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20 décembre 2015 7 20 /12 /décembre /2015 16:45
Le Burundi opposé au déploiement d'une mission de l'UA sur son sol

 

20.12.2015 Romandie.com (ats)

 

Le Burundi n'autorisera pas le déploiement sur son sol d'une mission de l'Union africaine. Ce déploiement serait considéré comme "une force d'invasion et d'occupation" si l'UA passait outre le refus de Bujumbura, a déclaré dimanche un porte-parole de la présidence.

Le Conseil de paix et de sécurité (CPS) de l'UA a autorisé vendredi le déploiement au Burundi d'une mission militaire forte de 5000 hommes, pour une durée de six mois renouvelables. Il a donné quatre jours à Bujumbura pour accepter ce déploiement, faute de quoi l'UA prendra des "mesures supplémentaires" pour s'assurer qu'il ait lieu.

Le Burundi "n'est pas prêt à accueillir une telle force de l'UA sur son territoire", a dit Jean-Claude Karerwa, porte-parole adjoint du président Pierre Nkurunziza. "Si les troupes de l'UA venaient sans l'aval du gouvernement, il s'agirait alors d'une force d'invasion et d'occupation, et le gouvernement burundais se réserverait dans ce cas le droit d'agir en conséquences", a-t-il ajouté.

Le porte-parole a souligné que pour les autorités burundaises, "la résolution de l'UA ne peut pas s'appliquer automatiquement (car) il faut d'abord l'aval du Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU".

 

Protéger les civils

La mission panafricaine aura pour objectif d'éviter "la détérioration de la situation sécuritaire", de contribuer "à la protection des populations civiles en danger immédiat", d'aider à créer les "conditions nécessaires" à la réussite d'un dialogue inter-burundais, et de faciliter "la mise en oeuvre de tout accord" auquel parviendraient les différentes parties.

L'annonce de l'UA intervient une semaine après l'attaque le 11 décembre de trois camps militaires à Bujumbura et en province, les affrontements les plus intenses au Burundi depuis une tentative de coup d'Etat militaire en mai.

Le Burundi est plongé dans une profonde crise politique depuis la candidature fin avril de M. Nkurunziza à un troisième mandat, jugé par ses adversaires contraire à la Constitution et à l'Accord d'Arusha ayant permis la fin de la guerre civile (1993-2006) entre l'armée dominée alors par la minorité tutsi et des rébellions hutu.

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19 décembre 2015 6 19 /12 /décembre /2015 13:45
African Union photo U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)

African Union photo U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)

 

19.12.2015 Romandie.com (ats)

 

L'Union africaine (UA) a annoncé samedi qu'elle allait envoyer une mission de 5000 hommes au Burundi pour tenter de stopper les violences dans ce pays. Elle a menacé Bujumbura de se déployer même sans son accord.

L'envoi d'une Mission africaine de prévention et de protection au Burundi (Maprobu) "pour une période initiale de six mois, renouvelable" a été décidé vendredi par le Conseil de paix et de sécurité (CPS) de l'UA. Celui-ci a demandé au gouvernement burundais "de confirmer dans les 96 heures suivant l'adoption de ce communiqué qu'il accepte le déploiement de la Maprobu et de coopérer avec elle".

Le CPS a prévenu que si Bujumbura devait s'opposer à l'envoi de cette mission, l'UA prendrait des "mesures supplémentaires" pour en assurer le déploiement.

 

Accord peu probable

Il est peu cependant probable que les autorités burundaises, qui ne cessent de dénoncer l'immixtion de la communauté internationale dans leur gestion de la crise politique dans laquelle est plongé le pays depuis huit mois, acceptent un déploiement militaire sur leur sol.

Le porte-parole du gouvernement burundais, Philippe Nzobonariba, avait affirmé vendredi que cette force régionale, malgré la règle mentionnée par l'UA, ne serait pas autorisée à entrer sur le territoire national. "Ils ne peuvent pas envahir un pays si ce dernier n'est pas informé et ne l'autorise pas", avait-il déclaré.

Le CPS a toutefois insisté sur sa "détermination à prendre toutes les mesures appropriées contre toutes parties ou acteurs, quel qu'ils soient, qui empêcheraient la mise en oeuvre de cette présente décision".

 

Protection des civils

La Maprobu comptera à ses débuts jusqu'à 5000 hommes, soldats et policiers, ainsi qu'une composante civile, et intégrera les observateurs des droits de l'Homme et experts militaires déjà déployés au Burundi, a expliqué le CPS.

Elle aura pour objectif d'éviter "la détérioration de la situation sécuritaire", de contribuer "à la protection des populations civiles en danger immédiat", d'aider à créer les "conditions nécessaires" à la réussite d'un dialogue inter-burundais, et de faciliter "la mise en oeuvre de tout accord" auquel parviendraient les différentes parties.

 

Attaque meurtrière

La décision du CPS intervient une semaine après l'attaque le 11 décembre de trois camps militaires à Bujumbura et en province. Les affrontements et les opérations de ratissage qui ont suivi ont fait officiellement 87 morts, mais des ONG et l'ONU évoquent un bilan "bien plus élevé", dénonçant des exécutions extra-judiciaires.

Le Burundi a plongé dans une profonde crise politique depuis la candidature fin avril de Pierre Nkurunziza à un troisième mandat jugé par ses adversaires contraire à la Constitution et à l'Accord d'Arusha ayant permis la fin de la guerre civile (1993-2006) entre l'armée dominée alors par la minorité tutsi et des rébellions hutu.

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7 décembre 2015 1 07 /12 /décembre /2015 12:55
Actes de la conférence internationale "Climat et défense : quels enjeux ?" (14 oct)



04/12/2015 par DGRIS

 

En amont de la COP21, la conférence internationale « Climat et défense : quels enjeux ? » s’est tenue le 14 octobre 2015 à Paris.

 

Consacrée aux enjeux des changements climatiques en matière de sécurité internationale et à leurs impacts sur les politiques de défense des États, elle a réuni de hauts responsables de la défense issus de l’ensemble des régions du monde.

