Scores killed in ‘barbaric’ attack on Mali village, UN chief urges restraint, calls for ‘dialogue’ to resolve tensions

Scores killed in ‘barbaric’ attack on Mali village, UN chief urges restraint, calls for ‘dialogue’ to resolve tensions

Source: UN NEWS

The Secretary-General said he was “outraged by reports that at least 95 civilians, including women and children, have been killed and many injured”, following the assault on Sobanou-Kou village in the Mopti region of central Mali, according to a statement issued by his Spokesperson.

He also “strongly” condemned the attack and called on the Malian authorities “to investigate this tragedy”.

The Secretary-General expressed his “heartfelt condolences” to the families of the victims, the people and the Government, and wished a “speedy recovery to the injured”, the statement continued. He urged the Government and all actors to “engage in intercommunal dialogue to resolve tensions and differences”.

‘Unspeakable barbarity’

Meanwhile, the UN Stabilization Mission in Mali, (MINUSMA) said it was “extremely concerned” at the news of the attack, which has been corroborated by local authorities on the ground.

Preliminary information points to the attack being led by a group of armed men, and according to news reports, many of the bodies of the dead had been burned. Clashes between Dogon hunters – who have a highly distinctive traditional culture dating back centuries – and the semi-nomadic Fulani herders, have become a growing flash point in recent years.

While no one has yet claimed responsibility for this attack, tensions have been rising since the ethnic Dogon hunters were accused of carrying out a massacre on the semi-nomadic Fulani herders’ village back in March.

The situation has passed the threshold of tolerable, and it is time for the nation to wake up – UN Special Representative in Mali

Spokesperson for the UN human rights office (OHCHR), Ravina Shamdasani, said “these traditional disputes have always been there”, often fuelled by disputes over access to land and water. “But lately it has taken on a particularly deadly turn because entire Fulani communities – and we are talking about millions of people – are being painted as violent extremists simply because they are Muslim.”

Sobanou-Kou village reportedly had around 300 inhabitants, and the mayor, said the death toll could increase, amid reports that some 19 people are still missing.

The Special Representative in Mali, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, said he was “shocked and outraged” by the attack.

“I strongly condemn this act of unspeakable barbarity”, he stated, adding that this “spiral of violence” underscores that there are no bad guys on one side and good on the other.

“Everyone is responsible”, he stressed. “The situation has passed the threshold of tolerable, and it is time for the nation to wake up”, added the MINUSMA chief.

As of Monday Morning, MINUSMA had coordinated its response in support of the Malian authorities and is mobilizing humanitarian assistance to the affected populations.

Moreover, its security operations in central Mali are being redeployed to support the Malian Defense and Security Forces in securing and protecting the population. The UN mission also provided air assistance to help prevent further offenses.

And MINUSMA is currently deploying a special human rights fact-finding mission to investigate and bolster the Malian authorities in their judicial investigations.

Mr. Annadif indicated that MINUSMA stands ready to back the Government in any action that may alleviate the situation.

International partners pledge $1.2 billion to help cyclone-hit Mozambique recover, ‘build back better’

International partners pledge $1.2 billion to help cyclone-hit Mozambique recover, ‘build back better’

Donors have pledged an initial $1.2 billion to help restore livelihoods and rebuild infrastructure destroyed by cyclones Kenneth and Idai in Mozambique, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced on Sunday.

According to UNDP, a two-day international pledging conference in the central Mozambique city of Beira – one of the areas worst hit by cyclones Idai and Kenneth – wrapped up with development partners committing financial and technical resources to support recovery interventions as the country deals with the challenging devastation.

The powerful tropical cyclones, which struck Mozambique in quick succession this past March and April respectively, killed hundreds and impacted close to two million.

“The important point coming out of this conference is that this recovery needs to be resilient. Mozambique is prone to climate change disasters, and those cyclones were not a one-time event – unfortunately – and the probability of these disasters reoccurring, many times in the future, is very high,” said Noura Hamladji, UNDP Africa Bureau Reginal Director, representing UNDP at the conference.

Ms. Hamladji added that “there is a need to ‘build back better’, to look at infrastructure, resilience of communities in a different way. This is what this conference is all about, over and above requesting the solidarity of the international community to fund the reconstruction.”

UNDP said the Mozambique Government is establishing a Disaster Management Fund that includes a contribution to its capitalization of 0.1 per cent of the State budget, as well as contributions from partners. Regular external audits will be conducted to ensure transparency and accountability.

Partners, in particular UNDP, pledged to also support capacity development of the Reconstruction Cabinet, a platform established by the Government to ensure transparency and accountability in the achievement of results as well as promoting the development of norms for better reconstruction – building back better, and technical capacity to conduct feasibility studies and procurement, among others.

UN chief Guterres urged donors to turn solidarity into action for Mozambique

Sending warm greetings to the Conference on Saturday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres  said in a message that he was certain he shared with all a deep sense of distress at the loss of life, the devastation and the suffering caused by the deadly cyclones.

