IPIS Briefing February 2020 – Focus on Beni

IPIS Briefing February 2020

The IPIS briefing offers a selection of articles, news and updates on natural resources, armed conflict, Business & Human Rights and arms trade.  Every month, an editorial and related publications shed a light on a specific topic in IPIS’ areas of research.

In focus: Violence in Beni.

In the news: South African court refuses to extradite convicted Dutch arms dealer; Is the African Union Capable of ‘Silencing the Guns in Africa’?; Armed groups main perpetrators of sexual violence in DR Congo.

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This briefing is produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of IPIS and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.


IN FOCUS: VIOLENCE IN BENI

For decades Beni Territory, an administrative unit in the north of North Kivu Province (eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo), has been affected by a humanitarian crisis. The area is plagued by cycles of violence linked to the presence of both local and foreign armed groups, including a range of local Mai Mai militias and the infamous Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). Since 2014, the population has fallen victim to repeated massacres, which has resulted in more than 2,000 civilian deaths, has displaced many more to local towns, and has led to the collapse of the local economy.

Violence against the local population continued in 2019 in various parts of Beni territory. Most attacks occurred in the north of Beni town, near the ADF strongholds. Due to the anxiety around the ADF’s cruelties, all attacks north of Beni are widely attributed to ADF. Other armed actors, however, also operate in the area and commit human rights violations. The UN Group of Experts has investigated several of these attacks and has concluded that some of the attacks can be attributed to the ADF, while some “may not have been conducted by ADF, or at least not by ADF alone”(1). The UN Group of Experts for example explained how an attack on Mavivi in February 2019 might have been linked to a local leadership conflict.

Armed groups

The ADF is currently one of the most notorious armed groups in eastern DRC. The UN experts estimated that this rebel group has between 790 and 1060 fighters at its disposal, spread over various camps in the Beni area: the Madina-complex (a range of smaller camps in the so-called “triangle of death” between Oicha, Eringeti and Kamango), Mapobu, Mwalika, and Mulalo- Lahe. The armed group is responsible for a general feeling of insecurity not just north of Beni town, but also further afield in Irumu territory (Ituri Province).

The group is known for its radical interpretation of Islam, but for the last 25 years is also locally and regionally anchored. Some international press articles have described links between ADF and Islamic State (Daesh), and the latter claimed several attacks against army positions in Beni territory in April 2019. It is however difficult to find direct links between the two. Although, the ADF has suffered serious losses following several military operations launched against them since 2014, the group managed to reinstate a single chain of command, and to maintain a serious military force through continuous recruitment, mainly through networks in Uganda.

Besides the ADF, a wide range of Mai Mai movements also operate in the Beni area, including Union des patriotes pour la libération du Congo (UPLC), Alliance des Patriotes pour le Salut Intégral du Congo (APASICO), Musyakulu, Wakombozi and Mazembe. Some recent IPIS research documented how these movements prey on the local population through illegal taxation, pillaging, and even some interference in the local gold mining sector.

The FARDC conduct adds to the destabilization in eastern DRC. In September 2019 the Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights accused the FARDC of using armed militias as proxies which were responsible for grave violations of human rights in North Kivu.

Military operation

On 30 October 2019, the FARDC launched a new military operation against the ADF. It was a unilateral initiative from the Congolese government, with limited logistical and intelligence support from MONUSCO.

The FARDC troops seemed to make significant progress from a military point of view in the ‘triangle of death’ – between Eringeti, Mbau and Kamango (to the east of the Beni-Eringeti axis). According to FARDC communications, several ADF strongholds were captured, as well as several rebellion commanders. These gains however came at a terrible human cost. ADF fighters responded to the attacks through abductions and revenge killings against the local population. According to an evaluation report, commissioned by the UN, more than 260 civilians died in November-December 2019 following attacks from alleged ADF rebels. The ADF’s strategy of terror, but especially the ambiguous role of some FARDC elements and the perceived inertia of the UN blue helmets, created a lot of anger among the local population. Late November 2019, protesters in Beni even stormed and set on fire the town hall, as well as the MONUSCO headquarters, frustrated by lack of response to yet another massacre of eight civilians.