 

> Synthèse de la conférence (français / anglais - pdf)

Le 14 octobre 2015, à Paris, le ministère de la défense a organisé avec le soutien du Sénat une conférence internationale sur les enjeux des changements climatiques en matière de sécurité internationale et leurs impacts sur les politiques de défense des États.

Pour la première fois au niveau international, cette conférence a permis aux plus hautes autorités de défense de s’exprimer sur les risques et les menaces que peuvent exacerber les changements climatiques ainsi que sur les mesures prises par la Défense pour contribuer aux politiques publiques de développement durable.

Elle a notamment rassemblé les ministres et représentants ministériels de 33 pays, de l’Organisation des Nations Unies et de l’Union Africaine.

 

En savoir plus

> Interview : 3 questions à M. Nicolas Regaud, conseiller auprès du directeur des relations internationales et de la stratégie du ministère de la Défense, organisateur de la conférence

.

> Le dossier du participant (pdf) : Éditorial du ministre de la Défense, enjeux par table-ronde, programme, ressources bibliographiques

+ Dossier du participant, English version (pdf)

.

> Les discours en ligne (vidéos)

 

> L'intégralité des tables rondes (vidéos)

  • Table ronde n°1 : Pression sur les ressources naturelles et sécurité alimentaire
  • Table ronde n°2 : Événements climatiques extrêmes et sécurité humaine
  • Table ronde n°3 : Quelles implications pour la politique de défense
  • Table ronde n°4 : La défense verte, la voie à suivre ?

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12 novembre 2015 4 12 /11 /novembre /2015 17:45
African Union photo U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)

African Union photo U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)

 

12 November 2015 by defenceWeb

 

The recent sixth AU high level retreat for the promotion of peace, security and stability on the continent acknowledged an increase in the frequency and scope of violent attacks by different groups and the growing presence of the so-called Islamic State in Africa.

 

The gathering in the Namibian capital of Windhoek said this was “a matter of deep concern”.

 

In the Windhoek Declaration, issued after the retreat and ahead of the one and only field exercise of the African Standby Force’s (ASF) rapid deployment capability in South Africa, it was noted that “casualties, destruction of infrastructure and loss of livelihoods have been unprecedented”.

 

“In Somalia, Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Chad, the Central African Republic and in Libya armed conflict and/or terrorism has resulted in a humanitarian crisis of grave proportions. There are an estimated 28 million people in need of humanitarian assistance across the Sahel.

 

“It is likely that conditions fuelling violent extremism will not subside in the immediate future, especially given the current dynamics in the Middle East and the increasing globalisation evident throughout the world,” the Declaration states.

 

Those attending also noted the global debate is shifting from “a war on terror” to other types of responses with a more holistic approach.

 

“Terrorism and violent extremism represent a multi-dimensional and complex phenomenon, requiring a comprehensive counter-strategy,” the Declaration states noting responses to these threats “have often been designed to address the symptoms through military and security centred counter-terrorism strategies”.

 

These, it continues, may seem effective in the short term but have proven to be unsustainable and ineffective and “often counter-productive and resulting in an increased pool of individuals vulnerable to radicalisation. Especially if non-state armed groups count on popular support they cannot be defeated by military action alone and a political solution should be envisaged to resolve violent insurgencies”.

 

To prevent terrorism its underlying causes have to be addressed. These the retreat identified as good governance, particularly the promotion of accountable, transparent and inclusive governance systems based on the rule of law as well as poverty, unemployment and inequality.

 

The Declaration also notes that political solutions must become central to comprehensive strategies addressing terrorism and violent extremism.

 

As far as recommendations are concerned the Windhoek Declaration states that “addressing the scourge of terrorism is not a short term exercise but a long term commitment requiring firm political will, mobilisation of considerable resources, close collaboration and carefully conducted and shared analysis”.

 

The retreat also recommended that the prevention of violent extremism and terrorism be prioritised and placed at the top of the African policy agenda.

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12 novembre 2015 4 12 /11 /novembre /2015 08:45
Photo Dylan Mohlala

Photo Dylan Mohlala

 

10 November 2015 by defenceWeb

 

The closing ceremony for Exercise Amani Africa II was held on 8 November at the Lohatla Combat Training Centre in the Northern Cape, with President Jacob Zuma declaring the rapid deployment capability of the African Standby Force (ASF) ready to go. Some 5 000 troops from numerous African Union countries took part in one of the largest military exercises ever held in South Africa.

 

Click here to view the gallery.

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9 novembre 2015 1 09 /11 /novembre /2015 17:45
Armées : la force de l’UA fin prête

 

8 novembre 2015 BBC Afrique

 

S'exprimant lors d'une cérémonie marquant la fin de la formation d’une durée de près d’un mois, le président sud-africain Jacob Zuma a encouragé les militaires, les policiers et les civils qui en sont membres.

 

Le général Elia, un responsable militaire a indiqué qu’à partir de décembre prochain, ''cette force sera prête à être déployée sur le terrain''. Elle est appelée à intervenir dans les Etats membres de l'UA, "dans des circonstances graves : crimes de guerre, crimes de génocide et crimes contre l'humanité". "Nous avons beaucoup travaillé lors des entrainements, des exercices physiques. La force que nous avons est prête à être déployée sur le terrain. Ce qu’il faut faire maintenant, c’est lui apporter le soutien nécessaire", a dit le général Elia, lors de la cérémonie présidée par M. Zuma.

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28 octobre 2015 3 28 /10 /octobre /2015 13:45
Finally – Africa’s Rapid Response Force Begins Training

 

October 21, 2015 Kevin Knodell  - War is boring

 

But the multi-national army still has a ways to go

 

The African Union’s long discussed and delayed rapid-response force is slowly taking shape. The African Standby Force, which the A.U. wants to deploy around the continent, began training in South Africa on Oct. 20. Previous African Union operations have often stalled in their planning phases as officials struggled to get troops from member states. The new, multi-national ASF will react to crisis situations as they arise with relative haste, if everything goes according to plan.

