Posts tagged ‘Ethiopia’

AROUND AFRICA: Ethiopia-Tigray Conflict; Into Somalia; Savage Attack in DRC


Ethiopia-Tigray War

A convoy of food and other supplies arrived safely in the capital of Ethiopia’s war-torn region of Tigray on Friday (April 1). It was the first aid to arrive in Mekelle since December, the United Nations said.

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said that more trucks and fuel would follow on Saturday morning (April 2) – a week after a humanitarian truce was agreed between the government and Tigrayan forces.

War broke out in the Tigray region in November 2020, pitting Ethiopia’s government and its allies against rebellious Tigrayan forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. The TPLF is the political party that controls the Tigray region.

Last week, the federal government declared an immediate, unilateral truce to allow aid into Tigray. Tigrayan forces said they would respect the ceasefire as long as sufficient aid was delivered “within reasonable time”, Reuters reported.

It is unclear how much more aid might follow or how quickly. More than 90% of the 5.5 million people in the northern province of Tigray need food aid, according to the United Nations.

Around 100 trucks of aid per day need to enter to meet the population’s needs. No trucks have been able to enter since Dec. 15, due to a combination of bureaucratic problems and fighting.

WFP Ethiopia said another convoy with more than a thousand metric tons of food would be soon sent to the neighboring region of northern Afar “to communities in dire need”.

This week roads to Tigray from the Afar region had remained closed despite the ceasefire – with the warring parties trading accusations over who was to blame, according to the BBC.

Earlier a senior official of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front welcomed the truce as “a step in the right direction” but said there should be “a system in place to ensure unfettered humanitarian access for the needy.” The government has said it is committed to helping the safe passage of aid.

Malnutrition and food insecurity are rampant in northern Ethiopia, where an estimated 9 million people across the Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions need critical food assistance due to conflict, WFP says.

*** *** ***

Fighting al Shabab from Afar.

More than 13 months after President Donald Trump decided to pull U.S. troops out of Somalia, the head of U.S. Africa Command says the strategy is not working.

Previously, about 700 U.S. troops rotated in and out of Somalia, to train the east African nation’s and help with their operations against al-Shabab, the largest and most well-funded wing of al Qaeda. But now, says Army General Stephen Townsend, AFRICOM troops based in Kenya and Djibouti are only making visits to Somalia, Military Times reported.

Townsend said he believes periodic engagement, “commuting to work,” as some have called it, has caused new challenges and risks for the troops. The AFRICOM chief told a March 15 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that by his assessment the change “is not effective, it’s not efficient, and it puts our troops at greater risk.”

The issue is that though the Trump administration pulled troops out of the country, there was no change to the mission in Somalia, where the U.S. supports that government’s efforts to fight al-Shabab. Though U.S.-led strikes have continued, it’s a harder mission to do when it’s mostly remote, according to Military Times.



Bloody Attack in Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Fourteen people, including seven children, were killed with machetes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to the Red Cross, Al Jazeera reports.

The attack took place in a displaced people’s camp in the country’s northwestern Ituri province on March 19, the humanitarian aid group reported.

Jean D’Zba Banju, a community leader in Ituri’s Djugu area, said the attacks belonged to the CODECO armed group, which has been blamed for a string of ethnic massacres in the area.

“CODECO militiamen entered Drakpa and started to cut people with machetes. They did not fire shots in order to operate calmly,” Banju told the news agency AFP March 20. “The victims are displaced people who had fled Ngotshi village to set up in Drakpa,” he said, adding that five others were wounded.

Gold-rich Ituri province has been plunged into a cycle of violence since late 2017 with the rise of CODECO, which has since split into rival factions. The group is a political-religious sect that claims to represent the interests of the Lendu ethnic group.

Ituri and neighboring North Kivu have been under a state of siege since May 6, in an effort to combat armed groups including CODECO and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The ISIL (ISIS) armed group describes the ADF as its local affiliate.

Despite the crackdown, and support from the Ugandan military since late November, attacks have continued and more than 1,000 civilians have been killed from May 2021 to January this year, figures according to the Danish Refugee Council.

