My Weblog

December 15, 2006

Meanwhile in South Africa

Filed under: Afrika — limewoody @ 10:13 pm

I sincerely hope that events in Iraq have inched Americans toward a less Disneyfied view of democracy. It is a mistake to doggedly conflate democracy with freedom, and “the freedom to vote” with liberty. Majority rule, especially as it applies in Middle Eastern and African countries, doesn’t always empower the right people.Which brings me to another, less-than Magic Kingdom: my old homeland, South Africa, RIP.

The irony of President Bush’s Dec. 8 meeting with Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s president, went unnoticed. Democratic South Africa is yet another spot where the rule of the demos has turned a once-prosperous, if politically problematic, place into a lawless ramshackle.

South Africa is now the most violent country outside a war zone. The country, writes Scott Baldauf of the Christian Science Monitor, has “the highest recorded per capita murder rate in the world – with 59 homicides per 100,000 people. … The U.S., by comparison, had six.” So violent is the “free” South Africa that, for a period, the freewheeling African National Congress government imposed an official blackout on national crime statistics. It now releases them once yearly.

In 2003, South Africa had 21,553 murders (population 44.6 million). In comparison, the “high crime” United States (population 288.2 million) suffered 16,110 murders in the same year. According to Baldauf, the number of homicides in South Africa dipped to 19,824 in 2004. The U.S., with 293 million at the time, had 16,150.

The last statistics available, courtesy of the CBS, “showed that between April 2004 and March 2005, 18,793 people were murdered in South Africa, an average of 51 a day in a nation of 47 million.” There were 24,516 attempted murders, 249,369 assaults with grievous injury, and 55,114 reported rapes. (And by rape we don’t mean what American women consider rape: waking up the next morning after a romp between the sheets with a hangover and some regrets.)

As ghastly as the official figures are, they’re most probably doctored. Rob McCafferty, author of “Murder in South Africa: a Comparison of Past and Present,” notes that “Interpol have South African murder statistics that are roughly double the official South African state statistics, while the South African Medical Research Council claims there are approximately a third more murders in South Africa than the official police statistics reveal.” A discrepancy of over 10,000 murders is, shall we say, more than a margin of error.

Yet Westerners, conservatives included, praise the new dispensation in my old home. According to a columnist for the American Conservative, South Africa represents “the greatest triumph of chatter over machine-gun clatter.” “It’s not perfect,” this flaccid fool effuses, “and crime is at an all-time high in South-African cities, but at least the massacres are a thing of the past and life goes on much better than before.”

False. Few people know that during the decades of the repressive apartheid regime, only a few thousand Africans perished as a direct result of police brutality. A horrible injustice, indubitably, but nothing approximating the carnage under “free” South Africa, where thousands of Africans perish every few months. (Let us not beat about the bush; crime in South Africa is black on black and black on white.)

Take the travails of my extended family. Ordinarily, a one-case study does not a rule make. But not in this instance – you’d be hard pressed to find a family in democratic South Africa whose members have not been brutalized by barbarians. Mine includes a sister-in-law suffering permanent neurological damage after being assaulted by five Africans; a brother burglarized and beaten in his suburban fortress at 2 a.m. by an African gang (wife and infant son were miraculously spared). My father’s neighbor was shot point-blank in front of his little girls, as he exited his car to open the garage gates. My husband’s cousin and uncle were hijacked; aunt beaten within an inch of her life and raped. Two of his colleagues (that we know of) were murdered; one shot by African taxi drivers in broad daylight, as he left his girlfriend’s apartment.

Despite the oppressive, undesirable, political aspects of apartheid, law and order was maintained and common criminals were pursued and prosecuted, to the benefit of all. To appropriate the gallant words of Gen. Sir Charles Napier: Before 1994, when African men raped infants because the “practice” is considered a traditional salve for AIDS, South African policemen followed their custom: They tied a rope around the rapist’s neck and hanged him.

