Sahel Research Group
Weekly News Brief

July 20- July 26, 2018
SRG Website

New OECD paper addresses West African migration
In their last OECD paper, a previous guest of the SRG Matt Kirwin (US Department of States), and co-author Jessica Anderson, aim to identify the factors driving West African migration based on a six-country survey. They find discrepancy in the motivations for migration between most West African countries and Nigeria, where a main share of the population says it is ready to leave their country of origin if given the opportunity.

New OECD paper addresses trade in West Africa
Our collaboration with the OECD resulted in a 2nd paper titled “Incentives and constraints of informal trade between Nigeria and its neighbours” and written by Leena Hoffmann (Chatham House) and Paul Melly (Chatham House). The authors examine the steps that were taken to promote trade between West African countries and consider the options for further policy action and public investment.

SRG affiliate hired in ASC Leiden.
We are happy to announce that Abdourahmane Idrissa, an affiliate of the SRG, has been offered a position as Assistant Professor in Islam in Contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa, at the African Studies Center Leiden. Congratulations Rahmane!

20 July
Burkina Faso arrests 60 in counter-terrorism operations
Le Monde News 24
  • On July 20th, an official statement was released confirming seizure and arrest of sixty insurgents.
  • The Burkinabè army carried out a joint-military operation last Wednesday (July 19th) targeting a known terrorist base, during which three army personnel were injured.
  • The operation allowed for a complete dismantling of the terrorist base, which served as a headquarters for regional terrorist actions. 

23 July
Outgoing leader of Barkhane meets with President Kaboré
Le Faso RFI
  • Monday, July 23rd, marked the change of command of Major General Bruno Guibert who met with the Burkinabè President, Roch March Christian Kaboré.
  • The two men convened in Ougadougou to discuss the success of the Barkhane force in fighting terrorism within the Sahel.
  • Guibert feels as if there are “no more real sanctuaries for terrorists…” and is confident in the ability of the G5 Sahel Joint Force to absorb the tasks of the Barkhane.

23 July
Laoukein Médard brought before the police for possessing a firearm
Alwihda Info RFI
  • On Monday, July 23rd, former Mayor of Moundou, Laoukein Kourayo Médard, was summoned to the monitoring section of Moundou to explain his possession of firearms.
  • Médard, whose loud refusal to be taken into custody until the two-day confiscation of his firearm was complete, collected nearby attention which quickly turned into an angry crowd and almost caused a small riot.
  • The confiscation of the firearm had been ordered by the interim prefect of Logone, despite Médard having a license to legally possess the firearm.

25 July
President Déby meets with Fayez al-Sarraj, the Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya
Alwihda Info RFI
  • On Wednesday, July 25th, Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj visited N’Djamena to discuss border security with President Déby.
  • Talks between the two leaders focused on the current political unrest in Libya, its greater impacts on the Sahel and how best to handle the security issues being caused by unlawful trafficking across the border.
  • President Déby promised to “pool all resources” necessary to combat mercenary and terrorist groups in Libya in an attempt to bring stability to the region.

24 July
Opposition raises concerns over risk of fraud in electoral lists
Bamada Jeune Afrique RFI
  • On July 20th, the entourage of Soumaïla Cissé, the main challenger of President Keïta in the upcoming presidential election, raised concerns over the potential for election fraud.
  • Cissé’s campaign manager, Tiébilé Dramé, held a press conference to discuss the existence of a parallel electoral list in which 1.2 million unverified voters have escaped the electoral commission’s monitoring.
  • In this tense context, Malian Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maïga received a delegation from Soumaïla Cissé's campaign team on Friday to assuage concerns.

26 July
Mali target of repeated jihadist attacks
Le Monde Sahel Intelligence
  • In a statement made by the Imghad Self-Defense Group and Allies (Gatia) and the Azawad Movement for the Salvation (MSA), it was announced that on July 20th Jihadists insurgents had entered a village and arbitrarily killed twenty people in the municipality of Ménaka, near the border with Niger.
  • Additionally, the Ministry of Defense reported the deaths of one military officer and eleven jihadists killed on July 22nd in an ambush on the Malian army, in the region of Ségou in central Mali.
  • These repeated attacks come just one week before the first round of the presidential election, at a time when most military and protection forces have been deployed to assure the security of elections in the center and north of the country.

23 July
Controversy over a possible third term for President Ould Abdel Aziz
Le Pays RFI
  • The minister for culture and spokesperson for the government of Mauritania, Mohamed Lemine Ould Cheikh, in a July 19th press conference, created the doubt about President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz’s intentions.
  • In his controversial statement, the minister Ould Cheick implied that the current president’s intention was to remain in power despite the end of his second term in April 2019.
  • The Mauritanian Constitution has a limit of two terms, which President Ould Abdel Aziz told France 24 during an interview on June 2nd that he would respect .

24 July
Former slaves to compete in upcoming legislative elections
BBC Jeune Afrique
  • For its first participation in parliamentary elections on September 1, 2018, the Mauritanian anti-slavery movement (IRA) is presenting two female candidates who are former slaves.
  • Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, leader of the IRA, announced that his movement, in a coalition with the pan-Arab party Sawap, nominated the candidates to represent the fight against slavery; he intends to use the political campaign to gain visibility.
  • One of the candidates, Habi Mint Rabah, fifty years old, has spent thirty-five years as a slave before being released in 2008 with the help of human rights organizations, on the grounds of the 1981 law that rules slavery as illegal in Mauritania.


25 July

Court issues sentences to civil society leaders
Le Monde RFI
  • Three civil society activists were released on July 24th after the Nigerien justice charged them with a conditional sentence of four months.
  • Ali Idrissa, Moussa Tchangari, and Nouhou Arzika had been detained since March 25, 2018 among twenty other activists after they took part in a banned protest against the finance law.
  • A fourth activist, lawyer Irvane Abdrahamane, was charged with contempt of court and sentenced to two years, one of which must be served in prison. 

25 July
Niger and Nigeria sign agreement to build pipeline and refineries 
Ecofin The Guardian
  • Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou was in official visit in Abuja, on July 24th, where he met with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.
  • The two head of states signed an agreement providing for the building of a new refinery in Nigerian Katsina State, close to Niger’s southern border, as well as an oil pipeline between both countries.
  • This partnership provides a reliable market for the crude oil from Niger, as well as increase cross-border cooperation between Niger and Nigeria in a region regularly under attack by terrorist group Boko Haram.

21 July
President Xi Jinping brokers strength with Senegal
CNBC Jeune Afrique
  • Processions were held on Saturday, July 21 to welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping to Dakar for his visit with President Sall.
  • Senegal was the first West African country to sign on to be partners in the Belt and Road Initiative, which Jinping was in Senegal to discuss with Sall.
  • This initiative will further strengthen and broaden an already strong economic, trade relationship between the two countries.

24 July
Karime Wade: dismissed
Jeune Afrique Naaju
  • On Monday, July 23, Karim Wade was informed of the dismissal of his appeal to the Dakar district court.
  • Within the dismissal was the explanation that Wade should have appealed the decision through the same channel which he applied for registration, which was through the Senegalese diplomatic representation in Kuwait where he resides.
  • In a final attempt to overturn the rejection of his registration, Wade may appeal to the Court of Cassation, who will have the final judgement on the issue.
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Sahel Research Group · Center for African Studies · University of Florida · Gainesville, FL 32611 · USA

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