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Sahel Research Group 
Weekly News Brief

April 6 - April 12, 2018
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SAHEL RESEARCH GROUP NEWS
Upcoming events
April 20th: SRG Sahel Seminar with Ambassador Alexander M. Laskaris, deputy to the commander for civil-military engagement on Africom’s engagement and strategy for the Sahel. The seminar will take place at Center for African studies, in the conference room, from 11:45 to 1:00.
April 26th: Symposium on Faith and Politics: Student Activism and Religious Movements in Sahelian Universities. We will host six guest speakers from the Sahel.

BURKINA FASO
7 April
Trial of failed coup faces challenges as defense lawyers resign
World Politics Review RFI BBC
  • Fourteen lawyers of the defense counsel resigned in the trial against the alleged perpetrators of the 2015 failed coup, denouncing an unfair trial that created risks of bias, as stated by Seydou Ouédraogo, the president of the military court, as he read the resignation letters.
  • The hearing, which was scheduled to resume on April 6th, was postponed to May 9th to allow the court to assign lawyers to the twelve defendants concerned by the resignations.
  • The prosecutor office denounced an intent to hindering the proceedings, as stated by Me Prosper Farama in an interview.

9 April
Northern Burkina Faso Mayor assassinated by armed group
RFI Fasozine News Ghana
  • The mayor of Koutougou, Hamidou Koundaba, was attacked on April 8th in his house and left dead by a group of non-identified armed people, as announced in a press release of the ministry of security.
  • Koutougou is a rural municipality in the northern Soum border region between Burkina Faso and Mali, a province that has been regularly targeted by jihadi attacks for the last three years.
  • Last November, Koutougou was targeted and its police station was attacked and burned down.

CHAD
7 April
After sixteen months of detention, journalist-activist provisionally released
RFI DW VOA
  • After a year and a half of pre-trial detention, the court finally granted provisional release to the activist Moyadine Tadjadine Babouri, who has been charged with defamation.
  • Babouri, a blogger who is also President Déby’s nephew, has been detained since mid-September 2016 following his criticism of Idriss Déby’s regime on Facebook.
  • The blogger is expected to be judged on April 19th.

8 April
Idriss Déby announces legislative elections to be held in November 2018
Jeune Afrique Alwihdainfo Apanews
  • Parliamentary elections in Chad will take place in November 2018, as confirmed by Chadian President Idriss Déby Itno on April 7th during a meeting with the opposition.
  • The legislative elections should take place following the resolutions of the reform forum, held from March 19th to 27th.
  • Originally scheduled for 2015, the ballot was postponed several times as a constitutional law had extended the third legislature.

11 April
The Fourth Republic and presidential regime advances in Chad
RFI DW RFI
  • The proposal of a new law for the fourth Republic in Chad was approved by the council of ministers on April 10th; its drafting is under way and expected to be finalized and voted by Chadian’s Parliament by mid-May, according to Madeleine Alingué, spokesperson for the Chadian government.
  • According to lawyers and experts, this constitution was based on Benin's model, which does not provide for the appointment of a prime minister, but does not prevent the president from appointing a prime minister under his discretionary power.
  • Growing discontentment among political observers denounced the foreseeable refusal of the political transition, as well as the loss of democratic legitimacy presented by the new law.

MALI
9 April
Security forces accused of extrajudicial killings
The Washington Post Le Monde RFI
  • Several Fulani civic associations denounced on April 8th the killing of fourteen Fulani civilians who had been arrested at Nielbel’s market, in the center of Mali.
  • Mali’s army announced in a statement that fourteen jihadist suspects were killed on April 6th by Malian military forces following an alleged attempt to escape.
  • The statement is likely to draw the attention of human rights groups, which have accused security forces of carrying out summary executions in their efforts to counter terrorism.

10 April
Former prime minister announces his candidacy for president
Le Monde RFI
  • Moussa Mara, Niger’s prime minister from 2014 to 2015, announced his candidacy in the presidential election of July 29th, in an April 9th press release.
  •  Mali’s current president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, has not yet announced his intentions to run for reelection.
  • Among the other candidates are the mayor of Sikasso, Kalifa Sanogo, former minister and military, Moussa Sinko Coulibaly, the wealthy businessman Aliou Boubacar Diallo, as well as two senior international officials, Modibo Koné, of the former West African Development Bank (BOAD), and Hamadoun Touré, former head of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

MAURITANIA
10 April
Mauritania without Internet for two days
Generation NT Fortune
  • A submarine cable broke near Nouakchott on March 30th and caused a forty-eight-hour interruption of Internet access for the whole country.
  • Despite not being able to precisely identify the cause of the break, Dyn, an internet performance firm, confirmed that six countries who entirely rely on that cable for their connectivity were impacted by the ACE (African Coast to Europe) cable damage.
  • Observers fear that submarine cables become an easy target in the event of a conflict while little is done to ensure physical protection, as said by Business Insider.

7 April
Opposition pledges to participate in the legislative elections after years of boycotts
RFI Cridem
  • Political opposition parties in Mauritania announced in an April 7th interview of their spokesman, Mohamed Ould Maouloud, that they will take part in the next legislative elections scheduled for the end of August 2018.
  • Mauritanian opposition withheld its participation in the legislative elections of 2013.
  • The upcoming legislative elections will integrate regional, municipal, and presidential elections.

NIGER
9 April
US military opens annual training between counter-terrorism forces in Niger
TV5 RFI Africom
  • Flintlock 2018 was launched on April 11th by Col. Maj. Sani Mahamane Laminou, Flintlock exercise director, and will run until April 20th in the regions of Agadez, Tillaberi, and Tahoua in Niger.
  • Flintlock is an annual, African-led, integrated military and law enforcement exercise that has existed since 2005 and aims to strengthen the ability of counterterrorism forces to protect their borders and provide security for the population.
  • Fifteen hundred service members from twenty African and Western partner nations take part in the exercise.

11 April
Niger to export crude oil via a pipeline Niger-Chad-Cameroon
TV5 Sahel Intelligence
  • Niger will begin by the end of 2018 the construction of a several-hundred-mile-long pipeline, as announced by Foumakoye Gado, Niger’s minister of oil on April 10th.
  • The construction of the pipeline, which is five years behind schedule, will allow the exportation of Nigerien oil via Chad and to the harbor of Kribi in Cameroon.
  • Niger, which became in 2011 a small oil producer with twenty thousand barrels a day, is expected to increase its production up to one hundred thousand barrels a day, according to Foumakoye Gado.

SENEGAL
10 April
Twenty-nine Senegalese citizens judged for terrorism
Le Monde  RFI News 24
  • The trial of twenty-nine Senegalese citizens began on April 9th in Dakar, where they are accused of seeking to establish a jihadi network in southern Senegal before spreading it to nearby countries such as The Gambia, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau.
  • Among the thirty people accused, the imam Alioune Ndao was presented as the mentor and instigator of this network, whose goal was to found a West African caliphate based in Casamance with the support of Boko Haram and the Islamic State.
  • Ndao was previously convicted for encouraging terrorism while preaching at his mosque.
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Sahel Research Group · Center for African Studies · University of Florida · Gainesville, FL 32611 · USA

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