Since the near-total collapse of law and order, the conviction rate hovers at 2.96 percent!

Much the way Americans dismantled Iraq’s law and order apparatus, the democratically elected ANC retired most of the old South African Police and set about reconstructing a politically correct – and representative – force. The demotic orgy of crime reflects the capabilities of the renamed South African Police Services – it is mostly an illiterate, ill-trained force, riven by feuds, fetishes and factional loyalties. In Africa, moreover, as in the Middle East, the extractive view of politics dominates – people seek personal advantage from positions of power.

Corruption is thus the rule, not the exception.

Readers will often admonish me for dismissing those ink-stained Iraqi fingers. I tell them I’ve lived under a relatively peaceful dictatorship and was fortunate to escape a violent mobocracy. I tell them that voting is synonymous with freedom only if strict limits are placed on the powers of elected officials and only if individual rights to live unmolested are respected.

In South Africa, as in Iraq, these conditions do not apply.

WND

December 5, 2006

Jihate in Sudan

Filed under: Afrika, Global Jihad, Islam, Terror — limewoody @ 8:03 am

 More:

http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2006-12-04T205942Z_01_L04409131_RTRUKOC_0_US-SUDAN-DARFUR-ATTACK.xml&WTmodLoc=Home-C5-worldNews-9

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Militias fought members of a former rebel group in the main town in the Darfur region of Sudan on Monday in clashes which the rebels said left up to seven people dead.

Violence erupted after truckloads of men from the Janjaweed militia, which the Sudan government is accused of backing, entered the town of El Fasher and started looting the market, witnesses and the former rebels said.

The Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), a rebel group that signed a peace deal with the government in May, said five members of its armed wing were killed. The death toll could not be independently confirmed.

“We have five martyrs … two other civilians were also killed,” SLM Secretary-General Mustafa Teerab told Reuters. “They (the Janjaweed) looted some shops in the market and then fled,” he said.

December 3, 2006

Jihate in Africa#?

Filed under: Afrika, Global Jihad, Islam, Terror — limewoody @ 9:39 am

 UNITED NATIONS — Refugee camps in the Sudanese region of Darfur are being infiltrated by Al Qaeda, Chad said yesterday.

Backed by wealthy Saudi Arabians and the Sudanese government, mercenaries are gaining power in Darfur, Chad said. A neighbor of Sudan, Chad is strongly advocating a U.N. force for Darfur, though Sudan rejected a U.N. Security Council proposal yesterday to boost the small African Union force now in the region.

The U.N. proposal would have added more troops and equipment for a new force operating under the command of the United Nations. Chad hosts millions of Sudanese refugees who have crossed the border from Darfur to escape the murder, rape, and pillaging committed by Sudanese government-backed Arab militias known as the janjaweed, in a campaign described by the Bush administration as genocide.

When American officials offered recently to involve NATO in stopping the violence in Darfur, Sudanese officials said the presence of Westerners in their mostly Muslim country would only inspire the militants, including Al Qaeda, who would unite to fight the foreigners.

But the Chadian ambassador to the United Nations, Mahamat Ali Adoum, wrote to the president of the Security Council yesterday that unless foreign troops are sent to control the refugee camps, Al Qaeda will join forces with anti-government rebels there.

According to Mr. Adoum’s letter, Chad is “again the victim of a major operation of destabilization from neighboring Sudan.”

Khartoum, he added, is “sending mercenaries and others to attack the positions of our security forces” in eastern Chad, near the border with Darfur.

“Strangely enough,” he added, “this new operation also bears the mark of Saudi Arabia, or at least of certain influential circles close to the royal family, which are helping to recruit and equip the young mercenaries linked to the mysterious al Qaeda,” Mr. Adoum wrote.

The State Department yesterday expressed concern that in addition to the western region of Darfur, fighting has begun again in southern Sudan, where a U.N. force is charged with holding together a fragile power-sharing agreement.

