Sunday 18 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
Hard cash but also the intangible ties of history have kept Europe in pole position as Africa's main partner, even if an influx of Chinese investment is prompting many African countries to look eastward. Successive years of hefty spending, particularly in infrastructure, have propelled China into the continent's top slot when calculated in terms of individual investor nations. But a quite different picture emerges when this is seen through a broader prism -- the ties between Africa and Europe as a 28-nation bloc. "Europe is in front, given the shared history," said Pierre Dagbo Gode, professor of political science at the Felix Houphouet Boigny University of Abidjan. "Europe is the premier trade partner, the top investor, the top donor," a...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
A furore over migrant slave markets in Libya casts a shadow over an AU-EU summit this week that aims to promote Africa's long-term economic growth and stability, spurred by European fears of terrorism and mass migration. The two-day African Union and European Union summit opening Wednesday in the Ivory Coast economic capital Abidjan is focused mainly on the need to create jobs for Africa's rapidly growing population. The summit marks what Europe sees as a potential turning point for broader and deeper ties with a continent it once colonised widely -- while China, Japan, India and Gulf Arab states also compete for influence. However, outrage over the slave trade in Libya looms over the talks in Abidjan, with the scandal...
(AFP (eng) 11/27/17)
Mali has delayed regional elections due next month until April 2018 in order to address dissatisfaction with the timing from powerful armed groups, the government said Monday. Tieman Hubert Coulibaly, minister for territorial administration, met former rebel groups and pro-government factions who registered "concerns" over the vote's timing, a government statement said. "In order to allow all those concerned to have time for the necessary discussion and to resolve the issues raised, it would appear necessary to delay the date of the elections," the statement said. The vote had been slated for December 17. The groups -- the ex-rebels of the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) and pro-government fighters known as the Platform -- agreed on a roadmap to peace...
(AFP (eng) 11/24/17)
At least three peacekeepers and a Malian soldier were killed in an attack in northeast Mali, the UN's MINUSMA mission to the country said on Friday. Besides an initial toll of four dead it said saying another Malian soldier and several other peacekeepers were wounded, some critically, a MINUSMA statement said. "This morning, a detachment of the MINUSMA force repelled an attack during a coordinated operation with FAMAS (Malian armed forces) in the Menaka region," the statement said. It did not give the nationalities of the UN troops involved but contingents from Togo and Nigeria are deployed in the area. Several of the attackers were killed and others wounded, it added. "This operation to protect civilians in the region also...
(AFP (eng) 11/24/17)
Forty people are facing prosecution after police raids in west and central Africa rescued nearly 500 victims of human trafficking, Interpol said on Thursday. Raids were carried out in Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal as part of a German foreign ministry funded initiative targeting organised crime in the region. Of the nearly 500 people rescued, 236 were children, Interpol said in an emailed statement. The operation happened between November 6 and 10, it added later. Those arrested are accused of forcing their victims into begging and prostitution and face charges including human trafficking, forced labour and child exploitation.
(AfricaNews 11/21/17)
The African Union has called for an investigation on the Libyan authorities regarding the ‘slave markets’ of African migrants in the conflict torn nation. The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Professor Alpha Conde, strongly condemned the despicable acts which are at odds with the ideals of the Founding Fathers of the Organization and relevant African and international instruments, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. He calls for an immediate end to these practices and other criminal acts of human trafficking. He calls for a swift action to be taken and identify all perpetrators and accomplices, with the view of bringing the criminals to justice. This comes following the release of shocking images showing the sale of...
(AFP (eng) 11/20/17)
srael's cabinet voted on Sunday to close a migrant detention centre, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced an agreement to deport 40,000 Africans who entered the country illegally. Ministers unanimously approved plans to shutter the Holot centre in southern Israel and gave migrants a three-month deadline to leave the country or face deportation, said the interior and public security ministries. "The infiltrators will have the option to be imprisoned or leave the country," the public security ministry said in a statement. Israeli official figures from June 30 show a total of 38,043 African migrants in the country. They include 27,494 Eritreans and 7,869 Sudanese, and their presence in south Tel Aviv has raised discontent among Israelis there and elsewhere. Speaking...
