The Tuareg rebellion in northern Mali has sent refugees into a number of nearby countries, including Mauritania, Burkina Faso, and Niger. UNHCR is attempting to increase its aid to refugees in all of these places.
For military news about the rebellion, check out Reuters’ piece “Arms and men out of Libya fortify Mali rebellion.” Another noteworthy item is that the rebellion has caused Washington to postpone a joint military exercise in Mali.
The above-listed countries are also facing severe food shortages. AFP reports on the World Food Programme’s forecast that “a food crisis in Mauritania as a result of drought is expected to be three times worse that in 2010, when the Sahel was crippled by food shortages.”
The World Bank will provide Niger with over $60 million to fight the effects of climate change.
Campaigning is underway in Senegal in advance of presidential elections to be held later this month. President Abdoulaye Wade’s convoy was recently stoned in the city of Thies (the home base of his rival Idrissa Seck), but Wade (audio) shows no signs of quitting.
VOA writes, “Ethiopia, one of Africa’s poorest countries, is among the few on track to achieve the goal of universal primary education by 2015. Our correspondent in Addis Ababa, reports on how, according to analysts, an otherwise repressive government is winning praise for its campaign to bring learning to the people.”
On Thursday, Somalia’s al Shabab formally joined Al Qaeda.
Meanwhile in Somaliland:
The breakaway territory of Somaliland is battling its own secessionists in a dispute that has raised tensions with neighbouring Puntland, in an area of Somalia usually more peaceful than the rest of the country.
The fighting first erupted in January after the leaders of the northern regions of Sool, Sanaag and Cayn decided to band together into a new state called Khaatumo and declared they wanted to be an independent region within Somalia.
Somaliland’s troops have since clashed with militia fighters loyal to Khaatumo, with reports of dozens of casualties. Puntland’s President Abdirahman Mohamud Farole stepped into the row on Wednesday, accusing Somaliland of creating chaos.
Finally, Nigeria’s Daily Trust looks at the possibility of renewed militancy in the Niger Delta.