Africa News Roundup: “Total War” in Mali, Coup in Guinea-Bissau, Heglig, Mauritania Border Buildup, and More

Mali’s interim President Dioncounda Traore has pledged “total war” against rebels in the northern party of the country.

It looks as though there has been a coup in Guinea-Bissau.

Newly elected Senegalese President Macky Sall makes his first overseas trip – to Gambia and France.

South Sudanese troops continue to hold the Heglig oil field inside (north) Sudan, but they stated yesterday that they would withdraw if Sudan agrees that a neutral force can take charge of the area. All Africa now has a section of its site entitled, “Are the Two Sudans Heading for War?”

The dream of building an oil pipeline from South Sudan to Kenya moves into a new phase.

In Nigeria, a new video from Boko Haram threatens President Goodluck Jonathan. The opposition Action Congress of Nigeria party – which is strongest in the Southwest and in the Middle Belt – has urged the government to renew efforts at dialogue with the rebel group.

In other Nigeria news, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has claimed an attack on an ENI pipeline.

Mauritania increases troop levels on its border with Mali.

What else is going on today?

3 thoughts on “Africa News Roundup: “Total War” in Mali, Coup in Guinea-Bissau, Heglig, Mauritania Border Buildup, and More

  1. What else is going in today? This just in:

    http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_President_Sharif_assigns_committee_to_hold_talks_with_Somaliland.shtml

    FOLLOW those talks. It will either end in messy divorce ( ” total war?”) ala Mali, resource fighting Ala Sudan, amicable parting ( long shot) Soviet style, or one big happy family ( like the EU). All because once upon a time, Eurpeans messed up our way of life and set up to fail.

    http://africaunchained.blogspot.ca/2012/04/why-nations-fail.html?m=1

  2. A few comments, questions and links.

    1. Does this mean that the South Sudanese pipeline will be constructed and financed by the Japanese? That looks like a major blow to Chinese influence.

    2. The “Action Congress of Nigeria” is the major political force in the South West, but it has very little clout in the Middle Belt. While it is true that strong candidates have emerged on the platform of the ACN (Stephen Ugba in Benue and Markus Gundiri in Adamawa), they didn’t win their elections and they chose the ACN because it was the next available ship to jump in. Nuhu Ribadu, the ACN presidential candidate, couldn’t win his Middle Belt state, Adamawa last election.

    3. Take ACN pronouncements with a pinch of salt. The ACN was formed by veterans of the struggle between Abacha and the South Western elite in the wake of the June 12 crisis (Bola Ahmed Tinubu fled to exile). There is no love lost between the ACN and what is perceived to be the “Northern elite”. Last election, there was a secret deal between the ACN and Jonathan – the South West voted massively for Jonathan. I don’t take their pronouncements that seriously.

    4. The CAN (The Christian Association of Nigeria) president rejects the US position on Boko Haram: http://www.thenationonlineng.net/2011/index.php/news/42865-can-president-rejects-us-position-on-boko-haram.html.

    This is very significant, it is an “official confirmation” of the wide-spread belief among the Christian community in Nigeria that the West (especially Britain and America) are biased in favour of the “Northern Muslim elite” and Muslims.

    5. Likelihood of a Buhari candidacy in 2015: http://www.channelstv.com/home/2012/04/14/cpc-supports-buharis-ambition-for-2015/. Also very significant, however Buhari has three counts against him; his age (will be 74 in 2015), lack of support from the Northern elite and a perception of being too “pro-Islamic”. He is widely popular in Northern Nigeria, but his success will depend on whether he can surmount these three challenges.

    6. Jonathan launches “Almajiri” model school scheme. This is the boldest non-military intervention in Northern Nigeria so far by this administration. It is widely believed that the feeder stock for Boko Haram comes from millions of young students of itinerant Islamic scholars (Almajiris). The aim of this scheme is to get these boys in schools where they can be taught a combination of conventional Western and Islamic studies. 400 schools are planned. We are waiting to see the outcome and what impact it is likely to have on the security situation in Northern Nigeria.

    http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/04/almajiri-foundation-lauds-fgs-initiative/

    However, Shehu Sanni thinks it is a waste of time and resources: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/04/almajiri-project-an-exercise-in-futility-shehu-sani/

    7. Reports of “Boko Haram in Mali”: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/04/dozens-of-boko-haram-help-malis-rebel-seize-gao/. Given the historical, cultural and religious links between Mali and Northern Nigeria, this was always going to be a possibility. What does it mean (if true)? It means that Boko Haram are gaining very useful “combat experience” and links to other more accomplished terrorist groups. Deeply troubling.

  3. 1. Bizarre accusation against Muslim governor of one of the South Western states. The governor is “accused of having links with terrorist groups in North Africa”: http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/news/national/2012/apr/15/national-15-04-2012-002.html

    2. Interview with leader of Nigeria’s Anglicans, touches on relationship between Christianity and Islam: http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/features/icon/2012/apr/15/icon-15-04-2012-001.html

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