He reiterated his condolences and deep solidarity with the Government and the people of Mozambique, especially the communities most affected by these natural disasters.

“I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to all those who have contributed – and continue to do so – to alleviate the suffering of the people who have been deprived of their goods, houses, infrastructure and livelihoods,” said Mr. Guterres, noting that the UN and its humanitarian partners had been on the ground since the start of the crisis.

The world body’s support to the Government’s efforts included contributing to the coordination of international support; distributing food, drinking water and medicine; and providing shelter to those displaced.

But Mr. Guterres stressed that while the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocated $24 million to Mozambique, it was necessary to recognize that to face the scale of the disaster, large additional resources are needed.

“The means at our disposal are not at all enough. We face enormous challenges: people’s basic needs remain unmet; the risk of disease outbreaks is evident; and the negative impact on food security due to the loss of crops will be very significant,” he said in his message.

He also noted that in order to strengthen the response to the tragedy, the United Nations launched an emergency humanitarian appeal of $282 million, which remained deeply underfunded.

Against this background, Mr. Guterres reiterated his appeal to the generosity of the international community, saying “this is the moment to translate into concrete gestures our solidarity with a country affected by one of the worst weather-related catastrophes in African history – and which also warns us about the urgency of tackling climate change.”

‘Regional security and integration’ in Central Africa under threat, Security Council warned

‘Regional security and integration’ in Central Africa under threat, Security Council warned

“Recent inter-communal tensions in eastern Chad opposing nomadic herders and sedentary farmers, as well as the attacks against villages in the Central African Republic…remind us of the urgency of addressing the issue of pastoralism and transhumance”, said François Louncény Fall, referring to the traditional practice of moving livestock from one grazing area to another on a seasonal basis, which has been a persistent source of conflict in the region.

On a more positive note, the UN Special Representative and Head of the Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) said he was “pleased” that the issue is “receiving increasing attention in Central Africa” and welcomed a draft regulation instrument on pastoralism and transhumance from a 27-28 May workshop in Kinshasa.

He reminded the Council that the UN Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC) remains “the primary platform” where the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) meet to discuss peace and security issues and recommends actions to address threats to regional stability.

François Louncény Fall, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), briefs the Security Council on Central African region. (file photo), by UN Photo/Manuel Elias

François Louncény Fall, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), briefs the Security Council on Central African region. (file photo), by UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Given the inter-regional dimension of the tensions, Mr. Fall made assurances that “UNOCA will continue to support ECCAS efforts in this area” and work with the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel, “to promote cooperation and exchange of good practices between Central, East and West Africa on the issue”.

The UNOCA chief said that on 31 May, UNSAC noted the positive impact of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s elections at the end of last year that have “enabled the country to experience a peaceful alternation of power”.

“They also welcomed the signing of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic (CAR)” and expressed support for completely lifting the arms embargo. Furthermore, they took note of Cameroon’s efforts to find “a lasting solution to the crisis in the North-West and South-West regions and encouraged the Government to pursue dialogue to that end”.

Since his last briefing, Mr. Fall reported that ECCAS “has made noticeable progress” on its reform process, that he said should help transform it into “a more effective organization for regional integration, conflict prevention and resolution, as well as peacebuilding”.

“UNOCA remains committed to help enhance these capacities, building on the valuable expertise already available”, he said.

According to the Special Representative, the reform should also provide the organization with “a more adequate mandate” as well as tools and the means to carry it out.

“I appeal to ECCAS member States to enhance their support to this process…for the benefit of regional peace, stability and integration”, Mr. Fall concluded.

Accountability in Sudan ‘crucial’ to avoid ‘further bloodshed’, says UN rights office

Accountability in Sudan ‘crucial’ to avoid ‘further bloodshed’, says UN rights office

Spokesperson Rupert Colville told journalists in Geneva on Friday that the UN was seeking the military Government’s cooperation to deploy the mission, which would seek, at the earliest opportunity, “to engage with relevant Sudanese authorities, civil society organizations and others”.

After the three-decade autocratic rule of President Omar al-Bashir ended in a military takeover in April, talks faltered in May between protesters and the ruling Transitional Military Council over a timetable for civilian rule.

The violence on Monday began when security forces fired on pro-democracy protesters in Khartoum, leaving a number of people dead and many more injured.

“Once again, we call on the authorities to ensure a prompt, independent investigation into the use of excessive force against protest camps – including the alleged involvement of the Rapid Support Forces”, he said.

He elaborated out that among its troops were members of the former Janjaweed militias that are linked to systematic human rights abuses in the Darfur region between 2003 and 2008.

“Accountability is crucial to avoid further bloodshed”, he spelled out. “We stress the need for a swift transition to a civilian administration”.

