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On the Margins Roundup (September 2016)

[Image of a pottery manufacture in Kalabougou, Mali. Image by Marco Bellucci/Flickr] [Image of a pottery manufacture in Kalabougou, Mali. Image by Marco Bellucci/Flickr]

[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 info@jadaliyya.com.]

Comoros

The Gulf Arab States Buy Influence in Comoros the Arab League’s southernmost member made headlines after Comoros expressed solidarity with Saudi Arabia by severing ties with Iran, which Comorian officials accused of waging “aggression” against the kingdom and its neighbors.

East Africa: October 30th Set for New Ethiopian Route Ethiopian Airlines has finalised plans to launch flights to Moroni, Comoros, starting October 30th. 

New Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Commission makes security his priority The newly appointed Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) said Thursday that security will be his priority during his four-year mandate.

Djibouti

Djibouti: Defense Chief Tomomi Inada meets Maritime Self-Defense Force New Defense Minister Tomomi Inada visited Djibouti in eastern Africa on Monday to meet with Self-Defense Forces personnel engaged in the anti-piracy mission off Somalia.

We Welcome China In Djibouti, Just As We Welcomed The West Djibouti’s foreign minister pushes back on assertions China is elbowing Americans out of the strategic East African footprint

Ethiopian Food Aid Jammed Up in Djibouti Port Bags of wheat speed down multiple conveyor belts to be heaved onto trucks lined up during the middle of a blisteringly hot afternoon beside the busy docks of Djibouti Port.

Djibouti: China builds first overseas Military Outpost It was February this year when camel drivers first spotted the Chinese troops staking out a patch of coastal scrubland about 8 miles from the largest U.S. military base in Africa.

Djibouti a logistic centre not a military base: Chinese media China has no intention of following the US pattern of establishing military bases around the world to project its power over other countries, state-run Global Times said.

Houthis Receive Weapons through Djibouti, Judicial Investigations Disclosed Aden-Despite the naval blockade imposed by coalition forces in Yemen since the launch of “Decisive Storm” in March 2015, Houthi rebels and their ally ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh are still receiving high-tech and numerous military weapons from different sources in order to continue their war against Yemeni citizens.

Djibouti: Where forced displacement and migration meet In the context of the upcoming UN High Level Meeting on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, this blog offers a field-level perspective from Djibouti on refugee and migrant movements.

Djibouti Bets Big On Chinese Energy Demand Construction work is set to begin on a $4 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline project, underscoring Djibouti’s efforts to strengthen its status as an energy trans-shipment hub for East Africa.

Mali

Mali is the latest African country to impose a social media blackout It hasn’t been a good week for internet freedom in Africa, with three countries imposing social media blackouts, according to the campaign Keep it On.

Mali Frees Arrested Radio Host After Deadly Protest Authorities in Mali have released a radio host whose arrest caused violent protests in the capital that killed at least one person and injured more than a dozen others.

9 killed in inter-communal clashes in Mali Violence between Fulani and Bambara erupts in West African nation

Militant Who Destroyed Mali Cultural Sites Pleads Guilty To War Crimes A former Malian rebel leader has pleaded guilty at the International Criminal Court to destroying priceless monuments in Timbuktu in 2012.

Ashanti, Alecto to jointly develop Mali gold project Canadian junior Ashanti Gold (CVE:AGZ) has signed a non-binding letter of intent (LOI) with Alecto Minerals (AIM:ALO), which will allow it to earn a 65% in the Africa-focused firm’s Kassanto gold project in western Mali.

Ottawa sends fact-finding mission to Mali to study peacekeeping operations The federal government is sending a “reconnaissance mission” to take a closer look at the United Nations peacekeeping operations in Mali.

Mali’s peacekeeping needs are ‘obvious’: Bibeau While many countries have asked Canada for help with peacekeeping, International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said Thursday that Mali’s needs are some of the most obvious.

Mali regains control of central town from armed group Unidentified gunmen kidnap a local official and leave Boni town they briefly held.

Extreme flooding predicted to hit Mali's Inner Niger Delta Flooding in 2016 could be the highest in 50 years, but a web-based forecasting system is alerting people in advance.

