Monday 19 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/30/18)
More than 13,000 migrants have been repatriated from Libya since the beginning of December, the African Union's chief said Monday, nearly two months after reports emerged showing refugees being sold as slaves. That number is short of the AU's goal to fly 20,000 out of the conflict-wracked north African nation by mid-January, but chairperson of the AU commission Moussa Faki Mahamat insisted the campaign was on course. "We have 13,000, and every day, the number increases," Faki told a press conference after the closing of an AU summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. "I believe that this process is on course, although with a bit of delay. Already more than two thirds... have been repatriated," he added. Faki announced...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/30/18)
TUNIS (Reuters) - The United Nations has said it is “appalled” by apparent retaliatory killings in Libya following reports of eight bodies found in the eastern cities of Benghazi and Derna. Five bodies were found in Benghazi’s Laithi neighborhood on Friday, residents told Reuters. Pictures posted on social media appeared to show the bodies, bloodied and mutilated, lying in the dirt. The pictures could not be independently verified, and security officials in Benghazi declined to comment. In Derna, 250 kilometers (155 miles) east of Benghazi, the bodies of three people who appeared to have been summarily killed were found dumped in the city on Thursday, medical sources said. “UNSMIL is appalled by new reports of retribution killings in Libya,” the...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/30/18)
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Libya should not rush into holding elections as part of U.N.-led efforts to end years of conflict and division in the North African nation, a senior African Union official said on Monday. The United Nations has said it wants to help Libya organize national elections by the end of this year as it seeks to break a deadlock between factions based in the east and west of the country. U.N. officials including special representative Ghassan Salame have acknowledged complex political, security and legislative challenges to holding such a vote, but say they are encouraged by support for elections among Libyans. Salame traveled to an African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to discuss with...
(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 found himself back where he started - in Gambia with no job prospects and empty pockets. “I felt abandoned by the government,” he said on a busy street in Churchill’s Town, a suburb of the capital Banjul. “I was just...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
The International Monetary Fund is holding a two-day regional conference from Monday in Morocco with a message of reform amid growing "frustration" among the population of some Arab states. "Rising social tensions and protests in several countries across the Middle East and North Africa are a clear indication that the aspirations of the people of the region, for opportunity, prosperity and equity, remain unfulfilled," said Jihad Azour, director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia department. "Reforms are the key to address the fundamental problems that have plagued so many countries of the region for so long: low growth, high unemployment and corruption," he wrote in an analysis ahead of the conference in Marrakesh. Unemployment in the Middle East...
(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) 01/29/18)
Nigeria clawed back from the brink of defeat to edge Angola 2-1 after extra time on Sunday in cold, windy Tangiers and book an African Nations Championship (CHAN) semi-final against Sudan. In the last quarter-final, former champions Libya pipped Congo Brazzaville 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in southern city Agadir and they will face hosts Morocco for a place in the final. Both semi-finals are scheduled for Wednesday, with the final next Sunday offering a record $1.25 million (about one million euro) first prize in the fifth edition of the biennial competition. Nigerian Anthony Okpotu atoned for several misses in an enthralling quarter-final against Angola by equalising during the first minute of stoppage time in northern Morocco. A...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Friday condemned a deadly attack on a Benghazi mosque which left at least 37 dead, and renewed calls for the arrest of a wanted Libyan commander. "These bombings and executions demand both condemnation and a meaningful response", chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement. At least 37 people died and scores were wounded after Tuesday's two car bombings outside a mosque frequented by jihadists in Libya's second city Benghazi. The attack was followed by video and photographs on social networks Wednesday, appearing to show wanted Libyan commander Mahmoud al-Werfalli carrying out summary executions in retaliation. Bensouda said she was "deeply concerned" by the bombings, but also "appalled" at the reports of...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
The United Nations launched an international appeal Thursday for $330 million dollars to fund humanitarian aid projects for almost one million people in Libya, a country plunged in chaos and a hub of illegal migration. Maria Ribeiro, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Libya, outlined the priorities for a Humanitarian Response Plan for 2018 at a news conference in Tripoli. The target is "to reach at least 940,000 people" through 71 projects at a cost of $330 million to be carried out in partnership with municipalities, civil society and ministries, she said. In 2017, the international community contributed $98 million...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 01/25/18)
The United Nations demanded Thursday the immediate surrender of a Benghazi commander wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges after evidence emerged suggesting he had carried out new summary executions in Libya. Mahmoud al-Werfalli commands the Al-Saiqa Brigade based in Libya's second city and is loyal to military strongman Khalifa Haftar whose forces dominate the east of the North African country. When the ICC issued a warrant for Werfalli's arrest last August over summary executions in which at least 33 people were killed in 2016 and 2017, Haftar's forces insisted he was in their custody and would face a military trial.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/25/18)
TUNIS (Reuters) - The United Nations Libya mission said it was alarmed by reports of “brutal and outrageous summary executions” in the eastern city of Benghazi on Wednesday, after pictures emerged appearing to show at least nine people being shot dead at the site of a twin car bombing. The U.N. Libya mission, UNSMIL, suggested in a tweet that the gunman was Mahmoud al-Werfalli, a special forces commander wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly carrying out a number of similar killings. “(The U.N.) demands the handing over of Mahmoud al-Werfalli immediately to (the ICC) as it documented at least 5 similar cases, in 2017 alone, carried out or ordered by al-Werfalli,” UNSMIL said on its Twitter account...
