Stories from Quick Reads and Chad
Two suicide bombings killed at least 23 people Monday (June 15) in Chad's capital N'djamena. Chad government stated that four attackers belonged to extremist group Boko Haram and were killed by the blast which targeted police. More than 100 people were also injured in the incidents. Chad has committed his army against Boko Haram in Nigeria. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has repeatedly threatened to attack Chadian interests before monday's bombings. Chadian activist Abdelkerim Yacoub Koundougoumi Egrey announces that a candlelight vigil to show solidarity with the victims will take place in Paris, place de la république on June 16 at 18h.
Oumar Ba discusses the historic trial of the former president of Chad Hissène Habré:
For the first time in history, a former head of an African state will stand trial in Africa, before an internationalized tribunal, the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegalese Courts. The EAC is an ad hoc court which is set up by the African Union under the principle of universal jurisdiction. It focuses solely on crimes of genocide, war crimes, torture, and crimes against humanity committed in Chad between 1982 and 1990. That happens to be the period of Habré’s tenure. The Chambers are made of judges of Senegalese nationality, nominated by Senegal’s Minister of Justice and appointed by the AU Chairperson.
If all goes as planned, the Habré’s trial will start in Dakar, this summer. Habré stands accused of crimes against humanity and torture during his rule in Chad in the 1980s. His reign was brutal, but he was literally “our man in Africa,” eager and willing to do for the CIA and the Reagan administration what no one else would.
For the first time, Boko Haram conducted an assault on Niger's territory and the youth of Niger will not stand for it.
Boko Haram assaulted Bosso and Diffa, two towns in southeast Niger at the border with Nigeria but was repelled by Niger and Chad's army. Boko Haram lost an estimated 100 combatants in the clash but a suicide bomber detonated explosives in the city a few hours later, killing 5 civilians. The youth of Niger was prompt to react to the attacks. Niamey (Niger's capital) High school students got together to condemn the attacks on their country and express in Hausa their support to their troops fighting at the border:
Multiple sources report [fr] that Michel Djotodia, Interim President of Central African Republic (CAR) will step down tomorrow (January 9) as his country is rocked by violent inter-community conflicts. Although the minister of Communication denied [fr] the president's resignation earlier, Simon Koitoua in Bangui, CAR opines that it was bound to happen because of the president's recent ill-advised decisions regarding weaponry [fr]:
Le chef de la transition aurait approuvé et validé un montage financier colossal lié à l’achat d’armes via le Soudan et Tchad malgré l’embargo imposé sur les armes en destination de la Centrafrique
The head of the transition allegedly approved a financial package that green lighted the purchase of heavy weaponry via Sudan and Chad. The purchase was validated in spite of the embargo on weaponry in the Central African Republic
Jacqueline Moudeina writes on Pambazuka.org about the inauguration of a special tribunal in Senegal, to bring Hissene Habre, former dictator of Chad, before the courts [fr]:
“Being a victim, is a condition in which we languish without the ability to recover, as long as justice has not been served. The suffering is endless and what occurs, is a loss of dignity. The legal battle, so that an authority may take charge and judge the crimes of the victims’ former torturers, was for them a long and painful road. Each new development, each new delay, every error and politico-judicial farce carried out by the former Senegalese government, was but a fresh wound for the victims. After 22 years, more than two decades after the fall of the Habre regime, it continues to rub salt in their wounds”.
At this point, there is virtually no one left in president Bozize's cabinet. His religious advisors and his sons are the only left to help him in manage a storming crisis that might blow all of them away.
Centrafrique Press Info CPI reacts to the news that rebels are about to seize control of Bangui [fr], the capital city of Central African Republic. The USA have asked their citizens to leave the country [fr] while the UN is only keeping essential staff [fr] in the field.
Seven African nations of ECOWAS namely Nigeria, Senegal, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire and Togo have agreed with Malian government [fr] to send 3,300 soldiers a year to Northern Mali to take back control of northern Mali from Islamist fighters. Other nations outside the ECOWAS might also send in troops.
DJAMIL AHMAT in Chad reports that Jacqueline Moudeina, a lawyer, human rights activist and winner of an Alternative Nobel Prize Award was attacked at her home (fr) last night (October 19). Moudeina is the legal representative of the victims of the Hissène Habré regime since 2000. Other HR activists were arrested earlier this month in Chad.
Afrik.com reports that [fr]: ” because of the low harvest and an increase of 60 to 80 % in cereal pricing, 10 millions people across Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Chad will be affected by food security issues, including 1.6 million children.”
Police are violently repressing student protests in Chad since March 10. The official reason for the protest is the new safety regulation that require bikers to wear a helmet. Motorbikes are often used as taxis in the capital city, Ndjamena. However, the reason for protests are more profound than the new law. One student explains why they are protesting:
Croyez-vous que c’est une question de port de casque ? Personne ne s’oppose à l’utilisation de casque. Il y a une sorte d’impréparation de la mesure par les autorités et d’exploitation de la vente par les commerçants. Jusque quand allons-nous accepter d’être sauvagement exploités ? Le ciment, le sucre, le pétrole…savez-vous que le marché de casque a permis à certains responsables de s’enrichir ?
