Wednesday 18 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has said he will not agree to any extradition order for former Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh, who has been living in exile in the central African country after being forced to quit power last year. Jammeh, who seized control of The Gambia in a 1994 military coup, lost a democratic election and refused to step aside until threatened with military intervention. The Gambian strongman is accused by the current government and rights groups of ordering the torture and murder of political opponents during his brutal 22-year rule, while pocketing $50 million (40 million euros) from the state coffers. "I believe that the stance of protecting former heads of state is a correct one," Obiang...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
President Donald Trump said the United States "deeply respects" Africans and will dispatch its top diplomat to the continent, in a letter to African leaders seen by AFP on Sunday. The letter sent last week comes after Trump provoked a firestorm of indignation among African nations earlier in January when he reportedly called them "shithole countries" during a meeting with lawmakers in Washington. While Trump has denied the remarks, they are expected to be formally condemned by the 55 member states of the African Union during their ongoing summit in the Ethiopian capital. "I want to underscore that the United States deeply respects the people of Africa, and my commitment to strong and respectful relationships...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
US President Donald Trump on Friday asked the African Union chairman to pass on his "warmest regards" to other regional leaders at a summit this weekend, after sparking outrage with a reported slur against Africans. Trump met Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where some African business leaders say they are planning to boycott Trump's closing speech later Friday. The outspoken US leader congratulated Kagame on taking over as chair of the 55-nation African bloc, which Trump said was a "great honour". "I know you're going to your first meeting shortly. Please give my warmest regards," Trump told Kagame after they held a one-on-one meeting at the forum.
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
The oldest remains of a modern human outside Africa have been dug up in Israel, offering evidence of what genetic studies have already suggested -- that humans migrated out of Africa some 50,000 years earlier than previously thought. Facial fragments, including a jawbone and several teeth, were found at a site called Misliya Cave in Israel, one of several prehistoric cave sites located on Mount Carmel. The bones date to between 174,000 and 188,000 years old, said the report in Thursday's edition of the US journal Science. Until now, the earliest modern human fossils found outside of Africa were estimated to be between 90,000 to 120,000 years old. "Misliya is an exciting discovery," said co-author Rolf Quam, an anthropology professor...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/25/18)
BANJUL (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The president had found a cure for AIDS. That was the news that reached Ousman Sowe, the head of a Gambian AIDS support network, one day in 2007. He was overjoyed. “We all went with the hope that we were going to take a drop of some wonderful medication and be cured,” Sowe, 64, a tall man with greying hair, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an office outside Gambia’s rundown seaside capital. But he was not allowed to go home after showing up at the state house that day. Gambia’s ex-president Yahya Jammeh forced him to drink herbal concoctions morning and night for seven months until he was declared cured - but in reality,...
(AFP (eng) 01/24/18)
Two renegade generals who left The Gambia to go into exile with former president Yahya Jammeh last year have been arrested after returning to the tiny West African nation, the army has confirmed. General Ansumana Tamba and General Umpa Mendy had sought refuge in Equatorial Guinea alongside Jammeh in January 2017 after his brutal 22-year rule came to an end. The pair are believed to have arrived in their home country on Sunday on a flight from Morocco but were not stopped by airport security. Gambia Chief of Defence Staff, General Masaneh Kinteh, told local radio on Monday that the pair were "arrested by the members of the Gambia Armed Forces Military Police" at different locations. He added that the...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/23/18)
BANJUL (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Wearing a long black veil with her newly circumcised daughter on her lap, Aminata Njie vehemently gives her justification for having the two-year-old cut. “Female circumcision is our religion and tradition,” says the tall, frail mother of five from her one-bedroom home. “If Gambia is a democracy now, why should anyone stop us from practicing our religion and tradition?” One year after Gambia’s iron-fisted leader Yahya Jammeh flew into exile, residents of the tiny West African nation are enjoying newfound freedoms under president Adama Barrow, who ousted Jammeh with a shock election win. But to the dismay of human rights activists, some are also returning to harmful practices that the former...
(AFP (eng) 01/22/18)
A year ago, Gambians wept for joy as Yahya Jammeh went into exile, bringing the curtain down on a brutal 22-year rule. Today, many say freedom of speech in this small west African state is a right they cherish under President Adama Barrow's administration. "There is a democracy, everybody feels free. Disappearances without a trace -- all that's over now," said teacher Kalipha Dampha, referring to the dreaded work of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the "Junglers," as Jammeh's death squad was called. But The Gambia's faltering economy has barely improved and tensions over mass unemployment are rising. Today, many are now asking when the better days they were promised will come. "Food prices are still the same, salaries...
(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 are all human, we have...
(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)
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 the many mainly illiterate vendors who hawk everything from painkillers and antibiotics to anti-malaria and anti-retroviral treatments. "When we are harassed we always come to an arrangement with them to resume our activities," she said. Fatima, another hawker, said: "Many...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The Gambia has suspended permission for rallies and other public political events after clashes allegedly between supporters of President Adama Barrow and those of the former regime of Yahya Jammeh. Gambian police said in a statement issued late Thursday that permits for political parties to campaign were on hold while it investigated two violent incidents in rural areas this week. "The office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) notifies all political parties that all permits granted to conduct political activities have been suspended until further notice," the statement said. The Gambia holds local elections in April. The first incident occurred on February 8 near Mankamang Kunda, the home village of President Barrow, where supporters of the ruling United Democratic...
(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)
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...
(Xinhuanet 12/20/17)
China hopes to enhance political mutual trust and expand cooperation in all fields with Gambia during President Adama Barrow's visit, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said Wednesday. Barrow will pay a state visit to China from Wednesday to next Tuesday, at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. China and Gambia resumed diplomatic relations in March 2016 after ties had been severed for 21 years. Barrow is the first Gambian president to visit China since the two countries resumed ties. During the visit, President Xi will hold a welcoming ceremony and banquet for Barrow, and they will hold talks and attend a signing ceremony of cooperation documents, Hua said at a daily press briefing. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and top...
(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 --...
(AFP (eng) 12/13/17)
The West African state of The Gambia has angrily denied claims it reached a deal with monarchist Russian politician Anton Bakov, who is seeking land in an oddball scheme to revive the Romanov Empire. Bakov last month presented himself as "Arch Chancellor Prince... Prime Minister (and) Serene Highness of the Romanov Empire" in a meeting where he pitched his project, the Gambian presidency said in a statement released on Tuesday. He later declared that his scheme -- which entailed the building of a city called St. Nicholas on an artificial island -- had been accepted by The Gambia, the presidency said. But a document purportedly signed by the head of the civil service to support this claim was "false and...
(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) 12/07/17)
The African Union has upped its goal to repatriate stranded migrants from Libya, saying in a statement that it aims to bring 20,000 Africans home in the next six weeks. Pressure has grown on the continental body and individual African states to get their citizens out of Libya after CNN broadcast a report showing black Africans being sold as slaves in the north African country. The African Union had earlier said it wanted to repatriate 15,000 migrants by the year's end, but increased its goal after a task force - including AU, European Union and United Nations officials -- met earlier this week.

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