(AFP (eng) 01/24/18)
More than 30 people were dead and dozens wounded after two car bombings outside a mosque frequented by jihadist opponents in Libya's second city Benghazi, medical officials said Wednesday. The attack after evening prayers on Tuesday underlined the continued chaos in Libya, which has been wracked by violence and divisions since dictator Moamer Kadhafi was toppled and killed in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising. Benghazi has been relatively calm since military strongman Khalifa Haftar announced the eastern city's "liberation" from jihadists in July last year after a three-year campaign, but sporadic violence has continued. The bombers blew up two cars 30 minutes apart outside the mosque...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/24/18)
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - The toll from a twin car bombing at a mosque in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi rose to 35 on Wednesday, medics said, one of the highest from a single attack since Libya slid into turmoil after a 2011 uprising. The first blast on Tuesday evening hit worshippers leaving the large Bayaat al-Radwan mosque in Benghazi’s central Al Salmani district. The second, which witnesses said came about 15 minutes later and was much stronger, inflicted a high number of casualties among people who had gathered at the scene of the first blast. On Wednesday, the site of the bombings was strewn with scraps of clothing and victims’ possessions, and the stench of blood hung in...
(AFP (eng) 01/24/18)
An armed group loyal to Libya's national unity government said Wednesday it had arrested a gang accused of kidnapping and torturing Sudanese migrants near the northern city of Sirte. The gang, made up of "five Libyans and one Palestinian... had tortured eight migrants," said the Sirte Security and Protection Force, one of several that took part in the unity government's battle to oust the Islamic State group from Sirte last year. The migrants are being treated at the Ibn Sina Hospital in Sirte, 450 kilometres (280 miles) east of Tripoli, it said. The arrests took place in Qaddahiya, a village south of Sirte, "after the publication of a video on social media showing scenes of African migrants undergoing unbearable torture",...
(Xinhuanet 01/24/18)
Two car bombs exploded in Salmani district of the eastern Libyan city Benghazi on Tuesday, killing and injuring several people, according to the Libyan news agency. The first car bomb exploded in front of a mosque, as worshipers exited the mosque after the night prayer, the agency reported. Following the arrival of ambulances, a second car bomb exploded in the same location. The two explosions killed and injured several people and caused large damage. Fadia Al-Barghathi, official of the Information Office of Al-Jalaa Hospital in Benghazi, said that "the first explosion killed four people and injured three others." "The victims of the second explosion have not been counted yet. The final number of victims of the blast will be presented...
(Xinhuanet 01/24/18)
The Ethiopian government said Wednesday that 21 of its nationals were repatriated from Libya. Meles Alem, spokesperson for the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Xinhua that the 21 Ethiopians arrived in the capital city, Addis Ababa, on Wednesday as part of the first round of the Ethiopian government's effort to repatriate its citizens from the North African nation. According to the ministry, procedures for the repatriation of the second batch of 45 Ethiopian migrants from Libya is underway. Ethiopia is conducting the repatriation process in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The exact number of Ethiopians who are stranded in Libya is yet to be identified. Hundreds of thousands of African migrants, including Ethiopians, have in recent...
(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) 01/20/18)
The airport serving the Libyan capital resumed flights on Saturday following a five-day suspension after deadly clashes around the facility that also damaged planes on the tarmac. Lotfi Khalil, the director general of Mitiga airport on the eastern outskirts of Tripoli, said services resumed with Buraq Air flying to the eastern city of Tobruk and Libyan Airlines leaving for Tunis. One local carrier, state-owned Afriqiyah Airways, however, has yet to resume operations because its planes were damaged in Monday's fighting in which at least 20 people were killed, he told AFP.

Pages