After months of Security Council negotiations, President al-Bashir of Sudan yesterday reverted to his previous rejection of any Darfur force under U.N.command. “We can take technical, advisory, and financial support from the U.N., but no U.N. force,” he told an African Union gathering in Abuja, Nigeria.

” Chad accepts the United Nations proposal to place forces on its frontier to protect the population and stabilize the sub-region,” President Déby of Chad countered during a meeting with Prime Minister de Villepin of France in the Chadian capital, N’Djamena.


http://www.nysun.com/article/44426

Jihate in Afrika

Filed under: Afrika, Global Jihad, Islam, Terror — limewoody @ 9:30 am

Two centuries before the current American foreign policy, or before there was Zionism, or “Iraq” and “Palestine” to blame, long before “poverty” was pulled up as a root-cause, and the why-do-they-hate-us brigade not only did not exist, but would have been impossible to call into being, Muslims in West Africa were on the Jihad warpath.

A Muslim cleric, or mallam, Usman dan Fodio, led a Jihad against local non-Muslim rulers from 1804 to 1810. This led to the establishment of the so-called Caliphate of Sokoto, and to the spread, enforced spread by military conquest, of Islam.

The results of that can be seen in West Africa. There one can find Christian neighborhoods that are well-tended, neat, prettified even with simple touches (a few flowers), and then the sullen, dirty, rundown areas of Muslims. The comparison is remarkable.

And everywhere Christians are under assault. They have been under assault, most famously, in Nigeria, where in 1967 the Christian Ibos, far more advanced and industrious than their Muslim overlords, rebelled and declared the independence of the State of Biafra. The proximate cause were the mass murders by Muslims of Christian Ibo all over northern Nigeria. But the Western world did nothing to help the Christian Ibo, while the Muslims — including Egyptian pilots and planes that strafed Ibo villages, killing tens of thousands of helpless villagers — did provide aid. Only two countries in the world recognized Biafra: Israel and Ghana (Kwame Nkrumah, Osagyefo, if he did not always understand economics, did understand Islam). In 1969, in his famous Ahiara Declaration, the leader of Biafra, Colonel Ojukwu, explained that the main reason for the Biafran fight was to defend the Christians against, as he put it, the “jihad” being conducted against it. That jihad by the Muslims who control the military and have largely stolen the oil wealth of Nigeria (with a little help from some islamochristians willing to collaborate) continues today.

Elsewhere the Christians are under siege — as in the Cote d’Ivoire, or in Togo, where the more advanced southerners, often of the Ewe tribe that, like most tribes in coastal West Africa, cuts across national borders, are leaving. They are leaving not only because the crooked son of the previous crooked leader is back in business, but because of the Islamic menace.

Black Africans are enslaved in Mali and Mauritania, but not a syllable of protest has come from the Arab League about this, though both countries are members of that league. For decades black African Christians and animists have been slaughtered or starved to death in southern Sudan, and now black non-Arab Muslims (or nominal Muslims) are being killed, their cattle destroyed, their huts and houses burned, their women raped, their men all killed. And every single person who has lived to testify has talked of how the various Arab marauders say that “they are black and must be killed.” Imagine, just imagine, if there were not a hundred thousand such incidents (as have taken place in Darfur) or a million (as in the southern Sudan) but even one such event, anywhere in the Western world, by a Western government.

Then ask why there is such a different standard, such fear of telling the truth, about how Islam is a vehicle for Arab supremacist ideology, and Arabs among the supreme racists of history, who persuade those they conquer to abandon, forget, despise their own pasts, and to assume pseudo-Arab identities, and to take as their own models some Arabs who lived — if they existed at all — in 7th century Arabia.

