The Secretary-General strongly condemns the terrorist attack against the Malian Armed Forces in Tessit, Ansongo region, on August 7, which resulted in a high number of victims and loss of life.
He expresses his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to the people of Mali, who continue to pay a heavy price in their ongoing fight against terrorism.
He wishes a speedy recovery to the injured.
The Secretary-General reiterates the commitment of the United Nations, including through MINUSMA, to support efforts to restore peace and stability in Mali. Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary General
The human rights climate in Mali is “poisonous”, the UN’s expert said Monday after witnessing evidence of “atrocious, cruel and barbaric torture” by its security forces.
He also referred to reports that Russian “foreign military personnel” had, working alongside members of Mali’s armed forces, been involved in rights violations.
Following a 10-day visit to Mali, Alioune Tine welcomed steps to restore constitutional order and civilian rule, but voiced grave concerns about the resurgence of extremist violence and a rapidly deteriorating human rights situation.
“There is a poisonous climate marked by suspicion and mistrust, with a continuous narrowing of civic space, the hardening of the Malian transitional authorities, and a malaise,” Tine added.
“This poisonous climate led several actors to self-censor, fearing reprisals from the Malian transitional authorities and/or their supporters,” he said.
The Senegalese expert is mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council, but does not speak on behalf of the UN.
Tine noted the resurgence and frequency of attacks and violence committed by violent extremist groups in Mali’s north, centre and around the capital Bamako.
“Violent extremist groups continue to be the main alleged perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses in Mali, but the high number of violations attributed to the Malian defence and security forces is of great concern,” the expert said.
“I was particularly shocked to see with my own eyes victims with visible signs on their bodies of atrocious, cruel and barbaric torture they had suffered at the hands of Malian security forces,” Tine added.
“Their testimonies were unbearable.
” Russian presence Tine also said credible sources had reported that some violations had been committed by Malian forces, “accompanied by foreign military personnel described as Russian military officials”.
Malian authorities continue to deny reports that a Russian private military company is operating alongside Malian security forces, he said.
They insist Russian military personnel in Mali are military trainers deployed as part of bilateral state-to-state cooperation.
Tine’s statement came as French chiefs of staff said Monday the last soldiers belonging to France’s Barkhane operation in Mali had left the country.
French forces have been supporting Mali against insurgents for nearly a decade, but President Emmanuel Macron decided to pull out after France and the Malian junta fell out in the wake of a military takeover in August 2020.
The junta snubbed French appeals for an early return to civilian rule and then turned to Russian military operatives — “mercenaries” from the pro-Kremlin Wagner group, in France’s view — to help its anti-jihadist fight.
Tine said Mali must ensure that victims of rights violations receive just and effective remedies for the harm they have suffered.
Tine has been the UN’s independent expert on the human rights situation in Mali since May 2018.
He will present his annual report to the UN Human Rights Council in March.
The prime minister serving in Mali’s military junta has been hospitalised after suffering an unspecified illness, one of his advisers and a doctor at the clinic treating him told AFP Saturday.
“The Prime Minister Choguel Maiga has indeed been admitted to a private clinic in Bamako,” one of his advisors, who asked to remain anonymous, told AFP.
“I can tell you that at this stage, he’s okay,” he added.
A doctor at the clinic confirmed that the prime minister had been admitted for “a serious illness”, adding: “I can tell you that he’s recovering quite well.
” Choguel Kokkola Maiga served in several ministerial positions and was three times a candidate for the presidency before junta leader Colonel Assisi Gita appointed him prime minister in June 2021.
Since then he has repeatedly condemned France for its “abandonment” of Mali in its conflict against jihadist forces in the country.
France is reconfiguring its position in the Sahel after falling out with the military junta in Mali, the epicentre of the bloody 10-year-old jihadist campaign in the region.
Maiga has himself been criticised for several months by politicians inside Mali, including some of his own former allies in the M5-RFP movement opposition alliance, of which he was one of the cofounders.
Some of his critics have called for his resignation.
The Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) of the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos, has launched a project to promote religious and cultural pluralism in NigeriaSpeaking at the event on Thursday in Jos, the Project Manager, Rev. Fr. Basil Kassam, said that the project was in partnership with Observatoire Pharos, a French organisation.
