Sunday 10 December 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 11/13/17)
DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Two East African presidents on Saturday condemned a decision by the International Criminal Court to open a war crimes investigation into Burundi, saying it undermined regional peace initiatives. The court ordered a formal investigation on Thursday into crimes committed in Burundi from April 2015 to October 2017. “Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has condemned the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which ordered its prosecutor to launch an investigation into the Burundi conflict,” Tanzania’s presidency said in a statement on Saturday. Museveni is the current chairman of the East African Community (EAC) regional...
(AFP (eng) 11/13/17)
Ministers from 13 European and African countries on Monday pledged steps to ease the migrant crisis around the Mediterranean, vowing especially to improve conditions for migrants held in Libya. Interior ministers and other representatives from countries impacted by the ongoing wave of migration up through Africa towards Europe, including Libya, voiced deep concern over the "ongoing human tragedy" along the so-called Central Mediterranean route. "The participants intend to address the challenges posed by the alarming situation along the migration route to North Africa," Switzerland, which hosted the third meeting of the so-called contact group on the crisis, said in a statement. Thousands of migrants and refugees who attempt to travel along this route "find themselves in catastrophic situations," it said,...
(AFP (eng) 11/11/17)
Tanzanian President John Magufuli and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni on Saturday criticised the International Criminal Court (ICC) for launching a probe into alleged crimes committed during Burundi's political crisis. A statement from the Tanzanian presidency said the two leaders had condemned the move, during a meeting in western Uganda. "President Magufuli said this decision compromised efforts by the East African Community, which has put in place a committee charged with seeking a resolution to the Burundi conflict, led by President Yoweri Museveni and former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa," said the statement.
(AFP (eng) 11/11/17)
Burundi on Friday slapped away any idea that it would help the International Criminal Court's probe into alleged crimes committed after the country spiralled into political turmoil in 2015. "Burundi rejects this decision from the very outset," said Justice Minister Aimee Laurentine Kanyana, a day after The Hague-based court announced the investigation.. Burundi withdrew from the ICC on October 27 -- claiming it was biased against Africa -- "and was not notified of the ICC's decision to investigate Burundi before its effective departure," she said. As a result, "it is not bound by this decision," the minister said in a statement read to the press in Bujumbura, the capital. On Thursday, the ICC revealed that its judges had given the...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/10/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Burundi on Friday rejected plans by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to allow prosecutors to investigate war crimes in the central African nation, while rights groups and opposition politicians welcomed the move. Justice Minister Aimee Laurentine Kanyana said Burundi would not cooperate with the Netherlands-based court, from which it formally withdrew on Oct. 26. The ICC still claims jurisdiction over crimes committed while Burundi was a member. “The government of Burundi heard a rumor through international media reports that ICC has given authorization to its prosecutor to start an investigation on Burundi,” she told a news conference.
(AFP (eng) 11/10/17)
Burundi has been gripped by turmoil since President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a bid for a third term in office more than two years ago. On Thursday the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened a full probe into alleged crimes committed during the crisis. Between 500 and 2,000 people have been killed, according to different sources, and more than 400,000 people displaced from their homes. Here is a summary of key developments in the crisis in the central African country. - Demonstrations start - April 25, 2015: Nkurunziza is declared candidate for a third term by the ruling CNDD-FDD party. The following day thousands of protesters demonstrate in the capital, the start of six weeks of almost daily rallies that meet a...
(AFP (eng) 11/09/17)
International judges have approved the opening of a full investigation into alleged crimes against humanity in Burundi, triggering anger Thursday in the crisis-torn African nation, the first ever to leave the war crimes tribunal. The decision to probe abuses in which at least 1,200 people may have been killed was made by judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on October 25, just two days before Burundi quit the world's only permanent war crimes court. The launch of the probe had been kept under seal until Thursday in a bid to help protect victims and possible witnesses. In the decision, the judges authorised ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda "to open an investigation regarding crimes within the jurisdiction of the court...
(AFP (eng) 11/08/17)
A dozen other students look on as Umar Amadu uses a glass pipette to draw a solution from a conical flask as part of a chemistry experiment. It could be a scene from any school laboratory around the world, but until two months ago Amadu and his fellow students had no access to any science equipment. Science subjects at his rural secondary school outside the city of Katsina in northern Nigeria were taught using theory only. But now they have all the kit they need to put theory into practice, thanks to a mobile science lab that tours selected state schools. "It's an exciting experience. We were being taught only the theoretical aspect of science subjects," Amadu, who wants to...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/07/17)
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc. [UBER.UL] is growing rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa and considering moves into more markets, despite sometimes violent opposition from metered taxi drivers, a senior executive said on Tuesday. Uber’s service has triggered protests by rivals from London to New Delhi as it up-ends traditional business models that require professional drivers to pay steep licensing fees to do business. “We are bullish on Africa. The growth here is still substantial and we think that given the right regulatory environment, the growth could be even better,” Justin Spratt, head of business development for the sub-Saharan region, told Reuters. “Africa’s growth thus far has been faster than America and a large part of that is...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/06/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa’s mobile internet connections are set to double in the next five years, a study showed on Monday, thanks to affordable smartphones and the roll-out of high-speed networks. A report by research and consulting firm Ovum in London estimates that mobile broadband connections will rise from 419 million at the end of this year to 1.07 billion by the end of 2022. “Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the continent in areas such as digital media, mobile financial services, and the Internet of Things,” said Matthew Reed, Practice Leader Middle East and Africa at Ovum. “But as Africa’s TMT market becomes more convergent and complex, service providers are under...