Read more

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7 octobre 2015 3 07 /10 /octobre /2015 16:45
ASF conference raises questions on ACIRC

 

07 October 2015 by defenceWeb

 

The 2015 conference on the "African Standby Force (ASF): Beyond 2015" stems from a co-operation MoU between the Faculty of the Royal Danish Defence College and the Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University.

The 2013 conference in Dar es Salaam, the third one in the series, featured maritime security off Africa with a post-piracy theme.

 

This year the conference theme coincided with expectations and decisions on the readiness of the ASF and thus the "Beyond 2015" theme, said Professor Francois Vrey of the Military Science Faculty. The expectations of readiness and the emergence of ACIRC (African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises) also underpins dynamics necessitating the beyond 2015 focus of the event.

 

Day One saw an overview of the Peace and Security Architecture of the African Union (AU) including the domains of civilian participation, the rise of maritime security, costs and burden-sharing as well as the viability of the state as a dominant organising concept for all.

 

Keynote speaker from Warwick University (UK) Dr David Anderson emphasised the Peace and Security Architecture of the AU, including the ASF, entailed costs and responsibilities with no avenue to avoid these two matters.

 

The Day Two keynote speaker, Dr Jakkie Cilliers of ISS South Africa, covered the rise of violence and terrorism in Africa from a statistical perspective after which follow-on speakers dealt with each of the five regional entities and their standby arrangements.

 

Of interest was the work done by ECCAS (Economic Community of Central African States) (FOMAC – La Force Multinationale de l’Afrique Centrale) and the NARC (North Africa Regional Capability) in North Africa, two regions not often the focus of discussion. In ECCAS the progress with maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea also caught the attention - a matter generally neglected when regional standby matters are addressed, Vrey pointed out.

 

The inclusion of the AIMS 2050 theme on Day One questioned the general understanding of ASF readiness beyond 2015. Although each region appears to be on its way, but with different modes and at different tempos, to bring the expected standby arrangements to fruition remains complex, particularly the process to move from military standby pledges and readiness towards political authorities and decisions to effect deployment.

 

The morning of Day Three covered ACIRC with a lively exchange of ideas including opinions on its intrusion into the ASF and the violation of the co-operative and consensus culture sought by the AU to that of a viable option to keep in step with rapidly unfolding of violent threats on the continent.

 

It was clear from discussions the matter of ACIRC did not reflect a mature consensus among the speakers and other delegates, Vrey said. While the operational readiness of ACIRC is being pushed forward rather quickly, it appears its deployment principles and political backing remain uncertain.

 

South Africa is a driver behind the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC), a precursor to the ASF, which will apparently be established by the beginning of 2016, resulting in no further need for the stopgap ACIRC. Between June and December South Africa will be leading whatever contingent is required to deploy as part of the ACIRC. The final strength of the ACIRC contribution from South Africa will be 1 800 personnel when they finally deploy.

 

Between October 19 and November 7 some 5 000 troops will descend on Lohathla for exercise Amani Africa II. The South African Army said that all AU members from East and West Africa will take part in the exercise while all countries with the exception of the Central African Republic will take part from Central Africa. Members from North Africa will only send staff officers.

 

The envisaged 25 000-strong ASF operating through five regional brigades is expected to be the backbone of the continent’s new peace and security architecture.

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3 juin 2015 3 03 /06 /juin /2015 19:45
Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou

Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou

 

03 June 2015 defenceWeb (Reuters)

 

A multinational force being set up to combat Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamist insurgency in the Lake Chad region will be operational in the coming weeks, Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou said on Tuesday.

 

Approved in March by the African Union, the 8,700-strong force drawn from the Lake Chad countries of Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon as well as Benin, will be financed partly by the international community.

 

"We have discussed the situation on our southern side with Boko Haram rampaging in the Lake Chad zone," Issoufou told reporters outside the Elysee Palace in Paris after a meeting with French President Francois Hollande.

 

"We think that in the coming weeks, with the new administration settling into place in Nigeria, we are going to be able to launch the mixed multinational force, to which all of the countries of the Lake Chad basin contribute," he added.

 

As he spoke, sources in Nigeria's northeastern city of Maiduguri reported that a bomb blast hit a busy market there on Tuesday, killing as many as 50 people.

 

An Elysee statement said Hollande told Issoufou that France would "continue its logistical support and intelligence to the countries neighbouring Lake Chad" to combat the group thought to have killed thousands of people in its quest to create a caliphate in Nigeria's remote north-east.

 

The new president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, the first to take power in a democratic handover in the history of the country, promised to eradicate Boko Haram in an inaugural address last week

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18 mars 2015 3 18 /03 /mars /2015 12:45
ISS: What does the Boko Haram-ISIS alliance mean for terrorism in Africa?

 

17 March 2015 by Martin Ewi, Senior Researcher, Transnational Threats and International Crime Division, ISS Pretoria - defenceWeb

 

On 7 March, Abubakar Shekau – the leader of the feared Nigerian terrorist group, Boko Haram, opened a new page in the history of the group when he announced his allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed ‘caliph’ and leader of the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL).

 

Al-Baghdadi’s acceptance of Shekau’s bay’ah, or pledge of allegiance, has formalised the alliance between two of the world’s most ruthless terrorist organisations. Boko Haram joins a growing number of extremist groups in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia that have since the beginning of 2014 voluntarily given up their independence by proclaiming the supreme authority of ISIS. Shekau, however, is known for his uncompromising views, raising questions as to how he would respond to orders from al-Baghdadi.

 

The practice of giving bay’ah has become common among African terrorist groups and is often mistaken to be a sign of weakness or imminent demise. Many factors – including strategic, organisational, leadership and ideological reasons – may account for a group’s decision to pledge loyalty to another.

 

The Nigerian government has viewed the recent development as a sign that Boko Haram has been defeated as a result of intensified military reprisals, which would pave the way for the postponed elections to take place on 28 March.

