Friday 20 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
The Gambian army has filed desertion charges against two renegade generals who went into exile with former president Yahya Jammeh last year, the force told AFP on Wednesday. General Umpa Mendy and General Ansumana Tamba sought refuge in Equatorial Guinea alongside Jammeh in January 2017 after his brutal 22-year rule came to an end. Major Lamin Sanyang, an army spokesman, said the pair were "charged with desertion of duty contrary to the Gambia Armed Forces Act", and would appear before a general court martial on April 4. Mendy was in personal charge of protecting the mercurial former leader, while Tamba was the head of his presidential guard. The top brass left the country on board...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Gambian police have arrested a top official in the state intelligence agency over the murder of political activist Solo Sandeng in April 2016, a spokesman said Monday. Sandeng's death in custody sparked a political movement that eventually ousted former leader Yahya Jammeh, who ruled the tiny West African nation with an iron fist for 22 years. More than a dozen former agents of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) face charges or are already on trial for the United Democratic Party organiser's murder after his arrest at an opposition protest. Police spokesman Superintendent David Kujabie said James Mendy, NIA head of security, was "in police custody and is being investigated in connection with the murder of Solo Sandeng". A security source...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
Gambian prosecutors have charged eight former spies with conspiracy to murder in the case of an activist whose death in custody sparked a political movement that ousted former leader Yahya Jammeh. Eight agents of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) were charged on Wednesday with conspiracy to commit murder and accessory to the facts of murder, police spokesman David Kujabie told AFP on Thursday. The alleged torture and killing of United Democratic Party (UDP) organiser Solo Sandeng in April 2016 sparked rare protests in the small West African, and encouraged a weak and split political opposition to unite behind a single flagbearer. That flagbearer, then unknown businessman Adama Barrow, beat Jammeh in December 2016...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
Gambian environmental activists on Thursday removed a pipe dumping waste from a Chinese animal feed factory directly into the sea after months of complaints that it was a health hazard. The residents of Gunjur, a Gambian village an hour south of the capital Banjul, have complained that toxic waste has killed fish and affected the health of their community since the Golden Lead factory opened in September 2016. "We got the National Environment Agency (NEA) involved in the issue," explained...
(AFP (eng) 03/21/18)
Forty-four African countries have signed an agreement establishing a free trade area seen as vital to the continent's economic development, the head of the African Union said Wednesday. "The agreement establishing the CFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area) was signed by 44 countries," said Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the AU commission. The creation of a free trade area -- billed as the world's largest -- comes after two years of negotiations, and is one of the AU's flagship projects...
(AFP (eng) 03/21/18)
Ten members of Gambia's former spy agency have been detained on suspicion of murdering a political activist who led a protest during ousted strongman Yahya Jammeh's rule, police said Tuesday. Solo Sandeng, organising secretary of the United Democratic Party, was arrested in April 2016 for fronting a street protest demanding electoral reform. He died in detention. "Two have been granted bail and eight are still in custody," superintendent David Kujabie Tuesday told AFP. Nine staff at the former National Intelligence...
(AFP (eng) 03/14/18)
The EU warned African and other countries on Wednesday that their citizens will find it harder to get visas to Europe if they refuse to readmit economic migrants under the bloc's efforts to curb migration. Brussels has been seeking greater cooperation from such countries to take back irregular migrants since Europe was hit in 2015 with its worst migration crisis since World War II. "I cannot understand how a country can refuse to take back its nationals" when they have...
(AFP (eng) 03/09/18)
A thousand artists from over 50 countries will gather in Ivory Coast on Saturday for a week-long festival of African music, theatre, dance, comedy, slam poetry and storytelling. The 10th edition of the biannual Market for African Performing Arts, known by its French initials as MASA, will mark the 25th anniversary of the event. This year's crop of artists come from all over Africa and the African diaspora in Japan, Haiti and Canada, performing in the economic capital Abidjan and...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
The Gambia Tuesday apologised to Thailand after its foreign minister said the Asian country was a haven for sex tourists, sparking a strongly worded protest from Bangkok. Hamat Bah said on state television in January that The Gambia, a sunny beach destination favoured by Western tourists especially from Scandinavia, was losing out to the nearby archipelago nation of Cape Verde after gaining a reputation as a sex haven. "The fact is that this country’s image has been battered heavily... I...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
"Sir, we're going to handcuff you," a coast guard from Sao Tome tells a man accused of fishing illegally in the archipelago's waters. But the "fisherman" is really a French navy seaman disguised in a T-shirt, cap and sunglasses -- a member of an unusual multinational training exercise to combat crime in the Gulf of Guinea. Illegal fishing, piracy and hostage-taking haunt the vast bay lying off West Africa, whose coastline runs from Liberia in the west to Gabon in...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
Gambian President Adama Barrow announced on Sunday a suspension of the death penalty in his country, in a break from the former regime of the dictator Yahya Jammeh. Barrow, a onetime security guard in London who was elected president in December 2016, signed a UN treaty on the abolition of capital punishment last year. "I will use this opportunity to declare a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in the Gambia, as a first step towards abolition," Barrow...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
About 224 million people are suffering from malnutrition across Africa as climate change and conflicts heighten food insecurity across the continent, a top UN food agency official said Monday. The official, speaking at a conference on Africa organised by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said the situation was a "cause of concern" as the continent's population was expected to reach 1.7 billion by 2030. "Under-nourishment appears to have increased from about 21 percent to nearly 23 percent between...