Is the American government fully aware of the jihad that Ibos remember so well? Does the American government have any plans should the notion of a free Biafra (with all the oil in the south, among the lands where various Christian tribes live) be revived? Does the United States understand that in the Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo has been demonized by the French government, but that the fears of the Christian Ivoiriens that they are being asked to give citizenship to Muslim migrants in the north are justified? Does the American government know about Egypt’s bullying of Ethiopia in an attempt to prevent Ethiopia from diverting just some of the headwaters of the Nile for vital irrigation projects, and of how Egypt sees a Muslim Sudan not as an enemy but as an ally in the future conflict with Ethiopia? Has the American government actually talked to Christians from Ethiopia, or worried — like people in Western Europe — about the growing Muslim population and the demands it makes to change the very nature of Ethiopia?

Given the entirely predictable paralysis at the U.N. — where the Islamintern International calls the shots, and focuses attention on “Palestine” and keeps it always off the local expressions of Jihad — over Darfur, and given the predictable collapse sometime in the future, of that famous “peace accord” recently “achieved” for the southern Sudan (one which will last just as long as the government in Khartoum thinks the West is paying close attention and not a minute longer), why has the United States not used the excuse of rescuing the people in Darfur to send in a few thousand troops to seize both Darfur and the southern Sudan? Claims of government violations of the peace accords with the southerners can easily be justified.

What would an American presence do? And who could object? Not Nicholas Kristof — he has called for such intervention in Darfur (he seems strangely uninterested in what happened to the non-Muslims of the southern Sudan over the past 20 years). Not the leftists everywhere — how can they oppose coming in to rescue black villagers, whose pictures, with them swarming around and smiling at somewhat abashed American soldiers can be displayed worldwide? Not the black African Christians who will rightly take this as a sign of muscular American interest in confronting those who conduct Jihad, and who will be bucked up, from Kenya to West Africa.

And who will be angry? Muslims everywhere will realize that the game is up, that the Jihad can be opposed without invoking Al Qaeda, and that everywhere the Muslims have been on the offensive (slowly swallowing up, and arabizing, most of the Sudan when, a hundred years ago, it was largely un-islamized and un-arabized), they may now be challenged. Two can play this game, but the Infidels have not — they have simply allowed the conquest. They did nothing to help the Biafrans in their fight for independence after repeated widespread jihad-massacres of Christians. They have failed to recognize that demography is a weapon of jihad, and the cross-border infiltration of Muslim populations in West Africa is a reasonable thing for local Christians to worry about. They have shown not the slightest foresight about the coming clash, over water, between Ethiopia and Egypt (which acts as if the Ethiopians have no right to that water, or only to the amounts that the Egyptians grandly will allow them). Everywhere we can, we should take the side of those threatened by Jihad, and in black Africa, the point of obvious entry, and obvious gain with little pain, is the Sudan.

Let Saudi Arabia, where slavery was still officially allowed until 1962, and where unofficially it flourishes, sputter. Let the various Arab League states in which blacks are still enslaved wax indignant. Let Libya, where there are routinely murderous riots against black Africans (in one of which a diplomat from Chad was hung from a pole in Tripoli and left dangling for the edification and delight of spectators), try to complain.

Any and every place where Islam is clearly, obviously, in the wrong, and can be confronted at little cost (unlike, say, the miasma of Iraq at present, where the post-invasion and post-destruction-of-weapons-and-the-regime makes no sense), should be investigated.

This is a war of containment, and of wearing down the morale of the other side. We have right on our side. Islam is a primitive and unpleasant belief-system. There is little or nothing to admire about it. Everywhere Islam has conquered, those conquered have emerged, when left with their lives, to live lives that are far more impoverished in every important way — either as non-Muslim dhimmis, or as converts to Islam. Islam limits artistic expression, stifles the free and skeptical inquiry without which real science is impossible, and cripples the lives of women. Islam stunts mental growth. We need make no apologies to others or to ourselves for coming to this melancholy conclusion, so much at odds with the official ideology that we have been subjected to — that everyone is the same, that all religions and peoples are equal in every way, that no one must ever ever challenge the self-evident truth of any of this.