 

Boko Haram is officially known as Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad, or People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad. Indeed the fight against the group has seen some solid achievements in recent weeks, including the liberation of territories that had fallen under their control in Nigeria and Cameroon. Boko Haram has also been resorting to increasingly desperate tactics, such as suicide bombings (often involving children and young girls), using livestock as shields and forced kidnappings for recruitment, which could be indicative of its declining popularity.

 

While it is true that some progress has been made in containing Boko Haram, it would be misleading to take Shekau’s pledge of allegiance to ISIS as a sign of defeat, as Boko Haram has continued to perpetrate deadly attacks. There were already hints of a future alliance with ISIS in June last year when Shekau congratulated al-Baghdadi and pledged support for his declaration of a ‘Caliphate’. At the time, Boko Haram was believed to be at its peak.

 

The group’s tactics have since become increasingly similar to those used by ISIS, as demonstrated by its excessive use of violence and its desire to establish an Islamic Caliphate through the conquering and controlling of territories, which was not previously part of the group’s practices. Boko Haram also began to practise brutal and dramatic public executions, which have become the hallmarks of ISIS.

 

This new alliance with ISIS not only confirms Shekau as an opportunist, but also as an unreliable partner. This is not the first time that Shekau has pledged allegiance to a foreign terrorist group. In 2011, Boko Haram officially joined the ranks of al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in an initiation that was completed with the August bombing of the United Nations Headquarters in Abuja, in which 23 people died and several others were injured.

 

Joining al-Qaeda also brought about a paradigm shift in the group’s philosophy and modus operandi – particularly in tactical terms. Boko Haram started carrying out al-Qaeda style simultaneous attacks and suicide bombings, kidnapping foreigners, threating the United States of America and other western countries, as well as participating in other jihadist operations – such as in northern Mali.

 

The merger can also be seen as a personal victory for Shekau, whose propensity for violence matches that of al-Baghdadi. For the past several years Boko Haram has been plagued by in fighting, essentially between the so-called ‘Yusufiyyas’ in the group – those who want to preserve the philosophy and doctrine of Boko Haram’s founder, Mohammed Yusuf – and Shekau hardliners. Yusufiyyas are believed to be less violent and pro al-Qaeda, while the pro-Shekau militants within the group are the most violent.

 

When Shekau began to show his open support for ISIS, along with an intention to create a Caliphate, the Yusufiyyas opposed him and distanced themselves from the doctrine. Khalid Al-Barnawi, one of the group’s leaders, decried it as Shekau’s ‘misguided adventurism,’ calling him ‘a clear enemy of the jihad.’ Since the pledge of allegiance, nothing else has been heard from the group and none of the group’s other leaders have come forward to oppose the merger.

 

As ISIS’ biggest partner in Africa, the alliance is likely to give Boko Haram a new continental influence. It could however, also alienate Boko Haram from its support bases in northern Nigeria and the region. Strategically, the new alliance will secure new funding, arms and foreign fighters from around the world for Boko Haram.

 

For ISIS, the alliance will facilitate its African expansion, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, and strengthen al-Baghdadi’s global legitimacy and influence. Boko Haram may also provide an important front for ISIS to attack countries taking part in Obama's international coalition, set up to ‘degrade and destroy’ the terror group.

 

The alliance does not augur well for the ongoing regional campaign to contain Boko Haram, as the Islamist sect could get more sophisticated, posing serious operational and tactical challenges to the African Union (AU)-approved multinational joint task force (MNJTF).

 

This underscores a need for greater coordination among the frontline countries, and for the rapid deployment of the envisaged 10 000 MNJTF troops to maximise recent gains and prevent foreign assistance to Boko Haram.

 

The Peace and Security Council of the AU may wish to consider a summit-level meeting to declare a no-fly zone for non-commercial and non-military aircraft in the region, and to request states to ensure that no military goods exported to Cameroon, Chad, Niger or Nigeria end up in the hands of Boko Haram.

 

The international community should also intensify non-military responses. These include community programmes and strong national criminal justice institutions to eliminate the culture of impunity, and ensure that the millions of Boko Haram victims get justice. In this light, the International Criminal Court should expedite the process of indicting those responsible for mass atrocities in northern Nigeria, including Boko Haram’s leaders.

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12 mars 2015 4 12 /03 /mars /2015 17:45
Boko Haram (Mar 2015) - credits BBC

Boko Haram (Mar 2015) - credits BBC

 

12 March 2015 defenceWeb (Reuters)

 

The United States supports the creation of a West African force of up to 10,000 troops to fight Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, a U.S. defence official said on Wednesday.

 

The 54-nation African Union has approved the force and has asked the United Nations to endorse it urgently, after attacks by the group in northeastern Nigeria and neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon as it seeks to carve out an Islamic state.

 

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for African Affairs Amanda J. Dory said on a visit to Cameroon that Washington, one of five veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council, would back a U.N. resolution.

 

"The U.S. is providing diplomatic support in terms of engagement in the U.N. Security Council for the awaited resolution authorising the deployment of a Multinational Joint Task Force by the African Union against Boko Haram," she told state radio.

 

If approved, the new force would receive U.N. funding and would be likely to result in a bigger and better resourced operation than the offensive currently being mounted against the militants by Nigeria and its neighbours.

 

Boko Haram has killed thousands of people in northeastern Nigeria in its six-year insurgency and last week pledged allegiance to the Islamic State which has created a self-declared caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria.

 

However, a perception that Nigeria was failing to deal with the militants alone, and a growing number of cross-border attacks, prompted Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cameroon to launch their existing operation to try to contain the militants.

 

Nigeria government spokesman Mike Omeri said on Wednesday that Nigeria and its allies had recovered a total of 36 towns from Boko Haram.

 

Diplomats said the African Union Peace and Security Council was due to discuss on Thursday the text of a possible resolution that could then be circulated to the 15 U.N. Security Council members.

 

Chad's U.N. Ambassador Mahamat Cherif has said he hoped the council could vote on a resolution by end-March.

