Aline of thousands of trucks stretching back 25 km (15 miles), including those with food, humanitarian aid and industrial materials has been stuck at the Malanville border crossing in northern Benin to the Niger Republic for more than 20 days.
This was seen in a documentary posted by Channels TV on its verified X (formerly Twitter) page which was monitored by SaharaReporters.
According to the documentary, the backlog is one of the clearest signs yet of the impact of sanctions imposed by the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Niger after a military coup on July 26.
The blockade is aimed at pressuring the junta to reinstate the ousted President Mohamed Bazoum. It has driven up the prices of food items in Niger during the lean season, affected industries and led to a shortage of medical supplies.
Nigerien trucker Soulemane, who had been stuck at the border with his cargo of sugar and oil for over 20 days, said, “We don’t know if we’ve been taken hostage or what. There’s no food, there’s no water, there’s nowhere to sleep.”
SaharaReporters on Monday reported how the regional bloc turned down the three-year transition plan proposed by Niger’s military ruler General Abdourahamane Tchiani.
Abdourahamane Tchiani said his government planned to return power to a civilian government in the next three years.
But Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, in an interview with BBC, described General Tchiani’s proposal as unacceptable.
Hundreds of Nigeriens have been taking to the streets to express their support for the military regime.
Last weekend, their protest coincided with ECOWAS’s insistence on invading the country to flush out coup leaders if diplomacy fails to return deposed President Mohamed Bazoum to power.
The gathering took place on the same day that a government official in Niger stated that negotiations between the ECOWAS team, led by former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar, retd, and the junta produced little progress.
20 Killed In Cameroon Separatist Attack
Separatist rebels on Monday killed around 20 people, including women and children, in an attack on a village in one of Cameroon’s restive anglophone regions, the government said.
The overnight assault occurred at Egbekaw village, western Cameroon, the scene of deadly clashes between rebels and government forces for seven years.
“There were men, women and children, more than 20 killed,” minister at the presidency Mengot Victor Arrey-Nkongho told public radio. “It’s intolerable.”
Cameroon’s primarily English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions have been gripped by conflict since separatists declared independence in 2017.
That followed decades of grievances over perceived discrimination by the francophone majority.
In the middle of the night “terrorists” opened fire with guns and used “traditional arms”, Manyu department prefect Viang Mekala said on the radio.
“There are about 20 dead and seven seriously wounded, a dozen houses burnt,” he added.
President Paul Biya, 90, who has ruled the central African nation with an iron fist for 41 years to the day, has resisted calls for wider autonomy and responded with a crackdown.
The conflict has claimed more than 6,000 lives and forced more than a million people to flee their homes, according to the International Crisis Group.
“It happened at 4:00 am. Armed young people came and fired on sleeping residents in their houses and set a whole block of houses on fire,” a resident told AFP by telephone requesting not to be identified out of security concerns.
“Twenty-three people have already been removed from the debris, some of whom are not even recognisable because of the fire.”
He said there was reason to believe it was connected to the November 6 anniversary of Biya assuming power as president in 1982.
A meeting of the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (RDPC) was planned in the area, he added.
Both the separatists and government forces have been accused of atrocities in the fighting.
There had been no claim of responsibility over the attack on Egbekaw.
Sudan: War Enters Sixth Month, No Hope In Sight
Six months since conflict broke out, Sudan’s brutal war continues to inflict immeasurable suffering: endangering lives, displacing millions from their homes, and causing deaths even in areas far from frontlines.
“The war continues mercilessly. We wake up every day hoping that a solution or agreement or ceasefire will be reached. Unfortunately, this hope fades day by day,” decries Rashid Mohamed Ahmed, resident of Omdourman.
More than 9,000 deaths, 5.6 million displaced people and refugees, cholera and deindustrialisation, the war that broke out between general Al-Burhane and Mohamed Hamdane Daglo has brought Sudan to its knees and ravaged its capital Khartoum.
Sudanese hopes of an end to the fighting are “fading” as people feel more and more scared.
“The past six months were a bitter period. We are scared day and night. Scared of the bombs and bullets,” shares Mona Mohamed Taher, another resident of Omdourman.
Across Sudan, the fragile health system is struggling; emergency rooms are congested, and many hospitals have closed completely.
According to the International president of Doctors without borders, Sudan’s crisis epitomises a catastrophic failure of humanity, marked by the warring parties’ failing to protect civilians or facilitate essential humanitarian access.
“Some charity organisations are helping, but we still need health aid, blankets, bedsheets, and also there is water and medicine shortage. In general, there is shortage in healthcare services,” pleads Mounira El Ser, volunteer in the al-Wahda school camp?
With no end to the war in sight, NGOs are calling for a substantial increase in efforts to provide humanitarian aid and for people of Sudan to be allowed unhindered access to medical aid.
Egypt Main Opposition Hopeful Abandons Presidential Race
Egyptian opposition politician Ahmed al-Tantawi declared on Friday that he would withdraw from the presidential race. This decision followed weeks of accusations of harassment and arrests by the authorities.
“Whoever believes that the problems in Egypt will be solved if the elections end up with the current president remains in power, needs to think twice, because he [the president] is the root of the problem and does not have any desire or ability to contemplate this fact or review himself,” shared Egypt’s Hope.
Despite garnering significant support after announcing his intention to challenge the current President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Tantawi managed to secure only 14,000 endorsements, falling short of the required 25,000 endorsements necessary to officially register his candidacy, as stated by his campaign coordinator.
“Stability can not be built on oppression, rather it is consensual and built on the government’s commitment to the constitution and law,” added the opposition leader.
To be eligible for the presidential race, each candidate must submit endorsements from either 20 lawmakers or 25,000 citizens by October 15.
The opposition candidate had previously reported that over 100 of his supporters were detained in the past few weeks. Egypt disclosed last month that it scheduled its presidential election for December 10-12, and President Sisi subsequently officially declared his intent to run for a third term.
Tantawi’s campaign had consistently alleged that it was subjected to harassment and arrests by the authorities. Several of its members publicly attested to enduring physical assaults or being obstructed from registering their endorsements. Tantawi himself claimed that his phone had been under surveillance since September 2021.