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27 juin 2014 5 27 /06 /juin /2014 07:45
Menace djihadiste : l'Union Africaine entre en conclave à Malabo

AQIM network - source criticalthreats-org March 2014

 

26/06/2014 Par Malick Diawara - LePoint.fr (AFP)

 

La réplique à la progression des groupes djihadistes en Afrique est au coeur du 23e sommet ordinaire de l'organisation panafricaine.

 

Dès les travaux préparatoires du sommet qui s'achève ce vendredi, la question de l'extrémisme religieux islamique a été abordée, marquant l'inquiétude réelle et grandissante des chefs d'État et des ministres face à ce phénomène qui puise souvent l'essentiel de son inspiration dans des visions proches de celles d'al-Qaida. Parmi les hauts responsables présents à Malabo, il y a le nouveau président égyptien, le maréchal Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, et le secrétaire général de l'ONU, Ban Ki-moon, entre autres. Aux prises elle-même avec des groupes terroristes islamistes, l'Égypte marque ainsi son retour sur la scène continentale, après la suspension de l'Union africaine dont elle a été l'objet après le coup d'État ayant renversé Mohamed Morsi.

 

Désormais, le continent a pris conscience de la réalité de la métastase terroriste islamiste. Pas une région du continent qui ne soit concernée. Du Maghreb à l'Afrique centrale, en passant par l'Afrique de l'Ouest, la corne de l'Afrique et l'Afrique de l'Est, al-Qaida, Boko Haram, shebabs et autres groupuscules n'arrêtent pas de semer désolation et mort.

 

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:45
African Union peacekeepers in the Central African Republic

African Union peacekeepers in the Central African Republic

 

 

07 April 2014 defenceWeb (Retuers)

 

French and African soldiers serving in Central African Republic are "overwhelmed" by the "state of anarchy" in the country, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday, a day after Chadian troops began withdrawing from the peacekeeping mission.

 

The U.N. Security Council is due to approve next week a 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force for the former French colony. The force will take over authority from African Union troops in an attempt to restore order to the country.

 

But that force is not expected to arrive until September, stoking fears of a security vacuum as the interim government struggles to control intercommunal violence that has killed more than 2,000 people since December.

 

During a brief visit to the impoverished country on his way to Rwanda, Ban appealed for more help and said the international community was at risk of repeating the mistakes of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, where some 800,000 died.

 

"I commend the African Union and French forces for making a difference," he said in a speech before the interim government. "But they are under-resourced and overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the need."

 

Until the U.N. force can be established, Ban called for "the immediate deployment of more troops and police", though he did not say where he thought the extra forces might come from.

 

A long-promised European Union force is expected to start deploying at the end of this month, adding 800 new troops."The international community failed the people of Rwanda 20 years ago. And we are at risk of not doing enough for the people of the CAR today," Ban said.

 

At the same gathering, the head of the interim government, Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet, requested an end to a U.N. embargo on arms exports to his country. "That way, the army can play its role," he said.

 

DAYLIGHT STABBING

 

Two thousand French peacekeepers and 6,000 African Union forces have failed to stop a conflict that erupted after the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power a year ago in the majority Christian state.

 

Christian militias, known as anti-balaka, sprang up to protect the population after Seleka took to looting and killing but now stand accused of human rights abuses themselves and last month were branded as "terrorists" by the African Union.

 

Highlighting the tensions in Bangui, gunshots were heard around noon on Saturday coming from the Seleka barracks, a Reuters witness said. Earlier in the day, Seleka members stabbed a member of the national army, a resident said. It was not clear whether the victim survived.

 

Chad, which has been at the heart of the peacekeeping mission, began withdrawing around 850 troops on Friday after allegations they were involved in attacks on civilians.

 

A U.N. report on Friday accused Chad of killing 30 civilians and wounding 300 in a crowded market, although Chad denied the allegation, saying its troops were ambushed by anti-balaka.

 

"The U.N. report is a pack of lies based on imaginary facts. It contributes to the media campaign against Chad," said government spokesman Hassan Sylla on Saturday.

 

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, plans to visit Central African Republic next week.

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26 mars 2014 3 26 /03 /mars /2014 17:45
The African Peace and Security Architecture: Still under Construction - SEDE

 

March 26, 2014, SEDE 

 

The African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) was established by the African Union in collaboration with Africa’s Regional Economic Communities with the goal of preventing, managing and resolving conflicts on the continent. The impetus for its creation in 2001, in parallel with the African Union, was the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The African Union's Constitutive Act allows it to intervene in a member state in grave circumstances, such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Yet building the APSA has been slower than expected, and to some extent the process remains incomplete. The African Standby Force, the APSA’s military and police arm, has yet to become fully operational, and the African Union’s Peace Fund remains under-funded. As a result, the EU has become a major investor in the project. To date, EUR 740 million have been earmarked by the EU to establish the African Peace and Security Architecture and to conduct peace support operations, such as the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and the Mission to the Central African Republic.

 

Study (Information note) - The African Peace and Security Architecture: Still under Construction

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24 mars 2014 1 24 /03 /mars /2014 16:45
U.N. official says 'terrifying' level of hatred in Central African Republic

 

 

24 March 2014 defenceWeb (Reuters)

 

Hatred between Christians and Muslims in Central African Republic has reached a "terrifying level", the U.N.'s top human rights official said on Thursday, warning that atrocities were being carried out with impunity.

 

Navi Pillay, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, appealed to the international community to urgently provide troops for a proposed 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission to halt crimes which she said included acts of cannibalism and decapitation of children.

 

France has deployed 2,000 troops to its former colony to support a 6,000-strong African Union peacekeeping mission but they have been unable to stamp out the violence in the large, sparsely populated nation of 4.5 million people.

 

"The inter-communal hatred remains at a terrifying level, as evidenced by the extraordinarily vicious nature of the killings," Pillay told a news conference. "There is ... almost total impunity: no justice, no law and order apart from that provided by foreign troops."

 

Thousands have been killed since the Seleka, a coalition of mostly Muslim northern rebels, seized power a year ago in the southern capital Bangui and launched a campaign of looting, torture and killing in the majority Christian country.

 

That triggered a wave of reprisals by the 'anti-Balaka' Christian militia last year which has driven tens of thousands of Muslims from Bangui, the south and west of the country.

 

During a two day visit, Pillay held talks with interim President Catherine Samba-Panza, who took office after Seleka leader Michel Djotodia resigned in January under international pressure. Government officials frankly admitted there was no functioning army or police, no justice system and no means of holding those responsible for violence, she said.

 

"People apprehended with blood on their machetes and severed body parts in their hands have been allowed to go free because there is nowhere to detain them and no means to charge them with the crimes they have clearly committed," Pillay said.

 

BREEDING GROUND FOR EXTREMISM

 

Around 15,000 Muslims are still trapped in Bangui and other areas in the north, north-west and south of the country, protected by international forces, Pillay said.