Early 2020, for several weeks no new rebel attacks occurred. The FARDC expressed a lot of positivism, stating it was dealing serious blows to the ADF. On January 11, the spokesperson of the military operation Major Mack Hazukayi reported that 40 rebels had been killed, among which 5 leaders. Furthermore, several important ADF camps were captured, including Mayangosa, Mwalika, Chochota, and Medina.

However, the lack of retaliation attacks from ADF was no more than a short break. The resurgence of violence and killings late January 2020, showed that the above statements of the rebels’ military defeat were no more than wishful thinking, and that the ADF is not that easy to wipe out. Since January 21 a string of new violent and fatal incidents have occurred. Although these attacks are often subscribed to ADF, but might, in several cases, also have been conducted by other armed men, most notably Mai Mai. Late January more than 100 civilians were killed in just a few days. The violence and massacres continued in February, for example in Rwenzori sector.

Some considerations

Several observers, analysts and civil society actors have already expressed their concerns on the current failing strategies to deal with ADF, and with insecurity more in general in the Beni area. Local civil society actors expressed a feeling of being abandoned by the international community following the inactiveness from the UN against the latest wave of massacres. There has also been some criticism from civil society and Jean Paul Ngahangondi (provincial MP) stating that the military operation is not very effective against ADF’s activities. While the military operation focuses on the ‘triangle of death’, located to the east of the Beni-Eringeti axis, the latest wave of massacres occurred rather to the west of that axis. The evaluation report commissioned by the UN called for a strengthened cooperation between MONUSCO and the Congolese Army and Police, to consolidate progress made by the military operations and to improve the protection of civilians. Such cooperation should however go beyond ADF, and address all sources of insecurity in the Beni area.

Some positive signs have been noted over the past six months, as some UPLC and APASICO rebels showed interest to demobilise, which lead to improving levels of security to the West of Beni town, late 2019. These gains are however very fragile. Furthermore, civil society complains about continuous collaboration between some actors within the army and armed group elements.

Through military operations, it might be possible to capture (all of) ADF strongholds. A complete victory over the ADF, on the other hand, will require a more comprehensive strategy. These rebels have been embedded in the area for the last 25 years, and have developed well-established support networks. Fahey described how strategies to deal with ADF should also involve additional efforts to dismantle the group’s regional support networks, which continue to supply recruits and money. Furthermore, more intelligence should be gathered to understand how the rebels remain a useful enemy for some political actors.

Ken Matthysen

(1) UN Group of Experts on the DRC, Final Report, 7 June 2019, S/2019/469

FURTHER READING

Beni victims say attackers wore military uniforms | 22 February 2020 | Al Jazeera

Victims of recent attacks by an armed group in the eastern DRC have told Al Jazeera the assailants wore military uniforms and killed indiscriminately.

Plus de 100.000 civils contraints de fuir les violences ces deux derniers mois | 11 February 2020 | ONU Info

L’Agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés (HCR) est vivement préoccupée par la détérioration de la situation dans le territoire de Beni, à l’est de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC), où la violence a contraint plus de 100.000 civils à fuir leur foyer ces deux derniers mois.

Militia attack leaves dozens dead in Congo’s Beni region | 30 January 2020 | The New Humanitarian

Militia fighters in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern Beni region have killed at least 38 people – the deadliest in a string of similarly bloody attacks that have caused widespread outrage and mass protests in the Ebola-hit area.

Human Rights Chief Will Focus on Hema-Lendu Ethnic Violence on Visit to DR Congo | 23 January 2020 | VOA News

U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet arrives in Bunia, in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday at the start of a five-day official visit to the country. The main focus of the high commissioner’s visit is to follow up on a recent investigation by her office on inter-ethnic tensions between the Lendu and Hema communities.

DRC: inter-ethnic violence in Ituri may constitute “crimes against humanity” | 10 January 2020 | United Nations Joint Human Rights Office | OHCHR

Killings, rapes and other forms of violence targeting the Hema community in the Democratic Republic of Congo province of Ituri may amount to crimes against humanity, a UN report released on Friday said.

