05 September 2021

Kenya/FGC: Female Genital Cutting (FGC) is illegal in Kenya but that does not mean that it does not happen, often on girls between 12 and 17 years old. In the sensitization against the practice, men can be of great help – they are considered the deciders.

Guinea: After hours of heavy gunfire near the presidential palace in Conakry, it is not clear whether the coup attempt has been successful (like the perpetrators of the coup say) or not (like the defence minister says). President Alpha Condé seems to be in the hands of the soldiers of what is possibly an elite unit headed by a former French legionnaire, Lt Col Mamady Doumbouya.

04 September 2021

Sahel: The G5 Sahel’s defence ministers have met in Niamey to discuss changes in strategy against terrorism made necessary by the partial withdrawals of French (Barkhane) and Chadian troops. Niger, Burkina, Mali, Mauritania, Chad (= the G5 Sahel) are “planning more joint military operations and greater ‘hearts and minds’ engagement” for the future. France seems to want to concentrate more on the countries on the West African coast (Côte d’Ivoire first of all) while Takuba, which is to take over from Barkhane, will be only part-French with stronger support from other European countries.

Mozambique: The insurgency’s threat is not limited to the interior; it is also maritime. Drawing on experiences from other countries, the article makes suggestions of how to prevent the insurgent threat (as yet unrealised) to spread out to sea.

South Africa: Bearing in mind that there is bound to be a lot of underreporting: 19.8% of children are victims of sexual abuse in South Africa. “What’s needed is to start early to invest in boys’ and girls’ capacities to transform the norms which give rise to sexual entitlement and rape.” Families, communities, media, online technologies, schools – all must contribute. In schools “male power based on sexual entitlement, misogyny and violence (…) limits girls’ agency.” The article reflects on “rape culture” in South African schools. Ideally, schools and teachers should address sexual violence from the time children start school…

Chad: Hissène Habré, who just died, had been tried by a totally unprecedented tribunal set up by an agreement between the African Union, Senegal and Chad. Though the conviction of the dictator was a great success in terms of international criminal law, the article’s author argues that it “was only able to neutralise Hissène Habré, the man, and not the criminal state governance practices he oversaw. The repressive state apparatus and practices Habré built up remain in place today.”