 

While large scale massacres appeared to have stopped, thanks largely to the foreign troops, killings continue on a daily basis, mostly by the 'anti-balaka' militia. Pillay said some of the militia were mutating into criminal gangs, targeting Christians and other non-Muslims indiscriminately.

 

The United Nations estimates some 650,000 people have been displaced within Central African Republic, while nearly 300,000 have fled to neighboring states. U.N. agencies have reported a sharp rise in rape and sexual violence in the camps.

 

With the rainy season approaching next month and farmers unable to plant their crops, aid groups warn that the humanitarian crisis may worsen.

 

Pillay urged donors to quickly provide funding for a $551 million humanitarian appeal, which she said was only one-fifth financed, warning that the international community should learn the lessons of inter-communal crises in the Balkans and Rwanda.

 

"If we get it wrong again, by failing to support this country wholeheartedly in its time of need, we risk decades of instability and the creation of a new and fertile breeding ground for religious extremism, not just in CAR but in the wider region," she said.

 

France accused the European Union of shirking its responsibility for international security last week after E.U. officials said member states had not pledged enough troops and equipment for a planned 1,000-strong force. Brussels now hopes to deploy the forces by the end of next month.

 

"How many more children have to be decapitated, how many more women and girls will be raped, how many more acts of cannibalism must there be, before we really sit up and pay attention?" Pillay said.

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19 mars 2014 3 19 /03 /mars /2014 17:45
Funding for MISCA

 

18 March 2014 defenceWeb

 

In the space of two days more than US$ five million has been donated to the African Union (AU) in support of various peace and stability efforts on the continent.

 

Japanese ambassador to Ethiopia and the country’s permanent representative at the AU gave US$ five million to Smail Chergui, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, less than 24 hours after the Namibian Ambassador to the East African country, Anne Mamakau, pledged half a million dollars to the continental body.

 

An AU statement said the Japanese contribution would go towards aiding the police and civilian component of the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) (MISCA) as well as efforts to bring peace and stability to Sudan and the continent’s newest state, South Sudan.

 

Accepting the funding Chergui said: “This contribution comes just as the AU finds itself on the cusp of significant improvements in CAR but much remains to be done to find a lasting solution to conflicts in the region”.

 

Ambassador Kazuhiro Suzuki was appreciate of progress made by MISCA since its deployment in December 19 and said the contribution from his country was “an acknowledgement of the value of the AU intervention in CAR as well as Africa’s ability to address this and other conflicts in the region”.

 

The Namibian donation was in response to a request by the AU Peace and Security Council in February for member states to mobilise support for MISCA in its efforts to resolve what Chergui called “the multi-dimensional crisis” in the CAR.

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13 mars 2014 4 13 /03 /mars /2014 17:45
MISCA convoys now getting supplies safely to Bangui

MISCA convoys moving goods to Bangui

 

13 March 2014 defenceWeb

 

The African Union-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) (MISCA) this week completed the escort of another 120 vehicles into Bangui, bringing to 1 205 the number of vehicles safely escorted to the strife-torn country’s capital since mid-December.

 

The heavy duty trucks carrying shipping containers with goods and humanitarian supplies from the Cameroon seaport of Douala to CAR moved along the now secure road linking Garoua Boulai in Cameroon with Bangui.

 

MISCA force commander Brigadier General Martin Tumenta said the road was now “completely secure”.

 

Security for this week’s convoy was provided by MISCA’s Burundi contingent led by Lieutenant Colonel Pontein Hakizimana, who was appreciative of the support given by people in the CAR.

 

“Since our arrival in CAR, the Burundian contingent has been welcomed by the population and I think commanders of other contingents would agree with me the co-operation of the civilian population has greatly facilitated our job of safely escorting these convoys and improving the security situation in the country, particularly in Bangui.

 

“During escort operations of the convoy which arrived this week our forces dismantled four illegal checkpoints and captured several anti-Balaka militiamen who are currently in custody. They will be handed to the CAR authorities, in accordance with international Human Rights and Humanitarian law. Overall, I think the escort operations have been successful,” he said.

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13 mars 2014 4 13 /03 /mars /2014 17:45
Kenya Defence Force troops near Kismayu in Somalia

Kenya Defence Force troops near Kismayu in Somalia

 

 

13 March 2014 defenceWeb (Reuters)

 

African Union peacekeepers and the Somali army have begun a major offensive against al Shabaab militants, the U.N.'s Special Representative to Somalia said on Wednesday, urging donors to fund logistical support.

 

U.N.-backed peacekeepers pushed the Islamist fighters out of Mogadishu in 2011, but the al Qaeda-linked group has continued to launch guerrilla-style attacks there and kept control of several towns and many rural areas.

 

A new offensive to capture the remaining territory had been expected ever since the U.N. Security Council in November authorized an increase of more than 4,000 peacekeepers for the African peacekeeping force known as AMISOM, from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Sierra Leone.

 

Special Representative Nick Kay said the push started this month when Ethiopian troops took control of towns in southern Somalia, including Bakool regional capital Hudur.

 

"(The offensive) is progressing quite well," Kay told Reuters via telephone from Mogadishu.

 

"The Ethiopians clearly have been doing well, recaptured several important towns in Bakool and in Gedo (region)."

 

Kay said al Shabaab had to be pushed out of territory where it was training more insurgents, taxing businesses and importing arms through ports.

 

"That's why this AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) offensive is really important to deprive them of those bases," Kay said.

 

In a rare move, the U.N. has passed a resolution to provide logistical support to the SNA troops fighting alongside the 22,000-strong AMISOM force, which has been in Somalia since 2007.

 

Kay said this support will see one U.N. agency carry out medical evacuations and provide rations, transport and tents for the Somali army, which analysts say is badly trained, poorly equipped and lacks discipline.

 

The U.N. Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA) needed more funding to do its job and so far only Britain and United States have pledged a total of about $6.5 million, Kay said.

 

"The rule of thumb was that, to begin with at least, $20 million would be a good amount to keep going," he added.

 

Al Shabaab has carried out several bombings in Mogadishu in recent months, including a large-scale raid on the Somali presidential palace and an attack on a U.N. convoy.

 

Kay warned conditions were likely to remain volatile in the capital and al Shabaab might intensify its bombing campaign as it came under pressure in the countryside.

 

"I think that's something AMISOM, the government and ourselves are prepared for," he said. "Things may get tougher in the short term but we have to be ready for that."

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1 février 2014 6 01 /02 /février /2014 13:45
EU to announce new support for security and elections in the Central African Republic

 

 

31/1/2014 EU source: European Commission Ref: EC14-020EN

 

Summary: 31 January 2014, Brussels - EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, has announced that the European Commission stands ready to give new support in the range of €25 million to the African Union-led operation in the Central African Republic, (Mission Internationale de Soutien à la Centrafrique sous Conduite Africaine, MISCA), based on a request to be done by the African Union. The announcement was done ahead of a donors' conference in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) to mobilise resources for MISCA.