April 1, 2022 at 11:55 pm Leave a comment

AROUND AFRICA: South Sudan, Central African Republic, Tunisia

South Sudan

Ugandan authorities are struggling with the increasing number of people fleeing the continued fighting in neighboring South Sudan, the BBC reports.

Sudan and South Sudan from CIA World Factbook

Sudan and South Sudan from CIA World Factbook

More than 20,000 South Sudanese are now crammed into a refugee camp meant to hold 400. And the numbers keep growing as more than 2,000 arrive every day. Food is inadequate, there is no shelter and hardly any water. The BBC’s the camp’s health centre is overflowing with pregnant women, children and the elderly.

There are also reports of ethnic fighting between the Dinka and the Nuer at the camp which is only a transit centre, so authorities cannot separate the warring ethnic groups yet.

Meanwhile, South Sudan’s army is advancing on the key rebel-held centres of Bentiu and Bor, as rebels strengthen defences in Bentiu. Reports say hundreds have fled violence in Bor and at least 1,000 people have been killed in fighting since December 15.

Thousands have fled Bentiu, capital of oil-rich Unity state. The city was said to be a ghost town with even the hospital reportedly deserted, the Guardian said.

And in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, peace talks between the rival South Sudanese factions appear deadlocked, the Voice of America reported Thursday (January 9). The stumbling block appears to be


Central African Republic

Central African Republic (CIA World Factbook)

Central African Republic
(CIA World Factbook)

The entire transitional assembly of the Central African Republic (CAR) has flown to Chad to attend a summit aimed at restoring peace in the country, the BBC reports. Regional leaders said the 135 member-assembly had been summoned because only they could decide the fate of their country.

The CAR’s interim leader, Michel Djotodia, is facing pressure to step down at a summit of regional leaders on Thursday because of his inability to halt the bloodshed that has forced about a million people to flee their homes, according to The Guardian.

Djotodia, who seized power in March at the head of the Seleka rebels, already lacked legitimacy in the eyes of other African governments. But he is considered an even greater liability as the country has descended into chaos amid reprisal attacks from mainly Christian militias against the largely Muslim rebel group. However, the VoA says Djotodia’s spokesman insists he will not resign.

The fighting in the CAR is neither a jihad nor a crusade, according to the Christian Science Monitor. The battle is over political power and the capital city of Bangui is the prize.

Tunisian Shift

Tunisia in Africa (CIA World Factbook)

Tunisia in Africa
(CIA World Factbook)

Tunisia’s Islamist prime minister resigned Thursday (January 9). The action by Ali Larayedh of the Ennahda Party, ends the two-year-old rule of his party, which has dominated the country’s political scene since the popular uprising that initiated the Arab Spring, the New York Times reported.

The resignation makes way for an interim government of independents under a plan to end months of political deadlock and mounting social unrest, the state news agency said, according to Aljazeera America.



January 10, 2014 at 1:02 am 2 comments

AROUND AFRICA: Somali Attacks, Ghana Water Woes, Latest from Mali

Mogadishu Attacked

Map courtesy of University of Pennsylvania African Studies Center

Map courtesy of University of Pennsylvania African Studies Center

A series of suicide and bomb attacks ripped through Somalia’s capital city, Mogadishu, Sunday (April 14) striking a court complex and the outskirts of the city’s international airport. As many as 29 people were killed in at least two separate attacks, the British newspaper The Telegraph reported.

According to the BBC, the Islamist militant group, al-Shabab, said it carried out the attacks.

Al-Shabab, which has links to al-Qaeda, has been blamed for a series of attacks in Mogadishu over the last two years. The group has been pushed out of most of the key towns it controlled in the southern part of the country after a stepped-up offensive by African Union peacekeepers allied with troops for Kenya and Ethiopia.

Quoting Somalia’s interior minister, the Associated Press reports that nine militants attacked Mogadishu’s Supreme Court complex and that all nine have been killed. Abdikarim Hussein Guled said that six of the attackers detonated suicide vests and three others were shot and killed during the assault, the AP added.

