Friday 15 December 2017
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Egyptian warplanes killed suspected militants and destroyed eight vehicles they were using to smuggle weapons into the country from neighbouring Libya, the military said Monday. Army spokesman Tamer el-Rifai said in a statement that the air strikes on the western border were part of operations to track down "terrorists" who killed 16 policemen in a shootout in the region last week. Thirteen other policemen were wounded in clashes with Islamist militants during Friday's attack on the road between Cairo and the oasis of Bahariya in the Western Desert, said the defence ministry. Security forces were sent to the area southwest of Cairo acting on information that militants there were "hiding, training, and preparing to carry out terrorist operations", according to...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Elephant poaching in Africa declined for a fifth straight year in 2016 but seizures of illegal ivory hit records highs, the CITES monitor said Tuesday, calling it a "conflicting phenomena". In its latest report, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species also noted that despite the overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has continued to drop "due to continued illegal killing, land transformation and rapid human expansion." Global illegal ivory trade has remained relatively stable for six years, CITES reported. But 2016 saw a full 40 tonnes of illegal ivory seized, the most since 1989, as well as the hightest-ever number of "large-scale ivory seizures", the group said. "The overall weight of seized ivory in illegal trade is...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
CAIRO (Reuters) - The Egyptian military said on Monday its air force hit eight four-wheel-drive vehicles carrying arms and explosives at Egypt’s western border with Libya, killing the militants on board. A military statement gave no details of the number of fatalities or about which militant group it suspected was transporting the arms. Last Friday Egypt’s security forces suffered one of their deadliest attacks, when militants killed police officers using rockets and explosives in a remote area about 135 km (85 miles) southwest of Cairo. Egyptian security forces have been battling an insurgency by Islamic State that was largely concentrated in the Sinai Peninsula but has in recent months extended to other parts of the country. Egypt has carried out...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. More than a third of girls in the region are married under the age of 18, with the rate over 50 percent in six countries and up to 76 percent in Niger. Driven by factors including poverty, insecurity and religious tradition, marrying off girls once they reach puberty or even before is a deeply engrained social custom in much of West and Central Africa. The practice hampers global efforts to reduce poverty and population growth and has negative impacts on women’s and...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
The killing of four American special operations soldiers in Niger has highlighted the increasing role elite units are playing across Africa, which is rapidly becoming a major center of US military action. Their mission is to counter the advances of a slew of jihadist movements across the continent, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, affiliates of the Islamic State group in the Sahel region and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Of the 8,000 special forces "operators" deployed globally this year, more than 1,300 are in Africa, according to officials from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which is based in Tampa, Florida. Another 5,000 or so are in the Middle East. In five years, the number of US commandos in Africa has tripled...
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
The EU on Thursday pledged more money for Italy's work with Libya to stem migrant flows to Europe, with Brussels seeing a "real chance" to close the central Mediterranean route. Italian Prime Minister Paulo Gentiloni has been working with his UN-backed Libyan counterpart Fayez al-Sarraj to sharply reduce the perilous migrant sea crossings to Italy, the main entry point to the European Union. "Leaders agreed to offer Prime Minister Gentiloni stronger support for Italy's work with the Libyan authorities," EU President Donald Tusk said at a summit of the bloc's 28 leaders in Brussels. "We have a real chance of closing the central Mediterranean route," Tusk told a press conference...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The #MeToo social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual harassment and abuse has sparked conversation in parts of Africa where domestic violence is rampant but strong cultural and religious taboos prevent women from admitting it. Prompted by sexual abuse allegations against American film mogul Harvey Weinstein, millions of women around the world have been sharing their experiences of harassment and abuse on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo. The movement has reached only a small part of the population in West Africa, but some women are participating in defiance of attitudes which dictate that being abused brings shame on the family, is a curse, or makes a woman unmarriageable. In Senegal, some women...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said Tuesday that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year -- double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent. The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg. "It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and offers accommodation ranging from single bedrooms to whole homes in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The company announced Tuesday that it would invest $1 million (850,000 euros) in Africa by 2020 to "promote and support community-led tourism projects". "For...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Talks between representatives of rival authorities in strife-torn Libya have hit a new snag after a parliamentary delegation suspended its participation in the UN-backed discussions hosted by Tunisia. Years of political turmoil since the 2011 overthrow of long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi have left Libya divided between rival governments and beset by violence as militia forces battle for power. The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli since March 2016, has struggled to impose its authority across the country, particularly in the far east, dominated by military strongman Khalifa Haftar who supports a rival parliament.
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
More than 20,000 migrants, including pregnant women and babies, are being held either in detention centres or by traffickers in Libya's people-smuggling hub Sabratha, the UN said Tuesday, warning of abuse "on a shocking scale". The UN refugee agency said Libyan authorities were holding more than 14,500 migrants who had previously been kept captive by smugglers in and around Sabratha, to the west of Tripoli. The migrants were discovered in farms, houses and warehouses in and around the coastal city after a force allied with Libya's UN-backed unity government drove out a rival militia earlier this month. They have been taken to a hangar in the city and are gradually being transferred to official detention centres where aid...
(Xinhuanet 10/17/17)
Libya's eastern-based army commander General Khalifa Haftar has officially announced plans to liberate the capital Tripoli from control of militias. Haftar, while addressing a large crowd of army officers in the eastern city of Benghazi, said that "only a few areas of no more than 30,000 square km are out of the control of the army." "The area of Libya is 1.76 million square km. The army now controls 1.73 million square km. There is little left for the army to control all of Libya," Haftar said. Haftar revealed that the army had taken control of parts of the western region stretching from Zwara on the border with Tunisia to the city of Zawya, some 30 km west of Tripoli...
