Monday 23 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
Equatorial Guinea carried out a wave of arrests and torture after an attempted coup last December, activists say. Several members of the opposition Citizens for Innovation (CI) party among 38 who were held at the main police station in the capital Malabo -- which they dubbed "Guantanamo" -- told AFP of alleged abuse during their detention from December 28 to January 3. "We were tortured for a week," said party activist Ernesto Obama Ondo, 42. "I received 150 lashes every day," he said in Malabo. "My buttocks were in shreds." Mireille Buila Euka, 24, also recounted being lashed, with her hands and feet bound. "I was whipped 100 times the first night," she said. The...
(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 for greater African integration. However, the agreement will still have to be ratified at a national level, and is only due to come into force in 180 days. The full list of countries which did not sign the agreement is...
(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) 03/08/18)
A cartoonist who was held in custody for more than five months in Equatorial Guinea was released on Wednesday, an NGO said. Ramon Esono Ebale, who works under the pseudonym "Ham and Cheese", was arrested for works "that regularly criticise the government of Equatorial Guinea", the African Union previously said. Confirming his release, director of the US-based rights group EG Justice, Tutu Alicante, said in a statement: "The release of Ramon is proof of the power of the collective work...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/18)
Equatorial Guinea's public prosecutor has demanded the release of a cartoonist, held for more than five months, because of a "lack of evidence". "Having noted the lack of clear evidence, the prosecution does not ask for any penalty" against Ramon Esono Ebale, prosecutor Rafael Ondo Nguema told the court in capital Malabo at the start of the trial on Monday. After Ebale was arrested in mid-September, the government announced it was for "money laundering and forgery", saying a million CFA...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/18)
The main opposition party in Equatorial Guinea has been dissolved by a court that also jailed 21 of its activists for more than 30 years, state media reported on Tuesday. The Citizens for Innovation (CI) party will be "withdrawn (from) the register of political parties in the country", the presiding judge at the court in Mongomo, Jose Rafael Nguema, said on TVGE state television. The rulings were made Monday during the trial of 147 CI activists accused of "rebellion" in the small, oil-rich central African nation, ruled by unbending strongman President Teodoro Obiang Nguema since he seized power in 1979. "The dissolution is the consequence of (...) undermining state security...
(AFP (eng) 02/23/18)
Equatorial Guinea's main opposition party "must be dissolved", the attorney general has said during the trial of 147 of its activists who are accused of "rebellion". "The Citizens for Innovation (CI) party should be dissolved, there is violence wherever it holds meetings," said David Nguema Obiang during the trial in Mongomo, excerpts of which were broadcast on state television Friday. "It doesn't even resemble a political party... It's like a paramilitary group." The mass trial, which began on February 12, involves CI activists and senior officials who were arrested following elections in November. The defendants are being tried on charges of rebellion, attacks against authority, public...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
France on Monday urged the UN's top court to throw out a case brought against it in a bitter diplomatic row with oil-rich Equatorial Guinea over French accusations of top-level corruption. "France has not accepted the jurisdiction of this court under any title whatsoever to entertain those facts on which Equatorial Guinea seeks the court to rule," the French representative Francois Alabrune told the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Malabo has accused Paris of violating the diplomatic immunity of its...
(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) 02/15/18)
Equatorial Guinea's public prosecutor is seeking the death penalty in the trial of 147 opposition activists accused of "rebellion," their lawyer said on Wednesday. The activists, including senior officials of the main opposition party, the Citizens for Innovation (CI), were arrested following elections in November. "The prosecutor is requesting the death penalty against all the opponents," said lawyer Fabian Nsue. Earlier this month, the European Union condemned what it described as "a sharp decline" in human rights in Equatorial Guinea following the election and said trials should be fair and in line with international norms.
(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) 02/06/18)
Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has reappointed his prime minister after dissolving the government last week. "Making use of the powers granted to me by law, I appoint Francisco Pascual Obama Asue as Prime Minister in charge of administrative coordination," said a presidential decree, read on national television on Monday night. Obiang also renamed the three deputy prime ministers to their posts. Further appointments to his team are due to be announced later this week. The outgoing government, formed after the April 2016 presidential election, was dissolved on Friday following legislative, senatorial and municipal elections in November, in accordance with the law.
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
The European Union sees "a sharp decline" in human rights in Equatorial Guinea where an opposition figure died in custody and over 130 people have been detained since elections last year. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema seized power in the oil-rich former Spanish colony in 1979 and has faced a string of coup attempts during nearly four decades in office. Critics accuse him of brutal repression of opponents as well as election fraud and corruption. "The restrictions on freedom and arrests, particularly those of political opponents ... since the elections in November 2017 arouse grave concern," said Catherine Ray, EU spokeswoman for foreign affairs and security policy...
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Equatorial Guinea's president Teodoro Obiang Nguema has dissolved his government, including the powers of the prime minister and his three deputies, according to a decree read out on state television on Saturday. The country went to the polls for legislative, senatorial and municipal elections of November 12, last year. "Making use of the powers bestowed on me by the fundamental law, I put an end to the functions of the prime minister in charge of administrative coordination, of his deputy...
(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) 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...
(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...

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