Saturday 18 November 2017
(AFP (eng) 06/28/17)
The generic version of the most advanced drug against HIV has been introduced in Kenya, a first in Africa where more than 25 million have the disease, the NGO Unitaid said Wednesday. The drug, Dolutegravir (DTG) is the anti-retroviral drug of choice for those living with HIV in developed countries, but its high price has put it out of reach for most struggling with the disease in Africa. "The generic DTG has two advantages: on the one hand, it is very good from a pharmaceutical point of view. On the other hand, it is much cheaper," said Robert Matiru of Unitaid, which works to reduce the costs of medicines treating AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. He described the drug as "the...
(AFP (eng) 06/27/17)
The creation of Mali's first cardinal is to go ahead as planned, the Vatican said Tuesday, quashing rumours that Jean Zerbo's appointment was at risk following reports of questionable financial conduct. Vatican experts said Zerbo, 74, was recovering from an illness but had managed to make the trip to the Vatican to be appointed cardinal along with four others by Pope Francis on Wednesday. The Church in Mali had reportedly said Monday that the archbishop would not attend because of ill health, an announcement that prompted speculation that Francis may have called off the appointment fearing a scandal.
(AFP (eng) 06/26/17)
A Swede held hostage by Al-Qaeda in Mali since 2011 has been freed to head home, and is doing well although he is "overwhelmed" by his release, Sweden's foreign ministry said Monday. "It is with great pleasure that I can announce that Johan Gustafsson has been released and can return to Sweden," Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in a statement, giving no details about how his release was secured. Gustafsson, 42, was abducted in Timbuktu, northern Mali, in November 2011 together with South African national Stephen McGowan and Dutchman Sjaak Rijke. Rijke was freed in April 2015 by French special forces. The Swedish foreign ministry provided no details about McGowan's fate. "I've already spoken with Johan and he is doing...
(AFP (eng) 06/24/17)
Mali's government and armed groups which signed a 2015 peace deal have relaunched talks aimed at speeding up its implementation after several delays, they told AFP Saturday. The accord signed in 2015 aimed at curbing separatist uprisings in Mali's north after a 2012 rebellion was hijacked by jihadists, throwing the nation into chaos. But several of its key planks have yet to be fully implemented, while jihadists continue to roam the north and centre of the country, despite being ousted from key northern towns by a French-led military intervention in 2013. Malian lawmaker...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/23/17)
DAR ES SALAAM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Sadick Thenest remembers how his 8-year-old daughter had a narrow brush with death two years ago, when she contracted cholera after drinking contaminated water. “She was so gaunt, weak and had terrible diarrhea,” said the refugee from Burundi. “A slight delay in rushing her to hospital would have meant something else - but with God’s grace she survived.” The father of four, aged 35, is among thousands of refugees grappling with frequent outbreaks of waterborne diseases in the crowded Nyarugusu camp in western Tanzania, due to poor sanitation. “Living in a refugee camp is a constant struggle. You either stick to health rules or contract diseases,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by...
(AFP (eng) 06/22/17)
Mali on Wednesday delayed a constitutional referendum due to be held on July 9 in the face of heavy political opposition and street protests. The vote was aimed at enshrining elements of a 2015 peace deal into the charter and establishing a senate in parliament, but came under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. The cabinet "has decided to delay the referendum initially planned for July 9 to a future date," a statement issued by the government said, without providing a reason or a new date for the vote. The referendum faced opposition from those who say it gives President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita excessive powers. Detractors also said such a vote could not be held safely in the troubled north, which...
(The Associated Press 06/21/17)
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Thursday welcoming the deployment of a 5,000-strong African force to fight the growing threat from extremists in the vast Sahel region after it was watered down to meet U.S. demands. France's U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre called it "a landmark resolution" that brings "strong and decisive support" from the U.N.'s most powerful body to the five countries contributing troops - Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger and Chad. The United States is trying to cut $1 billion from the U.N. peacekeeping budget and wanted to ensure that the measure did not open the possibility of new costs. So the final resolution eliminated several key provisions that would have given teeth...
