Christian Science Monitor discusses AFRICOM’s Flintlock 10 training exercise in the Sahel:
At one time, a military exercise like Operation Flintlock – which is now in its fifth year – would have set African opinion-page columns aflame and set a fair number of African politicians pounding on tables with their shoes. Some African nations worried that the newly announced but vaguely defined Africa Command (AFRICOM) of the US Army would herald a new colonial presence in Africa, complete with permanent military bases and political interference.
But today, AFRICOM’s military exercises often pass with little notice, and increasingly with the support of African leaders. In part, this is because African leaders now see a common threat: armed violent groups such as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which have carried out a series of murders and kidnappings from Mauritania to Algeria to Niger and threaten to topple any government that dares confront them.
Speaking of AQIM, they’ve abducted another Frenchman in northern Niger.
One of Somalia’s two main Islamist rebel groups, Hizbul Islam, is facing a schism:
An influential splinter group has officially cut it ties with the Somalia’s militant, Hizbul Islam, vowing to wage war against rival Islamist group.
Abdiaziz Hassan Abdi, a spokesman for the Ras Kamboni faction, says senior faction members including Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed Islam ‘Madobe have decided to formally walk out of Hizbul Islam.
I’ll try and write a full post on this next week. I would love to hear any insights from readers.
The UN to hold a conference on Somalia. Meanwhile, IRIN updates us on the economic effects of the pirates’ departure from Harardheere. (Can we standardize the spelling of this town? Is it Haradhere, Harardhere, Harardheere, or Xharadhere, or something else?)
Vincent Ogbulafor, chairman of Nigeria’s ruling People’s Democratic Party, will resign next month.
The AP profiles Juba, South Sudan.
US Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration’s testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Food shortages in Burkina Faso affect livestock as well as people, producing a cycle of loss.