Kassam explained that the project, tagged ”Incubator of Pluralism Actors in Nigeria”, would be implemented in 12 communities of six Local Government Areas of Plateau and Bauchi states.
He added that Observatoire Pharos was currently supporting similar projects in Niger, Burkinafaso and Mali.The manager explained the project would target largely young people, within the ages 18 and 30, with the aim of de-escalating conflicts in the communities ”This project is to provide tangible support towards building peaceful coexistence in communities affected by conflicts”The project will have a deeper look at aspects of religious and cultural dimensions of conflicts in order to intensify social cohesion,”It is designed to provide solutions to the religious and cultural conflicts that we are currently going through,” he said.
Kassam explained that 20 organisations would form a network that would collectively implement the project in the benefitting communities.
In a goodwill message, Mr Jacob Pwakim, the Chairman of Plateau Peace Practioners Network (PPPN), thanked JDPC and Observatoire Pharos for the initiative, adding that making young people the fulcrum of the project would yield positive results in the peace building process.
Similarly, Alhaji Sani Tanko, the Director of Finance of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) in Plateau, called for tolerance among Nigerians and advised the people to love one another, irrespective of their cultural and religious backgroundsAlso, Mrs Kanneng Pam, the Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), advised goverment to incorporate pluralism in the curriculum of secondary schools, saying such would further deepen peaceful coexistence in our society.
There were goodwill messages from the Plateau Peace Building Agency (PPBA) and other organisations.
The Prelate Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence Samuel Kanu-Uche, has urged Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic, and religious affiliations to work together in peace and unity for the progress of the country.
The Prelate gave the advice at the church’s 48th and 13th biennial conference, with theme “Prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ’’ being hosted by the arch diocese of Benue in Abuja.
He said the challenges facing the country could even be better solved if Nigerians, Muslims and Christians, pray and work together, adding that people of all faiths need to work for the sake of humanity.
“We need to work together for unity and peace of the country.
“We are to understand one another with love and respect, as our various religions teaches love and peace.
“We have serious security issues confronting us, we cannot be trading blames; we have a lot to do to curb this.
“What Nigeria is experiencing are signs of what has been recorded in the Bible for the second coming, we should be vigilant and ready, pray and be alert,’’ the prelate said.
He urged government to ensure fairness equity, justice and rule of law in the nation “ Let there be peace, unity tolerance and let there not be dominance by any tribe or religion, because if there is, there will be resistance and there will be reactions, resulting to problems,’’ Kanu-Uche said.
For the forthcoming elections, the Prelate advised Nigerians to vote for integrity and not party, stressing “doing this will protect our future and that of the children and those yet unborn.
’’ He said that the conference was his last as his successor would be elected before his exit in November and thanked God for sustenance all through his tenure.
Deputy Gov of Benue, Benson Abounu,the Methodist Prelate,Kanu-Uche and his wife.
In his address at the occasion, Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue, prayed for unity and peace in Nigeria.
The governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Benson Abounu, declared the conference open and urged the clergy and laity to pray for a return of peace in the country.
He said that there was need for leaders to be sensitive to things that worry the masses.
”Show sensitivity as far as our ethnic and tribal leanings are concerned, sensitivity as far as our religions and interest are concerned.
“Also, as far as our social engagements are concerned and our social cultural issues and interest are to be taken into consideration.
“No religion should have dominion over another; no ethnic group should have dominion over others.
” No social class should have dominion over the other as Nigeria belongs to everyone.
“Any choice anyone is making, he or she should put into consideration the aforementioned,’’ Kanu-Uche said.
He advised the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to fashion out a new leadership structure where all Christians could come together as one in order for Christians to have one voice.
Also, the President of CAN, Rev Daniel Okoh, represented by Apostle Abiodun Sanyaolu, Assistant Secretary General of the Christian Council of Nigeria, commended the prelate for his support to the church and association.
He advised the church to be prayerful and steadfast as the siege was on, adding that the church needs to march forth.
The CAN president said that only prayers and commitment were the solution to challenges being faced in the country.
In his address, the former Senate President, David Mark, advised Nigerians and the church to continue to pray for peace in the country.
“These conference will preach peace to Nigeria and ensure there is peace, I am sure all religion preaches peace and none preaches violence.
”As Christians and Moslems, we are the two major faiths and we need to do what pleases God and would develop our nation,’’ he said.
