Friday 22 September 2017
(AFP (eng) 06/18/17)
Suspected jihadists crying "Allahu Akbar" stormed a tourist resort popular with foreigners on the edge of the Malian capital Bamako on Sunday, briefly seizing hostages and leaving at least two people dead. The assault on the Kangaba Le Campement resort comes after a similar strike less than two years ago on a luxury hotel in Bamako, which lies in the south of the troubled country. Security forces battled the gunmen at the site, with nearby residents reporting hearing shots while smoke billowed into the air, with at least one building ablaze. "It is a jihadist attack. Malian special forces intervened and about 20 hostages have been released," Security Minister Salif Traore told AFP. "Unfortunately for the moment there are two...
(AFP (eng) 06/17/17)
Five soldiers were killed Saturday in northern Mali, where a surge in violence has prompted calls for the UN to create a new anti-jihadist force for the region. Eight soldiers were wounded and nine vehicles were destroyed in the attack on the camp at Bintagoungou at about 5:00 am, an army statement said. Local sources told AFP earlier Saturday that jihadists led the assault, which took place around 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Timbuktu, and has not been claimed. "All the camp's military material was ransacked," a local official told AFP. A resident earlier said that there were "no Malian soldiers to be seen -- the camp has been laid waste. The jihadists left with military hostages." Northern Mali continues...
(AFP (eng) 06/17/17)
Two soldiers were killed and others abducted Saturday after jihadists attacked a military base in northern Mali, a local official and a resident told AFP. "Around five o'clock, the jihadists attacked the military camp at Bintagoungou," some 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Timbuktu, the official said. "At least two soldiers were killed and many others were abducted. All the camp's military material was ransacked," he added. A resident added that "there are no Malian soldiers to be seen -- the camp has been laid waste. The jihadists left with military hostages." An army source confirmed the attack to AFP without giving any details. Northern Mali continues to fall prey to jihadist attacks with four people having died in an assault...
(AFP (eng) 06/16/17)
France's foreign minister said Thursday he was confident "we will get there" in convincing a reluctant United States to give United Nations backing to an anti-jihadist force drawn from five African countries. Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, which make up the so-called G5 Sahel, have agreed to set up a special counter-terrorism operation of 5,000 troops, but want UN logistical and financial support. "We think that it is necessary to support them in this endeavour, because the security of Africans will not come, in the end, only from Africans themselves," said Jean-Yves Le Drian, speaking in the Senegalese capital of Dakar as part of a west African tour. France has presented a draft resolution to the Security Council...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Extortion, corruption and fear; violence, hunger and sometimes even death: for west African migrants dreaming of reaching Europe, the road to get there can be an absolute minefield. - Departure - Whether it's The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Senegal or Nigeria, everything starts with the "hustlers" -- slang for the middlemen or fixers who organise the trip. Their honesty and prices vary, with the would-be migrant usually deceived about the welcome expected in Europe. Many possess no official documents from their home country, and do not understand illegal status in Europe. Most are ignorant about the extreme difficulties they will encounter en route. "We didn't know we were risking our lives," said Kante Sekou...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Maria gave smugglers all her family savings and crossed three countries and the searing Libyan desert, but when she finally boarded a boat for Europe her dream was swiftly shattered. She was 24 and pregnant with her second child when she left Liberia with her husband and their three-year-old son. The family passed through Guinea and Mali before crossing southern Algeria to reach the Libyan desert. "The smugglers took all our money" -- more than $2,150 (2,000 euros), she said. "We spent four days in the desert. People died of thirst and the sun in the back of the truck." They finally arrived on the beach at Sabrata, 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Libya's capital Tripoli, a key departure...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Mali's anti-corruption office launched a crackdown on tens of thousands of civil servants Tuesday, setting them an end of August deadline to prove they earned their income honestly. Those who fail to do so will be sacked and could face fines and even jail terms, Moumouni Guindo, head of the Central Office against Illicit Enrichment (OCLCEI) told AFP. Top government officials have until the end of August to declare their assets, as have another 55,000 civil servants across the country, including contract workers, he added. "Any civil servant who fails to declare his assets before the end of August 2017 will be relieved of his functions...," said Guindo. They would be banned from public sector work for five years, he...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Uche's real journey had yet to begin but he had already spent four days in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after travelling on public buses and potholed roads from Imo state in the southeast. He planned to go to Agadez, a transit town on the southern edge of the Sahara desert in central Niger, take a truck to Sebha, in southwestern Libya, and from there to the capital Tripoli, and then to Italy or Spain. But his contact, who was supposed to drive him and three women across Nigeria's northern border, was arrested on suspicion of people smuggling. "His house had been under surveillance," explains the 38-year-old electrician in Kano's bustling Sabon Gari district. "The movement of the three...
(RFI 06/12/17)
France on Friday tried to convince the US to back a call for the UN to endorse an African military force to fight jihadists, drug smugglers and people traffickers in the Sahel region after American diplomats claimed the mandate was too vague. Following an African Union request for UN backing, France presented a draft resolution on Tuesday to back a decision by Africa's G5 - Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger - to set up a 5,000-strong counter-terrorism force in the Sahel region. It would give a UN mandate to the G5 troops ...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Monday meet African leaders in Berlin on initiatives aiming to reduce the poverty and conflict driving a mass migrant influx to Europe. The idea is to team up African nations willing to reform with private investors who would bring business and jobs to a continent where instability or graft often scare off foreign companies. Merkel is hosting the initiative as part of Germany's presidency of the Group of 20 powerful economies, whose leaders meet in the northern port of Hamburg a month later. Invited to Berlin are Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leaders of Ghana, Ivory Coast...
