Index

Index
The153 Club
The Agades Cross
People of the Sahara
Saharan Landscapes
Saharan Salt Trade
The Gundi
Illizi Festival 2000
Sahara Freeze-up
Camel Cheese
153 News Update
Join the 153 Club

Père de Foucauld
L'Arbre du Ténéré 1
L'Arbre du Ténéré 2
Saharan Forts 1
Saharan Forts 2
Saharan Rock Art
Giraffe Engravings
Leo Africanus
Battuta's Saharan travels
Shabeni's Timbuktu
Timbuctoo the Mysterious
Heroditus & Pliny on Libya
Timbuktu, a poem

Joliba Trust
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 1
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 2
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 3
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 4
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 5
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 6

Old Michelin Maps
Early NW Africa Map 1
Early NW Africa Map 2
Early NW Africa Map 3
Early NW Africa Map 4
Early NW Africa Map 5
Saharan Exploration

Henry Barth 1
Henry Barth 2
Henry Barth 3
Denham & Clapperton 1
Denham & Clapperton 2
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 1
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 2
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 3
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 4

External Links

Jim Mann Taylor's Home Page
___________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Sahara News Update, April, 2021

This update has been compiled by Christer Wilkinson from a variety of sources.


Conflict Group Reports
Readers are reminded that the Crisis Group (www.crisisgroup.org) publishes a detailed monthly report on all rebel attacks and other violent incidents in the three countries covered in this news summary and other countries including Burkina Faso.

Hostages
No fresh news on the existing hostages, but the chief of “Reporters Without Borders” reported that French journalist Olivier Dubois was kidnapped April 8 while working in Mali’s northern city of Gao. A video was released later that showed Dubois saying he was kidnapped by the al-Qaida-linked group JNIM.

Corona Virus
At the time of this report the “total cases” Covid figures were: Niger 5,321, Mali 14,115 and Tchad 4,882 cases. Due to different collection criteria these figures are not completely comparable.

Migrant trends
The IOM DTM site reports for two of the countries were available on the IOM site covering the month of March at the time of this report.

It should be noted that these figures are only for migrants at the monitoring points and migrants who avoid these points are not included. In addition, the accumulation of refugees at remote frontier points such as Assamaka are not included, nor are repatriation convoys or organized rescues.

The figures (estimated where full details are not available) show migrant traffic across the northern borders of Niger, and Mali

Niger: Madama: around 150/day northwards to Libya: 95/day back from Libya. Arlit: around 200/day north to Algeria and 100/day back from Algeria (Note: no monitoring at Assamaka)

Mali: Under 240/day north to Algeria and under 10/day southbound from Algeria, summed over all north monitored entry points. Note: no monitoring at Kidal so some of these numbers may be internal migration.

Tchad: no report again this month.

Tchad

The main event of the month in Africa was clearly the death of the Tchad president Idris Deby in combat. It appeared that during a conflict with a group of rebels north of the capital he was killed, ironically on the day he was supposed to have had confirmed his re-election as president.

The accounts and reasons for his death vary between reports and even the location and the actors. It has of course spawned a whole mass of conspiracy theories as to how and why it occurred.

The rebels were the FACT group (“Front pour l’Alternance et la Concorde au Tchad”, led by Mahamat Mahadi Ali) who had advanced from Libya down the west side of the Tibesti and had taken the towns of Wour and Zour (maybe), and the town of Gouri, and then crossed the open desert to close in on Mao, only about 250 miles north of the capital. This bypassed all the Tchad government troops at Bardai, Faya, Yebbi Bou, Fada, Oum Chalouba, and further south.

It is possible that the attack came through Niger, and there were report of some FACT personnel being stopped in Niger prior to the attack. (See Niger report below) Whatever, it was a remarkable maneuver. It was reported that yet again Deby benefitted from French aerial surveillance, if not air strikes, but the rebels claimed one chopper shot down. The casualty and capture counts from both sides were unrealistic.

The rebels retreated after the conflict with the Tchad army, but were not destroyed, despite reports from the Tchad government that they had fled into Niger, and as this report was being prepared were still holding the town of Nokou. The situation in the north in the Tibesti mountains was unclear.

The origin of FACT is not entirely clear: it apparent was created after a split with another North Tchad rebel group, the UEDD, both groups being based in Libya and formed mostly from members of the Gorane ethnic group. One report indicated that these groups had been used as militia by Hafter, one of the protagonists in the ongoing civil war in Libya, a possible source of its weaponry.

Meanwhile in the capital, a military junta headed up by a son of Deby, called Mahamat Idris Deby took over. The protests by the Africa Union at the putsch were limited, and the French also somewhat surprisingly did not condemn the putsch, and indeed the French president arrived shortly after to attend the funeral of Idris Deby in person, (together with the heads of each of the G5 countries ) at which he praised Idriss Deby role in suppressing Jihadist in the Sahel.

