Eid el-Fitr in the time of the Coronavirus | 23 May 2020

by Arezki Daoud of MEA Risk LLC

Moroccan authorities attacks more journalists of Akhbar Al-Yaum

Moroccan authorities attacks more journalists of Akhbar Al-Yaum

Rabat, May 25, 2020 - A Moroccan judge on Monday placed the head of an independent daily newspaper in pre-trial detention for suspected sexual assault, his lawyer said. Soulaimane Raissouni, 48, editor of Akhbar Al-Yaum, was arrested on Friday after allegations...

Egyptian army keeps busy killing “insurgents” in North Sinai

Egyptian army keeps busy killing “insurgents” in North Sinai

Egypt said Saturday (23 May) that 21 jihadists were killed in clashes with security forces in the restive Sinai peninsula, where Islamic State group-affiliated militants have waged a long-running insurgency.  The interior ministry said in a statement that police...

Libya: Warlord Haftar’s IEDs kill civilians in southern Tripoli

Libya: Warlord Haftar’s IEDs kill civilians in southern Tripoli

Tripoli, May 26, 2020 - The United Nations has deplored the "grotesque" use of improvised explosive devices against civilians in Libya's capital Tripoli, the scene of more than a year of deadly fighting. The UN mission in Libya said it "strongly condemns these acts,...

Algeria maintains use of chloroquine despite signs of ineffectiveness

Algeria maintains use of chloroquine despite signs of ineffectiveness

Algiers, May 26, 2020 - Algeria will continue to use the drug hydroxychloroquine against the novel coronavirus, a member of its scientific committee said, despite the World Health Organization suspending clinical trials of such treatments. "We've treated thousands of...

FEATURED STORIES

Algeria: The return of the Saharan cheetah to the Hoggar Mountains

Algeria: The return of the Saharan cheetah to the Hoggar Mountains

Algiers, May 20, 2020 - Naturalists in Algeria have filmed a Saharan cheetah, a subspecies listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, for the first time in a decade, the national parks authority said. The animal was spotted in the Hoggar Mountains national...

Morocco: People helping people in time of pandemic

Morocco: People helping people in time of pandemic

Casablanca, Morocco, April 12, 2020 - A small van zips through the streets of Casablanca to deliver food to single mothers, as economic paralysis caused by the coronavirus crisis puts pressure on Morocco's poor. "We have to be quick," says Bouchra, a coordinator from...

Egypt: Looming social unrest

Egypt: Looming social unrest

Cairo, April 8, 2020 (By Farid Farid) - Haggard and dishevelled from the stress of making ends meet, day labourers line up in Cairo for food parcels after losing their jobs to the sharp downturn caused by the coronavirus. Sayed Shaaban, 42, who used to work in a cafe,...

Nigeria: Refugee camps in Nigeria facing a new enemy

Nigeria: Refugee camps in Nigeria facing a new enemy

Maiduguri, Nigeria, April 3, 2020 (By Audu Abba Kurama and Aminu Abubakar in Kano) - Men and women cluster around plastic wash basins hastily set up outside one of northeast Nigeria's sprawling displaced persons' camps, lathering their hands with soap under the gaze...

Egypt: Cairo’s green lung razed for roads to new desert capital

Egypt: Cairo’s green lung razed for roads to new desert capital

Cairo, Feb 11, 2020 - By By Hager Harabech and Farid Farid:  In the traffic-choked megacity of Cairo, the historic Heliopolis district has long stood out for its leafy boulevards, but now construction crews are cutting new highways through it and uprooting its...

Sahel: Insurgency and criminal activity in the Sahel

Sahel: Insurgency and criminal activity in the Sahel

Criminal activities such as arms and drug trafficking are crucial to the survival of jihadist groups in the Sahel, creating links with organised crime, a South African research centre said Tuesday. A study conducted by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) over two...

