Thursday 25 May 2017
(AFP (eng) 03/23/17)
Forces commanded by a Libyan military strongman fighting to oust jihadists from second city Benghazi may have committed war crimes, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday. The self-styled Libyan National Army, commanded by strongman Khalifa Haftar, controls much of eastern Libya and is battling an array of jihadist groups who seized Benghazi in 2014. The LNA announced on Saturday that "terrorist groups" had fled their last stronghold in Benghazi and that its forces were in full control of the city. Human Rights Watch said the LNA "may have committed war crimes, including killing and beating civilians and summarily executing and desecrating bodies of opposition fighters," in the eastern city over
(AL Jazeera 03/23/17)
Libyan prime minister asked for rescue and emergency equipment to curb illegal migration across its border into Europe. Ongoing consultations between the UN-backed government in Tripoli, representatives of the interior ministers of Italy and other eight European countries aim at bolstering an agreement signed in February, when Libya agreed to tackle the smuggling of migrants into Europe. EU Migration Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and interior ministers from Algeria and Tunisia also attended the meeting. On Monday, during talks with European officials in Rome, Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Serraj asked for 800m euros ($864m) in military, rescue and emergency equipment to curb illegal migration across its border into Europe. Serraj's demands will also include 10 rescue ships, helicopters, ambulances, and motor vehicles,...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/23/17)
Libya's oil production has reached 700,000 barrels per day (bpd), the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Wednesday, recovering from a drop earlier this month caused by fighting at two key oil ports. "We are working very hard to reach 800,000 barrels by the end of April 2017, and, God willing, we will reach 1.1 million barrels next August," NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla was quoted as saying in a statement. The NOC said in a separate statement it hoped to produce 55,000 bpd in the coming weeks from the Abu Attifel and Rimal fields, which are currently closed for maintenance. The fields are operated by Mellitah Oil and Gas, a joint venture between the NOC and Italy's ENI. The NOC...
(AfricaNews 03/23/17)
A memorandum of understanding signed between Italy and Libya in February to stem the tide of illegal migrants fleeing to Italy from Africa, using Libya as a point of departure, has been blocked by a Tripoli court. The case against the deal, which was signed by Libya’s Presidency Council chief, Fayez Serraj, was brought before the court by six individuals, including former justice minister, Salah Al Marchani, the Libya Herald reported on Wednesday. The petition disputed Serraj and the Presidency Council's right to sign such a deal on behalf of Libya’s UN-backed, and internationally recognised, Government of National Accord (GNA). This is, because according to the Libyan Political Agreement, until it is approved by the House of Representatives, the GNA,...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/23/17)
N'DJAMENA French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen pledged on Wednesday to break with her country's decades-old relationship with Africa known as "Francafrique" and abolish the CFA franc currency policy that binds Paris and its former colonies. Francafrique describes an informal web of relationships Paris has maintained with its former African colonies and its support, sometimes in the form of military backing, for politicians who favor French business interests. Le Pen, one of the frontrunners in the presidential election, spoke at the end of a two-day visit to Chad where she sought to outline her policies regarding the continent, which has long held an important place in French foreign policy. "It was only in coming here and explaining that I...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/17)
Forces commanded by a Libyan military strongman fighting to oust jihadists from second city Benghazi may have committed war crimes, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday. The self-styled Libyan National Army, commanded by strongman Khalifa Haftar, controls much of eastern Libya and is battling an array of jihadist groups who seized Benghazi in 2014. The LNA announced on Saturday that "terrorist groups" had fled their last stronghold in Benghazi and that its forces were in full control of the city. Human Rights Watch said the LNA "may have committed war crimes, including killing and beating...
(AFP (eng) 03/21/17)
Interior ministers mainly from the central Mediterranean region met in Rome on Monday to ramp up efforts to curb migration from Libya amid a sharp rise in the number of people trying to cross to Europe. One year after a controversial deal with Turkey to stop migrants setting out across the Aegean Sea for Greece, the European Union is seeking to reach a similar accord with conflict-hit Libya, despite fierce opposition from human rights campaigners. Just this past weekend more than 3,300 people were rescued from unseaworthy vessels off the north African country, bringing the number of arrivals in Italy to nearly 20,000 so far in 2017 -- a significant increase on previous years. The wave of attempted arrivals continued...
