Sunday 21 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Nigerian cattle breeders on Sunday defended themselves from criticism after recent clashes with farmers left 80 dead, claiming they had lost more than 1,000 people to violence since mid-2017. Fulani herdsmen have been blamed for a spate of attacks against farming communities in the central state of Benue since the start of this year, putting pressure on the government to act. President Muhammadu Buhari has been criticised for his response to the attacks, which security analysts assess could pose a bigger threat than Boko Haram in the country's northeast. Pressure for land and water is seen as the main driver of the conflict, alongside ethnic and sectarian grievances, while a failure to prosecute those responsible...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
The World Health Organization Monday said there was a high risk of a cholera epidemic after flooding in Kinshasa, the teeming and ramshackle capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. "In a big city like Kinshasa, which has between 10 and 12 million inhabitants, the rains and the floods make the risk of a spread of this epidemic very high," the WHO's Africa director Matshidiso R. Moeti said at a press briefing. Since a cholera outbreak was first reported in November, officials had registered "531 cases, with 32 deaths," senior health ministry official Sylvain Yuma Ramazani told journalists. The highly infectious disease, which thrives in conditions of poor sanitation and contaminated water or food, has spread to 21 of the...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Liberia's ruling party said Sunday it had expelled outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for not backing her vice-president, Joseph Boakai, in a presidential election run-off lost to former footballer George Weah. Sirleaf, 79, will formally hand over power to Weah on January 22 after serving two six-year terms, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner having made history in 2005 when she became Africa's first elected female leader. "The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Unity Party has voted to expel" Sirleaf, the party said in a statement. "The vote was taken as a result of several violations of the party's constitution and other acts inimical to the existence and reputation of the party," it added, noting that the party's constitution...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Burundian refugees living in a transit camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday complained of a lack of humanitarian support after their refusal to register on a biometric database, claiming it would violate their religion. "We've had no more assistance from humanitarian organisations since January 1, 2018, still less from the (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)," spokeswoman for the group Francoise Ndayisenga told AFP. The refugees belong to an obscure Catholic sect that follows a female prophet called Zebiya, who claims to have had several visions of the Virgin Mary in north Burundi...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
The cyclone that slammed into Madagascar earlier this month has claimed 51 lives, with 54,000 people displaced by flooding, heavy rain and high winds, authorities said. Tropical cyclone Ava made landfall on January 5, lashing the eastern part of the African island for 24 hours, with many rivers overflowing, roads cut off and bridges submerged. Twenty-two people are still missing while 161,000 others have been affected following the storms, the National Bureau for Risk and Catastrophe Management (NBRCM) said late Sunday. The toll from Ava stood at 29 dead and 80,000 affected one week ago. Madagascar, one of the world's poorest countries, is regularly hit by cyclones. In March last year, cyclone Enawo killed at least 78 people.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/15/18)
LONDON (Reuters) - The cobalt market will record a supply surplus both this year and next, according to heavyweight commodities research house CRU. This might seem a little surprising, given all the bullish hype surrounding a metal that more than doubled in price last year. CRU itself has drastically revised its original assessment of a sustained supply shortfall due to strong demand growth from the battery sector. What has changed its mind? In short, it’s the return of the Katanga mine after two years of suspended activities. Once fully operational, Katanga will be the “largest cobalt-producing mining project in the world”. (CRU Insight, Jan. 4 2018) Bulls needn’t panic just yet, however. CRU doesn’t expect much of a price reaction...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
A group of young women shown in a video released by Boko Haram on Monday are purported to be among the more than 200 abducted from Chibok, northeast Nigeria, in 2014. Here is a timeline of the mass kidnapping that captured global attention: - Snatched from school - On April 14, 2014 Boko Haram gunmen seize 276 girls aged 12 to 17 from the Government Girls Secondary School in the remote town of Chibok in Borno state. The girls are forced from their dormitories onto trucks and driven into the bush. Fifty-seven manage to flee. Boko Haram factional leader Abubakar Shekau claims responsibility in a video released on May 5 and vows to sell the girls as slave brides. A...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/15/18)
ST MORITZ, Switzerland (Reuters) - Skiers from African nations are usually looked on as a novelty at the Olympic Games but Kenya’s Sabrina Wanjiku Simader is deadly serious about her career. The 19-year-old, born in Kenya and raised in Austria, has already taken her first steps on the World Cup Alpine skiing circuit and harbors ambitions to establish herself as a professional. Significantly, Simader competes in the more challenging and dangerous speed disciplines, downhill and Super G. Usually, racers from outside the traditional Alpine skiing nations do not venture beyond the less risky slalom and giant slalom. “Because I‘m a Kenyan, that makes me exotic and some people think I can’t ski well,” she told Reuters after competing in the...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Hosts and title favourites Morocco ran riot in the second half to defeat neighbours Mauritania 4-0 Saturday in the opening match of the 2018 African Nations Championship. Ayoub el Kaabi broke brave resistance from the Mauritanians on 66 minutes and Ismail el Haddad added a second goal six minutes later at Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca. El Kaabi bagged a brace 10 minutes from time before being substituted as Morocco made an impressive start in Group A, where Guinea tackle Sudan Sunday at the same venue. Morocco started with three of 2017 CAF Champions League-winning Wydad Casablanca team, but only brought on star attackers Achraf Bencharki and Walid el Karti in the closing stages. Bencharki completed the rout with a...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Rusty debutants Namibia scored in stoppage time Sunday to shock the Ivory Coast 1-0 in Group B during the opening round of matches at the African Nations Championship in Morocco. A lacklustre match in central city Marrakech seemed destined to end goalless until Vetunuavi Hambira got the slightest of touches with his head to a free-kick for the match-winner. Because of a dispute between national association and league officials in Namibia, there has been no top-flight championship football in the southern Africa country for more than a year. The only competitive match practice the Namibians got ahead of the 23-day tournament in Morocco was defeating Zimbabwe and the Comoros last year in two-leg qualifiers. Ivory Coast finished third in the...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/18)
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi was to hold talks Saturday with political parties, unions and employers to discuss means to overcome unrest triggered by austerity measures. The North African country has been shaken by a wave of protests over poverty and unemployment during which hundreds have been arrested before the unrest tapered off. The demonstrations broke out ahead of Sunday's seventh anniversary of the toppling of veteran dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in a revolt that sparked uprisings across the Arab region. The trigger of the protests last Sunday was a finance law imposing tax hikes after a year of rising prices. A man in his 40s died in unrest on Monday night in the northern town of Tebourba...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/18)
Supported by throngs of worshippers and with western ambassadors in attendance, Catholic leaders in DR Congo hammered home a message of anger toward President Joseph Kabila on Friday at a mass to mourn victims of a crackdown. Police fired a couple of warning shots to disperse worshippers outside Kinshasa cathedral after the highly-charged mass, which was led by prominent government critic Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo, an AFP journalist reported. Police said they fired only teargas, and two people were slightly injured. Armed officers arrived at the cathedral gates as the congregation was leaving a service to commemorate the six fatalities of a crackdown on New Year's Eve marches that demanded Kabila leave office.