Sahel: Mali President facing unprecedented public backlash

Sahel: Mali President facing unprecedented public backlash

Bamako, Oct 23, 2019 (By Amaury Hauchard and Serge Daniel) - Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has few strong cards left to play as he seeks to roll back a jihadist insurgency and mounting public discontent. Thousands of civilians and soldiers have died since...

Egypt’s hospitals reach max capacity, struggle to cope with caseload

By Hager Harabech: Three months after Egypt reported its first novel coronavirus case, medical experts warn the strained healthcare system of the Arab world's most populous nation is nearing a "critical threshold". Hospitals have been hit by a  flight of doctors...

Algeria: Blind repression and worsening freedoms in Algeria

Algiers, May 20, 2020 - Algeria has sentenced three opposition activists to jail over Facebook posts, in what rights groups said Wednesday was the latest sign of increased repression after the coronavirus lockdown stifled a popular protest movement. Soheib Debaghi was...

Morocco: The hardship of foreign migrants in Morocco

By Hamza Mekouaz - Deprived of work and access to aid, thousands of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa living in Morocco are struggling to make ends meet under COVID-19 restrictions. "The misery is across the board," said Ousmane Ba, head of the Collective of...
Tunisia: Tourism sector loses over $2 billion with no sign of recovery

Tunisia: Tourism sector loses over $2 billion with no sign of recovery

Tunis, May 18, 2020 - As the novel coronavirus pandemic wipes out a recovery from jihadist attacks in 2015, Tunisia's vital tourism sector is trying to find ways to avoid going under. "Normally, the season starts now. But there is nobody," said Mohammed Saddam, who...

The coronavirus in the Sahel

The coronavirus in the Sahel

Bamako - By Amaury Hauchard with Armel Baily in Ouagadougou: The rise of coronavirus in the war-torn Sahel has sparked sharp fears for the region's hundreds of thousands of displaced people, often packed inside camps. "If we have coronavirus here, it will be a...

Public health: Inside North Africa’s healthcare systems

Public health: Inside North Africa’s healthcare systems

By Hamza Mekouar:  The coronavirus pandemic has put the spotlight on shortcomings in health care in several North African countries, even as governments moved quickly to announce restrictions to limit the spread of the virus. "Our fate is in the hands of a health...

Algeria’s political police unleash terror on journalists and others

Algeria’s political police unleash terror on journalists and others

Journalist Meriem Chorfi, Editor-in-chief Mouhoub Rafik, and Mohamed Laamari, the Publisher of Algerian newspaper Sawt Al Akher were placed on Thursday, 2 April under judicial control. The move is the last step before they are dragged into a court, most likely the one...

North Africa faces unprecedented economic crisis

North Africa faces unprecedented economic crisis

Listen to the podcast above or read the transcript below. Download MP3 file here. 26 March 2020: By Arezki Daoud: North Africa is bracing for an unprecedented economic contraction, even if the coronavirus crisis were to be contained soon.  The fundamentals of economic...

Education: Studying from home amid Covid-19

Education: Studying from home amid Covid-19

Tripoli, March 24, 2020 -  By Rim Tahar - Either on television as in Libya or on tablets in the IT-savvy Gulf monarchies, in the time of novel coronavirus millions of schoolchildren around the Arab world are now learning lessons at home.  Governments across the region...

Editorial: 2020, the exceptional year

Editorial: 2020, the exceptional year

Editorial by Arezki Daoud: It’s official, Covid-19 is now North Africa’s biggest problem, just as it is for the entire world. In recent times, we have heard of, but from afar, diseases such as the Ebola virus in West Africa, the plague epidemic in Madagascar, and...

Tunisians turn to herbalists to thwart the coronavirus

Tunisians turn to herbalists to thwart the coronavirus

Tunis, March 16, 2020 (By Kaouther Larbi) - There is no known cure for the new coronavirus, but in the medicinal herbs souq in Tunis, anxious Tunisians are consulting with herbalists and stocking up on traditional remedies.  "I am afraid for my father, who is old and...

