• Soudan, Soudan du Sud, Tchad: guerres sans fin, guerriers sans frein

    Des conflits ensanglantent différentes régions du Soudan presque sans interruption depuis l’indépendance du pays, il y a cinquante ans. Mais en réalité, le Darfour, le Kordofan du Sud, le Nil Bleu, les collines de la mer Rouge et le Soudan du Sud (indépendant depuis 2011 mais toujours en guerre) souffrent d’une seule et même guerre qui s’est installée dans la durée. Les communautés du Soudan et du Soudan du Sud, comme du Tchad voisin, fournissent des recrues en masse aux différentes forces en présence. Les civils, à commencer par ceux qui occupent des fonctions traditionnellement militarisées, sont recyclés en soldats de métier, contribuant à rendre floue la distinction entre civils et militaires. Dans tout le Sahel, la criminalisation des anciens combattants rebelles bénéficie surtout aux pouvoirs en place, qui, accusant leurs ennemis de n’être que des bandits, voire des terroristes, en profitent pour refuser de dialoguer avec eux.

  • A big-picture look at the world’s worst Ebola epidemic: West Africa, 2013-2016

    The 2013-2016 West African Ebola epidemic dwarfed all previous central African outbreaks of the virus, sickening more than 28,000 people and killing more than 11,000 of them. New study of the epidemic reveals insights into factors that sped or slowed the rampage – for example, that the epidemic unfolded in small, overlapping outbreaks with surprisingly few infected travelers sparking new outbreaks elsewhere, each case representing a missed opportunity to break the transmission chain and end the epidemic sooner. Scientists call for using real-time sequencing and data-sharing to contain future viral disease outbreaks.

  • Improving predictions of outbreaks of Ebola, Lassa fever

    Many of the major new outbreaks of disease, particularly in Africa, are so-called zoonotic infections, diseases that are transmitted to humans from animals. The Ebola virus, for example, which recently killed over 11,000 people across Africa, was most likely transmitted to humans from fruit bats. Potential outbreaks of diseases such as Ebola and Lassa fever may be more accurately predicted thanks to a new mathematical model developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge. This could in turn help inform public health messages to prevent outbreaks spreading more widely.

  • Climate change: Less impact on drought than previously expected

    As a multiyear drought grinds on in the Southwestern United States, many wonder about the impact of global climate change on more frequent and longer dry spells. As humans emit more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, how will water supply for people, farms, and forests be affected? Reduced precipitation will increase droughts across southern North America, southern Europe and northeastern South America. But the results show that in Central Africa and temperate Asia—including China, the Middle East, East Asia and most of Russia—water conservation by plants will largely counteract the parching due to climate change.

  • Identifying, utilizing water resources in Africa drylands

    Researchers say that by 2050, almost half of the world’s population will live in countries with a chronic water shortage. In African drylands, it is not a water shortage problem, but an inability to capture water for food and other uses. Israeli scientists help villagers in Ethiopia, Zambia, and Uganda to identify water sources and test water quality – and also better capture and use water which is available.

  • Smart handpumps predict depths of groundwater in Africa

    The amount of groundwater in Africa is estimated to be over 100 time’s greater than annual renewable freshwater sources in the region. Around one million hand pumps supply groundwater to people in rural Africa. Groundwater is used by around 200 million rural Africans every day because it is a widely available, reliable, and safe source of drinking water. Yet according to a new research paper, although groundwater is critical to Africa’s growth and development, there is currently too little data to effectively manage this critical resource.

  • Space technology identifies land degradation in West Africa

    Researchers map regional droughts from space which can affect the livelihood of millions of people in West Africa. Soil moisture observations can map land degradation with more accuracy than typical rainfall data as soil moisture directly leads to plant growth. Study shows that the land conditions across much of West Africa have improved between 1982 and2012 based on soil moisture observations.

  • Tunisian Islamist Party: Time to “bury” democracy

    The Tunisian branch of the radical Islamist Hizb ut-Tahrir movement, which advocates Islamic law and wants to unify Muslims into a caliphate, said Saturday it was time to “bury” democracy. “Democracy no longer attracts anyone,” the movement’s politburo chief Abderraouf Amri told its annual conference. “It is time to announce its death and work to bury it.” Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in several countries and Tunisian authorities regularly accuse it of “disturbing public order.” Hundreds of party members took part in the congress near Tunis, praising “the caliphate, savior of humanity” and denouncing “persecution” by the democratic system.