 

France, which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council, has been seeking to rally support for the resolution in time for a vote by early April, diplomats said.

 

The United States has already helped Cameroon's army security equipment to fight Boko Haram and France is increasing its own West African counter-insurgency force to support regional troops fighting Boko Haram.

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4 mars 2015 3 04 /03 /mars /2015 17:45
Amani Africa ll work session

Amani Africa ll work session

 

04 March 2015 by Kim Helfrich – defenceWeb

 

Lesotho’s political instability has seen South Africa step into the breach to host the next stage of preparation for the much delayed African Standby Force (ASF).

 

The field training exercise Amani Africa ll was originally supposed to have been hosted by Lesotho last October but this was put on hold as a result of political turmoil in that country. South Africa was proposed and accepted as an alternate venue.

 

This saw a four day long technical work session at the Army College in Thaba Tshwane. It started last Thursday and ended on Tuesday.

 

A core planning team composed of an AU (African Union) element and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) came to South Africa’s military capital for the work session. It was led by Major General (ret) Samaila Lliya of Nigeria, Exercise Amani Africa ll Exercise Director. His support team included Brigadier General Paulo Francisco of Angola, Amani Africa ll Chief of Staff.

 

The planning session for Amani Africa ll, set down for the SA Army Combat Training Centre in October/November this year, was chaired by Rear Admiral (JG) Patrick Duze from the SA National Defence Force’s Joint Operations Division. SANDF officers representing the force’s arms of service and divisions also attended.

 

“SADC is hosting the Exercise, originally planned to have been conducted in the Kingdom of Lesotho late last year. Unfortunately, the political and security situation in Lesotho affected implementation of Exercise Amani Africa II timelines. This meant some critical activities planned for the host country to pave the way for the conduct of Amani Africa ll could not be undertaken in 2014 which necessitated a change of date,” Captain (SAN) Jaco Theunissen of Joint Operations said.

 

“South Africa has offered to host the Amani Africa ll field training exercise. This will pave the way for implementation of the remainder of the exercise cycle activities. SADC has requested the exercise be conducted in October/November.”

 

The planning session saw five main activities successfully undertaken. They were a political strategic retreat; AU, regional economic communities (RECs) and regional member states planning meeting; drafting a main events list and a main incident list; an evaluation seminar and strategic and mission headquarters training sessions.

 

“All objectives set for the technical work session were met and planning is well underway for a purposeful field training exercise that will be conducted efficiently and effectively,” Theunissen said adding the work session was one of the exercise activities that could not be staged in the original host country due to the unstable political situation in the mountain kingdom where voters went to the polls last week.

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24 février 2015 2 24 /02 /février /2015 17:45
credits letemps.ch Jan 2015

credits letemps.ch Jan 2015

 

23 February 2015 defenceWeb (Reuters)

 

France will support a bid by the African Union to win the backing of the U.N. Security Council for its five-nation force fighting Islamist militant group Boko Haram, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Sunday.

 

Fabius spoke on a tour of Chad, Cameroon and Niger, countries that have launched operations against the militants who have killed thousands in a six-year war for an Islamic state in northern Nigeria.

 

"France's support for the integrated African reaction force is total. France will support a request of the African Union and other concerned countries for a resolution to be voted by the Security Council," Fabius said in the capital of Niger.

 

The African Union authorized the force combining Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin last month at a summit in Ethiopia. A Security Council resolution could give it a U.N. mandate, say senior African officials.

 

The force was set up in part because of a perception that Nigeria was failing to defeat the militants, who have launched a string of cross border attacks in the Lake Chad area in recent weeks, as well as killing hundreds in Nigeria.

 

"It is indispensable that Nigeria engages fully in the struggle against Boko Haram. Clearly, the last few actions of the Nigerian government are encouraging," Fabius told a news conference.

 

Nigerian forces backed by air strikes seized the northeastern border town of Baga from Boko Haram on Saturday, the military said.

 

Baga is at Nigeria's border with Chad, Niger and Cameroon and was the headquarters of a multinational force comprising troops from all four countries. Its recapture was an important victory, one of several in the past two weeks.

 

Niger will analyse parts of a missile that fell on the border town of Abadam on Tuesday killing 37 people to determine which country is responsible, said Foreign Minister Bazoum Mohamed, adding that France would help in the task. Abadam lies on the border with Nigeria.

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15 février 2015 7 15 /02 /février /2015 12:45
U.S. Army M-ATV

U.S. Army M-ATV

 

February 11, 2015: Strategy page

 

The United States is providing the 21,000 AU (African Union) peacekeepers in Somalia with twenty MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles to provide peacekeepers with additional protection while patrolling areas where mines and roadside bombs are still a problem. These MRAPs will replace older (late 1980s vintage) and lighter Casspir vehicles. These are from South Africa which is where the modern MRAP design was invented and for over a decade Casspir vehicles were among the best MRAP type vehicles you could get.

 

The U.S. is apparently providing a much newer design, the M-ATV (MRAP-All Terrain Vehicle) to the Somalia peacekeepers. These are refurbished after service in Afghanistan and more can be sent if needed. M-ATV is a 15 ton, 4x4 (with independent wheel suspension) armored vehicle. Payload is 1.8 tons, and it can carry five passengers (including a gunner). Top speed is 105 kilometers an hour, and road range on internal fuel is 515 kilometers. The M-ATV is slightly larger than a hummer. An M-ATV costs about $800,000, not including transportation. It cost about $150,000 each to fly one into Afghanistan.

 

The M-ATV design was heavily influenced by earlier American experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. This includes much better off road capabilities. After 2009 several thousand M-ATVs were sent to Afghanistan and troops found that the M-ATV can safely handle a lot of cross country travel that would be dangerous for a conventional MRAP. But, like taking a tracked vehicle (like a tank) off road, you can't just drive it anywhere. Even a tracked vehicle will flip, or lose a track (hit an obstacle that will tear the tracks from the wheels) if you don't drive carefully. Same deal with the M-ATV. Off the road, this is a more stable and forgiving MRAP, and commanders are coming up with new tactics to take advantage of it. The enemy can no longer assume all MRAPs will stay on the road.

