| Africatime
Sunday 23 April 2017
(AFP (eng) 02/26/17)
The Gambia's new president has fired the head of the national prison system, officials said Sunday, taking aim at a service denounced for alleged abuses under the former regime. President Adama Barrow on Friday "sacked David Colley, the director-general of the Gambia Prison Service", a government source said late Saturday. The prison service confirmed the news on Sunday. Colley had run the penitentiary system nearly non-stop since 1997 under Yahya Jammeh, the longtime leader of the tiny West African state who was forced out of power last month after losing an election. The United Nations and rights groups repeatedly condemned The Gambia's security services under Jammeh
(Xinhuanet 02/26/17)
The government of the Republic of The Gambia fully endorses the one China policy and recognizes that there is only one China in the world, the Gambian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Friday in a press statement. The Gambian government reaffirms "its respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the People's Republic of China," said the press statement. The Government of The Gambia recognizes "the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal Government representing the whole of China, with Taiwan as an inherent part of China's territory," it said. "The Gambia Government undertakes not to establish any official relations or engage in any official contacts with Taiwan," it stressed. "The friendly bilateral relations that so...
(AFP (eng) 02/24/17)
Gambia's dreaded former spy chief -- whose watch was marred by allegations of killings and torture -- and eight subordinates were charged Thursday with killing a leading opposition member in April. Yankuba Badjie headed the National Intelligence Agency, which rights groups say carried out arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances and torture during ousted strongman Yahya Jammeh's 22-year rule. Badjie and the eight others pleaded not guilty to the charges by prosecutors. The nine men, including the NIA's former director of operations, Saikou Omar Jeng, denied killing opposition figure Solo Sandeng of the main opposition UDP. Sandeng was arrested on April 14 last year while leading a demonstration for political reform and died in custody at the NIA headquarters. Two days later,...
(The Guardian 02/23/17)
Ministers say scale of looting by autocratic former leader Yahya Jammeh was much higher than originally thought and that he left country $1bn in debt. The former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh stole far more money from the state than previously thought, the new government has alleged, leaving the country with a “monstrous debt” of more than $1bn. The autocratic former leader of the small west African country siphoned off at least $50m from social security, the country’s ports, and the national telecoms company, according to two senior ministers in new president Adama Barrow’s government. Jammeh’s private jet was bought with $4.5m (£3.6m) taken from the state pension fund, they said. Many Gambian pensioners have been refused their pensions or given...
(AFP (eng) 02/23/17)
For the first time in Africa, researchers said Wednesday they have detected a malaria parasite that is partially resistant to the top anti-malaria drug, artemisinin, raising concern about efforts to fight a disease that sickens hundreds of millions of people each year. The discovery means that Africa now joins southeast Asia in hosting such drug-resistant forms of the mosquito-borne disease. Malaria infected more than 200 million people and killed some 438,000 people worldwide in 2015, most of them children in Africa. "The spread of artemisinin resistance in Africa would be a major setback in the fight against malaria, as ACT (artemisinin-based combination therapy) is the only effective and widely used antimalarial treatment at the moment," said lead author Arnab Pain,...
(AL Jazeera 02/22/17)
Spy chief Yankuba Badjie has been accused of overseeing kidnappings, arbitrary arrests, torture, killings and rape. Police in The Gambia have arrested the country's former head of the national intelligence agency and his deputy, both accused of overseeing killings, kidnappings, arbitrary arrests, torture and rape during their time in office. Spy chief Yankuba Badjie and director of operations Sheikh Omar Jeng were detained on Monday and being investigated for potential abuses of power, spokesman Foday Conta told the DPA news agency on Wednesday. The arrests were part of new President Adama Barrow's attempts
(Xinhuanet 02/22/17)
Africa Energy Indaba, the continent's premier energy event, kicked off in Johannesburg on Monday with the aim of finding solutions to the continent's energy future. The three-day conference is being attended by the governments' representatives, business and funders. The meeting seeks to unleash the continent's potential by coming up with an energy mix to develop Africa. Dr. Garth Strachan, Deputy Director General and Head of Gas Industrialization Unit in South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry said the recent discoveries of gas in Mozambique, Angola and Tanzania provides a huge opportunity for the continent. He said there is a need for the countries to work together to tap benefits from the gas for the good of the continent. Strachan said...
