Sunday 25 February 2018
(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...
(AFP (eng) 02/06/18)
Leaders of five Sahel countries met with France's defence minister on Tuesday to discuss funding for an unprecedented joint force to combat jihadism in their vulnerable region. The presidents of the so-called G5 Sahel nations -- Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- met with French Defence Minister Florence Parly, whose country is the initiative's major backer. On Sunday, Malian Defence Minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly said the G5 force "will be operational by the end of March." The five...
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Privately-run newspapers and radio and TV channels in Niger protested on Monday over a tax audit that they said sought to "stifle" the country's independent media. Media owners last week said they had been advised that inspectors would carry out a check on tax for which they were liable from from 2014 to 2017, as well as the coming tax year. At least five broadcasting groups in Niamey halted their programming on Monday morning, with three TV stations leaving a protest message on screens reading, "Stop the murder of Niger's independent press." Media owners issued a joint statement on Sunday to attack what they called
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Israel began warning thousands of African migrants Sunday that they must leave by the end of March, officials said, under a plan that could see them jailed if they refuse. On January 3, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced implementation of a plan to deport about 38,000 migrants who had entered the country illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese. The controversial plan gives them until the end of next month to leave voluntarily or face jail and eventual expulsion. Immigration authority spokeswoman...
(AFP (eng) 02/03/18)
Megastar Rihanna vowed she would "never stop fighting" to get millions of children back in school on Friday as French President Emmanuel Macron promised a major boost in foreign aid for education in developing nations. Macron co-hosted a conference in Dakar organised by the Global Partnership for Education with Senegalese President Macky Sall, while Rihanna attended as the organisation's global ambassador. "We have made tremendous progress today but of course our work is never done, we have a long way...
(AFP (eng) 02/02/18)
Mauritania has named the commander who will take charge of operations in the western zone overseen by the regional G5 Sahel anti-jihadist force, as it wrapped up its second operation. Colonel Salem Vall Ould Isselmou will head operations in Mauritania and a section of Mali for the force of troops drawn from five countries in Africa's Sahel region, a military source told AFP on Thursday, confirming reports in local media. The force's operations under Ould Isselmou will be based in...
(AFP (eng) 02/02/18)
Rihanna on Thursday used her star power to urge key governments to commit to ensuring education for the world's poorest as she takes part in an international conference in Senegal. The chart-topping singer arrived in the capital Dakar where she on Friday will join the Global Partnership for Education talks co-hosted by Senegalese President Macky Sall and French leader Emmanuel Macron. Rihanna, the fourth most followed person on Twitter with 86 million followers, took to social media to urge Macron,...
(AFP (eng) 01/31/18)
A Niger court has set the date of February 28 for announcing the outcome of a high-profile case involving former prime minister Hama Amadou, who has been sentenced to a year's jail for baby-trafficking. "Proceedings were held on Wednesday at the Court of Cassation, which will issue a ruling on February 28," a judicial source said on Wednesday. Amadou was prime minister from 1995-6 and 2000-2007, and president of the national assembly from 2011 to 2014. He stood against President...
(AFP (eng) 01/31/18)
The UN refugee agency appealed on Wednesday for $157 million (126 million euros) to help over a quarter of a million people affected by the insurgency led by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram. The UNHCR, acting with more than 40 other agencies, said it needed to help 208,000 Nigerian refugees and 75,000 of their hosts in Niger, Cameroon and Chad, where infrastructure has been strained by the influx. Since 2013, the Boko Haram conflict has internally displaced another 2.4...
(AFP (eng) 01/30/18)
At least two soldiers were killed overnight while fighting off an attack by suspected Boko Haram jihadists in southeast Niger, a source in the security forces said Tuesday. "It was an audacious attack repelled by our valiant defence and security forces who lost two men all the same," the source told AFP on condition of anonymity. The insurgents from neighbouring Nigeria "came aboard about a dozen vehicles" early Monday evening to attack a National Guard outpost near Chetimari, a village...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
President Donald Trump said the United States "deeply respects" Africans and will dispatch its top diplomat to the continent, in a letter to African leaders seen by AFP on Sunday. The letter sent last week comes after Trump provoked a firestorm of indignation among African nations earlier in January when he reportedly called them "shithole countries" during a meeting with lawmakers in Washington. While Trump has denied the remarks, they are expected to be formally condemned by the 55 member states of the African Union during their ongoing summit in the Ethiopian capital. "I want to underscore that the United States deeply respects the people of Africa, and my commitment to strong and respectful relationships...
(AFP (eng) 01/27/18)
The US military has opened an investigation after images surfaced online this week that appear to have been taken from the helmet camera of one of the US soldiers killed in an ambush in Niger. Grainy photographs posted and circulated on Twitter purportedly show a soldier in US uniform lying on the dry-earthen ground, a US flag patch on his chest. The image looks like it was recorded from another soldier's helmet camera. The exact provenance of the photos is murky, but the original Twitter account to post the pictures said they had been collected by an Islamic State affiliate.
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
Public prosecutors in Niger on Friday requested jail terms of between 15 and 20 years against nine soldiers and a civilian accused of seeking to overthrow President Mahamadou Issoufou in 2015. They sought a 20-year sentence against a General Souleymane Salou, the former chief of staff, who played a key role in a previous coup in 2010 against Issoufou's predecessor, Mamadou Tandja. A similar term was sought for Lieutenant Ousmane Awal Hambaly, who had been accused, but later released, in...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
US President Donald Trump on Friday asked the African Union chairman to pass on his "warmest regards" to other regional leaders at a summit this weekend, after sparking outrage with a reported slur against Africans. Trump met Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where some African business leaders say they are planning to boycott Trump's closing speech later Friday. The outspoken US leader congratulated Kagame on taking over as chair of the 55-nation African bloc, which Trump said was a "great honour". "I know you're going to your first meeting shortly. Please give my warmest regards," Trump told Kagame after they held a one-on-one meeting at the forum.

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