update has been compiled by Christer Wilkinson from a variety
June 2018 update:
The main story this month has been the continuing
shipment of West African migrants southwards out of Algeria to the
Niger frontier where they were left to walk the ten kilometers to
the Niger border town of Assamakka.
This was first reported on this site earlier this year, but was only
picked up this month by the regular press. The UN calculates that
some 10,000 have been shipped across the Niger frontier this way during
the last year, plus more into Mali. In previous years they were shipped
all the way to Agades.
The reports also indicated a further number of Sudanese being shipped
back from Libya are arriving in Agades. The UN and NGOs report that
facilities in Agades cannot support this number of returnees and the
conditions for refugees in the town are deteriorating.
In the Tenere desert east of Agades there were several reports of
battles with armed groups. One reported an incident near “Arbre”,
and another at an unspecified location 400k from Agades, (which would
be near Fachi or north at “Arbre Perdu”). In another incident
the army confirmed that they had intercepted a 17-vehicle convoy.
Reported details of these conflicts vary and it is not clear if they
were rebel, or drug runners or both.
In Diffa, in the south east of the country, three suicide bombers
blew themselves up in the town causing ten fatalities and a number
of injuries. The suicide bombers were presumed to be from the rebel
group Boko Harem.
The oil company Savannah Petroleum reported another oil find near
Agadem north of Diffa.
Ten tons of cannabis assumed to have come from Morocco was intercepted
by the Nigerian authorities at Niamey this month.
The UN reports an extra 15,000 people have fled from Mali into Niger
this month escaping the new conflicts in Mali.
This month there were two developments. Early in June the president
of Mali announced that the Niger government was in contact with the
kidnappers of the two hostages taken in Niger, respectively Joerg
Lange and Jeffery Woodke, and that the two of them were still alive
and steps were being taken to obtain their release. However no details
In mid-June, a video was released by the “Islamist and Muslim
Support Group”, the main jihadist alliance in the Sahel which
showed both Sophia Petronin and Cecilia Narvaez, (the Colombian nurse)
two of the other western hostages.
This was the first proof of life for
both hostages some time. The videos included pleas to their various
governments for action. Sophia’s son announced that he wanted
to go personally to meet the kidnapers.
Some news reports indicate that the video and report included references
to of all the western hostages. Other advised that the video provided
could be older than indicated.
Unfortunately, things have not changed for the better in Mali, and
June has another depressing litany of rebel attacks and inter-tribal
conflicts. These incidents are slowly moving southwards.
Early in June there was an attack by terrorists on the Mali army near
Koro in central Mali. Then later in June, in another attack, mortar
shells fell on the position of the Malian army at Boni. The attackers
then fired at the security checkpoint. The Mali army repelled the
attackers, and 13 bodies were reported found after the attack.
In mid-June are report came in o a significant intertribal conflict.
The report claimed that traditional hunters have killed 32 civilians
in an isolated village in central Mali.
The hunters, known locally as "Dozo",
attacked the village near Djenne in the Mopti region of central Mali
reportedly separated members of the Fula ethnic group from the other
villagers before killing them.
In mid-June a mass grave was found
near Nantaka under odd circumstance.
A French news report pointed out that
the abandonment of this area by government officials, and the proliferation
of weapons, has aggravated clashes between Dogon and Fulani which
have resulted in at least 70 deaths since the beginning of the year.
Further north in Mali, at the town
of Bourem near Gao, at the end of the month a suicide bomber attack
left four dead and 23 wounded among civilians. Four French soldiers
were also wounded.
Previous to this, just before the
end of the month, the headquarters of the G5 Sahel joint force at
Sévaré, in central Mali was the target of a car bomb
attack which killed three people plus the perpetrators. The entire
entrance wall of the G5 compound was blown by the blast, which projected
the vehicle inside the enclosure, according to witnesses and images
broadcast after the attack.
The Islamist and Muslim Support Group,
the main jihadist alliance in the Sahel, linked to Al Qaeda, claimed
responsibility for the attack in a phone call.
The UN reported that faced with increasing
violence near the Niger and Burkina border, refugees are coming to
Gao, on the Niger river, in increasing numbers.
In the south near the capital, where
the population is much denser than in the north, numerous demonstrations
were reported in the build up to the Mali presidential elections.
The agreement with Glencore to reschedule the loan to the Tchad governments
was finally signed. Since the agreement was reached earlier this year
the price of oil has substantially increased so the loan repayments
are now more manageable.
(Note that Glencore is currently in the press concerning its dealings
in the country to the south of Tchad, namely the CAR: these dealings
are separate from its agreements with Tchad).
The Tchad rebel group “FACT”, based in Libya, denied that
its forces were being used as mercenaries by competing groups with
The various strikes by government officials in Tchad itself came to
an end. There are conflicting press reports regarding the settlement.
The tourist industry (or rather lack of) attracted a couple of reports,
pointing out that it was quite buoyant in 2008 and almost non-existent
On the public health front, Tchad reported an increase in the occurrences
Two other rather contrasting reports pointed out firstly that the
entire electricity supply of Tchad is about that of a hypermarket
in France, and another pointing out that with the rise in oil prices,
Tchad could see a second oil boom.
The Tchad government announced yet another agreement with neighboring
states to secure its frontier against illegal migration: but how can
achieve this with so much of its border open desert?