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PREMIUM ANALYSIS ($)

FEATURED NEWS

Burkina Faso: More violence in Houet, two gendarmes killed

Ouagadougou, May 25, 2020 - Two policemen have been killed in a fresh attack in the Sahel state of Burkina Faso, which is battling a jihadist revolt, security sources said Monday. The gendarmes, one of them a brigade commander, died late Sunday when gunmen attacked...

Egypt arrests 11 for allegedly sharing ‘fake news’ with Al-Jazeera

Cairo, May 22, 2020 - Egyptian security forces arrested 11 people on suspicion of fabricating media content for the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network, the interior ministry said Friday. The suspects were allegedly found to be collaborating with members of the outlawed...

Tunisia announces staged reopening of economic and social activity

Tunisia will reopen places of worship, restaurants and hotels from June 4, authorities announced Thursday, more than two months after closing them over the coronavirus pandemic.The reopening could be delayed if there is a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, the ministers of...

Outlook: Can the country of Togo be a Jihadi hotspot?

Dapaong, Togo, May 21, 2020 (By Célia Lebur) - In a makeshift bunker of sacks of rice beneath a tree, heavily-armed Togolese soldiers keep watch over villagers coming and going on foot or bike across the border with Burkina Faso. Just a dried-out river bed separates...

Immigration: 160 migrants stranded in the Mediterranean for two weeks.

Geneva, May 21, 2020 - The United Nations called on the EU on Thursday to reach a deal to take in 160 migrants who have been stranded in the Mediterranean for two weeks. UNHCR refugee agency and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), urged "Malta and the...

Morocco: A population under stress, tired of confinement

Rabat, May 20, 2020 - Almost half of Moroccans are "anxious" under the mandatory lockdown enforced in mid-March to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, an official survey published Wednesday found. "Being confined and the health threat of COVID-19 are likely to have a major...

Niger: Insurgents attack Blabrine base near Diffa town

Niamey, May 19, 2020 - Twelve soldiers have been killed in a Boko Haram attack on a military outpost in Niger's Diffa region, scene of recent clashes with jihadist fighters, the defence ministry said Tuesday. The attack by "Boko Haram terrorists" overnight Monday on...

Egypt: Eid al-Fitr under lockdown

Cairo, May 17, 2020 - Egypt on Sunday announced a lengthening of its night-time curfew and other measures to prevent large gatherings during Eid al-Fitr holidays marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. "All shops, malls, restaurants, entertainment...

Egypt: Regime of General Sisi arrests Mada Masr Editor

Egyptian security services on Sunday detained the editor-in-chief of prominent independent news outlet Mada Masr, its lawyer said, the latest in a crackdown against journalists.  Lina Attallah was arrested outside Cairo's Tora prison as she was interviewing rights...

Egypt: Ethiopia Nile dam crisis intensifies

Addis Ababa, May 18, 2020 - Ethiopia sees no reason to delay filling its controversial mega-dam despite warnings from Egypt that such a move could destabilise the region, according to a letter from Ethiopia's foreign minister to the UN Security Council. The Grand...

Libya: Haftar’s troops abandon airbase south of Aljmail

Warlord Khalifa Haftar and his patrons of the United Arab Emirates, France, Russia and many others don't seem to be able to take control of the situation in Libya. Billions of dollars already spent and months of a disorganized offensive against Tripoli that brought a...

Mali: War rages near border with Burkina Faso ($)

Bamako, May 15, 2020 - Malian troops have killed some 30 militants in a raid, the army said on Friday, in the latest violence in the war-torn West African state. The country's armed forces said on Twitter that they had killed "about 30 terrorists" near the border with...

Algeria: Kia to suspend car assembly in Algeria

Algiers, May 15, 2020 - South Korean carmaker Kia will shut down its assembly line in Algeria from Sunday due to supply chain disruptions after authorities imposed a ban on the import of spare parts. "Work will be interrupted from May 17" at the factory in the town of...

Egypt: More violence in North Sinai ($)

Cairo, May 15, 2020 - Egypt's military said Friday seven suspected militants were killed in a raid carried out as part of its operations against insurgents in the restive Sinai Peninsula. "The armed forces carried out a targeted operation that resulted in the killing...

