AFRICA WEEK IN REVIEW AUGUST 23

  • On August 15, the Regional Security Cooperation Working Group meeting of the United States-Nigeria Binational Commission was held in Abuja, Nigeria. This commission, a result of a 2010 binational agreement, includes working groups tasked with helping Nigeria deal with corruption, electoral abuse, development, and instability in the critical Niger Delta region.
  • Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman led the U.S. delegation and stressed in her opening remarks that a resolution to the conflict with Boko Haram will require “a comprehensive approach that addresses socio-economic problems, articulates clear rules of engagement, and commits to accountability for those who perpetrate violence, both Boko Haram and security forces.”
  • The U.S. pledged continued support for the Nigerian military, focused on information-sharing, enhancing security force professionalism and developing tactics to increase public confidence in Nigeria’s security sector. (For local coverage, read Leadership, This Day, Vanguard.)
  • South Sudan’s government arrested Brig. Gen. James Otong over alleged human rights abuses. The Associated Press (AP) links the arrest to U.S. government pressure regarding ethnically motivated attacks by members of its military. In the past month, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has received both a letter (PDF) from U.S. Senate and House leaders and a phone call from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressing concerns over deteriorating human rights conditions in South Sudan.
  • The United Nations Peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), known as Monusco, intensified patrols and began sending in helicopters to protect civilians in the eastern part of the country around the city of Goma. This move was part of the United Nation’s new offensive combat force in the DRC. The east of the DRC saw heavy fighting in which UN peacekeepers were directly targeted, just a week after the UN enforced a security zone around Goma. IRIN reports that the humanitarian situation is dire, and the region is saturated with internally displaced people.

Quick Hits from Africa:

  • The U.S. military awarded Berry Aviation Inc a contract to provide air transport services for U.S. special operations in East, West, Central and North Africa. According to the pre-solicitation notice, the contractor will “conduct air drops, fly commandos in and out of hostile territory and carry out short notice medical evacuation,” reports defenceWeb.
  • At the third West Africa Regional Air Chiefs Conference in Ghana, General Frank Gorenc, U.S. Commander of the Air Force for Europe and Africa encouraged African countries to build regional military partnership to address collective challenges such as transnational crime.
  • The U.S. government, together with the United Kingdom, sponsored another West Africa Regional naval conference to find regional solutions to the growing threat of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
  • The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) started four-day training for thirty-two officers of the Somali National Army (SNA). The training focuses on understanding and compliance with International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and takes place in Kampala, Uganda.
  • The Economist examined trafficking in North Africa, noting an increase in drug as well as weapon trafficking. They record a worrisome merger between terrorist networks North Africa and traffickers; the former guarantee safe passage for smugglers and buy weapons.
  • Human Rights Watch released a report examining police corruption in Liberia.
  • The Nigerian military created a new unit, which will be in charge of the government’s fight against Boko Haram.
  • According to Nigerian media, the U. S. Government launched a probe into the Nigerian government’s report on the death of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau. The U.S. government remains skeptical and has not updated its online wanted notice for Shekau.
  • Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda, Uganda’s military spokesman, called on the international community to pressure the Central African Republic to resume operations against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
  • Coup leader Michel Djotodia was sworn in as president of the Central African Republic. Associated Press reports that rebels continue to massacre villagers associated with the former government.
  • The Gambian President issued a directive to the military ordering them to stop military training cooperation with the United States. For more, read our blog.

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