Monday 23 October 2017
(AFP (eng) 07/11/17)
As West Africa declares war on the market for expired and counterfeit medicines, start-ups are putting quality control in the hands of patients to stop them risking their lives trying to get well. Not only can such drugs fail to treat the diseases they are bought to combat, experts say, but they may encourage resistance to antibiotics and even cause death as diseases continue to course unchecked through the body. At an April meeting in Liberia, the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) announced a region-wide investigation into the trafficking of expired and counterfeit drugs, and a public awareness campaign. Traffickers in bad medicine prey on some of the world's poorest and most in need, who also face...
(Voice of America 07/11/17)
In the past five years, terrorist attacks have killed nearly 20,000 people across Africa. Two groups, Boko Haram and al-Shabab, accounted for 71 percent of reported incidents and 91 percent of fatalities. But, while these and other militant groups remain active, fatal terrorist attacks across the continent are on pace to fall for a second straight year, and the total number of attacks is running far below 2012 highs. These findings are part of VOA’s original analysis of data from ACLED, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. ACLED tracks political violence, protests and terrorist events across Africa. Their reports include attacks since 1997 based on data collected from local news media, government statements, non-governmental organizations and published research...
(Bloomberg 07/10/17)
Many cell phone companies are rethinking their headlong rush into the continent. Only Orange is staying the course. Back when African countries were auctioning off mobile licenses by the boatload to serve the region’s young, tech-savvy population, investing in the continent’s fast-growing economies seemed like a no-brainer. Some of the world’s biggest wireless carriers rushed in. Now they’re wondering if they made a mistake. Increasing government and regulatory scrutiny, as well as a lack of expansion opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa, are making it harder for operators such as Vodafone Group Plc, Orange SA and Bharti Airtel Ltd. to grow. Their choice: Pull back or double down. Two companies beating at least a partial retreat are Millicom International Cellular SA, which...
(AFP (eng) 07/07/17)
Niger authorities rescued 67 West African migrants in Niger's northern desert this week after traffickers left them there without food or water, a humanitarian source told AFP on Friday. One of the migrants later died. "Sixty-seven migrants near death were saved (Wednesday) by defence and security forces near the town of Seguedine in the middle of the desert," the source said. The migrants had left the town of Agadez "on three vehicles" before being "abandoned without provisions by the traffickers," the source added. Agadez is a remote town in Niger on the edge of the Sahara that has become the smuggling capital of Africa...
(AFP (eng) 07/07/17)
An air strike by Niger's army has killed 14 displaced people who were mistaken for jihadists in the restive southeast where Boko Haram Islamists have staged regular attacks, regional officials said Thursday. The victims were farmers who had fled the area around the village of Abadam on the Nigerian border due to the raging insurgency. They were killed in an air strike Wednesday as they returned to check on their crops, officials said. Abadam lies within an evacuated no-go zone which is only accessible with prior authorisation and officials said military personnel assumed they must have been Boko Haram...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/06/17)
Soldiers in Niger killed 14 unarmed civilians after mistaking them for Boko Haram militants during a patrol in the remote southeast of the country, a senior regional official said on Thursday. Nigerien soldiers were patrolling a militarily restricted zone around the village of Abadam near Lake Chad on Wednesday afternoon when they opened fire on what turned out to be farmers, according to Yahaya Godi, the Secretary General of the Diffa region of southeast Niger. "Fourteen people are dead. Abadam is a village located in the red zone and has been prohibited for a very long time," said Godi. "Any individual seen in the area is considered Boko Haram." He said two of the dead were from Niger and the...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The African Union's new chair Moussa Faki Mahamat on Wednesday questioned US commitment to fighting terrorism on the continent after it blocked efforts to get UN funding for an anti-jihadist force in the Sahel. "This is a specific case of a certain number of African states taking the initiative to create a dedicated force to fight terrorism. So, we don't understand how the United States could hold back or not engage in the fight against terrorism," Faki said in an interview with AFP. Faki's January election as chairperson of the AU commission came days after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, who has proposed slashing US funding for aid projects and multilateral institutions like the UN. The former Chadian...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The costs of diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa could double to almost $60 billion annually just 13 years from now, as obesity fuels an explosion of the disease, a report said Thursday. In 2015, the overall diabetes cost in the region was nearly $20 billion (18 billion euros), or 1.2 percent of total economic production, according to research published by The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. This included medication and hospital stays, and loss of labour productivity due to illness or death. About half of all treatment costs were paid for by patients themselves.
