Africa News Roundup: Sahel Food Crisis, Ethiopia to Leave Somalia, Boko Haram, Senegal Opposition Rally, and More

Oxfam now says, “Some 13 million people are at severe risk from a food crisis which is set to escalate into a full scale humanitarian emergency in the Sahel region of West and Central Africa if urgent action is not taken.” AFP has more.

VOA: “A senior Sudanese negotiator said he sees little hope for progress in talks with South Sudan on contentious issues left over from the two countries’ separation last July. Mediators in Addis Ababa are measuring progress in millimeters.” The BBC reports on conflict in the borderlands between the two countries.

Ethiopia plans to remove its forces from Somalia by the end of April. Kenya’s troops in Somalia, meanwhile, will soon officially become part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

In other Kenya news, “The International Criminal Court on Friday rejected bids by Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s former finance minister and three others to have charges dropped against them related to the country’s 2007 election violence.”

Gen. Soumaila Bakayoko of Cote d’Ivoire told reporters yesterday that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) may intervene militarily in Mali’s civil war. The Wall Street Journal reports on the more than 100,000 people who have been displaced by the fighting in Mali.

News continues to trickle out concerning the failed rescue of two European hostages in Northwestern Nigeria on Thursday. Weekly Trust has published a detailed account of the raid. Boko Haram, suspected of involvement in the kidnapping, has denied that it played a role. Nigerian authorities have made at least five arrests in connection with the killings. Meanwhile, another battle between Boko Haram and the police took place yesterday in Kano.

Elsewhere, another hostage crisis may be over: “Ethiopian rebels say they have released two German tourists who were taken captive during a gun-battle in January.”

Prominent politicians will rally in support of Senegalese presidential challenger Macky Sall tomorrow.

Last but not least, Burkina Faso “has fired 136 policemen who were involved in a mutiny last year.”

I’m especially curious to hear readers’ reactions to this idea of an ECOWAS intervention in Mali. Is it possible?

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5 thoughts on “Africa News Roundup: Sahel Food Crisis, Ethiopia to Leave Somalia, Boko Haram, Senegal Opposition Rally, and More

  1. Possible is anything, but I fail to see how an ECOWAS intervention would resolve the issue. You would have to pour immense military resources into Mali to effectively control the northern regions. And this would take a long time, which with the looming food crisis is something of a luxury.

    An ECOWAS intervention would only make sense as part of a peace agreement, to control implementation. From what I have read, limited trust on the Tuareg side in the will of the Malian government to implement any agreement is one of the main obstacles at the moment, so an impartial force (be it ECOWAS, UN or AU) guaranteeing implementation could be valuable.

  2. Sketchy info on Ethiopia’s time-line in central Somalia – 50 days is a short time to redeploy and set up logistics for 4,000+ AU troops. This next phase of the AU’s national campaign has no room for error, Western funds must be received as pledged and the TFG needs to create a secure environment for national elections. AU/UN has gained footing compared to previous years, but August 2012’s deadline may rush the mission beyond its capabilities.

    • As for AMISOM replacing Ethiopian troops, this maybe classic catch-22. I can’t see howuntested Djibouti as well few battliond from Uganda/Burundi will be able to control vast territories outside Mog. It tool years for the latter to ” pacify” the notional capital and tiny Djobouti army is, well, untested. On the other hand, if Ethiopians stay ( and that is what they wish. They are, after all battle hardened and well armed), it will give them buffer zones to control and the longer they stay, the more the Somalis will ” rediscover”
      their nationalistic fervor. The best option: create effective Somali national army, trained inside and well equipped and conducting of across the clan divide. The world missed that oportuniy when the TFG was created in 2004. We are now paying the price of that lost opportunity. It costs hinderers of millions to sustain AMISOM. it will less than 10% of that to truly recreate the proud Somali army ( I’m talking here the pre-1969 prifessional army, before it became the politicized yahoo it later became.

      • I can’t see howuntested Djibouti as well few battliond from Uganda/Burundi will be able to control vast territories outside Mog.

        You’ve certainly got a point there.

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