BAMAKO, For the first time, more than two million people have been displaced in the Sahel within the borders of their countries, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported.
The Sahel, which has been plagued by armed insurgent groups and criminal gangs since 2012, includes Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, and Niger.
Already this year, violence in Niger and Burkina Faso has forced more than 21,000 people to flee their homes and seek refuge within their own countries.
And in Burkina Faso, since Dec 31, a series of armed attacks in the north of the country have displaced more than 11,000 people.
But the UN says the Sahel is also seeing rising needs such as extreme poverty, food insecurity, climatic changes, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the African Development Bank said in January it would mobilize $6.5 Billion to support efforts by countries in the Sahel.
It seeks to help communities in the Sahel and Sahara regions to mitigate and adapt to climate change but also to improve food security.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Central African Republic (CAR), Mankeur Ndiaye, warned that the country faces the grave risk of a setback.
“The Central African Republic runs a serious risk of a setback in terms of security and peacebuilding, which could undermine everything that this Council and the partners of the Central African Republic have helped to build,” Ndiaye told the Security Council in a briefing.
After the Constitutional Court’s release on Monday of the final results of the presidential election and its proclamation of the re-election of President Faustin Archange Touadera, the situation remains tense on the ground, he said.
The wave of violence, which preceded the election, continues, following the creation of a new coalition of armed groups, the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), whose alliance with political actors, in particular former President Francois Bozize, is now established.
The ongoing violence against civilians, authorities, security forces and peacekeepers is testing the capacities of the peacekeeping mission.
MALI: Three soldiers were killed and five wounded by a roadside bomb in the centre of the country Thursday, military sources said, in the latest attack in the Sahel state.
The three — members of the National Guard, a unit of the Malian armed forces — had been travelling between Koro and Mondoro, near the border with Burkina Faso, two sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
They added that five other guardsmen were also injured in the attack. A doctor, who requested anonymity, said that one is in critical condition.
Laying roadside bombs — or improvised explosive devices (IED) — is a tactic commonly used by jihadist groups in the region, to deadly effect.
France, which has 5,100 troops deployed across the Sahel, has lost five soldiers since late December to IEDs, while the makeshift bombs killed 60 UN peacekeepers in Mali.
ETHIOPIA/SOMALIA: Ethiopia has joined Somalia in refuting claims that Mogadishu sent troops to fight in the Tigray war under a secret plan.
Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Dina Mufti said the country did not request for Somalia’s support in the crackdown against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Reports emerged this week that about 370 Somali soldiers who had been training in Eritrea were massacred in Ethiopia where they had been drafted to fight alongside Eritrean troops.
On Tuesday, Somalia’s Information Minister Osman Abukar Dubbe appeared on the state-run Somali National Television (SNTV), telling the nation that no Somali forces were involved in the Tigray conflict in Ethiopia.
Dubbe insisted that reports indicating that 370 Somali soldiers were killed while fighting alongside Ethiopian forces in Tigray were false.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK