Mann Taylor's Home Page
Mann Taylor's Home Page
January 2018 update:
Reports of the situation in Mali even made an article in the “Economist’, which reported that the Mali government seem not to be interested in the north, as 90% of the population is in the south, near the Capital and pointed out that the gold mining in the south was the biggest source of foreign exchange revenue for the country.
As January ended it was reported elsewhere that the Mali Government was planning to ban the use of motorbikes and pickups in the north. How this would be achieved is not clear. There is a ban on motorbikes in some western areas of Niger and motorbikes were used last year in the attack on the convoy in which four Americans were killed.
The level of discontent with the economic situation in Tchad grows. Strikes are becoming more frequent and the response to a 50% cut in salary of some government employees as a result of the economic situation produced the inevitable reactions. Other austerity measures include increasing taxes and increases in the prices of fuel and electricity.
In the east of the country the first attempts to move some refugees back to Sudan for some time has been reported.
Two news reports indicated that the leader of ISIS had taken refuge in the Tibesti mountains of northern Tchad or in northern Niger. One English newspaper included a report on the gold mining and smuggling routes through the mountains: other reports indicate of clashes between gold miners and local communities in the same area.
It was reported that Algeria had again expelled a number of migrants back to Niger, but this time left them at the southern border post near In Guezzam, leaving them to walk to Assamarka, and not trucking them all the way to Agades.
The Niger president expressed some concern about the effectiveness of the military aid he was receiving from the west to fight the Islamic groups, and also the fact that the solution to Niger’s problems could not only be military.
Meanwhile the price of Uranium, Niger’s main mining industry, and source of foreign exchange is still not rising from its low levels.
Italy is taking a greater interest
in the region and plans to send troops to Niger to help the government.
It has also been active in north Libya negotiating on migrants, and
also in negotiations in southern Libya between waring rebel groups.
It clearly has an interest in reducing the flow of migrants across
the Mediterranean to Italy.