Also, on Friday the Office of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister tweeted that PM Abiy Ahmed and his delegation arrived in Khartoum “for talks with the Chief of the Sudanese Transitional Military Council, Lt. Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan”.

Meanwhile, amid the uptick in violence, a five-hour meeting on Thursday of the African Union ended with the suspension of Sudan’s membership to the pan-African group “with immediate effect”, according to an AU tweet.

Protect health care

For its part, the World Health Organization, WHO, expressed serious concern over incursions into Khartoum hospitals, which have resulted in the shutting down of emergency services, unwarrantedly transferring patients and injuries to medical staff and patients.

“Health care workers appear to have been targeted for fulfilling their professional duties in providing care to the injured”, WHO Regional Director Ahmed Al-Mandhari said in a statement.

This unacceptable situation…attacks against the very professionals and facilities meant to help – WHO Regional Director

He lamented that mobile health tent clinics that were set up to treat injured protestors, have been “set on fire and destroyed; medical equipment looted, and health care workers assaulted” and highlighted reports alleging that that female health workers have been raped.

“These actions represent a total and unacceptable violation of international human rights law and must stop”, stressed Dr. Al-Mandhari.

He maintained that health care “should be protected from political interference and security operations” and that health workers “must be allowed to treat the injured and sick, without concern for their own safety or that of their patients”.

“We call for an immediate cessation of all activities that put the lives of health staff and patients at risk and disrupt the delivery of essential health services”, underscored the senior WHO official.

WHO and Sudan’s Health Ministry continue to play a critical role in ensuring that hospitals remain operational and that essential medicines are brought into the country in a timely manner. Nine trucks carrying WHO medical supplies have already arrived in Khartoum.

“WHO will continue to monitor the situation and speak out as necessary about this unacceptable situation that has not only resulted in deaths and injuries, but also attacks against the very professionals and facilities meant to help”, concluded the Regional Director.

Africa rising as Bizcommunity launches .Africa domain

Africa rising as Bizcommunity launches .Africa domain

Africa rising, pan-Africanism and African renewal are just some of the terms seen regularly on the radars of global business scenario forecasters.

52.3% increase in intra-African trade

According to The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), intra-African trade is expected to increase by 52.3% from 2020. With the African Continental Free Trade Agreement signing in Rwanda, March 2018, and other factors, Africa has proclaimed itself open for business – with 55 countries merging into a single market of 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of $2.5tn, which will see Africa become the largest free trade area in the world.

With the above factors providing every reason why African business stakeholders should be talking to each other more than ever, Bizcommunity’s dedicated B2B platforms are ideal to enable exactly the knowledge and resource sharing and intra-African networking required right now.

Celebrating Africa Month_ May 2019

In May, the daily go-to media for the curation and distribution of African company news, jobs and events across 18 industries will further spotlight the factors and stakeholders spearheading these moves.

Join us in our vision to enable a connected business-ready Africa

Send a clear message to the world that your company is open for African business opportunities on bizcommunity.africa daily news platforms.

Join us in our vision to enable a connected business-ready Africa. Publish company news, opinion, activations, events and jobs on the biggest multi-industry website, that’s made in Africa, to put African business news on the front pages and in the hands of our 464,000 readers.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Bizcommunity.

Sudan: Remove Rapid Support Forces from Khartoum streets immediately

Sudan: Remove Rapid Support Forces from Khartoum streets immediately

From EIN Presswire

Following the suspension of Sudan from the African Union after the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led the horrific slaughter of more than 100 peaceful protestors over the past three days, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said:

“The Transitional Military Council of Sudan must immediately withdraw all members of the Rapid Support Forces from policing and law enforcement anywhere in Sudan and especially in Khartoum. They must be ordered off the streets and confined to their barracks in the interests of public safety.

“What we have witnessed in the past three days is horrific and barbaric. The senseless killing of protestors must be stopped immediately, and those responsible for the bloodbath, including at command level, must be held fully accountable for their dreadful actions,” said Kumi Naidoo.

Amnesty International is also calling for the immediate unblocking of the internet and social media to allow the people of Sudan access to information and the opportunity to exercise their freedom of expression.

Background

Since 3 June, media outlets have widely reported attacks on protestors with live ammunition, teargas, whips and sticks by the RSF paramilitary officers across Sudan.

According to the Central Committee of Medical Doctors, more than 100 people have been killed and hundreds more injured. The security forces tried to conceal their acts by dumping dead bodies weighted with bricks in the River Nile, 40 of which are reported to have floated back to the surface, according to the doctors’ committee.

Hundreds of people have been arrested and detained in the past three days, including recently returned opposition leader Yassir Saeed Arman, whose whereabouts are unknown. Yassir, who is the deputy chairperson of Sudan’s People Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) and was one of the SPLM lead negotiators during the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the war between the north and south of Sudan in 2005, has an unwarranted death sentence hanging over his head. He must be released immediately and unconditionally.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Amnesty International.