Wednesday 28 June 2017
(Voice of America 04/17/17)
The Italian coast guard says it has rescued nearly 6,000 migrants on the Mediterranean since Friday, underscoring the continued flow of people along this dangerous route. A group of Africans living in Europe visited Cameroon this week to launch a campaign against illegal migration. The group is called “No More Death in the Desert or on the Sea.” Its mission is simple: to educate youth in Africa about the harsh realities of illegal migration. "We want to tell them that all the information people give them before they start their journey are wrong," said Nantcha. The group’s leader Sylvie Nantcha was born in Cameroon. She has lived in the German town of Freiburg for 25 years. She arrived as a...
(AFP (eng) 04/16/17)
Health workers in Mali called off a month-long strike on Sunday that paralysed hospitals after reaching an agreement with the government. The stoppage was called by the country's two main health unions, demanding raises for staff and jobs for contract workers, though a skeleton emergency service was maintained. "The demand for strike action is lifted because we are satisfied," said Yossouf Maiga, a senior official with one the unions, adding that eight of nine demands had been met. Government spokesman and commerce minister Abdel Karim Konate confirmed to AFP the strike was over. "The strikers and the government have reached agreement," he said. The strike was the longest ever to hit hospitals in Mali's history and badly affected the majority...
(AFP (eng) 04/13/17)
Africa's Matabele ants, fierce predators of termites, rescue their wounded soldiers and bring them back to the nest where they are "treated," a new study showed Wednesday. This helping behavior for the injured is the first to be detected in the insect world, according to an article in the US journal Science Advances by a German research team at the University of Wuerzburg's Biocentre. The ants, formally known as Megaponera analis, are widespread south of the Sahara on the continent. Two to four times a day, they set out in long files on raids to kill worker termites at their foraging sites. But the attacks meet strong resistance from soldier termites guarding the worker termites, which have powerful jaws that...
(AFP (eng) 04/11/17)
El Nino, the cyclical climatic phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean, is linked to shifts in cholera cases in Africa, providing an early warning that could save lives, scientists said Monday. During the years when El Nino is warming the eastern Pacific, East Africa has about 50,000 additional cholera cases a year, new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests. By contrast, the years when El Nino is not active, there were 30,000 fewer cholera cases in East Africa, according to the study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers analyzed more than 17,000 annual observations from 3,710 different locations between 2000 and 2014 in Africa, which has the most...
(AFP (eng) 04/08/17)
A Tuareg-led group in Mali said Saturday five of its fighters were killed in an attack blamed on jihadists, a week after a national peace summit called for talks with militants in the country's north. "Our base in Gargando was attacked early Saturday by Islamist terrorists," Oumar Ag Keling, a member of the Tuareg-led Congress for Justice in Azawad, told AFP. Gargando is a small town in central Mali located about 170 kilometres (106 miles) to the west of historic Timbuktu. "They killed four of our fighters, as well as the village chief," Keling said, adding that the jihadist rebels were "of many nationalities, according to the documents found at the scene". A Malian military official confirmed the deaths, saying...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/07/17)
France's foreign minister said on Friday he was confident that the United States would not seek cuts to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali, but said Paris was ready to study its efficiency as Washington reviews its overall U.N. strategy. Former colonial power France intervened in 2013 to drive out al Qaeda-linked militants who seized northern Mali the year before. It has since deployed some 4,000 soldiers, known as the Barkhane force, across the region to hunt down Islamists. That operation has paved way for the U.N. to deploy its more than 10,000-strong MINUSMA peacekeeping force to the West African state at a cost of about $1 billion a year. A surge in violence from Islamist militants, difficulties in...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/07/17)
Access to off-grid solar energy in rural areas of Africa goes beyond lighting up homes - it also enables people to connect to the wider world and boosts their economic prospects, said the head of one of the continent's biggest solar companies. Azuri Technologies' entry level solar system - for which customers pay a one-off installation fee, then use scratch cards or mobile phone payments to top up on a weekly or monthly basis - provides eight hours of lighting each day. Having power at home for the first time encourages customers to also buy mobile phones, radios and televisions, giving them regular access to the media and the internet, said Simon Bransfield-Garth, chief executive officer of UK-based Azuri. "This...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/06/17)
A French soldier was killed in Mali after a clash with armed militants, French President Francois Hollande's office said on Thursday, highlighting instability in the west African state which is vulnerable to attacks from jihadist groups. "The president has learned with great sadness of the death of a (soldier) ... following a clash with terrorists during an operation in the southeast of the country," Hollande's office said in a statement. The Sahel region with its huge expanse of remote desert is home to several jihadist groups. The area saw several armed attacks on targets inside neighboring Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast last year. France intervened in Mali four years ago to drive out al Qaeda-linked militants who hijacked a rebellion...