(AFP (eng) 11/18/17)
he African Union on Friday called for Libyan authorities to investigate "slave markets" of black Africans operating in the conflict-torn nation, following the release of shocking images showing the sale of young men. The demand follows the release of CNN footage of a live auction in Libya where black youths are presented to north African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400. Guinean President Alpha Conde, who is also Chairman of the African Union, demanded an enquiry and prosecutions relating to what he termed a "despicable trade... from another era". Meanwhile Senegal's government. commenting on Facebook, expressed "outrage at the sale of Sub-Saharan African migrants on Libyan soil,"...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
A district judge was kidnapped in central Mali late on Thursday, police and security sources told AFP, two weeks after a High Court justice escaped an attempt on his life. Attacks on figures of state authority are common in northern and central Mali, where a jihadist insurgency and the near absence of government functions have fuelled lawlessness. "Judge Soungalo Kone was kidnapped on Thursday night by armed men who arrived at his house in Niono in a white vehicle," a local police source in the Segou region told AFP, referring to the town where Kone lives and works.
(Xinhua 11/17/17)
The Algerian army on Thursday discovered a large batch of weapons on the border with Mali, a statement from the defense ministry said. The arms were hidden in a bunch in the locality of Bordj Badji Mokhtar in the southernmost province of Adrar, according to the statement. The weapons consist of an FMPK machine gun, nine pistols, a Kalashnikov machine gun, an RPG-7 rocket launcher, four semi-automatic rifles, a repeating rifle and a large quantity of ammunition. It is not the first time that the Algerian army has found weapon bunkers along the southern and southeastern borders. Located in a region plagued by unprecedented security and political instability, Algeria faces constant terrorist threats. The North African nation has deployed tens...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
Africa is making only faltering progress towards food and nutrition security, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned. "Multiple forms of malnutrition coexist, with countries experiencing simultaneously high rates of child undernutrition or anaemia as well as high rates of obesity," it says in a new report, Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition. In sub-Saharan Africa, "progress towards the World Health Assembly global nutrition targets has been generally poor," the Rome-based agency says, referring to goals to end hunger by 2025. The annual document came out Thursday at the start of a two-day food and health seminar in Ivory Coast's economic capital, Abidjan. Around 200 people from 47 African nations are gathered to discuss "sustainable food systems...
(AFP (eng) 11/16/17)
The recently launched G5 Sahel force must ensure human rights are respected as it combats jihadists and criminals in this troubled swathe of Africa, officials say, to avoid further radicalisation of the population. The five-nation counterterrorism force has completed its first operation in a zone covering the border area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, all of which face an Islamist insurgency that has tacit support in areas where a state presence is near absent. Andrew Gilmour, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, said abuses under the guise of counter-terror "create more terrorists than there were before". The viability of the force rested on its ability to gain the trust of local populations and maintain the support of the international...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/14/17)
KIGALI (Reuters) - The global airline industry has $1.2 billion blocked in nine dollar-strapped African countries, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Monday. The global commodities price crash that began in 2014 hit economies across Africa hard, particularly big resource exporters such as Angola and Nigeria. Low oil and mineral prices have reduced government revenue and caused chronic dollar shortages and immense pressure on local currencies. The fiscal slump has meant governments have not allowed foreign airlines to repatriate their dollar profits in full. At an aviation meeting in the Rwandan capital, IATA’s Vice President for Africa, Raphale Kuuchi, said that airlines were in talks with “a few governments to unblock airline funds”. He did not specify the...