Ituri: l’armée congolaise dénonce des complicités locales | 26 December 2019 | Colette Braeckman | Blog Le Soir

Dans l’Est du Congo, l’armée congolaise est déployée sur deux fronts : le Nord et le Sud Kivu où elle traque des groupes de réfugiés hutus rwandais dont 1800 combattants et dépendants ont été ramenés à la frontière de leur pays et l’Ituri, dans le « Grand Nord » du Nord Kivu, un vaste territoire voisin de l’Ouganda. La guerre en Ituri s’avère beaucoup plus complexe et surtout beaucoup plus meurtrière que les offensives menées plus au sud. En effet, en contrepoint des mouvements militaires, elle s’accompagne de tueries qui ont déjà fait plus de 200 morts.

Midterm report of the Group of Experts submitted in accordance with paragraph 4 of resolution 2478 (2019)(S/2019/974) (pdf) | 20 December 2019 | Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo | UN Security Council

The Group notes that, since the outset of its mandate, there have been increased armed clashes between the armed groups Nduma défense du Congo-Rénové (NDC-R) and the Collectif des mouvements pour le changement (CMC) in Masisi and Rutshuru territories, North Kivu Province.

Du Nord au Sud le Kivu brûle | 16 December 2019 | Colette Braeckman | Blog Le Soir

D’une frontière à l’autre, depuis les rives du lac Tanganyika jusqu’aux rivages du lac Albert, le Kivu, Nord et Sud, brûle du feu de la guerre. A Beni la mort est quotidienne, l’insécurité totale, mais plus au Sud aussi, des groupes armés en débandade accompagnés de civils hébétés errent dans les forêts et les massifs montagneux, qu’il s’agisse du parc des Virunga au Nord ou du parc de Kahuzi Biega aux portes de Bukavu.

Une psychose totale gagne la population du Nord-Kivu | 10 December 2019 | MO Magazine

Samedi 30 septembre, Beni. Un couple a été lapidé parce que des citadins pensaient avoir à faire à des rebelles ADF NALU’s. Leur fille de douze ans a pu échapper au même sort de justesse grâce à l’action courageuse de quelques femmes.

L’Est du Congo, nouvelle cible du combat djihadiste? | 7 December 2019 | Colette Braeckman | Blog Le Soir

De Beni, dans le Grand Nord du Kivu jusque Uvira sur les rives du lac Tanganyika, l’Est de la république démocratique du Congo représente-t-il un nouveau front de la progression de l’Islam en Afrique et, de manière plus inquiétante, une nouvelle base d’opérations et de sanctuaires pour des mouvements appartenant à la nébuleuse djihadiste, déjà présente sur les côtes de l’Océan Indien, du Mozambique jusqu’à la Somalie et au Kenya ?

Handheld Violence. Geographic Consumption of Conflict Mineral Coltan | 26 November 2019 | Storymaps Arcgis

So small, that a child who can barely speak can hold. So precious, millions of electronics from phone to airplane rely on it. So deadly, families are being forced to work in mines and villages are destroyed just for the control of the mine. This is the story of Columbite-Tantalite or commonly known as Coltan, a mineral found in Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Spirale de violence au Sud Kivu | 20 November 2019 | Colette Braeckman | Blog Le Soir

Depuis plusieurs mois, le Sud Kivu est pris dans une spirale de violence, et plus particulièrement la région de Fizi et la zone dite des hauts plateaux où vit la communauté des Tutsis congolais Banyamulenge. Le représentant de l’ONU à Kinshasa, François Grignon, s’en est ému, relevant qu’en octobre seulement, 90 « incidents » avaient été recensés entraînant le déplacement de plusieurs centaines de personnes dont les maisons avaient été incendiées.

Atrocities, Populations Under Siege, Regional Tensions: What is Happening in Minembwe? | 29 October 2019 | Kivu Security Tracker

Genocide.” That terrible word, which reverberates louder in the Great Lakes region than elsewhere was once again voiced, on October 16, like a stone cast into rough waters. This is how representatives of the Banyamulenge described the situation in the highlands of South Kivu in a press release. This community of Rwandaphone Tutsi cattle breeders claims it is being targeted by an extermination plan, led by the Mai-Mai Ebu-Ela, Aochi, Mulumba and Biloze-Bishambuke groups, allied with Burundi rebel groups. Is this really the situation?

