Tuesday 23 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 10/16/17)
A small central city in Niger on Sunday called for the "unconditional release" of a longtime US aid worker abducted in 2016, whose fate is unknown a year later. "We demand the unconditional and immediate release of Jeffery Woodke," a statement from the residents of Abalak read on national television said. "Those who abducted him did not kidnap an American, but one of us," the statement read. Woodke, reportedly in his 50s, was seized at gunpoint on the evening of October 14, 2016 from his home in Abalak in the Tahoua region of Niger, about 350 kilometres (220 miles) from capital Niamey. According to local officials, "two armed men in turbans" stormed in and grabbed him, killing his bodyguard and...
(APA 10/16/17)
APA-Dakar (Senegal) - The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture on Monday 16 October as part of the World Food Prize events taking place from October 16 to 20, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The Norman Borlaug Lecture under the title: “Betting on Africa to Feed the World”, will be held on World Food Day, October 16, in conjunction with the annual World Food Prize celebration. AfDB President Adesina will receive the 2017 World Food Prize on Thursday October 19, announced a press release issued by the AfDB on October 16, which also said “the prize is to agriculture what the Nobel Prize is to peace, science and literature.” The World...
(AFP (eng) 10/12/17)
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday said the military is looking at possible adaptations following last week's deadly ambush on a joint US-Niger patrol. The October 4 attack near the Mali border, thought to have been carried out by a regional affiliate of the Islamic State group, resulted in the deaths of four US soldiers and at least four Nigerien troops. "We will look at this and say was there some things we have to adapt to," Mattis said. "We are not complacent, we are going to be better," he added. Speaking to reporters as he traveled to a military headquarters in Florida, Mattis said French aircraft were on the scene of the attack within 30 minutes. France maintains...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/12/17)
TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Wednesday that the military was looking into what changes, if any, should be made after an ambush in Niger killed four U.S. soldiers last week. The incident, which U.S. officials suspect was carried out by a local Islamic State affiliate, has thrown a spotlight on the U.S. counterterrorism mission in the West African country. Mattis, addressing the incident for the first time publicly, said the ambush had taken place in an area where “the enemy has not operated before” and that the patrol had been “hit hard.” He said French aircraft were overhead within 30 minutes and that he did not believe there was a delay in evacuating those wounded...
(AFP (eng) 10/12/17)
People made homeless by Boko Haram's brutal insurgency will need years of support to help rebuild their lives, even if security improves, the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council said on Wednesday. "We will be here for the next 10 years. Donors need to stay the course. It's a marathon," Jan Egeland told AFP by telephone from Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria. "(The Boko Haram conflict) is now in its ninth year. That's two years more than the Syrian war, double the First World War. This is a long-term thing." Egeland was speaking as the NRC unveiled new research about the intentions of the 1.8 million people who are still internally displaced in remote northeast Nigeria. Of 27,000 people surveyed, 86...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/12/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - West Africa is most at risk of fatal haemorrhagic fever epidemics, including Ebola, researchers said on Wednesday, calling for greater preparedness to save lives. A study in The Lancet medical journal assessed the likelihood of four viruses - Ebola, Lassa, Marburg and Crimean-Congo - spreading on the continent, charting progress from a first human case through to a potential pandemic. The world’s worst recorded Ebola outbreak ravaged Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone between 2013 and 2016, killing about 11,300 people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The viruses, which are often transmitted by rodents and bats, can cause fever, vomiting and bleeding, are often fatal. By mapping high risk areas, African nations can better...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
France will open offices in Niger and Chad in the coming weeks to identify people who could be granted asylum, President Emmanuel Macron announced Monday. The offices would also "warn people in Niger and Chad better about the situation in order to avoid an influx of economic migrants" who would only be sent back from France, Macron said. The French president had made a similar proposal for migrant registration centres in Libya in July. But the idea was axed due to chronic insecurity in the North African country, a launchpad for hundreds of thousands of migrants setting sail for Europe across the Mediterranean. In Chad and Niger, candidates for asylum would come from lists provided by the United Nations refugee...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
Nigeria's Boko Haram started as an Islamic anti-corruption group that became a violent, IS-affiliated movement whose insurgency has threatened stability in the Lake Chad region. But the Nigerian authorities say they are now rolling back the group and thousands of suspected members of the group were due to go on trial from Monday. Boko Haram, whose name loosely translates from the Hausa language as "Western education is forbidden", aims to create a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria. Its revolt has cost at least 20,000 lives since 2009. Mohammed Yusuf, the group's founder, blamed Western values left by Nigeria's British former for the country's ills and advocated a return to more fundamentalist Islam. He attracted many disaffected youths in Maiduguri,...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is set to accelerate to 3.4 percent next year, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday, citing Nigeria's recovering oil and agricultural sectors. The IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook report that the region would grow by 2.6 percent this year after 1.4 percent in 2016. "Growth is expected to rise gradually," it said, while noting that the rate would be uneven and "barely above population growth". GDP in the west African powerhouse Nigeria contracted by 1.6 percent in 2016, but is predicted to grow by 0.8 percent this year and 1.9 percent next year. The IMF said Nigeria was benefitting from "recovering oil production and ongoing strength in the agricultural sector", but the...
(AFP (eng) 10/06/17)
Niger has declared three days of national mourning in memory of four of its soldiers killed alongside three US Green Berets in an ambush, state television said Friday. The joint patrol came under fire on Wednesday in southwestern Niger near the border with Mali, in what Niamey called a "terrorist attack". The Pentagon said two other US soldiers were wounded. The attack occurred while they were assisting Nigerien counter-terror operations. Seven Nigerien soldiers were also injured. The report confirmed the little-known presence of US troops in the turbulent area, part of the poor and politically fragile Sahel...