Egypt: A flyover symbolizing a mediocre government ($)

Cairo, May 14, 2020 - A road bridge under construction in Egypt's capital that almost abuts balconies of apartment blocks has sparked disbelief on social media and in the press. "When a car goes by, perhaps we can invite them to join us for a cup of tea on our...

Sahel: New Covid-19 infections in Mauritania after easing restrictions

Nouakchott, May 15, 2020  - Mauritania has said that it will reinstate restrictions on mosque prayers, after a recent of spike of coronavirus cases in the semi-desert West African state. The government had eased restrictions on such prayers only last week, prompting...

Algeria and Morocco bickering again

Algiers, May 14, 2020 - Algeria said Thursday it had summoned Morocco's ambassador after a video circulating on social media appeared to show a Moroccan diplomat calling Algeria an "enemy" country. Relations between the North African countries have long been tense,...

INTERNATIONAL

Nigeria: Insurgency risks expanding beyond the northeast

Lagos, May 17, 2020 - Nigerian jihadist groups are gaining sway in the restive northwest and the region could become a "land bridge" to Islamists across the Sahel, the International Crisis Group warned Monday. Northwestern Nigeria has been wracked by years of...

Nigeria: Boko Haram raids Gajiganna, kills 20

Kano, Nigeria, May 18, 2020 - Boko Haram jihadists killed 20 civilians in an attack on a village in restive northeastern Nigeria as inhabitants prepared to break their Ramadan fast, residents and local security personnel said Monday. Insurgents in several pickup...

Nigeria concerned about Covid-19 infections in Kano state

Abuja, May 18, 2020 - Nigeria's government on Monday extended a coronavirus lockdown on the northern region of Kano after it became a hotspot for new infections.  The head of the country's coronavirus taskforce, Boss Mustapha, said the lockdown on the economic hub --...

Cyprus says Turkey denied COVID-19 supply flight airspace entry

Nicosia, May 13, 2020 - Cyprus said Wednesday a flight it had chartered from China carrying 36 tonnes of COVID-19 medical supplies was diverted towards Moscow after Turkey denied it entry into its airspace. "The pilot changed route and is heading to Moscow airport in...

WHO advises MENA region against loosening confinement measures

Cairo, April 28, 2020 - The World Health Organization warned Tuesday of the impact coronavirus could have in Middle Eastern conflict zones and urged other countries in the region against loosening confinement measures. "This fight has become even more challenging with...

Nigeria downgraded by Fitch Ratings

Abuja, April 6, 2020 - Nigeria has asked for $6.9 billion from multilateral lenders including the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to tackle the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, its finance minister said Monday. Africa's most populous nation and...

UAE and Morocco in diplomatic freeze (§)

To the amazement of the Moroccan monarchy, the United Arab Emirates has had no ambassador in Rabat for more than a year, causing a sharp stiffening of the Moroccan position vis-à-vis the UAE, recalling their ambassador in Abu Dhabi.  Relations are traditionally...

International: How Nigerians are bracing for coronavirus

Lagos, Feb 28, 2020 (By Emmanuel Akinwotu) - When Joyce Alali heard that sub-Saharan Africa's first case of coronavirus had been confirmed in her home city Lagos, she knew immediately what to do. The Nigerian nursing student rummaged through her possessions to find...

POLITICS & SECURITY

Moroccan authorities attacks more journalists of Akhbar Al-Yaum

Moroccan authorities attacks more journalists of Akhbar Al-Yaum

Rabat, May 25, 2020 - A Moroccan judge on Monday placed the head of an independent daily newspaper in pre-trial detention for suspected sexual assault, his lawyer said. Soulaimane Raissouni, 48, editor of Akhbar Al-Yaum, was arrested on Friday after allegations...

