AROUND AFRICA: Central African Republic revolt, Piracy off Nigerian Coast

December 27, 2012 at 11:03 pm Leave a comment

U.S. Embassy Evacuated

The U.S. Embassy in the Central African Republic (CAR) has shut down operations and its staff has been evacuated as rebel troops advance on the capital, Bangui, according to Associated Press reports from NBC News, the Washington Post and other news outlets.

Central African Republic(CIA World Factbook)

Central African Republic
(CIA World Factbook)

U.S. Ambassador Laurence Wohlers and about 40 embassy personnel and private U.S. citizens were flown out of Bangui on a U.S. Air Force plane bound for Kenya. In a statement, the U.S. State Department said it had “temporarily suspended” embassy operations on Dec. 28 because of “the present security situation” in the CAR. It added that the U.S. has not suspended diplomatic relations with the turbulent country.

Meanwhile, CAR President Francois Bozizie has asked forrmer colonial ruler, France, which has about 250 soldiers based in the country as part of a peacekeeping mission, to assist his government in defeating the rebels who have seized 10 towns in the north and have advanced to within 45 miles of the capital, Reuters reported.

But France’s Socialist government says they don’t want to get involved in the internal fracas. French troops have propped up besieged governments in the CAR and other former African colonies in the past but “Those days are over,” French President Hollande said.  French troops are in the CAR only to protect French citizens and property, officials said. About 1,200 French nationals live in the CAR, mostly in the capital. A large number of them are involved in the mining business. The CAR, which gained its independence from France in 1960, has large deposits of uranium, gold and diamonds – but remains one of the poorest countries in Africa.

The rebels want to oust Bozize, who himself came to power in a 2003 rebellion, for not living up to 2007 peace agreements with them that ended an earlier uprising, the New York Times reported.

The Central African Republic is one of four countries in the region that has suffered the depredations of the violent Lord’s Resistance Army, headed by international fugitive Joseph Kony. About 100 U.S. Special Operations troops are in the region to help local troops hunt down Kony.

Piracy off Nigeria

Armed pirates attacked a supply tug boat off the coast of Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta, kidnapping four foreign sailors, including three Italians, the Associated Press reported.

Nigeria(CIA World Factbook)

Nigeria
(CIA World Factbook)

First word of the latest act of piracy and kidnapping off the oil-rich coast of West Africa came from the International Maritime Bureau’s  Piracy Reporting Centre.

The Dec. 23 attack was the latest in a growing trend in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea region. There have been more than 50 reported incidents in west African waters in 2012, according to the IMB. Half of them were off the coast of Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, according to the All Africa news website.

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Entry filed under: Africa, Counter Insurgency, International Crime, Unconventional Warfare. Tags: , , , , , , .

SHAKO: At war, at Christmastime in the movies FRIDAY FOTO (Dec. 28, 2012)

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