Mali unveils restored mosque nearly destroyed by jihadists Timbuktu (Mali)- The doors of a revered 15th-century mosque hacked apart by jihadists in Mali's ancient city of Timbuktu four years ago were unveiled on Monday restored to their former glory.

Mauritania

Mauritania Anti-Slavery Activists 'Tortured in Custody' Thirteen anti-slavery activists in Mauritania on trial for "rebellion and use of violence" told a court on Monday that they had been tortured during their detention, their lawyer said.

Masdar extends foothold in Mauritania as Solar projects grow Masdar has expanded the cap­acity of its solar project in Mauritania by more than 38 per cent, increasing Abu Dhabi’s foothold in the country’s renewable energy sector, a company official said yesterday.

Mauritania jails 13 anti-slavery activists International activists say the verdict is a "devastating blow to the Mauritanian anti-slavery movement".
Morocco and Mauritania's rocky relations What further strained relations is that the Mauritanian president began to give this tension a personal dimension.

Aura Energy heads to Aim with uranium projects in Mauritania and Sweden. The world needs to grasp the importance of nuclear power for its future energy security, the boss of a uranium miner has said, as it prepares to list in London.

Noura Mint Seymali: Arbina review – an album to put Mauritania on the musical map Compared with its neighbours Mali and Senegal, Mauritania has enjoyed little international recognition for its music, but Noura Mint Seymali intends to put that right.

Mauritania: Prospects made for first Palestine embassy President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, arrived in Noukchott on Thursday, where he laid a foundation stone for the first Palestinian embassy in Mauritania. 

Somalia

US adds Islamic State commander in Somalia to list of global terrorists The US Department of State added the commander of the Islamic State’s nascent force in Somalia to its list of specailly designated global terrorists today.

U.N. worried La Nina will worsen 'dire' drought in Somalia.
The La Nina weather phenomenon is likely to worsen drought and hunger in Somalia, especially in the north where many people and their animals are migrating in search of water after four failed rainy seasons, the United Nations said on Thursday.

UN report urges Somalia to ensure freedom of expression as it is critical to political transition A United Nations report on freedom of expression in Somalia released today describes progress in state-building in Somalia, but shows the very challenging environment that continues to confront journalists, human rights defenders and political leaders, including numerous killings, arrests, intimidation and closure of critical media outlets.

Somalia imposes Kenyan khat import ban
But the semi-autonomous region Puntland region is among some federal states defying the ban. Khat is popular in Somalia but it is grown in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Somalia hosts first African leaders summit in decades Heads of states gather in capital to discuss regional issues, in talks hailed as an "endorsement of country's recovery".

Kenya and Somalia are facing off in court over an oil-rich triangle of the Indian Ocean Kenya and Somalia are in dispute over a potentially lucrative, triangular stretch of 100,000 square kilometers of offshore territory believed to contain large oil and gas deposits.

Somalia food crisis: 300,000 children need help, says UN Nearly five million people in Somalia are suffering from a shortage of food due to poor rainfall, floods and displacement, the United Nations says.

Somalia’s Presidential Election for 14,000 People The vote was supposed to mark the culmination of the war-wracked country’s democratic transition. Instead, it’s a backroom deal greased with Gulf petrodollars.

South Sudan

Food rations cut as South Sudan refugee influx to Uganda overwhelms agencies The United Nations plans to halve food rations for 200,000 refugees in Uganda, following an "overwhelming" influx of South Sudanese fleeing attacks, forced recruitment, hunger and rape, the U.N. food agency said on Wednesday.

Kenyan President Urges South Sudan to Fully Execute Peace Deal Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is urging South Sudan's leaders to implement last year's peace deal and stabilize the country.

South Sudan officially joins East African Community South Sudan became a new member with full and equal rights, obligations and privileges after depositing the instrument of ratification on the Accession to the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.

UN panel blames South Sudan leaders for Juba violence Fighting that killed more than 300 people and forced opposition head to flee directed at top military level, UN says.

South Sudan's Kiir and Machar profited during war - report South Sudan's political and military elite have made themselves rich while the country has struggled under a civil war of their making, a report says.

South Sudan: Surviving on goat bones and water lilies Nearly half of the war-torn country is facing "catastrophic" food shortages, aid group warns.

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