In the spotlight: West Africa under high tension

Audio 03:58

From left to right: Chadian President Idriss Déby, Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou and Burkinabè Roch Marc Christian Kaboré during the opening ceremony of the ECOWAS summit, September 14, 2019. ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

By: Frédéric Couteau Follow

9 min



Is West Africa adrift?


L'Observateur Paalga

in Burkina.


There is reason to ask the question as the hotbeds of tension multiply there.

There was already endemic terrorism in which Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso have been plunged for years.

(…) And as if that were not enough for our misfortune, the third terms of Alassane Ouattara and Alpha Condé threaten to put their two countries to fire and blood.

(…) Conakry, Abidjan, therefore, and now Abuja and Lagos in Nigeria,


Observer Paalga, where protests against police violence escalated into riots despite the introduction of curfews in Lagos and other major cities in the country.

There too the corpses are piling up after the brutal dispersal of young rebels during what Nigerians have already called 'bloody Tuesday'.

With such a sub-regional environment which does not encourage optimism,


The Observer again, one wonders who will come to save whom and if ECOWAS will be able to multiply to limit these multiple outbreaks of fire, which is already so and so requested.


What is ECOWAS doing?



, in Guinea believes that if ECOWAS is called upon, it takes all its time to react ...

And even worse ... " 

West Africa on fire, ECOWAS sluggish

 ", launches the Guinean news site.


ECOWAS has not learned anything from the consequences of its mistakes in Mali.

In any case, that is the impression given by the silence that it adopts today when Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire and Nigeria are on the verge of implosion.

In each of these three countries,

notes the Guinean site,

citizens endure state violence and bow to the weight of police repression, but the sub-regional body adopts the passive attitude of the indifferent spectator.

Between 9 and 16 dead in Guinea, 12 in Nigeria and 7 other unfortunate victims in Dabou, in western Côte d'Ivoire!

But ECOWAS is not at all moved,



Not even a press release expressing concern.

A contempt which once again reinforces the idea according to which this organization, once touted as an example on the continent, is in reality only a union at the exclusive service of the leaders of the countries of the sub-region.


Guinea on the “edge of the precipice”?

In the countries concerned, the local press expresses its concern at the deterioration of the situation.

Example in Guinea, where the


news site

draws up this sad observation: “ 

The country is experiencing an unprecedented violent post-electoral crisis.

Since the self-proclamation of victory by Cellou Dalein Diallo without waiting for the official results of the electoral commission, the country is heading towards the precipice.

This announcement by the main challenger of Alpha Condé put the activists of the UFDG (main opposition party) in the streets to celebrate the victory.

Since then, the defense and security forces have set in motion to bloodily suppress the supporters of the opponent Cellou Dalein Diallo.

In its electoral stronghold of Ratoma, one of the five municipalities of the capital is chaos.

Police and gendarmes carry out massacres.

Innocent young people in their prime, who have nothing to do with politics, are shot dead.


Nigeria in search of dialogue

In Nigeria, the daily


is also alarmed: “ 

beyond the protest against police violence, there are also political and social demands.

(…) These requests must be transmitted to the government, which should then organize a national dialogue.

(…) For their part, continues the Nigerian daily, the demonstrators must leave the roads and allow supplies to circulate.

The economy must not be suffocated, otherwise the combined effects of the protests and the COVID-19 pandemic could cause it to collapse.



the Vanguard

concludes: “ 

our country is fragile in the face of its economic and security challenges.

We need wisdom and prudence to resolve this situation with minimum damage.

(…) The time for change has come, but it must be peaceful and not violent



The four of Iwacu still in prison

Finally a " 

painful anniversary

 ": it has been a year to the day that our 4 colleagues from


, a Burundian online weekly, have been imprisoned in Bubanza, in the north-west of Burundi.

Agnès, Christine, Egide and Térence were arrested while covering clashes between security forces and an armed group.

They were sentenced for complicity to two and a half years in prison, while they were only doing their job.

Since then, the editorial staff of


has been mobilized for their release.


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