Archaeological Discoveries Could Have Political Implications

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The Lead Archaeologist of the McGill team announces their findings at a press conference at the Redpath Museum.

The news that a McGill University archaeological team has discovered traces of Binni’s ancient, and elusive, “Bin civilization” has electrified the archaeological world. Depending on what is discovered, however, the findings could also have important political ramifications.

The Bin people populated large parts of the region from approximately 1,000 BCE until the 8th century CE, when all traces of their once-great civilization mysteriously vanished.  The government of Binni has often sought to link itself to this era of past greatness, using it both to enhance its nationalist credentials and to buttress territorial claims against some of Binni’s neighbours. The Clegwist rebels have asserted their their own tribal beliefs can be traced back to the Bin, and would be pleased if the McGill researchers found evidence of this. For the Hand of God extremist movement, however, the Bin were heretics, and all trace of their existance should be destroyed. They have threatened to ritually disembowel anyone found assisting local archaeological teams, and have reserved particular ire for lead McGill archaeologist Andrew Stoten, whom they have described as the “cursed spawn of putrid bureaucratic evil.”

Is West Africa Becoming “the World’s Toxic Waste Dump”?

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Illegal waste dumps like this are becoming a growing problem.

Environmentalist are sounding the alarm about a growing problem: rich industrialized countries dumping toxic waste in the developing world.

“It could be anything,” warned Esther Achike of the environmental group Greenpeace in a press conference in Lagos, Nigeria. “Chemical residues. Waste and byproducts from manufacturing. Even low-grade radioactive materials.” She explained that corruption and profit-making drive the problem. “Since regulations in the West make it expensive to dispose of this stuff safely, it is sometimes cheaper to bribe some local official overseas to turn a blind eye to illegal dumping. West Africa is at risk of becoming the world’s toxic waste dump.”

Scientists and activists warn that the impact on the environment could be serious. In Guinea, the deaths of thousands of fish in a local lake last year was ultimately traced to barrels of industrial solvent that had been dumped there by a Belgian firm. In Gao, a rusty freighter carrying drums of dangerous chemicals was abandoned offshore in 2015 and wrecked, causing damage to the local fisheries. Those responsible were never identified.

Emboldened by Unrest, ‘Terrorists’ Promise Further Violence

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The “Fateful Lightning” of the Hand of God.

Bradley, Binni – As tensions heighten between the government of President Eddie Ancongo and the Opposition Parties that dispute the legitimacy of his rule, another threat to the stability of the region has been identified: a band of militant, ultra-religious fanatics that style themselves “The Hand of God.”

Labelled a terrorist organization by the Binni government, the Hand of God adheres strictly to a narrow reading of the Old Testament that imposes the death penalty for such “transgressions” as the wearing of tattoos, consulting with wise men/women, disrespecting one’s elders or using vulgar language.

Believing that they have been charged by God to bring about the “Kingdom of Heaven” through violence, the Hand of God stand in firm opposition to President Ancongo, and are avowed enemies of the Christian Freedom Movement, whom they consider heretics. They have sworn to “tear up the Clewgist blasphemers by the roots,” and promised to oppose the government of neighbouring Mouella as well.

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The Hand of God are alleged to have carried out a number of bombings, include this one near Bradley last year.

Security and terrorism experts have expressed concern that the Hand of God will use the unrest in Binni to put their words into action, and have urged the government and opposition parties to work together to address the growing threat posed by this organization.

UN Warns of Humanitarian Crisis

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Refugees fleeing the war in Binni.

Officials at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs have warned that the ongoing civil war in Binni is leading to “a humanitarian crisis of frightening proportions.” Said one official, “we need donations on money and humanitarian supplies, and we need them now.” The UN Security Council is expected to address the issue in a forthcoming meeting.

The stark warning comes following an upsurge in fighting between various rebel groups and the government of Binnian “President-for-Life” Eddy Anconda. The number of people displaced by the conflict has grown, and many civilians are now reported to be in desperate need of food and medical supplies. UN and other aid workers report that humanitarian access to some areas is being blocked by armed groups, notable the militant “Hand of God” movement which has threatened to interrogate and execute any foreigners they might capture.

Regional states have expressed concern that they might be overwhelmed by people fleeing the war. Already Mouella has closed its borders to refugees, citing limited resources and unspecified security concerns.

Experts Fear a New Arms Race

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A contingent of Agadez special forces on parade.

Regional rivalries, coupled with the  heightened tensions generated by the ongoing civil war in Binni, have led to growing fears of an arms race in West Africa. Mouella, Gao, Agadez, and Binni have all announced increases to their respective defence budgets. Indicative of this, two of the world’s largest defence corporations, LEXSEC (a division of LexCorp) and Weygand Defence, have both recently established regional marketing offices. Global powers have also sought to influence local actors through the provision of overt and covert military aid.

Perhaps still more alarming still are rumours of secret weapons research. The introduction of advanced and highly destructive weapons systems into the region could prove high destabilizing. According to Professor Cordite von Boom at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, “This could get bad… very bad indeed.”

Regional Powers Express Concern at Conflict in Binni

Regional Powers Express Concern at Conflict in Binni

As the war in Binni escalates, regional powers have expressed growing concern.

The Kingdom of Gao is worried that the civil war in Binni might cause a flood of refugees or armed fighters across its borders. Despite historic rivalries with its western neighbour, its current political and economic relations with the Ancongo regime appear quite good. There have been reports that they have provided some political and material support to Christian opposition elements, however.

In the Republic of Agadez, economists have warned that the civil war in Binni could cut the land-locked country off from key export routes to the sea. This, coupled with longstanding tensions with Mouella, have policymakers nervous. Agadez is particularly critical of Clewgist insurgents. By contrast, it has tended to view the plight of fellow Muslims in Binni with some sympathy.

Relations between the People’s Republic of Mouella and the government of Binni are especially strained, with the latter having accused the former of supporting Clewgist rebels. Neither leaders here nor most of the population have forgiven the events of the 1986 War, when Binni conquered part of what is now the Eastern Region of Binni from Mouella. recently the Mouellan authorities closed the border with Binni and are turning away any refugees. Like others in the region, Mouella has recently increased its defence budget, and is said to be interested in acquiring advanced weaponry.

Guinea and Nigeria have both pledged to press the issue of the Binnian civil war at the United Nations, where they both currently hold seats on the Security Council.