(AFP (eng) 03/21/17)
Libya has in two days rescued 420 migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, a navy spokesman said Monday, but three were found dead and 30 reported missing. General Ayoub Qassem said 205 Africans including eight women and a child were rescued early Monday off the coast of Tajura, 30 kilometres (18 miles) east of Tripoli, The migrants "were on two inflatable dinghies that had started to take on water", he said. On Sunday, the coastguard rescued 215 migrants including 47 women off Zwara, 160 kilometres west of Tripoli, Qassem said. The bodies of three women were recovered, he said, and at least 30 people have been reported missing. "They are thought to have jumped or fallen off the...
(AFP (eng) 03/21/17)
Under a cloudless sky in South Africa's northwestern farming region, donkeys still amble along muddy paths, pausing to nibble on grass, oblivious to the threat from a demand for Chinese medicine. The gelatin found in the animals' skin has made them a target, leading to a growing wave of donkey slaughtering in several African countries, as gangs seek to fuel a lucrative, and in South Africa illegal, trade. Animal rights groups say the docile beasts of burden are often cruelly bludgeoned to death before being skinned in backyards and clandestine slaughterhouses. Around Mogosani village, in South Africa's North West province, residents say syndicates catch the animals in grazing fields and pens. Soon after, skinned carcasses with hooves chopped off are...
(AFP (eng) 03/20/17)
Interior ministers from the central Mediterranean were meeting in Rome on Monday to ramp up efforts to curb migration from Libya amid a sharp rise in the number of people attempting the perilous crossing to Europe. One year after a controversial deal with Turkey to stop migrants setting out across the Aegean Sea for Greece, the EU is trying to set up a similar accord with conflict-hit Libya, despite fierce opposition from human rights campaigners. Over 3,300 people were rescued from unseaworthy vessels off the north African country over the weekend, bringing the number of arrivals in Italy to nearly 20,000 so far in 2017 -- a significant increase on previous years. Interior ministers from Algeria, Austria, Germany, Italy, Libya,...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/20/17)
East Libyan forces said they captured the final holdout of Islamist-led rivals in the southwest of Benghazi on Saturday, ending weeks of resistance by fighters camped in a cluster of apartment blocks. The eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) has been waging a campaign in Libya's second biggest city for nearly three years and still faces pockets of resistance in two northern neighborhoods, despite making big gains since early last year. Milad al-Zwai, spokesman for the LNA's special forces, said the siege at the "12 blocks" site ended when rival fighters tried to escape at dawn. He said 23 were killed and six arrested while seven LNA troops were killed and at least six wounded. LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said as...
(Agence Ecofin 03/20/17)
At the Africa CEO Forum which opened this morning in Geneva, AFD Group – in partnership with the European Union – unveiled the “African Renewable Energy Scale-Up facility”, designed to boost private sector investment in on–grid and off-grid renewable energy production in Africa. In order to meet Africa’s constantly increasing energy requirements, support must be provided for mass development of the renewable energy technologies – especially solar energy – that will play such a key role over the coming years, given the recent drop in prices and the emergence of new innovative business models. The EU’s electrification funding initiative, “ElectriFI”, helps to harness and stimulate private sector investment to enhance access to renewable energy. More specifically, it focuses on poorly-served...
(AFP (eng) 03/18/17)
Gunmen opened fire in the Libyan capital on Friday as hundreds of people demonstrated against the presence of militias in Tripoli, where armed groups are key power brokers, witnesses said. There were no immediate reports of casualties and the identities of the gunmen were not clear, but the shooting forced demonstrators off the streets. Hundreds of people had gathered earlier at Martyr's Square in the city centre, carrying signs denouncing the presence of militias in Tripoli. They also called on authorities to re-empower the police and army in order to restore stability in the chaos-ridden country. The demonstration came days after the city had been paralysed amid exchanges of rocket and artillery fire between forces loyal to the UN-backed Government...
