Thursday 20 July 2017
(AFP (eng) 06/17/17)
Morocco's OCP group denounced Friday a decision by a South African court to hold a Moroccan ship laden with phosphate mined from the disputed Western Sahara pending a trial. The court said it wanted to determine ownership of the cargo of the boat that is being held at Port Elizabeth. The 34,000-tonne vessel from Western Sahara, which was destined for New Zealand, was last month prevented from departing due to a court motion seeking that the vessel return its cargo. The motion argued that the transportation of goods from disputed Western Sahara is illegal and in violation of international principles. "The court has basically found that the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic and the Polisario Front have established, on a prima...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Extortion, corruption and fear; violence, hunger and sometimes even death: for west African migrants dreaming of reaching Europe, the road to get there can be an absolute minefield. - Departure - Whether it's The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Senegal or Nigeria, everything starts with the "hustlers" -- slang for the middlemen or fixers who organise the trip. Their honesty and prices vary, with the would-be migrant usually deceived about the welcome expected in Europe. Many possess no official documents from their home country, and do not understand illegal status in Europe. Most are ignorant about the extreme difficulties they will encounter en route. "We didn't know we were risking our lives," said Kante Sekou...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Maria gave smugglers all her family savings and crossed three countries and the searing Libyan desert, but when she finally boarded a boat for Europe her dream was swiftly shattered. She was 24 and pregnant with her second child when she left Liberia with her husband and their three-year-old son. The family passed through Guinea and Mali before crossing southern Algeria to reach the Libyan desert. "The smugglers took all our money" -- more than $2,150 (2,000 euros), she said. "We spent four days in the desert. People died of thirst and the sun in the back of the truck." They finally arrived on the beach at Sabrata, 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Libya's capital Tripoli, a key departure...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Uche's real journey had yet to begin but he had already spent four days in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after travelling on public buses and potholed roads from Imo state in the southeast. He planned to go to Agadez, a transit town on the southern edge of the Sahara desert in central Niger, take a truck to Sebha, in southwestern Libya, and from there to the capital Tripoli, and then to Italy or Spain. But his contact, who was supposed to drive him and three women across Nigeria's northern border, was arrested on suspicion of people smuggling. "His house had been under surveillance," explains the 38-year-old electrician in Kano's bustling Sabon Gari district. "The movement of the three...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Monday meet African leaders in Berlin on initiatives aiming to reduce the poverty and conflict driving a mass migrant influx to Europe. The idea is to team up African nations willing to reform with private investors who would bring business and jobs to a continent where instability or graft often scare off foreign companies. Merkel is hosting the initiative as part of Germany's presidency of the Group of 20 powerful economies, whose leaders meet in the northern port of Hamburg a month later. Invited to Berlin are Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leaders of Ghana, Ivory Coast...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/08/17)
More girls are completing secondary school across sub-Saharan Africa as attitudes change and state spending rises, but some of the most marginalized girls — like those married young or forced to work — are still missing out, education experts say. The percentage of girls completing secondary school has risen in all regions of Africa since 2005, said a recent report by the African Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the U.N. Development Program. Almost twice as many girls in East Africa and three times as many in Central Africa completed secondary education in 2014 as in 2005, according to the annual African Economic Outlook report, which was published at the end of last month. Yet more...
(AFP (eng) 06/07/17)
A relative and former colleague of the Algerian suspected of attacking a policeman outside the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris said Wednesday they struggled to believe he was a jihadist. The attacker was shot and wounded by police on Tuesday after he lunged at an officer with a hammer in a square full of tourists in front of the landmark cathedral. Documents found on the attacker identified him as Farid I., a 40-year-old Algerian student, and a source close to the investigation said police found a video in his flat in which he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group. Speaking to AFP in his North African homeland on Wednesday, the suspect's nephew Sofiane I. said it was hard to...
(AFP (eng) 06/07/17)
Dozens of Syrian refugees remained stranded in no-man's land between Morocco and Algeria on Tuesday, non-governmental groups said, despite an Algerian offer to help. Algiers said last week it would take in the refugees after the United Nations urged both sides to help the Syrians, who include a pregnant woman and have been stranded in the desert area since April 17. "The Syrian refugee families are still blocked on the border between Algeria and Morocco. Authorities on both sides are passing each other the buck," said Noureddine Benissad of the Algerian League of Human Rights. Saida Benhabiles, the head of the Algerian Red Crescent, said a joint team from her organisation and the UN refugee agency have been waiting on...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
Building a network of African women leaders in fields ranging from business to politics could galvanize female leadership across the continent and boost peacebuilding efforts and good governance, the head of U.N. Women said on Tuesday. The African Women Leaders Network, which was launched last week in New York by the United Nations and the African Union Commission, hopes to drive more women into leadership roles, through mentoring, peer learning and harnessing contacts. By supporting women's leadership in Africa, the platform aims to galvanize their contributions to building and sustaining peace, improving political processes and driving social change, and realizing the U.N. global goals, according to U.N. Women. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in 2015, include targets on...
(Xinhuanet 06/06/17)
Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel said Monday that the countries of the region have to maintain continuous coordination to face together challenges when he held talks with visiting Egyptian and Tunisian counterparts. "The situation in Libya and the importance of permanent coordination at the level of Libya's neighboring countries, particularly Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia, were on the agenda of the talks," Messahel told the press about his meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. "We have discussed the situation in the region, amid emerging threats such as terrorism, organized crime and illegal migration," Messahel added.