By this time the second-place presidential candidate, Albert Pahimi Padacke had been appointed prime minister, (he was previously prime minster from 2016 to 2018 under Idriss Deby) and later in the month a whole raft of civilian minister were appointed, and a promise of elections in 18 months issued. Notwithstanding protests continued in the capital.

In other parts of Tchad, things continued as normal. There was a raid by Boko Harem near lake Tchad which reportedly killed some dozen soldiers and the inter-group conflicts between herders and farmers continued in the Salamat region with a reported 100 deaths.

On the economic front it was report that the Moroccan group “Marita” was planning to sign an agreement with the Tchad Company “Sonmig” for the exploitation of gold reserves.

Mali
The Crisis Group report for Mali for February contains yet another depressing sequence of reports of violent incidents all over Mali by the ISGS and JNIM Islamicist group from the far north at Tessalit, near the Algerian border, to the south of the country.

The Malian M5 protest group, whose demonstrations were instrumental in the downfall of the previous president IBK, has broken with the Imam Dicko over his cooperation with the new military government, and his attempts to sideline M5 Group. This disagreement was reported to have been progressive more serious over the last few months.

One report indicated that Iyad Ag Ghaly, a prominent jihadist leader was ready to negotiate with the Mali government.

In Mid-April, in the capital Bamako, one signatory to the 2015 Algiers peace negotiations gunmen was shot dead Sidi Brahim Ould Sidati, leader of ex-rebel Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA). Also as reported above a French Journalist was kidnapped in the Gao area.

Some good news: the that interim government announced the constitutional referendum for October and presidential and Parliamentary elections in February.

Niger
Niger had several Jihadist attacks this month in both the east and the west of the country.

In early April the rebel group ISGS set several schools on fire and killed 17 Zarma civilians near Ayorou. Another rebel group, the ISWP attacked Diffa with an IED attack the next day. An attack on the Damask town just south of the border of Nigeria caused a wave of people fleeing Nigeria into Niger.

The UN has reported that some 80,000 people have fled Niger into the Mardi region fleeing the Islamic rebels and violence in northern Nigeria since the beginning of the year.

A report was published in mid-April indicating that two members of FACT (see Tchad report above) were arrested in Agades on March 17th. These were Ahemd Brahim, and Hohammed Taher Ali Kedelaye, but were released and apparent made it to Libya somehow.

Another report indicated that a cache of arms was found in caves some 50k north east of Arlit in the Aiir mountains. Between Arlit and Assamaka a truck crashed reportedly killing 8 artisanal goldminers.

The suspected leaders of the failed coup at the end of March were arrested in Benin and extradited to Niger. The coup was reportedly led by one Captain Sani Gourouza.

A new government was announced by the new president, Mohamadou, in early April consisting of 33 ministers including five women, but many positions were handed to the previous president’s supporters. The minister of defense in the new government is Alkassoum Indatou, a Targui from Agades.

Hama Amadou, the opposition leader who was not permitted to contest the election and jailed, has been allowed to leave Niger and go to France, and specifically the American hospital in Paris.

A film about the gangster underworld of Zinder has reviewed acclaims at a (virtual) film festival in London.

The Niger government has issued local bonds to the value of 130m$ at interest rates of about 5%.

 

Index

Index
The153 Club
The Agades Cross
People of the Sahara
Saharan Landscapes
Books on the Sahara(1)
Books on the Sahara(2)
Books on African Art
Saharan Salt Trade
The Gundi
Illizi Festival 2000
Sahara Freeze-up
Camel Cheese
153 Club Newsletter
153 News Update
Join the 153 Club
Today's African News

Père de Foucauld
L'Arbre du Ténéré 1
L'Arbre du Ténéré 2
Saharan Forts 1
Saharan Forts 2
Saharan Rock Art
Giraffe Engravings
Leo Africanus
Battuta's Saharan travels
Shabeni's Timbuktu
Timbuctoo the Mysterious
Heroditus & Pliny on Libya
Timbuktu, a poem

Joliba Trust
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 1
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 2
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 3
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 4
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 5
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 6

Old Michelin Maps
Early NW Africa Map 1
Early NW Africa Map 2
Early NW Africa Map 3
Early NW Africa Map 4
Early NW Africa Map 5
Saharan Exploration

Henry Barth 1
Henry Barth 2
Henry Barth 3
Denham & Clapperton 1
Denham & Clapperton 2
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 1
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 2
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 3
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 4

External Links

Jim Mann Taylor's Home Page
___________________________