Tuesday 23 January 2018
(Reuters (Eng) 01/22/18)
KLEINARL, Austria (Reuters) - The chilly conditions on an Austrian mountainside belied the warm reception given to people from 15 African countries who took part in an annual luge race aimed at helping migrants integrate into European society. The event over the weekend, dubbed the African Winter Sports Cup, is a luge race contested by people with little or no experience of winter sports. Its aim, over the six years it has been held, is to promote social integration through sport, organizers said. The countries represented included Nigeria, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan. Some of the people taking part had come to Europe as asylum seekers while others were born on the continent. “We...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
At least seven Niger soldiers were killed and more than a dozen others wounded this week in an attack by suspected Boko Haram militants in the country's southeast, the government said on Friday. "The provisional toll for the cowardly terror attack on Wednesday night in Toummour is seven dead, seventeen wounded and one soldier missing," said a cabinet statement. Toummour is located in the Diffa administrative region, which lies on the border with Nigeria and Chad. It has suffered a string of deadly Boko Haram attacks since February 2015, although the area has been relatively calm in recent months. Last week, the United Nations said there had been a sharp fall in the number of Niger civilians kidnapped, killed or...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Britain is set to send helicopters to bolster a key French counter-terrorism operation in Mali in a package of measures to be agreed at a summit near London on Thursday. The commitment will come as Prime Minister Theresa May meets French President Emmanuel Macron at an army base near the British capital, with immigration and global aid also on their agenda. In a separate move, Italy's parliament on Wednesday also approved a ramped up military presence in Niger by agreeing...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
There's nothing covert about Roxy -- a huge market in Abidjan selling counterfeit medicine, the scourge of Africa and the cause of around 100,000 deaths annually on the world's poorest continent. Located in the bustling Adjame quarter of Ivory Coast's main city and commercial hub, the haven for fake medicine has been targeted time and again by authorities and stockpiles burnt. But it resurfaces every time. "The police hassle us but they themselves buy these medicines," said Mariam, one of...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/18)
A jihadist group linked to Islamic State has claimed responsibility for attacks on US and French troops in west Africa, in a statement published Friday by Mauritania's ANI news agency. The group, led by Adnan Abu Walid Sahraoui, said it was behind "an attack against an American commando unit in Niger in October." On October 4, four US and four Niger troops were killed in an ambush at Tongo Tongo, a village close to the Mali border. That attack had been blamed on the jihadists but it is only now that the group claimed responsibility.
(AFP (eng) 01/11/18)
A total of 141 civilians in Niger were killed, kidnapped or wounded by the Boko Haram jihadist group last year, a sharp fall compared with 2016, the UN said on Wednesday. The toll in 2016 was 227 after 214 in 2015, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report. Boko Haram launched an insurgency in northeast Nigeria in 2009 that in 2015 spilled into Niger. It also affects the country's other neighbours, Chad and Cameroon...
(AFP (eng) 01/09/18)
Four west African states have launched a major offensive against the Boko Haram jihadist group in Nigeria, the military said on Tuesday. Soldiers from Nigeria and the neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger are targeting a Boko Haram faction led by Abubakar Shekau in the Sambisa Forest, and another led by Mamman Nur, on and around Lake Chad. Both locations are in Borno state, northeast Nigeria. According to the Nigerian military, scores of jihadists have been killed and hundreds of others have been forced to surrender in recent days. Top brass in Abuja have claimed that Nur had been injured and one of his wives killed in an aerial bombardment.
(AFP (eng) 01/09/18)
Five Sahel countries that have pledged to pool military efforts to fight terrorism have set up a fiduciary fund to oversee donations for their campaign. The decision was made by the defence and foreign ministers of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, Malian Foreign Minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly said late Monday. Their countries form the so-called G5 Sahel, a French-supported group that last year launched a joint military force to combat jihadism plaguing the region. Pledges last month brought...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
Israel on Wednesday began implementing a plan to force tens of thousands of African migrants out of the country by April, threatening to arrest those who stay. "This plan will get under way today," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting. Under the programme, some 38,000 migrants who entered Israel illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, will have until the end of March to leave. Each will receive a plane ticket and $3,500 (2,900 euros) to...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/29/17)
ROME (Reuters) - Italy aims to deploy up to 470 troops to Niger to help tackle people-smuggling, the military General Staff said on Thursday. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Sunday some of the 1,400 Italian troops now stationed in Iraq could be transferred to the Sahel region in West Africa - which includes Niger - after victories against Islamist militants in Iraq. Gentiloni said the redeployed troops could also help to combat terrorism in the Sahel. The General Staff...
