– NEWS –
Libya arms embargo and ceasefire violated several times: Several countries that participated in the Libya peace summit in Berlin last week and agreed to respect an existing United Nations arms embargo have violated their commitment. The United Nations criticized several countries that attended the Berlin summit for violating the embargo, but stopped short of naming them. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar could not be expected to respect a ceasefire called between his forces and pro-government troops in Libya. Turkey backs Libya’s internationally recognized government based in Tripoli and has repeatedly described Haftar as illegitimate.
Locust plague in East Africa: The worst outbreak of desert locusts in Kenya in 70 years has seen hundreds of millions of the bugs swarm into the East African nation from Somalia and Ethiopia. Those two countries have not had an infestation like this in a quarter-century, destroying farmland and threatening an already vulnerable region with devastating hunger. A single swarm can contain up to 150 million locusts per square kilometer of farmland, an area the size of almost 250 football fields, regional authorities say. The speed of the pests’ spread and the size of the infestations are so far beyond the norm that they have stretched the capacities of local and national authorities to the limit, the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) warned. About $70 million is needed to step up aerial pesticide spraying, the only effective way to combat them.
Government troops attacked in Mali: Twenty members of the security forces have been killed in Mali by suspected Islamist militants, officials say. The identity of the attackers was not immediately clear. In a statement, the government said terrorists entered the camp near the village of Sokolo, killed the soldiers, stole military equipment and caused significant material damage. On Thursday it was reported that six French soldiers were killed and several were wounded in an overnight attack in central Mali. The troops came under fire from unidentified armed men in Dioungani. According to a study by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, the number of attacks across the Sahel region is increasing rapidly. There were around 700 attacks in 2019.
bbc.com, reuters.com, france24.com
American citizen dies in Egyptian prison: Egyptian-American citizen Mustafa Kassem has died in Egypt after going on hunger strike in prison. He stopped eating solids late last year and ceased drinking fluids four days ago. Kassem, who was Egyptian American, was detained in August 2013 in Cairo while visiting his family on accusations of being a spy and taking part in anti-government protests. Kassem was mistakenly swept up in a vast dragnet during the violent dispersal of an Islamist sit-in that killed hundreds of people. That summer, security forces descended on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, in what became known as the the “Rabaa Massacre.” The United States has a divided relationship with the Egyptian government. On one hand, at least six other US citizens are currently in Egyptian prisons, on the other, the US is supporting Egypt with military aid worth $1.3 billion. Egypt is seen as a valuable partner in the fight against Islamists in the region.
bbc.com, cnn.com, time.com
Erdogan says Somalia has invited Turkey to explore for oil: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has claimed that Somalia had invited Turkey to explore for oil in its seas. Turkey has been a major source of aid to Somalia following a famine in 2011 as Ankara seeks to increase its influence in the Horn of Africa to counter Gulf rivals like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Turkish engineers are helping build roads in Somalia, and Turkish officers have trained Somali soldiers as part of efforts to build up the country’s army. Erdogan said Turkey would take steps in line with the Somali invitation, but did not elaborate further.
At least 24 dead from Lassa fever in Nigeria deutschlandfunk.de
Cabel defect paralyzes internet in many parts of Africa t-online.de
UN condemn massacre in Sudan sueddeutsche.de
Nigeria: Islamists murder pastor and attack his hometown welt.de
– BACKGROUND –
Burkina Faso to arm civilians: Burkina Faso’s parliament has approved legislation allowing the military to use civilian volunteers in the fight against Islamic extremism. Defense Minister Cheriff Sy said all recruits would undergo two weeks of training, with topics ranging from how to use weapons to matters of discipline. Volunteers must be 18 years old and will undergo an investigation before being allowed to serve. Demobilization bonuses will be provided to each volunteer in an effort to reintegrate them in the future. Health benefits will be paid to those who are wounded while on duty. Burkina Faso’s military, despite training and assistance from France and the United States, has struggled to contain the spread of extremism.
Controversial art in German museums: Ever since French President Emmanuel Macron held a speech at the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso and promised to return many African works of art to their countries of origin, voices have been heard that demand similar actions from Germany. The Senegalese professor Felwine Sarr and a French art historian wrote a report for Macron demanding the return of artworks. There are similar demands in Germany. For example, a throne from the Bamum kingdom is to be exhibited in the Humboldt Forum in Berlin. The throne, which was officially described as a “gift”, came into German possession only under pressure from the empire in 1908. The 3000 so-called “Benin Bronzes” also represent a sensitive case. Britain stole these from the Royal Palace of Oba of Benin in 1897.
EU-funding linked to forced labor in Eritrea: Human Rights Watch has criticized the European Union over its funding of an infrastructure project in the brutal dictatorship of Eritrea. The project, which received €20 million from the EU, was partially built by forced labor, according to the “New York Times”. The funding of the road project in Eritrea is part of the EU Trust Fund for Africa, created to address the root causes of migration. The European Commission said that it was aware that conscripts were used for the road project – but that the EU funded only material and equipment, not labor.
– NUMBER –
The number of refugees migrating through Niger has doubled from 267,000 to 540,000 in the first ten months of 2019.
– QUOTE –
“Libya is an African country and a founding member of the African Union.”
Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso criticizes that the African position has been neglected in resolving the conflict in Libya.
– AT LAST –
From Johannesburg’s most dangerous building to tourist hotspot: Featured in newspaper articles, photography exhibitions, documentaries and movies, the Ponte tower in Johannesburg has come to symbolize the rise and fall and rise again of South Africa’s commercial capital. For many years, the 173-meter high tower was considered to be particularly dangerous and a place of crime and violence. Gangs had a firm grip on the building. A great deal has changed since then. Over the course of the South Africa Football World Cup in 2010, the tower was renovated, cleared of garbage and safety was greatly improved.