Wednesday 17 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Egyptian warplanes killed suspected militants and destroyed eight vehicles they were using to smuggle weapons into the country from neighbouring Libya, the military said Monday. Army spokesman Tamer el-Rifai said in a statement that the air strikes on the western border were part of operations to track down "terrorists" who killed 16 policemen in a shootout in the region last week. Thirteen other policemen were wounded in clashes with Islamist militants during Friday's attack on the road between Cairo and the oasis of Bahariya in the Western Desert, said the defence ministry. Security forces were sent to the area southwest of Cairo acting on information that militants there were "hiding, training, and preparing to carry out terrorist operations", according to...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Three Palestinians who went missing from a tunnel between Egypt and the Gaza Strip in mysterious circumstances on Monday have been located, authorities in the Islamist Hamas-run territory said, after indications they had been kidnapped. "The three Palestinian workers who disappeared this morning on the Palestinian-Egyptian border have been found and returned safely," Hamas interior ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bozom said in a statement, providing no further details. A security source told AFP "the three were kidnapped by mistake by gunmen probably belonging to an extremist Salafist group but were returned because they were not the target." The three men are currently under investigation at the interior ministry in Gaza, the source said. One witness told AFP earlier that a group...
(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...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
CAIRO (Reuters) - The Egyptian military said on Monday its air force hit eight four-wheel-drive vehicles carrying arms and explosives at Egypt’s western border with Libya, killing the militants on board. A military statement gave no details of the number of fatalities or about which militant group it suspected was transporting the arms. Last Friday Egypt’s security forces suffered one of their deadliest attacks, when militants killed police officers using rockets and explosives in a remote area about 135 km (85 miles) southwest of Cairo. Egyptian security forces have been battling an insurgency by Islamic State that was largely concentrated in the Sinai Peninsula but has in recent months extended to other parts of the country. Egypt has carried out...
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
An Egyptian court sentenced 11 people to death Sunday on accusations they joined a "terrorist organisation" and attempted to kill two police officers, a judicial official said. The court sentenced 14 others to life in prison -- 25 years in Egypt -- and a juvenile to 10 years in prison, the official said. They were accused of participating in "terrorist operations" and attempting to kill two officers in 2014, and of possession and manufacturing explosive material. Of the defendants, 21 were in court, including seven of those sentenced to death. Five were sentenced in absentia: the juvenile and four of the defendants who were sentenced to death. The defendants were accused of taking part in violence that followed the July...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
Delegates from former foes gathered Saturday in the Egyptian town of El Alamein to mark 75 years since the pivotal WWII battle that saw the Allies turn the tables in North Africa. Officials from 35 nations paid their respects in a ceremony at a Commonwealth cemetery on Egypt's Mediterranean shore that holds the remains of more than 7,000 soldiers from the victorious British-led force. In a speech, the British ambassador to Egypt, John Casson, called on those present to remember the fallen from 75 years ago and those who are "still dying" in conflicts today. The anniversary commemoration was partly overshadowed by an Islamist...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
At least 35 Egyptian police officers have been killed in an ambush by Islamist fighters near the Bahariya oasis in the country's Western Desert, security and medical sources said Saturday, in a rare flare-up outside the Sinai Peninsula. The interior ministry said security forces hunting down Islamist militants in the region were attacked late Friday on a road to the Bahariya oasis, some 200 kilometres (125 miles) southwest of Cairo. An official statement said a number of the attackers were killed, but did not give any figures for losses on either side. According to a source close to the security services, the convoy was hit by rocket fire. The attackers also used explosive devices. There has not yet been a...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
The killing of four American special operations soldiers in Niger has highlighted the increasing role elite units are playing across Africa, which is rapidly becoming a major center of US military action. Their mission is to counter the advances of a slew of jihadist movements across the continent, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, affiliates of the Islamic State group in the Sahel region and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Of the 8,000 special forces "operators" deployed globally this year, more than 1,300 are in Africa, according to officials from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which is based in Tampa, Florida. Another 5,000 or so are in the Middle East. In five years, the number of US commandos in Africa has tripled...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian authorities have released high-profile Irish detainee Ibrahim Halawa following his acquittal last month of charges including murder, in a four-year mass trial criticized by human rights groups. Halawa, a student, and three of his sisters were charged along with nearly 500 others with a host of crimes including breaking into a mosque, killing 44 people, and illegal possession of firearms in violence that followed the military’s overthrow of Egypt’s Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi, in 2013. Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told Irish national broadcaster RTE on Friday that Halawa was likely to be able to fly home by Monday following his release late on Thursday. “This is a great moment for Ibrahim and his family –...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The #MeToo social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual harassment and abuse has sparked conversation in parts of Africa where domestic violence is rampant but strong cultural and religious taboos prevent women from admitting it. Prompted by sexual abuse allegations against American film mogul Harvey Weinstein, millions of women around the world have been sharing their experiences of harassment and abuse on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo. The movement has reached only a small part of the population in West Africa, but some women are participating in defiance of attitudes which dictate that being abused brings shame on the family, is a curse, or makes a woman unmarriageable. In Senegal, some women...
