Saturday 24 June 2017
(AFP (eng) 06/03/17)
French forces operating in northern Mali said Friday that they had taken "out of action" around 20 militants in operations against jihadist groups this week. Soldiers taking part in Operation Barkhane, the French counterterror mission operating across the Sahel region, called in Mirage 2000 jets and Tiger attack helicopters. "The Barkhane force carried out a new operation in the Serma forest... taking around 20 terrorists out of action," Barkhane said in a statement. The assault, which began Sunday and ended Thursday resulted in the seizure of weapons, munitions and other equipment.
(AFP (eng) 06/02/17)
Several French soldiers were wounded on Thursday, one seriously, in a mortar attack claimed by al Qaeda's local affiliate on a United Nations peacekeeping camp in northern Mali. In a statement, the French army said the attack on Thursday morning targeted the MINUSMA peacekeeping force in Timbuktu, close to a French unit operating as part of a separate counter-terrorism operation. "In this attack several French soldiers were wounded, including one in a serious condition," the French statement said. An al Qaeda affiliate in Mali, Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen, said it carried out the "barrage of mortar shells".
(Reuters (Eng) 06/02/17)
Gunmen killed six security agents in southwestern Niger, a security source and local resident said, in an area near the Malian border where jihadists have been increasingly active. The attackers opened fire on a security post in the town of Abala, about 150 km (90 miles) northeast of the capital Niamey, at around 7 p.m. (13.00 ET) on Wednesday, killing four national guard troops and two gendarmes, a security source told Reuters. "Just when everyone was preparing to break the Ramadan fast, we heard shots in the town. The exchange of fire lasted almost two hours," a school teacher in Abala told Anafi, a local radio station. Militants and criminal gangs have long operated around the vast, desert border between...
(Xinhuanet 06/02/17)
Fifty-four African Union member states will convene the 5th Continental Conference of Solidarity with Cuba in the Namibian capital from June 5-7, said an Naminian official on Thursday. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of International relations and Cooperation, Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, said the aim of hosting the conference in Namibia is to intensify solidarity and to strengthen bounds of friendship between the people of Cuba and the progressive peoples throughout the African Continent. Namibia's President Hage Geingob will open and address the conference, which will run under the theme, "Intensifying Solidarity and continuing the legacy of Fidel and Che". The conference, which will also be attended by a Cuban delegation, will also recognize the important work done in support of...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/01/17)
When Fatmata was kidnapped from a market in Mali last year, she was scared for her life. When the Malian schoolgirl realized she would be forced to marry her captor, she feared for her future. The 15-year-old was taken to a village in southern Mali, where she discovered that her abduction - a practice known as bride kidnapping - was fueled by vengeance. In an earlier raid, Fatmata's brother had himself abducted her kidnapper's sister. "I was very scared - I cried all the time," Fatmata told the Thomson Reuters Foundation at school in the village of Mahou. "I didn't like the young man, at all, and I hated the idea of being forced into marriage," she added, fidgeting with...
(AFP (eng) 06/01/17)
One in five children born with a twin sibling in sub-Saharan Africa dies before the age of five -- three times the rate among singletons, said a study Thursday. Almost two-thirds die in the first month of life -- often succumbing to the after-effects of a difficult birth or entering the world too early or underweight, according to research published in The Lancet medical journal. And while rates of under-five deaths in the sub-Saharan African region have declined over two decades, the improvement has been much slower for twins than for single-borns. "Twins account for 10.7 percent of all under-five deaths and 15.1 percent of neonatal (newborn) deaths in the region and these percentages are increasing," the study said. "The...
(Graphic Online 05/31/17)
Ghana and Mali have pledged to work to strengthen cooperation between the two countries. In a joint communiqué issued at the end of a day’s working visit to Mali by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo last Sunday, the two countries agreed to reinforce their co-operation in the areas of trade, agriculture, security and the process of West African integration. They also re-affirmed their commitment to the implementation of the ECOWAS protocols on the free movement of goods and persons. On agriculture, in order to curb the smuggling of agro-chemicals, the two countries agreed to put measures in place to stop the illegal movement of agro-chemicals from Ghana to Mali, as well as take steps towards the diversification of agriculture in...
