Friday 20 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Suspected jihadists carried out a late-night attack on a hotel in central Mali several days after the town was visited by the country's prime minister, officials said Thursday, adding that at least one assailant was killed. The security ministry and the army said attackers late Wednesday struck the Falaise hotel in the town of Bandiagara, a former tourist magnet in the heart of Mali's picturesque Dogon Country. Two assailants were killed and two other people were injured, the ministry said. In contrast, the army said one attacker was killed and three others fled, while a soldier and one civilian were wounded. Reinforcements have been sent to the town, the army said. A witness told AFP...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
Mali's Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga landed in the restive town of Kidal on Friday, representing the first such visit since 2014 to an area that remains in the hands of former rebels. Five French soldiers were wounded in Kidal on Thursday in an attack that France's defence minister said was likely linked to Maiga's visit. The prime minister touched down at 10:00 am (1000 GMT) at a UN base after a day-long delay due to bad weather, where he was greeted by the head of the world body's mission in the country, Mahamat Saleh Annadif. Appointed in December, Maiga was charged with bolstering security as jihadists mount near-weekly attacks on security forces, raising safety fears ahead of the presidential...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/22/18)
A U.N. peacekeepers’ camp near Kidal in Mali came under rocket fire on Thursday, the U.N. mission said, shortly before a visit by the prime minister, the first to the northern city by a top government official for four years. Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga and eight of his ministers are due in Kidal as part of a nine-stop national tour. The city and the province of the same name, the country’s most rebellious, have been under Tuareg control since an uprising...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
Mali's Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga made his first visit to the country's troubled north Thursday with a stop due in the city of Kidal, which is still in the hands of former rebels. Just hours before the visit, five French soldiers were wounded in Kidal when their base was attacked, the French army said in Paris, demonstrating the scale of the problem facing troops in the region. Around 4,000 French troops are deployed under Operation Barkhane alongside the United Nations 12,000-strong MINUSMA peacekeeping operation in Mali.
(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...
(AFP (eng) 03/20/18)
At least eight people have died in clashes between two ethnic groups in central Mali, several sources said Monday, the latest outbreak of violence in the troubled desert region. Simmering clashes between the Fulani and Dogon communities have now claimed at least 25 lives since the beginning of the month. Mali's army said that intercommunal violence around the town of Koro near the border with Burkina Faso on Sunday resulted in the burning of the village of Sabere. "Everything is ruined," the army said in a statement, adding that soldiers inspecting...
(AFP (eng) 03/17/18)
Canadian peacekeepers backed by helicopters will join UN Blue Helmets in the troubled west African nation of Mali before autumn, a government source said on Friday. Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan is to provide details of the number of troops on Monday, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity about what will be Canada's first mission to Africa since Rwanda in 1994. Jihadists have ramped up their activities in central Mali in recent months, targeting domestic and foreign forces in...
(AFP (eng) 03/14/18)
At least 25 people have died in intercommunal violence in central Mali over the past week, a local community leader said Tuesday, as ethnic groups clashed over land in a zone where the state is near-absent and jihadists roam freely. Nomadic Fulani people and farmers from the Dogon ethnic group have engaged in tit-for-tat violence sparked by Fulanis grazing their cattle on Dogon land. Dogons also accuse Fulanis in the area of colluding with cleric Amadou Koufa, whose Islamist group recently joined the Group to Support Islam and Muslims, a jihadist alliance with links to al-Qaeda.
(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) 03/05/18)
Insecurity in Mali "continues to rage" and is progressing toward the center of the country, according to an interim UN report. Members of Plateforme, an armed pro-government coalition, and the CMA rebel alliance, who were signatories to a 2015 peace deal, are seeing "progressive decline of their influence in areas traditionally under their indirect or direct control," said the report which was to the Security Council and seen by AFP on Friday. "Such loss of territorial control, adding to the increasing fragmentation of armed groups along ethnic lines and the subsequent multiplication of non-signatory armed groups...
(AFP (eng) 03/01/18)
Turkey will donate $5 million (4.1 million euros) to a fledgling force of five nations battling terrorism and trafficking in the Sahel, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced during a visit to Mauritania. The G5 force, gathering Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, aims to train and equip 5,000 troops to restore authority in lawless areas where jihadists have gained a foothold. "Turkey is one of the countries which best understands the dangers with which you are confronted in the...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/18)
Families on Wednesday accused Mali's military of killing seven civilians during an operation in the centre of the country a week earlier, as the government opened an enquiry into the deaths. In a separate incident in the same region, six Malian soldiers were killed on Tuesday when their vehicle struck a mine, the army said on Wednesday. Malian soldiers and international forces are battling jihadists and criminal gangs in the north and centre, where an Islamist insurgency has taken root and the state is largely absent. Nouhoun Sarr, the nephew of one of seven men killed on February 21...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/18)
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Algeria on Monday as he embarked a new tour of Africa in a bid to ramp up Turkey's growing influence throughout the continent. The Turkish strongman touched down in Algiers, the first leg of the trip that he described as "historic" and that will see him also visit Mauritania, Senegal and Mali. "Algeria is one of our most important trading partners in the region... We want to strengthen our military, security and cultural relations,"...
(AFP (eng) 02/24/18)
A powerful jihadist alliance has claimed an attack on a French military vehicle in Mali that left two soldiers dead, Mauritanian media reported on Friday. Two soldiers from France's counter-terrorism force in West Africa were killed and another was hurt on Wednesday when their vehicle struck a mine in northeast Mali. The Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), a fusion of three Malian jihadist groups with previous Al-Qaeda links, claimed the attack in a statement cited by Mauritania's Sahara Medias and widely shared on social media. The group, also known as Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa'al- Muslimin (JNIM) in Arabic, have been behind several high profile attacks against domestic and foreign...
(AFP (eng) 02/23/18)
European leaders on Friday doubled their funding for a joint African force tackling jihadists in the Sahel at an international conference in Brussels, as fresh violence highlights the region's fraught security situation. The European Union announced an extra 50 million euros ($61 million) for the G5 Sahel force at talks with heads of state from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, adding to around 280 million euros already pledged by international donors. The high-level meeting attended by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor...
(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...
(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...

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