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On the Margins Roundup (June-August 2016)

[Image from Wikipedia] [Image from Wikipedia]


[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, Mauritania, Djibouti, and Comoros Islands and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the On the Margins Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each month's roundup to] 


Comoros: Comoro, Tanzania Vow to Strengthen Bilateral Relations Comoro President Azali Assoumani has assured Tanzania that his government shall continue strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries especially in business, health and education sectors.

Stateless and for Sale in the Gulf Last year, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) handed Semira, 19, a passport for the Comoro Islands, one of the poorest nations on earth, and told her she had 11 months to leave. Although she had been stateless all her life, Semira was born and raised in Dubai and had fully embraced its cosmopolitan culture.

Kuwait denies Comoros citizenship agreement The 2014 plan to offer stateless people citizenship in Comoros to help settle the issue has been criticised by lawmakers.


Djibouti faces new kid on the block Despite Ramadan, there is no slackening at Djibouti's ports. Under the relentless sun, whippet-thin men glistening with sweat work the docks, taking what refuge they can in the shade cast by machinery and stacks of cargo.

Ramadan in Djibouti  It seems obvious that fasting between sunrise and sunset for the month of Ramadan would hurt productivity. But in the port city of Djibouti, East Africa’s premier trade hub, there can’t be any letup, even during Islam’s most holy month.

ICC refers Uganda, Djibouti to U.N. for failure to arrest Sudan's Al-Bashir The International Criminal Court said on Tuesday it had referred the governments of Uganda and Djibouti to the UN Security Council for failing to arrest Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir while he was on their territory.

Djibouti signs $75 million financing deal with Saudi firm for fuel imports Djibouti has approved a $75 million financing agreement with a unit of Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Development Bank to help the Horn of Africa nation to buy refined petroleum products, its energy minister said.

Ethiopia, Djibouti, China To Launch $4B Natural Gas Project Ethiopia says physical work on a massive $4 billion cooperative natural gas project between Ethiopia, Djibouti, and China will soon be launched.

The U.S. Military Is Patrolling Djibouti With Robot Golf Carts At the best of times, military patrol duty is equally boring and important. Physically being in a place reminds others that the military is there, armed and ready to take action. It’s a good way to watch a lot of space for signs of hostile activity, but it also commits a lot of people to the work of patrolling, and puts them at risk.

Djibouti, Sudan move by ICC gives hope to Zim The International Criminal Court this week referred two member states -- Djibouti and Uganda -- to the UN Security Council for failing to arrest Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. 


Security Council extends mandates of UN peacekeeping operations in Darfur, Golan and Mali The Security Council took action today on three United Nations-led peacekeeping operations, extending the mandates of operations in Mali, Darfur, and the Golan Heights.

Mali site added to List of World Heritage in Danger – UNESCO The Committee that establishes the locations that are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, has today added the Old Towns of Djenné in Mali to the List of World Heritage in Danger, due to insecurity, which is affecting the area and preventing the implementation of protective measures for the site.

Colombia or Mali? Where are Canadian troops headed next? Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says the Canadian military will be able to take on a peacekeeping mission despite committing troops to a new and open-ended NATO operation in eastern Europe.

Northern Mali: Al-Qaeda commander killed in raid Media sources say that Al Qeda’s commander in Northern Mali has been killed. According to a group that monitors online extremist activity, Abu Bakr al-Shinqiti was killed during a raid on a Malian army barracks near the border with Burkina Faso.

Armed groups kill 17 soldiers at Mali base Another 35 troops were wounded in what the government says was a "coordinated terrorist attack".

Mali: UN mission decries deadly attack against Malian military camp The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali today strongly condemned an attack against a military camp and its checkpoints in Nampala, in the central part of the country.

Mali Extends State Of Emergency After Series Of Deadly Attacks Mali is extending a state of emergency after a series of deadly attacks — including an assault on an army camp on Tuesday that killed 17 soldiers.

Surge in violence hits aid delivery to millions in Mali A surge in violence in northern Mali and a spike in attacks on aid workers are hindering the delivery of food, water and healthcare to millions of people, aid agencies said on Wednesday.

Barkhane commander promises to reduce potential terrorists in Mali The French Major General Patrick Brethous, commander of the Barkhane anti-terror operation, on Wednesday promised to reduce the number of terrorists in Mali, after meeting with the Burkina Faso president in the capital city of Ouagadougou.


Canada's Kinross suspends work at Mauritania gold mine Canada's Kinross Gold Corp has suspended activity at its Tasiast mine in Mauritania after the West African country ordered expatriates whose work permits were invalid to stop working, a company source said.