 

Subject to an on-going evaluation of the current needs, the EU also stands ready to support the electoral process in the CAR with around €20 million. This new support will go towards putting in place voter registration, electoral operations (such as printing ballot papers, providing training, equipment and staff, as well as voter education) and involving civil society groups as domestic observers.

"This new funding will bring the EU's total commitments to the Central African Republic since the beginning of the crisis to around €200 million - a clear indication that we are mobilising all available resources, not just development aid, to help the people of the Central African Republic and improve their security, in a situation that has been getting worse for more than a year now", Commissioner Piebalgs said.

He added: "The MISCA support mission is a cornerstone for stabilising the country; protecting the local population and creating the conditions needed for the provision of humanitarian assistance and the reform of the security sector."

High Representative/Vice-President Catherine Ashton said: "Together with our partners, the European Union will remain actively engaged in supporting the stabilization of the Central African Republic. We will do all we can to help the new authorities to implement the transition agreement."

This new funding for MISCA, which is subject to usual decision-making processes, will allow the extension of the already-announced €50 million of EU support. It covers the costs of allowances, accommodation and food for troops deployed in the field, as well as the salaries of civilian MISCA personnel and various operational costs such as transport, communication or medical services. The EU also calls on other potential donors to follow and respond to the call of the African Union. Although it has slowed down considerably due to the security and institutional situation, the development cooperation of the European Union has never been suspended in the Central African Republic (CAR). Creating jobs through road maintenance projects, the management of public finances and the restoration of an operational policy that protects the population are among the ongoing priorities of EU cooperation with the country.

To this end, projects worth €23 million are already being mobilised using funds from the 10th European Development Fund, while implementation is underway for a €10 million stabilisation package under the EU's Instrument for Stability. The immediate priority, once security is restored, will be to support the process of transition towards the restoration of democratic institutions and the provision of basic social services to the population.

In addition, given the immediate humanitarian needs, Commissioner Piebalgs recently announced the mobilisation of an additional €10 million from the European Development Fund for humanitarian assistance to the CAR. The EU is the largest provider of relief assistance to the country, providing €76 million in 2013.

 

Background

The security situation in the CAR, particularly in Bangui, has been temporarily stabilised thanks to the French military operation Sangaris and the deployment since 19 December of the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic, MISCA. Nonetheless, the situation remains extremely concerning, volatile and fragile.

The Council of the European Union, convinced of the importance of supporting African efforts and stepping up EU involvement in the CAR as part of its overall approach, agreed last week (20 January) on a future EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) military operation. The operation will provide temporary support, for a period of up to six months, to help to achieve a secure environment in the Bangui area, with a view to handing over to the AU.

The Central African Republic ranks among the world's poorest countries and has been embroiled in a decade-long armed conflict. The surge of violence in December 2013 exacerbated this situation and today half of the 4.6-million-strong population is in need of immediate aid.

Almost a million people have been internally displaced, half of them in the capital Bangui alone. More than 245,000 Central Africans have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.

Commissioner Piebalgs made today's announcements following his participation in the 22nd African Union summit in Ethiopia, from 30-31st January. The summit presented a key opportunity for the EU and the African Union to meet ahead of the 4th Africa-EU Summit, which will take place in Brussels on 2-3 April 2014.

The Brussels summit will be held under the theme "Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace". It is expected to mark a further significant step forward for the partnership between the EU and Africa in these three areas.

 

For more information

Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm

Website of the European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/piebalgs/index_en.htm

Website of the African Peace Facility:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/where/acp/regional-cooperation/peace/index_fr.htm

Council conclusions on the Central African Republic (original version - FR)

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/140666.pdf

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23 janvier 2014 4 23 /01 /janvier /2014 13:45
L’Afrique de la défense en question

22.01.2013 affaires-strategiques.info

 

Alors qu’en Europe, la question d’une défense commune semble empêtrée dans des considérations purement politiques, le continent européen étant libre de tout conflit à l’heure actuelle, l’Union africaine (UA) fait face à des défis plus pratiques dus à la multiplication des crises dans la région.

 

Dans une note d’analyse, le chercheur du GRIP, Michel Luntumbue, met en lumière les difficultés rencontrées par l’Union africaine dans ce domaine depuis sa création en 2002. Ainsi, bien que cette organisation régionale ait affiché sa volonté d’assumer davantage de responsabilités en matière de prévention, de résolution des conflits et de maintien de la paix, les crises qui ont marqué la dernière décennie ont montré les limites de cet engagement et suscité des doutes quant à la capacité de l’UA à y répondre sans soutien extérieur. Aussi, M Luntumbue considère qu’il est nécessaire de remettre en perspective les défis liés à l’opérationnalisation de l’architecture africaine de paix et de sécurités (APSA selon l’acronyme anglais). Celle-ci est chapeautée par le Conseil de paix et de sécurité (CPS), un organisme calqué sur le Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU et qui jouit de larges pouvoirs en matière de prévention, de gestion et de règlement des conflits.
 

Pour répondre aux crises touchant la région, le CPS s’est doté en 2004 d’une Force africaine en attente (FAA) devant compter à l’échéance 2015 de 25.000 à 32.000 hommes et déployée selon un principe régional. Ainsi, la FAA est divisée en cinq brigades correspondant aux cinq régions économiques du continent à savoir l’Afrique australe, centrale, de l’Est, du Nord et de l’Ouest. Dans l’optique de l’opérationnalisation de la FAA, le CPS a établi une feuille de route définissant un plan de mise en place assorti d’exercices stratégiques, tactiques et opérationnels ainsi que des délais indicatifs. Or, comme le note M Luntumbue, fin 2013, seules deux des cinq brigades régionales étaient en passe de devenir opérationnelles, en raison de multiples écueils politiques et matériels, rendant hypothétique l’opérationnalisation de la FAA en 2015. Aussi, la crise malienne, qui a clairement montré l’incapacité de l’UA à gérer ce type de crises sans aide extérieure, a poussé l’organisation panafricaine à réfléchir à un moyen d’africaniser les réponses sécuritaires, d’où la création, annoncée en avril 2013, de la Capacité africaine de réponse immédiate aux crises (CARIC).
 

Composée de 1.500 hommes et déployable en dix jours, la CARIC est conçue comme un mécanisme transitoire en attendant l’opérationnalisation de la FAA et est, à la différence de cette dernière qui intègre des fonctions policières et civiles, un dispositif exclusivement militaire. Cependant, avant même sa mise en œuvre, ce dispositif a fait l’objet de critiques et de réserves, notamment quant à la capacité des pays de l’UA à se mettre d’accord sur son financement ou encore sur les déploiements futurs de la CARIC. Aussi, même si les exemples de la MONUSCO et l’AMISOM ont montré au contraire que l’UA pouvait s’entendre pour réagir, les difficultés liées à l’émergence d’un consensus et à la répartition des dépenses restent le principal frein au succès de l’APSA. Néanmoins, si les dernières avancées témoignent de la volonté de l’UA de créer de réels mécanismes visant à répondre aux conflits africains, M Luntumbue considère que l’organisation panafricaine devrait également s’atteler à trouver des moyens de prévenir ces crises en investissant en amont, via, par exemple, le développement économique ou encore la mise en place d’institutions politiques légitimes.
 