Most Rev Joseph Job, the Methodist Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, urged Christians to prepare their minds on issues bordering the nation, through prayers He advised that as the general elections draws near, it was the duty of all Nigerians to first create an enabling environment to enable the elections, which would be achieved through prayers.
Also the Archbishop, Archdiocese of Benue, Most Rev. Oliver Aba, said the conference was aimed at discussing the growth of the church and the nation.
“ We pray for Nigeria, the church we must work as a team to achieve these, as our generations yet unborn will ask what we did to salvage the country from collapsing.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Archbishops of Methodist Churches in some West African countries including Ghana, Togo and Mali were in attendance at the conference to felicitate with the church and
Forty-two Malian soldiers died in a sophisticated weekend attack by suspected jihadists using drones and artillery, authorities said Wednesday, the latest violent incident to rock the troubled Sahel country.
The toll is one of the bloodiest in Mali’s decade-long insurgency, which has spread from the north of the country to the centre and south and into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.
A document naming the dead was authenticated to AFP by several senior military officials, while the government later confirmed the toll in a statement that said 22 soldiers were injured and 37 “terrorists” were neutralised.
The attack occurred on Sunday in the town of Tessit, in the troubled “three-border” region where the frontiers of the three nations converge.
On Monday, the army had said 17 soldiers and four civilians had died.
Relatives of the victims, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that some of the civilians had been elected officials.
Monday’s statement pointed the finger of blame at the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), saying its members had deployed “drone and artillery support and (used) explosives and an explosives-laden vehicle”.
The last time Mali’s armed forces sustained such losses was in a string of attacks in the same region in late 2019 and early 2020.
Hundreds of soldiers were killed in assaults on nearly a dozen bases, typically carried out by highly mobile fighters on motorbikes.
The raids prompted the Malian, Nigerien and Burkinabe forces to fall back from forward bases and hunker down in better-defended locations.
In January 2020, France and its Sahel allies agreed on a push against the ISGS at a summit in Pau, southwestern France.
Several of its leaders were targeted and killed, including its founder, Abu Walid Al-Sahraoui, but local people say the group has continued to recruit and carry out its operations.
HotspotTessit is one of the hotspots in the three-border area.
The ISGS is fighting for control of the strategic, gold-rich area against an Al-Qaeda-linked alliance, the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM).
In March 2021, 33 soldiers were killed in an ISGS-claimed ambush as units were being rotated, and in February this year, around 40 civilians — suspected by the ISGS of being in league with Al-Qaeda — were massacred.
Mobile phone connections to the area have been frequently cut over the last few years and physical access is hard, especially during the mid-year rainy season.
Thousands have fled Tessit to the nearest large town, Gao, which is located some 150 kilometres (90 miles) to the north.
Across the Sahel, the jihadist campaign has claimed thousands of lives and forced more than two million to flee their homes.
Sporadic cross-border attacks have also occurred in Ivory Coast, Togo and Benin to the south, amplifying fears of a jihadist push towards the Gulf of Guinea.
The Force Commander Multinational Joint Task Force MNJTF, Maj.-Gen. Abdul Khalifah has called for partnership with other regional forces to defeat terrorism in the Lake Chad area and the Sahel.
Khalifah made the call when he received the new Force Commander of Operation Barkhane, French born Maj.-Gen. Bruno Baratz in the MNJTF Headquarters Camp Farcha in Ndjamena Chad. This is contained in a statement from the spokesman of the MNJTF on Wednesday, Lt.-Col. K.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that MNJTF comprises of troops from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic and has its headquarters in Ndjamena, Chad. The commander appreciated the cooperation between Operation Barkhane and the MNJTF noting that the feat should be sustained.
He equally thanked the troops for their stabilising roles in the fight against terrorism in the region and urged for sustenance.
He assured the new commander of his commitment to tackle insurgency in the region.
Responding, Baratz also praised the effective role of MNJTF in bringing stability in its area of operations.
Baratz said that operation Barkhane is in the process Mali, but would continue to work with other countries in fighting terrorism in the region.
NAN reports that operation Barkhane is an ongoing anti-insurgent operation that started on Aug. 1, 2014 and is led by the French military against Islamist groups in Africa’s Sahel region.
It consists of a roughly 5,000-strong French force, which is permanently headquartered in N’Djamena.
