Thursday 18 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
A policeman was killed on Sunday by presumed separatists in a restive English-speaking region of Cameroon, where the situation remained extremely tense on Monday, sources told AFP. No further details were released about the incident in Dian, in Cameroon's Southwest Region, but other officers may have also been killed, an official added. "According to some information, other police were killed but we are still looking into this," the official said, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Reports of multiple killings also circulated on social media. Witnesses said panic had gripped several schools, including in Buea, the main city in the English-speaking southwest, and in Muyuka and Tiko. "We are leaving the campus because people in the city are saying that...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo on Saturday said Donald Trump's reported description of African nations as "shithole countries" was unacceptable, while his predecessor branded the US head of state a racist. President Akufo-Addo tweeted that Trump's reported language was "extremely unfortunate", adding: "We are certainly not 'a shithole country'." "We will not accept such insults, even from a leader of a friendly country, no matter how powerful." Ghana is widely seen as a stable, peaceful country in an often turbulent region, and has close ties to the United States. In 2009 Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, chose Ghana's capital Accra to set out his foreign policy goals for Africa in a speech in which he said he saw Africa "as a fundamental...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi vowed Monday to protect Egypt's water supply while striving for peace with the Nile upstream countries of Sudan and Ethiopia, which is building a controversial dam. "Egypt will not go to war with its brothers," Sisi said on state television, although Cairo fears its water supply will be affected by Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visited the Ethiopian capital last month for talks on the dam project on the Blue Nile. Egypt relies almost totally on the Nile for irrigation and drinking water, and says it has "historic rights" to the river, guaranteed by treaties from 1929 and 1959. Sisi also stressed that Egypt was investing in its military to protect national security...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Ethiopia's government announced Monday it would release hundreds of people awaiting trial including imprisoned opposition leader Merera Gudina and would pardon others convicts in the coming months. The announcement came less than two weeks after the government promised to free jailed "politicians," without giving details on who and how many people would be freed. The release of Merera, chairman of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), has been a key demand of protesters from the country's largest ethnic group, the Oromos. In 2015, the group took to the streets over a proposed expansion of the capital city which they feared would deprive them of their land.
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Defence ministers from five countries in the Sahel were meeting Monday with French counterpart Florence Parly in the latest push for a pooled force fighting jihadism in the fragile region. The brief meeting, in which senior military officers were to take part, aims at setting down a concrete timetable for deploying the so-called "G5 Sahel" force, which carried out its maiden mission in November with French support. The unprecedented initative brings together Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, which aim to create a fully fledged force of 5,000 troops by mid-2018.
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Three Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers died on Monday while repelling an attack in the eastern Beni region by ADF Ugandan Islamist rebels, who are suspected of murdering 14 UN peacekeepers last month. The army had on Saturday announced an offensive against the Allied Democratic Forces, one of a number of armed groups acting in North Kivu and South Kivu -- the two provinces which border Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. "The ADF attacked our position in Muzambay at 4:00 am (0200 GMT)," said army spokesman Captain Mak Hazukay. "Our forces pushed them back after heavy fighting," he said, but denied comment on casualties.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/15/18)
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopian authorities have dropped charges against a senior opposition leader and hundreds of others who had been jailed for involvement in unrest that gripped the country in 2015 and 2016, the country’s attorney general said on Monday. Hundreds have been killed in violence in the Horn of Africa country since protests first erupted in its central Oromiya province over allegations of land grabs. Several dissident politicians have since been jailed having been charged with involvement in terrorism and collusion with the secessionist Oromo Liberation Front, which the government has branded a terrorist group. Facing mounting unrest, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced earlier this month that jailed politicians would be released and those facing trial would have...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Tanzanian President John Magufuli will not seek to extend presidential terms in the country, his party said Saturday, moving to quash calls from his own party to prolong his rule. Magufuli "informed party members and other Tanzanians that the ongoing debate about increasing the presidential term from five to seven years displeases him," his ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) said in a statement. Such an ammendment was against the party's rules and the constitution of Tanzania, the statement said, adding that Magufuli does not plan to make the change "at any time during his presidency". The announcement came after some members of his party called for Magufuli, who was elected in 2015, to make the change so he could...