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
France on Monday accepted a first group of 19 refugees who were identified in Africa under an overhauled asylum policy that will also see it expel thousands of economic migrants. While it has drawn little public outcry in France, the policy faces stiff opposition from the left and from charities that shelter migrants, 22 of which called in an open letter for France's rights ombudsman Jacques Toubon to intervene. Djamel, a refugee from the Central African Republic, arrived at Paris's...
(AFP (eng) 12/07/17)
Niger has flown home more than 500 of its citizens from Libya as part of an urgent repatriation plan which will see up to 4,000 people evacuated, the foreign ministry has said. The move follows global shock over the atrocities suffered in Libya by African migrants, many of whom are trying to reach Europe, which was brought home by a CNN report showing people being sold as slaves. Pressure has since grown on individual states and the African Union to...
(AFP (eng) 12/07/17)
The African Union has upped its goal to repatriate stranded migrants from Libya, saying in a statement that it aims to bring 20,000 Africans home in the next six weeks. Pressure has grown on the continental body and individual African states to get their citizens out of Libya after CNN broadcast a report showing black Africans being sold as slaves in the north African country. The African Union had earlier said it wanted to repatriate 15,000 migrants by the year's end, but increased its goal after a task force - including AU, European Union and United Nations officials -- met earlier this week.
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Niger on Wednesday said it had begun work on a new national security and defence policy as part of its campaign to fight terrorism, in a country where attacks by Boko Haram and the Islamic State are frequent. During a forum of experts and military brass in the capital Niamey, the president's chief of staff, Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou, announced that the meeting marked the "first phase" in a strategy that would bring in pro-active and long-term measures. "We no longer want to remain on the back foot and (having to respond with) short-term measures," Mahamadou said.
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Angry AIDS activists are urging western and central Africa to step up the fight against HIV, saying millions of people, especially children, are at risk from complacency and underfunding. A six-day conference in Africa has thrown a stark light on the problems in a region whose two dozen nations extend from Mauritania in the north to Gabon in the south, and include some of the poorest countries in the world. Coalition Plus, an alliance of AIDS groups, said AIDS-related deaths...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Conflicts, violence and disaster across Africa forced some 15,000 people to flee their homes every day in the first half of the year, international monitors said Wednesday. A total of 2.7 million Africans were internally displaced within their own countries in the first six months of 2017, a report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) found. They join the estimated 12.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) living in African countries at the end...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
The head of the UN's AIDS agency on Monday urged African countries to protect young women and children who are bearing the brunt of the continent's AIDS epidemic. A sharp rise of people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has now slowed, "but now is not the time to drop our guard," Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, told the start of a six-day conference on HIV/AIDS and sexually-transmitted diseases in Africa. "The many changes under way in our...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/30/17)
DAKAR/LIBORE, Niger (Reuters) - Mabingue Ngom, the head of the U.N. Population Fund in West Africa, knows that if he wants to cut birth rates he can’t ignore religion. Population experts like Ngom are worried that if West Africa’s population continues to grow at its current pace - the region has the highest birth rate in the world - it will drive fiercer competition for scarce water and farmland, and fuel malnutrition, conflict and ever more economic refugees. West African...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
Twenty-five asylum seekers from Africa arrived safely in Rome Thursday, using a Christian "humanitarian corridor" set up for Syrians fleeing the war in their homeland. "It was just a project but it became THE project, the way of the future," said Mario Morcone of the Italian interior ministry. The 25 men, women and children from Somalia, Eritrea and South Sudan arrived in Rome before dawn on a flight from Ethiopia. They will be moved to centres across the country. "We...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
More than 80 African and European leaders will gather in the Ivory Coast on Wednesday to promote jobs and stability for Africa's exploding population, with some calling for a new "Marshall Plan." The two-day summit in Abidjan opens as the European Union increasingly sees its fate linked to Africa's following the twin shocks of unprecedented migration and terrorist attacks. It comes as China, India, Japan, the Gulf Arab states and others also compete for influence on a continent where the 28-nation EU remains as a whole the biggest economic and political player. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani told parliamentarians from both continents before the summit...

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