(AfricaNews 02/21/17)
Dozens of opposition supporters in the Gambia have been arrested by police in the western town of Kafenda – a stronghold of the former leader, Yahya Jammeh, an opposition spokesperson and former information minister has said. Seedy Njie, now the spokesperson for Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction, (APRC), said the police picked up 51 supporters including three nursing mothers and 26 minors. Reports indicate that all the minors have since been released. ‘‘They (Barrow faithful) called Jammeh a killer and criminal and started raining insults on them (APRC supporters),’‘ he told local media outlets. They called Jammeh a killer and criminal and started raining insults on them (APRC supporters). But a police spokesman Foday Conta said the arrests...
(Bloomberg 02/21/17)
Ashish Thakkar, who co-founded Africa banking conglomerate Atlas Mara Ltd. with ex-Barclays Plc head Bob Diamond, lost a ruling over the ownership of family assets in a London divorce case, with a judge questioning Thakkar’s truthfulness. Judge Philip Moor ruled that Thakkar, and not his mother and sister, was the owner of disputed assets in the divorce. He found that the 35-year-old owned 100 percent of Mara Group Holdings Ltd. and other corporate entities. The result will have ramifications in the proceedings where a judge will have to decide how much Thakkar -- described in videos posted on his foundation’s website as "Africa’s Youngest Billionaire" -- is worth. Thakkar says he has assets of 445,532 pounds ($553,000) while his wife,...
(AFP (eng) 02/20/17)
Pensioner Sarjo Manneh celebrated more joyfully than most when former leader Yahya Jammeh agreed to leave The Gambia in January. After a decade, he believed he might see his son again. But nearly a month later, he is still waiting. His son Chief Ebrima Manneh, a journalist for a pro-government newspaper, went missing in 2006 during a summit held in the tiny west African country. Agents of the feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA), which reported directly to Jammeh, appeared at the offices of the Daily Observer and took him away. His colleagues and family have never seen him again. In 2009 The Gambia's then attorney-general Marie Saine-Firdaus told parliament that Manneh was not in state custody, while others including the...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/17)
Thousands celebrated Saturday as new Gambian President Adama Barrow retook his oath of office, a month after he was sworn in across the border in neighbouring Senegal during a tense power struggle. February 18 is also the anniversary of The Gambia's independence from Britain, but many are also calling the day the birth of a third republic following the ousting of Yahya Jammeh at the ballot box. The festivities began Saturday morning at Independence Stadium in Bakau, west of the capital, and were attended by several African heads of state as well as high-ranking diplomats. The guest of honour was Senegalese President Macky Sall. Tens of thousands packed the venue, singing and dancing, an AFP correspondent said. Barrow told the...
(Xinhuanet 02/15/17)
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said here on Tuesday that he had confirmed from Gambian president Adama Barrow that the West Africa country expected to return to the Commonwealth. Former president Yahya Jammeh withdrew his country from the Commonwealth in 2013, accusing the body of being a "neo-colonial institution". "We have a great conversation with President Barrow who has a fantastic ideas taking this country forward," Boris said at a press conference in Banjul Tuesday. "I am proud to report that President Barrow is going to take the Gambia back to the Commonwealth. I talked about that last night to the Secretary General of Commonwealth and she's determined to speed that up to get it done as soon as possible,"...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/17)
Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than a half billion people live without electricity, trails the world in government policies that promote sustainable energy, according to a new World Bank report Wednesday. Much of the rest of the world, however, has made strides toward making energy broadly available, developing renewable power sources and increasing efficiency, the inaugural Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy report said. In a survey of 111 countries, the World Bank found that through 2015 nearly 80 percent had begun to adopt policies to expand electrical grids, connecting them to solar and wind generation, and to help make electric utilities creditworthy and financially viable while keeping energy prices down. More than a third of countries, home to 96 percent of...
