8 April 2021

Nigeria: Insecurity is rife in the Niger Delta. While media focus Islamic terrorism, organised armed banditry of Fulani herdsmen, farmer-herder conflicts, kidnapping and armed robbery, there is also cultism, piracy, land struggles, election violence and gangs. “In Nigeria, political elites are often officially or unofficially protected by state security agents. Those who suffer the consequences of insecurity are ordinary people who don’t have protection.” To address the problem of insecurity in the Niger Delta, a comprehensive approach is necessary, addressing the lack of economic opportunities for young people, drug abuse, the absence of the rule of law, corruption in public office, unfair electoral processes, weak institutions, poor security governance environmental pollution.
The article is a résumé of a book that the article’s author has co-edited: Tarila M. Ebiede, Celstine O. Bassey, Judith B. Asuni (ed.), Insecurity in the Niger Delta. A Report on Emerging Threats in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers States, London (Adonis & Abbey Publishers) 2021, available on http://cornwestafrica.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Insecurity-in-the-Niger-Delta-Final-Book-13-February-2021.pdf.

Egypt: The article tells the story of the making of the Suez Canal and provides an overview of its consequences – economic, ecological…

Domestic abuse and (black) churches in the UK: The article’s author “spent five years with the Black Church Domestic Abuse Forum (BCDAF) and helped create a programme to train church leaders on the most vital issues in the hope it will address domestic abuse in those communities”. She gives an overview of the problem and analyses the reasons, starting from the fact that most church leaders are men (in the UK: 76%). Belonging to a faith group can even worsen abused women’s situation, for example if they shy back from accessing help or support from secular organisations which they perceive as anti-marriage. Women may fear “secular support agencies will not understand their religious practices and avoid them. This means they stay in abusive relationships for longer.”

Western Sahara: The police chief of the Polisario Front has been killed in Polisario-controlled territory, allegedly in a Moroccan drone attack.
BBC Africa Live 08 April 2021. 6:13

Tanzania: The lifting of a media ban announced by the country’s new president on 6th of April apparently only concerns online television and no other media. Disappointing.
BBC Africa Live 08 April 2021. 4:31

Nigeria: Kidnappings are in fashion. Recently, the focus was on schools in the country’s north-west, but it happens elsewhere also. From 2016 to 2020, the number of kidnapping victims increased, they stood at a record 3,500 in 2020. And it is going to be more this year. According to SB Morgen, $18.34m were paid in ransom between June 2011 and March 2020. “The low-risk, high-reward model that usually drives kidnapping economies means that higher net-worth individuals should be primary targets.” But since 2018, less-targeted mass kidnappings have been on the increase, especially in the north, implying an increased victimisation of low-income, already vulnerable individuals. The government has reputedly paid at least $73,000 for the release of 344 boys abducted from Kankara’s Government Science Secondary School.
The strategy of some northern states to give bandits handouts in an attempt at dialogue and demobilisation could backfire by incentivising perpetrators. Instead of the federal government’s over-militarised approach, a comprehensive strategy is needed that must involve the communities and motivate them to report, through reporting hotlines, for example. Public awareness campaigns need to inform citizens about the existence of such hotlines.
Last but not least, underlying causes like unemployment, poverty and low social protection need to be addressed.

Benin: The country’s image as West Africa’s beacon of democracy is tarnished. A 2019 electoral code with “an endorsement requirement that resulted in the exclusion of the main opposition parties from the presidential run” and “the detention of five opposition figures by the Court for the Suppression of Economic Crimes and Terrorism on alleged terrorism and political sabotage charges” all point to the fact that the strategy of political exclusion is being used excessively and abusively. This will undermine the elected president’s – no doubt Talon’s – legitimacy. Another outbreak of violence, like after the legislative elections of 2019, cannot be excluded.

Sudan/West Darfur: The number of people known to have died over several days of clashes between Masalit and Arabs is now thought to be 132 according to West Darfur’s governor.
BBC Africa Live 08 April 2021. 15:16

7 April 2021

Niger: After the recent coup attempt: an overview of factors destabilising the country. Poverty + ethnic division + division in the army. Add terrorists/insecurity in the South-West and South-East of the country. Mohamed Bazoum, the new president, is set to continue the work of his predecessor: “During his campaign, he labelled his policy platform Renaissance 3, a continuation of Issoufou’s Renaissance 1 and Renaissance 2 governing agendas.” Niger’s neighbours are happy about this continuity.

Sudan: According to doctors, clashes between Masalit and Arabs in West Darfur have left 87 people dead and close to 200 injured over the last five days. Since the beginning of 2021, more than 100,000 people have been displaced by conflicts in West Darfur.
BBC Africa Live 07 April 2021. 16:25

Mozambique: President Filipe Nyusi has ruled out foreign military intervention to fight the jihadists in the country’s north. “He called for the strengthening of the country’s defence and security forces.” On Thursday, the presidents of Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe will attend a Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting in Maputo on the crisis in Mozambique which threatens regional peace and security. Nearly 750,000 people are said to have been displaced.
BBC Africa Live 07 April 2021. 13:26
And also BBC Africa Live 07 April 2021. 12:59

Ethiopie, Sudan, Egypt: The Kinshasa talks concerning the Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile with AU president Tshisekedi as mediator have come to nothing. Ethiopia is accused of intransigence while it accuses Sudan and Egypt of obstructing the talks and having a rigid stance.
BBC Africa Live 07 April 2021. 10:11

Kenya: USAID is once again supplying the country with HIV drugs after the finance ministry granted the donation tax exemption. USAID had “declined to import the drugs through the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa), citing corruption and mismanagement. It opted to use a private company to import and distribute the drugs.”
BBC Africa Live 07 April 2021. 8:03

Ethiopia: Clashes near the border between Afar and Somali regions have killed dozens of people. Houses on contested land have been burnt. “(O)fficials in Afar accuse the Somali Special Forces of killing 30 people on Saturday. The authorities in the Somali region say at least 25 livestock farmers were killed by gunmen who came from over the state border in Afar.”
BBC Africa Live 07 April 2021. 7:17

Oxfam/another scandal: Two employees in Congo-Kinshasa have been suspended following allegations of sexual exploitation and bullying. Oxfam, which had only in March come out of a three-year-ban from applications for UK aid after the Haiti scandal of 2018, has once again been suspended until the new allegations are resolved. After the Haiti scandal, “(w)ith thousands of people cancelling their regular donations and the government suspending its funding of the charity, Oxfam had to make £16m of cuts.”