Egyptian army keeps busy killing “insurgents” in North Sinai

Egyptian army keeps busy killing “insurgents” in North Sinai

Egypt said Saturday (23 May) that 21 jihadists were killed in clashes with security forces in the restive Sinai peninsula, where Islamic State group-affiliated militants have waged a long-running insurgency.  The interior ministry said in a statement that police...

Outlook: Can the country of Togo be a Jihadi hotspot?

Outlook: Can the country of Togo be a Jihadi hotspot?

Dapaong, Togo, May 21, 2020 (By Célia Lebur) - In a makeshift bunker of sacks of rice beneath a tree, heavily-armed Togolese soldiers keep watch over villagers coming and going on foot or bike across the border with Burkina Faso. Just a dried-out river bed separates...

ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Algeria: Kia to suspend car assembly in Algeria

Algeria: Kia to suspend car assembly in Algeria

Algiers, May 15, 2020 - South Korean carmaker Kia will shut down its assembly line in Algeria from Sunday due to supply chain disruptions after authorities imposed a ban on the import of spare parts. "Work will be interrupted from May 17" at the factory in the town of...

Algeria: Sonatrach implicated in tainted fuel export to Lebanon

Algeria: Sonatrach implicated in tainted fuel export to Lebanon

Beirut, May 13, 2020 - A Lebanese prosecutor on Wednesday pressed charges against 12 people including government officials over a delivery of suspect fuel through an Algerian oil company, state media said. The "tainted fuel" case made headlines in March when Lebanon...

Economy: Nigeria’s collapsing revenues

Economy: Nigeria’s collapsing revenues

Abuja, May 5, 2020 - Oil-rich Nigeria is losing more than 80 percent of its revenue due to plummeting oil prices and the coronavirus epidemic, officials said on Tuesday. Nigeria depends on crude oil sales for 70 percent of government revenue and 90 percent of foreign...

HUMAN, SOCIAL & LABOR

Moroccan authorities attacks more journalists of Akhbar Al-Yaum

Moroccan authorities attacks more journalists of Akhbar Al-Yaum

Rabat, May 25, 2020 - A Moroccan judge on Monday placed the head of an independent daily newspaper in pre-trial detention for suspected sexual assault, his lawyer said. Soulaimane Raissouni, 48, editor of Akhbar Al-Yaum, was arrested on Friday after allegations...

Tunisia announces staged reopening of economic and social activity

Tunisia announces staged reopening of economic and social activity

Tunisia will reopen places of worship, restaurants and hotels from June 4, authorities announced Thursday, more than two months after closing them over the coronavirus pandemic.The reopening could be delayed if there is a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, the ministers of...

MAGHREB

Moroccan authorities attacks more journalists of Akhbar Al-Yaum

Rabat, May 25, 2020 - A Moroccan judge on Monday placed the head of an independent daily newspaper in pre-trial detention for suspected sexual assault, his lawyer said. Soulaimane Raissouni, 48, editor of Akhbar Al-Yaum, was arrested on Friday after allegations...

Libya: Warlord Haftar’s IEDs kill civilians in southern Tripoli

Tripoli, May 26, 2020 - The United Nations has deplored the "grotesque" use of improvised explosive devices against civilians in Libya's capital Tripoli, the scene of more than a year of deadly fighting. The UN mission in Libya said it "strongly condemns these acts,...

Algeria maintains use of chloroquine despite signs of ineffectiveness

Algiers, May 26, 2020 - Algeria will continue to use the drug hydroxychloroquine against the novel coronavirus, a member of its scientific committee said, despite the World Health Organization suspending clinical trials of such treatments. "We've treated thousands of...

Tunisia announces staged reopening of economic and social activity

Tunisia will reopen places of worship, restaurants and hotels from June 4, authorities announced Thursday, more than two months after closing them over the coronavirus pandemic.The reopening could be delayed if there is a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, the ministers of...

Italy grapples with influx of immigrants

Rome, May 24, 2020 - Italian police on Sunday corrected a report that a record 400 migrants had landed on a beach in Sicily, saying the number was only around 70, the ANSA news agency reported. A single wooden fishing boat some 10 metres (35 feet) long was found on...

