Thursday 18 January 2018
(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 "The people want the Finance Act repealed" and "The people are fed up with the new Trabelsi", they shouted, referring to the graft-tainted in-laws of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
Botswana's government on Friday summoned the US ambassador to complain about remarks reportedly made by President Donald Trump describing African nations as "shithole countries". The alleged comments, first reported by The Washington Post, were apparently made during a meeting at the White House about immigration reform on Thursday. They quickly sparked anger among Democrats and Republicans and revived questions about Trump's tendency to make racially charged remarks. "The Government of Botswana, today summoned the US Ambassador to Botswana to express its displeasure at the alleged utterances made by the President of the US...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
Police fired warning shots on Friday to disperse a crowd gathered in front of Kinshasa cathedral after a mass by prominent government critic Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo, an AFP journalist said. Armed officers arrived at the gates of the cathedral as worshippers were leaving a service to commemorate the victims of a crackdown on marches on New Year's Eve that demanded the removal of DR Congo's president, Joseph Kabila. A young man who was slightly wounded in the face told AFP he had been hit by the shots. He was treated in a garden behind the building. The mass, conducted in a packed cathedral, saw the congregation applaud and cheer Catholic leaders as they urged Kabila to uphold a 2016 church-brokered...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/12/18)
KINSHASA (Reuters) - Congolese police fired teargas on Friday to disperse dozens of churchgoers who had gathered in the capital Kinshasa to mourn seven people killed in protests against President Joseph Kabila two weeks ago. A Reuters cameraman who was filming the church service said police fired a volley of teargas outside, apparently to prevent the gathering turning into another political demonstration. Scores have been killed in protests over Kabila’s future in the past two years and militia violence has destabilized swathes of Congo, stoking fears the vast central African country will slide back into civil wars. Security forces in Democratic Republic of Congo killed at least seven people in the capital on New Year’s Eve during demonstrations that Catholic...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
A key figure in the security apparatus that underpinned Ivory Coast's ousted leader was jailed for 10 years for taking part in an alleged plot to overthrow his successor. Major Jean-Noel Abehi was a right-hand man to former president Laurent Gbagbo, who was ousted in 2011 after a bloody post-electoral crisis. Abehi was given a 10-year term on Thursday for "plotting against the authority of the state," an AFP reporter at the court in Abidjan saw. According to the charge sheet, Abehi took part in meetings in Ghana of a "military platform" initiated by Gbagbo's spokesman in exile, Kone Katinan, "to prepare to overthrow the established political authority." Ggabo was forced out after months of violence that followed his refusal...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/12/18)
TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian authorities arrested another 150 people including local opposition leaders on Friday, bringing the total detained close to 800 in response to demonstrations this week against price and tax rises. Protests, some violent, flared across Tunisia on Monday, when one protester was killed, before ebbing on Thursday. Protesters have burned dozens of state buildings, prompting the government to send the army into several cities and towns. Activists and opposition politicians appealed for fresh demonstrations in the capital, Tunis, on Friday and on Sunday, the seventh anniversary of the toppling of authoritarian president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, the first leader to fall in the 2011 “Arab Spring” protests that swept the region. On Thursday, unrest was limited to...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The United Nations' political chief held talks on Thursday with the head of Libya's parliament about elections to be held under a UN plan to stabilise the strife-ridden country. Jeffrey Feltman, who is on a tour of Libya and Tunisia, travelled to the eastern town of Al-Qobba where the parliament is based for the meeting with speaker Aguila Saleh. "The meeting, attended by the UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame, focused on the elections scheduled for this year," said parliament spokesman Abdallah Bleheq. The elections "should meet the expectations of the people and appease the various political actors", he told AFP. A 2015 UN-brokered deal that saw the establishment of a Government of National Accord was meant to calm years...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
Opposition parties in Togo this weekend hold their first anti-government protest of the year, with progress on constitutional reform in an apparent stalemate after months of action. Thousands of supporters from a coalition of 14 parties are expected to turn out on Saturday, to renew calls for President Faure Gnassingbe to step down. A second protest exclusively for women has been organised for January 20. The parties want a change to the constitution to restrict presidents to a maximum of two, five-year terms of office, plus the introduction of a two-round voting system. Gnassingbe, who has been in power since 2005 and took over from his father who ruled the country for 38 years, has proposed the amendment. But it...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
Mozambique's military and the opposition Renamo group were both guilty of serious crimes before a 2016 ceasefire, according to a Human Rights Watch report released Friday detailing killings and torture. HRW called for justice over the violence that erupted between November 2015 and December 2016 as Mozambique appeared at risk of returning to its long and bloody civil war. Renamo rebels had fought a 16-year war against the ruling Frelimo party until 1992, and unrest again boiled over in 2015. "More than a year since the ceasefire was declared, the Mozambican government has not held anyone from its security forces or Renamo accountable," said HRW programme director Iain Levine. "The government should investigate abuses by both sides and bring those...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The African Union said Friday that President Donald Trump's reported description of African nations as "shithole countries" broke with "accepted behaviour" and was "extremely upsetting." Ebba Kalondo, spokeswoman for AU Chairperson Moussa Faki, told AFP that Trump's statement "truly flies in the face of accepted behaviour and practice." "This is not only hurtful, I think, to people of African origin in the United States, but certainly to African citizens," she said. "It's an extremely upsetting statement," she added. The comment was reportedly made during a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
President Donald Trump reportedly lashed out in a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform, demanding to know why the US should accept citizens from what he called "shithole" countries. The comments, first reported by The Washington Post, sparked anger among Democrats and Republicans and revived questions about Trump's tendency to make racially charged remarks. Trump sat down with senators and congressmen at the White House to discuss a proposed bipartisan deal that would limit immigrants from bringing family members into the country, and restrict the green card visa lottery in exchange for shielding hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump said, according to people briefed...