In eastern Congo, a local conflict flares as regional tensions rise | 28 October 2019 | The New Humanitarian

More than 200,000 people have fled fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s South Kivu highlands in recent months as a long-simmering struggle over land, power, and citizenship descends into village burnings and widespread killings.

Letter dated 24 October 2019 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council(S/2019/842) (pdf) | 25 October 2019 | UN Secretary-General | UN Security Council

I am pleased to transmit the independent strategic review report of MONUSCO conducted by Youssef Mahmoud. The five sections of the report encompass an evaluation of the current political challenges and opportunities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an assessment of the current mandated tasks of MONUSCO, suggested new tasks, and conditions for a responsible drawdown.

Congo’s South Kivu Powder Keg | 16 October 2019 | Clingendael Spectator

The Eastern South Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is witnessing an alarming resumption of violence. Local civilians are increasingly caught between Congolese ethnic militias and foreign armed rebellions from Burundi and Rwanda. The current UN stabilization mission MONUSCO – composed of over 20,000 personnel at a yearly cost of more than 1 billion USD[1] – fails to provide a comprehensive, localized response needed to promote lasting stability and social cohesion. Current circumstances call for a rethinking of peace initiatives, based on a more profound understanding of the root causes of tensions.

The Endless Trauma of Congo’s Forgotten War | 10 October 2019 | The Nation

The boy was sitting next to his father, as he so often did. He mimicked his dad in every way. He wanted to be just like him, but Muhindo Maronga Godfroid, then a 31-year-old primary school teacher and farmer, had bigger plans for his 2-and-a-half-year-old son. He would go to university one day. He would become a “big name”—not just in their village of Kibirizi, but in North Kivu Province, maybe the entire Democratic Republic of Congo. The boy was exceedingly smart. He was, Godfroid said, “amazing.” He could grow up to be a leader in a country in desperate need of them.

RDC : “Pour en finir avec l’insécurité dans le Sud-Kivu, il faut une approche régionale” | 18 July 2019 | Jeune Afrique

Violences des groupes armés, propagation de l’épidémie d’Ebola dans le Nord-Kivu voisin, présence de l’armée rwandaise en territoire congolais… Théo Ngwabidje Kasi, gouverneur de la province du Sud-Kivu, revient sur les principaux dossiers et expose la stratégie qu’il compte mettre en œuvre pour lutter contre les multiples facteurs d’insécurité.

IN THE NEWS

BUSINESS & HUMAN RIGHTS

The EU must stop importing human rights violations | 24 February 2020 | Euractiv

The EU needs to adopt a mandatory due diligence approach to supply chain management to ensure that it stops importing human rights violations, argue Anna Cavazzini and Heidi Hautala.

Liberian, Dutch and Indonesian NGOs Report ING Bank over Oil Palm Investment | 19 February 2020 | Front Page Africa

The nongovernmental organization, Sustainable Development Institute (SDI), and Dutch and Indonesian campaign groups Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth) Netherlands and WALHI, have lodged a compliant with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) against the Dutch banking giant ING Group.

Apple removed 18 smelters and refiners in 2019 for flouting conflict mineral code of conduct | 6 February 2020 | Apple Insider

Apple in a report on mineral sourcing issued Thursday said 18 smelters and refiners that were not willing to participate in third-party audits were removed from its supply chain in 2019, resulting in a 100% audit participation rate for the fifth consecutive year.

Female Genital Mutilation costs $1.4 billion annually: UN health agency | 5 February 2020 | UN News

Female Genital Mutilation Hurts Women and Economies | 6 February 2020 | WHO

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) poses serious risks to the health and well-being of women and girls, but it also exacts a crippling economic toll, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). New modelling by the UN agency to coincide with the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, marked on Thursday, reveals that the cost of treating the total health impacts of FGM would amount to $1.4 billion globally per year.

Burundi : Des journalistes condamnés à l’issue d’un procès entaché d’irrégularités | 3 February 2020 | Human Rights Watch

Le verdict de culpabilité prononcé le 30 janvier 2020 à l’encontre de quatre journalistes burundais, à l’issue d’un procès entaché d’irrégularités, est un exemple clair de manipulation du système judiciaire dans le but d’étouffer la liberté d’expression, a déclaré Human Rights Watch aujourd’hui.