SAHEL

Mali: Bus crash kills 20 people near Narena

Bamako, May 20, 2020 - Twenty people have been killed and 11 seriously injured after a minibus and a lorry collided in the south of Mali, the country's transport ministry said on Wednesday. The accident occurred on Tuesday at 8 pm on a major road linking the capital...

Burkina Faso kills dozens of alleged insurgents in Kossi province

Ouagadougou, May 20, 2020 - Two Burkina Faso police and 47 "terrorists" died during a major operation in northwestern Burkina Faso on the border with Mali, the West African country's army chief of staff said Wednesday. "Following an anti-terrorist operation waged for...

Niger: Insurgents attack Blabrine base near Diffa town

Niamey, May 19, 2020 - Twelve soldiers have been killed in a Boko Haram attack on a military outpost in Niger's Diffa region, scene of recent clashes with jihadist fighters, the defence ministry said Tuesday. The attack by "Boko Haram terrorists" overnight Monday on...

EGYPT

Egyptian army keeps busy killing “insurgents” in North Sinai

Egypt said Saturday (23 May) that 21 jihadists were killed in clashes with security forces in the restive Sinai peninsula, where Islamic State group-affiliated militants have waged a long-running insurgency.  The interior ministry said in a statement that police...

Egypt arrests 11 for allegedly sharing ‘fake news’ with Al-Jazeera

Cairo, May 22, 2020 - Egyptian security forces arrested 11 people on suspicion of fabricating media content for the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network, the interior ministry said Friday. The suspects were allegedly found to be collaborating with members of the outlawed...

Egypt’s hospitals reach max capacity, struggle to cope with caseload

By Hager Harabech: Three months after Egypt reported its first novel coronavirus case, medical experts warn the strained healthcare system of the Arab world's most populous nation is nearing a "critical threshold". Hospitals have been hit by a  flight of doctors...

Egypt: Eid al-Fitr under lockdown

Cairo, May 17, 2020 - Egypt on Sunday announced a lengthening of its night-time curfew and other measures to prevent large gatherings during Eid al-Fitr holidays marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. "All shops, malls, restaurants, entertainment...

Egypt: Regime of General Sisi arrests Mada Masr Editor

Egyptian security services on Sunday detained the editor-in-chief of prominent independent news outlet Mada Masr, its lawyer said, the latest in a crackdown against journalists.  Lina Attallah was arrested outside Cairo's Tora prison as she was interviewing rights...

BEYOND NA

Nigeria: Insurgency risks expanding beyond the northeast

Lagos, May 17, 2020 - Nigerian jihadist groups are gaining sway in the restive northwest and the region could become a "land bridge" to Islamists across the Sahel, the International Crisis Group warned Monday. Northwestern Nigeria has been wracked by years of...

Nigeria: Boko Haram raids Gajiganna, kills 20

Kano, Nigeria, May 18, 2020 - Boko Haram jihadists killed 20 civilians in an attack on a village in restive northeastern Nigeria as inhabitants prepared to break their Ramadan fast, residents and local security personnel said Monday. Insurgents in several pickup...

Nigeria concerned about Covid-19 infections in Kano state

Abuja, May 18, 2020 - Nigeria's government on Monday extended a coronavirus lockdown on the northern region of Kano after it became a hotspot for new infections.  The head of the country's coronavirus taskforce, Boss Mustapha, said the lockdown on the economic hub --...

Cyprus says Turkey denied COVID-19 supply flight airspace entry

Nicosia, May 13, 2020 - Cyprus said Wednesday a flight it had chartered from China carrying 36 tonnes of COVID-19 medical supplies was diverted towards Moscow after Turkey denied it entry into its airspace. "The pilot changed route and is heading to Moscow airport in...

WHO advises MENA region against loosening confinement measures

Cairo, April 28, 2020 - The World Health Organization warned Tuesday of the impact coronavirus could have in Middle Eastern conflict zones and urged other countries in the region against loosening confinement measures. "This fight has become even more challenging with...

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