 

The M-ATV design improved on the fact that all other MRAPs were, after all, just heavy trucks. The basic MRAP capsule design produces a high center of gravity that makes the vehicles prone to flipping over easily. They are also large vehicles, causing maneuverability problems when going through narrow streets. Most MRAPs don't have a lot of torque, being somewhat underpowered for their size. And, being wheeled vehicles, they are not very good at cross country movement (especially considering the high center of gravity.) The M-ATV was designed to deal with all of these problems.

 

The rush to get MRAPs to Afghanistan is all about reducing casualties. Anyone in these vehicles is much less likely to be killed by a roadside bomb. The math is simple. If all the troops who encountered these bombs were in a MRAP, casualties would be about 65 percent less. About two-thirds of all casualties in Afghanistan are from roadside bombs. Thus these vehicles reduced overall casualties by about a third.

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12 février 2015 4 12 /02 /février /2015 18:45
photo Guy Martin - defenceWeb

photo Guy Martin - defenceWeb

 

12 February 2015 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

The week starting February 23 will see SANDF Joint Operations headquarters become a hive of high level activity when planning for the African Union Amani Africa II field training exercise gets underway.

 

The exercise was originally set to take place in Lesotho last October but was put on hold due to changes in the mountain kingdom’s political situation. The AU said at the time it hoped to stage the exercise in South Africa in March 2015.

 

A joint communique issued earlier this month by the AU/UN following a joint task force (JTF) meeting of the two bodies in Addis Ababa said South Africa will at some time this year host the Amani Africa ll field training exercise.

 

“The JTF agreed to continue to co-operate in the area of peacekeeping based on the principles of shared responsibility, value addition and complementarity. In this regard, the meeting welcomed the ongoing UN review of peace operations and progress in the operationalisation of the African Standby Force (ASF) and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC),” the communique stated.

 

Joint Operations Captain (SAN) Jaco Theunissen told defenceWeb the exercise would take place in October and “the most likely venue” would be the SA Army Combat Training Centre at Lohatla in the Northern Cape.

 

“This is not cast in stone and depending on the requirements decided on for the exercise the location could change to another with infrastructure more suitable for the scenario,” he said, adding the exercise dates would also be finalised during the five day planning session in Thaba Tshwane.

 

Last year the SA National Defence Force’s annual force preparation exercise Seboka at Lohatla took on a different image when it became South Africa’s most visible training preparation yet for the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC), a standby force to serve until such time as the long-awaited Au African Standby Force (ASF) can be mobilised and deployed.

 

Indications are the South African exercise will focus on airlift and communication capabilities to and from AU headquarters in Addis Ababa. There are also expected to be smaller tactical exercises with objectives put to troops on the ground during which command and control of forces as well as inter-operability between forces from different countries will be tested.

 

The phrase “Amani Africa” means “peace in Africa” in Kiswahili and is the over-arching name given to exercises aimed at developing the ASF to full operational capability.

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9 février 2015 1 09 /02 /février /2015 12:45
France sends advisers to Nigeria border to coordinate Boko Haram fight

 

06 February 2015 defenceWeb (Reuters)

 

France has sent military advisers to Niger's southern border with Nigeria to help coordinate military action by regional powers fighting the Islamist group Boko Haram, a French army official said on Thursday.

 

The deployment was announced as warplanes pounded Boko Haram positions just over the border in Nigeria, a resident in the Niger town of Bosso said, and hundreds of Chadian troops massed at the frontier to prepare an attack.

 

Chad has sent about 2,500 troops as part of efforts to take on the militant group, which has intensified its fight to set up a breakaway Islamist state in Nigeria and has staged cross-border raids. Chadian troops crossed into Nigeria this week from Cameroon, on the southern side of Lake Chad.

 

A French army official told Reuters a detachment of about 10 military personnel had been stationed in Diffa at the request of Niger, its former colony.

 

"It is there to coordinate the armies on the ground in the fight against Boko Haram," the official said.

 

The African Union (AU) has authorised a force of 7,500 troops from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin to fight the militants. It is expected to seek a United Nations Security Council mandate, which could also include logistical support from other countries.

 

A source close to the Niger government told Reuters on Thursday the parliament in Niamey would vote Monday to send its troops to Nigeria.

 

Nearly two years after a French-led operation liberated the north of Mali from al Qaeda-linked rebels, France has headquartered a 3,200-strong Sahel counter-insurgency force, Barkhane, in the Chadian capital N'Djamena, some 50 km (30 miles) from the Nigerian border.

 

It has also been operating reconnaissance missions near the Nigerian border and sharing intelligence with countries in the region, although it has ruled out direct military involvement for now.

 

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, President Francois Hollande said Paris was also providing logistical and operation support, including by delivering fuel and munitions to countries fighting Boko Haram.

 

However, he said France could not be expected to get involved in every crises around the world and accused other major powers of inaction in Africa.

 

"This is a message to the international community and the biggest countries. Do your work! Stop giving lessons and take action!" Hollande said.

 

"In Africa, we have to help the Africans a lot more to fight terrorism, because if we do not then other countries will be destabilised," he warned.

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8 février 2015 7 08 /02 /février /2015 07:45
8.700 hommes contre Boko Haram

 

07.02.2015 par BBC Afrique

 

Au départ, les besoins en hommes pour la constitution de cette force étaient de 7.500 hommes.