Tanzanie : Les personnes LGBT privées de soins de santé et d’autres droits | 3 February 2020 | Human Rights Watch

Les politiques de santé du gouvernement tanzanien empêchent les lesbiennes, gays, bisexuels et transgenres (LGBT) et d’autres personnes soumises au risque du VIH d’obtenir des soins adéquats, mettant en danger la santé publique, a déclaré Human Rights Watch dans nouveau. rapport publié aujourd’hui.

EU conflict minerals legislation set to strengthen | 3 February 2020 | Mining Weekly

The European Union’s (EU’s) new conflict minerals regulation is due to come into force on January 1, 2021, almost four years after the text of the legislation was initially published in May 2017.

South Africa: Mining gathering must confront human rights violations | 3 February 2020 | Amnesty International

Mining companies and their stakeholders, including investors, governments and politicians, must confront the human rights abuses that are rife in the industry, Amnesty International said today, as the world’s biggest mining investment conference begins in Cape Town.

Anti-Trafficking Efforts Face Resistance in Uganda’s Karamoja Region | 2 February 2020 | Global Press Journal

In Karamoja, Uganda, children often end up in the capital to beg or work. But as parents and community members learn about the dangers and dismal conditions these children face, public opinion on child trafficking is beginning to change.

The Netherlands Adopts Business and Human Rights Legislation to Combat Child Labor | February 2020 | Jones Day

On November 13, 2019, the Child Labor Due Diligence Act (“Act”) was published in the Dutch Government Gazette. The law introduces a duty of care for companies to prevent the supply of goods or services which have come into existence using child labor. The Act’s exact date of entry into force is not yet known.

Risk Bulletin of Illicit Economies in Eastern and Southern Africa #4 | 30 January 2020 | Civil Society Observatory of Illicit Economies in Eastern and Southern Africa

This edition of the Risk Bulletin of Illicit Economies in Eastern and Southern Africa covers a diverse range of criminal markets, from ivory trafficking to counterfeit medicines. It focuses in particular on national-level responses to organized crime, and how policy and regulation across all branches of government can shape criminal dynamics.

NATURAL RESOURCES

Rwandan tin smelter certified conflict-free | 24 February 2020 | Mining Review

LuNa Smelter, the only tin smelter in East Africa, has been certified as conflict-free in accordance with the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process – the flagship programme of the Responsible Minerals Initiative.

Militia strike gold to cast a shadow over Sudan’s hopes of prosperity | 10 February 2020 | The Guardian

Supported by wealthy foreign backers, a feared paramilitary outfit controls Sudan’s most lucrative industry, complicating the country’s path to democracy.

Court convicts Belgian gold refinery Tony Goetz of money laundering | 5 February 2020 | Reuters

Two brothers from a Belgian gold refinery have been found guilty by a court in Antwerp of money laundering and fraud and given 18-month suspended jail sentences, a court ruling showed.

RDC: un chef rebelle pygmée condamné à 15 ans de prison pour déforestation | 4 February 2020 | Geo

Un chef rebelle pygmée a été condamné mardi à 15 ans de prison pour “destruction méchante” du parc de Kahuzi-Biega à l’issue d’un procès express dans l’est de la République démocratique du Congo, ont rapporté des correspondants de l’AFP.

Venezuela: Violent Abuses in Illegal Gold Mines | 4 February 2020 | Human Rights Watch

Residents of Venezuela’s southern Bolívar state are suffering amputations and other horrific abuses at the hands of armed groups, including Venezuelan groups called “syndicates” in the area and Colombian armed groups operating in the region, both of which exercise control over gold mines, Human Rights Watch said today. The armed groups seem to operate largely with government acquiescence, and in some cases government involvement, to maintain tight social control over local populations.

Influential Gécamines’ boss Albert Yuma caught between Kabila and Tshisekedi | 3 February 2020 | The Africa Report

Although backed by Joseph Kabila, the Gécamines’ boss – who is currently entangled in a dispute with Israeli businessman Dan Gertler – could end up bearing the brunt of President Félix Tshisekedi’s anticorruption policy.