(Washington Post 05/31/17)
The old man’s house had become a camp for the displaced. In the back yard, groups of women boiled water for rice. Small children skittered across the dirt, running into the bedroom, where they careened around the long, skinny legs of Elijah Karama. “Because of the conditions, they are mine to take care of,” said Karama, 57, more tired than proud. By conditions, he meant Boko Haram’s destruction of vast areas of northeastern Nigeria, and the hunger crisis that has followed. This city of about 1 million has absorbed an additional 1 million people who fled the Islamist militants who burned their villages and kidnapped hundreds of children. In Maiduguri, the vast majority of the displaced aren’t living in U.N...
(AFP (eng) 05/29/17)
A threat by radical Islamists in northeast Mali to punish an unmarried couple with death by stoning finally was not carried out, local officials told AFP on Monday. Officials had told AFP on May 17 that the couple had been stoned to death in public the previous day in the Taghlit valley, in the remote Kidal region. It would have been the first such incident since jihadist groups were driven out of the region in 2013 by a French-led military intervention. The report was queried on social media but could not be checked independently as the area is difficult to access and a haven for smugglers, drug-traffickers and other criminal gangs and militia fighters. "Finally they weren't lapidated," said a...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/27/17)
Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations met African heads of state on Saturday, the final day of their annual summit which has been marked by discord over climate change, but unity on tackling terrorism. Italy had hoped to make Africa the major focus of the annual G7 gathering, holding the discussions on the island of Sicily that has taken in hundreds of thousands of migrants over the past four years as they flee war and poverty back home. However, the two-day meeting got overshadowed by a suicide bombing in northern England on Monday that killed 22 people, and also got bogged down by lengthy discussions on the merit of free trade and the 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle...
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
Suspected Islamic extremists have wrecked a primary school in central Mali out of hostility to Western-style education, local administrators and paramilitary police said Thursday. "Armed jihadists who are 'against Western schools' attacked, sacked and burned classrooms in the primary school in the Ndodjiga district" on Wednesday, a local official told AFP, asking not to be named. The raiders "set fire to classrooms and fired shots in the air. They also threatened to attack other schools. Two civilians on the premises were beaten up," another official said. The paramilitary gendarmerie in Mopti, the main town of the region,
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
Entertainment | France | film | festival | Cannes | Zambia | witchcraft Cannes, France | AFP | Friday 5/26/2017 - 14:01 UTC+3 | 615 words by Katy Lee Being accused of witchcraft is no laughing matter in Africa -- but movie director Rungano Nyoni decided a dose of humour was just what was needed to tackle a problem rampant in parts of the continent. Set in Zambia, the sharp satire "I Am Not A Witch" has premiered to strong reviews at the Cannes film festival, taking aim at the blatant sexism behind accusations that overwhelmingly target women. White tourists are seen gawping at women detained in a "witch camp" in the movie, taking pictures of them as if they're...
(AFP (eng) 05/24/17)
Two UN peacekeepers were killed and a third wounded on Tuesday in an ambush in restive northern Mali, the nation's UN mission said. The troops were patrolling on foot near Aguelhok, which is close to the border with Algeria, when they were attacked, according to a statement from the multinational UN force, MINUSMA. A military source told AFP that the soldiers belonged to Chad's contingent. Stationed in Mali since July 2013, MINUSMA has just over 12,000 military and police personnel working on what is considered the UN's most dangerous active peacekeeping deployment. The attack was the latest in "a wave of violence in the last weeks," MINUSMA chief Mahamat Saleh Annadif was quoted in the statement as saying. A UN...
