Blinken warns of growing extremism in Africa, calls for reform

Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives for a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on September 14, 2021. Blinken was questioned about the Biden administration's handling of the U.S. withdraw from Afghanistan.
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned of growing extremism and authoritarianism in Africa during a speech in Abuja, Nigeria, on Friday, raising concerns with the dual crises in Ethiopia and Sudan.

Blinken, who gave the speech during a three-nation tour of Africa, said the continent is struggling with coups, police brutality and violence, as reported by The Associated Press.

“Meanwhile, governments are becoming less transparent,” he said. “We see this happening across Africa — leaders ignoring term limits, rigging or postponing elections, exploiting social grievances to gain and maintain power, arresting opposition figures, cracking down on the media, and allowing security services to enforce pandemic restrictions brutally.”

Ethiopia is in the midst of a violent war between the government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, an opposition group. Fighting in Tigray has led to more than 2 million fleeing their homes, according to international organization Human Rights Watch.

Meanwhile, in Sudan, a military takeover of the government on Oct. 25 has led to the deaths of at least 39 citizens, Al Jazeera reported.

Blinken said during his Friday speech the U.S. was also looking into allegations of police brutality in Nigeria, Africa’s most prosperous nation. Last year, Nigerian security forces killed 11 protesting against the country’s police force.

“The threats posed by violent extremists, criminals and internal armed conflict are very real. So is their potential to destabilize nations and regions, undermine development and ignite humanitarian disasters,” he said. “Part of the answer is effective and professional security forces and local law enforcement that can protect citizens while respecting human rights.”

Tags Africa Antony Blinken Crisis Ethiopia human rights violations Nigeria Secretary of State Sudan War

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