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Sahel Research Group
Weekly News Brief

June 15- June 21, 2018
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BURKINA FASO
18 June
Security forces targeted and attacked in the east
RFI Le Faso
  • Three different law enforcement agencies were attacked in eastern Burkina Faso on June 16th, leaving a policeman and an attacker dead, according to sources in the security forces.
  • The different attacks took place in the Kompienga and Koulpelogo provinces and the armed assailants, who were able to flee the scene, have not been identified.
  • This triple attack comes one month after a joint operation in the area by the security forces of Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Burkina Faso, on June 20th.

20 June
Activist and blogger taken into custody, inciting calls for his release
RFI Koaci
  • On June 14th, Naïm Touré, an activist and blogger, was taken into custody for inciting rebellion against state authorities.
  • Touré was arrested after responding, in one of his posts, to an article reporting on the fate of a gendarme who was still waiting for a medical evacuation nearly a month after being wounded during an anti-terrorist operation.
  • The activist's supporters said Naïm Touré’s arrest was a violation of his freedom of expression, and five human rights organizations called for his release in a June 17th joint statement.

CHAD
19 June
Government reshuffle after only forty days
BBC La Tribune 
  • Six weeks after the launch of the Fourth Republic on May 8th in Chad, President Idriss Déby has reshuffled his government, dismissing five ministers and replacing them immediately, as announced in a June 18th official statement.
  • Ministries affected are the ministries of infrastructure and transport, public administration, higher education and research, the state secretariat for economic affairs and development planning, and the ministry of family and national solidarity.
  • Ministries of defense, foreign affairs, finance, and public safety remain unchanged.

20 June
District prosecutor placed under high security after threats against his life
RFI TV5
  • Dehrdian Bab Jonas, a Chadian prosecutor in Iriba, in the east of the country, was threatened with death after two suspects were shot dead during their hearings on June 17th, according to Djimet Arabi, an employee at the Chadian Ministry of Justice.
  • Convinced of the attorney’s liability for their death, relatives of the victims attempted to kill him in retaliation.
  • Chad has lately experienced a tense climate for magistrates, resulting in an indefinite strike of lawyers, judges, and bailiffs that started in May after a lawyer said that he and his clients were shot by gendarmes in Doba, in southern Chad.

MALI
18 June
A business woman announces first female candidacy in the presidential elections
RFI VOA
  • A Malian businesswoman, Kanté Diébou Ndiaye, became the first female candidate for the presidency of Mali as she announced on June 18th her candidacy in the upcoming July election.
  • Mrs. Ndiaye said she intends to help women “get out of their [political] isolation” in this Sahelian country.
  • Mrs. Ndiaye, fifty-five years old, has made her fortune in the real estate sector in the Central African Republic, and she is close to former President François Bozizé and his wife.

19 June
Government promises action to stop extrajudicial killing by the army
Reuters Jeune Afrique
  • Malian authorities acknowledged that Malian military forces (FAMA) have been involved in extrajudicial killings, as announced in a statement of the Defense Ministry on June 19th.
  • The official statement confirmed that the public prosecutor was instructed to open an inquiry.
  • The case appeared on the public scene after the discovery by residents, on June 18th, of mass graves of twenty-five bodies of killed militants and jihadists in the area of Mopti.

MAURITANIA
18 June
Civil Society raises concern over human rights abuse upon French president's visit to Mauritania
Alakhbar Cridem
  • French President Emmanuel Macron is scheduled to visit Mauritania in early July for the next African Union summit organized in Mauritania.
  • Mauritanian civil society organizations used this official event to raise concern over human rights abuses, focusing more specifically on abusive arrests of human rights activists, bloggers, or anti-slavery militants, as expressed in a June 18th open letter by political opponent Biram Dah Abeid.
  • Civil society organizations sought to catch President Macron's attention in the hopes he would address the implementation of international conventions on human rights with Mauritanian President Mohammed ould Abdel Aziz.

21 June
Electoral commission urges people to register in electoral list amidst criticism
Cridem RFI
  • Ethmane Bidjel, deputy president of the electoral commission in Mauritania, urged people to register in electoral lists in order to vote in the upcoming legislative elections of September 2018.
  • Mauritanian’s leading opposition Islamist party, Tawassoul, lodged an appeal against the electoral commission (CENI), arguing that it does not include members of radical opposition.
  • Before Tawassoul, at least three political parties filed an appeal before the administrative chamber of the Supreme Court against the CENI.

NIGER

19 June
United Nations Organization warns against the risk of large-scale flooding
VOA Niamey et les 2 jours

  • The UN, in a June 19th statement, warned that 170,000 people could be threatened by flooding in Niger during the upcoming rainy season.
  • Areas of Dosso and Niamey are specifically considered as high risk, warned the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
  • Despite the short time of its rainy season, Niger has faced recurring flooding in recent years, including in northern desert areas.

20 June
Leader of the opposition in exile loses his seat in parliament
RFI VOA
  • The historic leader of the opposition, Hama Amadou, lost his status as deputy on June 20th according to a decision of the Constitutional Court, rendering him henceforth ineligible.
  • Mr. Amadou was sentenced in absentia, in March 2017, to one year in prison for harboring children, in a three-year-old case of international trafficking of children.
  • The judgement was given as the defendant was still living in exile in France.

SENEGAL
June 18
Electoral Code is amended, causing upset in Senegal
RFI Cameroon-Tribune
  • Under the safe-keeping of riot police, the Senegalese National Assembly met in Dakar on June 18th to discuss and vote on an amendment to the electoral code.
  • After six hours of vigorous debate between supporters and opponents of the amendment, the measure passed, changing the electoral law, which will affect the 2019 Presidential Election.
  • The shift in policy caused protest among citizen, and some forecasters say it may be the securing factor needed for current President, Macky Sall, to attain re-election in 2019.

June 20
President Sall travels to Russia for World Cup
Africanews Apanews France 24
  • On June 18th, Senegalese President Macky Sall arrived in Moscow on a three-day trip to support the national football team in the nation’s second-ever showing at the FIFA World Cup.
  • On June 19th, the president was in attendance for Senegal’s first-round victory over Poland, which was the only first-round win for an African nation at this year’s World Cup.
  • President Sall met with President Putin at the Kremlin, prior to returning home.
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Sahel Research Group · Center for African Studies · University of Florida · Gainesville, FL 32611 · USA

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