(AFP (eng) 07/05/17)
A dozen Niger journalists' groups condemned Wednesday the jailing of a fellow journalist, saying it was "in total violation" of press law in the west African country. Journalist Ali Soumana, founder of the weekly Le Courrier known for its often harsh criticisms of President Mahamadou Issoufou's government, was charged on Monday after many days in detention for obtaining a document through "fraudulent means". The document in question is related to a five-year-old legal case between Niger and a Lebanese company. "The press house protests all violations against laws governing the occupation of journalists in Niger," the journalists' associations said in a letter, adding that it firmly supported Soumana. Under a 2010 law, journalists in Niger are no longer detained for...
(Voice of America 07/05/17)
More than 7 million children in West and Central Africa are displaced every year, the United Nations children's agency said in a report released Wednesday. Lack of economic opportunities, wars and climate change are forcing more than 12 million people in West and Central Africa to migrate annually, the report said. "Children in West and Central Africa are moving in greater numbers than ever before, many in search of safety or a better life," UNICEF regional director Marie-Pierre Poirier said. Climate change is already a harsh reality in many parts of Africa, where rising temperatures and increasingly erratic rainfall have disrupted food production, fueled widespread hunger and forced farmers to abandon their land. A half-million people have crossed the Mediterranean...
(AFP (eng) 07/04/17)
Boko Haram jihadists have kidnapped 37 women and slit the throats of nine other people at a village in southeastern Niger, the regional governor said Tuesday. The attack happened on Sunday at the village of Ngalewa, near the border with Nigeria, the governor of Diffa region, Laouali Mahamane Dan Dano, told state TV. "Boko Haram elements... slit the throats of nine people... they took women, 37 women, and departed with them," he said. "The defence and security forces are already in pursuit, and we hope that in the coming days these women will be found and freed," he said. The governor, who went to Ngalewa on Monday, said the village had been singled out because it was known for its...
(Voice of America 07/04/17)
Officials in Niger say suspected Boko Haram militants have killed nine people and abducted dozens more in an attack on a southern town. Local officials said Monday that the gunmen came into the village of Ngalewa, near the country's border with Nigeria, on camels and horses. They said the militants took around 30-40 people, mostly women and children, late Sunday and threatened to hold them until other extremists are released from prison. The town is near the city of Diffa, where another attack took place on Wednesday, also blamed on Boko Haram militants. In that incident, two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a refugee camp in the town, killing two other people and injuring 11. Boko Haram's insurgency began...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 07/03/17)
Nine people were killed and dozens kidnapped after an attack in southeastern Niger by suspected members of Boko Haram, local authorities said Monday. The attack happened Sunday night, between 2100-2200 GMT. "About 30 to 40 women and children were taken by the assailants," local mayor Abari El Hadj Daouda told AFP, adding that Nigerien authorities were headed to the area to investigate. The attack took place in Kabalewa, a village near the southeastern Niger city of Diffa, which is close to Nigeria -- the second such attack in the village in a week. On Wednesday, two women bombers blew themselves up in a refugee camp...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/03/17)
Suspected Boko Haram Islamist militants killed nine people and abducted dozens more in southern Niger on Sunday night, the local mayor and a journalist said. The attackers rode camels into the village of Ngalewa, about 50 km (30 miles) north of the border with Nigeria - home of the Boko Haram insurgency - said Maman Nour, the director of a community radio station in the nearby town of Kabelawa. "They killed nine people and they kidnapped around 30," said Nour, who had spoken to fleeing villagers. Abba Gata Issa, mayor of the district, confirmed the nine dead and said around 40 women and children had been kidnapped. Boko Haram launches frequent cross-border raids from its strongholds in northeastern Nigeria and...
(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)
Two women bombers blew themselves up in a refugee camp in southeastern Niger, killing two other people in a suspected attack by Boko Haram Islamists from neighbouring Nigeria. Boko Haram's insurgency began in northeast Nigeria and has spread to Chad, Cameroon and Niger, claiming more than 20,000 lives and displacing 2.6 million people. They are increasingly staging suicide attacks using women and girls. Wednesday's attack took place in Kabalewa, a village near the southeastern Niger city of Diffa, which is close to Nigeria. "Two women suicide bombers infiltrated the refugee camp and blew themselves up, killing two civilians in the camp," an aid worker said.

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