Friday 23 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
A key figure in the security apparatus that underpinned Ivory Coast's ousted leader was jailed for 10 years for taking part in an alleged plot to overthrow his successor. Major Jean-Noel Abehi was a right-hand man to former president Laurent Gbagbo, who was ousted in 2011 after a bloody post-electoral crisis. Abehi was given a 10-year term on Thursday for "plotting against the authority of the state," an AFP reporter at the court in Abidjan saw. According to the charge sheet, Abehi took part in meetings in Ghana of a "military platform" initiated by Gbagbo's spokesman in exile, Kone Katinan, "to prepare to overthrow the established political authority." Ggabo was forced out after months of violence that followed his refusal...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The African Union said Friday that President Donald Trump's reported description of African nations as "shithole countries" broke with "accepted behaviour" and was "extremely upsetting." Ebba Kalondo, spokeswoman for AU Chairperson Moussa Faki, told AFP that Trump's statement "truly flies in the face of accepted behaviour and practice." "This is not only hurtful, I think, to people of African origin in the United States, but certainly to African citizens," she said. "It's an extremely upsetting statement," she added. The comment was reportedly made during a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
President Donald Trump reportedly lashed out in a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform, demanding to know why the US should accept citizens from what he called "shithole" countries. The comments, first reported by The Washington Post, sparked anger among Democrats and Republicans and revived questions about Trump's tendency to make racially charged remarks. Trump sat down with senators and congressmen at the White House to discuss a proposed bipartisan deal that would limit immigrants from bringing family members into the country, and restrict the green card visa lottery in exchange for shielding hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump said, according to people briefed...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kuwait, Peru, Poland and the Netherlands formally joined the ranks of the non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday "to make a difference," the body's president said. "Peace and security are difficult to achieve," Kazakh envoy Kairat Umarov, who took the rotating presidency in January, told council members at a special ceremony. "You are going to have a real chance to make a difference." One after the other, ambassadors representing the council's six new member countries -- five men and a woman, Polish envoy Joanna Wronecka -- placed their flag among those of the body's nine other members. The UN Security Council has 15 members, including five with permanent seats who have the...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
Israel on Wednesday began implementing a plan to force tens of thousands of African migrants out of the country by April, threatening to arrest those who stay. "This plan will get under way today," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting. Under the programme, some 38,000 migrants who entered Israel illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, will have until the end of March to leave. Each will receive a plane ticket and $3,500 (2,900 euros) to do so. After the deadline, this amount will decrease and those who continue to refuse to go will face arrest. Holot, an open facility in Israel's desert south that can host 1,200 migrants who are allowed to leave to work...
(AFP (eng) 12/29/17)
A 27-year-old woman from the Ivory Coast has been arrested on the Thai island of Phuket after an airport X-ray found more than one kilogramme of cocaine in her stomach wrapped in scores of small packets. The woman was stopped by officials late Wednesday night at Phuket's international airport after landing on a flight from Doha. An X-ray revealed more than 60 small packages in her stomach, filled with 1.2 kilogrammes (2.6 pounds) of cocaine, according to Sirinya Sitdhichai, secretary-general of Thailand's Office of Narcotics Control Board.
(AFP (eng) 12/27/17)
A former Ivorian minister was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday for complicity in a 2012 attack in western Ivory Coast that killed 18 people, including seven UN peacekeepers. Hubert Oulaye, 64, ex-public works minister under former president Laurent Gbagbo, "provided the financial means to establish a rebellion in the west" of the country, the attorney general said. "The accomplice is sometimes more dangerous than the perpetrator," she added. Oulaye dismissed the verdict as a "political conviction" and returned home while his lawyers vowed to appeal the decision. The attack happened as Ivory Coast was reeling from violence caused when Gbagbo refused to step down after losing presidential polls to current leader Alassane Ouattara. Gbagbo is currently on...
(AFP (eng) 12/20/17)
Qatar's emir was to tour six West African nations starting Wednesday in search of new markets, six months after Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries cut ties with the wealthy emirate. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Lulwa al-Khater told a press conference that Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani's mission would begin in Mali, and include stops in Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea and Senegal. The visit is part of Doha's drive to open up new markets and diversify its economy amid an ongoing blockade by its neighbours, Khater said. She said the six countries on the emir's itinerary had "strong economic potential and opportunities despite some security challenges in some of them". The emir is to sign cooperation agreements in health,...
(AFP 12/20/17)
African football supremo Ahmad Ahmad insisted on Tuesday he is not backing down over plans to increase the CAN from 16 to 24 teams despite Cameroon's organisational struggles. Back in August, world governing body FIFA appointed a committee to run crisis-hit Cameroonian football amid growing fears the country would not be able to host the 2019 African Cup of Nations (CAN). And despite the country's difficulties in completing necessary infrastructure, Confederation of African Football president (CAF) Ahmad said no compromise will be made regarding the number of participating countries. "If the host country cannot organise it (the CAN) we'll find another country that can," Ahmad said on Tuesday during a visit to Abidjan. The 2019 edition is due to be...
(AFP (eng) 12/19/17)
Hubert Oulaye, a former right-hand man to ousted Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo, went on trial on Monday accused of a role in the death of 15 people, including seven UN peacekeepers. Oulaye, 64, is accused of using intermediaries to provide two million CFA francs ($5,300, 4,500 euros) for purchasing arms for men who carried out the attack. Seven Nigerians in the UN peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast, known as ONUCI, and eight civilians were killed in the assault near Guiglo, in the west of the country, in June 2012 -- an incident that stoked fears of instability in the fragile country. Oulaye was former minister for the public sector and the government's spokesman in the first decade of the...