(AFP (eng) 04/06/17)
A court in Bamako on Wednesday sentenced head of private Malian newspaper Le Figaro to six months in prison for defaming the President of the National Assembly, Issaka Sidibe. The court did not specify whether the sentence pronounced against the editor Ammy Baba Cissé, was fixed-term or suspended, reported a correspondent of the AFP. The convicted journalist was not arrested Wednesday after the announcement of the sentence. In addition to defamation, Cissé was also accused of “assault on honour and dignity” in a complaint by the President of the National Assembly in connection with an article about sexual scandal in parliament. In two issues published in February, the paper had evoked a “flagrant offense of adultery” against Sidibé. “Guilty of...
(AFP (eng) 04/05/17)
Authorities in Mali charged four men Tuesday over the kidnapping of a Colombian nun, whose whereabouts remain unknown, judicial sources told AFP. Gloria Cecilia Narvaez Argoti, a Franciscan nun in her fifties, was seized by armed men on February 7 in the southern Malian village of Karangasso, near the Burkina Faso border, where she had been working. Mali's interior ministry has said officials believe she was abducted by jihadists who then drove towards the border. Malian and Burkinabe security sources told AFP in February that search operations were being expanded around the frontier. A judicial source said Tuesday that the suspects who have been charged -- all Malian nationals -- included three workers from the parish where the nun was...
(Voice of America 04/05/17)
A Red Cross report says African countries are failing their internally displaced people. Reversing that trend was the subject of a high level meeting of the International Red Cross and the African Union that wrapped up Tuesday in Zimbabwe. Africa has about 13 million internally displaced people, a third of the global number of IDPs, and more than double the amount of refugees on the continent. By definition, refugees flee across a national border, while IDPs leave their homes but stay within their own country. African Union Commission head of humanitarian affairs, refugees and displaced people Olabisi Dare says the situation of IDPs in Africa is very critical, dire and worsening. "...The issues that are generating internal displacement [are] multiplying...
(Financial Times 04/04/17)
Countries should develop policies to attract labour-intensive production leaving China. China’s initial wave of investments in Africa focused on natural resource extraction. Their demand for metals and energy was so large that it actually boosted global commodity prices overall, which in turn accelerated growth across the African continent. These times of China propping up global commodity prices are now over, as it has built up excess capacity in many sectors and now faces slow investment growth. This lower demand has contributed to the overall slump in global commodity prices since 2014, making it unlikely that China will again fulfil the role of driving commodity prices. Rather, its position has now shifted to becoming the largest exporter of capital. This provides...
(AFP (eng) 04/03/17)
A national peace summit in Mali ended Sunday with a call for negotiations with jihadists in the country's north, according to a resolution seen by AFP. The conference, enshrined in the country's 2015 peace deal, was intended to bring together the government, armed groups that support it, former rebels and the political opposition. But an opposition boycott lasted until late Saturday, while the former rebels were absent for Monday's talks before joining discussions on Tuesday, though all attended the closing ceremony. A resolution agreed at the end of the conference called for "negotiations with radical preacher Amadou Koufa, and the Tuareg
(Reuters (Eng) 04/03/17)
Mali's government should start talks with the leaders of two Islamist groups that have staged deadly attacks on Malian and French soldiers and U.N. peacekeepers, a peace conference said on Sunday. The week-long conference held under the auspices of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita urged talks with Amadou Koufa, leader of the Macina Liberation Front, a Fulani jihadist group, and Iyad Ag Ghali, leader of Islamist group Ansar Dine. The two groups are allies and Ansar Dine said in January it would join al-Mourabitoun, led by Algerian jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar, which claimed a suicide attack on a military camp in northern Mali that month that killed up to 60 people. The conference said authorities should: "Negotiate with the belligerents of central...
