Tuesday 24 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
French transport giant Bollore said Tuesday it would seek compensation for work already carried out on a major rail infrastructure project after Benin asked it to withdraw "amicably" in favour of China. Patrice Talon, president of the small West African country, said both the French conglomerate and its local rival Petrolin would be "compensated fairly", without elaborating. Philippe Labonne, deputy CEO of Bollore Transport and Logistics, said the firm should be compensated notably for the some 140 kilometres (85 miles) of rail it has already laid down. "We are a little disappointed not to complete" the project, he said, speaking to AFP on the sidelines of a business forum in the Ivorian business hub Abidjan...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Four leading opposition and rights figures are being held in Niger prisons following a banned weekend demonstration that turned violent in the capital Niamey, media reports said Tuesday. They were among 23 people arrested after the protest Sunday against new taxes degenerated into clashes between demonstrators and police. Officials of the Collectif d'ONG, an association of grassroots groups that organised the protest, said those in custody had been charged with organising and taking part in a banned march and "abetting damage to public and private property".
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Police in Niger have arrested 23 people after a demonstration against new taxes in one of the world's poorest nations turned violent, the interior minister said Monday. The arrests came after a protest on Sunday, Bazoum Mohamed told AFP, adding that the organisers had defied a ban and then clashed with the police. "They incited (the public) and disrupted public order and were arrested for rebellion for describing the ban as illegal," he said. A radio and television network owned by Ali Idrissa, one of four leading civil society members arrested, was also closed on Sunday.
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
At least five civilians were killed and several others wounded in an attack by suspected Boko Haram militants in southeast Niger, near the border with Nigeria, according to local sources. "The BH (Boko Haram) came to the market place early Friday evening, they shot the crowd and took food," said a resident of Toummour, in the southwest Diffa region, which was targeted by the attack. A local official on Sunday confirmed the toll of "five dead, all civilians", adding that...
(AFP (eng) 03/21/18)
Forty-four African countries have signed an agreement establishing a free trade area seen as vital to the continent's economic development, the head of the African Union said Wednesday. "The agreement establishing the CFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area) was signed by 44 countries," said Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the AU commission. The creation of a free trade area -- billed as the world's largest -- comes after two years of negotiations, and is one of the AU's flagship projects...
(AFP (eng) 03/16/18)
Ministers from 13 African and European countries held talks along with the EU on Friday on cracking down on migrant traffickers, with France calling for firmer action on smuggling networks in African countries. French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb called on counterparts in the Nigerien capital Niamey to take action "as close as possible to the countries of origin and transit of migrants." Niger, one of the large nations lying south of the Sahara in West Africa, has become one of...
(AFP (eng) 03/14/18)
The EU warned African and other countries on Wednesday that their citizens will find it harder to get visas to Europe if they refuse to readmit economic migrants under the bloc's efforts to curb migration. Brussels has been seeking greater cooperation from such countries to take back irregular migrants since Europe was hit in 2015 with its worst migration crisis since World War II. "I cannot understand how a country can refuse to take back its nationals" when they have...
(AFP (eng) 03/13/18)
Three police were killed in western Niger in a border region that has come under repeated attack from jihadists, local media reported Tuesday. "It's the police station in the village of Goube which was targeted," the commercial radio station Saraounia said, adding that a fourth policeman was wounded. Anfani FM, another Niger radio station, gave the same toll. A security source said "there were fatalities" from Monday night's attack in Tillaberi region, but did not provide details. Goube, located about...
(AFP (eng) 03/09/18)
A thousand artists from over 50 countries will gather in Ivory Coast on Saturday for a week-long festival of African music, theatre, dance, comedy, slam poetry and storytelling. The 10th edition of the biannual Market for African Performing Arts, known by its French initials as MASA, will mark the 25th anniversary of the event. This year's crop of artists come from all over Africa and the African diaspora in Japan, Haiti and Canada, performing in the economic capital Abidjan and...
(AFP (eng) 03/05/18)
Burkina and French investigators on Monday pushed ahead with a probe into deadly jihadist attacks last week suspected to have aimed at a major anti-terror meeting. Forensic teams were at work at the scenes of last Friday's twin attack in Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, and two suspects were being questioned, sources said. The operation, using guns and a car bomb, aimed at the country's military headquarters and the French embassy. Nine assailants and seven soldiers were killed and at least...