Mauritania gold mine production suspended Production has been suspended at a giant Canadian-owned gold mine in Mauritania after the state ordered expatriates whose work permits had expired to stay home, a company spokesman told reporters on Saturday.

Mauritania opens new international airport ahead of Arab League Summit Mauritanian has inaugurated its new international airport in the capital Nouakchott ahead of the 27th Arab League Summit which will be hosted in the country in July.

Mauritania arrests nine anti-slavery activists Mauritanian authorities have arrested nine anti-slavery activists and accused them of starting a riot in which several police officers were injured and a bus was burned, activist leaders said on Sunday.

Arab League 2016 summit puts spotlight on isolated Mauritania Mauritania is so adamant to hold this year’s Arab League summit, set to begin on Tuesday, so much so that it has said it is willing to host it in a “tent” if need be. And it has stuck to its promise.

Arab Summit in Mauritania: PFLP Stresses “No Confidence” In response to the final statement of the 27th Arab Summit, in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) stressed that it has no confidence in what it describes as a carbon copy of the resolutions of the Arab summits, in recent years.

Mauritania: Drop all charges and release anti-slavery activists Authorities in Mauritania must drop all charges and immediately and unconditionally release 13 anti-slavery activists arbitrarily detained in an attempt to intimidate and silence human rights defenders, Amnesty International and 16 other civil society organisations said today.


Somalia's limited polls overshadowed by clan rivalries and al-Shabaab Hopes for a new government in August tempered by fears of bribery and violence, says Michael Keating, head of UN mission in Mogadishu

Joint Communiqué: Ministerial Tripartite Commission for the Voluntary Repatriation of Somali Refugees from Kenya to Somalia The Tripartite Commission for the Voluntary Repatriation of Somali Refugees living in Kenya met in Nairobi to discuss the modalities of the repatriation process of Somali refugees to Somalia in the context of the Government of Kenya’s decision to close the Dadaab camps.

Inside the secret Somalia rehab camp for former Shabab members For the first time, a journalist gets access to the Mogadishu camp where about 500 former Somali Shabab members are being held.

Somalia: Al-Shabaab launches fatal attack on Mogadishu hotel At least 14 killed and nine wounded following suicide bombing and gun battle at the city’s Naasa Hablood hotel

Somalia: Al-Shabab attack at Nasa Hablod hotel kills 15 At least 15 people killed and another 20 wounded in coordinated assault on Nasa Hablod hotel in Somalia's capital.

African Union troops in Somalia not paid for six months The allowances for African troops fighting al-Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia have not been paid for at least six months, the BBC has learned.

US Urged to Use 'Soft Power' in Somalia The United States must pursue a different approach in helping stabilize Somalia following the appointment of the first U.S.  Ambassador to Somalia in more than 25 years, said a former Somali diplomat and respected foreign policy analyst.

Somalia’s First Female Presidential Candidate Vows to Negotiate With Al Shabaab Fadumo Dayib is the first woman to run for president of Somalia. And she has some pretty high expectations of what she would like to achieve if she’s elected president of a country that’s faced over two decades of instability.

Security Council extends African Union mission in Somalia Reauthorizing the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) until 31 May 2017, the United Nations Security Council today set out key objectives for the operation during its new mandate, including “to reduce the threat posed by Al-Shabaab and other armed opposition groups.”

Kenya plans to repatriate 150,000 Somali refugees by end of 2016 The plan was revealed in a statement issued after the Tripartite Commission for the Voluntary Repatriation of Somali Refugees living in Kenya held a meeting over the weekend.

South Sudan

South Sudan will not celebrate Independence Day South Sudan has announced not to celebrate its Independence Day this year due to economic crisis which has prevented preparations as there is no money to do so.

More than 300 dead as South Sudan capital is rocked by violence UN security council urges end to fighting in Juba between troops loyal to president and vice-president amid civil war fears

'South Sudan chaos result of US-backed efforts to disrupt China's oil rights' The US, Europe and the UN should blame themselves for forcing South Sudan to take over its own affairs when it wasn’t mature enough to do so, says Ayo Johnson, founder of ‘Viewpoint Africa’.

South Sudan: UN human rights expert calls for the release of journalist Alfred Taban A United Nations human rights expert today urged the Government of South Sudan to immediately release Alfred Taban, a prominent journalist and chief editor of the daily English newspaper, Juba Monitor.

What's hampering peace in South Sudan? Doubts over a plan that was supposed to end the civil war following the replacement of Vice President Riek Machar.

South Sudan president advised to stop war South Sudan President, Salva Kiir, has not indicated willingness to heed an appeal by the head of Roman Catholic, whom he personally met and held talks aimed at ending conflict in 2015 in Kampala, capital of neighbouring Uganda and who later had to send a special envoy to deliver peace message. 

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