  • Tunisie: Une islamisation rampante menace les libertés

    Un metteur en scène agressé, un DJ britannique condamné par contumace à un an de prison, des appels à la fermeture de débits d’alcool. L’image de la Tunisie tolérante, ouverte et progressiste relèvera bientôt du mythe, dénonce cette chroniqueuse tunisienne. C’est bel et bien le verdict surréaliste rendu [le 6 avril] par un tribunal tunisien à l’encontre du DJ britannique ayant mixé, dans une discothèque [à Hammamet, dans le cadre du festival de musique Orbit Festival, du 31 mars au 1er avril], l’appel à la prière. L’artiste est accusé d’outrage public à la pudeur, d’atteinte aux bonnes mœurs et à la morale publique. Comme la cabale menée sur les réseaux sociaux, le harcèlement et les menaces de mort à l’encontre du DJ ne suffisaient pas, le gouverneur, un nidaiste [du parti au pouvoir Nidaa Tounès] notoire, s’est vu investi de la noble mission de défendre la foi bafouée.

  • Uganda to Retire Bush War-era generals

    Uganda has unveiled an eight-year timetable that will see nearly all generals from the bush war era retire. Among those to exit the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) is Gen David Sejusa, who will be retired next year. Two years after the former Coordinator of Intelligence Services walks away from an army with which he has had a love-and-hate relationship for more than three decades, Gen Sejusa (formerly known as Tinyefuza) will be joined in civilian life by police chief, Gen Kale Kayihura, whose year of retirement on the schedule is 2020.

  • Machar-allied South Sudan rebels take control of Raja

    Rebels with the South Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), allied with rebel leader Riek Machar, on Friday attacked Raja town, the capital of Lol state. SPLM-IO Secretary-General Tingo Peter confirmed his forces now controlled Raja after clashing with government troops. “Since 12 o’clock, we captured Raja, and it is now totally under our control. Even now, our forces are looking for the governor. They are trying to see where he is,” Peter said. Lol Governor Rizik Zachariah Gassan and his entire cabinet fled the area, according to Peter. Peter said the SPLM-IO was asking civilians in Raja to remain calm as their forces combed the town for government soldiers who might be hiding in residential areas.

  • Kiir signs oil deals with shady entities in effort to turn economy round

    The South Sudanese government is signing deals with shady wheeler dealers, some of whom may be out to take advantage of Juba’s financial crisis. In less than four months, President Salva Kiir, who is presiding over a cash-strapped economy ravaged by a conflict that is teetering towards genocide, has received offers from agents of established companies, organizations and non-descript financing groups, all dangling deals worth billions of dollars that critics warn will mortgage the country and its resources for generations. Critics in Juba worry that Kiir’s urgent need for cash may push him into the hands of con-men, and that even legitimate companies could take advantage to secure sweet deals for themselves while leaving the country with peanuts.

  • Niger: “La victoire sur Boko Haram ne sera pas que militaire”

    Après avoir longtemps épargné le Niger, Boko Haram a commis sa première attaque sur le territoire en février 2015 à Diffa, chef-lieu de la région du même nom, dans le sud-est du pays. Le groupe terroriste a ensuite multiplié ses actions au Niger: attaques et incendies de villages, raids contre des casernes de l’armée, tentatives d’attentats-suicides. Les habitants de 211 villages, soit près de 200 000 personnes, ont dû fuir les exactions de Boko Haram sur les berges de la rivière Komadougou et dans le lit du lac Tchad pour se réfugier sur des sites spontanés le long de la route nationale numéro 1. Selon un décompte établi par les organisations humanitaires, près de 300 personnes ont été tuées par Boko Haram en deux ans au Niger.

  • Au Cameroun en guerre contre Boko Haram, des rescapées racontent: “J'ai trouvé les enfants en morceaux”

    Elles ne connaissent pas la cause des explosions qui ont tué leurs enfants. Début mars, ces mères et leur famille, victimes collatérales des violents combats qui opposent les forces gouvernementales à la secte islamiste Boko Haram, dans le nord du Cameroun, à la frontière avec le Nigeria, ont été admises à l’hôpital régional de Maroua. Dans cet établissement, l’ONG Médecins sans frontières (MSF) et le ministère camerounais de la santé fournissent depuis août 2016 une prise en charge gratuite de la chirurgie d’urgence et des soins postopératoires.

  • Mgwebi to stay on as MONUSCO Force commander for another year

    To many in South African military circles he is the epitome of the professional officer and further testimony to this comes with the renewal of Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi’s contract as MONUSCO Force Commander in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for another year. This was confirmed to this week by Charles Bambara, director of the MONUSCO public information division in Kinshasa, and follows the extension of the mission’s mandate by the UN Security council – albeit with reduced troop numbers – for another year. Mgwebi took up the post at the start of last year after being appointed by then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for a year. Bambara told defenseWeb: “General Mgwebi is still in charge as MONUSCO Force Commander. I am not aware of any plan for him to leave the mission soon and, like all staff in a peacekeeping mission, contracts are renewed once a year.”