head is supposed to secure the village.

Urging the Federal Government to construct a highway in his state, the governor said traffic is always high on the Minna/North/South road, leading to wear and tear.

“We also discussed the issue of infrastructure in Niger State. At the moment, 80 per cent more of traffic from the South passes through Niger State, especially through Minna, the state capital.” (Thenationonlineng)

Africa: Mali shuts bars, schools, restaurants to fight Covid19

Mali on Friday said it would close bars and restaurants for two weeks, close fairs and shutter schools until January 10 to fight the novel coronavirus.

Hospitals are overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases in the vast Sahel country, torn by jihadist attacks and currently under a shaky caretaker government following an August coup.

The closure of bars and restaurants will start from midnight Saturday, government spokesman Hamadoun Toureh said after a cabinet meeting.

The cabinet also decided to declare a six-month health emergency, he said, adding that public gatherings would be limited to under 50 people until January 10.

Mali has so far officially recorded 6,049 Covid-19 cases of which 211 have been fatal in a country of 20 million. Daily cases this month have surpassed 150 and hospitals in the capital Bamako are struggling to cope with virus patients.



In Africa: Mali military agrees to 18-month transition government

The head of Mali’s military junta, Colonel Assimi Goita, vowed to establish an 18-month transition government on Saturday, at the close of talks on returning the country to civilian rule following last month’s coup.

An expert group appointed by the junta adopted a charter for an 18-month transition government, the president of which would either be a military officer or a civilian.

“We make a commitment before you to spare no effort in the implementation of all these resolutions in the exclusive interest of the Malian people,” He said.


Africa: 6 civilians killed in Mali explosion

Six civilians were killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) on Friday, near Boura, Mali’s southern region of Sikasso, a local security source confirmed to Xinhua on Saturday.

According to the officer, who request condition of anonymity out of fear of being revenged, an ambulance carrying a patient from Boura hit an IED on Friday, killing 6 people on board, except the driver who “was severely injured and evacuated to Koutiala (south)’’.

Among the victims, there was a pregnant woman and a two-year-old kid, he said.

This is the first attack on civilians since the mutiny that led to the resignation of Mali’s president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Also on Friday afternoon, about 10 kilometres away from Boura, local authorities found the bodies of the two local staff of Environment Ministry who were kidnapped by unknown armed men on Thursday night, said the officer.

The Malian army has been targeted four times, killing at least 21 soldiers with numerous injuries.

No individual or group has claimed responsibility for these attacks amid political instability in Mali. Thenationonlineng

Climate Change fuelling crisis in Nigeria, Mali, Others says UN Chief

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, on Monday, said that worsening climate conditions is fuelling competition for shrinking resources in the Sahel region of Africa, which includes Northern Nigeria.

Speaking in Geneva, Switzerland, at the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council, Bachelet said climate change will have a telling impact on the political, economic and socio-cultural fabric of the world.

She said, “In the Sahel region of Africa, degradation of arable land is intensifying competition for already scarce resources.

“The world has never seen a threat to human rights of this scope.”

The Thompson Reuters Foundation had in August published a report revealing that satellite footage showed the quantity of grass that sprouted in the desert countries of Mali and Mauritania to be inadequate for the consumption of their roaming cattle herd, due to late rainfall.

With the governments within the West and Central African sub regions unwilling to find a regional solution to nomadic cattle breeding, Nigeria’s fertile Savanah planes and other scarce fertile parts of the two sub regions are bound to experience escalating feuds between cattle and farmers searching for water and hay for their animals.(Saharareporters)

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