 

Pour le moment, l’on ne sait pas la contribution par pays dans la constitution de cette force. Mais "un groupe restreint travaillera dans les jours qui viennent sur les détails" de l'apport de chaque Etat et élaborera le budget initial de la Force", selon les experts réunis à Yaoundé. Le Conseil de paix et de sécurité de l'Union africaine sera ensuite saisi pour approuver et transmettre au Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies le dossier. Les documents définissant les contours de la force africaine et ses missions qui sont notamment de "créer un environnement sûr et sécurisé dans les régions affectées par les activités de Boko Haram et d'autres groupes terroristes" ont également été élaborés par les experts. N’Djamena, la capitale tchadienne sera le quartier général de cette force. Pour rappel, le Tchad a déjà déployé depuis trois semaines au Cameroun et au Nigéria, plus de 2.500 hommes contre Boko Haram. Les députés nigériens voteront lundi pour l’envoi de l’armée au Nigéria contre Boko Haram. Les troupes tchadiennes ont été attaquées vendredi par Boko Haram le long de la frontière Niger-Nigeria: 109 islamistes, quatre militaires nigériens et un civil ont été tués, selon Niamey. Les rencontres contre la secte islamiste se multiplient. Militaires tchadiens et nigérians ont eu une réunion bilatérale ce vendredi à Abuja. Le Nigeria a estimé la semaine dernière que son intégrité territoriale n'était pas compromise par l’intervention des troupes tchadiennes sur son sol. Le président Goodluck Jonathan brigue un nouveau mandat à la tête du pays africain le plus peuplé, le 14 février prochain. Depuis 2009, l'insurrection de Boko Harama a fait 13.000 morts et 1,5 million de déplacés.

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6 février 2015 5 06 /02 /février /2015 08:45
South Africa to host next AU summit

 

04 February 2015 by defenceWeb (Reuters)

 

South Africa will host the next African Union summit.South Africa will host the 25th African Union assembly in Johannesburg in June or July 2015, the Presidency said on Sunday.

 

This was declared at the end of the 24th AU Summit concluded on Saturday after deliberation on a number of issues and the Adoption of Agenda 2063, a vision and action plan towards a prosperous and peaceful Africa.

 

President Jacob Zuma led the South African delegation to the summit where Zimbabwe was elected chair of the union for this year.

 

The AU Summit was held under the theme “Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”.

 

The summit also focused on peace and security matters and the escalation of terrorism in parts of the continent, and the endorsement and adoption of Agenda 2063, whose 10-year action plan will be adopted at the next AU Summit.

 

The summit also looked at the AU’s coordinated response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, as well as development and administrative-related issues with regard to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and on alternative sources of financing the AU and its programmes.

 

During the summit, the AU Peace and Security Council met to discuss security on the continent, focusing on the situation in the Great Lakes Region, South Sudan and the threat posed by Boko Haram in Nigeria and the surrounding countries.

 

As a member of the Peace and Security Council, President Zuma participated in the meeting of the council.

 

The growth and threat of terrorism by Boko Haram in certain parts of the continent was discussed.

 

President Zuma indicated that the countries of the Lake Chad Basin (Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Niger) established a multinational force and sought endorsement from the AU.

 

“The council endorsed the establishment of this multinational force and decided that the requisite financial and material resources be provided for this mechanism,” said President Zuma.

 

With regard to the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a special meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) took place on the margins of the summit to consider the current developments in the DRC and the Great Lakes Region.

 

The matter was also discussed at summit level, where it was decided that the negative forces in the region must be disarmed as a matter of priority.

 

President Zuma stated that the operationalisation and time frame for the disarmament, demobilisation, reintegration and repatriation of these negative forces were one of the key issues during discussions.

 

Focus on South Sudan, Ebola

 

On the current developments in South Sudan, President Zuma said member states of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) met on the side-lines of the AU Summit in an attempt to finalise the agreement related to the modalities on how the government of South Sudan would be structured.

 

“A report on the situation in South Sudan will be presented to the AU Peace and Security Council once negotiations, which are at a delicate stage at the moment, are concluded,” said President Zuma.

 

The summit also reviewed the ongoing progress made in addressing the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone).

 

In this light, the summit reiterated the need to urgently establish the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention as a result of this epidemic.

 

It was agreed that this centre, which will coordinate medical research on the continent, should be operationalised this year.

 

President Zuma elaborated on the AU Summit’s deliberations on the issue of alternative sources of financing the African Union.

 

It had been agreed that assessed contributions will need to be adapted according to the GDPs of member states. Domestic sources of funding will be the prerogative of each member State according to their own financial structures.

 

President Zuma stressed that it was imperative that the AU independently fund and implement its own programmes without conditions.

 

In this regard, President Zuma stated that in order to ensure the financial independence of the AU, the summit established the AU Foundation, which is a mechanism to raise funds by member states and in partnership with business.

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5 février 2015 4 05 /02 /février /2015 19:45
South Africa to host ASF field training exercise this year

 

04 February 2015 by defenceWeb

 

South Africa will, at some time this year, host the Amani Africa ll field training exercise as part of making the AU African Standby Force (ASF) operational.

 

This emerged from a communique issued following the 10th meeting of the AU/UN Joint Task Force (JTF) on Peace and Security in Addis Ababa earlier this month.

 

“The JTF agreed to continue to co-operate in the area of peacekeeping based on the principles of shared responsibility, value addition and complementarity. In this regard, the meeting welcomed the ongoing UN review of peace operations and progress in the operationalisation of the African Standby Force (ASF) and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC),” the communique stated.

 

The JTF welcomed the full operational capability reached by the East African Standby Force Co-ordinating Mechanism (EASFCOM) in November last year.

 

It also welcomed steps taken towards making the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) operational and what the JTF termed, “the ongoing process of harmonisation of both concepts”.

 

“All concerned are encouraged to take the necessary steps to ensure the full operational capability for the ASF is achieved by 2015,” the communique said, adding there was a need for sustained and focused international support for both forces.

 

“The JTF agreed to work towards the successful holding of the Amani Africa ll field training exercise in South Africa in the course of 2015 and other related activities as well as intensifying strategic and institutional engagement toward enhanced co-ordinated support.”

 

The Amani Africa ll field exercise was originally to have been hosted by Lesotho last year but was delayed following political upheavals. South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa heads a SADC team tasked with bringing political stability back to the landlocked kingdom. No alternative dates or venues have been given for the exercise by the AU Peace and Security Organ.