(The East African 04/03/17)
Nairobi — The 2017 Mo Ibrahim Foundation annual Governance Weekend will be held in Marrakech - Morocco from April 7-9. A press release from the Foundation identifies the Palmeraie Resort as the venue for this year's meeting. The three-day event brings together prominent African and Africa-focused leaders, civil society representatives, multilateral and regional institutions and Africa's international partners to identify policy challenges and possible solutions. Violent extremism The conversation is normally extended to a wider audience through music, art and sport at major public events, showcasing some of Africa's brightest talent. The Foundation has released a report that sets the stage for high-level discussions in Morocco. The priority areas for the Marrakech talks, according to the report, include violent extremism...
(AFP (eng) 04/02/17)
Mali's opposition on Saturday took tentative steps towards ending its boycott of a political summit enshrined in the country's 2015 peace deal after the government extended a deadline to facilitate extra talks. Opposition parties were the last holdout after former rebels who had led several uprisings against the state in Mali's north ended their own boycott on Tuesday to attend a conference designed to ensure the shaky peace accord remains on course. The government and pro-Bamako armed groups are also represented at the event. "It's a symbolic presence to deliver a message, after a request for our presence by a delegation of participants at the conference,"
(AFP (eng) 03/31/17)
The state of emergency in force almost non-stop for 16 months in Mali was extended by 10 days from Friday, the government said. The measure has been renewed several times since jihadists stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako in November 2015, killing 20 people in an attack claimed by Al-Qaeda's regional branch. The fresh extension would allow the government to "further strengthen prevention and counter-terrorism measures, and increase the operational capabilities and processes of the armed forces and security," the statement released late Thursday said. There remained "the threat of terrorism in Mali and in the region, as well as risks to people and goods," it added. The new state of emergency will be extended again if such a...
(Xinhuanet 03/30/17)
The African Union (AU) is extremely appalled by the attacks against African students in Noida and other cities in India. The pan-African bloc has deplored the violence unleashed during the riot that started on Monday targeting Africans of various nationalities, particularly Nigerians, which resulted in loss of innocent lives and serious injuries, the AU said in a statement. The attacks have also resulted in the displacement of many Africans from their normal places of residence, thereby putting their lives in serious danger, it said. AU has expressed heartfelt condolence to the families of the deceased; and it wished speedy recovery to all those who have sustained injuries. AU has called on the Indian authorities to provide all necessary support to...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/17)
Former rebels in Mali on Tuesday reversed a decision to boycott a national reconciliation conference after receiving assurances from the government, a spokesman said. The talks were agreed in a 2015 peace deal signed by Tuareg-led rebels, the government and pro-Bamako militias aimed at ending successive separatist uprisings in Mali's north, most recently in 2012, and to isolate jihadist groups. On Monday, the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA), the former rebel alliance, and Mali's opposition groupings announced they would not attend, saying the planned 7-day meeting was not long enough and its aims were too limited. But CMA representatives were present at the summit on Tuesda
(Voice of America 03/28/17)
The World Health Organization and U.N. children's fund are spearheading a massive immunization campaign across Africa to rid the continent of the last vestiges of polio. Tens of thousands of health workers will fan out across 13 central and western African countries to vaccinate more than 116 million children under age five against the crippling disease. The U.N. agencies report more than 190,000 volunteers, traveling on foot or bicycle, will go house to house across all cities, towns, and villages in 13 countries to vaccinate every child under age five against polio. The synchronized vaccination campaign, one of the largest ever conducted in Africa, will run from March 25-28. Director of Polio Eradication at the World Health Organization Michel Zaffran...

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