Monday 21 August 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 06/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Millions of children across the Lake Chad basin are prey to deadly water-borne diseases such as cholera and hepatitis E as the rainy season hits a region already reeling from Boko Haram's insurgency, the United Nations said on Friday. More than 5.6 million children in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, many of whom have been uprooted by violence and live in host communities or refugee camps, are facing the disease threat as the rains arrive, said the U.N. children's agency (UNICEF). Flooding and muddy roads are expected to limit aid access to remote areas, where hunger is growing and food is lacking, while the insecurity has made it hard to deliver supplies and ensure clean...
(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)
At least 14 people, mostly children, have died in Niger and 11 in Ivory Coast after heavy rains this week triggered landslides and caused homes to collapse, UN and local officials said Friday. The UN's humanitarian affairs office OCHA said 14 people had died when houses collapsed in Niger's capital Niamey with another four missing. Nine children were reported dead there earlier this week. In Ivory Coast's economic capital, Abidjan, the toll from the rains climbed from eight to 11 on Friday, with one person unaccounted for and hundreds affected by landslides and flooding, rescue workers said.
(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) 06/15/17)
At least nine children have been killed in Niger as heavy rains over the past few days caused the collapse of houses in the capital Niamey, the authorities said Wednesday. The children were killed as buildings gave way in different parts of the city, said Zourkaleini Maiga, secretary general of the local authority. One mother told local television how three of her four children had been killed as they sheltered from the downpour by the wall of a neighbouring house. The heavy rains also devastated one of the main markets in the city centre. And two Niger television channels, Tele-Sahel and Tal-TV, were knocked off air on Tuesday evening after their studios were flooded, the station chiefs said. Niger's rainy...
(AFP (eng) 06/15/17)
"I'm prepared to die," says Abdullah Ibrahim, a 27-year-old migrant from The Gambia. "I want to go to Germany, I love Germany since I'm young. I hope my dream will come true." For the time being, that dream is on hold after a first attempt negotiating the dangers of the desert, then armed militias in Libya to reach the Mediterranean. But he failed to find passage on a vessel to Europe and has returned to the central Niger city of Agadez, currently Africa's people-smuggling capital. Undaunted, he plans to try again, but his frustration is evident as he contemplates his situation, a black hood crammed so low on his head that it almost covers his eyes. He shares a house...
(Voice of America 06/15/17)
NIAMEY — Authorities in Niger said on Wednesday they have rescued over 100 migrants in the past week abandoned by traffickers in the Sahara desert as they tried to cross into neighboring Libya. The impoverished West African country is a way station for migrants heading to Europe and some experts believe that more African migrants die in the Sahara than at sea. Soldiers rescued 25 migrants on Wednesday morning near a well in northern Niger, the local prefect, Fatoumi Goudou, said. It was not immediately clear what their nationalities were. Another 92 migrants, most of them Nigerian, were rescued on Friday by a team from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Niger Republic soldiers, Giuseppe Loprete, head of the...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Around 100 Libya-bound migrants, including women, have been rescued from the Sahara desert in Niger after being abandoned by their smugglers, a security source told AFP. The migrants are believed to have been hoping to travel on to Europe and were discovered by a military patrol several days ago, the source said on Tuesday. "The migrants were subjected to terrible torture by their smugglers, before being abandoned without food or water," reported the online newspaper Air Info, based in the remote town of Agadez, citing a security source. The migrants were saved close to the arid dusty town of Achegour, the paper said, a transit point for migrants seeking work in Libya or trying to reach the sea to sail...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Wild-eyed with matted hair after four days in the searing Sahara sun, Ibrahim Kande climbs out of the pick-up truck he has ridden from Libya back to dusty Agadez in central Niger. Currently the smuggling capital of Africa, Agadez is a crossroads of hope and shattered dreams where would-be migrants headed for a better life in Europe cross paths with others who failed to make it and are heading home. Last year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) recorded 335,000 migrants heading northwards out of the country, and another 111,000 travelling in the opposite direction. Some head for Algeria, but most are bound for Libya in hope of either finding work there or boarding a boat to Europe. In a...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
With tens of thousands of migrants flooding into the desert city of Agadez en route to Europe, Africa's smuggling capital enjoyed a surge in business which boosted the local economy. But a government ban on the transportation of migrants has hit business badly, leaving disgruntled locals out of pocket. "It's as if you smacked a child without saying what it had done wrong," explains Issouf Maha, mayor of Tchirozerine, a town in central Niger which lies on the edge of the Sahara, just north of Agadez. In May 2015, the government in Niamey adopted a law banning the illegal trafficking of migrants with those found guilty facing a prison sentence of between one and 30 years, and fines of up...
(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)
As Africa's smuggling capital, a dusty city in central Niger has found its local football team boosted by an unexpected influx of new players: migrants in limbo awaiting passage to Europe. Located on the edge of the Sahara, Agadez is a major transit point for migrants hoping to travel north to seek work in either Libya or Algeria or to try to risk the hazardous boat journey to Europe. But hundreds have been stuck here after running out of money, or have returned after a first failed attempt to get to Europe. Cooling their heels, many of them turn to what they know best -- playing football. And here that means playing for Nassara Agadez, a team in Niger's second...
(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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