A car bomb was detonated later, outside a building housing security forces on the road to the airport. The blast went off near a convoy carrying Turkish aide workers, killing two of them, BBC reported.

Ghana Running Dry

Ghana in Africa (CIA World Fact Book)

Ghana in Africa
(CIA World Fact Book)

Almost 40 percent of Ghana’s population lacks access to tap water, forcing the poor to pay high prices to private suppliers, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports. The West African nation’s booming economy is also being hurt by water shortages.

According to Bloomberg, water is one of the biggest issues facing Africa’s urban areas, which the United Nations says will see a 66 percent population increase – to 1.2 billion people by 2050.

Mali Roundup

Tuaregs Scout for French

Here’s a switch: Nomadic Tuaregs who stayed loyal to Mali’s government – during last year’s military coup, the Tuareg rebellion that sparked it and the violent Islamist insurgency that followed it – are now scouting for the French military.

They work as scouts for the French-led mission to purge Mali of its al-Qaeda-linked militants and return the country to government control, according to an AFP story in Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper.

French troops meet with soldiers from Burkina Faso outside Timbuktu. (Copyright French Ministry of Defense)

French troops meet with soldiers from Burkina Faso outside Timbuktu.
(Copyright French Ministry of Defense)

Chad Withdrawing Troops

After helping drive Islamist insurgents from Mali’s northern towns, Chad intends to withdraw its troops from the embattled North African country because it doesn’t want to get bogged down in a guerilla war, according to Chad’s president, Reuters reports.

About 2,000 troops from Chad – like Mali a former French colony in northern Africa – fought alongside French troops in the heaviest fighting to drive the radical Islamists from remote towns as well as the deserts and mountains in Mali’s north.

But President Idriss Deby says “the Chadian army does not have the skills to fight a shadowy guerilla-style war that is taking place in northern Mali. “Our soldiers will return to Chad,” he told French reporters, noting a mechanized battalion has already been withdrawn.

Desert Refugee Crisis

A report by the humanitarian group, Doctors Without Borders, says about 70,000 refugees who fled the violence in Mali are living in “appalling” conditions in a camp in the middle of neighboring Mauritania’s desert.

About 15,000 more refugees have flooded into the camp since the ench intervention in January and now conditions at the camp are so bad that many who were healthy became ill or malnourished after they arrived, CNN reports.

April 15, 2013 at 1:23 am 2 comments

AROUND AFRICA: Mombasa Violence, Ethiopian Leader Dies, Designated Africa Brigade,

Cleric’s Death Questioned

Kenya in Africa. Map from CIA World Factbook

Rioting has broken out in Mombasa — Kenya’s second-largest city — following the shooting death of a radical Muslim cleric with ties to the terrorist group al Shabaab.

At least four people have been killed — three of them policemen — in riots that broke out after the cleric, Aboud Rogo Mohammed was gunned down in a car on Monday (Aug. 27).

Muslim youths have put up roadblocks and attacked Christian churches and businesses in some parts of the East African port before being driven off by police. Many of the demonstrators believe Mohammed was killed by Kenyan police, a claim denied by Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere, according to the Associated Press. He says the police are investigating the slaying.

Meanwhile, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga blames  “enemies” of Kenya — trying to stir up religious animosity — for the cleric’s death, according to Reuters.  At the same time, at least one Kenyan lawmaker says he is displeased with the pace of the police inquiry and wants authorities to investigate whether Mohammed’s death was an extra legal killing,. Mohammed had been identified by the U.S. and the United Nations as a fund raiser and recruiter for al Shabaab, the Somali militant group linked to al Qaeda, the New York Times says.

The group was angered by a Kenyan military expedition into Somalia to suppress the anti-western group, which Kenya blames for a spate of kidnappings and murders of foreign tourists and aid workers along its northern border, according to a Ugandan news website.

Ethiopia, What Next?