Iraq offered one kind of opportunity — the opportunity, which was taken, to destroy the military capacity of Saddam Hussein and Iraq in general. And too much is now, foolishly, being done by the Americans to build up Iraq’s military and restore that capacity, undoing what was so usefully done. The best policy in Iraq would be to cease all these plans for $590 million dollar American embassies, or American bases that can be closed at a moment’s notice through the whim of local Muslims. The American officer corps should stop being forced to blandly follow the bland, in repeating mantras about “success” and “bringing democracy to Iraq” that show an absence of the simplest and most obvious strategic thinking — simplest, and most obvious, as long as one keeps in mind that the tenets of Islam, and not the absence of “democracy,” are and will always be a problem for Infidels, as they have been for the past 1350 years. In Iraq, 139,000 American troops should be pulled out, or at most, 20-30 thousand stationed temporarily in Kurdistan, where they will be welcomed, or perhaps in the desert to keep out foreigners — but always ready to pick up and leave quickly.

Leaving Iraq now makes sense — and not least because of the effect it is having on the long-term recruitment of the kind of people the army and the Reserves and the National Guard need. This is a squandering of morale and of resources that cannot be forgiven and that shows a criminally negligent attitude toward the growing disbelief in the current Iraq venture that, in fact, is well-founded, and that comes most feelingly not from those who think there is no problem with Islam, but from those who think, who know, that there is a very great problem with Islam. Iraq, while far less important a matter than preventing the islamization of Europe or Latin America (where sustained efforts by Tablighi al-Jamaat are bearing fruit) or sub-Saharan Africa, could, if the fissures were exploited by American withdrawal, contribute its mite to helping the Infidels to contain Islam, to disrupt whatever unity it has, to cause consternation and damage morale of the enemy — not by spending a hundred billion dollars a year, but rather by not lifting a finger.

Please, let’s use Iraq properly. Let’s stop pouring in men, materiel, money. Let’s not lift a finger. And let’s turn our attention to Da’wa in Mexico, and to Muslim immigration in France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, and — which is where this article began and by rights should return — to the besieged black African Christians, pursued by jihadists from southern Nigeria to the southern Sudan, and to Kenya, and even to the bombed-out “immoral” cafes of Capetown.

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/2006/11/014246print.html

December 1, 2006

Jihate in Sudan Spreading

Filed under: Afrika, Global Jihad, Islam, Terror — limewoody @ 11:03 am

PARIS, Nov 30 (Reuters) – French fighter jets opened fire on rebel positions in the Central African Republic on Thursday as government forces faced resistance in their bid to recapture the northeast of the country, the French military said.Government troops have pushed north from the eastern diamond mining town of Bria since capturing the northeastern town of Birao earlier this week with French military support, French armed forces spokesman Christophe Prazuck said.

More:http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L3078292.htm

November 20, 2006

Jihate in Sudan#? And War is Deception….

Filed under: Afrika, Global Jihad, Islam — limewoody @ 9:05 am

KHARTOUM, Sudan: The Sudanese government has begun a major offensive in North Darfur despite an agreement to restart a peace process and allow international peacekeeping troops into the region, Darfur rebels said Sunday.

……….

It has been estimated that 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million have been forced from their homes in three-year of conflict. Rebels, mostly non-Arab, took up arms, accusing the government of marginalizing the remote western part of the country

……..

The Sudanese Army and government-backed militias are committing acts of “inexplicable terror” against civilians, including children, in Darfur, Egeland said in an interview with The Associated Press reported from Khartoum.

…………..

“I saw a 2-year-old girl who was shot in the neck at point blank by a janjaweed,” Egeland said. “This is an act of terror.”

November 10, 2006

Jihate in Chad

Filed under: Afrika, Global Jihad, Islam, Terror — limewoody @ 8:08 am

(SomaliNet) The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said on Thursday that Gunmen on horseback have killed up to 220 villagers in eastern Chad in the past week in growing ethnic violence near Sudan’s war torn Darfur region, Reuters.

