update has been compiled by Christer Wilkinson from a variety
The main news In Niger this month has again
been on the refugee/migrant situation.
In the north, as a result of the press reports about the expulsion
of refugees from Algeria across the southern Algeria border to walk
to Assamakka, the Niger northern frontier post, some reports came
in that these had stopped. Then they had started again, and then stopped
again. This situation is unclear and recent reports vary.
During the month reports also came in from the IOM for May confirming
a net inflow of people from Libya and Algeria back to Niger via Arlit
and Agades. It appears that some people are still leaving Niger but
now more are returning and this is putting pressure on services in
Arlit and Agades.
The main source of inflow is from Algeria. More people in May were
still going to Libya than returning. The observed flow was some 6000.
In June the figures dropped dramatically (summer?) to around 2000
and there was small net inflow from both Algeria and Libya. There
are of course still some 250,000 refugees/displaced persons in the
Diffa region, and 50,000 refugees near the Mali border.
There was yet another announcement of an oil find in the Agadem region
of Niger. In the same region near Diffa there was a savage attack
by Boko Harem rebels which killed at least ten Niger soldiers.
No news this month about any of the western hostages, but the son
of Sophie Petronin was reported to be in Niger to attempt to visit
his mother. The outcome was not reported.
The annual rains in Niger this year killed 13 people and an uncertain
number of animals, (but probably thousands), and damaged some 17,000
homes. The areas of Maradi, Agades and Diffa were the worst affected,
according to the reports: and there was a new cholera outbreak with
some 250 cases.
Towards the end of the month six opposition figures were released
from prison after several months.
The main news this month was the presidential elections in Mali: the
election activity is mostly in the south, where most of the population
of Mali resides. These were still going on as the month ended but
initial reports indicated that the incumbent (IBK) was in the lead.
In mid-July IBK was reported to have actually visited Kidal in the
north for the first time in five years.
Further north, there were numerous reports on incidents in the center
of the country, including conflicts between tribal groups, and attacks
on government and UN forces near Mopti.
In the far north of Mali, there were fewer reports of rebel incidents
than usual, but one report from near Gao confirmed that civilians
are now becoming a target of the rebel groups as well as the military,
including one attack on an electoral material convoy near Segou, in
the center of the country.
No new western hostages were reported and there was no news about
existing western hostages.
The IOM reported an almost balanced incoming and outgoing migrant’s
movement in June into and out of Mali with a very limited flow of
240 a day. There are still a reported 50,000 Mali refugees in Niger,
50,000 in Mauritania and 25,000 in Burkina Faso.
Tchad was again quieter than either Niger or Mali as far as rebel
incident were concerned. Even so there was one attack near Lake Tchad
by Boko Harem which killed a reported 18 inhabitants. As always accounts
Tchad’s refuge problem is still immense, and the large number
on the east side of the country no longer attracts press reports.
The figures are daunting:
· 331,000 refugees /displaced people in the east near the Sudan
· 150,00 refugees /displaced people in the south near the CAR
· 180,000 refugees /displaced people near Lake Tchad
In the meantime life continues in
Tchad in its own way. The strikes have faded, but discontent with
the economy remains. A least with the oil price holding higher, the
income from oil in Tchad is up from last year.
In the far north the challenges from
border smuggling of drugs etc. to and from Libya is reported to be
continuing. Yet another frontier agreement was signed with Libya in
July, who complained that mercenaries from Tchad rebel groups were
involved in the inter-group conflicts in Libya.
The IOM reports on the northern and
western borders of Tchad indicate an increase in traffic in April
(last period available): but a significantly lower levels than for
Mali and Niger. Of course the frontier is more open in Tchad and the
monitoring points more spread out.
A proposal to move the regional government
head offices for the Ennedi region from Fada to d’Amdjarass
(the president’s home town) was the subject of a protest.
Another protest came from Amnesty
International about the Tchad government’s human rights violations.
The Tchad government issued a prompt denial.