| Africatime
Monday 27 March 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 07/19/13)
(Reuters) - Nigeria plans to withdraw much of its 1,200-strong contingent from international peacekeeping missions in Mali and Sudan's Darfur region saying the troops are needed to beef up security at home, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday. Nigeria is battling Islamist group Boko Haram, but the troop withdrawal comes just 10 days before a presidential election in Mali, which is meant to restore democracy after a coup and the occupation of the desert north by al Qaeda-linked rebels last year. The 12,600-man U.N. mission in Mali is rolling out to replace most of the 4,500 French forces who intervened successfully in January to halt an Islamist advance south. "It seems Nigeria is pulling out its infantry but...
(Voice of America 07/19/13)
ABUJA — West African leaders have said upcoming elections in Mali and Guinea-Bissau will go ahead as scheduled, despite reports the two countries' electoral commissions are not ready. At a summit in Abuja, the leaders also called for new security policies that will allow the region to respond more quickly to emergencies like last year's crisis in Mali. Heads of state from the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS] met this week in the Nigerian capital ahead of elections in Mali and Guinea-Bissau. Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said Mali elections will go ahead on the scheduled July 28 date, despite reports that the election commission is not prepared to hold elections in a country where hundreds of thousands...
(AFP (eng) 07/18/13)
ABUJA, July 18, 2013 (AFP) - West African leaders on Thursday insisted Mali's presidential election would be held on July 28 as scheduled despite doubts over whether the crisis-hit nation was ready to organise a vote. The polls are seen as crucial to re-uniting the country which remains shaken after a March 2012 military coup and a sweeping offensive by Islamist rebels who captured the entire north before being flushed out with the help of French troops. Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara, current chair of the 15-nation West African bloc ECOWAS, said "there are no doubts" the vote would be held on time.. The polls would take place "on the scheduled date," the Ivorian leader said at the close of...
(AFP (eng) 07/18/13)
French hostage Philippe Verdon, who was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali in 2011 and found dead several weeks ago, was executed with a shot to the head, prosecutors said Thursday. "After the return of the body to France, the autopsy... was able to establish that Philippe Verdon was murdered by being shot in the head," the Paris prosecutors' office said. The body of Verdon, who suffered from an ulcer and tachycardia, an abnormally fast heartbeat, was flown back to Paris on Wednesday. The possibility had previously been raised that he had died from his ailments and that his killing had been staged. The 53-year-old was taken from a hotel in northeastern Mali in November 2011,...
(AFP (eng) 07/18/13)
West African leaders on Thursday insisted Mali's presidential election would be held on July 28 as scheduled despite doubts over whether the crisis-hit nation was ready to organise a vote. The polls are seen as crucial to re-uniting the country which remains shaken after a March 2012 military coup and a sweeping offensive by Islamist rebels who captured the entire north before being flushed out with the help of French troops. Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara, current chair of the 15-nation West African bloc ECOWAS, said "there are no doubts" the vote would be held on time.. The polls would take place "on the scheduled date," the Ivorian leader said at the close of an ECOWAS summit in Nigeria's capital...
(AFP (eng) 07/18/13)
Nigeria plans to withdraw some of its troops from Mali because they are needed back home, where the country is battling a deadly Islamist insurgency, officials said Thursday. It was not clear how many troops would be pulled from the troubled west African nation, where Nigeria currently has some 1,000 troops, a Nigerian military source said. Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, current chair of the 15-nation West African bloc ECOWAS, told reporters the withdrawal was because Nigeria needed its soldiers back home. "It's because of the domestic situation," Ouattara said after an ECOWAS summit in the Nigerian capital Abuja. "I received a letter from the president. Nigeria needs some of its people. They are not withdrawing everyone. They are withdrawing...
