Sunday 22 October 2017
(Voice of America 07/04/17)
GENEVA — The U.N. children’s fund warns tens of thousands of malnourished children are at great risk in Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan, which are on the brink of famine. UNICEF reports an estimated 4.7 million children in the cholera-stricken countries are malnourished. Of these, UNICEF spokesman Christofe Boulierac tells VOA, more than one million are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. “Let me remind you that a child who is suffering from severe acute malnutrition are nine times more likely to die of disease than a well-nourished child," he said. "So, having cholera and diarrhea in countries where so many children are so fragile because of malnutrition among other things because of such a bad access to safe water is...
(RFI(EN) 07/04/17)
New tax rules in Israel could leave hundreds of African migrants worse off than they are. In May, the government introduced a new deposit law, enabling the governemnt to take 20 percent of migrants' salaries each month and place it out of reach. The money can only be accessed once they leave the country. Rights groups say the policy is designed to force them out of the country. "We're not pressuring you to leave but will make your life miserable so you decide to leave," Anwar Suliman, a Darfuri refugee living in Israel since 2008, told RFI . "Every time the state makes a different law, different pressure, but we said we can't go back right now." Suliman fled Darfur...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/03/17)
African powers launched a new multinational military force to tackle Islamist militants in the Sahel on Sunday, which French President Emmanuel Macron told a regional summit should be fully operational by the autumn despite its current budget shortfall. Some observers see the initiative of the G5 Sahel bloc - Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad - as forming the basis of an eventual exit strategy for around 4,000 French troops now deployed to the volatile region. But Macron said Paris had no plans to withdraw them. Islamist militant groups, some with links to al Qaeda, seized control of Mali's desert north in 2012. Though they were driven back a year later by a French-led military intervention, they continue to...
(The Associated Press 07/03/17)
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) -- France's president on Sunday promised strong support for a new multinational military force against extremists in Africa's vast Sahel region, saying the "terrorists, thugs and assassins" need to be eradicated. President Emmanuel Macron, meeting in Mali with leaders from the five regional countries involved, said France will provide military support for operations as well as 70 tactical vehicles and communications, operations and protective equipment. The 5,000-strong force will be deployed by September, and its funding will be finalized by then, Macron said at a press conference. The leaders of Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad - known as the G5 - must clarify their roles and contributions for the force to attract more support from...
(AFP (eng) 07/02/17)
French President Emmanuel Macron, making a lightning visit to Mali, on Sunday threw his weight behind a planned Sahel force to fight jihadists but told countries their efforts had to bear fruit. The so-called "G5 Sahel" countries -- Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- have pledged to set up a joint force to combat the wave of Islamist bombings, shootings and kidnappings south of the Sahara. Macron, joining the heads of state in the Malian capital Bamako for a special summit, hailed the initiative as "a dynamic, a groundswell which France is proud to back". But, he said, "it will be up to you and your armed forces to demonstrate that the G5 can be effective, while respecting...
(AFP (eng) 06/30/17)
President Emmanuel Macron is due in Mali on Sunday to consolidate Western backing for a regional anti-jihadist force, as France beefs up its counter-terror operations in the area. The so-called "G5 Sahel" countries just south of the Sahara -- Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- have pledged to fight jihadists on their own soil, as instability and Islamist attacks rise. With its base in Sevare, central Mali, the 5,000-strong G5 Sahel force aims to bolster the 12,000 UN peacekeepers and France's own 4,000-strong military operation known as Barkhane operating in the region. Macron will attend a summit on July 2 with leaders of the African nations involved, "marking a new step" as the force is formally launched, a...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/30/17)
President Emmanuel Macron heads to Mali on Sunday to throw France's weight behind a new West African military force he hopes will lay the basis for an exit strategy for its own troops; but its prospects for success look slim. Mali is hosting a heads of state summit with Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania - known as the G5 Sahel - who could ultimately deploy thousands of troops into the vast, arid Sahel region that remains a breeding ground for militants and traffickers that Paris considers a threat to Europe. Four years after intervening in its former colony to ward off a jihadist offensive, there is no sign of France withdrawing its 4,000-strong regional Barkhane contingent as they, alongside...
(RFI 06/30/17)
French troops will work with the new force from five Sahel countries fighting armed Islamists in west and central Africa, Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced Thursday. "This force is first going to secure the borders, particularly in the areas where terrorist groups have developed," the newly appointed minister said in an interview with Le Monde newspaper. "Accompanying them is the priority for the Barkhane operation." France has deployed soldiers in the region since January 2013, when it spearheaded an international military initiative against Al-Qaeda jihadist groups allied to Tuareg separatists occupying northern Mali. Whole areas are still beyond the control of the Malian, French and UN forces working in the sub-Saharan region. Deadly attacks and tense relations have...
(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...
(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...
(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)
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) 06/16/17)
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)
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...

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