By J Nastranis

NEW YORK (IDN) - Antonio Guterres, who takes over as the United Nations Secretary-General on January 1, 2017, delivered on his pledges on gender parity and geographical diversity when he confirmed three key appointments on December 15.

In a statement he confirmed, as widely expected, that he is appointing Amina J. Mohammed of Nigeria as his Deputy Secretary-General. He also announced the appointment of Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil as his Chef de Cabinet.

"I also intend to create the position of Special Advisor on Policy, and to appoint Ms. Kyung-wha Kang of the Republic of Korea to this new role," Guterres said.

- Photo: 2021

Experts Urge US to End Military Solutions for African Problems

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK (IDN) — Three noted Africa experts, at a Roundtable with the BBC, are warning of endless “forever wars” if Africa continues to rely on military solutions with weapons and training from the U.S. and the international community instead of addressing local grievances.

The group spotlighted the case of Mozambique where a small ragtag movement demanding religious freedom and a share in the region’s economic wealth morphed into a deadly armed movement of Islamist militants controlling the area called Cabo Delgado.

“They were harassed by the religious establishment and subjected to military operations by the government,” commented Judd Devermont, Africa program director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington DC think tank.

“Then in October 2017 we saw the first violent attack by this group and since then they’ve gained a momentum and sophistication taking towns last year and now seizing a very important town in Cabo Delgado known as Palma—one of the key hubs for the emerging LNG (liquid natural gas) industry and one of the biggest gas reserves.”

“What’s astounding,” added Jennifer Cook, director, Institute for African Studies, George Washington University in Washington DC, “is how similar the pattern is to other groups across Africa.”

Devermont summarized Washington’s next steps. “The US is going to send a couple dozen marines to work with the Mozambique armed forces. I think this is a band-aid. The problem right now is that the Mozambican military is using the same tactics they used against Renamo during the Civil War.

Further, the U.S. recently designated this group as a foreign terrorist organization. It prohibits money transfers for the U.S. and enables the U.S. to block any individuals associated with this group. This will make it harder for humanitarian workers to get into this area because they fear what they’re doing can be interpreted as material support. It provides a narrative that the only approach to this group will be the military.

Devermont continued: “None of these problems are going to be solved by the U.S. or by international partners. In Nigeria, they’re going to be solved by Nigerians and one of the problems I’ve seen is that the politicians there are not raising the issues. That gives President Muhammadu Buhari and his military a free hand to do as little as they want.

“We need to see politicians push for real solutions and then the U.S. should be offering a helping hand but only at that point.” [IDN-InDepthNews – 05 April 2021]

Photo: Two women walk at an IDP camp in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, after brutal attacks in northern Mozambique. Credit: UNICEF/Mauricio Bisol.

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