Saturday 21 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/31/18)
Voting began Saturday in Sierra Leone in the final round of a delayed run-off presidential election after a campaign marked by verbal sparring, sporadic violence and a last-minute legal battle. A wafer-thin margin separated the two frontrunners after the first round on March 7, adding to tensions in the West African country where political loyalties are often divided along ethnic lines and traumatic memories of civil war run deep. Opposition challenger Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) had a narrow edge over Samura Kamara of the ruling All Peoples' Congress (APC), in a ballot with a turnout of more than 80 percent. "So far this morning, everything is normal, it is...
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has won a second term with 96.9 percent of valid votes, state media reported on Friday, raising a previous tally from the preliminary count. The flagship state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram also raised its estimate of turnout in the March 26-28 election to 42.08 percent, saying 25 million of Egypt's 60 million registered voters had cast ballots. On Tuesday, the paper had reported that Sisi was reelected with 92 percent of the vote on a turnout of just over 40 percent. It gave no explanation for the upward revisions. Sisi, who as army chief ousted Egypt's first freely elected president -- Islamist Mohamed Morsi -- after mass street protests in 2013, won his first term in 2014...
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
A Senegalese court on Friday will deliver a verdict in a high-profile corruption trial that could make or break the presidential ambitions of the capital's popular mayor, Khalifa Sall. After being held in pre-trial detention for nearly a year, Sall went before the court in January and February on charges of embezzling public funds. Prosecutors are seeking a seven-year prison term for Sall and his financial director Mbaye Toure, and a fine worth nearly $10 million (more than eight million...
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
The mayor of Libya's capital Tripoli was released Thursday after being held in detention in confused circumstances, the city council said. Earlier, prosecutors said he had been arrested and interrogated. The council, however, reported he had been kidnapped. Armed men stormed Abdulraouf Hassan Beitelmal's house on Wednesday night and took him "by force of arms", the city council had said in a statement. But Seddik al-Sour, a senior prosecution official, said Beitelmal was "subject to legal procedures" and was being...
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
A Mozambican journalist was kidnapped from the streets of the capital Maputo and brutally beaten hours after criticising President Filipe Nyusi's son on TV, his wife told AFP on Thursday. Ericino de Salema was snatched in broad daylight on Tuesday, savagely beaten and dumped two hours later with serious injuries, she said. "He had been tortured and abandoned," his wife Neusa Ribeiro said, adding that doctors considered his condition serious. The incident happened against a backdrop of tense negotiations between...
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
Lagos, Nigeria's thriving economic capital, was on lockdown Thursday for President Muhammadu Buhari's first official visit to the city as campaigning for next year's presidential polls heats up. In front of the cameras, it was all smiles between Buhari and Bola Tinubu, a political grandee who played a pivotal role in securing the key region surrounding Lagos for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party in 2015 but has since been sidelined. Buhari, from Nigeria's mostly Muslim north, has not...
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
Tensions between Angola's president and his long-serving predecessor have erupted into the open as an anti-corruption drive targets the former ruler's family. President Joao Lourenco has pledged to crusade against entrenched state corruption and nepotism since taking over in September from Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled Angola for 38 years. Battling graft is a cornerstone of Lourenco's promised "economic miracle" that he hopes will halt the oil-dependent country's economic slump caused by stubbornly low crude prices. A once-loyal minister under Dos Santos, Lourenco has purged state-run corporations of leaders appointed by his former boss.
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
Equatorial Guinea carried out a wave of arrests and torture after an attempted coup last December, activists say. Several members of the opposition Citizens for Innovation (CI) party among 38 who were held at the main police station in the capital Malabo -- which they dubbed "Guantanamo" -- told AFP of alleged abuse during their detention from December 28 to January 3. "We were tortured for a week," said party activist Ernesto Obama Ondo, 42. "I received 150 lashes every...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
A Kenyan court fined the interior minister and police chief Thursday after they defied orders to produce an opposition politician in court, who was instead deported for the second time in two months. A prominent but unelected politician with the National Super Alliance (NASA), Miguna Miguna was thrust into the spotlight after his deportation last month, and his attempted return to Kenya this week has seen the nation gripped by political theatrics. As Miguna was held at the airport for two days over the immigration spat, the high court twice ordered Interior Minister Fred Matiangi, Police Chief Joseph Boinnet and a top immigration official to produce...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Armed men have kidnapped the mayor of Libya's capital Tripoli from his home, authorities said Thursday. Gunmen stormed Abdulraouf Hassan Beitelmal's house on Wednesday night and took him "by force of arms", the city council said in a statement. As of Thursday afternoon, the gunmen's demands were unclear. The council urged Libya's internationally-recognised unity government to "immediately take all necessary measures" to ensure Beitelmal's release. It also announced his office was suspending all its activities in protest at his kidnapping. The oil-rich North African country has been wracked by chaos since a 2011 uprising that toppled and killed long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi.
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Leaders of the two most heavily armed towns in western Libya met Wednesday for the first time since they fought for control of Tripoli four years ago, hailing the reconciliation talks "historic". The towns of Misrata and Zintan were among the first to rise up against the regime of dictator Moamer Kadhafi who was killed in 2011. The rebels had taken control of the capital in the summer of 2011 two months before Kadhafi was caught in his hometown of...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been re-elected for a second term with about 92 percent of the vote, preliminary results showed on Thursday, with just over 40 percent of voters casting ballots. Twenty-five million of the 60 million registered voters, or some 41.5 percent, turned out during the three days of polling that ended Wednesday, state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram reported. Twenty-three million voted for Sisi. The Akhbar el-Youm newspaper did not report the full turnout but said Sisi won 21.4 million votes, and his rival Moussa Mostafa Moussa 721,000 votes...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
With the re-election of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday, all of Egypt's six presidents bar one have been from the ranks of the military, which overthrew the monarchy in 1952. Here are snap profiles: - Mohamed Naguib, 1953 - The general led the "Free Officers" who overthrew King Farouk and pushed through a radical restructuring of the government and economy. He was named president in 1953 but sidelined the following year by his fellow officers who installed Gamal Abdel Nasser...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
With his trademark black sunglasses and blanket media presence, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, elected this week to a second term in office, projects an air of benign paternalism. Whether the people love or loathe Sisi, see him as a bulwark of stability or as a domineering autocrat -- there is little doubt that he will remain Egypt's president for years to come. He stormed to victory in the 2014 presidential election, having led the military a year before in...
(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,...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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...

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