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Sahel Research Group
Weekly News Brief

June 8- June 14, 2018
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SAHEL RESEARCH GROUP NEWS

SRG at the upcoming Sahel and West Africa Club's Seminar

SRG Visiting Associate Professor Olivier Walther will present the first results of the Cities and Borders research project at the OECD in Paris on June 18th. Organized in the framework of an OECD Strategy and Policy Group meeting, the seminar will present key results of the Sahel and West Africa Club’s analytical work for 2017­–18. The meeting brings together OECD members, including: African regional organizations, research institutions such as the University of Florida, and representatives of civil society. Building on a recent cartography of trade networks, Dr. Walther’s talk will discuss the role of female traders in the West African regional economy with a view toward identifying potential levers to enhance governance and frameworks in support of gender equality in the region. More info here.

BURKINA FASO
13 June
Former president’s younger brother awaits hearing on extradition
RFI TV5
  • On June 13th the French Justice Department postponed its decision on the extradition of François Compaoré, the former Burkinabè president’s younger brother, pending more information from Burkina Faso to support its claim, as reported by Compaoré’s lawyers.
  • François Compaoré was arrested at the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport late October, 2017, after an arrest warrant was issued on May 5th, 2017.
  • Mr. Compaoré, at sixty-four years old, is implicated in the investigation into the 1998 murder of investigative journalist Norbert Zongo, who reported on the political regime and its elites before his death.

13 June
Trial of 2015 coup organizers suspended until a later date
VOA RFI
  • Seydou Ouédraogo, the president of the military court in Ouagadougou, decided on June 12th to suspend the much anticipated trial of the 2015 coup organizers, because of the absence of two defense lawyers.
  • Some lawyers for the civil party, such as Guy Hervé Kam, expressed their frustration, inferring that the defense lawyers abused the law and obstructed justice.
  • Eighty-four defendants, including Generals Diendéré and Djibrill Bassolé, are charged with organizing the failed coup that left fourteen dead and 270 wounded on September 16, 2015.

CHAD
8 June
French foreign affairs minister stops in Chad on Africa trip
RFI RFI
  • Jean Yves le Drian, French foreign affairs minister, stopped in N’Djamena on June 6th, where he met with Chadian President Idriss Déby.
  • The French minister visited several African countries, among them Congo Brazzaville, Chad, and Ethiopia, and addressed different crises that are currently shaking Africa, such as the situation in Libya and also exactions by Boko Haram.
  • In a press conference, Mr. le Drian recognized Chad's support of France's efforts to hold elections in Libya for a return to constitutional order.

12 June
Judicial officials continue their strike with more demands
VOA BBC RFI
  • On June 9th, Djimadoun Koumtog, the secretary general of Chad’s Bar Association announced a protest march to take place on June 16th in the capital.
  • The march was ultimately banned by authorities for security reasons.
  • The protesters, on strike since May 31st, first obtained the dismissal of the Eastern Logone region’s governor, but are now calling for the dismissal of military and civilian authorities also involved in the attack on a lawyer in Doba.

MALI
8 June
Protesters in Bamako call for transparency in July elections
Le Monde Jeune Afrique
  • Tens of thousands of Malians took to the streets on June 8th in a peaceful demonstration to call for transparency in the upcoming July 29th presidential election, as reported by opposition leaders.
  • The demonstration ended peacefully after opposition leaders spoke to the crowds, demanding equitable access to the state media, said Soumaïla Cissé, leader of the political opposition.
  • The rally comes a week after prohibited marches were marred by incidents between demonstrators and security forces.

14 June
Jihadists publish a video of female hostages
Le Point France Info
  • al-Qaeda’s Mali branch released a proof-of-life video of two hostages, French Sophie Pétronin and Colombian Gloria Cecilia Narváez, as reported by the Site Intelligence Group on June 13th.
  • Sophie Pétronin, who ran a children’s aid association, was abducted in December 24, 2016 in Gao in the north of Mali, while sister Gloria Cecilia Narváez was kidnapped on February 7, 2017 in Karangasso in southern Mali.
  • No group had claimed responsibility for the kidnappings until the main al-Qaeda linked jihadist alliance in the Sahel broadcast a video in July 2017 of six foreigners abducted in Mali and Burkina Faso between 2011 and 2017, including Sophie Pétronin.