Source : GRIP

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20 janvier 2014 1 20 /01 /janvier /2014 17:45
African Standby Force to be operational by 2015

 

20 January 2014 by Kim Helfrich -defenceWeb

 

African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, has urged member states to ensure its African Standby Force (ASF) is fully operational by 2015.

 

He told the seventh meeting of the African Union (AU) specialised technical committee on defence, safety and security that the ASF was originally meant to be operational by 2010.

 

“Owing to delays, this deadline was pushed to 2015. It goes without saying that we simply cannot afford another postponement, otherwise the credibility of our collective undertaking will be eroded,” he said in Addis Ababa.

 

Chergui reinforced his plea by saying that in April last year a comprehensive assessment of the ASF, including its rapid deployment capability was recommended. This was followed in May by a decision, in principle, to immediately establish an African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) as a transitional arrangement ahead of the ASF becoming fully operational.

 

The decision, he said, was guided by the need to ensure Africa is in a better position to respond to peace and security challenges facing the continent.

 

“The situation in Mali, in particular, guided the AU Assembly in this decision. While the continent, in particular through ECOWAS and Chad, displayed a high level of solidarity and support to Mali, there is no doubt the AU response could have been more effective.

 

“As a result of our own constraints, we had to rely on the French Operation Serval to counter the offensive launched by the armed and terrorist groups in January last year. The Heads of State and Government, while appreciative of that support, felt and rightly so, that Africa, through its continental union and regional mechanisms, should have played the leadership role,” Chergui said.

 

To date 10 AU member states, including South Africa, have pledged support for ACIRC. They are Algeria, Angola, Chad, Liberia, Niger, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

 

The AU Commissioner sees ACIRC as “expediting the realisation” of ASF’s rapid deployment capability. This, in turn, will take another step forward in October when the final field training exercise for the ASF Roadmap III, takes place in Lesotho. According to an AU Peace and Security statement the exercise is seen as an evaluation of the state of readiness toward full operational capability of the ASF in two years’ time. A planning conference for the exercise was held in Gaborone, Botswana, in October.

 

General Sekouba Konate, AU high representative for operationalisation of the ASF, told the planning conference: “African leaders have made a landmark decision by opting to equip the AU with the ASF, in the light of the violent and resurgent conflicts that undermine development efforts and take a heavy toll in human lives”.

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20 janvier 2014 1 20 /01 /janvier /2014 16:45
Conclusions du Conseil de l'UE sur la République centrafricaine

 

20/1/2014 CL14-005FR

 

Summary: 20 janvier 2014, Bruxelles - Conseil de l'Union européenne Affaires Etrangères Conclusions sur la République centrafricaine.

 

Le Conseil a adopté les conclusions suivantes:

 

"1.     L'Union européenne (UE) est vivement préoccupée par l'insécurité et l'instabilité extrême observées en République centrafricaine (RCA), tout particulièrement depuis les attaques du 5 décembre 2013 qui ont causé de très nombreuses pertes civiles, des déplacements massifs de populations, de nombreuses violations graves de droits de l'Homme et une aggravation dramatique de la situation humanitaire. Elle exprime sa préoccupation face au risque de voir le conflit centrafricain affecter les pays voisins de la RCA. Dans ce contexte, l'UE salue l'action de l'Union africaine (UA), à travers le déploiement rapide de la Mission internationale de soutien à la Centrafrique (MISCA), et le soutien apportée à celle-ci par l'opération française Sangaris, conformément à la résolution 2127 (2013) du Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies (CSNU). Ces efforts conjugués ont permis des progrès sécuritaires qu'il convient de consolider, condition indispensable au retour de la stabilité dans le pays.

 

2.       Convaincu de l'importance de soutenir les efforts africains en RCA et d'y renforcer l'engagement européen dans le cadre de son approche globale, le Conseil remercie la Haute Représentante pour la proposition qu'elle a formulée en vue d'une contribution active de l'UE à la stabilisation de la RCA dans le domaine de la PSDC. Le Conseil a marqué son accord politique sur la perspective d'une opération militaire PSDC et a approuvé le concept de gestion de crise à cette fin. Il a invité les instances compétentes à préparer les mesures nécessaires à l'établissement rapide de cette opération soumis à une nouvelle décision du Conseil. Cette opération contribuera par un appui temporaire, pour une période pouvant aller jusqu'à 6 mois, à fournir un environnement sécurisé, dans la région de Bangui, en vue de passer le relais à l'UA. Cet objectif prend entièrement en compte la Résolution du Conseil de Sécurité des NU 2127, et notamment une possible transformation de la MISCA en une opération de maintien de la paix de l'ONU.

 

           La force militaire contribuera ainsi, dans sa zone d'opération, aux efforts internationaux et régionaux de protection des populations les plus menacées et contribuera à la liberté de mouvements des civils. L'ensemble de ces efforts créera les conditions propices à la fourniture d'une aide humanitaire à ceux qui en ont besoin. Le Conseil souligne que cette opération doit être basée sur une résolution du Conseil de Sécurité des Nations Unies qui permet d'établir dans les meilleurs délais une opération EUFOR en RCA, en soutien aux efforts déployés par la communauté internationale, notamment l'UA, l'ONU et la France, ainsi que par les autorités centrafricaines et insiste sur l'importance d'un processus accéléré de planification.

 

3.       A cette fin, le Conseil a identifié l'OHQ UE de Larissa comme autorité de planification. Il a invité à poursuivre les travaux de planification opérationnelle, selon des procédures accélérées. Le Conseil souligne enfin l'importance d'une coordination étroite avec les partenaires, notamment les autorités centrafricaines, l'ONU, l'UA et la France, afin d'assurer une bonne coopération et complémentarité des efforts en cours en vue de restaurer la stabilité de la RCA.

 

4.       L'UE appelle à la poursuite de la mobilisation de la communauté internationale en faveur de la RCA, en particulier dans le contexte de la Conférence des donateurs sur la MISCA, qui se tiendra à Addis Abeba le 1er février 2014 à l'invitation de l'UA. Elle souligne aussi le rôle important des Nations unies en RCA.

 

5.       L'UE salue l'initiative prise par la Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique centrale (CEEAC) en vue de relancer le processus politique, dans le respect du cadre issu de l'Accord de Libreville du 11 janvier 2013, des déclarations de N'Djamena du 18 avril et du 21 octobre 2013, de la Charte constitutionnelle de la transition et de la résolution 2127 (2013) du CSNU. Elle a pris note de la démission du Chef d'Etat de la transition, Michel Djotodia, et du Premier Ministre, Nicolas Tiangaye, entérinée par le sommet régional qui s'est tenu à N'Djamena les 9 et 10 janvier 2014.

