Friday 20 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
By the time her 19-year-old son was shot in front of her, Ayak had already lost her four brothers and witnessed countless deaths in South Sudan's brutal war. Living alone in a miserable structure of plastic sheets and tin in a huge camp for displaced people, watching as relentless rains turned earth to mud, it all became too much to bear for the 44 year-old. "I have seen it all. When I thought about the lives of my relatives and their deaths, I decided to take my own life, too," Ayak says, falling silent as tears fill her eyes. She survived her suicide attempt but is only one of a growing number of people trying to end their own lives...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
The armed forces of Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar said on Thursday that their warplanes had attacked Chadian rebels in the country's southern desert last weekend. Air raids targeted a rebel-held roadblock 400 kilometres (250 miles) southeast of Sebha, as well as other positions in an oasis in the Terbu region 400 kms farther south, an official with Haftar's so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) told AFP. "The strikes aim at restoring security and applying law in the south," the official said, without giving details about the identity of the targets. An armed Chadian group, the Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic (CCMSR), said it had been attacked by Haftar's planes. CCMSR's spokesman in exile, Kingabe Ogouzeimi de Tapol,...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
A DR Congo press freedom body on Wednesday called for the "immediate release" of a journalist detained on defamation allegations. Serge Olivier Nkongolo is a journalist for Kilimanjaro Radio which broadcasts to Tshikapa, the capital of the central Kasai region. Journalist in Danger (JED) "demands the immediate release" of the journalist, it said in a statement, adding that he was being held for defamation in a "dungeon in the public prosecutor's office near the Tshikapa High Court". It said Nkongolo was summoned by the prosecutor earlier Wednesday and questioned about an article he posed on Facebook "denouncing the behaviour, without naming names, of certain officials of the governorate of the province who have become known, according to him, for attacks...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Nigeria's economic capital Lagos was on a lockdown Thursday as President Muhammadu Buhari makes his first official visit to the city of 22 million inhabitants since coming to power in 2015. The president rarely travels outside of Abuja, home to the government seat, and has only visited a few of Nigeria's 36 states over the past three years. For Thursday's visit, many businesses including banks, shops and markets were shut in the fifth largest economy on the continent. Hundreds of commuters and workers were stranded at bus stops to allow for a hitch-free visit, with many forced to trek several kilometres to their destinations as commercial buses were off the roads. "I left home around 5:00 am to enable me...
(BBC News Africa 03/29/18)
Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is set to be re-elected for a second term, partial results suggest. The state-run al-Ahram newspaper said Mr Sisi had won almost 92% of the 25 million votes counted so far. His sole challenger was Moussa Mustafa Moussa, a little-known party leader who had supported his re-election until his last-minute decision to enter the race. Other potential candidates dropped out or were arrested, prompting opposition figures to call for a boycott. Mr Sisi led the military's overthrow of Egypt's first democratically-elected president, Mohammed Morsi, in 2013 following mass protests against his rule. Since then, he has overseen what human rights groups say is an unprecedented crackdown on dissent that has led to the detention of...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Gunmen believed to be cattle thieves killed 15 herders in the latest bout of violence in northern Nigeria's herding communities, police and a local official said Thursday. "Armed bandits attacked Bawon-Daji village yesterday and killed 15 people," the police spokesman for Zamfara state, Muhammad Shehu, told AFP. His account was corroborated by a senior local government official, Gado Anka. Anka told AFP motorcycle-riding gunmen stormed the remote village in Anka district around 1:00 pm (1200GMT), shooting dead 12 residents before fleeing to a hideout in the bush. "They returned two hours later and attacked mourners during the funeral of the victims in the cemetery, killing three more and injuring several others," he said. Rural communuties in the agrarian state are...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
A thick sandstorm engulfed the Sudanese capital on Thursday, forcing authorities to cancel flights and shut schools in Khartoum and other nearby towns. Children and office workers stayed indoors while vehicles kept off roads as a thick orange haze shrouded the capital from early morning. Several domestic and international flights were cancelled after the meteorological department issued a pre-dawn advisory, an official at Khartoum airport said. "From 3:00 am (0500 GMT) no flight has landed or taken off from Khartoum airport," Mohamed Mahdi, Khartoum airport spokesman, told AFP. "Because of the bad weather we expect the airport to remain shut until further notice," he said.