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3 février 2015 2 03 /02 /février /2015 20:45
African Union backs plan for regional task force to fight Boko Haram

 

30 January 2015 by defenceWeb (Reuters)

 

The African Union has endorsed a West African plan to set up a regional task force of 7,500 to fight Islamist Boko Haram militants, a senior official said on Thursday, a vital step towards securing U.N. Security Council backing.

 

Neighbours Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Chad and Benin agreed earlier this month to call on the African Union (AU) to seek U.N. Security Council support for their plan to take on insurgents who are fighting to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria.

 

Boko Haram has made incursions into neighbouring Cameroon and threatens the stability of a region that includes Niger and Chad. Benin lies on Nigeria's western border.

 

"We are thinking of a force of 7,500 women and men. The next step is to submit (approval) to the U.N. Security Council," Smail Chergui, the commissioner of the AU's Peace and Security Council, told reporters on the sidelines of an African summit in Addis Ababa. Tackling Boko Haram was top of the agenda at the meeting of African leaders and officials.

 

"Hopefully now with this concept, this force will be better organised and we can achieve the goal that we are looking for, that is to really stop the killing and these barbaric acts of Boko Haram," Chergui said.

 

A U.N. mandate could help draw international assistance for the African regional force.

 

The African group plans to meet next week in Cameroon to draw up a "concept of operations" to cover strategy, rules of engagement, command and control, and related issues, Chergui said.

 

Senior officials have told Reuters that each of the five nations would contribute a battalion and each contingent would be based within its national borders with operations coordinated from Chad's capital N'Djamena.

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29 janvier 2015 4 29 /01 /janvier /2015 09:45
UA: imminence d'une force régionale

 

29.01.2015 BBC Afrique

 

L'annonce a été faite , à la veille d'un conseil de paix et sécurité de l'Union Africaine, ce jeudi, organe auquel cette force est directement rattachée.

 

Si peu d'informations ont jusqu'ici filtré, on en saura plus ce jeudi sur les modalités de fonctionnement, le budget et les futures missions qui seront attribuées à cette force. C'est le président Rwandais, Paul Kagamé, par le biais de sa ministre des affaires étrangères, Louise Mushikiwado qui en a informé la commission de l'Union Africaine ce mercredi, en marge du sommet qui se tient actuellement à Addis Abeba, capitale éthiopienne. Les dix Etats membres de l'organisation régionale ont contribué de diverses manières afin que cette force soit prête au déploiement, a expliqué la ministre rwandaise à la présidente de la commission de l'Union africaine Dlamini Zuma.

 

Suite de l'article

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28 janvier 2015 3 28 /01 /janvier /2015 17:45
Africans may mandate regional force against Boko Haram this week

 

28 January 2015 defenceWeb (Reuters)

 

The African Union (AU) might grant a mandate as early as this week for a regional military force to combat Islamist Boko Haram militants, a vital step towards securing U.N. Security Council backing, a diplomat said on Tuesday.

 

Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Chad and Benin agreed in Niger's capital Niamey this month that the AU would seek U.N. support for the operation to take on Boko Haram, which is fighting to create an Islamic emirate in northern Nigeria.

 

The Islamists have made incursions into neighboring Cameroon and threaten the stability of a region that includes Niger and Chad. Benin lies on Nigeria's western border.

 

Smail Chergui, the commissioner of the AU's Peace and Security Council, said tackling Boko Haram was on the agenda for talks in Addis Ababa, where African leaders hold a summit meeting later this week. He did not give details.

 

A diplomat, asking not to be identified, told Reuters the AU's Peace and Security Council might approve the mandate for the multinational force when it meets on Thursday evening.

 

He said the roughly 3,000-strong force would be "mandated by the AU and supported by the U.N.”, noting that the aim would be to obtain U.N. Security Council backing "as soon as possible".

 

A U.N. mandate could help draw in international assistance for the African regional force.

 

The African group plans to meet in early February in Cameroon to draw up a "concept of operations" to cover strategy, rules of engagement, command and control, and related issues.

 

Each of the five nations would contribute a battalion - 500 soldiers from Benin and about 700 from each of the other four - and each contingent would based within its national borders with operations coordinated from Chad's capital N'Djamena.

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17 janvier 2015 6 17 /01 /janvier /2015 21:45
Boko Haram crisis: African Union to discuss multinational force

 

16 January 2015 BBC Africa

 

Ghana's President John Mahama has said he and other African leaders will discuss plans next week to "deal permanently" with Boko Haram militants.

 

He said he wanted African Union (AU) countries to produce a "specific plan of action" for tackling the Nigeria-based Islamist group collectively.

"This has to end. We have to make this terror end," he said.

Boko Haram has seized control of many towns and villages in north-east Nigeria in a six-year insurgency.

It has also begun threatening Nigeria's neighbours and earlier this week launched a raid on a military base in northern Cameroon.

 

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4 octobre 2014 6 04 /10 /octobre /2014 20:45
Somalia's al-Shabab 'withdrawing from key Barawe base'

 

3 October 2014 BBC Africa

 

Al-Qaeda-aligned militants are withdrawing from their last major stronghold on Somalia's southern coast, residents in Barawe have told the BBC.

 

They said that al-Shabab battle-wagons loaded with their weapons had been leaving since the morning. African Union forces and Somali government troops have been closing in on the town - an official says they are about 20km (12 miles) away. Barawe is in a strategic position 200km south of the capital.

 

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14 août 2014 4 14 /08 /août /2014 16:45
SA Army prepares for ACIRCSA

SA Army prepares for ACIRCSA

 

14 August 2014 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

Army Chief, Lieutenant General Vusi Masondo, has cleared the air around a possible South African military return to the Central African Republic (CAR) saying it would only happen under the AU banner.

“As the SA Army we will naturally support and respond to the call to intervene in conflict areas, regardless of where they may be on the vast African continent, with the CAR not an exception.

“Should we be needed by the AU to provide assistance in conflict resolution in Africa, we will oblige,” he told a media briefing at the Army College in Thaba Tshwane adding South Africa has wound up its mission in that country and was “no longer there”.

 

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