ARMS TRADE

South African Court Won’t Extradite Dutch Arms Dealer Tied to Charles Taylor | 21 February 2020 | NLTimes

South Africa will not extradite Dutch businessman and convicted arms dealer Guus Kouwenhoven to the Netherlands, the court in Cape Town ruled on Friday. The Dutch man was sentenced to 19 years in prison in 2017 for war crimes and selling arms in Liberia, AD reports.

La RDC n’a toujours pas déposé son instrument de ratification de la Convention pour le contrôle des armes légères et de petit calibre | 17 February 2020 | Actualité.cd

L’organisation Cri de Secours contre la Prolifération des Armes Légères en Afrique (CRISPAL-Afrique) demande à Tumba Nzeza Marie, Ministre des Affaires Etrangères d’instruire la Mission Permanente de la République Démocratique du Congo près les Nations Unies de procéder au dépôt auprès du Secrétariat Général de l’ONU de l’instrument de ratification de la Convention de Kinshasa pour le contrôle en Afrique centrale des armes légères et de petit calibre, de leurs munitions.

Spread of 1 Billion Small Arms, Light Weapons Remains Major Threat Worldwide, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Tells Security Council | 5 February 2020 | SC/14098 | UN Security Council

The widespread proliferation of approximately 1 billion small arms in circulation around the world – to terrorists, parties to intra-State conflict, organized criminals and warring gangs – continues to pose a major threat around the globe, the senior United Nations disarmament official told the Security Council today.

L’Afrique gravement touchée par le fléau des armes légères et de petits calibres | 5 February 2020 | ONU Info

Half of all violent deaths involve small arms and light weapons | 5 February 2020 | UN News

L’ONU a alerté mardi sur la circulation et l’utilisation en grand nombre d’armes légères et de petits calibres qui alimentent les conflits partout dans le monde, tout particulièrement en Afrique.

Is the African Union Capable of ‘Silencing the Guns in Africa’? | 5 February 2020 | AllAfrica

To really silence the guns, the AU’s resolve must be stronger | 5 February 2020 | Mail & Guardian

Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development | 29 January 2020 | African Union | The East African

This year’s African Union (AU) summit, which draws the continent’s heads of state and government together in Addis Ababa in the coming days, is being held under the theme, Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development. While the principal aim of a campaign to be launched at the summit is removing illegal weapons from circulation, the ambitious scope suggested by the theme’s title begs the question: are the AU and its constituent bodies fit for the purpose of building peace?

Embargo sur les armes en Centrafrique : la société civile exprime son indignation | 5 February 2020 | Agence d’Information d’Afrique Centrale

Le Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies a reconduit, le 31 janvier dernier, l’embargo sur les armes à destination de la République centrafricaine en dépit de quelques exemptions. Pour la société civile centrafricaine, “c’est une situation inadmissible”.

Central African Republic Welcomes Russia’s Offer To Provide Light Weapons | 5 February 2020 | UrduPoint

The Central African Republic welcomes Russia’s offer to supply it with light weapons free of charge while the UN Security Council continues to ban the country from importing heavy weapons, the charge d’affaires at the country’s embassy in Moscow, Jean-Jacques Mbokoto, told Sputnik.

Centrafrique : l’ONU renouvelle l’embargo sur les armes pour six mois | 3 February 2020 | Agence d’Information d’Afrique Centrale

“Le Conseil de sécurité décide que, jusqu’au 31 juillet 2020, tous les États membres devront continuer de prendre les mesures nécessaires pour empêcher la fourniture, la vente ou le transfert directs ou indirects à la République centrafricaine, d’armements et de matériel connexe de tous types”, précise la résolution publiée le 1er février.

CONFLICT

Sahel Militaries Need Better Governance to Face the Terror Threat | 28 February 2020 | ISS | AllAfrica

Terror attacks on soldiers in Sahel states are raising questions about these armies’ ability to withstand extremist threats and protect their populations. A total of 271 soldiers have died in recent attacks on military camps in Chinagodar and Inatès in Niger, Indélimane and Boulkessi in Mali, and Koutougou in Burkina Faso – the Liptako-Gourma region.