(AFP (eng) 01/13/18)
An Ethiopian court has sentenced prominent dissident Bekele Gerba and three other opposition figures to six months in jail for singing a protest song in court, a defence lawyer told AFP on Friday. The four, all members of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), have been in pre-trial custody since their arrest in late 2015 when a wave of anti-government protests broke out. Bekele, the deputy OFC chairman, and the three other party officials broke into song on Thursday after the judges ruled against his request to summon Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and other high-ranking government officials as defence witnesses, their attorney Ameha Mekonnen said.
(AFP (eng) 01/13/18)
Hundreds of Tunisians took to the streets of the capital and the coastal city of Sfax on Friday, waving yellow cards and demanding that the government reverse austerity measures. More than 200 young people rallied in Tunis following a call from the Fech Nestannew (What Are We Waiting For?) campaign for a major protest against the measures imposed at the start of the year. They held up yellow cards and chanted slogans amid a major deployment of riot police as they marched on administrative offices in the capital. "The people want the Finance Act repealed" and "The people are fed up with the new Trabelsi", they shouted, referring to the graft-tainted in-laws of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/18)
Morocco will start a gradual and controlled liberalisation of its currency the dirham from Monday, Prime Minister Saad-Eddine Al-Othmani said after a cabinet meeting. The North African country has had a fixed exchange rate regime for the dirham since the 1970s. It is pegged to the euro and the dollar. Othmani spoke to AFP on Friday after a cabinet meeting during which the long-expected decision was taken. The process of moving towards what the authorities call a "flexible exchange rate" had been expected to begin in July after a recommendation by the International Monetary Fund. But the move was delayed with the government arguing that it needed more time to study the procedure. Officials have stressed that there would be...
(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.
(APA 01/13/18)
APA-Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) - Le Prince Albert II de Monaco, en visite de travail et d’amitié de 72 heures au Burkina Faso, a inauguré vendredi matin, un centre de formation de la Croix-rouge, à Loumbila, localité située à une vingtaine de kilomètres au Nord-est de Ouagadougou. La construction du Centre de formation polyvalente de Loumbila a été financée par la Croix-Rouge monégasque dirigée par le Prince Albert depuis plus de trente ans. La principauté de Monaco, a-t-on appris, a déboursé plus de trois (3) milliards de francs CFA pour la réalisation de l’infrastructure inaugurée ce vendredi matin, en présence du président Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. Après l’inauguration du Centre polyvalent, son Altesse sérénissime (SAS) le prince Albert II de...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The Gambia has suspended permission for rallies and other public political events after clashes allegedly between supporters of President Adama Barrow and those of the former regime of Yahya Jammeh. Gambian police said in a statement issued late Thursday that permits for political parties to campaign were on hold while it investigated two violent incidents in rural areas this week. "The office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) notifies all political parties that all permits granted to conduct political activities have been suspended until further notice," the statement said. The Gambia holds local elections in April. The first incident occurred on February 8 near Mankamang Kunda, the home village of President Barrow, where supporters of the ruling United Democratic...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/12/18)
MUSANZE, Rwanda (Reuters) - A census of mountain gorillas due in March will likely show numbers have risen this decade, experts said during a ceremony to mark Rwanda’s expansion of its Volcano National Park. The last global survey in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda in 2010 found just 480 individuals of the critically endangered sub-species. Eugene Mutangana, the head of conservation at the Rwandan Development Board (RDB), said an average of 18 baby mountain gorillas had been born each year in Rwanda since 2005, when the east African nation began naming them in an annual ceremony. “We only had seven families of gorillas seven years ago. Today we have 20,” RDB chief executive Clare Akamanzi said. Mountain...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
Boko Haram fighters have killed at least 20 loggers, militia members and residents told AFP on Friday, in the latest attack against civilians in northeast Nigeria. The attack happened on Monday when gunmen on motorbikes opened fire on a group of loggers collecting firewood at Kaje village, near the Borno state capital, Maiduguri. "They (Boko Haram) killed 20 people in the attack. Fifteen others are missing and presumed kidnapped by the attackers," civilian militia leader Ibrahim Liman told AFP. Details of the attack have been slow to emerge due to limited communications infrastructure after years of fighting in the remote region.

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