Conflict Prevention - Africa

GUINEA-BISSAU-MALI: ECOWAS Talking Softer, But Still Holding Big Stick

Regional leaders meeting in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, on May 3 appeared to slightly retreat from their positions against coup leaders in Guinea-Bissau and Mali, but the Economic Community of West African States continues to press for a speedy return to constitutional rule in both countries.

Child combatants had been seen in the ranks of the Tuareg rebels in Mali.  Credit: William Lloyd-George/IPS

Child Soldiers Used in Mali Conflict

It was tough for Hassan Toure to decide to stay in his small town on the outskirts of Kidal, in northern Mali. The government troops had withdrawn on Mar. 30, and several armed groups, including militias and bandits, were operating in the region.

Members of the Murle group displaced by ethnic violence await food distribution in Gumuruk, Pibor county, in South Sudan

Disarmament Sparks Violence in South Sudan

Civil society groups are calling on the United Nations peacekeeping mission to withdraw support from a disarmament programme they say could spark further violence in South Sudan’s volatile Jonglei state.

Malian rebels do not have the support of most ethnic groups in the north of the country. Credit: William Lloyd-George/IPS

Mali Heading Closer to Civil War

Since January, various groups of Tuareg rebels in Mali have come together in an attempt to administer a new northern state called Azawad.

The conflict in South Sudan has more than doubled the price of basic commodities, making it difficult for many here to afford. Credit: Charlton Doki/IPS

Hit by Fighting, Now by Prices

As thousands of people flee the conflict in South Sudan’s northern border states, increasing numbers have also been forced to leave their homes and towns in search of affordable food.

Ultimatum and Military Option From ECOWAS to Avoid Stalemate

Rebel leaders in Guinea-Bissau have released the country's prime minister and interim president, who were arrested in the country's Apr. 12 coup, and have flown them to Côte d'Ivoire.

Saffa Momoh Lahai lost his father in Sierra Leone’s civil war and said justice prevailed when former Liberian President Charles Taylor was convicted. Credit: Mustapha Dumbuya/IPS

Taking Solace from a Verdict that Can’t Bring Back Loved Ones

Saffa Momoh Lahai was just two years old when his father was killed during Sierra Leone’s civil war. Rebels attacked their family home in Kailahun District, in the eastern reaches of the country, and shot Lahai’s father when he tried to resist.

Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier and UNICEF Advocate for Children Affected by War worries about the country’s former child soldiers. Credit: Mustapha Dumbuya

Sierra Leone Still Suffers Legacy of Child Soldiers

When the verdict against Liberia’s former President Charles Taylor for war crimes in Sierra Leone is handed down on Thursday, it will be of no help to the many former combatants of the country’s brutal civil war who have not been reintegrated into society. Instead, they will continue to pose a threat to Sierra Leone’s future stability.

Several of the children in Abala camp are visibly malnourished, and NGO workers are concerned about potential epidemics. Credit: William Lloyd-George/IPS

Mali – Barely Surviving As One Country, Let Alone Two

It was the middle of the day when Tabisou, 72, suddenly saw people from her town of Amderamboukane in Mali fleeing for their lives. Her family had no time to pack their things; the fighting had already begun.

Guinea-Bissau Junta Presents ECOWAS With a Fait Accompli

Six West African heads of state will attend a regional summit in Guinea on Monday, to discuss the situation in neighbouring Guinea Bissau, where an Apr. 12 coup d'état aborted presidential elections.

Ken Menkhaus, political science professor at Davidson College in North Carolina, blames the USA Patriot Act for blocking aid to Somali famine victims Credit:  Linus Atarah/IPS

U.S. Patriot Act Kept Somalia Starving

When war-torn Somalia was also ravaged by a drought-induced famine last year, which killed tens of thousands and displaced over a million people, international media was quick to blame the Islamist Al-Shabaab for blocking humanitarian assistance from reaching its zone of control in southern Somalia.

Timbuktu is one of the northern Malian cities seized by Tuareg and Islamist rebels. Credit: Emilio Labrador/CC BY 2.0

In Mali – Civilians Govern, the Junta Rules

Cheick Modibo Diarra has been named interim prime minister of Mali as a transitional administration takes shape, to guide the country back to full constitutional government. But despite agreeing to hand power back to civilians, the military junta intends to retain an oversight role in the transition.

Emmanuel Kargbo, a 26-year-old farmer, pushes a motorised soil tiller recently given to his farming cooperative. Credit: Damon Van der Linde/IPS

Listening to the Hum of Tilling Machinery in the Sierra Leone Countryside

In the eastern Sierra Leonean community of Lambayama, rice paddies are carved far into the landscape before being abruptly halted by distant hills. Aside from a paved road that draws a grey line through the green, swampy valley, it looks much as it did a century ago.

Southern Sudanese soldiers from the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army. Militia groups affiliated with the army still recruit child soldiers.  Credit: Peter Martell/IRIN

Returning Sudanese Child Soldiers Their Childhood

As the process of reintegrating South Sudan’s child soldiers into their old lives begins soon, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army renewal of its lapsed commitment to release all child soldiers from its ranks in March could mean that within two years children will no longer constitute part of the country’s militia groups.

Tighter Security Ignores Root Causes of Somali Crises

As Western forces step up their military presence in Somalia, locals and experts are worried that the country – struggling under multiple crises from piracy, to drought – is doomed to churn in a cycle of violence that fails to acknowledge root causes of the problems.

Tuareg rebels have seized Timbuktu and other northern cities in Mali. Credit: Emilio Labrador/CC BY 2.0

Islamist Rebel Faction Imposes Sharia in the North of Mali

As armed groups have captured Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu, the three largest cities in northern Mali, the differences within the alliance have begun to emerge. There are reports of rape and looting in Gao, while in Timbuktu an Islamist faction, Ansar Dine, has announced the imposition of sharia law.

Tuaregs on the road between Mali and Burkina Faso. Credit: Marco Bellucci/CC BY 2.0

Tuareg Fighters Declare Mali Ceasefire

A spokesman for the main Tuareg rebel group, which recently seized the three largest areas in Mali's north, says it has declared a ceasefire, one day after the United Nations Security Council called for an end to violence in the West African nation.

Regional Leaders Give Mali Junta Three Days to Step Down

West African heads of state meeting in Côte d'Ivoire have given Mali's military junta three days to restore constitutional order and step down – or face a range of diplomatic and economic sanctions.

New Alternative in Senegal After Wade Defeat

Analysts say that Senegal’s outgoing President Abdoulaye Wade was made to pay for his failure to respond to popular demands, particularly arising from the high cost of basic commodities, a lengthy strike by teachers, and high youth unemployment, by losing his bid for a third term of office.

Dozens of women and children were digging into the earth in a dried out watering hole, in the Jamam refugee camp in South Sudan,in search of water. Credit: Jared Ferrie/IPS

The Forgotten Emergency in Sudan’s Blue Nile State

Hamid Yussef Bashir said he walked for 17 days with his wife and five children to get to a refugee camp in South Sudan. Here in Jamam, they joined about 37,000 other people who fled from the war across the border in Sudan’s Blue Nile state.

Mali Junta Courts Civil Society

A majority of political representatives have so far maintained their distance from the leaders of a coup that toppled the government earlier this week, but several religious and political personalities have already shown a willingness to work with the new regime.

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