(AFP (eng) 01/11/18)
Gabonese President Ali Bongo on Wednesday defended a plan to change the constitution after the fiercely-contested draft cleared a key hurdle. Parliament on Wednesday approved a raft of changes that the opposition has slammed as a power grab, and the draft now goes to the constitutional court for its approval. Under the changes, the president will "determine the policy of the nation," whereas the previous text stated only that he or she would govern "in consultation with the government". Rejecting an opposition campaign to limit Bongo's time in office, the new constitution like its predecessor sets no restrictions on the amount of times the president can be re-elected. However, it introduces a two-round voting system, something the opposition had demanded...
(AFP (eng) 01/11/18)
A human-rights lawyer representing English-speaking Cameroonian separatists said Thursday the group had been arrested by Nigeria's secret service and were being held "illegally", calling on the government to probe their disappearance. Femi Falana said Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, the president of the anglophone separatist movement in Cameroon, and nine others were detained at a hotel in Abuja last weekend. "Armed operatives of the State Security Service (Nigeria's secret service) invaded the venue, abducted our clients and took them away to an undisclosed place," he said. The intelligence agency has denied any arrests but rumours have swirled about the men's possible whereabouts.
(AFP (eng) 01/11/18)
An Egyptian court on Thursday overturned a seven-year prison sentence against ex-president Hosni Mubarak's interior minister Habib al-Adly and ordered a retrial on accusations of embezzlement, a judicial official said. Adly's lawyer Fareed al-Deeb told AFP the former minister will be released from jail after the ruling pending the retrial. Adly was sentenced in April 2017 to seven years in prison along with 10 other former officials for embezzling about $122 million. On Thursday, the court accepted appeals by the 10 officials and granted them a retrial also, the official said. Adly's iron-fisted command of the country's police helped fuel the 2011 uprising that unseated long-time ruler Mubarak.
(AFP (eng) 01/11/18)
European Union election monitors said Wednesday that Kenya's flawed presidential poll had "weakened" the country's democracy in a critical report that triggered an angry government response. President Uhuru Kenyatta won a second term in an October rerun after his initial victory was nullified by the Supreme Court. The opposition boycotted the fresh poll amid sporadic violence and divisive rhetoric. "Kenyans went from high hopes for these elections to many disappointments and confrontations. Kenya remains deeply divided," EU chief observer Marietje Schaake, a Dutch member of the European parliament, told AFP. The report was scathing in its criticism and, unusually, was launched in Brussels, rather than in the country where the election was held. Schaake said Kenyan authorities were "not prepared"...
(AFP (eng) 01/11/18)
Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe was ousted by a "military coup" that forced his resignation, former cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo said in an interview with the BBC broadcast on Thursday. Moyo, a former higher education minister under the last president and an ardent Mugabe loyalist, said Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Mnangagwa stole power and was leading an "illegal regime". "Mnangagwa and (Vice President Constantino) Chiwenga, they know only too well that they have come into power via the bullet and not the ballot," Moyo, who is in self-imposed exile, told the BBC's Hard Talk programme. It was unclear where he gave the interview. "We have a... constitution that the people of Zimbabwe...
(AFP (eng) 01/11/18)
Angolan President Joao Lourenco removed the son of his predecessor Jose Eduardo dos Santos from the top job at the oil-rich country's sovereign wealth fund, the presidency said on Wednesday. Jose Filomeno dos Santos, who was implicated in the "Panama Papers" offshore scandal, will be replaced by former finance minister Carlos Alberto Lopes. Last year's "Panama Papers" revelations showed how the world's wealthy used a discreet Panamanian legal firm to stash assets offshore. The investment fund under Dos Santos Jr's control has been shown to have transferred tens of millions of dollars to businessman Jean-Claude "Zenu" Bastos de Morais to run the organisation.
(AFP (eng) 01/11/18)
A regional bank official and the head of an African tech initiative both announced candidacies for the Malian presidency on Wednesday, as the 2018 race for the troubled Sahel nation heats up. Modibo Kone, a rural development expert at the West African Development Bank, and Hamadoun Toure, who runs the "Smart Africa" initiative to drive development on the continent via technology, said the country had suffered poor leadership. They are hoping to unseat President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who has not yet said if he will seek a second five-year term, though he is widely expected to do so. The state is still absent from vast swathes of its northern territory where in 2012 jihadists linked to Al-Qaeda mounted an insurgency...

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