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Sahara News Update, August, 2019
update has been compiled by Christer Wilkinson from a variety
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.
This month there was yet again no news on any of the western hostages:
but see the report on Thad for information on other hostages.
The IOM DTM site reports for Niger and Mali were available in time
for this report.
DTM Niger (July 2019)
Only 2000 migrants recorded per day, equally split between departures
arrivals and internal movement. Only 200 a day leaving or arriving
from Libya with an excess this month of departures and about the same
going to Algeria: the remainder leaving or entering Niger via border
crossing in the south.
DTM Tchad (not available this month due to website difficulties at
the time of preparing this report but a site summary advised only
620 migrants per day at all monitoring stations)
DTM Mali (July 2019)
A stunningly low figure of only 325 migrants a day though all entry/exit
A land mine near the town of Bosso in the south east near lake Tchad
killed several Niger army soldiers: presumably laid by Boko Harem.
The Termit wildlife reserve in the Tenere, east of Agades has, been
opened by the government to oil exploration: details of how much it
has been opened is not clear.
The Orange telecommunication company’s future in Niger is still
in doubt, and to complicate matters there was a strike by its workers.
At least 150 migrants were reported to be repatriated by the IOM back
to Niger from Libya via Dirkou: but this is not a significant percentage
of the total migrant traffic via Dirkou.
The American air base in Agades finally opened after construction
An investigation reported significant gasoline fraud in Niger, as
gasoline intended for export was diverted to domestic use without
Heavy rains were reported as the period ended with damage to 2000
homes in the Agadez region, with two deaths and numerous injuries
reported so far. There was also a significant rise in the level of
the Niger river at Niamey the capital which required the evacuation
of some riverside areas.
As described in the last news report, according to the government
in Tchad, there are a reported 3000 teachers and government employees
with fake diplomas and salaries of these staff have been stopped.
Protests have of course ensured.
Four people who were taken hostage in northern Tchad (which included
three Chinese staff) were released by their captors. Details of who
and where were not made available.
The long running dispute between the sultanate of Ouaddia and the
Tchad government continues: according to some reports with the local
people resisting the imposition of a new leader by the Tchad government.
More fighting was reported between herders and farmers in the east
of the country, leaving 37 dead in one report: significantly less
in another. Other reports indicated attacks in the south east.
In the north of Tchad near the Tibesti mountains, the tension round
Miski (a gold bearing area) continues and there are reports of increased
military in the area. This area reportedly set up a local self-defense
force earlier this year. There are also reports of increase military
pressure on miners in the far north near Libya with a number of miners
reportedly fleeing over the border to Libya.
An attack was reported on a police station in the far north near Bardaia
resulted in three assailants killed after a soldier reportedly fled
there after killing another person. Reports are confusing.
Businessmen in Tchad complained that the declaration of a state of
emergency and border closures are badly hurting trade.
The rebels captured in the recent attempt at a coup in February, which
was stopped with the help of a French military intervention, were
sentenced to long terms of imprisonment, but some minors were released.
A Kamikaze female member of Boko Harem killed six people in the west
of the country near Lake Tchad.
There was yet another government reshuffle in August.
The Crisis Group reports a whole series of minor incidents
in central Mali, but less activity in the north. However due to the
lack of security, the Red Cross is moving out of Timbuctoo
The collapse of a building in Bamako was reported to have killed 15
people. The cause of the collapse varies between accounts.
The Mali government is still not back in Kidal from which it has been
absent for several years. The UN and French are there but the Mali
government is not. The UN would like it to return. The rebels do not
want the return without an effective settlement.
The control post at Kati, on the road to Kayes from Bamako, which
was blocked by a protest, is now open again and the government has
promised to repair the bad section of road which caused the protests.
It was reported that at one time there were over 1000 trucks stuck
at the post.
The French troops in Mali were reported as mired in mud and distrust
by a BBC article. The BBC also reported that the number of child deaths
from the conflicts in Mali doubled this year over previous years.
In the Dogon country in central Mali there was another report of anger
at the powerlessness of the Mali authorities and UN to prevent violence
and protect villages.
In the ongoing disputes in the Mali parliament, the opposition refused
to cooperate in an inclusive dialogue with the Mali government on
future policy and solutions.