Ethiopia in Africa (CIA World Factbook)

It’s been eight days since Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s prime minister for the last 21 years, died of an undisclosed illness in Belgium. The question on diplomats and political observers’ minds is what’s going to happen now? Zenawai ruled with a heavy hand, closing opposition newspapers and cloaking everything about him — including his own illness — in secrecy, The Economist reports.

But he also built up the nation’s economy, using money from donor nations to increase the nation’s Gross Domestic Product by 10/6 percent, according to the World Bank. Zenawi also boosted agricultural and manufacturing in Africa’s oldest independent country.

But what does his absence mean for the internal politics of a country that has been a key player in the conflicts around the Horn of Africa?  Zenawi formed a military and political alliance with the United States, which is worried about the rise of militant Islamism in parts of Africa, the BBC reported.

Dagger Brigade

When the 1st Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT) arrives in Africa next year it will be the first U.S. Army unit designated as the go-to outfit when the need for troops and equipment develops in Africa.

Known as the “Dagger Brigade,” the 2nd of the 1st, based at Fort Riley, Kansas, will become the main force provider for security cooperation and partnership-building missions in Africa.

Under the new arrangement, brigades will be on deck for their mission for a full year to perform security cooperation when needed, but not operational or regular warfare missions, Army officials said. The brigade will maintain “decisive action capability” with language, regional expertise and culture training. They will deploy as small units, rather than as a full brigade, to points in Africa for training and partnering missions, according to the U.S. Army.

The plan was announced Aug. 21 by Army Gen. Carter Ham, Africa Command (AFRICOM) commander, during closing ceremonies at Exercise Southern Accord in Botswana.

AFRICOM has no troops directly assigned to it for Africa. Instead, AFRICOM has relied on its service components: U.S. Army Africa, based in Vicenza, Italy; U.S. Air Forces Africa, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany; and U.S. Marine Forces Africa and Special Operations Command Africa, both based in Stuttgart, Germany. Many of AFRICOM’s training and partnering exercises have been conducted by reserve-component forces.

Ham said that situation won’t change with the arrival of an active Army brigade, tentatively set for March. “We will continue to rely very, very heavily on the National Guard and reserve component from all the services,” he said.

August 30, 2012 at 12:27 am Leave a comment

AFRICA: Air Chiefs Meet in Ethiopia

U.S. Seeks Air Partners

Ethiopia (CIA Wolrd Factbook)

Senior leaders from more than 20 African air forces met recently with U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and other top U.S. officials to discuss avenues of cooperation at a gathering in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

Schwartz was the keynote speaker at the three-day African Air Chiefs Conference that was sponsored by Air Forces Africa (AFAFRICA, also known as the U.S. 17th Air Force) and the Africa Center for Strategic Studies.

Schwartz said the U.S. Air Force was committed to non-kinetic, non-combat employment of military airpower as well as its more traditional role.

“Just as effectively in providing military applications, airpower can deliver elements of international, non-governmental support, such as life-sustaining supplies by the International Red Cross or life-saving medical treatment by Doctors without Borders, to distressed, often isolated areas,” the Air Force leader told military, government and non-governmental organization leaders at the gathering.

“Like every region of the world, Africa faces security challenges that are both unique to the continent … and shared globally,” said Air Force Major Gen. Margaret Woodward, AFAFRICA’s commander, telling the Africa officials present: “We believe that our only chance at truly confronting these challenges successfully is in partnership with you.”

AFAFRICA, a unit of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), is based in Ramstein Air Base, Germany and provides AFRICOM’s air and space component, but does not maintain a permanent fleet of combat and transport aircraft. Rather it coordinates the use of air assets in Africa from other commands. it also has a collaborative relationship with the 110th Air Operations Group, Michigan Air National Guard.

AFAFRICA does maintain one forward operating base in Africa at Camp Lemonier, a former French Foreign Legion base in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. Combat search and rescue for the Combined Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa is controlled out of Camp Lemonier.

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Stefanie Torres

May 11, 2011 at 6:03 pm Leave a comment


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