According to UNHCR statement, the raiders have struck at least seven villages since Nov. 4, adding that, “…initial reports indicate that as many as 220 people have been killed in this week’s string of attacks, with dozens wounded”.

Chadian humanitarian workers said the attacks were carried out by gun-toting Arab tribesmen against African villagers often armed with nothing more than bows, arrows and swords.

“Around 200 men on horseback attacked, accompanied by two Toyota pick-ups,” a humanitarian worker in touch with colleagues in the area told Reuters about one of the attacks, which took place around Dar Sila in Chad’s eastern province of Ouaddai.

http://somalinet.com/news/world/English/4792

November 6, 2006

Devils on Horseback Jihate: Sudan army-militia nexus exposed in Tine

Filed under: Afrika, Global Jihad, Islam, Terror — limewoody @ 11:36 am
TINE, Sudan • Sudan may deny that its army cooperates with the Arab militia at the heart of the Darfur conflict, but in Tine, on the border with Chad, little trouble is taken to hide the fact. The militiamen, known locally as Janjaweed, arrived in Tine last week and set up base jointly with the Sudanese army to protect the strategic site against attack by Darfur rebels. Heavy gunfire day and night keeps African Union peacekeepers on the alert, and vehicles packed with shouting soldiers tear along dirt tracks. “Here in Tine it is very clear … that the Janjaweed are working hand in hand with the government troops who are here,” said Thomas Chaona, acting commander in the Tine sector of the ill-equipped AU force struggling to monitor a notional truce in remote western Sudan. Khartoum armed the mainly Arab militiamen in early 2003 to quell a revolt in Darfur by mostly non-Arab rebels. The Janjaweed stand accused of a campaign of rape, murder and pillage which Washington calls genocide, a term Sudan rejects. Under an AU-brokered peace deal signed in May with only one of three negotiating rebel factions, Khartoum promised to disarm the Janjaweed, by October 22. But one day after the deadline, about 1,000 Janjaweed rode into Tine, terrifying the few hundred residents, who fled across the border to Chad.

The militiamen denied AU requests to meet their commander and blocked the road to town, which ran past their base. A Sudanese army source denied there were any Janjaweed in Sudan. “These are border intelligence troops, a force created one year and three months ago,” he said. But the ragged youths, many in civilian clothes with rifles slung across their shoulders, did not resemble trained intelligence troops. Tine market, now devoid of civilians, is teeming with heavily armed men and vehicles with no Sudanese army markings. Asked where the civilians were, one armed man shouted: “There are no civilians here and we don’t want any civilians here,” cocking his weapon threateningly.

A local Sudanese army commander told his senior army representative accompanying an AU patrol through the town: “It is chaos here,” before his superior silenced him. The young militiamen surrounded an AU vehicle, threatening the journalists inside, and even the Sudanese army officer had a tough time calming down the unruly gunmen. Tine is the last main town on the frontline of Darfur’s new war between government troops and a new rebel alliance called the National Redemption Front (NRF), formed after the May deal. The NRF dealt two heavy blows to the government in North Darfur in the past two months, according to the AU and the United Nations.

The top U.N. envoy to Sudan, Jan Pronk, has said Sudanese army morale is low, generals have been sacked and soldiers are refusing to fight. Observers say this is why the Janjaweed are in town, and that more are expected to move north. Experts estimate 200,000 people have been killed in three and a half years of fighting in Darfur, and 2.5 million forced to flee their homes. The International Criminal Court is investigating alleged war crimes there. Tine Sudan and Tine Chad are separated only by a dry river bed. The border crossing is now firmly closed because of the growing tension between the two countries and the fact that the Darfur conflict has spilled over the border, displacing tens of thousands of Chadians. Last week, Chad accused Sudan of bombing four Chadian towns, which Khartoum denied. “Anyone coming from Sudan now is considered an enemy of Chad,” a Chadian immigration official said.