(Xinhuanet 05/24/17)
China is willing to strengthen cooperation with African countries within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here on Monday. Speaking at a press conference, Wang said his current visit to four African countries comes right after the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held in Beijing. The four countries, i.e. Mauritania, Cape Verde, Mali and Cote d'Ivoire, have all expressed willingness to participate in China's Belt and Road Initiative. Many African countries are at the natural and historical extension of the Maritime Silk Road, Wang said. If they agree with the spirit and concept of the Belt and Road Initiative, they can be cooperative partners. Proposed by Chinese...
(Xinhuanet 05/24/17)
The UN Security Council on Tuesday condemned "in the strongest terms" a terrorist attack that killed two Chadian peacekeepers in Mali. "The members of the Security Council called on the government of Mali to swiftly investigate these attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice,"said the 15-nation council in a unanimous statement. While expressing concern about the security situation in Mali, the Security Council urged Malian parties to fully implement their peace agreement without further delay. The two peacekeepers were killed in an ambush against the mission, known as MINUSMA, 5 km from Aguelhok in Mali's northeastern Kidal region on Tuesday morning, said the United Nations. Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims, a new alliance of al-Qaida, has claimed...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/24/17)
When U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders of the world's seven major industrialized nations gather in Sicily on Friday, they will enjoy a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea, but won't get any glimpse of boats full of migrants. A common sight off Sicily in recent years, the authorities have banned all migrant landings on the island during the Group of Seven Summit for security reasons, telling rescue vessels that pick them up at sea to take them to the mainland during the two-day meeting. Out of sight does not mean out of mind. Italy chose to host the summit in Taormina, on the cliffs of eastern Sicily, to concentrate minds on Europe's migrant crisis and to seek ways...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/23/17)
Fossils from Greece and Bulgaria of an ape-like creature that lived 7.2 million years ago may fundamentally alter the understanding of human origins, casting doubt on the view that the evolutionary lineage that led to people arose in Africa. Scientists said on Monday the creature, known as Graecopithecus freybergi and known only from a lower jawbone and an isolated tooth, may be the oldest-known member of the human lineage that began after an evolutionary split from the line that led to chimpanzees, our closest cousins. The jawbone, which included teeth, was unearthed in 1944 in Athens. The premolar was found in south-central Bulgaria in 2009. The researchers examined them using sophisticated new techniques including CT scans and established their age...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa need to get their budgets in order, diversify their economies and look after their poorest people. If they do that, there is no reason why the region cannot have the strong growth needed to meet the aspirations of a young and growing population. That, at least, is the three-pillared prescription from the International Monetary Fund as expressed by one of its top Africa researchers, Celine Allard, in an official IMF blog post and podcast. Allard co-authored the Fund's regional economic outlook, released earlier this month. It found that sub-Saharan economic growth hit only 1.4 percent last year, the lowest level in two decades and well off the 5-6 percent rates normally reached. It was also well...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/20/17)
France will step up the fight against resurgent Islamist militants in north and west Africa and will work more closely with Germany to help the tinderbox region, President Emmanuel Macron said on his first trip outside Europe on Friday. Visiting Mali days after taking office, Macron vowed to keep French troops in the Sahel region until there was "no more Islamist terrorism" there. He said operations would be escalated in response to signs that militant groups were regrouping and uniting. "It is vital today that we speed up. Our armed forces are giving their all, but we must speed up" efforts to secure the Sahel, he told a news conference in Gao, Mali, where he held talks with President Ibrahim...
(AFP (eng) 05/19/17)
President Emmanuel Macron visited French troops fighting jihadists in conflict-torn Mali on Friday and urged faster progress on a peace accord signed in 2015. At the end of his first week in office, Macron flew into Gao, a city in Mali's deeply-troubled north, where he was met by his Malian counterpart Ibrahim Boubacar Keita before sitting down for talks. Macron was keen to display his defence and security credentials with around 1,600 French soldiers stationed in Gao at France's largest foreign base, part of the larger "Barkhane" counter-terror force operating across the Sahel region. The operation comprises around 4,000 soldiers who are deployed in five countries -- Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso. Macron made clear his desire for...

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