West and Central Africa Correspondent
David's Feed
Jan 21, 2015

Dutch UN attack helicopters strike Mali rebels in north

DAKAR (Reuters) – Dutch United Nations attack helicopters carried out air strikes on Tuareg rebel forces in northern Mali on Tuesday, the first such engagement by Dutch forces serving in the U.N. mission in Mali.

The U.N. mission, known as MINUSMA, said it was responding to heavy weapons fire directed at its peacekeepers in the town of Tabankort. It said the helicopters only destroyed a rebel vehicle after firing warning shots that were ignored.

Jan 15, 2015

African states must overcome distrust for Boko Haram force to work – U.N.

DAKAR, Jan 15 (Reuters) – The four African nations most
threatened by Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram must put aside
mutual distrust and agree on a command structure and strategy
for a fledgling regional force if they want to defeat the
militants, a top U.N. official said.

Mohamed Ibn Chambas, U.N. Special Representative for West
Africa, said the international community could only help Nigeria
and neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon once they clearly laid
out the assets they lacked to fight Boko Haram.

Jan 7, 2015

FBI questions U.S.-based Gambian civil society leader over coup plot

DAKAR/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Gambian civil society leader based in the United States said on Wednesday he had been questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation over a failed coup plot allegedly planned on U.S. soil.

Federal prosecutors have already charged a Texas businessman and a former U.S. Army sergeant over the failed Dec. 30 plot to oust President Yahya Jammeh while he was away from the tiny West African nation.

Dec 4, 2014

Insight – While diplomats fret, Burkina backs military to drive reform agenda

OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) – When Colonel Isaac Zida swapped his military fatigues for a blue suit to chair his first cabinet meeting as prime minister of Burkina Faso, his intended audience may have been the West and its African allies.

While some diplomats have voiced unease about the military’s role in politics since protests toppled long-time ruler Blaise Compaore in October, few Burkinabe are concerned as long as the soldiers protect their ‘revolution’ and push through demanded reforms.

Dec 4, 2014

While diplomats fret, Burkina backs military to drive reform agenda

OUAGADOUGOU, Dec 4 (Reuters) – When Colonel Isaac Zida
swapped his military fatigues for a blue suit to chair his first
cabinet meeting as prime minister of Burkina Faso, his intended
audience may have been the West and its African allies.

While some diplomats have voiced unease about the military’s
role in politics since protests toppled long-time ruler Blaise
Compaore in October, few Burkinabe are concerned as long as the
soldiers protect their ‘revolution’ and push through demanded
reforms.

Nov 16, 2014

U.N. scraps clinic contract as Ebola exposes Mali readiness gaps

DAKAR (Reuters) – The United Nations mission in Mali has canceled plans to renew a contract with a private clinic providing care to its peacekeepers after a case of Ebola was missed and spread from there.

This second Ebola alarm in Mali, coming just as it seemed to have contained its first case last month, raised doubts about the country’s ability to protect itself from the epidemic that is ravaging three other states in West Africa. More than 5,000 people have died, almost all in Liberia, Sierra Leone and in Guinea, which shares an 800 km (500 mile) border with Mali.

Nov 2, 2014

“One game too far” – the downfall of Burkina Faso’s president

DAKAR, Nov 2 (Reuters) – In the build-up to this past week’s
mass protests in Burkina Faso that ended Blaise Compaore’s
27-year rule, statesmen from French President Francois Hollande
to former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent him messages
with increasing urgency.

The meaning was clear: step aside with reputation intact and
a high-profile international job, or risk an undignified exit.

Oct 24, 2014

Fear and indifference leave West Africa desperate for Ebola staff

DAKAR, Oct 24 (Reuters) – When Australia offered more than
$2 million last month to the medical charity leading the fight
against Ebola in West Africa, Medecins Sans Frontieres bluntly
rejected it.

What was urgently needed from rich Western countries, MSF
said, was not more money but doctors and nurses.

Oct 20, 2014

Home care kits highlight gaps in West Africa’s Ebola response

DAKAR/MONROVIA (Reuters) – With the number of Ebola cases spiraling in West Africa and weeks remaining until treatment units promised by Western governments are built, health workers fighting one of the world’s deadliest diseases are being forced to improvise.

In the “hot zones” of Liberia, where Ebola patients are being turned away from overflowing clinics, aid agencies are distributing tens of thousands of protection kits, made up of buckets, chlorine, soap, gloves, a gown and instructions on how to look after the infected in their own homes.

Oct 18, 2014

U.S. travel ban could sour ties with Ebola-hit nations

DAKAR/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The first casualty of a possible U.S. ban on travel to and from Ebola-stricken West African nations could be Washington’s ties with the region and, to a lesser degree, travel and resources businesses exposed to it.

The White House said on Friday that such a ban advocated by many lawmakers was an option but was not being considered now. Lawmakers and medical experts are debating how much good or harm a ban could do and what was the best way to prevent Ebola’s spread at home.