 

http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=World_News&subsection=Gulf%2C%20Middle%20East%20%26%20Africa&month=November2006&file=World_News2006110581656.xml

October 29, 2006

Jihate Spreading Out of Sudan….

Filed under: Afrika, Global Jihad, Islam, Terror — limewoody @ 7:54 am

N’DJAMENA – Chad accused neighbouring Sudan on Saturday of bombing four villages close to its border with the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur.

“The Sudanese airforce targeted the Chadian villages of Bahai, Tine, Karyari and Bamina, destroying the homes of peaceful Chadian citizens and causing distress among the inhabitants of these Chadian border regions,” Communications Minister Hourmadji Moussa Doumgor said in statement.

He gave no details of any casualties.“The Chadian government expects the African Union, Cen-Sad (states in the Sahel-Sahara region) and the United Nations to condemn these bombings against peaceful Chadian citizens and they work to bring an end to these repeated attacks on Chad.”These latest incidents come a few days after Chad accused Khartoum of backing rebels of the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development, who resumed operation against the government in N’Djamena of President Idriss Deby Itno on October 22. http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?xfile=data/theworld/2006/October/theworld_October1066.xml&section=theworld&col=

October 26, 2006

Demographic Jihate: Niger’s Arabs to fight expulsion

Filed under: Afrika — limewoody @ 8:42 am

Leaders of around 150,000 Arabs in Niger say they will fight in court moves to expel them to Chad. They told reporters in Niamey they would defend themselves against attack.

Niger’s government has ordered the Arabs, known as Mahamid, to leave the country accusing them of wrongdoing, including theft and rape.

But they insist they are citizens of Niger and “have no other country to go to”, after being given five days to leave the country.

The Mahamid also say they will take their case to the United Nations Security Council.

But the BBC’s Idy Baraou says the decision to challenge the government’s order through the courts may have come too late, as reports from the east of Niger confirm that the authorities had begun rounding Arabs up around Diffa, located some 1,500km from Niamey.

NIGER’S MAHAMID ARABS

Originally nomads from Chad

150,000 live mainly in Diffa State

Many came after 1974 drought

More fled 1980s Chad fighting

Fought against 1990s Tuareg rebellion

Many of the Arabs came to Niger from neighbouring Chad following the 1974 drought in Chad.

Others who were fleeing fighting in Chad arrived in the 1980s. Many have since risen to senior positions in the military, local administration and in business.

The governor of Diffa State, where most of the Mahamid live, told them it was “high time” to pack and return to Chad.

“We have decided, starting today, to expel these nomadic Arab ‘Mohamides’ to their home countries,” Niger’s Interior Minister Mounkaila Modi told national television.

“These foreigners have shown no respect to the rights of the natives and they’re putting pressure on pastures in this region. We can no longer accept seeing our ecosystem degraded by foreigners.”

Arid zone

Mr Modi said the Mahamid possessed illegal firearms and were a serious threat to the security of local communities and that their camels were draining local oases, Reuters news agency reports.

Like the rest of the country, the east of Niger is extremely arid.

It is populated by nomadic cattle herders, whilst the Arabs also own camels. Not surprisingly, one source of the tension between the communities is water.

With the Sahara desert expanding quite quickly there are growing fears that the scarcity of water could spark future problems in many African countries in the region.

The BBC’s West Africa correspondent Will Ross says that with the spread of Islam to Africa in the 7th and 8th centuries, Arabs greatly expanded their presence and influence and there are many examples of how the African and Arab cultures have mixed.

For example, some 20% of East Africa’s Swahili language comes from Arabic. Arab and non-Arab Africans both had the common goal of opposing European colonialists.

But there have also been areas where the cultures have clashed, one example being Sudan, which has been plagued by conflict between the Arab dominated government in the north and the black African south.

BBC

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