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
The Gambia was readmitted to the Commonwealth on Thursday, welcomed back following the democratic election of President Adama Barrow, who reversed the shock pullout of 2013. His predecessor Yahya Jammeh suddenly withdrew the impoverished west African nation in October that year, branding the group an "extension of colonialism" as he lashed out at international organisations. Accused of flagrant rights abuses, Jammeh ruled mainland Africa's smallest country with an aura of mysticism and an iron fist after seizing power in 1994. Barrow began the readmission process in February last year, two months after topping an election in which Jammeh initially refused to give up his 22-year rule, triggering a crisis.
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
The African Union's chairman dismissed during a visit to Beijing on Thursday a French newspaper report alleging that China had spied on the continental body as "lies" intended to derail cooperation. The report published by Le Monde in January claimed technicians at the AU's Chinese-built headquarters in the Ethiopian capital discovered last year that the contents of their computers had been regularly copied to servers in Shanghai since 2012, citing unnamed AU sources. "I don't see it is in the...
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Israel began warning thousands of African migrants Sunday that they must leave by the end of March, officials said, under a plan that could see them jailed if they refuse. On January 3, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced implementation of a plan to deport about 38,000 migrants who had entered the country illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese. The controversial plan gives them until the end of next month to leave voluntarily or face jail and eventual expulsion. Immigration authority spokeswoman...
(AFP (eng) 02/03/18)
Megastar Rihanna vowed she would "never stop fighting" to get millions of children back in school on Friday as French President Emmanuel Macron promised a major boost in foreign aid for education in developing nations. Macron co-hosted a conference in Dakar organised by the Global Partnership for Education with Senegalese President Macky Sall, while Rihanna attended as the organisation's global ambassador. "We have made tremendous progress today but of course our work is never done, we have a long way...
(AFP (eng) 02/02/18)
Rihanna on Thursday used her star power to urge key governments to commit to ensuring education for the world's poorest as she takes part in an international conference in Senegal. The chart-topping singer arrived in the capital Dakar where she on Friday will join the Global Partnership for Education talks co-hosted by Senegalese President Macky Sall and French leader Emmanuel Macron. Rihanna, the fourth most followed person on Twitter with 86 million followers, took to social media to urge Macron,...
(AFP (eng) 02/01/18)
Gambian police arrested a university lecturer and kept him in overnight detention for questioning the president's ability to maintain national security in a newspaper interview, he told AFP on Thursday. Campaigners said the arrest was a worrying echo of restrictions on freedom of speech under the former regime of Yahya Jammeh, who was forced to leave the West African country for exile in Equatorial Guinea a year ago. The new government has repeatedly promised to protect human rights, including freedom...
(AFP (eng) 01/30/18)
Gambian police on Monday lifted a ban on political activities provoked by violent clashes allegedly between supporters of President Adama Barrow and those of former leader Yahya Jammeh. The ban, put in place on January 11, had suspended permission for rallies and other public political events as the country prepares for local elections in April. A police statement released Monday said "political parties that wish to hold political activities using public address systems are welcome to send in their requests."...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/30/18)
BANJUL (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Jobless, restless and frustrated, 24-year-old Saikou Jammeh persuaded his father to sell the family home and give up his life savings to pay for the journey from Gambia to Europe. Jammeh saw no future for himself in Gambia, a tiny impoverished country on West Africa’s coast, so he joined an exodus of young men willing to sacrifice everything to leave. But after being robbed, beaten, and locked in a Libyan prison for several months, Jammeh...

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