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, March, 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
The body of Beatrice Stockli was handed over to the Mali authorities. She had been reported killed last year. The identity of the body was verified by DNA analysis. She had been held by the Islamicist group JNIM. No details of the location of the body were reported.

Corona Virus
At the time of this report the “total cases” Covid figures were: Niger 5,072, Mali 11,705 and Tchad 4,636 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 February 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 increasing migrant traffic across the northern borders of Niger.

Niger: Madama: around 157/day northwards to Libya: 69/day back from Libya. Arlit: around 240/day north to Algeria and 67/day back from Algeria (Note: no monitoring at Assamaka)

Mali: Under 20/day north to Algeria and under 20/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.

Mali
The Crisis Group report for Mali for February contains the now only too familiar and depressing sequence of reports of violent incidents all over Mali. But a ceasefire was agreed at the town of Faranougou, and progress may have been made in getting a settlement between the Fulani and Dogon peoples.

The Interim Legislative Body’s National Transitional Council VP Issa Kaou Djim on the 6 March was reported to have called on transition’s VP Colonel Assimi Goïta to contest the next presidential election: this despite the transition government’s charter barring interim leaders from being candidates.

Influential cleric Mahmoud Dicko next day criticized the interim government’s handling of the transition: this followed a similar compliant by the M5-RFP group.

Details of payment for the release of Soumaila Cisse last year were made by an individual named Bibi who in the past was reported to have fought alongside Iyad Ag Ghaly. The sum reported was 2m Euros. It was not clear how much was also paid for the western hostages.

The MUNISMA report on the incident at Bouti (in southern Mali earlier this year) was published. At least 29 people were killed. The report confirmed that it was a wedding party which was attacked by the French forces in error. The French military disputed the methodology of the report.

The Bamako Court of Appeals 2 March dismissed charges of “a plot against the state” against five politicians, including former PM Boubou Cissé .

Niger

The major news of the month was the two major rebel attacks in western Niger.

A series of raids by Jihadists at three villages in the Tahoua region near the Mali border on the 21st March killed at least 141 civilians. Casualties and locations vary between reports. The attackers arrived on motorbikes and were reported to have shot at anything which moved. In one report it was stated that the attackers drive off thousands of cattle.

A previous series of attacks further west near Tillabery, on March 15th , killed 66 people, mostly from the local Zarma population. The ISGS jihadist group was identified as being responsible. This attack was by ambushing passenger vehicles. Several other attacks took place in other towns in the area around this time frame, in which several people were reported killed: the ISWAP jihadist group was identified as responsible for these attacks.

The presidential election results (held the previous month) were disputed by the runner up Mahamane Ousmane, by filing an appeal with the constitutional court. However, the court ruled that the ruling party candidate, Mohammed Bazoum was indeed elected president. Ousmane claimed that his appeal had not been properly processed.

At the end of the month an attempted coup was reported in Niamey with a group of military assaulting the presidential place. The force was repulsed. No details of casualties or those responsible were available in time for this report.

There has been an expansion of the US base at Dirkou reported based on recent satellite imagery: note that Madama is reported no longer occupied by the French Military.

Cominak confirmed that the Uranium mine near Arlit at Akouta was shutting down at the end of March after over 40 years of operation. The company claimed it would return the mine to its natural state and help find employment for the 600 staff no longer required.

There was a fight between two miners at a gold mine “near Arlit” which resulted in the death of one of the miners.

Tchad
The main events in Tchad this month have been political and focused on the presidential election due to be held early April. The current President, Déby, is standing for a sixth consecutive term, and as reported last month political tensions are high and the opposition is claiming suppression.

Following the late February raid on the home of the presidential candidate and reported former rebel leader Yaya Dillo, (as reported in last month’s report), a main opposition leader Saleh Kebzabo withdrew his presidential candidacy citing “climate of insecurity”.

This raid also sparked international reaction: on the 5th March the French Foreign mister and the Africa Union commission chair reportedly asked the Tchad authorities to launch independent investigation into the deadly raid at Dillo’s home and hold those responsible for the killings accountable. The UN Secretary General Guterres had previously called on the government to “favor political dialogue ahead of forthcoming elections and continue efforts to foster an inclusive political process”.

Meanwhile on the 3rd March the Tchad Supreme Court on the 3rd March approved 10 of 17 candidacies for presidential election, including a previous prime minister, Albert Pahimi Padacke. (The list also included Kebzabo and two other candidates who also decided to withdraw )

The next day a group of opposition parties, were reported to have launched “Wakit Tama” (roughly translated: Now Is The Time) platform against President Déby’s sixth term bid.

In mid-month the president Déby met Succès Masra, leader of opposition party “Les Transformateurs”, whose presidential candidacy was rejected by the Supreme Court for failing to meet cut-off age requirements. Masra reportedly called for the postponement of the vote to allow time for “dialogue between all actors” prior to election. This was not obtained, but Masra obtained long-awaited official recognition of his party – allowing it to run in next legislative and communal elections.

Then on 19 March, Kebzabo called on supporters to boycott the election and on other opposition candidates to withdraw: following which appeal, hundreds of opposition supporters the next day demonstrated against Déby’s sixth term bid in capital N’Djamena The police arrested at least 40: most released same day.

The presidential campaigning even reached Bardaia, in the far north of the Tibesti Mountains, where the former minister, Mahamat Abali Salah was campaigning on behalf of the president.

In a separate incident in the capital later in the month, some soldiers shot and killed two teachers: the public prosecutor 26th March stated that a soldier had been arrested and investigation was under way. A couple of days later police had to dispersed demonstration in N’Djamena calling for justice and reparation for bereaved families.

On the lighter side, Tchad faces suspension by the Confederation of African Football, after the minister of youth and sports dissolved the Federation of Chad Football Associations in March. However, Tchad has no upcoming international fixtures having been knocked out of the 2022 World Cup and also having been disqualified for the Africa Cup of Nations.

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
___________________________