(AFP (eng) 02/14/17)
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who in the past sparked fury over comments about Africans, arrives in The Gambia on a charm offensive Tuesday as its new government considers rejoining the Commonwealth. Johnson is to meet President Adama Barrow and visit the British-funded Medical Research Council, his ministry said, resetting ties after years of tension with former president Yahya Jammeh. Jammeh frequently railed against Britain's colonial rule of the tiny nation, and Johnson will be the first British foreign minister to visit since independence in 1965. Johnson has hailed the December elections that unseated Jammeh after 22 years in power in The Gambia, saying they "highlight the continuing strengthening
(AFP (eng) 02/14/17)
The Gambia's new government has asked the United Nations to halt the process of withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) begun by the regime of former leader Yahya Jammeh. The Hague-based court, set up in 2002, is often accused of bias against African nations, leading The Gambia, Burundi and South Africa to send notice last year they would no longer recognise the ICC's jurisdiction. "The Government of Gambia has notified Antonio Guterres in his capacity as depository of the Rome Statue of its decision to discontinue the withdrawal notice," said a statement issued by the government late Monday, referring to the UN secretary-general. New Gambian President Adama Barrow had promised during his December election campaign to rejoin the ICC...
(Voice of America 02/14/17)
U.S. President Donald Trump made his first phone calls to African heads of state Monday, speaking with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and South African President Jacob Zuma. Nigeria and South Africa said the calls were made at the request of the U.S. president, who until now has said little about Africa or African issues since assuming office last month. The Nigerian presidency said Trump and Buhari discussed issues of terrorism, and said Trump assured Buhari the United States is ready to make a new deal to help Nigeria "in terms of military weapons." The statement said Trump also commended Buhari for the strides Nigeria is making against Islamist radical group Boko Haram, and invited Buhari to come to Washington at...
(AFP (eng) 02/13/17)
The Gambia's former president Yahya Jammeh wielded a potent mix of brute force and mysticism to keep citizens in a permanent state of fear, a legacy that lingers. Whether a poor farmer or government minister, nobody could feel safe during Jammeh's 22-year rule. Now, weeks after the paranoid autocrat was chased from power in the tiny nation almost entirely surrounded by Senegal, voices are being raised to demand justice, but the hurdles are many. They include pervasive superstition -- including beliefs that Jammeh had supernatural powers -- which for many citizens has blurred the lines between truth and fiction. Jammeh's aura "made people scared of him, so people did exactly what he told them to do," said Fabakary Ceesay, a...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/17)
Up to 18 players at the just-completed Africa Cup of Nations could be involved in the new-look CAF Champions League when it kicks off this weekend. Among them is Georges Bokwe, one of two unused goalkeepers in the Cameroon squad that defeated Egypt in the final last Sunday in Gabon. Bokwe was kept out of the starting line-up by the consistent brilliance of Spain-based Fabrice Ondoa, who was included in the team of the tournament. But Bokwe is the first choice for regular Champions League entrants Coton Sport from northern Cameroon cotton town Garoua. Coton qualified for the 2008 final, losing to Al Ahly of Egypt, but have fared poorly recently with first round exits in the past two seasons...
(AFP (eng) 02/09/17)
The European Union announced aid worth 225 million euros ($240 million) for The Gambia on Thursday as President Adama Barrow warned that the nation was "virtually bankrupt" due to economic mismanagement by the former regime. The EU froze assistance to The Gambia in December 2014 over the dire human rights record of ex-president Yahya Jammeh, whose security services were accused by rights groups of extrajudicial killings, torture and forced disappearances. Barrow's victory over Jammeh in December's election is seen by foreign donors as a new chance for human rights and the rule of law to be better respected in the tiny west African nation. Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, hailed "a peaceful democratic change in The...
(AFP (eng) 02/09/17)
West African troops have had their mandate extended for three more months in The Gambia, as President Adama Barrow carries out large-scale reforms of the army and intelligence services. The troops are currently deployed as part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mission in The Gambia, which "had its mandate extended by three months subject to renewal," a statement released late Wednesday by Barrow's office said. ECOWAS launched the deployment on January 19, shortly after Barrow took the oath of office in The Gambia's embassy in Dakar

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