Africa News Roundup: Sudan-South Sudan Tensions, Malian Refugees, Senegalese Opposition Coalition, and More

The Sahara Studies Association is calling for papers on the theme of “Conflict, (Counter-Terrorism and Intervention in the Sahara-Sahel.”

Tensions between Sudan and South Sudan continue:

South Sudanese officials said Thursday that Sudanese troops were massing near the disputed border and that Sudan’s armed forces had bombed two oil wells in South Sudan….

Al-Obeid Merwah, a spokesman for the Sudanese Foreign Ministry, did not return calls seeking comment.

Martin Vogl details some of the latest battles between Tuareg rebels and government forces in northern Mali. IRIN has two reports on Malian refugees displaced by the fighting.

Violence in Northeastern Nigeria, and the resulting military crackdown, are also causing mass displacements of people into neighboring Niger and Chad. Niger’s permanent secretary in charge of Nigeriens abroad has “appealed to Nigerian security forces to show restraint.”

The BBC discusses the launch of a “$23bn (£14.5bn) port project and oil refinery in south-eastern Kenya’s coastal Lamu region near war-torn Somalia’s border.” The piece continues:

An oil pipeline, railway and motorway will also be built linking Lamu to South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Newly independent South Sudan plans to use Lamu as its main oil export outlet.

Moustapha Niasse, who placed third in the first round of Sunday’s presidential election in Senegal, has pledged to support second-place finisher Macky Sall in the second round (French). Reuters details further opposition support that Sall is receiving.

VOA on American allies in sub-Saharan Africa:

While the United States government is getting increasing help from two African allies in terms of security objectives, U.S-based analysts fear the governments in Uganda and Ethiopia are getting a pass in terms of internal governance…

Ted Vestal, an Ethiopia expert from Oklahoma State University, worries about what is taking place inside Ethiopia, and the lack of reaction from U.S. officials.

“I am thinking of deficits of democracy and a bad human rights record, which the State Department points out every year in their human rights reports,” said Vestal. “But the security angle seems to be more significant to U.S. foreign policy, especially with the war on terror and the connection to Somalia next door to Ethiopia.  We apparently are flying drone airplanes out of Arba Minch down in southern Ethiopia over Somalia. So we have a definite military tie.”

What are you reading today?


3 thoughts on “Africa News Roundup: Sudan-South Sudan Tensions, Malian Refugees, Senegalese Opposition Coalition, and More

  1. The BBC report on Nigeria’s Ojukwu’s funeral. Interesting to see how time and different political considerations can make or wipe away the tensions of war.

    As for Uganda and Ethiopia, personally I would advise the U.S to look more at how strong their states are but focusing on security issues is always hard to resist. Personally I suspect that in twenty or thirty years groups like Al Shabaab will be barely known to Americans and we’ll wonder why our predecessors were so worried*.
    In general I would argue for three methods. If they have strong states that can effectively extract resources and order society we have little choice but to work with them. If they can’t prevent the existence of capable opposition parties and independent public action (such as strikes and protests) to focus on developing military ties and trying to keep on amicable terms with the parties where possible. If the state is a ‘sultan’ type** I’d suggest immediately distancing ourselves from them regardless of security concerns and not providing any support during revolution.

    * That’s actually unfortunate in a way. I think many people my age don’t really try to understand the reasons why America (and much of the ‘West’) was so worried about Communism and so they don’t necessarily have the right perspective to interpret American actions. In thirty years people might just look at the most simple parts of the so-called ‘War on Terror’ and not grasp the whole picture.
    **Power is centered exclusively in the hands of family members and close friends, the military is badly politicized, state functions such as tax collection and road building are poor while the elites and middle class are obviously wishing for a new government.

    • Ojukwu’s death reminds us that we live in an artificial state whose only reason for existence is the availability of crude oil and a desire to share the proceeds from its sales.

      Nigeria has a few more years as a united entity. From the tensions between Muslim and Christian in the North aggravated by the introduction of Sharia to the rise of Boko Haram to the Niger Delta Militancy to the increasingly loud and antagonistic debate over derivation, it is clear that Nigeria lacks a unifying idea or a common purpose.

      It isn’t politically correct to state the obvious, but as a Nigerian, it is clear to me that the center cannot hold for much longer and Ojukwu’s death is a reminder to us that we had forty-two years to build on a common purpose, forty-two years that we squandered. There is no turning back. Nigeria is finished as a nation.

      Now Northern politicians are cleverly riding on the back of Boko Haram to demand more resources from the center (which of course, they will squander):

  2. It is not surprising that the world is witnessing spate of wars. All these are the fulfilment of Christ prophecy in Matthew chapter 24 about the end of the world. Believe it or leave it, this old, sick and war bathered world is about to windup. God the creator will destroy it, together with all the terrorists, tyrants, wicked and cruel leaders and the messengers of SATAN in it. So, let all this agents of Satan be warned. Let them repent or perish!

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