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
An outspoken member of the opposition alliance was Wednesday expelled from Kenya for the second time in two months, his lawyer told AFP. Miguna Miguna, a firebrand member of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, was forced onto an international flight to Canada last month. The High Court on February 26 ordered immigration authorities to allow him to return to the country and he arrived back on Monday. "He has been deported," for a second time, said lawyer Cliff Ombeta by telephone. "It is a Dubai destined flight but we don't know where they're taking him." An airport source confirmed the new deportation after immigration refused to allow him entry -- despite one judge calling for his release and another...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Sierra Leone chooses a new president on Saturday following a delay caused by a ruling party-backed court case over alleged electoral fraud, spiking tensions following an already fractious campaign. The West African nation's 3.1 million voters will choose between the ruling All Peoples' Congress (APC) candidate Samura Kamara and opposition challenger Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP). Bio, a former junta leader, won by just 15,000 votes in the March 7 first round, but failed to attain the 55 percent of ballots needed to win outright, triggering a runoff. Turnout was over 80 percent.
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Julius Maada Bio, 53, a former coup-maker who once apologised for exactions carried out by his comrades, is taking a second stab at leading Sierra Leone as a civilian. The straight-talking retired brigadier, who briefly led a junta in 1996, is hoping to end a decade in power for the All Peoples' Congress (APC) with Saturday's runoff presidential election. A member of the Mende people who traditionally lend strong support to the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), Bio was born on May 12, 1964, in the southern town of Tihun. After school and military training, he was sent in 1990 to neighbouring Liberia, where war had just broken out, to serve in the Sierra Leone contingent of troops sent...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Veteran politician Samura Kamara, seen as a shrewd political operator, hopes to take up the mantle of outgoing president Ernest Bai Koroma as his hand-picked successor. An economist by training, the 66-year-old Kamara was foreign minister until last year when he stepped down to pursue the presidency under the flag of the ruling All Peoples' Congress (APC), an announcement that came as a surprise to many. A Catholic in a majority Muslim nation, Kamara is known for his ready smile and dislike of confrontation, in sharp contrast to his opposition opponent Julius Maada Bio, a tough-talking former junta boss. Koroma has campaigned by Kamara's side, presenting him as the continuity candidate in the poor West African country that has suffered...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
As UN peacekeepers leave Liberia after 14 years, headway in reforming the security forces is being undermined by lack of progress in tackling the country's traumatic legacy of war crimes, officials say. Liberia's 1989-2003 conflict killed around a quarter of a million people, while government forces and rebel groups murdered, maimed and raped with impunity. The UN mission, known as UNMIL, was deployed in September 2003 as the highly politicised army and police were disbanded after committing some of the worst abuses. The effort to protect Liberians after the gruelling conflict will be remembered long after the mission's exit, said Eugene Farkollie, a civil society leader.
