African Defence Review

WEEKINAFRICA

20 October 2017
The WEEKINAFRICA is a collection of key defence and security stories happening on the continent that the writers at African Defence review have picked up on. Things we can't write about at length, but which we felt you should know about. Please pass it on to friends who could use this weekly security update.

The African Union Mission in Somalia's Ugandan Contingent Commander, Brigadier General Kayanja Muhanga, visits the site of a VBIED attack conducted by the militant group al Shabaab in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on October 15, 2017. AMISOM Photo / Tobin Jones

October 19, 2017

Machar may be moved to Dubai

South Sudan

In an effort to keep him away from the already-tenuous peace process in South Sudan, Radio Tamazuj reports that IGAD may move Machar to a different exile location in Dubai. For his part, Machar is adamant that he cannot meaningfully participate in any peace process while under ongoing ‘house arrest’. [source]

October 17, 2017

SAPS request SANDF assistance in townships

South Africa

On Tuesday 10 October South Africa’s police minister issued a call for the South African military to intervene into the ganglands of Cape Town. The move was widely praised by local residents in areas such as Manenberg and Philippi East, which experience widespread violence and near-daily shootings, and where a military intervention understandably looks like a godsend. But putting troops in the streets of Cape Town would be a dangerous, reckless last resort. DARREN OLIVIER and JOHN STUPART navigate the slippery slope.

October 16, 2017

Nigerian government begins secret trials of 1,600 Boko Haram suspects

Nigeria

At Kainji detention facility in Niger State, a four judge panel was scheduled to being trials for some 1,600 people suspected of links to Boko Haram. The trials are to be held in secret, ostensibly to protest the identities of witnesses, or other sources of information – but critics have raised concerns about a lack of transparency, particularly given Nigeria’s past heavy-handed approach to counter-terrorism and the application of rule of law. An additional 651 suspects held in Maiduguri will go on trial once the Kainji trials conclude, but the Ministry of Justice has refused to provide specific details about the progress or outcomes of the trials. [source]

October 15, 2017

A mass grave discovered in DRC

Democratic Republic of the Congo

DRC officials and MONUSCO peacekeepers visited a mass grave containing the bodies of 25 civilians and a single FARDC soldier, believed to have been killed by militants in ambushes in Beni region in North Kivu. The bodies were found tied up and most appeared to have had their necks broken. In the days after the attacks took place, ADF militants. [source]

October 15, 2017

Chad withdraws troops from anti-Boko Haram operations in Niger … or does it?

Niger

Nigerien authorities and NGOs reported that Chadian forces had withdrawn from Niger, where they had been assisting combating Boko Haram militants. Chadian authorities have given mixed messages in response – suggesting the move was a response to the implementation of US sanctions on Chad – or denying the withdrawal entirely, saying that troops were merely being redeployed.

October 14, 2017

French military-chartered aircraft crashes in Ivory Coast

Cote d'Ivoire

An Antonov 26 cargo plane carrying ten people crashed en route from Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) to Adidjan in Ivory Coast. Four Moldovan nationals were killed and two others were injured when the French military-charted aircraft crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff. [source]

 

October 14, 2017

Suspected Al-Shabaab VBIED kills over 300 people in Mogadishu

Somalia

A large VBIED detonated in the middle of heavy traffic on the KM4 route in Hodan District, Mogadishu. The VBIED wiped out dozens of vehicles and demolished several nearby buildings – making casualty assessments difficult. One narrative for the attack suggests the VBIED targeted the Safari Hotel – which was then assaulted by gunmen (a complex attack type that has been seen previously in Mogadishu). Another narrative suggests the VBIED prematurely detonated, and was actually intended for Ministry buildings. Supporting that latter theory is the fact that no group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet. 300 civilian deaths is not good PR for al-Shabaab. The attack was the largest single bombing in terms of casualties experienced in Somalia. [Hodon district]