 

6.       L'UE invite la CEEAC et l'UA à poursuivre leur facilitation du processus politique. Elle rappelle aux acteurs de la transition la nécessité de travailler ensemble, ainsi qu'avec les partis politiques et la société civile, de manière inclusive et de bonne foi, pour conduire le processus de transition à son terme et permettre l'organisation d'élections au plus tard en février 2015, première étape d'un processus politique durable. L'UE est prête à soutenir la préparation et l'organisation des élections, en liaison avec ses partenaires internationaux, notamment les Nations unies.

 

7.       L'UE marque son attachement au dialogue inclusif, à la réconciliation nationale, à des processus participatifs et à la représentativité des acteurs qui doivent guider le processus de transition. Elle salue toutes les initiatives de médiation et de réconciliation engagés par les leaders religieux, indispensables pour un retour rapide à la cohabitation interconfessionnelle pacifique entre les communautés centrafricaines. Elle invite l'ensemble des parties prenantes et en premier lieu les nouvelles autorités de la transition, à chercher à résoudre les causes profondes de l'instabilité persistante.

 

8.       L'UE rappelle que tous les acteurs étatiques et non-étatiques sont tenus de respecter les droits de l'Homme et le droit humanitaire en RCA. Elle appelle toutes les parties belligérantes à cesser les attaques violentes contre la population et autres violations des droits de l'Homme et droit international humanitaire. L'UE condamne fermement l'impunité et rappelle que tous les auteurs de violations, y compris les leaders et membres de l'Armée de résistance du Seigneur et d'autres groupes armés, tels que, entre autres, les groupes ex-Seleka et anti-Balaka, doivent répondre de leurs actes devant la justice. Elle condamne particulièrement les exécutions extrajudiciaires, les mutilations, les disparitions forcées, les viols et autres formes de violence sexuelle, le recrutement et l'utilisation d'enfants par les groupes et forces armés et les attaques délibérées contre des civils en raison de leur appartenance religieuse ou ethnique mis en lumière par le Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies aux droits de l'Homme. Elle salue la tenue par le Conseil des Droits de l´Homme d'une session extraordinaire le 20 janvier, consacrée à la situation des droits de l´Homme en RCA. L'UE réitère que la responsabilité première en matière de protection des populations civiles incombe aux autorités de transition de RCA. L'UE rappelle que la RCA a ratifié le Statut de Rome et que les actes qui constituent des crimes contre l'humanité et des crimes de guerre relèvent de la compétence de la Cour pénale internationale (CPI). L'UE encourage la mise en place rapide de la commission d'enquête internationale, prévue par la résolution 2127 (2013) du CSNU. Dans ce contexte, l'UE réaffirme son soutien résolu à la CPI.

 

9.       L'UE reste préoccupée par la gravité de la situation humanitaire qui affecte toute la population. Elle rappelle que toutes les parties en présence doivent assurer l'accès immédiat, sûr et sans entrave des acteurs humanitaires œuvrant en RCA au bénéfice des populations, ceci dans le respect du droit international humanitaire et des principes humanitaires. L'UE et ses Etats membres, premier donateur humanitaire, resteront mobilisés afin d'accroître l'engagement financier européen en faveur de la réponse humanitaire pour subvenir aux besoins des populations les plus vulnérables, à Bangui, dans le reste du territoire centrafricain, ainsi que dans les pays de la sous-région accueillant les réfugiés centrafricains. Le Conseil salue l'action résolue, de la Commission européenne, notamment la tenue le 20 janvier 2014 à Bruxelles de la réunion de haut niveau organisée conjointement par la Commissaire Kristalina Georgieva et la Secrétaire générale adjointe des Nations unies Valerie Amos. L'UE lance un appel pressant aux membres de la communauté internationale à apporter une réponse substantielle aux besoins de base de la population de la RCA dans une approche, articulant étroitement l'aide d'urgence et l'aide au développement, et coordonnée entre acteurs humanitaires et du développement et les institutions financières internationales.

 

10.     Premier contributeur d'aide au développement en RCA, l'UE s'engage à examiner immédiatement, en coordination avec les institutions financières internationales, toutes les mesures qui permettront de reconstruire l'Etat, et de prévenir une aggravation des effets de la crise sur les populations. L'UE s'engage à étudier dès à présent les modalités d'un engagement dans le domaine de l'Etat de droit et la réforme du secteur de la sécurité. Elle prévoit par ailleurs de reprendre ses projets de coopération, dès que les conditions de sécurité le permettront, pour contribuer pleinement à la reconstruction de la RCA."

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18 décembre 2013 3 18 /12 /décembre /2013 18:45
African Union approves big increase in Central African Republic force

 

17 December 2013 defenceWeb (Reuters)

 

The African Union has authorized increasing an African force being deployed to Central African Republic to 6,000 troops from 2,500, a senior AU official told Reuters on Friday.

 

The United States began airlifting Burundian troops to Central African Republic this week as part of efforts to help African and French forces prevent a descent into civil war.

 

The Burundians are due to join an African peacekeeping force that has struggled to contain violence in the country that has killed more than 500 people in the past week.

 

Former colonial power France has also boosted its troop contingent, two of whom were killed this week.

 

"The decision by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) is to authorize us to increase the force. We can go up to 6,000, depending on the needs," El Ghassim Wane, Director of the African Union's Peace and Security Department, said.

 

"Within three months the PSC will meet again to review the strength based on the evolution of the situation and our assessment of the situation on what needs to be done," he said.

 

Previously a Central African force, the mission is being broadened to fall under African Union command. The decision to increase the force numbers followed meetings between African leaders in France last week.

 

The existing force deployed by the Economic Community of Central African States will become an African Union mission to be known as MISCA. Wane said the formal transfer of authority takes place on December 19.

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25 novembre 2013 1 25 /11 /novembre /2013 17:45
Somalie: les difficultés de l’Amisom pour sécuriser le pays

 

25 novembre 2013 Par RFI

 

La situation sécuritaire en Somalie reste préoccupante. La semaine dernière encore, un attentat à la voiture piégée a tué 28 personnes à Beledweyne, au nord de Mogadiscio. Deux ans après avoir repoussé les shebabs hors de la capitale, la force de l'Union africaine (UA) en Somalie, l’Amisom, n’arrive pas à sécuriser complètement la zone. La force armée sous mandat de l’ONU n’a pas les moyens de mettre un terme à la guérilla.

 

L’Amisom a 17 000 soldats déployés en Somalie. Selon la force armée, les shebabs ne seraient que 5 000. Pourtant les rebelles islamistes imposent les règles de leur guérilla en se mêlant à la population.