(AFP (eng) 11/03/17)
US politicians are voicing concern over America's growing military presence across Africa, where they worry the Pentagon is getting ever more embroiled in a secretive campaign against a shifting enemy. Last month's killing of four US soldiers in a Niger ambush has thrust the issue into the spotlight, with lawmakers calling for greater transparency on what is going on in Africa. "The footprint in Africa is much bigger than the American public understands," Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said this week. The Niger ambush has also rekindled debate over the legal authorities the Pentagon uses to fight jihadist groups overseas, particularly in Africa where about 6,000 US troops are deployed across the vast continent. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis this week faced...
(AFP (eng) 11/02/17)
Burundi's president, Pierre Nkurunziza, has introduced strict controls over the country's renowned drumming rituals, banning female drummers and limiting the sacred tradition to official events. "It is strictly forbidden to those of the female sex to beat drums. They can however carry out female folk dances accompanying the drums," read a decree seen by AFP Thursday, that was signed late last month. All groups seeking to perform "cultural shows" must from now on register with the ministry of culture and are not allowed to perform outside of official ceremonies without authorisation from the ministry. Burundi's ritual dance of the royal drums was in 2014 placed on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list, which describes it as "a spectacle combining powerful, synchronised...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Economic growth is expected to rise to 3.4 percent in sub-Saharan Africa next year from 2.6 percent in 2017, the IMF said in a report on Monday, but warned that rising debt and political risks in larger economies would weigh down future growth. Nigeria and South African are the biggest economies in Africa south of the Sahara, but both nations have been clouded by political uncertainty linked to the tenure of their leaders. The IMF said a good harvest and recovery in oil output in Nigeria would contribute more than half of the growth in the region this year while an uptick in mining and a better harvest in South Africa as well as a rebound in...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
Thousands of Burundians on Saturday answered the government's call to celebrate the country's withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, cheering the "historic" day using slogans such as "bye bye ICC". Burundi on Friday became the first ever nation to leave the world's only permanent war crimes tribunal, set up some 15 years ago to prosecute those behind the worst atrocities on the planet. Burundi hailed it as a "historic" day and called on people to rally across the country on Saturday. Some 5,000 people -- including hundreds of drivers of bicycle taxis, motorcycle taxis and tuk-tuks -- marched through the streets of the capital Bujumbura, singing and dancing to the sound of a brass band. Burundi mediator Edouard Nduwimana called...
(AFP (eng) 10/27/17)
Burundi on Friday became the first ever nation to leave the International Criminal Court, set up some 15 years ago to prosecute those behind the world's worst atrocities. "Burundi's withdrawal from the Rome Statute will take effect on Friday, 27 October 2017," an ICC spokesperson told AFP. The move comes exactly a year after Bujumbura officially notified the United Nations that it was quitting the world's only permanent war crimes tribunal, in what was seen as a major blow to international justice. "The decision to withdraw Burundi from the Rome Statute comes at a time when the machine continues to kill with impunity in Burundi," said Lambert Nigarura, president of the Burundi coalition for the ICC. "Today, Burundian justice, as...
(AFP (eng) 10/27/17)
The government of crisis-torn Burundi has approved changes to the constitution that could pave the way to a potential 14-year extension in President Pierre Nkurunziza's stay in office, senior officials said Thursday. Ministers, meeting on Tuesday in an extraordinary session, gave their agreement in principle to the proposed reforms, they said. The head of Burundi's opposition forum reacted with fury, declaring Nukurunziza had crossed a "red line" and should be chased from office. The present constitution derives from the country's 2000 peace agreement, which was signed in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha to end a 13-year civil...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/27/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Burundi’s cabinet backed a constitutional change that would allow its president to stay in office until 2034, widening a political rift that has driven the country progressively deeper into crisis. Under existing laws, Burundian presidents are limited to two five-year terms. Unrest that has gripped Burundi since April 2015, when Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would stand for a third, has killed hundreds, left the economy moribund and forced about 400,000 people to seek safety in neighboring countries. UN rights investigators and independent activists have accused government forces of widespread violations including forced disappearances, and of orchestrating a campaign of terror. A senior government official told Reuters on Friday that the cabinet adopted the draft legislation seeking to...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Elephant poaching in Africa declined for a fifth straight year in 2016 but seizures of illegal ivory hit records highs, the CITES monitor said Tuesday, calling it a "conflicting phenomena". In its latest report, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species also noted that despite the overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has continued to drop "due to continued illegal killing, land transformation and rapid human expansion." Global illegal ivory trade has remained relatively stable for six years, CITES reported. But 2016 saw a full 40 tonnes of illegal ivory seized, the most since 1989, as well as the hightest-ever number of "large-scale ivory seizures", the group said. "The overall weight of seized ivory in illegal trade is...
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
Senior leaders of the Popular Forces of Burundi (FPB) rebel group were arrested in eastern Tanzania on Saturday and extradited to Burundi the following day, the FPB said Monday. "Four FPB leaders, including the number 1 and 2, Jeremie Ntiranyibagira and Edouard Nshimirimana, were arrested in Ngara on October 21 by security forces from Tanzania and Burundi," it said in a statement. "On October 22, they underwent an irregular extradition to Burundi, where their lives are in danger," it said, giving no further details. The statement was authenticated as genuine by several senior figures in the FPB...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. More than a third of girls in the region are married under the age of 18, with the rate over 50 percent in six countries and up to 76 percent in Niger. Driven by factors including poverty, insecurity and religious tradition, marrying off girls once they reach puberty or even before is a deeply engrained social custom in much of West and Central Africa. The practice hampers global efforts to reduce poverty and population growth and has negative impacts on women’s and...

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