NAN also reports that yhe operation is led in co-operation with five countries, all of which are former French colonies that span the Sahel: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
The countries are collectively referred to as the ”G5 Sahel”.
In another development, the outgoing Commander Sector I of the MNJTF based in Cameroon, Brig.-Gen. Bouba Debekreo, introduced his successor, Col. Tiokap Loti, to the force commander of the MNJTF.
Debekreo thanked the force commander for the support and guidance given him and urged for same to be extended to his successor.
The Defence Headquarters has given details of the suspects arrested in connection with the June 5 attack on St. Francis Catholic Church Owo in Ondo State.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, had on Tuesday during a parley with media executives and editors revealed the names of the terrorists who masterminded the Owo attack.
The Director, Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Jimmy Akpor, in a statement on Wednesday, said the clarification became necessary because of the conflicting feedback on the earlier announcement.
Akpor said that Irabor had confirmed the arrest of four suspects through the collaborative efforts of the military and DSS personnel at Eika, in Okehi Local Government Area, Kogi on Aug. 1. “Those arrested included Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza (a.
k.a Bin Malik), Momoh Otohu Abubakar, Aliyu Yusuf Itopa and Auwal Ishaq Onimisi.
“The Defence Chief said, preliminary investigation revealed that Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza was the mastermind of the terror attack on the Owo Catholic Church.
“As well as the attack on a Police Station in Adavi Local Government Area, Kogi State on 23 June 2022, during which a policeman was killed and weapons carted away,” he said.
Akpor said Irabor also mentioned the arrest of another terrorist, Idris Ojo, aged 32, who was apprehended at Ayetoro Osi, Ondo State through the combined effort of military and DSS personnel on Aug. 7. “Idris Ojo, the CDS said, was one of the suspected ISWAP terrorists who escaped from the Kuje Medium Correctional Centre on 5th July 2022. “The CDS also mentioned that Ojo was arrested alongside Jimoh Ibrahim, 39 years, a sympathizer of the terrorist group, who accommodated him.
“The CDS further revealed that, the arrest of Idris Ojo was crucial as he, along with others, were already planning terrorists’ attacks against some selected targets, in order to create fear amongst the citizenry aimed at discrediting the government,” he said.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, says the masterminds of the June 5 massacre in Owo, Ondo State have been captured by security operatives.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that no fewer than 40 worshippers were massacred at the St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, in an incident that jolted Nigeria and the global community.
Speaking at a parley with media executives at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday, Irabo said that the terrorists were captured at different locations across the country.
He said that the suspects, majority of whom were arrested in various communities in Kogi, would be paraded before the public in due course.
“We had wanted to present the suspects to the public immediately but couldn’t because certain investigations are still being carried out,” he said.
He gave his assurance that in due course, the suspects and others who had been involved in some daring attacks in the past few months would be presented to the public.
“Starting with the Owo church attack, it is my pleasure to let you know that we have arrested those behind that dastardly act.
“On Aug. 7, one Idris Ojo (37) was apprehended at Aiyetorosi in Ondo State.
He was one of the high-profile Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) members that escaped from Kuje Prison.
“He was arrested along with one Jimoh Ibrahim, a 39-year-old criminal.
“Ojo was not done with all the criminal activities which he undertook in the past, he was also planning other deadly attacks and he was perfecting those plans along with his cronies before he was captured,” he said.
“Again, on Aug. 4, the military in a combined operation with the Department of State Service (DSS) arrested four terrorists at Eika in Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi State.
“Others are Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza, otherwise known as Ibn Malik; Momoh Abubakar, Aliyu Itopa and Auwal Onimisi.
“Now, Omeiza is one of the masterminds of the June 5 Catholic Church attack in Owo as well as the attack on the police station in Adavi also in Kogi State that led to the killing of a policeman as well as weapons being carried away,” the CDS said.
On the Abuja-Kano train attack, Irabor said that although some victims had been released, the military and other security agencies remained committed to ensuring safe rescue of the remaining victims in captivity.
He said the military had intensified both air and ground operations to deal with criminals in all parts of the country, adding that several successes had been recorded in recent times.
Irabo disclosed that based on military air operations, the military on Aug. 6, killed one Alhaji Abdulkareen, a bandits’ leader along with his fighters in Nigeria’s North West. “By the deeds of the surgical air operations that we have conducted, many of the bandits’ leaders have been killed,” he added.