 

→ A (RE)LIRE : Somalie : l’Amisom a perdu 3000 soldats en six ans

 

« La troupe des shebabs est beaucoup plus flexible », explique le colonel Ali Aden, porte-parole de l’Amisom. « Elle est plutôt légère. Elle se déplace facilement et elle garde sous silence cette population. Donc, leur tactique ce sont des embuscades, c’est la pose de mines, c’est le dérangement dans nos axes de transports logistiques. »

 

Logistique insuffisante

Cinq pays africains contribuent à l’Amisom. Malgré cela, les troupes ne disposent pas de la logistique dont elles ont besoin. Elles n’ont pas d’hélicoptères ou de navires pour surveiller un territoire gigantesque.

« Quand on voit que l’on a 2 000 kilomètres de mer à contrôler et que, jusqu’à présent, on attend toujours que la communauté internationale et les Nations unies nous autorisent à avoir du potentiel maritime. Quand nous sommes à 100 kilomètres de Mogadiscio ou d’un hôpital quelconque pour soigner nos blessés, il faut alors les transporter. Et rien que cela, c’est un défi qu’il faut relever. C’est terrible », ajoute le colonel Ali Aden.

 

→ A (RE)LIRE : Sommet de l'UA: l'Amisom veut se renforcer en Somalie

 

En 2012, les Nations unies ont permis à l’Amisom de se doter de 12 hélicoptères. Aujourd’hui, elle n’en a aucun, car elle attend toujours que les pays contributeurs lui fournissent les appareils.

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 07:45
Uganda suspends officers sent to Somalia on AU mission

16 September 2013 BBC Africa

 

Uganda has suspended 20 army officers accused of corruption in Somalia while battling Islamist militants as part of an African Union (AU) force, a Ugandan army spokesman has told the BBC.

 

The officers are accused of selling food and fuel, meant for troops, on the black market, reports say.

 

The Ugandan contingent head, Brigadier Michael Ondoga, is among those being investigated.

 

Uganda is the biggest contributor to the AU force of about 18,000.

 

The force, funded mainly by the United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) is fighting the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia.

 

Brigadier Ondoga has not commented on the allegations.

 

'Only one meal'

 

He was among the officers who had been recalled for allegedly "getting involved in conduct injurious" to the AU force, a Ugandan defence ministry spokesman said, AFP news agency reports.

 

Army spokesman Colonel Paddy Ankunda told the BBC Swahili Service that the 20 would remain suspended, pending the outcome of an investigation into the allegations against them.

 

The investigation followed complaints by junior officers of "unscrupulous conduct" by their superiors, he said.

 

This included allegations that junior officers were not being paid and food meant for them was being sold, Col Ankunda told the BBC.

 

The suspended officers would be court-martialled and dismissed from the army if found guilty, he added.

 

Uganda's privately owned Daily Monitor newspaper said in a report that Ugandan soldiers in Somalia often get only one meal a day because of the alleged theft and sale of food to private companies.

 

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni had cancelled Brig Ondoga's appointment as military attache to Kenya, it reports.

 

He was due to have taken the post when his term as head of the Ugandan contingent in Somalia ended at the end of the month, the Daily Monitor adds.

 

Uganda has more than 6,000 troops in the AU force in Somalia.

 

Other countries that have deployed troops to Somalia as part of the AU force include Burundi, Kenya and Djibouti.

 

The force has helped the UN-backed Somali government regain control of key cities and towns from al-Shabab.

 

However, most of southern Somalia still remains under al-Shabab's control.

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5 juin 2013 3 05 /06 /juin /2013 17:45
New UNAMID Commander

05 June 2013 defenceWeb (UN)

 

The United Nations and the African Union have announced the appointment of Tanzanian Lieutenant General Paul Ignace Mella as Force Commander of the joint peacekeeping force in the Sudanese region of Darfur.

 

Established in July 2007, the UN/AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) has civilian protection as its core mandate, but is also tasked with contributing to security for humanitarian assistance, monitoring and verifying implementation of agreements and assisting with an inclusive political process among other responsibilities.

 

Mella replaces Lieutenant General Patrick Nyamvumba of Rwanda who finished his tour of duty on March 31.

 

“The secretary-general would like to express his appreciation to General Nyamvumba for his dedication and invaluable service during his tenure in UNAMID,” a UN spokesperson said in a statement.

 

Mella has a long and distinguished career with the Tanzanian military. Most recently he served as Chief of its Defence Intelligence Organisation in Dar es Salaam. Prior to this he held a number of operational, command and staff positions, including Director of Foreign Intelligence in the Tanzania Peoples’ Defence Forces, Commanding Officer of an Infantry Battalion in the UN Mission in Liberia and Defence Adviser at the Tanzania High Commission in Uganda

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5 juin 2013 3 05 /06 /juin /2013 17:45
Too early to judge AU crisis capacity response - analysts

05 June 2013 by defenceWeb/SA News

 

Analysts have welcomed an African Union (AU) resolution to create a rapid response force that will help Africa militarily respond swiftly to emergency situations. At the same time they caution it is too early to make meaningful judgments on the new force.

 

Weeks after the AU summit in Addis Ababa adopted the decision to establish the African Immediate Crisis Response Capacity (AICRC), analysts said it was too early to make any conclusions about the mechanism now apparently going to be tasked with bringing peace and stability to the continent.

 

AU Commission chair Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said the decision to form AICRC, championed by South Africa, was informed by the overwhelming dependence of the Union on funds provided by partners. This directly affects implementation of African solutions to African problems, she said.

 

Last month the AU specialised technical committee on defence, safety and security pointed out there was “still a way to go” before the rapid deployment capability (RDC) of its African Standby Force (ASF) could become operational.

 

A report issued following a meeting of AU Chiefs of Staff said the Malian crisis highlighted the need to “expedite operationalisation of the RDC and accelerate establishment of the ASF”.

 

This was echoed by former Africom Commander, General Carter F Ham, who said Mali was an example of why Africa needed to invest in a standby capability.

 

“If Africa could have deployed a standby force, Mali might be in a different situation today,” he said earlier this year.

 

Leaders point out for instance, that 100% of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) is funded by partners. It represents an annual budget of $500 million. In the same vein, African leaders agreed that in the case of the armed rebellion in Mali, Africa could have moved faster and made the French intervention dispensable if it had the appropriate tools and mechanisms.

 

Lessening dependence on partners

 

As Africa marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (now the AU), leaders of the continent felt it unfortunate that after 50 years of independence, African security was still so dependent on foreign partners, Dlamini Zuma said.

 

To date, South Africa, Uganda and Ethiopia have pledged to implement the decision on the establishment of the AICRC capacity.

 

On a voluntary basis, AU member states will contribute troops and finance the capacity so as to act independently. Command and control will be ensured by the AU Peace and Security Council on request from a member state for intervention.

 

David Zoumenou, a researcher and analyst at South Africa's Institute for Security Studies (ISS), said any AU military unit needs sufficient resources if it is to carry out its mission effectively.

 

“I say if you give it power and resources, any structure can work. But how do we resolve the financial problem, because the AU already has the Peace and Security Council but we seem to lack the political will needed to get it functioning.

