Africa

Double-edged Sword: Vigilantes in African Counter-insurgencies

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Vigilante groups have been successful in providing local security. But subcontracting security functions to vigilante groups for counter-insurgency purposes is a dangerous option for fragile African states. African leaders should set clear objectives and mandates when enlisting vigilantes and invest in disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programs. ICG Executive Summary As weak African states face growing insurgencies, they do what weak states tend to do: subcontract certain security functions to non-state actors or vigilante groups, many of which had taken up ... Read More »

Why is Canada supporting Africa’s most ruthless dictator?

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September 7, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Pambazuka News — After amending the constitution to be able to run indefinitely Paul Kagame recently won 98.63% of votes in Rwanda’s presidential election. Yves Engler Links In response Canada’s High Commissioner Sara Hradecky tweeted: “Congratulations to Rwandans for voting in peaceful presidential election” and “Canada congratulates Paul Kagame on his inauguration today as President of Rwanda”. The latter Tweet was picked up by the state propaganda organ ... Read More »

Lost Languages Discovered in One of the World’s Oldest Continuously Run Libraries

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The centuries-old texts were erased, and then written over, by monks at Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt Brigit Katz Smithsonian Saint Catherine’s Monastery, a sacred Christian site nestled in the shadow of Mount Sinai, is home to one of the world’s oldest continuously used libraries. Thousands of manuscripts and books are kept there – some of which contain hidden treasures. Now, as Jeff Farrell reports for the Independent, a team of researchers is using new technology to uncover texts that ... Read More »

Kenya: A Historic Decision, A Tough Road Ahead

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Kenya’s Supreme Court decision to annul the 8 August presidential election is bold and historic, but the path ahead will be fraught. A successful rerun within 60 days will need compromise on a better electoral commission, more accountable policing and more effective management of the high-stakes vote. ICG The 1 September decision by Kenya’s Supreme Court to annul the results of the 8 August presidential election and order a fresh vote was at once unexpected, historic, bold and – by ... Read More »

The Burundian army’s dangerous over-reliance on peacekeeping

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Burundi needs international peacekeeping missions to keep its troops paid and happy. Peacekeeping missions need Burundian troops. But for how long? BY RICHARD MONCRIEFF & THIERRY VIRCOULON African Arguments The crisis that has engulfed Burundi since April 2015 is the result of infighting among a small number of insiders belonging to the ruling party, the CNDD-FDD. Having all fought in the bush together, some of them felt that the president, Pierre Nkurunziza, should make way for others to have a turn at the top job, ... Read More »

50 years of hurt: Togo protesters vow to continue

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After years of government stalling, demonstrators are demanding electoral reforms, including the reinstatement of term limits. BY FARIDA NABOUREMA African Arguments On Saturday 19 August, shocking images of the bodies of protesters being carried on stretchers started flooding social media in Togo. That day, thousands of citizens had taken to the streets to demand democratic reforms and the restoration of the country’s 1992 constitution. Calling for change after half a century of rule by the Gnassingbe family, demonstrators marched to chants of ... Read More »

Sudanese minister calls for normalisation with Tel Aviv

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The Israeli newspaper Haartez has welcomed statements made by the Sudanese Minister Mubarak Al-Fadil Al-Mahdi who expressed his support for the establishment of official relations with Israel, claiming that Palestinians are to blame for selling their land in the first place. Middle East Monitor Al-Mahdi, who is Minister of Investment in Sudan, stated during an interview with a Sudanese TV channel yesterday that there should be no objection to the idea of normalising relations with Israel, pointing out that this ... Read More »

Whatever happened to East Africa’s oil boom?

