Sunday 22 October 2017
(AFP (eng) 06/30/17)
Some 600 West African migrants heading for Europe have been saved since April from the Niger desert after being abandoned by smugglers, the International Organization for Migration said Thursday. The announcement came after the presumed deaths of dozens in the same area last week alone and hundreds more fatalities off the coast of Libya. "IOM's search and rescue operation saved 600 migrants stranded in the Sahara desert since April," the group said on its website. The last part of the operation saw 24 migrants lifted -- one died later -- last week and transferred to an IOM transit centre...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/30/17)
President Emmanuel Macron heads to Mali on Sunday to throw France's weight behind a new West African military force he hopes will lay the basis for an exit strategy for its own troops; but its prospects for success look slim. Mali is hosting a heads of state summit with Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania - known as the G5 Sahel - who could ultimately deploy thousands of troops into the vast, arid Sahel region that remains a breeding ground for militants and traffickers that Paris considers a threat to Europe. Four years after intervening in its former colony to ward off a jihadist offensive, there is no sign of France withdrawing its 4,000-strong regional Barkhane contingent as they, alongside...
(RFI 06/30/17)
French troops will work with the new force from five Sahel countries fighting armed Islamists in west and central Africa, Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced Thursday. "This force is first going to secure the borders, particularly in the areas where terrorist groups have developed," the newly appointed minister said in an interview with Le Monde newspaper. "Accompanying them is the priority for the Barkhane operation." France has deployed soldiers in the region since January 2013, when it spearheaded an international military initiative against Al-Qaeda jihadist groups allied to Tuareg separatists occupying northern Mali. Whole areas are still beyond the control of the Malian, French and UN forces working in the sub-Saharan region. Deadly attacks and tense relations have...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/28/17)
Over 50 African migrants are feared dead in the Sahara desert of northern Niger on Tuesday after being abandoned by their drivers, aid workers and local officials said on Tuesday. A convoy of three pick-up trucks were transporting over 70 migrants north through the Sahara Desert towards Libya -- a typical route for West Africans seeking to reach Europe -- when the drivers abandoned them. Twenty-three of the migrants survived after walking to a nearby town for help, the International Organization for Migration said in a press release on Tuesday, which said the survivors came from Nigeria, Gambia, Ivory Coast and Senegal. A local official told Reuters that of the remaining 52, at least 15 were known to have died...
(AFP (eng) 06/28/17)
The generic version of the most advanced drug against HIV has been introduced in Kenya, a first in Africa where more than 25 million have the disease, the NGO Unitaid said Wednesday. The drug, Dolutegravir (DTG) is the anti-retroviral drug of choice for those living with HIV in developed countries, but its high price has put it out of reach for most struggling with the disease in Africa. "The generic DTG has two advantages: on the one hand, it is very good from a pharmaceutical point of view. On the other hand, it is much cheaper," said Robert Matiru of Unitaid, which works to reduce the costs of medicines treating AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. He described the drug as "the...
(AFP (eng) 06/27/17)
Twenty-four West African migrants were rescued and dozens more feared dead after traffickers deserted them in Niger's northern desert without food or water, a senior local official said Monday. The migrants rescued on Sunday were part of a group of "70 people who had left in three vehicles from Agadez for Libya," Fatoumi Boudou, the prefect of the northern region of Bilma. Agadez is a remote town in Niger on the edge of the Sahara that has become the smuggling capital of Africa. The traffickers "abandoned them in the middle of the desert without food or water," he said, adding that those rescued had spoken of several dead bodies without specifying a number.
(The Associated Press 06/27/17)
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) -- The International Organization for Migration says 51 migrants are presumed dead in the Sahara Desert in Niger after smugglers abandoned them during their journey north to Libya. The group said Tuesday that some 24 migrants from Gambia, Nigeria, Senegal and Ivory Coast alerted authorities days ago that they had been stranded. The organization said the survivors were taken to Seguedine, where one died. They will be transferred to the Dirkou center Tuesday. The survivors said they were in a group of 75 taking three different cars. The organization said authorities are searching for the 51 bodies after sand storms. IOM says it has saved more than 600 migrants since April 2016 in Niger, which is a...
(BBC News Africa 06/27/17)
Fifty-two migrants have been found dead in the deserts of central Niger, near Séguédine. A group of 75 set out in three vehicles but were abandoned by traffickers, who feared the security forces. A local official told the BBC that dozens of bodies had been buried, and 23 survivors were taken to the town, although one later died. African migrants travel through the desert aiming to reach Libya and cross the Mediterranean to Europe. However, the journey is perilous as the migrants are crammed into pick-up trucks and have few supplies. Read more at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-40408599
(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...

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