 

“I do not think we need new mechanisms if we cannot provide resources for the existing ones,” he said.

 

AICRC is an interim tool, as the mooted African Standby force (ASF) is expected to be operational by 2015.

 

Mzoxolo Mpolase, an analyst at Political Analysis South Africa, said while the idea of establishing an armed rapid response mechanism was a noble one, questions needed to be asked around its funding.

 

“The idea is good, no doubt about it. But who will be funding it? The fact that the AU is funded almost 100% by external parties is because African countries cannot fund it. We need to really think about how this will be funded because it will be taxing to those countries that contribute troops.

 

“It’s hardly ever the case when it comes to bilateral relations whereby I give you money and don’t expect something in return. Countries who give you aid will tell you how that aid is to be spent.”

 

For the AU to achieve self-reliance, said Mpolase, its members should look for self-reliance themselves.

 

“The AU is a by-product of what is happening in the countries. If you have a case as you have in Malawi, where a country relies on foreign aid, it makes sense that the AU will also be funded by aid because the very countries that it has as members are funded by aid.”

 

African Standby Force

 

Efforts to make the ASF and its rapid deployment capability reality go back as far as 2002 when the AU Peace and Security Architecture was established. It is designed as a set of institutions and standards to facilitate conflict prevention.

 

The ASF consists of multi-disciplinary contingents based in own countries and ready for rapid deployment as and when required. Its mandate includes observation and monitoring missions, humanitarian assistance, more complex peace support missions, intervention in “grave circumstances” and the restoration of peace and security as well as preventive deployment and peace building.

 

To fill the gap before the RDC leg of the ASF is properly up and running, the technical committee proposed “an urgently needed operational collective security instrument” to promote “as far as possible, African solutions to African problems” and proposed it be called the African Immediate Crisis Response Capacity (AICRC).

 

The committee sees AICRC as a military tool, a reservoir of 5 000 troops made up of operational modules in the form of 1 500 strong battle groups. These groups should be able to deploy rapidly and operate under a central command with an initial autonomy of 30 days.

 

“AICRC should enable the continent to provide an immediate response to crises in the short term, while allowing for a political solution to the crisis,” the committee’s report said.

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30 mai 2013 4 30 /05 /mai /2013 17:45
Africa Plans Emergency Force, But Can It Deliver?

May. 29, 2013 By BORIS BACHORZ – Defense News (AFP)

 

NAIROBI — Aware that they have failed to get a fully fledged peacekeeping force up and running, African leaders now plan a rapid-deployment emergency force, but analysts question whether it can deliver.

 

The African Union’s “African Standby Brigade,” meant to intervene swiftly in regional crises, has made little headway since preparations for a proposed force of 32,500 troops and civilians drawn from the continent’s five regions started a decade ago.

 

Only two of five regional sections are close to becoming operational.

 

A new emergency force announced this week is intended to bridge the gap pending the full coming into operation of that brigade, AU security chief Ramtane Lamamra said at the organisation’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital.

 

South Africa, Uganda and Ethiopia have pledged troops to the interim force. Funding and troop contributions will come from member states on a voluntary basis.

 

The AU was criticized for not responding fast enough to the crisis in Mali after soldiers seized power in a coup in March 2012, opening the way for Islamist rebels to take over the country’s north.

 

However, some analysts are hopeful.

 

Solomon Ayele Dersso, senior researcher on conflict prevention at South Africa’s Institute for Security Studies, said the emergency force could work since the troops for it will be volunteered by member states with proven military capacity, instead of trying to include soldiers from every member state, as the full Standby Brigade proposes.

 

“One thing that’s different about the new force ... is that it will be based on the principle of military capacity,” he told AFP.

 

He cited Nigeria, Ethiopia, Chad and Kenya as states that have proven their military capacity over the past 18 months or so.

 

“It’s nice to say all member states are equal, but we live in an Orwellian world where some states are more equal than others... and not all are in a position to make a contribution to peace and security,” he said.

 

The new force will have to make the best of an ungainly name: the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC).

 

The force will be tasked with “carrying out operations of limited duration and objectives or to contribute to the creation of conducive conditions for the deployment of AU and/or UN peace operations of wider scope,” AU documents said.

 

'Let's try to do something'

 

Musambayi Katumanga, a political science professor at Nairobi University, said ACIRC will work as a limited measure to contain but not solve crises.

 

“As a short-term reactive measure to a rapidly changing situation, in which you say, ‘Let’s try to do something about the situation, but not resolve it’...then you could say it makes a lot of sense — but this is where the story ends,” Katumanga said.

 

“The fact is that most states in Africa are not viable,” he told AFP, arguing that most countries “are basically in the same situation as Mali, it is just a matter of time.”

 

Roland Marchal, an analyst with the French research institute CNRS, was also pessimistic, saying AU states would find it tough to agree on when to deploy.

 

“Already the European Union has difficulties with 25 members. With 53 or 54 nations, it’s even more difficult for the AU,” he noted.

 

“All you have to do is think back over the different crises, and ask yourself if there would have been a majority,” he added. “On Central African Republic, for example, there wouldn’t have been one.”

 

On top of questions about a common political agenda there are technical problems, he added, notably regarding the capacity of troops from different continental armies to work within a single force.

 

He noted that Kenya prides itself on having a professional army, even if it first saw active combat in 2011, whereas Uganda and Ethiopia have armies that used to be rebel groups.

 

Some observers argue that the AU has accomplished great things with its intervention force in Somalia, AMISOM, whose 17,700 men from five nations are fighting to claw back territory from al-Qaida linked Shebab insurgents.

 

But Marchal said AMISOM — funded mainly by Western backers — is a model “that hasn’t really succeeded.”

 

“We congratulate ourselves on taking back Mogadishu, but we haven’t solved anything in Somalia,” he said. “The problem with AMISOM is that there is no political strategy to go with the military strategy.”

 

Instead, the emergency force is “a proposal built on a failure (Mali) when the reasons for that failure have not been analyzed,” Marchal added.

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29 mai 2013 3 29 /05 /mai /2013 07:45
African Union to establish emergency military force

May 27, 2013 ASDNews (AFP)

 

The African Union said Monday it will set up an emergency military force to rapidly quell conflict on the continent, amid frustration that a planned peacekeeping force was still not operational after a decade.

 

"Almost all countries have agreed that we will have rapid response capability in Africa," AU chairman and Ethiopian President Hailemariam Desalegn told reporters at the close of a two-day AU summit.

 

The AU's "African Standby Brigade" to intervene in sudden crises -- a proposed force of 32,500 troops and civilians drawn from five regions of the continent -- has made little headway since preparations for it started a decade ago.

 

Only two of five regional sections are close to becoming operational.

 

"This is meant as an interim measure pending the full operationalisation of the African standby force," AU security commissioner Ramtane Lamamra told reporters at the pan-African bloc's headquarters in the Ethiopian capital.

 

"In the meantime, crises, unconstitutional changes of government, massive violations of human rights are likely to happen here and there, so from a responsible point of view, we say we cannot wait until we get a perfect tool to be used."