(AFP (eng) 11/13/17)
African leaders on Monday used a regional forum to call for extra support as the continent moves to assure its own security after years of Western interventions. The annual Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security this year brings together the presidents of Mali, Rwanda and hosts Senegal along with military officials and experts to discuss the continent's serious challenges in the sector. The vast Sahel region, stretching from Senegal to Sudan, has turned into a hotbed of lawlessness since chaos engulfed Libya in 2011, Islamists overran northern Mali in 2012 and Boko Haram rose up in northern Nigeria. In an opening address, Senegal's President Macky Sall told the forum a "military response must be comprehensive, and one of solidarity,...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/13/17)
NIAMEY/NAIROBI (Reuters) - When Doundou Chefou first took up arms as a youth a decade ago, it was for the same reason as many other ethnic Fulani herders along the Niger-Mali border: to protect his livestock. He had nothing against the Republic of Niger, let alone the United States of America. His quarrel was with rival Tuareg cattle raiders. Yet on Oct. 4 this year, he led dozens of militants allied to Islamic State in a deadly assault against allied U.S.-Niger forces, killing four soldiers from each nation and demonstrating how dangerous the West’s mission in the Sahel has become. The incident sparked calls in Washington for public hearings into the presence of U.S. troops. A Pentagon probe is due...
(AFP (eng) 11/13/17)
Ministers from 13 European and African countries on Monday pledged steps to ease the migrant crisis around the Mediterranean, vowing especially to improve conditions for migrants held in Libya. Interior ministers and other representatives from countries impacted by the ongoing wave of migration up through Africa towards Europe, including Libya, voiced deep concern over the "ongoing human tragedy" along the so-called Central Mediterranean route. "The participants intend to address the challenges posed by the alarming situation along the migration route to North Africa," Switzerland, which hosted the third meeting of the so-called contact group on the crisis, said in a statement. Thousands of migrants and refugees who attempt to travel along this route "find themselves in catastrophic situations," it said,...
(AFP 11/09/17)
France said Wednesday it will increase its development aid to the troubled Sahel by more than a third, linking the extra funds to the fight against jihadist groups in the vast African region. The five nations in the sprawling area south of the Sahara -- Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- pooled their military resources to create the G5 Sahel force, which began operations on November 1. The fledgling group is tasked with combatting Islamist terrorism after thousands of civilians have died in fighting, many of them in suicide bombings, and tens of thousands of people have fled their homes. France, the former colonial power in the Sahel, is the scheme's biggest political backer and provided a hefty...
(AFP (eng) 11/09/17)
An Al-Qaeda affiliate in Mali on Wednesday claimed responsibility for four attacks on Malian and United Nations troops that it said killed six soldiers. The Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (NIM) said in statements that it had attacked a police post in Segou on Sunday, capturing weapons and a motorcycle. On Monday, "fighters ambushed Malian and MINUSMA (UN mission in Mali) forces near the city of Konna in Mopti, killing six soldiers," according to a report carried by the US monitoring group SITE. "Other fighters bombed a Malian convoy tasked with securing an area near Niafunke in Timbuktu in preparation for a visit by a local leader," it said. Prime Minister Abdoulaye Idrissa Maiga cancelled a planned visit on Monday to...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/09/17)
SEVARE, Mali (Reuters) - Snipers from a new West African force lie prone on a rooftop in central Mali, scanning the horizon for Islamist militants who have infiltrated this sparsely populated region south of the Sahara and made it a launchpad for deadly attacks. Thousands of U.N. peacekeepers, French troops and U.S. military trainers and drone operators have failed to stem a growing wave of jihadist violence, leading international powers to pin their hopes on a new regional force. But the so-called G5 Sahel initiative faces immense challenges if it is to do any better at bringing security to the arid Sahel region than its countries Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger have managed so far. Security sources and...
(AFP (eng) 11/08/17)
A senior UN official, on a visit to Mali, has warned about "violations committed during anti-terrorist operations" after Bamako said French troops killed Malian soldiers during a raid against jihadists. An official from Mali's defence ministry on Tuesday confirmed that Malian soldiers captured by jihadists were among 15 people killed in an anti-terrorist operation by French forces last month. "Our soldiers held captive by jihadists were definitely killed during the French anti-terrorist operation in the north of Mali," the official, who asked not to be named, told AFP. He said a delegation composed France's ambassador and the commander of its military force in Mali met with Defence Minister Tiena Coulibaly on October 31 and "acknowledged the facts." A Malian military...

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