Thursday 17 August 2017
(AFP (eng) 06/16/17)
A South African court on Thursday ordered the further detention of a Moroccan vessel laden with phosphate mined from the disputed Western Sahara pending a trial to determine the owner of the cargo. The 34,000-tonne vessel from Western Sahara and destined for New Zealand was last month blocked from sailing off due to a court motion seeking that the vessel return its cargo. The motion argued that transportation of goods from disputed Western Sahara is illegal and in violation of international principles. "The court has basically found that the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic and the Polisario Front have established...
(APA 06/16/17)
Sudan's acting Foreign Minister, Hamid Mumtaz has held intensive talks with the Moroccan Ambassador to Khartoum, Mohamed Ma-al-Ainain to discuss arrangements for the visit in July of 100 businesspersons from Rabat. A statement emanating from Thursday's meeting said preparations on both sides are in high gear ahead of the landmark visit by the tycoons whose presence is expected to trigger more interest in improving trade relations between Sudan and Morocco. The statement said during the visit the Moroccan businesspersons will be part of a series of meetings of the Joint Sudanese - Moroccan Business Council which will look into a number of joint investment projects in important spheres of investment. According to the statement both parties expressed satisfaction over the...
(AFP (eng) 06/15/17)
A court in Morocco on Wednesday sentenced 25 demonstrators and suspected members of a grassroots protest movement to 18 months in jail each, a defence attorney said. They were among 32 people arrested more than two weeks ago after clashes that erupted in the port of Al-Hoceima when police tried to detain the head of the movement, Nasser Zefzafi. His Al-Hirak al-Shaabi, or "Popular Movement", has been holding protests for weeks in the neglected northern Rif region, demanding jobs and an end to corruption. Zefzafi was arrested on May 29 and is in custody in Casablanca awaiting trial, along with other leaders of Al-Hirak. Wednesday's verdicts follow a trial that opened the previous day and lasted more than 11 hours,...
(AFP (eng) 06/15/17)
French President Emmanuel Macron was in Morocco Wednesday on a 24-hour visit for talks on battling terrorism as well as the Libyan conflict and Qatar's dispute with its Gulf neighbours. As he stepped off the plane for his first visit to Morocco since his election in May, the French president, his wife Brigitte at his side, was welcomed on the tarmac by King Mohammed VI. The king's wife, Princess Lalla Salma, and Crown Prince Moulay Hassan, 14, were also present at the airport to greet the French first couple, who were then driven to the royal palace for an hour of talks. At a press conference following the talks, Macron said both France and Morocco were keen on mediating a...
(APA 06/15/17)
French President Emmanuel Macron has arrived in the Moroccan capital Rabat on Wednesday afternoon to begin his first official to the kingdom upon the invitation of King Mohammed VI. A statement from the ministry of the Royal House, Protocol and Chancery said President Macron’s visit reflects “the depth of Moroccan-French relations based on a strong partnership in the common will to consolidate the multidimensional ties uniting the two countries”. The Elysee palace said Macon’s first official trip to a Maghreb country as president is part of a “family framework,” the objective of which is to establish “a strong, trusting, personal relationship” between the king and France’s new leader.
(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...
(APA 06/13/17)
Following instructions given by King Mohammed VI, Morocco is sending airplanes loaded with food products to Qatar, the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation announced on Monday in a statement. “This decision is made in accordance with the precepts of the Islamic religion, which encourages solidarity and mutual help among the Islamic peoples, especially during this blessed month of Ramadan," the statement added. “Morocco underlines that this decision is not linked to the political aspects of the crisis between Qatar and other brotherly countries," the text said, insisting that "Morocco’s position was clearly explained in...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
Thousands of people took to the streets of Rabat Sunday demanding that authorities release the leaders of a protest movement that has rocked Morocco's neglected northern Rif region for months. The demonstrators marched along Mohamed VI avenue in downtown Rabat in a procession nearly a kilometre (less than a mile) long, chanting "Free the prisoners!", an AFP correspondent said. An interior ministry source said between 12,000 and 15,000 people took part in Sunday's protest which was organised by several organisations including Morocco's most popular Islamist group. The tolerated but unrecognised Al-Adl Wal Ihsane (Justice and Charity) organisation put the number of demonstrators...