 

South Africa, Uganda and Ethiopia have pledged troops to the proposed interim force, Lamamra said. Funding and troop contributions will come from member states on a voluntary basis.

 

The AU was criticised for not responding fast enough in Mali, after soldiers seized power in a coup in March 2012, opening the way for Islamist rebels to take over the country's north.

 

This led to the rapid collapse of one Africa's more stable democracies, prompting a French military intervention to oust the extremists in January.

 

"Africa could have done better, could have moved faster and could have perhaps made some significant effort so that the French contribution would not have been indispensable," Lamamra added.

 

"It's quite unfortunate that 50 years after our independence our security is so much dependent on a foreign partner."

 

The AU's Peace and Security Council (PSC), the bloc's body for tackling conflict, remains hampered by financial constraints, with military missions largely funded by western donors.

 

However, the AU's force in Somalia, where 17,700 AU troops from five nations are fighting to claw back territory from Al-Qaeda linked Shebab insurgents from the government, has made impressive achievements.

 

But this success is not without cost.

 

One senior UN official recently estimated as many as 3,000 African troops had been killed in Somalia since 2007, similar to the numbers of UN peacekeepers killed worldwide since 1948.

 

Although funding for that mission comes mainly from Western backers, its role in Somalia shows the potential for an AU force.

 

The commitment of African nations to peacekeeping roles is clear: the peacekeeping mission in Sudan's war-torn western Darfur region is a hybrid AU-UN force, while Mali now has a -- belatedly deployed -- African-led international support mission.

 

Five of the top ten contributors of soldiers and police officers to UN missions are African.

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22 avril 2013 1 22 /04 /avril /2013 17:45
Military and political action necessary if Mali elections are to take place in July

22 April 2013 by defenceWeb

 

With elections tentatively set for July in Mali, both the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) have urged all stakeholders to support the transition process both from a political and military point of view.

 

This emerged from last week’s fourth meeting of the AU support and follow-up group on Mali in Addis Ababa.

 

The meeting was also attended by the UN’s top political official, Jeffrey Feltman, who said: “Efforts should be redoubled to ensure the political process, which is key to Mali’s stability in both the short and long term, is not overshadowed by the equally essential military operations currently underway”.

 

He noted the UN Security Council was expected to make decisions “soon” on options presented in the latest report of the secretary-general on Mali. This includes the possible establishment of a UN peacekeeping mission in the country.

 

Feltman, UN under-secretary-general for political affairs, called on the international community to provide “timely financial and logistic support for the elections”. This as the world body was intensifying its efforts in support of preparations for “free, fair, transparent and credible polls” in keeping with international standards.

 

“We hope ongoing security operations as well as well as the appointment of the Commission for Dialogue and Reconciliation will help overcome these challenges and pace the way for inclusive and credible elections.”

 

Presidential elections are tentatively scheduled for July 7 with legislative elections to follow two weeks later on July 21.

 

An AU statement released after the support and follow-up group meeting urged all Malian stakeholders to support the transition process and the country’s interim authorities.

 

The continental body also pointed out the international community’s resolve to take measures “including sanctions against those undermining the transition process”. The UN would be requested to consider sanctions “if the situation warrants”.

 

The AU welcomed the start of military training delivered by the EU Training Mission as part of the important task of training and reforming the Malian Defence and Security Forces (MDSF). “This is part of the total restoration of the Mali chain of command under civilian control,” the AU statement read.

 

Indications are the UN Security Council will approve creation of a 12 600 strong peacekeeping force for Mali in July. The force is expected to be made up of primarily African contingents with Mauritania saying it will contribute 1 800 troops.

 

The UN force will take over peacekeeping duties from France which has indicated it will start scaling down its current 4 000 strong military deployment in Mali to 1 000 by year-end.

 

France, aided by about 2 400 troops from Chad, began a military offensive in January to drive out Islamist fighters, who had hijacked a revolt by Mali's Tuareg rebels and seized two-thirds of the West African country.

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13 mars 2012 2 13 /03 /mars /2012 08:40
Ethiopian troops set to leave Somalia by end April:AU

 

12 March 2012 defenseWeb (Reuters)

 

Ethiopia, which has deployed hundreds of troops inside Somalia to rout Islamist insurgents, is set to withdraw from the war-ravaged country by the end of April with Djibouti, Uganda and Burundi poised to step in, the African Union said.

 

Ethiopian forces captured the rebel stronghold of Baidoa in southern Somalia last month having seized Baladwayne from the al Qaeda-allied al Shabaab group on New Year's Eve.

 

Troops from Ethiopia crossed the border in November to open up a third front against the militants, who are also fighting 9,000 Ugandan and Burundian troops under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Kenyan forces to the south, Reuters reports.

 

Keen to point out their incursion is not a repeat of their ill-fated 2006-2009 war in Somalia, Ethiopian officials have said troops would only be deployed for a brief period.

 

Earlier this month, the U.N. Security Council voted to expand AMISOM, which supports the shaky Western-backed government, to nearly 18,000 soldiers, and will include Kenyan troops who will "re-hat" to its blue berets.

 

Chiefs of staff from troop contributing countries met in Addis Ababa to iron out details of the expanding mission.

 

"It provides for Djiboutian forces to be deployed in Baladwayne by the end of April at the latest. Two thousand five hundred troops from Burundi and Uganda will also be deployed in Baidoa by the 30th of April at the latest," the AU's Ramtane Lamamra said of a deal signed by the officials.

 

"The decision up to now is that it is essentially Baladwayne and Baidoa (for Ethiopia) and they have to be handed over to AMISOM and then Ethiopia will withdraw its forces to its own national territory."

 

Lamamra, the bloc's commissioner for peace and security, also said a Djiboutian contingent would be deployed in Mogadishu.

 

Ethiopian soldiers previously went into Somalia in 2006, and left in early 2009 after pushing the Islamist Islamic Courts Union out of the capital Mogadishu.

 

At the time, most Somalis opposed the intervention and analysts said it may have encouraged people to join al Shabaab.

 

COSTLY

 

Lamamra, however, said there was a slim possibility the bloc could ask Addis Ababa to push further.

 

"Because Ethiopian troops are assisting ... without being re-hatted unlike Kenya - it means this effort is being done on national resources and national budget, I don't see how we can ask them to go further, to do more if there is no accompanying support package," he said.

 

"If we succeed to work out some support package for Ethiopia, we may be in a position to request the government to consider the possibility to help us elsewhere."

 

Lamamra also said Sierra Leone was expected to deploy a battalion of 850 troops in southern Somalia by the end of June.

 

Somalia has been in turmoil since warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. Fighting has killed more than 21,000 people since al Shabaab launched its insurgency in 2007.

 

Al Shabaab rebels, who want to impose a harsh interpretation of sharia law on the Horn of Africa nation, have waged a five-year campaign to drive Somalia's weak government from power.

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