This Week in African Conflict… November 23-29th, 2011

  • The London based International Institute for Environment and Development released a policy paper on Thursday that warned of an alarming number of African governments that seem to be signing away water rights in their countries for decades, with major implications for local communities.
  • A new study in the British Medical Journal details the true cost of the medical brain drain, the money benefited from wealthy Western countries poaching African trained doctors. Canada, Britain, Australia and the US are said to have saved more than $4.5 billion (USD) in education costs by recruiting doctors from nine African countries, while the nine source countries have lost nearly $2.2 billion as a result of the medical migration.
  • Two French citizens were reportedly abducted from a hotel in northern Mali by gunmen early Thursday. Few details have yet emerged, as this is the first kidnapping of westerners in Mali that has occurred south of the Niger River, far from the al-Qaida region in the north. On Saturday, gunmen killed a German man in Timbuktu and captured another three men from the Netherlands, South Africa and Sweden.
  • At least 22 anti-junta demonstrators were reportedly killed by security force’s live bullets from Saturday to Wednesday in Egypt as pro-democracy protesters clashed with police. On Thursday, the ruling junta announced that elections would start as scheduled on Monday, despite widespread protests and calls for postponement; while three American students, who were arrested, accused of throwing petrol bombs were released from police custody. Journalist Mona Eltahawy reported she had been arrested, beaten and sexually assaulted by security forces in Cairo, and several other journalists are said to have been targeted for arrest or abuse. On Friday, Egypt’s military apologized for the deaths of demonstrators and vowed to bring justice to those responsible, while tens of thousands of demonstrators filled Tahrir Square demanding the military rulers step down and calling on the new PM to leave office. Saboteurs also blew up a gas pipeline in the northern Sinai province on Friday and another pipeline again on Monday. On Saturday, the killing of an unarmed demonstrator by the police resulted in an outpouring of anger. On Sunday, activists prepared for another massive protest in Tahrir Square to demand an immediate end to military rule a day ahead of parliamentary polls while the army chief said he will not let “troublemakers” meddle in the elections and warned of “extremely grave” consequences if the crisis was not overcome.  On Monday, Egyptians came out to vote in record numbers, with polls kept open two hours past their scheduled closing to allow the long queues of people a chance to vote. Some irregularities were reported.

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