(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)
Moroccan police have detained four people in northern Morocco, an official and an activist said, as protests continued for a second week in the neglected Rif region. "There have been three arrests in the past 24 hours," an official source said, without identifying those detained. A local activist said six people had been brought in for questioning -- "three in the city of Al-Hoceima and three in nearby areas". A leading protest figure was detained Saturday afternoon near his home in Al-Hoceima, a source close to the protesters and the official source said.
(AFP (eng) 06/10/17)
Protesters clashed with security forces in Morocco's Al-Hoceima early on Saturday, an AFP correspondent reported, after more than a week of protests in the northern province. The violence broke out in the town of Imzouren after police tried to stop demonstrators from gathering, activists said. Dozens of youths wearing balaclavas threw stones at security forces, who responded with tear gas, the correspondent said. The clashes ended before dawn, with the police deploying around 50 vehicles in the area. There were no immediate reports of any casualties. Last Saturday, both sides had also clashed in the town, some 15 kilometres (nine miles) from the city of Al-Hoceima
(AFP (eng) 06/09/17)
Police fired tear gas as clashes erupted Thursday between them and demonstrators in the Moroccan city of Al-Hoceima, epicentre of a protest movement that has shaken the northern region for months. The tear gas was fired as dozens of young people threw stones at the riot police in the alleys of Sidi Abed neighbourhood, where demonstrations have been held for days without any violence. The northern port city of Al-Hoceima, in the neglected Rif region, has been rocked by social unrest since the death in October of a fishmonger.
(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)
Dozens of Syrian refugees remained stranded in no-man's land between Morocco and Algeria on Tuesday, non-governmental groups said, despite an Algerian offer to help. Algiers said last week it would take in the refugees after the United Nations urged both sides to help the Syrians, who include a pregnant woman and have been stranded in the desert area since April 17. "The Syrian refugee families are still blocked on the border between Algeria and Morocco. Authorities on both sides are passing each other the buck," said Noureddine Benissad of the Algerian League of Human Rights. Saida Benhabiles, the head of the Algerian Red Crescent, said a joint team from her organisation and the UN refugee agency have been waiting on...
(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)
Moroccan authorities on Monday arrested two more leaders of a protest movement, after demonstrators rallied for more than a week against corruption and unemployment. The northern port city of Al-Hoceima, in the neglected Rif region, has been rocked by social unrest since the death in October of a fishmonger. Mouhcine Fikri, 31, was crushed in a rubbish truck as he protested against the seizure of swordfish caught out of season and his death has sparked fury and triggered nationwide protests. The demonstrations have snowballed, giving way to a wider protest movement demanding more development and railing against corruption, repression and unemployment.
(Xinhuanet 06/06/17)
Delegates of an African conference in solidarity with Cuba on Monday called on the United States to lift its over 50-year economic blockade against Cuba. "We applaud the positive development in this respect and we commend the U.S. government and Cuba for their efforts towards normalizing of ties," said Namibian President Hage Geingob, officially opening the fifth Continental Africa Conference in Solidarity with Cuba here on Monday. "However, there is still much ground left to cover to ensure the complete lifting of the blockage against Cuba," said Geingob. According to Geingob, the conference will lead to the development of the common African strategy in terms of support to Cuba. The delegates also called for the return of the Guantanamo Bay,...
(AFP (eng) 06/03/17)
Hundreds of young people clashed with riot police in northern Morocco Friday, following a general strike called by activists demanding the release of a protest leader. Nasser Zefzafi, who emerged as the head of the grassroots Al-Hirak al-Shaabi, or "Popular Movement", was arrested on Monday after three days on the run. His arrest sparked protests in the neglected Rif region of northern Morocco, where demonstrators have been demanding more development and railing against corruption, repression and unemployment. Demonstrators on the streets of Imzouren threw stones at officers, who in turn used water cannon and charged the protestors in a bid to disperse them and bring down their improvised barricades.

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