(Xinhuanet 10/17/17)
Flights at Tripoli's international airport have resumed on Monday after hours of suspension for "security reasons," according to a security source. "The airport resumed working after closure for hours for security reasons," the source told Xinhua. "Instead of being transferred to another airport, the flights had been suspended until further notice. Now, flights have landed and departed according to the schedule," The source added. The source revealed that the flights were suspended after "gunmen fired right outside of the airport, threatening the security of the passengers and airplanes." Libya suffers security vacuum and unrest since the uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011. The country is plagued with chaos and political division.
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Though its motto is "one Africa, one voice", the reality of "Africa's parliament" could not be more different. Since its creation in 2004, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has struggled to make its voice heard, prompting its deputies to ask themselves at a recent gathering: "What are we for?" "Every time we're here, we obsess over the same things. If we are not making laws, then what's the point of being here?" Corneille Padonou of Benin said to his fellow parliamentarians. "This forum is not a parliament, it is just a discussion platform that does not have any legislative powers. This institution is still wobbly," said Floyd Shivambu, a parliamentarian from South Africa. "As it is, it is a waste of...
(APA 10/16/17)
APA-Dakar (Senegal) - The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture on Monday 16 October as part of the World Food Prize events taking place from October 16 to 20, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The Norman Borlaug Lecture under the title: “Betting on Africa to Feed the World”, will be held on World Food Day, October 16, in conjunction with the annual World Food Prize celebration. AfDB President Adesina will receive the 2017 World Food Prize on Thursday October 19, announced a press release issued by the AfDB on October 16, which also said “the prize is to agriculture what the Nobel Prize is to peace, science and literature.” The World...
(AFP (eng) 10/13/17)
The UN human rights chief warned Thursday that serious violations were "endemic" in many detention centres in Libya, but said he was "optimistic" that authorities were intent on improving the situation. Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, who this week became the first UN rights chief to make an official visit to Libya, welcomed commitments he received from authorities, including Prime Minister Fayez Serraj, and the ministers of Justice and Interior, to address a wide range of abuses. But he warned that "the human rights situation in Libya continues to be marked by widespread abuses and violations perpetrated by all sides to the conflict with complete impunity." Libya has plunged into chaos since the overthrow of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011,...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/11/17)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A CIA operative told a jury on Tuesday about the terror he experienced in 2012 when militants attacked the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and described how he recovered the body of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. The operative, who testified in what the judge described as “light disguise” under the pseudonym “Alexander Charles,” was the latest witness to appear in the trial of Ahmed Abu Khatallah, who is accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed Stevens and three other Americans. Charles said “all hell broke loose” shortly after he arrived at the CIA annex in Benghazi, which came under mortar fire. The mortars killed Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, and gravely...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/11/17)
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is seeking to reopen its embassy in Libya pending security conditions, officials said on Tuesday, offering further political support for the Tripoli government struggling to establish control. EU leaders will announce at their summit in Brussels on Oct. 19-20 that they “encourage work underway to rapidly establish a permanent EU presence in Libya”, according to their draft joint statement seen by Reuters. But the statement makes clear no such move is imminent as it would be conditional on improving the security situation on the ground. The EU moved its mission to neighboring Tunisia in mid-2014 as security worsened in Libya amid escalating fighting between rival factions since the 2011 fall of longtime leader Muammar...
(Xinhuanet 10/11/17)
Libya's United Nations (UN)-backed Prime Minister Fayez Serraj said Wednesday the decisive solution to the illegal immigration issue lies in achieving stability in Libya. Serraj made his remarks during a meeting with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid bin Ra'ad al-Hussein, in the Libyan capital Tripoli. "The problem of illegal immigration worries us as a transit country that bears great burdens in the current difficult situation," Serraj said. "The government of national accord prepared plans and programs in coordination with friendly countries to secure the southern border, through which illegal immigrants and smugglers flow," he said, pointing out that reports revealed "terrorist elements among immigrants." "Stability could provide legitimate employment...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
TUNIS/TRIPOLI (Reuters) - U.N. agencies said on Monday they were trying to provide urgent help to large numbers of migrants held and then stranded in the smuggling hub of Sabratha as rival factions battled for control of the city. At least 4,000 migrants, including pregnant women, newborn babies and unaccompanied children, have been transferred from informal camps and housing to a hangar in the city since the clashes ended on Friday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said. The U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, said some 6,000 had been held at the informal sites. Hundreds of migrants who had left Sabratha arrived in Zuwara, about 25 km (15 miles) to the west, on foot along the beach, said Sadeeq Al-Jayash, head...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is set to accelerate to 3.4 percent next year, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday, citing Nigeria's recovering oil and agricultural sectors. The IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook report that the region would grow by 2.6 percent this year after 1.4 percent in 2016. "Growth is expected to rise gradually," it said, while noting that the rate would be uneven and "barely above population growth". GDP in the west African powerhouse Nigeria contracted by 1.6 percent in 2016, but is predicted to grow by 0.8 percent this year and 1.9 percent next year. The IMF said Nigeria was benefitting from "recovering oil production and ongoing strength in the agricultural sector", but the...

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