Tuesday 23 January 2018
(Reuters (Eng) 01/22/18)
KLEINARL, Austria (Reuters) - The chilly conditions on an Austrian mountainside belied the warm reception given to people from 15 African countries who took part in an annual luge race aimed at helping migrants integrate into European society. The event over the weekend, dubbed the African Winter Sports Cup, is a luge race contested by people with little or no experience of winter sports. Its aim, over the six years it has been held, is to promote social integration through sport, organizers said. The countries represented included Nigeria, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan. Some of the people taking part had come to Europe as asylum seekers while others were born on the continent. “We...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
US Ambassador Nikki Haley expressed regret on Thursday to African ambassadors who were outraged by President Donald Trump's alleged description of African countries as "shithole" nations, the head of the African Group said. Haley asked to meet the African ambassadors at the United Nations after they released a joint statement on Friday demanding an apology from Trump for his "outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks." Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea, who chairs the Africa Group, said the US ambassador did not offer an apology during the closed-door meeting, but she did express regret. Haley told the meeting that "she was not there at the White House, she is not sure what was said, but she regretted all this situation...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
Democratic Republic of Congo's former military chief, who has been accused by Kinshasa of an attempted coup against President Joseph Kabila in 2011, has been arrested in Gabon, sources told AFP. "General Faustin Munene has been arrested since Wednesday, January 10... in Gabon," said a statement from a party created by Munene, the Convention of the People for Progress and Democracy party (CPPD), on Tuesday. The information was confirmed to AFP by a judicial official in the eastern province of Haut-Ogooue. "Faustin Munene was arrested in Moanda and is in the hands of the DGDI in Libreville," the Gabonese capital, the official said, referring to the General Directorate...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
There's nothing covert about Roxy -- a huge market in Abidjan selling counterfeit medicine, the scourge of Africa and the cause of around 100,000 deaths annually on the world's poorest continent. Located in the bustling Adjame quarter of Ivory Coast's main city and commercial hub, the haven for fake medicine has been targeted time and again by authorities and stockpiles burnt. But it resurfaces every time. "The police hassle us but they themselves buy these medicines," said Mariam, one of...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Gabon opposition leader Jean Ping was prevented from taking a flight to France late Saturday by security forces who said he needed to stay over a judicial matter, he told AFP. Ping, a 75-year-old career diplomat, was narrowly defeated by incumbent Ali Bongo in last year's presidential election, a victory that he claims was tainted by electoral fraud. "I was supposed to travel this evening but the security forces prevented me," the former African Union chief said. Ping told AFP...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 01/11/18)
Gabonese President Ali Bongo on Wednesday defended a plan to change the constitution after the fiercely-contested draft cleared a key hurdle. Parliament on Wednesday approved a raft of changes that the opposition has slammed as a power grab, and the draft now goes to the constitutional court for its approval. Under the changes, the president will "determine the policy of the nation," whereas the previous text stated only that he or she would govern "in consultation with the government". Rejecting...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 01/02/18)
Gabon's President Ali Bongo vowed "radical change in governance" in the coming year and pledged to foster social cohesion among his citizens in his televised end-of-year speech on Sunday. "I am determined to do everything possible to strengthen our unity, regain our cohesion," he said. "Cohesion is my ambition for Gabon". "I intend to implement radical change in governance, which will be based on a fundamentally different approach," he added, describing measures of "immediate impact" he wants to put forward. Some of them include a temporary exemption from social security contributions for all net job creation, free delivery fees, building wells with water pumps in villages and improving education conditions.
(AFP (eng) 12/28/17)
"Here you're in the heart of precarious living," one of Gabon's first medical responders says in Kolo Ngoum, a grubby shanty suburb of Libreville that has seen no doctors in ages. Residents initially express surprise at the arrival of an ambulance belonging to the SAMU-Social (Service for Urgent Medical Aid), but once they see stethoscopes and other common instruments, they smile with reassurance. "This is a good initiative," says Natanael, in his 30s and sporting dreadlocks. "We thought all this...
(AFP (eng) 12/19/17)
A grocer from Niger who knifed a Danish couple in Gabon shouting "Allahu akbar" came to the capital just two days before the attack and had been stalking the pair, a prosecutor said Monday. Saturday's attack on the Danes, who were in the west African state filming for National Geographic, was "premeditated," Libreville prosecutor Steeve Ndong Essame Ndong said, adding that the man had lived in Gabon for 19 years. He said the 53-year-old came to Libreville on Thursday "with...
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
Two Danish nationals were wounded Saturday in a knife attack in Gabon's capital apparently committed in retribution for "US attacks against Muslims", a rare assault in a Central African nation that has escaped Islamist violence. The two men, who were working for the National Geographic channel, were stabbed while shopping in a market popular with tourists, said defence minister Etienne Massard, adding that the attack appeared to be politically motivated. "According to the first testimonies at the scene, the assailant,...
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
Police in Gabon arrested dozens of people Sunday over a knife attack that wounded two Danish nationals working for National Geographic, apparently in retribution for "US attacks against Muslims," officials said. The men detained were mostly traders and sellers in the popular market in Libreville where the attack occurred Saturday -- and all are from west Africa. An official said they were taken to police headquarters, where they are due to be questioned. "Operations are ongoing," government spokesman Alain-Claude Bilie...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 12/16/17)
The World Health Organization has declared Gabon a "polio-free country", given the lack of new reported or suspected cases in the central African country. According to a WHO statement obtained by AFP on Saturday, the UN health agency nonetheless recommended taking the necessary steps to continue monitoring for possible signs of the disease. Gabon's Health Minister Denise Mekam'ne Edzidzie also urged families on Saturday to "continue to immunise children and prevent a resurgence of this disease". Polio is a highly-infectious viral disease which mainly affects young children and can result in permanent paralysis. There is no cure and it can only be prevented through immunisation.
(AFP (eng) 12/15/17)
A bill to revise Gabon's constitution, which opponents say risks letting President Ali Bongo retain power indefinitely, cleared a hurdle after the country's lower house overwhelmingly approved it, sources said Friday. State media made no mention of the development but two lawmakers present told AFP the bill was passed in a plenary session Thursday and an official source who declined to give his name confirmed as much. The national assembly is composed almost entirely of members of the ruling Gabonese...
(AFP (eng) 12/14/17)
At the frontier between Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, a long queue stretches between two checkpoints as travellers wrestle with officialdom and the inevitable demand for a sweetener in order to cross. The headache of crossing the border at Ebebiyin, at the crossroads of Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Cameroon, is typical of many frontier points in Africa, where customs hassles and kickbacks add to delays, costs and frustrations. But the problem here carries special weight. It is enduring despite a vow by a six-nation alliance in central-western Africa to create an unprecedented border-free bloc. "To cross by car from Cameroon to Gabon, we pay 30,000, 45,000 CFA francs (45 euros/$50 to 69 euros/$80). There's no explanation why,"...
(AFP (eng) 12/13/17)
Equatorial Guinea's coastguard intercepted a makeshift boat carrying 205 West African migrants headed for Gabon, local media reported Wednesday. The migrants, including a newborn baby and three pregnant women, were apprehended on Tuesday off the coast of the capital Malabo, according to state television. Coming from West African countries such as Benin, Nigeria and Togo, the migrants are being held at Malabo's central police station, dubbed Equatorial Guinea's "Guantanamo". "The boat's leader told us that they on their way to...
(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...

Pages