(Voice of America 03/18/17)
Each year, the University of Southern California hosts the African Global Economic and Development Summit, bringing delegations from Africa to meet with business leaders, government officials and others in the U.S. But this year, the African summit has no Africans. All were denied visas. Visa issues are not uncommon for people traveling from African nations. During her prior three summits, Mary Flowers saw a high percentage of her attendees unable to attain visas. "Usually we get 40 percent that get rejected but the others come," said Flowers, chair of the African Global Economic and Development Summit. "This year it was 100 percent. Every delegation. And it was sad to see, because these people were so disheartened." Flowers estimated that she...
(AFP (eng) 03/17/17)
Dozens of armed factions have battled for control of oil-rich Libya since the 2011 fall of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi. This week, four days of intense fighting saw pro-unity government armed forces expand their control in the capital Tripoli, where dozens of militias operate. Further east, troops commanded by military strongman Khalifa Haftar said Tuesday they had recaptured two important oil installations seized by a rival Islamist-led force in early March. Haftar opposes the UN-backed Government of National Accord, instead backing a rival government based in Libya's east.
(AFP (eng) 03/17/17)
Clashes broke out Thursday in Tripoli hours after armed groups signed a ceasefire deal ending a four-day battle for control of the Libyan capital. Gunfire could be heard in Tripoli's southern neighbourhood of Hadba al-Khadra, residents and a Facebook page dedicated to informing citizens on unrest said. A woman, who declined to give her name, said all the main roads in Hadba al-Khadra were closed and that residents were staying indoors. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the clashes, but Tripoli is rife with heavily armed militias. The new fighting came hours after two powerful armed groups, Thowar Tarabulus and the Abu Slim Brigade, denounced the ceasefire announced by the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). Thowar...
(AFP (eng) 03/17/17)
A Turkish cargo vessel has sunk off the coast of Libya, leaving seven crew members missing, as high winds and waves battered the region, the Libyan navy said on Thursday. Six other members of the Turkish crew were rescued after the ship requested assistance several kilometres from the port of Misrata, navy spokesman General Ayoub Qassem said. He said the Turkish-flagged ship was carrying marble dust and was about 2-2.5 nautical miles from shore when it radioed a call seeking help. "The search is underway for the seven missing... but the sea is very rough and the waves are high," said Qassem. He said the ship sunk because of the "bad weather and because the ship is old"
(Voice of America 03/17/17)
One of the enduring legacies of the Barack Obama presidency will be the relationship built between the United States and young Africans. As part of Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), each year 1,000 young people from sub-Saharan Africa travel to the United States to spend six weeks at a U.S. college or university. The program will continue this summer. But building enduring relationships is a two-way street, and many in Africa want to see Americans coming to their continent as well. That’s what 26 Americans selected to participate in a Reciprocal Exchange program, a new component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, are now planning to do. The U.S. Department of State partnered with IREX, a...
(AFP (eng) 03/16/17)
Armed groups in Tripoli have signed a ceasefire deal ending a four-day battle for control of the Libyan capital, the unity government said Thursday. The city has been paralysed amid exchanges of rocket and artillery fire between pro-unity government forces and rival militias including groups allied with former prime minister Khalifa Ghweil. Thursday's deal cements the UN-backed Government of National Accord's control over large parts of the capital. It provides for an "immediate ceasefire" and calls for armed groups that do not recognise the GNA to leave Tripoli within 30 days. It also demands the release of people arrested since Monday, the GNA's defence ministry said. Clashes on Wednesday night rocked the capital's southern Salaheddine district, where several rival militias...
(AFP (eng) 03/16/17)
Libya's former prime minister Khalifa Ghweil was wounded in heavy fighting in the capital Tripoli on Wednesday but his injuries are not life threatening, sources close to him said. Militia loyal to the ex-premier exchanged artillery fire with forces of the UN-backed government for several hours before withdrawing from their headquarters in the Guest Palace, a complex of luxury villas in the city centre. It was the third straight day of clashes between the two sides. Libya has experienced years of violence and lawlessness since the NATO-backed ouster of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, with rival parliaments and governments vying for influence and militias fighting over territory and the country's vast oil wealth. Since taking power from Ghweil's administration...

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