German Troops Begin Withdrawal from Gao as UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali Winds Down

German Troops Begin Withdrawal From Gao As Un Peacekeeping Mission In Mali Winds Down

The withdrawal of German troops from Gao, Mali, has commenced as the United Nations (UN) undertakes the dismantling of its peacekeeping mission in the country by the end of this year. Starting on Tuesday, personnel stationed at Camp Castor, which supports the activities of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), began disassembling and transporting their equipment back to Germany.

This move aligns with the UN Security Council’s decision in June to conclude the decade-long peacekeeping mission in Mali. The military junta in Mali, which has recently aligned itself with Russia, had urged the removal of foreign troops from the country. The junta’s cooperation with Russia also included the involvement of the Wagner Group.

Mali’s relationship with the United Nations has significantly deteriorated since a military coup in 2020 brought a military regime to power, which subsequently severed defence cooperation with France, its former colonial power. As per the long-standing UN protocol, the host country’s approval is required for a peacekeeping mission to be established.

As of the end of November, the UN mission had dismantled nine of the twelve MINUSMA bases in Mali. MINUSMA has been deployed in the country since 2013 to support the nation’s security against jihadist rebels affiliated with al-Qaida and the Islamic State group, as well as a separatist uprising led by the Tuareg people.

The withdrawal of German troops signifies another step towards the conclusion of the UN peacekeeping mission. The process of dismantling bases and transporting equipment back to respective countries is a complex endeavour that requires careful coordination to ensure the safety of personnel and the preservation of peace and security in the region.

The UN and its partners, including Germany, remain committed to working closely with the Malian government to facilitate a smooth transition and support the country’s efforts towards long-term stability. The conclusion of the peacekeeping mission marks a significant milestone in Mali’s trajectory, highlighting the need for continued international cooperation and support to address the remaining challenges faced by the nation.

As the UN mission in Mali winds down, the focus will shift towards strengthening the capacity of the Malian security forces and promoting sustainable development in the country. The international community will continue to monitor the situation in Mali closely and explore avenues for collaboration to ensure lasting peace and prosperity for its people.


Source: Africa News

Army Drone Strike Accidentally Hits Nigerian Village, Killing Dozens of Civilians

Army Drone Strike Accidentally Hits Nigerian Village, Killing Dozens Of Civilians

In a tragic incident, an army drone strike mistakenly targeted a village in northwestern Nigeria, resulting in the deaths of numerous civilians who were celebrating a Muslim festival. The strike occurred on Sunday in Tudun Biri village, located in Kaduna State, and local authorities, the military, and residents confirmed the civilian casualties on Monday.

Nigeria’s armed forces frequently rely on air strikes to combat bandit militias in the country’s northwest and northeast regions, where a 14-year conflict involving jihadists has been ongoing. However, the army did not provide specific details or a death toll for the drone strike in Tudun Biri village. Residents, on the other hand, reported that dozens of people were killed and wounded as a result of the incident.

Kaduna State governor Uba Sani expressed his condolences and ordered an investigation into the tragic event, stating, “Muslim faithful observing Maulud were mistakenly killed and many others injured following a military drone attack targeting terrorists and bandits.” The governor’s directive aims to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the incident and hold those responsible accountable.

Idris Dahiru, a resident of Tudun Biri village, shared the devastating impact of the strike, saying, “We buried 85 people that were killed in the bomb attack.” He revealed that more than 60 injured individuals were receiving medical treatment in hospitals. Dahiru recounted the harrowing experience, explaining how he was inside his house when the first bomb hit and rushed to the scene to help the affected individuals, only for a second bomb to be dropped.

Husseini Ibrahim, another resident who lost 13 members of his immediate family in the attack, mourned the loss and emphasised the innocence of the victims. He stated, “They included my children and those of my brothers, seven boys and six girls. We buried the victims today.”

The strike primarily affected women and children, according to resident Hassan Ma’aruf, who shared images purportedly showing the bodies of the victims. However, the authenticity of these images could not be immediately verified.

Militia gangs, locally known as bandits, have long plagued parts of northwest Nigeria, operating from forest bases and engaging in activities such as looting and kidnapping residents for ransom. In the northeast, jihadists have faced setbacks but continue to pose a threat.

The incident underscores the challenges faced by Nigeria in addressing insecurity within its borders. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has made tackling this issue a priority, aiming to attract foreign investment and ensure the safety and well-being of the country’s population.

