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Food Riots Erupt in West Africa, Threatening Security of the Region
Tension over the decreasing global access to food resources has erupted throughout West Africa in the form of riots throughout the region. In an apparent escalation of the simmering violence in the region that first erupted 18 months ago, dozens are dead in each of Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The riots began about two weeks ago and are now threatening to spiral out of control as increasing amounts of rural West Africans are now traveling to urban areas to join with city-dwellers in seeking increased supplies of food. As increased pressure has been put on the governments of each of these states, increasingly desperate people are apparently becoming increasingly violent. The epi-center of the crisis appears to be in Bobo-Diouslasso, but is quickly spreading throughout the center of West Africa.
The rioting appears to be in response to increasingly desperate conditions involving access to basic necessities such as food, clothing, and fuel. “This reaction was expected,” Laurent Ouédraogo, secretary general of the Confédération Nationale des Travailleurs du Burkina (CNTB) told IRIN, stating that the riots happened after anger welled up because of constantly rising prices for basics like food, cloth and petrol. “Misery does not wait and you see people witnessing everyday rising prices and they do not know what to do. The situation is like having matches near cotton that can catch fire at any moment,” Ouédraogo said. At least three dozen protestors are dead in Burkina-Faso alone, as security forces struggled to maintain order. A government official was quoted as expressing fear that the violence had already risen beyond the domestic ability to control it. Similar rioting was reported in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali and Niger. Members of the governments of all four states reported similar fears as were reported out of Burkina-Faso. It is increasingly clear that this is an issue that is threatening to destabilize the entire region. Sketchy reports out of Accra, Ghana indicate that exploding violence has left dozens if not hundreds of people homeless. A representative of the government of Nigeria warned today that this crisis, if not contained quickly, could result in a massive refugee crisis of people both fleeing escalating violence as well as seeking immediate food aid.
The Security Council has been asked by Secretary General Ban-ki Moon to engage with this crisis, as it seems to involve an increasingly urgent component of violence containment and prevention. The food crisis as a whole involves several factors that include:
· Skyrocketing food prices
· Mal-distribution of available food
· Corruption in some governments preventing dissemination of resources
· Persistent drought conditions in some areas of the world
· Lack of consistent food production in specific areas (like West Africa) worldwide
In the coming weeks, the crisis looks to be growing. The Security Council will receive updates for the next couple weeks, and it must adjust to changing conditions to try to stem the rising tide of violence. Members should feel free to engage the states involved to get input throughout the process
no i have no USB so i have to tranfer it somehow
You know that you can send that in a message or email to yourself don't you?
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