Violences sexuelles : les groupes armés demeurent les principaux auteurs | 27 February 2020 | Agence d’information d’Afrique centrale

Le Bureau conjoint des Nations unies aux droits de l’homme (BCNUDH) affirme avoir documenté, en janvier 2020, six cent cinquante violations des droits de l’homme à travers le territoire de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC). Notant qu’il y a une augmentation de 5% par rapport au mois de décembre 2019 pendant lequel il a recensé six cent dix-neuf violations, le bureau onusien pointe principalement du doigt les membres de ces dits groupes armés, suivi de ceux de la police et de l’armée.

La région des Grands-Lacs fragilisée par les tensions entre le Rwanda et l’Ouganda | 24 February 2020 | Le Monde

Peut-être se connaissent-ils trop bien. Ensemble, les présidents de l’Ouganda, Yoweri Museveni, et du Rwanda, Paul Kagame, ont vécu dans le maquis et mené des guerres. A la tête de régimes politico-militaires panachant autoritarisme et libéralisme économique, ils se sont progressivement imposés comme les hommes forts de la région meurtrie des Grands-Lacs.

How Jihadists Are Fuelling Inter-Communal Conflict in Burkina Faso | 20 February 2020 | The New Humanitarian | AllAfrica

Dagnoudou Ouédraogo blames jihadist groups for uprooting his family last year in northern Burkina Faso. But he also blames his neighbours – ethnic Fulani cattle herders that he claims are working side by side with the extremists.

The Berber factor in African geopolitics | 20 February 2020 | United World

The Berbers are the indigenous people of North and West Africa, the ethnic substrate on which Arabization was later superimposed. Despite the fact that Arabs make up the majority, a significant part of the population from Libya to Mauritania has Berber roots. The size of the Berber (Amazigh) population is estimated to be between 30 and 50 million people, making them one of the largest nations in the world without their own state.

Thousands Flee Brutal Attacks by Armed Groups in Northern Mozambique | 7 February 2020 | VOA

The United Nations refugee agency reports thousands of people in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province are fleeing a recent escalation of violence and brutal attacks by armed groups.

Un groupe jihadiste Malien a fait allégeance à l’État islamique | 5 February 2020 | Jforum

Dirigé par Adnane Abou Walid Al-Sahraoui, l’État islamique au grand Sahara [EIGS] est né en 2015, d’une scission de l’organisation “Al-Mourabitoune”, qui réunissait alors des combattants du Mouvement pour l’unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest [Mujao] et du groupe “Les signataires par le sang” de Mokthar Belmokhtar, dont tout laisse à penser qu’il n’est actuellement plus de ce monde.

Gold mine gangs tote AK-47s to outgun South African police | 3 February 2020 | Mining Weekly

At 22:00 on the second Sunday in December, a criminal platoon armed with AK-47 and R6 assault rifles stormed one of the largest gold mines still operating on South Africa’s fabled Witwatersrand basin.

Clashes in diamond hub shed light on C.Africa’s ethnic tensions | 31 January 2020 | Nehanda Radio

The clashes in Bria, northeastern CAR, left about 50 dead, according to the authorities — the highest toll in the town since the government and 14 armed groups signed a peace pact last February 6, and aid workers there fear fighting will soon resume.

Au Sahel, la détérioration humanitaire la plus rapide de la planète | 31 January 2020 | La Croix

Action contre la faim (ACF) et le Conseil norvégien pour les réfugiés (NRC) s’alarment, vendredi 31 janvier, de la dégradation spectaculaire de la situation humanitaire dans le Sahel. Les deux ONG, dans une conférence de presse conjointe organisées à Paris, ont fait aussi état des obstacles politiques et sécuritaires qui paralysent leurs actions.

US military chief in Africa argues for vital US presence | 30 January 2020 | The Tribune

The head of U.S. military forces in Africa argued Thursday against troop cuts on the vast and booming continent, saying strategic partnerships in combating a growing extremist threat and assertive Chinese and Russian influence cannot be sacrificed.

Environmental degradation driving gender-based violence – IUCN study | 30 January 2020 | International Union for Conservation of Nature | YubaNet

The degradation of nature can lead to gender-based violence including sexual assault, domestic violence and forced prostitution, according to a new IUCN study published today. Competition over increasingly scarce and degraded resources can exacerbate these forms of violence, the review study finds.

 

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