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
President Ian Khama of Botswana this week wrapped up a national "farewell tour" before he stands down on Saturday in a power transfer designed to stress his statesmanship and the country's stability. Khama has visited all of Botswana's 57 constituencies since December, bidding a long goodbye to a population of just 2.2 million after serving the constitutional maximum of 10 years in office. He will be succeeded by Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi, a full 18 months before elections. Khama's two terms in power have been defined by his country's rapid development thanks to lucrative diamond and beef exports and by a reputation for good governance. He has also become renowned for straight talking -- breaking with diplomatic convention to criticise...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
The West African nation of Sierra Leone, among the world's poorest countries despite significant mineral wealth, has been scarred by a brutal civil war and the deadly Ebola virus. Here is some background as Freetown prepares to hold a delayed presidential runoff on Saturday to replace Ernest Bai Koroma, who is stepping down after two terms. - Brutal civil war - Founded by Britain in 1787 for freed slaves evacuated from the Caribbean, Sierra Leone was a British colony until independence in 1961. Thirty years later -- after a series of coups and rife instability -- it was plunged into a devastating civil war notorious for mutilations, drugged child soldiers, sex slaves and rapes. The 11-year conflict (1991-2002) was launched...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
A high-ranking Al-Qaeda operative and another jihadist were killed in a US air strike in Libya, the Pentagon confirmed Wednesday. The March 24 strike near Ubari in southern Libya killed "two Al-Qaeda terrorists, including Musa Abu Dawud, a high ranking Al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) official," the US military's Africa Command said in a statement. Officials said the strike had been coordinated with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. "Dawud trained AQIM recruits in Libya for attack operations in the region," the statement read. "He provided critical logistics support, funding and weapons to AQIM, enabling the terrorist group to threaten and attack US and Western interests in the region." Libya...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
The Gambian army has filed desertion charges against two renegade generals who went into exile with former president Yahya Jammeh last year, the force told AFP on Wednesday. General Umpa Mendy and General Ansumana Tamba sought refuge in Equatorial Guinea alongside Jammeh in January 2017 after his brutal 22-year rule came to an end. Major Lamin Sanyang, an army spokesman, said the pair were "charged with desertion of duty contrary to the Gambia Armed Forces Act", and would appear before a general court martial on April 4. Mendy was in personal charge of protecting the mercurial former leader, while Tamba was the head of his presidential guard. The top brass left the country on board Jammeh's plane bound for exile...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Shell has filed a criminal complaint in the Netherlands against a former employee in connection with a 2011 oil deal in Nigeria, a company spokesman said Wednesday. News of the complaint, which was filed last week, comes at the same time the energy giant is facing a criminal trial in Italy over an allegedly corrupt scheme to acquire a Nigerian oil block called OPL 245. Though the complaint is not connected to the billion dollar OPL 245 deal, the employee was working for Shell when both deals took place. "Based on what we know now from an internal investigation, we suspect a crime may have been committed by our former employee...against Shell in relation to the sale process for Oil...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Morocco announced Wednesday the arrest of a man allegedly seen in an online video sexually assaulting a girl in broad daylight, a scene that sent shock waves across the country. The interior ministry said the unnamed 21-year-old was arrested for attempted rape of the girl aged 17 in the southern province of Rhamna. In footage posted online on Tuesday, the assailant kneels on top of the teenager touching and hitting her as she struggles in the dusty ground to get free. "Don't you have a sister?" she cries out, as a third person films the assault. Authorities said the other person had been identified and that he would also be arrested as part of an investigation into the assault. Local...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Hundreds of people took to the streets of Accra, Ghana's capital, on Wednesday to protest against a controversial military deal with Washington which was passed by parliament last week. The agreement was approved by President Nana Akufo-Addo's government on Friday but has come under heavy criticism from the opposition who say it undermines the country's sovereignty. Ghana and the United States are working to forge closer ties between their armed forces but both have denied rumours that Washington is planning to set up military bases in the West African nation. "This is an insensitive government," said protestor Yaa Yaa Abban. "We'll resist this deal with the US because it does not favour us."
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Ten civilians and a Ugandan militant died when Congolese troops clashed with rebels in the flashpoint town of Beni in Democratic Republic of Congo's troubled east, an army spokesman said Wednesday. The incident took place on Tuesday evening when rebels attacked military positions around Beni in North Kivu, Captain Mak Hazukay told AFP. "We listed 10 dead civilians so far," he said. A rebel from Uganda's Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia was also killed, he said, adding that fighting was ongoing. Michel Kakule, the lead physician at Beni hospital, told AFP some of the victims "had gunshot wounds while others had been attacked with machetes." The violence sparked an angry backlash among locals "who blocked off several main roads in...

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