(AFP (eng) 06/21/17)
Mali's former rebel alliance on Tuesday rejected a national reconciliation charter unveiled on the second anniversary of the signing a peace deal with the government, underscoring the country's fraying peace process. Ex-rebels of the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) signed a peace deal on June 20, 2015 aimed at curbing separatist uprisings in Mali's north after a 2012 rebellion was hijacked by jihadists, throwing the nation into chaos. A ceremony to hand the president the national reconciliation charter written by a committee of experts was boycotted by the CMA, which said none of its recommendations made in early April at a peace conference were taken into account. The absence of its suggestions, it said, "consequently means there is no...
(AFP (eng) 06/21/17)
The UN Security Council will vote Wednesday on a draft resolution that would pave the way for the deployment of a five-nation African military force to fight jihadists in the Sahel region. The vote was scheduled for 1400 GMT after France reached a deal with the United States on the proposed measure, which welcomes the deployment but does not give it full UN authorization, according to the agreed text seen by AFP. Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- which make up the so-called G5 -- agreed in March to set up a special counter-terrorism operation of 5,000 troops for the Sahel region. In a first text circulated two weeks ago, France had requested that the Security Council authorize...
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Security Council is set to vote on Wednesday on a draft resolution to back a West African force to combat terrorism and arms, drug and human trafficking in the Sahel region after France weakened the language in a bid to appease the United States. The vast, arid region has in recent years become a breeding ground for jihadist groups - some linked to al-Qaida and Islamic State - that European nations, particularly France, fear could threaten Europe if left unchecked. Last year, the Sahel nations - Niger, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania - proposed establishing special units, each of around 100 well-trained soldiers, which would be deployed in areas where jihadist groups are...
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
WASHINGTON DC — On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State. In response, Qatar said it was the victim of a policy of “domination and control” by its larger neighbor and that Saudi Arabia was, in fact, the one responsible for backing extremism. So what is the truth? Fundamentalist strains of Islam, including Saudi-born Salafism and Wahhabism, form the ideological bedrock for most terror groups. According to a study by Leif Wenar of King’s College London based on the Global Terrorism Database, three out of four terror attacks in the last 10 years...
(AFP (eng) 06/20/17)
Thirty-one people were killed over the weekend in central Mali as ethnic groups clashed over land in a zone where the state is near-absent and jihadists roam freely. Nomadic Fulani people and farmers from the Dogon ethnic group have engaged in tit-for-tat violence sparked by Fulanis grazing their cattle on Dogon land. Dogons also accuse Fulanis in the area of colluding with cleric Amadou Koufa, whose Islamist group recently joined the Group to Support Islam and Muslims, a jihadist alliance with links to al-Qaeda. The Malian army confirmed "31 dead, (comprising) 27 Fulanis and four Dogons,"
(AFP (eng) 06/19/17)
Three foreigners and a Malian civilian and soldier were killed in an jihadist assault on a popular tourist resort near Mali's capital, the country's security minister said Monday. Salif Traore said a Chinese man, a Portuguese man, a Gabonese national and a Malian were killed when gunmen fired on guests at the Kangaba Le Campement resort to the east of Bamako on Sunday. It was the latest in a series of high-profile assaults in north and west Africa targeting locals and tourists, including in neighbouring Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast, but no-one has yet claimed responsibility. EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said two EU staff were among the victims, whom she described as a Malian woman and a Portuguese...
(AFP (eng) 06/19/17)
Mali's government said Monday five suspected jhadists were in custody after an assault on a popular tourist resort near the capital, Bamako, which left two civilians dead. Four attackers were killed at the scene, Security Minister Salif Traore told AFP, while 36 hostages were freed following the incident at the Kangaba Le Campement resort on Sunday afternoon, the majority of them French and Malian. Jihadists constantly target domestic and foreign forces in Mali's troubled north and centre, but attacks on civilians in and around the capital are much rarer, with the last major incident in November 2015 when gunmen stormed the Radisson Blu hotel. That attack, which killed 20 people, caused the government to instate a state of emergency which...