MAURITANIA
12 June
President Abdel Aziz reshuffles his cabinet
RFI Le 360
  • Mauritania’s President Mohamed ould Abdel Aziz proceeded on June 11th to reshuffle his government, by replacing Isselkou ould Ahmed Izidbih, the foreign affairs minister, as announced in an official statement.
  • The timing of the reshuffle is surprising in that happened shortly before the 31st African Union Summit, scheduled for June 25 to July 2, 2018, in Nouakchott.
  • Mauritania’s new foreign minister, Ismail ould Cheickh Ahmed, who has spent most of his career at the United Nations and was recently former UN special envoy for Yemen, will have just a short time to familiarize himself with African affairs.

13 June
Boycott movement against telecommunication company gains momentum
Ecofin Agency Le 360
  • Since May 16, 2018, Mauritel Mobile, a Morocco Telecom subsidiary, has been the subject of an increasingly important campaign boycott of its services on social networks in Mauritania, a movement that has recently gained momentum on the street.
  • Mauritel Mobile is the mobile telephone leader on the market with the highest number of subscribers, and is described by its detractors as providing services of mediocre quality, despite actions taken by the telecom controller agency.
  • The activists wish to compel the company to invest in improving its network.

NIGER

11 June
Violent clash between security forces and armed traffickers
RFI RFI

  • As officially reported in Niamey on June 9th, Nigerien soldiers were drawn into violent clashes with highway robbers four hundred kilometers north of Agadez, after which the robbers fled the scene in seventeen vehicles.
  • The violent clash left at least two Nigerien soldiers dead and several robbers neutralized, while special forces patrols were sent to find the reminder of the armed group, said Jérôme Tubiana, a conflict analyst for Small Arms Survey.
  • According to the analyst, the heavily armed group might include deserters from the Chadian army or former Sudanese or Chadian rebels, who are headquartered in the Sahara and are involved in illegal activities, such as migrants smuggling or drug traffickers assaulting.

13 June
Government ratifies the national budget despite opposition from civil society
ANP Actuniger
  • Niger’s government decreed after a June 13th meeting of the ministerial council to revise the 2018 finance law, according to an official statement.
  • The amendment of the law includes new funding for exceptional spending, but does not address the demands of civil society.
  • This decision could raise concern on more uprising to come, considering the context of several months of protests by civil society against the 2018 finance law, and that twenty-six activists have been imprisoned in the last two months.

SENEGAL
12 June
Senegal and Kenya come together at G7 Summit
Africatimes The Star
  • President Macky Sall of Senegal was in Quebec, Canada on June 8–9, 2018 attending the 44th annual G7 Summit.
  • Reports on June 10th revealed that Senegal was active in the Summit, announcing a new Kenyan embassy, to be opened in the next four months.
  • The partnership between Kenya and Senegal is expected to grow in coming years, providing economic and trade stability between the two countries.

12 June
Senegal is chosen to test drive the Dashboard for the International Land Coalition.
Nan Journal du Cameroun Journal du Cameroun
  • On June 12, 2018 President Macky Sall held a forum in to discuss the potential for Senegal to export oil and gas.
  • Held at the Abdou Diouf International Conference Center, in the suburbs of Dakar, the first-ever national public forum to discuss beginning exportation of oil and gas was held with nation-wide stakeholders in attendance and with President Sall as the convener.
  • Senegal is projected to begin exporting oil and gas sometime between 2021 and 2023, bolstering GDP and economic growth.
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Sahel Research Group · Center for African Studies · University of Florida · Gainesville, FL 32611 · USA

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