Do you really think that the protests are about just helmet law ? No one is opposed to the use of helmet. The authorities are not prepared to properly implement the measures and the law is quite beneficial to all retailers. When will we say enough to this brutal exploitation ? It is the same thing for cement, sugar, oil … do you know that the helmet has allowed some officials to get rich quite rapidly ?
During the repression of the protests by the police, one student, Hassan B. Daoud was killed. Here is a video of police brutality against some students posted by ABDELKERIM YACOUB KOUNDOUGOUMI on facebook:
Wekesa Sylvanus hopes that 2015 will be a year of free and fair elections in Africa:
Since the advent of multi party democracy in Africa, electoral contests have become a do or die affair in majority of African countries. Elections in Africa are a high risk affair and in the recent times, they have been a trigger of conflicts. Kenya and Ivory Coast are good examples of how mismanaged elections can plunge a country into a conflict. Half a century after gaining independence, majority of African states have not got it right in terms of conducting and managing free and fair elections. The year 2015 will see a host of African countries go through elections. Presidential elections and/or legislative elections will be held in Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Togo, Ivory Coast, Mauritius, Central Africa Republic, Burkina Faso, Niger, Guinea, Chad, and Egypt and may be South Sudan depending on the peace deal to be signed. Most of these countries have struggled to institute the practice of democracy in recent times. 2015 therefore presents a great opportunity for them to show the world that they have matured democratically.
On February 4, Boko Haram conducted a particularly gruesome attack on the town of Fotokol in Northern Cameroon, right across the Nigerian border. Hundred of civilians are feared dead, 81 confirmed so far by the Minister of Defense. Local Human Rights Organization believes that close to 370 civilians were killed. Local testimonies mention scores of bodies in the streets with their throats slit. The town of Fotokol has been subjected to battles between Boko Haram and Camerronian and Chadian armed forces recently: March 2014, August 2014 and October 2014. Cameroonian Blogger Noelle Lafortune reports that the attack signals that Boko Haram might be losing ground in the region:
Au front, la peur est en train de changer de camp. L'entrée en scène de l'armée tchadienne en appui aux armées camerounaise et nigériane semble être décisive, eu égard à la panique qui s'est emparée de Boko Haram. La puissance de feu des forces coalisées a mis en déroute Shekau et sa bande.
On the frontline, doubt might be switching sides. The emergence of the Chadian army in support of the Cameroonian and Nigerian military appears to be decisive, given the panic moves that has seemingly gripped Boko Haram. The firepower of the coalition forces routed Shekau (head of Boko Haram) and his gang.
Comoros police forces state that they have arrested Congolese and Chadian mercenaries in an attempted coup over the week-end. Linfo.re adds that [fr]:
Army commanders did not want to engage in an open conflict with the mercenaries. They believe that “any Comoran casualties over protecting an elite cast is itself a act of betrayal towards Comoros”.
Djamil Ahmat reports that Chadian president Déby named his son Mahamat Idriss Déby, 24, general of brigade [fr] along with 4 other officers. Tchadanthopus adds that his other son Zackaria Idriss Deby was allegedly offered to be vice-president [fr] with executive power when his father is out of the country.
Makaila ‘s blog published [fr] a petition cosigned by several human right organizations in Chad that bemoans the absence of investigation regarding war crimes. In addition, the petition notes [fr] that :
We would like to take this opportunity to emphasize the fact that the executive power mingling into the judicial power facilitates the use of justice as a mean of repression and/or score settling against opinion leaders that include union leaders, journalists and human rights activists.
Blogger Malaika reports [fr] that the plane carrying Chad president Idriss Deby botched its landing in the Kalait region. No one was hurt in the accident. The president was to take part in a forum on development and peace in the region.
The RJDH-RCA (The Human Rights Journalists Network of the Central African Republic) reports that [fr] armed rebels claiming to be a faction of the CPJP (Convention of the Patriots for Justice and Peace) attacked the national army in the cities of Sibut and Damara in the North of the country. A speaker of the CPJP denies the implication of the CPJP and asserts that the attackers are rebels from Chad.
Victorien Ndakass from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that 5,000 new refugees from the Central African Republic have crossed over to Chad [fr] since June. This movement of population is due to the resurgence of the rebel movement lead by Abdoulaye Miskine [fr] in the North of the country.
Commenting former Chad president Hissene Habré's extradition to his homeland, makaila.over-blog observes [fr]: “Many Senegalese analysts are already questionning whether this is just a diversion by the Senegalese embattled president. The opposition and civil society organizations were planning for a massive gathering on July 9th”. The rally was ultimately banned by the authorities.