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Politics has been central to the progress, or lack thereof, in developing East Africa’s oil. And it will continue to be. Luke Patey African Arguments It was not long ago that East Africa was the shining frontier of the continent’s oil scene. Uganda sparked the rush in 2006 after wildcatters ventured deep inland and made Africa’s largest onshore discoveries in decades. And Kenya’s north­western Turkana region continued the run with new oilfields found in 2012. With crude prices averag­ing almost $112 per barrel ... Read More »

Kenya Should Come Together After its Contested Elections

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Contrary to the deadly election of 2007, Kenya’s pivotal and highly-anticipated 2017 national and local polls passed without major outbreaks of violence. ICG But in order to build on this achievement, Kenyans must take further steps to overcome ethnic divisions and work toward greater national unity and inclusive governance. Despite claims of irregularity and the continuing risk of unrest, Kenya’s pivotal national and local elections on 8 August passed off in a largely peaceful manner. Millions of voters braved the elements and ... Read More »

Fifty-five more migrants feared drowned off the coast of Yemen

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The UN says smugglers forced some 180 Ethiopian and Somali migrants off their boat into rough seas. Over 100 were rescued, five confirmed dead. Reuters TRTworld It was the second such incident in the past two days. Some 180 young Ethiopian and Somali migrants, many weakened by hunger and drought in their home countries, were forced from a boat into rough seas off Yemen by smugglers on Thursday, and 55 were presumed to have drowned, the… It was the second ... Read More »

Egypt’s Sisi says proud of cooperation with Cyprus

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Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said on Tuesday that his country is proud of constructive cooperation relations with Cyprus. Xinhua In a phone call with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Sisi highlighted the importance of promoting “distinguished relations” between the two countries in all fields, official MENA news agency reported. The Egyptian president also expressed his appreciation for Cyprus’ supportive stances on Egypt’s efforts to establish the pillars of security and stability in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Anastasiades also hailed ... Read More »

Australian mining company in prosecution spotlight for role in Congo massacre

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The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights has urged the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to re-open the criminal investigation into the role an Australian company, Anvil Mining, played in a massacre of 70… HRLC In the landmark ruling, the African Commission found the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo responsible for the 2004 massacre in the southeast of the country, but it also highlighted Anvil Mining’s role in supplying logistical support to the… Anvil Mining operated a ... Read More »

A Dangerous Gulf in the Horn: How the Inter-Arab Crisis is Fuelling Regional Tensions

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The Gulf crisis and the scramble for military outposts in the Horn of Africa are exacerbating regional tensions that risk triggering a conflict. Rashid Abdi ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa Project Director Rashid Abdi untangles the complex web of relations that tie the Horn and the Gulf. How has the Gulf crisis affected security and stability in the Horn? The Gulf and the Horn are intricately intertwined regions that face common threats and vulnerabilities: armed conflict, ... Read More »

Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis at the Crossroads

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Since October 2016, protests and strikes related to sectoral demands have escalated into a crisis over the economic and political marginalisation of Cameroon’s Anglophone minority. ICG Although the government has made some concessions, it must rebuild mutual trust with Anglophone actors in order to avoid instability ahead of the 2018 general elections. Executive Summary The Anglophones of Cameroon, 20 per cent of the population, feel marginalised. Their frustrations surfaced dramatically at the end of 2016 when a series of sectoral ... Read More »

Essential Guide to Kenya’s High Stakes Election on 8 August

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Kenya’s 8 August elections are rapidly approaching and concerns continue to mount over the prospect of electoral violence. Murithi Mutiga ICG In this Q&A, Senior Kenya Analyst Murithi Mutiga looks at what is at stake and assesses efforts to prevent another violent fallout from the balloting. Kenya is scheduled to hold a general election on 8 August. The vote comes ten years after a disputed presidential poll brought the key East African country to the brink of civil war. Hundreds ... Read More »

How Libya’s Fezzan Became Europe’s New Border

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The principal gateway into Europe for refugees and migrants runs through the power vacuum in southern Libya’s Fezzan region. ICG Any effort by European policymakers to stabilise Fezzan must be part of a national-level strategy aimed at developing Libya’s licit economy and reaching political normalisation. Executive Summary European policymakers increasingly are looking at the Fezzan, Libya’s vast and scarcely populated south west, as their frontier against sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees traveling the Central Mediterranean route to Europe. In 2016, ... Read More »