(Xinhuanet 06/06/17)
Delegates of an African conference in solidarity with Cuba on Monday called on the United States to lift its over 50-year economic blockade against Cuba. "We applaud the positive development in this respect and we commend the U.S. government and Cuba for their efforts towards normalizing of ties," said Namibian President Hage Geingob, officially opening the fifth Continental Africa Conference in Solidarity with Cuba here on Monday. "However, there is still much ground left to cover to ensure the complete lifting of the blockage against Cuba," said Geingob. According to Geingob, the conference will lead to the development of the common African strategy in terms of support to Cuba. The delegates also called for the return of the Guantanamo Bay,...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/03/17)
The head of the United Nations will name former German president Horst Koehler as his new envoy for Western Sahara, in charge of restarting talks between Morocco and the Polisario independence movement over the disputed territory. The United Nations Security Council in April backed attempts to re-enter negotiations over Western Sahara, which has been contested since 1975 and where Morocco and Polisario fought a war until a 1991 ceasefire. "Following the usual consultations, I intend to appoint Horst Koehler of Germany as my personal envoy for Western Sahara," U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a letter to the Security Council released by the U.N. on Friday. Tensions increased in Western Sahara last year when Moroccan forces faced off with...
(AFP (eng) 06/02/17)
Algeria has agreed to take in 41 Syrian refugees trapped since mid-April in a desert area that borders neighbouring Morocco, the foreign ministry said on Thursday. The decision comes two days after the UN refugee agency said the plight of the refugees -- who include a pregnant woman -- was "untenable", urging Algeria and Morocco to work for a solution. In a statement carried by APS news agency, the foreign ministry said Algeria would take in the refugees as an "exceptional humanitarian gesture". It said the decision was also meant to mark the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, during which the pious are urged to be charitable and devote themselves to prayer. The refugees would be housed and fed...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/02/17)
Gunmen attacked an Algerian military patrol in an area south of the capital, slightly wounding four gendarmes, the ministry of defence said, in an attack later claimed by Islamic State. Attacks are rare in Algeria since the end of the country's 1990s civil war with Islamist militants, but al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and small brigades allied to Islamic State are active in remote areas. Gunmen opened fire on the gendarmerie patrol late on Wednesday in Larbaa area in Blida region, around 30 km (19 miles) south of Algiers, the ministry said in a statement carried on APS state news agency. "A patrol of gendarmerie were targeted by gunfire on Wednesday at 2200 by a group of terrorists," the...
(Xinhuanet 06/02/17)
Fifty-four African Union member states will convene the 5th Continental Conference of Solidarity with Cuba in the Namibian capital from June 5-7, said an Naminian official on Thursday. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of International relations and Cooperation, Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, said the aim of hosting the conference in Namibia is to intensify solidarity and to strengthen bounds of friendship between the people of Cuba and the progressive peoples throughout the African Continent. Namibia's President Hage Geingob will open and address the conference, which will run under the theme, "Intensifying Solidarity and continuing the legacy of Fidel and Che". The conference, which will also be attended by a Cuban delegation, will also recognize the important work done in support of...
(AFP (eng) 06/01/17)
One in five children born with a twin sibling in sub-Saharan Africa dies before the age of five -- three times the rate among singletons, said a study Thursday. Almost two-thirds die in the first month of life -- often succumbing to the after-effects of a difficult birth or entering the world too early or underweight, according to research published in The Lancet medical journal. And while rates of under-five deaths in the sub-Saharan African region have declined over two decades, the improvement has been much slower for twins than for single-borns. "Twins account for 10.7 percent of all under-five deaths and 15.1 percent of neonatal (newborn) deaths in the region and these percentages are increasing," the study said. "The...
(AFP (eng) 05/31/17)
The UN refugee agency on Tuesday urged Morocco and Algeria to provide safe passage for dozens of Syrian refugees trapped in no-man's land between the two countries. "Prompt action by both governments is needed in facilitating the immediate and safe passage of the forty-one vulnerable Syrian refugees," said the UNHCR. "We urge Algeria and Morocco to work with us on ending this dangerous and untenable situation for these stranded desperate Syrian refugees," it said in a statement. The group includes "children, babies and women -- including at least one pregnant woman reportedly in need of urgent Caesarean
(Reuters (Eng) 05/31/17)
Leicester City's Algeria forward Riyad Mahrez has announced he wants to leave the 2016 Premier League champions, according to a statement reported by British media on Tuesday. The 26-year-old, who joined the Foxes from French club Le Havre in 2014, said he had agreed "to stay for another season" following "a good discussion with the chairman" last year. However, he added that he was "fiercely ambitious" and had "informed the club I feel now is the time to move on." Mahrez, the PFA player of the year in 2016, played 48 games and scored 10 goals for the Midlands club this season, helping them to reach the Champions League quarter-finals. The Algerian, who cost Leicester only 400,000 pounds ($512,320.00), signed...
(Washington Post 05/31/17)
The old man’s house had become a camp for the displaced. In the back yard, groups of women boiled water for rice. Small children skittered across the dirt, running into the bedroom, where they careened around the long, skinny legs of Elijah Karama. “Because of the conditions, they are mine to take care of,” said Karama, 57, more tired than proud. By conditions, he meant Boko Haram’s destruction of vast areas of northeastern Nigeria, and the hunger crisis that has followed. This city of about 1 million has absorbed an additional 1 million people who fled the Islamist militants who burned their villages and kidnapped hundreds of children. In Maiduguri, the vast majority of the displaced aren’t living in U.N...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/27/17)
Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations met African heads of state on Saturday, the final day of their annual summit which has been marked by discord over climate change, but unity on tackling terrorism. Italy had hoped to make Africa the major focus of the annual G7 gathering, holding the discussions on the island of Sicily that has taken in hundreds of thousands of migrants over the past four years as they flee war and poverty back home. However, the two-day meeting got overshadowed by a suicide bombing in northern England on Monday that killed 22 people, and also got bogged down by lengthy discussions on the merit of free trade and the 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle...

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