Sahel News Roundup, 1/6/23

Burkina Faso

A reported massacre at Nouna (map) claimed at least twenty-eight victims and once again focuses critical attention on the country’s state-aligned vigilantes in the Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland, who have been accused of perpetrating the massacre.

A Catholic priest was assassinated on January 2 at Soroni (map):

Mali

The jihadist group JNIM strikes near Bamako once again:

Jeune Afrique (French) has a deep dive on the Wagner Group’s presence in Mali. the most interesting details to me concerned Wagner personnel and their relations with specific officers in the Malian military, notably Defense Minister Colonel Sadio Camara and Air Force Chief of Staff General Alou Boï Diarra, whom Jeune Afrique calls the “principal architects of the cooperation between the Russian group and the Malian General Staff.”

See also the “malaise” (French) in Mali following Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s critical remarks (French) about Wagner’s presence there.

Chad

A coup attempt? (French)

Meanwhile, there is controversy (French) over the appointment of General Idriss Youssouf Boy as President Mahamat Deby’s chief of staff. This summer, Boy was fired (as Deby’s personal secretary), jailed, acquitted, and freed, all in connection with an embezzlement scandal at the Chad Hydrocarbons Company. More here and here (both French).

Senegal

The case of detained journalist Pape Alé Niang calls attention to issues of press freedom in the country.

Mauritania

Ex-President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, facing a corruption investigation since 2020, was prevented from leaving the country (after having been allowed to travel to France in September 2022 for medical reasons) and is summoned to appear before an anti-corruption court on January 12 (Arabic).

Niger

There are concerns over bird flu in Niger, but the authorities say it is under control (French).

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