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Men armed with machetes killed four soldiers in an attack Sunday near the main Kananga airport in Kasai, an opposition stronghold in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo, residents said as tensions returned to the restive region. The assailants attacked the soldiers as they were sleeping in their tent, the sources told AFP, adding that they then set fire to the tent. "An army vehicle arrived not far from my house and I saw four bodies of soldiers that they were transporting as well as another soldier with blood all over his body and wounds," one resident said by telephone. The regional army commander, Brigadier General Marcellin Assoumani Issa Kumba...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers on Monday repelled an attack in the eastern Beni region by ADF Ugandan Islamist rebels, who are suspected of murdering 14 UN peacekeepers last month. The army had on Saturday announced an offensive against the Allied Democratic Forces, one of a number of armed groups acting in North Kivu and South Kivu -- the two provinces which border Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. "The ADF attacked our position in Muzambay at 4:00 am (0200 GMT)," said army spokesman Captain Mak Hazukay. "Our forces pushed them back after heavy fighting." "The firing started very early while we were still sleeping but stopped around 6:30 am," said Aimee Makinda...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
The Congolese army on Saturday announced a new operation against armed groups, notably the ADF Ugandan Islamist rebels suspected of murdering 14 UN peacekeepers last month. Army vehicles transported some 300 troops to the operation's headquarters near Beni in the restive eastern province of North Kivu. Tanks and armoured vehicles were also deployed, according to an AFP correspondent, who added that heavy and light weapons fire could be heard. The Democratic Republic of Congo army "has decided to launch an offensive operation against the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) as well as against armed groups in the Beni and (neighbouring) Lubero areas," army General Marcel Mbangu told reporters. "For us this is the last time. We are going to fight until...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Tunisia's government on Saturday announced an increase in aid to the needy and improved health care as part of social reforms following a week of unrest triggered by austerity measures. Social Affairs Minister Mohamed Trabelsi told reporters that monthly aid to needy families would rise from 150 dinars (50 euros) to between 180 and 210 dinars (60 and 70 euros). He said reforms which have been in the pipeline for several months would guarantee medical care for all Tunisians, without elaborating, and also provide housing to disadvantaged families. The announcement came after President Beji Caid Essebsi consulted with political parties...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
The first major scalp claimed by Angola's new president Joao Lourenco in his war on corruption and nepotism was that of his predecessor's daughter, who was sacked as head of the state oil company. The next big name linked to former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos was that of his son, Jose Filomeno, who was removed from his post at the top of the African nation's $5 billion sovereign wealth fund. Quick work for a president with barely 100 days on the job. Lourenco's manoeuvering against the nepotistical vestiges of Angola's last president began in earnest in November with the toppling of Isabel dos Santos -- said by Forbes to be Africa's richest woman. The shake-up at the Sonangol oil...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Gabon opposition leader Jean Ping was prevented from taking a flight to France late Saturday by security forces who said he needed to stay over a judicial matter, he told AFP. Ping, a 75-year-old career diplomat, was narrowly defeated by incumbent Ali Bongo in last year's presidential election, a victory that he claims was tainted by electoral fraud. "I was supposed to travel this evening but the security forces prevented me," the former African Union chief said. Ping told AFP he had not been notified of any ban on leaving the country, but said it appeared to be linked to a judicial request that he help with an inquiry in which he has been called as a witness. An official-looking...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Guinea-Bissau's Prime Minister Umaro Sissoco Embalo has submitted his resignation to the president, in a bid to end a two-year political crisis in the poor west African nation. Guinea-Bissau has been in the throes of a power struggle since August 2015, when President Jose Mario Vaz sacked former prime minister Domingos Simoes Pereira. Embalo, who became prime minister in December 2016, tendered his resignation to Vaz last week, he told AFP late Saturday. "I am not someone who clings to power. If the president does not trust me, I won't wait to be fired, I will leave," he said. A source at the presidency confirmed the resignation had been submitted. At its latest summit on December 16, the ECOWAS west...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Tunisians on Sunday marked seven years since the uprising that launched the Arab Spring, with fresh protests and some people expressing pride but others anger over persistent economic problems. The North African country is seen as having had a relatively smooth democratic transition since the January 14, 2011 toppling of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in power. But seven years later, anger has risen over new austerity measures after a year of rising prices, with protesters again chanting the 2011 slogans of "Work, Freedom, Dignity". On Sunday, several hundred people took part in rallies in the capital Tunis, responding to calls to demonstrate from a powerful labour union and several political parties. Security was tight as...
(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) 01/13/18)
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.

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