(AFP (eng) 10/19/17)
Ten major Egyptian rights groups on Wednesday urged an appeals court to free Alaa Abdel Fattah, a leading dissident in the 2011 uprising that toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak. The court of cassation, which handles appeals, is set to rule Thursday on the activist's case after he was sentenced to five years in prison over an illegal protest. The rights groups urged the court to "uphold justice and the rule of law and to rectify gross violations of the law" which they say led to Abdel Fattah's imprisonment. Once described by the authorities as an "icon of the revolution" of 2011, 35-year-old Abdel Fattah was among dissidents arrested after a November 2013 protest outside parliament in defiance of a law that...
(Xinhuanet 10/19/17)
Ministers of Water and Irrigation of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt on Wednesday discussed on ways to continue the two commissioned studies on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which are not progressing at the required level. Egyptian Irrigation Minister, Mohamed Abdel-Aty, Sudanese Minister of Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity Affairs, Muataz Musa, and Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, Sileshi Bekele, have on Tuesday visited the dam's construction site in Ethiopia's Benishangul-Gumuz regional state on the Blue Nile River, located some 40km east of Ethiopia's neighboring country Sudan. Since the commencement of the construction of the dam, the three countries agreed to conduct an assessment by an International Panel of Experts (IPoE) so as to build trust among Ethiopian...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Sun-choking debris cast off by volcanoes more than 2,000 years ago starved headwaters feeding the Nile river and hastened the downfall of ancient Egypt's last kingdom, researchers said Tuesday. Eruptions in the 3rd- and 1st-century BC -- including one of the biggest blasts in the last 2,500 years -- coincided with crop failures, large-scale revolts, and the withdrawal of Egyptian armies from the battlefield, they reported in the journal Nature Communications. Up to now, researchers had struggled to find an explanation for these events. "Volcanic eruptions may have had a central role in the eventual collapse of the Ptolemaic dynasty," the journal noted in a summary. The findings, the authors said, also highlight the risk today of climate engineering schemes...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said Tuesday that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year -- double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent. The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg. "It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and offers accommodation ranging from single bedrooms to whole homes in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The company announced Tuesday that it would invest $1 million (850,000 euros) in Africa by 2020 to "promote and support community-led tourism projects". "For...
(Xinhuanet 10/17/17)
Six Egyptian soldiers and 24 militants were killed as the Egyptian army foiled terrorist attacks on checkpoints in North Sinai province, the Egyptian military spokesman said in a statement on Sunday. The foiled terrorist attempt in mid-day targeted checkpoints in Qawadis area in North Sinai province bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip, said Egypt's military spokesman Tamer al-Refaay in the statement. "Another terrorist was injured and two four-by-four vehicles used by the terrorist elements were destroyed," the spokesman added, noting that the forces are currently combing the area in search for escaping terrorists. The confrontations came two days after a terrorist attack killed six soldiers in the restive province on Friday. North Sinai has been the center of anti-government...
(Xinhuanet 10/17/17)
Militants in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula fired two rockets towards Israel on Sunday night, Israel's military said in a statement. "Two rockets fired from the Sinai area hit the Eshkol Regional Council," the statement read. Eshkol is a region in southern Israel. A spokesperson for the regional council said there was no immediate report of injuries, adding that the rockets apparently landed in an empty field. The incident came two weeks after Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket towards Israel, which failed to reach Israeli territory. Israeli's army responded by attacking a Hamas post in the besieged enclave with artillery.
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Though its motto is "one Africa, one voice", the reality of "Africa's parliament" could not be more different. Since its creation in 2004, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has struggled to make its voice heard, prompting its deputies to ask themselves at a recent gathering: "What are we for?" "Every time we're here, we obsess over the same things. If we are not making laws, then what's the point of being here?" Corneille Padonou of Benin said to his fellow parliamentarians. "This forum is not a parliament, it is just a discussion platform that does not have any legislative powers. This institution is still wobbly," said Floyd Shivambu, a parliamentarian from South Africa. "As it is, it is a waste of...
(AFP (eng) 10/16/17)
Militants shot and killed three policemen and two civilians in a "terrorist" attack Monday involving a bank robbery in Egypt's provincial capital of North Sinai, the interior ministry said. It was the latest in a series of attacks in the restive province, where a local affiliate of the Islamic State group is based. The ministry said "terrorist elements" opened fire at policemen guarding a bank in El-Arish, killing three of them, as well as a two civilians, including a woman. The militants then fled the scene with "sums of money", the ministry said in a statement.
(Reuters (Eng) 10/16/17)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Four Egyptian policemen and two civilians were killed and 22 others were injured in an attack by militants on a security post in North Sinai province on Monday, security sources said. Egypt is fighting an insurgency against militants affiliated with Islamic State in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula where hundreds of security forces have been killed since 2013. Witnesses said five SUVs, each carrying four armed militants, fired at security forces nearby MarGerges Church and a branch of National Bank of Egypt, in Arish, the capital of North Sinai. “The militants fired shots randomly in the street as if they were celebrating with some of them raising their black flags (of Islamic State) and they...

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