Friday 23 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 02/21/18)
Two French soldiers were killed and another was hurt Wednesday when their armoured vehicle struck a mine in Mali, the French presidency said. Around 4,000 French troops are deployed in Mali and neighbouring countries to fight jihadist groups that have staged a string of attacks and kidnappings, some targeting Western nationals. The two soldiers were from a cavalry regiment based in Valence, a city in southeastern France, President Emmanuel Macron's office said in a statement, which did not say where the attack took place. Macron sent condolences to the soldiers' families and said the regional counter-terrorism operation had dealt "severe blows" to the enemy, the presidency added. The deaths bring to 12 the number of...
(AFP (eng) 02/21/18)
The European Union is to double its funding for a joint African military force to fight jihadists in the Sahel region with a 50-million-euro boost, EU sources said Wednesday. The bloc is expected to announce the new money for the G5 Sahel force, grouping Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, at talks in Brussels on Friday which will be attended by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The move comes as a surge in rebel attacks has underscored the challenge facing the five countries, among the poorest in the world, which are on the frontline of a war against Islamist militants.
(AFP (eng) 02/20/18)
Efforts to build a five-nation force to roll back jihadism in the Sahel face a funding hurdle this week, with a surge in rebel attacks providing an urgent reminder of the task in hand. So far more than $350 million has already been pledged for the G5 Sahel force, gathering Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- countries in the frontline of a war against Islamist militants yet which rank among the poorest in the world. The money has...
(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) 02/14/18)
French air power on Wednesday killed at least 10 jihadists in northeast Mali near the border with Algeria, local and foreign military sources said. "French forces on Wednesday led at least one raid near Tinzaouatene, at the Algerian border, against the terrorists," a local Malian military source told AFP. "There were at least 10 deaths and two vehicles were destroyed." The offensive was part of France's Operation Barkhane, active in Mali as well as four other former French colonies in...
(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) 02/07/18)
Five countries in the Sahel have made a pitch for further funds for a joint force to fight jihadism in their fragile region. The presidents of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger made the appeal after a summit Tuesday in the Niger capital of Niamey, ahead of a fund-raising meeting in Europe later this month. "Given the pressure that the current security situation is placing on the public finances of member states, the heads of state invite the international...
(AFP (eng) 02/06/18)
Mali's Supreme Court has ordered the government to pay more than $48 million to a local military equipment firm, in a legal battle dating back to 2014 triggered by corruption allegations. The World Bank and IMF froze aid to Mali that year over state dealings with the supplier Guo Star, and over a separate purchase of a $40 million presidential plane for leader Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Accusations over the tender process and overbilling tainted the deals. The court said in...
(AFP (eng) 02/06/18)
Leaders of five Sahel countries met with France's defence minister on Tuesday to discuss funding for an unprecedented joint force to combat jihadism in their vulnerable region. The presidents of the so-called G5 Sahel nations -- Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- met with French Defence Minister Florence Parly, whose country is the initiative's major backer. On Sunday, Malian Defence Minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly said the G5 force "will be operational by the end of March." The five...
(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)
Mauritania has named the commander who will take charge of operations in the western zone overseen by the regional G5 Sahel anti-jihadist force, as it wrapped up its second operation. Colonel Salem Vall Ould Isselmou will head operations in Mauritania and a section of Mali for the force of troops drawn from five countries in Africa's Sahel region, a military source told AFP on Thursday, confirming reports in local media. The force's operations under Ould Isselmou will be based in...
(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)
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita declared three days of mourning on Monday for the dozens of people killed over the last week in jihadist attacks and bombings. Keita cancelled travel plans to an African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia over the weekend to visit central Mali, a once calm region whose security situation has rapidly deteriorated in the last few years. The president declared a mourning period beginning on Monday "in tribute to all those who have lost their...
(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) 01/28/18)
Suspected jihadists killed four Malian soldiers on Sunday in the second deadly attack this weekend in the country's troubled north, local and military officials told AFP. Mali's deteriorating security situation is of growing concern as Al-Qaeda-linked groups mount increasingly ferocious attacks on domestic and foreign forces. "Terrorists have killed four soldiers in Menaka in an attack," a Malian military source said, adding: "They were not able to overrun the military camp. We are now in control of the situation." The...
(AFP (eng) 01/27/18)
Fourteen Malian soldiers were killed and 18 wounded on Saturday in an attack on their camp in Mali's restive north, the army said, while military sources told AFP jihadists were responsible. Mali's deteriorating security situation is of growing concern as Al-Qaeda-linked groups mount increasingly deadly attacks on domestic and foreign forces, and the country's president on Saturday cancelled his visit to an African summit. "The Malian armed forces were attacked early this morning, around 4am, in Soumpi (Timbuktu region). We...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 01/25/18)
Thirteen civilians travelling from Burkina Faso were killed on Thursday when their vehicle ran over a landmine in central Mali, local officials and a security source said, giving a provisional toll. "Thirteen Malian and Burkinabe civilians were killed near the town of Boni when their vehicle struck a mine," local official Mahmoud Traore told AFP, as a Malian security source blamed "terrorists" for the blast. "Terrorists uses these mines to spread fear," the source said, adding that the victims of Thursday's blast were killed instantly. Those wounded are in a "critical" condition, according to the source.

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