The CDS said the essence of the parley was to solicit understanding and support from the media in the fight against the security challenges bedeviling the nation.
He, however, called for greater cooperation between the military and the media with a view to finding solution to the security challenges and disallow enemies from stoking fears in the minds of the public.
The army chief also urged Nigerians and political leaders to understand the distinction between military operations and politics, adding that the military remained undaunted in ensuring a safe and secured nation.
Earlier, the Director, Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Jimmy Akpor, said the essence of the parley was to build a sustainable trust between the media and members of the armed forces.
Akpor said the meeting was in line with the leadership focus of Irabor toward fostering professional armed forces capable of meeting constitutional imperatives.
The Chief Executive Officer of The Media Today, Mr Charles Odenigbo, said the military and media must be frank and open to each other in ensuring peace and security in the country.
Odenigbo, the facilitator of the event, said that although military operations could not be discussed in the open, there was need to see how the media could fit into the activities of the military.
Secretary Blinken is traveling to South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda this week, where the United States has been deploying resources and working in partnership with African governments, institutions, businesses, scientists, and other leaders to prevent hunger and combat the global hunger crisis.
food security and, at the same time, address the rising rates of malnutrition, which has hit the African continent the hardest.
At the G7 summit in June, President Biden and the G7 leaders announced more than $4.5 billion to address global food security, more than half of which will come from the United States.
This $2.76 billion in funding from the US government will help protect the world's most vulnerable populations and mitigate the impacts of growing food insecurity and malnutrition, including from Russia's war in Ukraine, by building more resilient agricultural and food production and systems around the world, and responding to immediate emergency food needs.
We have recognized the need for immediate action to avert far-reaching consequences, and we are responding with targeted support for Africa's own plans for food security and food systems transformation.
Of this $2.76 billion, $760 million will go to short-term sustainable food assistance to help mitigate further increases in poverty, hunger and malnutrition in vulnerable countries affected by high food, fertilizer and fuel prices.
Of this amount, we are working with Congress to appropriate $336.5 million for bilateral programs for countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe and regional programs in Southern Africa, West Africa, and the Sahel.
Also of this $2.76 billion, USAID is programming $2 billion in emergency food security assistance over the next three months.
As of August 8, 2022, the US has provided nearly $1 billion specifically to countries in Africa for this $2 billion commitment, including the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali , Mozambique, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan and Uganda.
In addition to the President's G7 commitment, the US has announced the reduction of the balance of the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Fund, an effort in coordination with the US Department of Agriculture that will provide an additional $670 million in food assistance to respond to historical levels of acute food insecurity around the world.
The funds announced in July and August 2022 will be used to purchase food products from the US to bolster existing emergency food operations in countries facing severe food insecurity.
The resources will be delivered to: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.
President Biden also announced that the United States is expanding sustainable food production in Africa through the US government's flagship global food security initiative to eight additional African countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.
This expansion brings the number of priority countries globally to 20 and delivers on President Biden's commitment in September 2021 to work with Congress to provide $5 billion through Feed the Future to end hunger and malnutrition.
in the world and build sustainable, resilient and inclusive food systems abroad.
Finally, the US government will also contribute to international efforts to support livelihoods and nutrition and help vulnerable countries build resilience to shocks, including food price volatility, supply chain issues, climate impacts and other long-term threats.
Subject to notification from Congress, the US plans to provide $120 million for the following efforts: The African Development Bank's (AfDB) African Emergency Food Production Fund (AEFPF) to increase production of wheat, maize, climate-adapted rice and soybeans for the next four growing seasons in Africa.
The Crisis Response Initiative (CRI) of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to help protect livelihoods and build resilience in rural communities.
The Africa Adaptation Initiative (AAI) to develop a portfolio of bankable projects in Africa, to leverage private capital.
The Africa Risk Capacity (ARC) Africa Disaster Risk Financing Program (ADRiFi) to help African governments respond to food system crises by increasing access to risk insurance products.
A fertilizer efficiency and innovation program to improve the efficiency of fertilizer use in countries where fertilizers tend to be over-applied.
Support to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will fund multi-country mapping of soils to provide insights that enable smarter water use, greater fertilizer conservation and better climate resilience impacts .