(Voice of America 07/18/13)
ABUJA, NIGERIA — West African leaders have called for $25 million in international aid to help secure the upcoming elections in Mali. As Guinea-Bissau also prepares for elections, leaders want an end to international sanctions on that country. Heads of state from the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, are meeting this week in the Nigerian capital ahead of elections in Mali and Guinea-Bissau, two countries in turmoil. After the French-led invasion of northern Mali in January that wrested territories away from Islamist militant groups, nationwide presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for July 28. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said Wednesday that ECOWAS will need the support of countries outside Africa to help Mali have elections that are free,...
(Voice of America 07/18/13)
The president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says the regional bloc is working with its international partners, other stakeholders, and Mali’s government to ensure a successful July 28 presidential election in Mali. Ambassador Kadre Desire Ouedraogo says ECOWAS is committed to help Mali conduct a peaceful and credible election. Ouedraogo’s remarks came during a two-day regional leaders summit that reviewed the political and security situation in Mali. The meeting ends on Thursday. Mamadou Diamountani, chairman of Mali’s electoral commission, has said that carrying out a successful election will be challenging. But, Ouedraogo says the regional bloc is working with the electoral commission to ensure the vote goes ahead. “ECOWAS has committed itself to assist the Malian...
(Dw-World 07/18/13)
Ahead of Mali's July 28 elections,regional body ECOWAS meets to discuss the situation there and in Guinea-Bissau where the absence of a functional government has allowed drug trafficking to flourish. Mali is battling an islamist insurgency, while Guinea-Bissau seeks to recover from a coup. Regional leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) grouping have used diplomacy, sanctions and a plan for military intervention to nudge Mali towards a restoration of constitutional order. The case is much worse for Guinea-Bissau which has been nicknamed the ‘narco state'. ECOWAS needs to commit to a common strategy to help the coup-plagued country implement security, justice and electoral reforms needed to escape its status as a link in drug trafficking to...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/17/13)
Mali's two main political parties pledged on Tuesday to accept the results of this month's presidential election even though it was likely to be marred by technical problems as the West African country struggles to emerge from conflict. Both local politicians and international advocacy groups have voiced concern that voting materials will not be properly distributed in time for the July 28 election, which is meant to turn the page on a military coup in March 2012 and the subsequent Islamist seizure of northern Mali last year. French forces intervened dramatically in January to break the grip of al-Qaida-linked Islamist groups over Mali's desert north. Paris is now pushing for the election to go ahead this month as it seeks...
(Voice of America 07/17/13)
West African regional leaders plan to open an extraordinary two-day summit on Wednesday in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. Sonny Ugoh, communications director for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), says the leaders will consider the latest political and security situation in Mali in the run-up to that country’s July 28 presidential election. “They will review the political health of the organization and member states, the economic health of the region, and give directive as to what initiative they think we should take, in order to address whatever challenges they determine that we need to address,” said Ugoh. He says Burkinabe President Blaise Compaoré will brief other heads of state about the situation in Mali. Mr. Compaoré mediated talks between...
( 07/17/13)
Africa’s oil and gas industry is poised for momentous growth despite its grappling with severe stresses of a challenging economic and political environment on the continent, fuelled by poor physical infrastructure, corruption, an uncertain regulatory framework, and a lack of skills, according to a review issued by PwC. PwC’s ‘Africa oil and gas review’ of developments in the African oil and gas industry is the third in a series of reviews of the sector by the tax, assurance and advisory solutions firm. Uyi Akpata, PwC Africa oil and gas industry leader/deputy country senior partner, Nigeria, says: “The challenges facing oil and gas companies operating in Africa are diverse and numerous. Political interference, uncertainty and delays in passing laws, energy policies...
(AFP (eng) 07/16/13)
President Francois Hollande confirmed Monday that a body found in northern Mali was that of a French hostage and vowed the killing would not go unpunished. Philippe Verdon, who was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) from a hotel while on business in northeastern Mali in November 2011, was already believed to be dead. Confirming his death on Monday, Hollande said: "Those responsible for the death of our compatriot must be identified and brought to justice." Verdon's captors announced in March that the 53-year-old had been executed in response to France's military intervention in Mali. Hollande had said earlier that a body believed to be that of Verdon had been found 10 days earlier in northern Mali and...