(AFP (eng) 06/11/17)
The death toll in a jihadist attack on UN peacekeepers in northern Mali has risen to four, the United Nations mission in the country said Saturday. Three Guinean peacekeepers were killed Friday near their base in Kidal by a powerful group linked to Al-Qaeda, and the body of a missing soldier has now been found, the MINUSMA mission said in a statement. "The toll of victims from the terrorist operation mounted against UN peacekeepers has risen to four dead and eight wounded. The wounded have been treated at the MINUSMA hospital in Kidal and their condition is stable," the statement said. Claiming the attack was the Group to Support Islam and Muslims, also known as Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimeen in...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/10/17)
Militants on Thursday killed three United Nations peacekeepers in a attack outside their base in Kidal in northern Mali, the U.N. said in a statement on Friday. U.N. soldiers face frequent attacks from desert fighters who have regrouped since a French-led military operation in 2013 to drive them out of Mali's northern towns. More than 100 peacekeepers have died in recent months, making it the most deadly U.N. mission to date. The soldiers were from Guinea, the Guinean government said in a statement. The identity of the attackers was not yet known. The U.N. camp came under heavy mortar fire on Thursday, injuring five. Shortly afterwards, three U.N. soldiers were killed in an attack just outside the camp, the U.N...
(AFP (eng) 06/09/17)
A powerful Al-Qaeda-linked group on Friday claimed an attack on a United Nations camp that killed three peacekeepers in Kidal in Mali's troubled north. The Group to Support Islam and Muslims, a fusion of three Malian jihadist groups with previous Al-Qaeda links, posted a statement on its Telegram channel saying it had targeted the UN base "with a set of mortar shells", wounding soldiers and causing significant material damage, the SITE extremism monitor reported. The UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA, said earlier on Friday their Kidal camp "came under heavy rocket/mortar fire" and "a little later a position nearby was attacked" outside their base, killing three peacekeepers and wounding eight more. The Group to Support Islam and Muslims, also known...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/08/17)
France on Tuesday proposed that the United Nations Security Council back a West African force to combat terrorism, drug and human trafficking by "eradicating the actions" of Islamist militants and organized crime groups in the Sahel region. The vast, arid zone has in recent years become a breeding ground for jihadist groups - some linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State - that European nations, particularly France, fear could threaten Europe if left unchecked. "We cannot afford to let the Sahel region become a new safe haven for terrorists across the world," French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters. France circulated a draft Security Council resolution on Tuesday to the 15-member body to authorize the West African force to use...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/08/17)
More girls are completing secondary school across sub-Saharan Africa as attitudes change and state spending rises, but some of the most marginalized girls — like those married young or forced to work — are still missing out, education experts say. The percentage of girls completing secondary school has risen in all regions of Africa since 2005, said a recent report by the African Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the U.N. Development Program. Almost twice as many girls in East Africa and three times as many in Central Africa completed secondary education in 2014 as in 2005, according to the annual African Economic Outlook report, which was published at the end of last month. Yet more...
(AFP (eng) 06/07/17)
France on Tuesday asked the UN Security Council to authorize the deployment of a five-nation African military force to fight jihadists in the Sahel region. A draft resolution circulated to the 15-member council would give the Sahel force a UN mandate to "use all necessary means" to "combat terrorism, drug trafficking and trafficking in persons," according to the text obtained by AFP. The Security Council could vote on the draft resolution as early as next week, diplomats said. Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- which make up the G5 -- agreed in March to set up the special counter-terrorism operation of 5,000 troops for the Sahel region. The force will have its headquarters in Mali, but will be...
(AFP (eng) 06/07/17)
France will ask the UN Security Council to authorize an African military force for the Sahel region that will be sent to root out jihadists and drug traffickers, the French ambassador said Tuesday. A French-drafted resolution is expected to be presented this week to the Security Council, which could vote on the measure as early as next week. Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- which make up the G5 -- agreed in March to set up the force of 5,000 troops for the Sahel region. The force will have its headquarters in Mali, but will be under a separate command from the UN peacekeeping force MINUSMA, which has been deployed in the country since 2013. "France is going...
(Bloomberg 06/07/17)
Festus Ogbonnah used to supplement his teacher’s salary by working as a part-time farmer in southeastern Nigeria until an armed band of herders moved their cattle through his field two years ago and destroyed his crops. He decided to quit working the land. “I had borrowed money to grow corn and cassava, and I lost everything,” Ogbonnah, 40, said by phone from the town of Opanda. “The herdsmen were armed with assault rifles and we couldn’t do anything about it.” After clashes in April in the nearby town of Nimbo saw dozens of people killed, he said he knew he had made the right decision. Battles over land and water are intensifying in Nigeria and other West African countries such...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
Building a network of African women leaders in fields ranging from business to politics could galvanize female leadership across the continent and boost peacebuilding efforts and good governance, the head of U.N. Women said on Tuesday. The African Women Leaders Network, which was launched last week in New York by the United Nations and the African Union Commission, hopes to drive more women into leadership roles, through mentoring, peer learning and harnessing contacts. By supporting women's leadership in Africa, the platform aims to galvanize their contributions to building and sustaining peace, improving political processes and driving social change, and realizing the U.N. global goals, according to U.N. Women. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in 2015, include targets on...
(AFP (eng) 06/06/17)
The EU is giving 50 million euros to set up a joint African military force in the Sahel region to fight jihadists, the bloc's foreign affairs chief said Monday. The funds will help pay for the troops to fight terrorism, cross-border crime and illegal immigration, European Union diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said in the Mali capital Bamako. "Stability and development of the Sahel region are crucial not only for Africa but also for Europe," said Mogherini. "This contribution will arrive very quickly and I hope (it) will set out the right path to other partners of the Sahel G5". Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso -- dubbed the Sahel G5 -- in March approved plans to build the force...

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