G5 Sahel Leaders To Meet After Deadly Niger Attack

In this file photo taken on August 10, 2018 Mali’s incumbent president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita addresses his supporters during his last political rally in Bamako ahead of the runoff vote in Mali’s presidential election on August 12, 2018. 
Michele CATTANI / AFP

 

G5 Sahel leaders will meet Sunday for an emergency summit in Niger to coordinate their response to a Jihadist attack on an army camp that killed 71 military personnel, Mali and Niger said.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the assault, in which hundreds of jihadists on Tuesday attacked the camp near the border with Mali with shells and mortars.

“Yesterday our neighbour Niger buried 71 of its soldiers who died by the bullets of those who want to spread chaos,” Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita told an audience in Bamako on Saturday.

“We will not fail in our solidarity with Niger and tomorrow my brothers of the G5 Sahel and I will go to Niamey and we will consult together,” he said.

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The G5 Sahel, an anti-jihadist task force, comprises Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania, and Chad.

The Niger presidency confirmed the summit to AFP.

The attack in Inates in the western Tillaberi region was the deadliest on Niger’s military since Islamist militant violence began to spill over from neighbouring Mali in 2015, and dealt a blow to efforts to roll back jihadism in the Sahel.

Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou raced back in the night from a security and development conference in Egypt to chair a meeting of the National Security Council in Niamey. Three days of national mourning were declared.

Militant violence has spread across the vast Sahel region, especially in Burkina Faso and Niger, after it began when armed Islamists revolted in northern Mali in 2012.

Tuesday’s attack prompted French President Emmanuel Macron to postpone a meeting scheduled for next week in the southwestern French town of Pau, where he and five presidents from the Sahel were due to discuss security in the region.

The talks will now take place early next year.

AFP

Mali President Fires Defense Minister After Gunmen Seize Village

maliMali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has fired Defence Minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly after suspected Islamist militants briefly seized the village of Boni in the center of the country on Friday, state television said late on Saturday.

Coulibaly is being replaced by Abdoulaye Idrissa Maiga, a former minister for territorial administration, who was also the president’s campaign director at the 2013 election.

The attackers, who are suspected of belonging to the Ansar Dine group, burned public buildings and took an elected local official hostage before withdrawing after a few hours. No one was killed and the army is back in control, witnesses said.

The raid was the latest in a series this year in Mali, reflecting a rise in the power of Islamist groups that have spread a campaign of violence from the north to the center of the country only a few hundreds miles from the capital Bamako.

Armed groups have proliferated since Islamists took advantage of an ethnic Tuareg uprising in 2012 to seize the north of the desert country.

A French-led intervention drove Islamists back in 2013 but instability has continued and undermines a fragile U.N.-backed peace process.

Islamist militants killed 17 Malian soldiers and wounded 35 when they attacked an army base in the central Malian town of Nampala in July. Ansar Dine and a Peul ethnic militia both claimed responsibility for that attack.

Jonathan Condemns Killing Of Emir Of Gwoza, Urges Nigerians To Unite

Goodluck-JonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan has extended condolences to the Government and people of Borno State, as well as Northern Traditional Rulers on the death on Friday of the Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Idrissa Shehu Timta.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, President Jonathan utterly condemned “the heinous murder of the Emir by brigands and terrorists” who waylaid the convoy in which he was travelling with two other Emirs.

The President believes that the brazen attack and the wanton slaying of the respected traditional ruler reinforces the vital need, which he emphasized in his Democracy Day Broadcast, for all patriotic Nigerians, irrespective of where they come from, their religions or political loyalties, to come together and work with urgency and complete unity of purpose to quickly end the murderous attacks by terrorists and insurgents that continue to threaten the security, cohesion and well-being of the nation.

The President reassured the nation that Nigeria’s Armed Forces and security agencies would continue to receive all the empowerment and support they require from the Federal Government to speedily give maximum effect to his orders that they take all necessary action to stop the brigands, terrorists and insurgents “who descended to new depths of infamy yesterday with the dastardly killing of a First Class Traditional Ruler.”

The President prays that Almighty Allah would receive the soul of the slain Emir and grant his family and subjects the equanimity to bear his loss.

Insurgency: FG Reveals ECOWAS Summit Resolution, Reacts To Emir’s Killing

Dr Reuben AbatiHeads of states and governments of West African states have resolved to share intelligence and cooperate with Nigeria in the fight against boko haram in Nigeria.

The resolution was following the extraordinary session of the ECOWAS which held in Accra, Ghana over the weekend.

Briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, said that assisting Nigeria would not only ensure stability in the region, but engender sustainable development with the West African sub region.

ECOWAS member nations were said to have condemned the terrorist activities in Nigeria and resolved that whatever happened in Nigeria or Mali or any other West African country was a concern of everyone because they all share a common destiny.

The President was in Ghana when news came in that the terrorists had attacked and killed the Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Idrissa Shehu Timta.

The President expressed sadness over the death of the Emir in the hands of the Boko Haram, saying that the incident showed the desperation of the terrorists to destabilise the country, pledging that at the end of the day Nigeria would prevail; no matter how desperate the Boko Haram terrorists might be.

He said that the Government was determined to rid the country of terrorism.

Just back from the ECOWAS extraordinary summit in Ghana, President Goodluck Jonathan met with the Malian President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, in the Presidential Villa to further discuss matters concerning the fight against terror.

He also played host to Sheik Tijani Nyass from Senegal.  The sheik, who came with some Islamic scholars, was said to have made innumerable contributions towards the establishment of an enduring peace and love in Nigeria since 1963 and has prayed that the issue of terror would soon be a thing of the past in the country.

The Presidency also had to clear the air on whether it was giving amnesty for the Boko Haram or not, and Dr Abati explained that the President might not have used the word amnesty but that opportunities have been created for the Boko Haram terrorists who are willing to renounce terrorism and embrace peace.

Mali Government Resigns, New PM Appointed

Mali’s government has resigned and town planning minister Moussa Mara will become prime minister, a presidential spokesman said on State Television late on Saturday.Mali's PM Oumar Tatam Ly speaks during a joint news conference with EU Council President Van Rompuy in Brussels

Outgoing prime minister Oumar Tatam Ly submitted the entire government’s resignation to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Saturday and it was accepted, the statement said.

His replacement Mara, a political veteran who ran against Keita in Mali’s August Presidential election, will be responsible for appointing new ministers.

No time frame was given for the appointments.

Under the Malian system, a reshuffle is normal following legislative elections.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, known universally by his initials IBK, was elected on a pledge to unite Mali and is seeking to rebuild the country from the ashes of a war against Islamists.

The West African country was plunged into chaos by a Tuareg rebellion in early 2012, followed shortly by a military coup. Islamist militants took advantage of the chaos and seized the desert north, forcing France to intervene in its ex-colony.