(AFP (eng) 07/16/13)
One of the favourites to win Mali's presidential elections took his campaign to the northern Tuareg rebel bastion of Kidal on Monday, several sources told AFP, with two weeks to go until voting begins. "Presidential candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita arrived Monday in Kidal for the election campaign," said an African source from the United Nations peacekeeping mission, while Keita's campaign chief confirmed he had spent "a few hours" in the town. Keita, a former prime minister, is among the front-runners in the July 28 election, seen as crucial to reuniting Mali after an 18-month political crisis that saw French forces intervene to push out Islamist rebels who had seized the country's north. Soumaila Cisse, a former president of the Commission...
(AL Jazeera 07/16/13)
Executive council meets in Nigerian capital to review progress made in combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The African Union executive council is meeting in the Nigerian capital to take stock of progress made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The conference, which opened in Abuja on Friday, will also address challenges encountered in the campaign against the three diseases. "It is timely that we review the implementation of the various declarations and plans of action adopted in the course of the last decade," Ethiopia's Foreign Minister Tedros Ghebreyesus told the conference, according to the African Union's website. Ghebreyesus said Ethiopia was proposing to establish an "African Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (African–CDC) or Health Commission for Africa...
(AFP (eng) 07/15/13)
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called for the results of Mali's upcoming election to be respected even if the vote is "imperfect", amid scepticism about the country's ability to stage the poll. "The results, even if the election is imperfect, must be respected by all parties," Ban told reporters in Paris, a day after attending France's national day celebrations. The first-round presidential election, due to be held on July 28, is seen as crucial to reuniting deeply divided Mali after an 18-month political crisis that saw French forces intervene in January to push out Islamist rebels who had seized the north. After meeting with Mali's interim president Dioncounda Traore and French leader Francois Hollande, Ban said he hoped...
(AFP (eng) 07/15/13)
The body of a French hostage who was announced killed by his Al-Qaeda captors in March has "very likely" been found in Mali, the foreign ministry said in Paris Sunday. Tests are currently being done to see if the body found in early July is that of Philippe Verdon, who was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) from a hotel while on business in northeastern Mali in November 2011. "There is a very strong possibility that a body recently found in northern Mali is unfortunately that" of Verdon, ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said. Earlier on Sunday, French President Francois Hollande said in an interview that Verdon appeared to have been killed. "We have the worst of news on...
(AFP (eng) 07/15/13)
African leaders called for increased funding Monday to contain HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as a continental health summit opened in Nigeria's capital. Among the 10 heads of state in attendance was Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Nigeria is a member of the ICC and has a legal obligation to arrest Bashir but defended the invitation by saying it did not have the authority to bar him from an African Union summit. UN Population Fund executive director Babatunde Osotimehin pointed to key gains made against the diseases over the last decade. In 2001, "HIV treatment in Africa was almost non-existent. Just 11 years later,...
(Euronews 07/15/13)
A body thought to be that of French hostage Philippe Verdon has been found in northern Mali. It is believed he may have died several weeks ago. Verdon was captured in November 2011. Al Qaeda’s arm in the Islamic Maghreb claims to have beheaded him in response to France’s military intervention in Mali.
(Sunday Independent 07/15/13)
This week Nelson Mandela celebrates his 95th birthday. Thebe Ikalafeng reflects on this man's. vision for Africa, and how he created an enabling environment for Thabo Mbeki to express our identity on the continent. Throughout its history, South Africa has had a dichotomous relationship and identity with “Africa”. Apartheid South Africa was the pariah that united Africans against the last white rule – the final frontier in the decolonisation of Africa. Post-apartheid, fellow Africans have flooded the most industrialised and wealthiest sub-Saharan African nation in search of a better life, and an expectation of “payback” for the years of support during the apartheid years. But they have not always been met with an expected embrace, mainly because of the perception...

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