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
France on Monday accepted a first group of 19 refugees who were identified in Africa under an overhauled asylum policy that will also see it expel thousands of economic migrants. While it has drawn little public outcry in France, the policy faces stiff opposition from the left and from charities that shelter migrants, 22 of which called in an open letter for France's rights ombudsman Jacques Toubon to intervene. Djamel, a refugee from the Central African Republic, arrived at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport with his wife and four children after spending four years at a camp in Chad, telling AFP: "Now we've no other family. Now you are our family." The new refugees -- also hailing from Sudan --...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/11/17)
Ivory Coast will pay thousands of soldiers 15 million CFA francs ($25,782) each as part of buy-outs aimed at reducing the size of its unruly and mutiny-prone military, documents showed on Monday. Ivory Coast soldiers participate in a military parade to commemorate the country's 57th Independence Day at the presidential palace in Abidjan, Ivory Coast August 7, 2017. REUTERS/Luc Gnago Africa’s fastest growing economy in 2016, Ivory Coast was hit earlier this year by successive uprisings by low-ranking troops. The costly bonuses paid to end the unrest helped balloon the budget deficit this year, and the episode tarnished its image as one of the continent’s rising economic stars. SPONSORED STORIES The government said last week that it would retire around...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
Up to 6,000 Africans who fought for the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in Iraq and Syria could return home, the African Union's top security official warned Sunday, calling on countries to prepare for the threat. Smail Chergui, the AU's commissioner for peace and security, said African nations would need to work closely with each other and share intelligence to counter returning militants. "There are reports of 6,000 African fighters among the 30,000 foreign elements who joined this terrorist group in the Middle East," Chergui told a meeting in Algiers, according to the Algeria Press Service news agency. "The return of these elements to Africa poses a serious threat to our national security and stability and requires specific treatment and...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
A huge fire ripped through a paint factory in the Ivorian capital on Wednesday, causing multiple explosions, and witnesses said several people were badly burnt. There was no immediate word on the tally of people caught in the blaze, which sent a thick column of smoke high above Abidjan's industrial zone, an AFP correspondent said. But witnesses spoke of seeing several people with bad burns and of fears that workers were trapped inside the Drocolor paint factory. Police and rescuers were unable to confirm or deny the accounts. Dozens of firefighters were trying to tackle the blaze, which also spread to the nearby shops and boutiques, gutting at least 12 stores. Groups of young men could be seen running with...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Angry AIDS activists are urging western and central Africa to step up the fight against HIV, saying millions of people, especially children, are at risk from complacency and underfunding. A six-day conference in Africa has thrown a stark light on the problems in a region whose two dozen nations extend from Mauritania in the north to Gabon in the south, and include some of the poorest countries in the world. Coalition Plus, an alliance of AIDS groups, said AIDS-related deaths in western and central Africa are running at 5.1 percent, more than twice the 2.1 percent in the rest of the continent. The region accounts for just six percent of the global population, but has at least 16 percent of...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Conflicts, violence and disaster across Africa forced some 15,000 people to flee their homes every day in the first half of the year, international monitors said Wednesday. A total of 2.7 million Africans were internally displaced within their own countries in the first six months of 2017, a report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) found. They join the estimated 12.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) living in African countries at the end of 2016. That number does not include those who have fled across borders to seek refuge, with UN figures showing there were more than 5.6 million refugees in Africa by end of last year. Internal displacement has soared in a...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
Security experts from West Africa, France and the United States gathered in Abidjan Tuesday for talks on beefing up anti-terrorism measures at sea in the Gulf of Guinea. The three-day seminar seeks to identify terrorism risks in the Gulf of Guinea -- the vast expanse of water stretching from Liberia to Gabon -- and any link with terrorists in the Sahel. The Gulf of Guinea is one of Africa's hotspots for crime, ranging from piracy, armed robbery and illegal fishing to oil theft and trafficking in stolen goods. Participants will discuss measures such as specialised counter-terrorism units...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso on Monday began work to overhaul and expand a single-track rail line connecting Abidjan to the Burkinabe capital that is a vital link between the Sahel and Atlantic coast. Renovating the 1,260-kilometre (782-mile) track -- which had first been announced in 2015 with no work being started -- is expected to take eight years. All parties involved hope the project will improve traffic and trade between the two West African neighbours. "Investment for the work, totalling 396 million euros ($470 million)... is the responsibility of the operator," Ivorian Transport Minister Amadou Kone said at the launch ceremony, referring to the giant French transportation company Bollore.
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
The head of the UN's AIDS agency on Monday urged African countries to protect young women and children who are bearing the brunt of the continent's AIDS epidemic. A sharp rise of people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has now slowed, "but now is not the time to drop our guard," Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, told the start of a six-day conference on HIV/AIDS and sexually-transmitted diseases in Africa. "The many changes under way in our world should not threaten the sustainability of our great achievements in the AIDS response," he warned. "We cannot afford to lose our gains. If we want to end this epidemic, we must act now and act differently." About 36.7 million...
(AFP (eng) 12/01/17)
Leaders at an EU-Africa summit called Thursday for the immediate evacuation of nearly 4,000 distressed African migrants in Libya under a new drive to fight slave traders and traffickers. Wrapping up a two-day summit in Ivory Coast's economic capital, a top African Union (AU) official said there could be as many as 700,000 Africans stranded in Libya, where many have suffered atrocities and even been sold into slavery. He said a fact-finding mission had seen one camp in Tripoli where all the residents, numbering several thousand, were "living in inhumane conditions" and were desperate to return home. "We have agreed, along with the EU and the UN, to set up a task force for repatriating at least 3,800 people," Moussa...

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