Unfortunately, civilian casualties resulting from military operations have occurred in the past. The Nigerian military mistakenly targeted and killed at least 20 fishermen in September 2021, and a 2017 fighter jet strike on a camp housing displaced people led to the deaths of 112 individuals.

Efforts must be made to prevent such tragic incidents from recurring, including improving coordination and ensuring the proper identification of targets. The Nigerian government, in collaboration with the military, must prioritise the protection of civilian lives and work towards lasting peace and security in the country.


Source: African News

Chad’s Referendum Campaign Sparks Political Divide Ahead of Constitutional Decision

Chad's Referendum Campaign Sparks Political Divide Ahead Of Constitutional Decision

As Chad’s referendum campaign launched on November 25, the country’s political landscape is becoming increasingly divided, with voters gearing up to decide on a new constitution. Chad’s eight million registered voters will cast their votes on December 17, following a twenty-day campaign period marked by contrasting viewpoints from both sides.

While several opposition parties are calling for a boycott of the vote, arguing that the outcome is predetermined, others are advocating for a “no” vote in favour of transitioning to a federal state. Proponents of federalism believe that a federation could facilitate autonomous development in different regions of the country, considering Chad’s vastness, cultural diversity, and economic disparities.

Brice Mbaïmong, Coordinator of the Front for the No vote in the referendum, expressed support for a federal state, stating, “We believe this is the form best suited to Chad, given the vastness of the country and its cultural, social, and economic diversity. We believe that this is the form of the state that will promote good administration and the economic development of our country.”

On the other hand, those urging citizens to vote “yes” argue in favour of Chad remaining a decentralised unitary state, contending that a federation could potentially further fragment the country. However, the referendum has faced criticism from opposition groups, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and other political parties.

Political analyst Yamingué Bétinbaye highlighted concerns about the process, stating, “We need to restart the process because it is not in line with the national dialogue, which actually provided for two referenda or two votes by the electorate.” Bétinbaye proposed a two-step voting process, with the first vote determining the form of the state—unitary or federal—and the second validating or invalidating the draft constitution based on the chosen form.

The referendum campaign has ignited intense debates and discussions about Chad’s future governance structure. The differing perspectives reflect the complexity of the issue and the aspirations of various segments of the population. As the referendum date approaches, Chad faces the challenge of navigating these divisions and ensuring a transparent and inclusive process.

The outcome of the referendum will have significant implications for Chad’s political future and the distribution of power within the country. It is crucial for the government to address concerns raised by opposition groups and civil society organisations, fostering an environment that encourages dialogue and promotes the participation of all citizens in shaping the nation’s governance system.

Ultimately, the success and legitimacy of the referendum will depend on the transparency of the voting process, the respect for democratic principles, and the inclusivity of decision-making. Chad’s leadership must work towards fostering national unity and consensus-building to navigate this critical phase in the country’s political development.


Source: Africa News

Resurfacing Works Prompt Temporary Closure of Station Road in Millerston

Resurfacing Works Prompt Temporary Closure Of Station Road In Millerston

In a bid to enhance the road infrastructure, Station Road in Millerston is set to undergo resurfacing works, leading to a temporary closure starting at 09:30 am on Sunday, December 10, until 4:30 pm on Friday, December 15. Commuters are advised to plan their journeys accordingly as delays are anticipated during this period.

The resurfacing project aims to improve the road conditions, ensuring a smoother and safer driving experience for residents and commuters. The closure has been scheduled to minimise disruption to the community and facilitate the swift completion of the maintenance works.

To mitigate inconvenience, drivers are encouraged to steer clear of Station Road and explore alternative routes. The closure period is expected to witness increased traffic diversions, and motorists are urged to plan ahead to avoid unnecessary delays.

While the closure may cause some temporary inconvenience, local access will be maintained throughout the duration of the works. This ensures that residents and businesses in the vicinity can continue with their daily activities without significant disruption.

The local authorities understand the importance of keeping the community informed and ensuring that the roadworks are executed efficiently. The cooperation of residents and commuters is appreciated as these necessary improvements are carried out to enhance the overall quality of transportation infrastructure in Millerston.

For further updates and information on the road closure and alternative routes, residents can refer to local announcements or contact the relevant authorities. The temporary inconvenience is expected to yield long-term benefits with a smoother and more reliable Station Road for all.