(AFP (eng) 10/05/17)
Three US Green Berets and an unknown number of Nigerien soldiers were killed in a clash on the Niger-Mali border, where Islamic State fighters have established a presence, officials from said Thursday. A joint US-Niger patrol fell into an ambush on Wednesday in the Tillaberi region in the country's southwest, requiring French Mirage 2000 fighter jets to be called in for air support. Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou said there were many casualties in the battle, and US Africa Command said two more Special Forces troops were wounded. Another person from an unnamed country was also killed, according to the Pentagon statement, which did not specifically mention Nigerien casualties. "Our country has just been attacked once more by terrorist groups, an...
(AFP (eng) 10/05/17)
Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou said Thursday his country had been attacked by "terrorist groups" and there had been many casualties, in comments made after a joint US-Nigerien patrol was ambushed. "Our country has just been attacked once more by terrorist groups, an assault which sadly has resulted in a large number of casualties," he said at a regional meeting in the capital Niamey. On Wednesday, a US-Nigerien patrol was ambushed in southwestern Niger near the border with Mali, the Pentagon and Nigerien officials said. Three US soldiers were killed and two were wounded, the US Africa Command said in a statement from its headquarters in Germany. The slain soldiers were not identified, but US media reports described them as Green...
(AFP (eng) 10/05/17)
Several soldiers were killed -- among them reportedly US special forces -- when a joint US-Niger patrol was ambushed near the border with Mali, the first time that the presence of American troops has been confirmed in the troubled area. Wednesday's attack adds to concerns that violence in Mali is spilling over into Niger, part of the poor and politically fragile Sahel where jihadist groups are mounting an insurgency. Three members of the American special forces were among the dead, according to a New York Times report citing US military officials. Separately, the US Africa command confirmed in a statement that a joint US and Nigerien patrol came under fire in Niger. But it said nothing about casualties, adding that...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/05/17)
DAKAR/BAMAKO (Reuters) - Five soldiers from Niger and three U.S. Army Special Forces troops were killed and two wounded in an ambush on a joint patrol in southwest Niger on Wednesday, according to Nigerien and U.S. officials. The five Green Berets were attacked while on a routine patrol in an area known to have a presence of insurgents, including from al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Islamic State, a U.S. official told Reuters. It was unclear who fired on the U.S. and U.S.-backed forces, the official said. Those forces were not patrolling the area with any specific objective, such as a high-value target or rescuing a hostage, the official added. A spokesman for U.S. Africa Command confirmed the attack...
(BBC 10/05/17)
Three US soldiers have been killed and two others wounded in an ambush in Niger near the border with Mali, the US Africa Command has said. Another soldier from a "partner nation" had also died in the attack, it said - without specifying their nationality. The US soldiers had been providing advice and assistance in Niger's counter-terror operations and come under "hostile fire", it said. Islamist militants, including al-Qaeda fighters, operate in the region. They are most active in neighbouring Mali, where French troops intervened in 2013 to prevent them from advancing on the capital. Read more at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-41507337
(Reuters (Eng) 10/05/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT.N) plans to spend $50 million over the next five years to add 100 hotels to its chain in Africa, it said on Thursday, joining other chains keen to tap growing business and international travel on the continent. One property will open in the Kenyan capital Nairobi by the end of this year and another in the Rwandan capital Kigali in 2018, it said in a statement. There was 11 percent growth in Sub-Saharan African tourism in the past year, according to data from the U.N. World Tourism Organisation. Hilton said the remaining additions to its 39 existing African properties would be operational within the next five years. “The model of converting existing...
(APA 10/05/17)
APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) - The African Union (AU) will on Thursday endorse reports and recommendations on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment (ARWE) made by experts and senior officials in a meeting held on Monday and Tuesday. The endorsement will take place during the ministerial session of the AU’s Specialized Technical Committee on ARWE that opened on Thursday in Addis Ababa under the theme “Improve environmental sustainability and transform agriculture to ensure food and nutrition security.” These include policy papers and reports on agriculture, rural development, water and environment and recommendations and guidance on issues in the 2063 Africa Development Agenda, including agriculture, environment, climate change, and youth engagement. Among the points chosen for the discussions are the assessment of...
(AFP (eng) 10/03/17)
Mauritania on Monday called for more support to roll out an anti-jihadist force in Africa's Sahel region where the deployment of 5,000 troops has been delayed by a lack of financing. The new joint force being set up by five countries of the Sahel region -- Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- has an annual budget of about $496 million (422 million euros) a year, but only about $127 million has been pledged so far. Khadijetou Mbareck Fall, a Mauritanian junior foreign minister, told a Mediterranean nations conference that the international community has "endorsed the fundamental mission of the force" and should back it up with better financial support. The force's funding will be discussed by donors at...
(AFP (eng) 10/03/17)
UN Security Council ambassadors will travel to Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania this month to get a close-up view of a new regional force that France is hoping to shore up with financing, the French ambassador said Monday. The Sahel force is set to begin operations this month, tasked with combating Islamic militants, some of whom have links to Al-Qaeda, but a question mark remains over funding. France will use its presidency of the Security Council in October to focus attention on the new counterterrorism mission of up to 5,000 men set up by Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. French Ambassador Francois Delattre said support for the Sahel force "needs to translate in terms of financing... both bilateral...
(AFP (eng) 09/29/17)
Government shutdowns of the internet have cost sub-Saharan Africa about $237 million since 2015, according to a study released Friday, as authorities increasingly implement planned disruptions. At least 12 countries have had internet shutdowns, often before elections or when protests erupt, with mobile internet networks most recently suspended in Togo during opposition demonstrations. "Internet disruptions, however short-lived, undermine economic growth, disrupt the delivery of critical services, erode business confidence, and raise a country’s risk profile," the CIPESA report said. The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) released its...

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