(AFP (eng) 06/19/17)
The two civilians killed in a jihadist attack on a Mali tourist resort were both working for the European Union, the bloc's foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said Monday. "Unfortunately, I can confirm that there were two victims among our European Union colleagues, a Malian woman and a Portuguese man," Mogherini said after an EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg. She said their deaths showed how strong EU ties with Mali and the region were as it struggles to cope with devastating poverty and an increasing terror threat. The EU runs an advisory mission to help train the Mali armed forces and maintains a delegation in the capital, Bamako. The Malian government said four attackers were killed and 36 hostages...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/19/17)
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to the leader of Mali after Sunday's attack on a luxury resort in the country, and pledged France's full support for the country, Macron's office said on Monday. "During their exchange, he conveyed France's full support to Mali's president during this ordeal," said Macron's office. Gunmen on Sunday attacked a luxury resort popular with Western expatriates just outside Mali's capital, Bamako, killing two people in what the security minister called a terrorist attack, while 36 guests were rescued.
(The Associated Press 06/19/17)
The Latest on the attack by Islamic extremists on a resort outside Mali's capital, Bamako. (all times local): 3:30 p.m. Authorities in Mali say the death toll has risen to five people following a terror attack on a luxury resort area popular with foreigners in Mali's capital. Mali's security minister announced Monday that a Chinese national had died from injuries sustained in the Sunday afternoon attack. Already authorities have said that a Portuguese soldier taking part in the European Union mission to stabilize Mali was killed. A Malian soldier and another Malian national who worked for the EU mission were also among the victims, along with a dual French-Gabonese citizen whose name has not been released. Four jihadists stormed the...
(BBC News Africa 06/19/17)
Two EU staff were killed when gunmen stormed a tourist resort in Mali on Sunday, the bloc's foreign affairs chief has said. One victim was a Portuguese soldier while the other was a Malian woman, Federica Mogherini added. Mali's security minister said on Sunday that a Franco-Gabonese person was also killed. It is not clear how many people in total have been killed and no group has said it carried out the attack. Africa Live: Updates on this and other stories World's most dangerous peacekeeping mission "It is a jihadist attack. Malian special forces intervened and hostages have been released," Mali Security Minister Salif Traore told AFP news agency. The minister said four assailants had been killed by security forces...
(The Associated Press 06/19/17)
Islamic extremists who stormed a resort area in Mali popular with foreigners killed five people, including a Portuguese soldier who had been serving in the European Union mission to stabilize this West African country wracked by mounting extremism, authorities said Monday. The death toll rose after a Malian soldier who was wounded in the Sunday afternoon attack died of his injuries. Three civilians - a Chinese citizen, a Malian, and a French-Gabonese dual national - also were slain in the worst terror attack to strike Bamako since late 2015. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the Malian victim worked for the European delegation in Bamako. The attack struck a resort area that was considered safe enough that it was...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/19/17)
BAMAKO (Reuters) - Unidentified gunmen killed four guests at a Mali luxury resort popular with Western expatriates just outside the capital Bamako, and one other guest is still missing, a security source at the scene said on Monday. One of the victims of Sunday's attack was Portuguese and one Cameroonian, the security source said. Authorities had on Sunday confirmed two deaths and identified one as French-Gabonese. [nL8N1JF0SP] The source said the fourth victim had not been identified. Security forces backed by French and U.N. troops mobilised quickly when the attack was underway, rescuing 36 residents including 13 French citizens. [nL8N1JF0SP] Security Minister Salif Traore told Radio France International on Monday that "five terrorists were killed" in operations that continued throughout...

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