(AFP (eng) 03/01/18)
Turkey will donate $5 million (4.1 million euros) to a fledgling force of five nations battling terrorism and trafficking in the Sahel, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced during a visit to Mauritania. The G5 force, gathering Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, aims to train and equip 5,000 troops to restore authority in lawless areas where jihadists have gained a foothold. "Turkey is one of the countries which best understands the dangers with which you are confronted in the...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/18)
It sounds like something from Wakanda, the futuristic African kingdom of the hit movie "Black Panther". But "Transaqua" is a very real proposal for a very real problem -- how to replenish the shrinking waters of Lake Chad. It imagines a 2,600-km (1,600-mile) canal from the Democratic Republic of Congo across the Central African Republic to meet the Chari River that feeds into the freshwater lake. Lake Chad -- where the borders of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria meet --...
(AFP (eng) 02/26/18)
Experts gathered in Nigeria's capital on Monday to discuss ways to stop Africa's Lake Chad from drying up, after years of environmental decline that has hit livelihoods and security. The two-day conference, organised by the government in Abuja and the Lake Chad Basin Commission, aims to "save the lake from extinction", according to UNESCO, which is backing the talks. A $6.5-million (5.3-million-euro) research and conservation programme will involve Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, whose borders meet on the lake, as well as the Central African Republic. Troops from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria are fighting a battle against Boko Haram jihadists in the remote region.
(AFP (eng) 02/23/18)
European leaders on Friday doubled their funding for a joint African force tackling jihadists in the Sahel at an international conference in Brussels, as fresh violence highlights the region's fraught security situation. The European Union announced an extra 50 million euros ($61 million) for the G5 Sahel force at talks with heads of state from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, adding to around 280 million euros already pledged by international donors. The high-level meeting attended by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor...
(AFP (eng) 02/22/18)
Nigeria's Boko Haram, suspected of another mass kidnapping of school girls, started out as an Islamic anti-corruption group but mutated into an IS affiliate waging a lethal insurgency. - Fundamentalist - Boko Haram aims to create a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria -- a campaign that has cost at least 20,000 lives since 2009 and at its peak displaced 2.6 million from their homes. The name loosely translates from the Hausa language as "Western education is forbidden". Founder and spiritual leader Mohammed Yusuf pinned the blame for Nigeria's ills on Western values left by colonial master Britain, criticised the country's corrupt secular regime for neglecting development in Muslim regions and advocated...
(AFP (eng) 02/21/18)
The European Union is to double its funding for a joint African military force to fight jihadists in the Sahel region with a 50-million-euro boost, EU sources said Wednesday. The bloc is expected to announce the new money for the G5 Sahel force, grouping Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, at talks in Brussels on Friday which will be attended by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The move comes as a surge in rebel attacks has underscored the challenge facing the five countries, among the poorest in the world, which are on the frontline of a war against Islamist militants.
(AFP (eng) 02/20/18)
Efforts to build a five-nation force to roll back jihadism in the Sahel face a funding hurdle this week, with a surge in rebel attacks providing an urgent reminder of the task in hand. So far more than $350 million has already been pledged for the G5 Sahel force, gathering Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- countries in the frontline of a war against Islamist militants yet which rank among the poorest in the world. The money has...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
About 224 million people are suffering from malnutrition across Africa as climate change and conflicts heighten food insecurity across the continent, a top UN food agency official said Monday. The official, speaking at a conference on Africa organised by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said the situation was a "cause of concern" as the continent's population was expected to reach 1.7 billion by 2030. "Under-nourishment appears to have increased from about 21 percent to nearly 23 percent between...
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
The African Union's chairman dismissed during a visit to Beijing on Thursday a French newspaper report alleging that China had spied on the continental body as "lies" intended to derail cooperation. The report published by Le Monde in January claimed technicians at the AU's Chinese-built headquarters in the Ethiopian capital discovered last year that the contents of their computers had been regularly copied to servers in Shanghai since 2012, citing unnamed AU sources. "I don't see it is in the...
(AFP (eng) 02/07/18)
Five countries in the Sahel have made a pitch for further funds for a joint force to fight jihadism in their fragile region. The presidents of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger made the appeal after a summit Tuesday in the Niger capital of Niamey, ahead of a fund-raising meeting in Europe later this month. "Given the pressure that the current security situation is placing on the public finances of member states, the heads of state invite the international...

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