London: By the time François Hollande was sworn in as president of France on 15 May 2012 he may well have suspected that, one year into his term, French troops would be on the ground in Mali. Like his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, he believed France should provide logistical and intelligence support if West African countries sent troops to tackle the jihadist groups that had taken over the Malian north. But that France’s own contingent would be almost 4,000 strong and committed to an aggressive combat role was probably not the most likely scenario envisaged by either man. The dramatic scale of the military intervention in the Sahel is a measure of Africa’s surge up the scale of priorities for French policy-makers and an indication of the complex challenges the continent still presents for France.
New York: An already challenging situation in the Central African Republic had descended into a “state of anarchy and total disregard for international law”, as elements of the Séléka rebel group - which had seized power in a 24 March coup d’état - had turned their vengeance against an innocent population, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative told the Security Council on Wednesday. Reinforcing the urgency of the situation, Nicolas Tiangaye, Prime Minister of the Central African Republic, requested France to intervene “with force” to disarm Séléka elements and the European Union and African Union to provide financial support for such a mission. He called for a Special Rapporteur to investigate human rights violations and prosecute perpetrators before national and international jurisdictions, and requested urgent aid for the 1.5 million victims.
New York: The present report is submitted pursuant to the request of the Security Council contained in its resolution 2088 (2013). In accordance with the Council’s request, the report provides an update on the situation in the Central African Republic and an assessment of how the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) could further implement its priorities in the light of recent developments in the country. "The situation in the Central African Republic, as described above, is horrifying and intolerable. The international community needs to send a strong message to Séléka leaders that there is no impunity for murder, looting, and unconstitutional changes of government. The African Union has already sanctioned seven individuals. I call upon the Security Council to consider sanctions and other steps against those who have committed gross human rights violations, including sexual violence against women and children."
The French military intervention in January and February this year ended the occupation of northern Mali by rebel movements and jihadists. When I was in Bamako at the end of February, organisations across the political spectrum applauded France as Mali’s saviour and liberator. There had been a grave danger that the jihadists would seize Bamako, thereby seize the state, and turn the country into a fundamentalist political entity. A Muslim leader said to us: ‘France saved Mali, saved our way of life, saved Islam itself’.
Abuja: It has become necessary for me to address you on the recent spate of terrorist activities and protracted security challenges in some parts of the country, particularly in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi, Kano, Plateau and most recently Bayelsa, Taraba, Benue and Nasarawa states. These unfortunate events have led to needless loss of lives and property of many innocent Nigerians including members of our security forces.
New York: An “arc of instability” was stretching across Africa’s Sahara and Sahel region, and if left unchecked, it could transform the continent into a breeding ground for extremists and a launch pad for larger-scale terrorist attacks around the world, delegates in the Security Council stressed today during a high-level debate on combating that growing scourge across the region. In a presidential statement, the Council expressed its deep concern with the increasing violence perpetrated by armed groups, whose numbers were growing in several regions and subregions of Africa, where porous borders, illegal arms trafficking and difficult socioeconomic situations had made it difficult to effectively combat terrorism.
Lagos: As the continental leaders under the banner of the African Union prepare for their summit in Addis Ababa later this month, there has been no pre summit preoccupation by contact groups, the national units of countries as well as the AU commission itself on what can be likened to be a sensible African response to the shame in Central African Republic. Two months after renegades truncated yet another African democratic government in CAR, that country continues to slide towards possible anarchy in the absence of an African Union intervention. And yet a sensible AU intervention beyond condemnations and imposition of ineffective sanctions is the most potent panacea to the political crisis in that country. Landlocked, CAR - a country of some 4.2 million people itself - is surrounded by unstable countries including Chad, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Kinshasa: Serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law were committed in November 2012 during fighting between government forces and rebels of the Mouvement du 23 mars(M23) over the town of Goma in North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and during the subsequent retreat of the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) to South Kivu province, a UN report has found. The report by the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) details victim and witness accounts of mass rape, killings and arbitrary executions, and violations resulting from widespread looting. It noted that particularly systematic and violent abuse was committed by some FARDC elements as they retreated from the towns of Goma and Sake in North Kivu province and regrouped in and around the town of Minova in South Kivu.
London: The Somalia Conference took place at Lancaster House on 7 May 2013, co-hosted by the UK and Somalia, and attended by fifty-four friends and partners of Somalia. We met at a pivotal moment for Somalia. Last year Somalia’s eight-year transition ended and Somalia chose a new, more legitimate Parliament, President and Government. Security is improving, as Somali and AMISOM forces, and their Ethiopian allies, recover towns and routes from Al Shabaab. The number of pirate attacks committed off the coast of Somalia has drastically reduced. The famine has receded. The diaspora have begun to return. The economy is starting to revive.
The Centre for Conflict Resolution and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung hosted a colloquium in Berlin, from 30 to 31 August 2012, on “The African Union at Ten: Aspirations and Reality”. The year 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of post-independence pan-Africanism with the birth of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in May 1963. As the golden jubilee is celebrated, this report reflects on the hopes for an “African Renaissance” embodied by the continental body’s successor, the African Union (AU), and the challenges that it faces in fulfilling its role of promoting political unity, democratic governance, and economic development on the continent.