Friday 20 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/24/18)
Egyptians will choose their next president in elections starting Monday, with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi expected to easily secure a second four-year term. Some 60 million people in Egypt, the most populated Arab country, are registered to vote in three days of polling on March 26, 27, and 28. They will have the choice between the incumbent and one other candidate: Moussa Mostafa Moussa, a little-known politician who registered right before the close date for applications, saving the election from being a one-horse race. "Moussa Mostafa Moussa has little chance of winning a significant number of votes. His campaign is weak, many people do not even know he is running, and he is generally little known,"...
(AFP (eng) 03/24/18)
With his trademark black sunglasses and blanket media presence, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi 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 ousting the North African country's first freely-elected leader, the Islamist Mohamed Morsi. Morsi now languishes in jail, convicted on many and varied counts and sentenced to multiple terms including the death penalty. Sisi successfully silenced all forms of political opposition...
(AFP (eng) 03/24/18)
As a supporter of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and yet his sole challenger, Moussa Mostafa Moussa is seen by critics as a token candidate to try to legitimise the Egyptian leader's re-election. The 65-year-old businessman had already started campaigning for Sisi when he himself was declared a candidate on January 29, the final day for applications to run in this month's presidential election. A Facebook page in Moussa's name at the time featured a photograph in support of the president, but the post has since been deleted. "No to taking part in this charade," Hamdeen Sabbahi, who was a candidate in 2012 and 2014 presidential elections, told a press conference held by opposition parties the next day. Before Moussa's inclusion...
(AFP (eng) 03/24/18)
Egypt's military is conducting a sweeping assault to crush a resilient Islamic State branch in Sinai, but the jihadist group is unlikely to be vanquished quickly, analysts say. The operation was launched on February 9 after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is expected to sweep to a second term in polls next week, gave the armed forces and police a three-month deadline in November to wipe out the jihadists. The deadline has since been extended, and the armed forces launched their most comprehensive campaign yet to end the five-year-old jihadist insurgency. The military gives regular updates on the operation, saying it has killed more than 100 jihadists so far while losing at least 20 troops. "Egypt is doing a really...
(AFP (eng) 03/24/18)
A British journalist for The Times has been expelled from Egypt, the newspaper said Saturday, in a move it said reflected the "oppressive environment" created there for the press. Bel Trew was driven to the airport and forced to board a flight in February, but the London-based paper held off commenting publicly as it sought to negotiate her return to cover elections starting on Monday. This had proved fruitless, and a spokeswoman said: "The Times deplores this attempt to intimidate and suppress our coverage. "This is sadly in line with the oppressive environment that President (Abdel Fattah) al-Sisi has created for the press." The paper said Trew, who had lived in Cairo for seven years and had been reporting for...
(AFP (eng) 03/24/18)
As Egypt votes in presidential elections, here are key events in the turbulent country since the 2011 uprising that ended the 30-year rule of strongman Hosni Mubarak. - 2011: Mubarak falls - - January 25: Thousands of Egyptians, inspired by the Tunisian revolt that toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, protest in Cairo and elsewhere demanding Mubarak's overthrow. Police disperse them. - January 28: Protesters across the country clash with police as the government cuts mobile and internet networks. Demonstrators attack police stations and force security personnel to withdraw from the streets. Mubarak sacks his cabinet and deploys the army. - February 11: After days of non-stop protests centred on Cairo's Tahrir Square, Mubarak's newly appointed vice president Omar...
(AFP (eng) 03/24/18)
Egypt, known worldwide for its ancient pyramids, is the Arab world's most populous country and has been under military control for decades. It is ruled by ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is assured of a second term in elections next week. Here is some background about the country. - Army's grip on power - After a period of British rule, Egypt gained independence in 1922 under King Fuad I. In 1952, charismatic army colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew Fuad's son, King Farouk. A republic was declared in 1953, headed by General Mohamed Naguib. Nasser became president in 1956, the same year the Suez Canal shipping lane was nationalised. After Nasser's death in 1970, his vice president Anwar Sadat --...
(AFP 03/24/18)
Dates-clés de l'Egypte depuis la révolte qui a chassé Hosni Moubarak du pouvoir en février 2011: - La révolution - Le 25 janvier 2011, début de manifestations massives contre Moubarak, au pouvoir depuis 1981. Dominée par des slogans demandant son départ, la contestation s'est inspirée de la révolte tunisienne qui, le 14 janvier 2011, a poussé à la fuite du président Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Le 1er février, plus d'un million de manifestants dans le pays. Marée humaine place Tahrir, au Caire, l'épicentre de la contestation. Le 11 février, Moubarak démissionne et remet ses pouvoirs au Conseil suprême des forces armées. La répression du soulèvement a fait au moins 850 morts. - Victoire islamiste - De novembre 2011 à...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
Talks between Togo's ruling party and the opposition resumed on Friday after a month-long pause, with Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo acting as a mediator. After an hour of debate between the two sides, Akufo-Addo decided to move to bilateral talks, meeting first with the ruling party and then with representatives of the opposition, an AFP journalist said. The talks are aimed at resolving a political stand-off that began in August and has seen thousands take to the streets in almost weekly protests against the ruling party. President Faure Gnassingbe, who has been in power since 2005, is under pressure to stand down amid calls for constitutional reform. Talks opened on February 19 but following a second meeting four days later,...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
Qatar has blacklisted 20 people and eight organisations as "terrorist," nine months after finding itself isolated in the Gulf over alleged support for Islamist extremists and sympathisers. The list, published by the interior ministry late Wednesday, includes 12 Qatari nationals, two Saudi Arabians, four Egyptians and two Jordanians. The move comes nine months after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of bankrolling Islamist extremists and fostering ties with Saudi arch-rival Iran. Qatar has denied the allegations and says the Saudi-led bloc aims to incite regime change in the emirate, the world's richest country per capita. Saudi Arabia and its allies months ago unveiled a "terrorist" list of 90...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
A government official was killed and a district administrator wounded Thursday in an ambush blamed on anglophone separatists in western Cameroon, a human rights activist said. The attack hit a convoy carrying a government official responsible for land ownership issues in part of the Southwest, who was killed. The area's prefect survived the attack but was injured, the activist said. The report was confirmed by sources in the security services, but the government in Yaounde would neither confirm nor deny it. Unrest blamed on armed separatists has increased in recent weeks in the Northwest and the Southwest, two English-speaking territories that became part of the mainly French-speaking country...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
Zambia's main opposition party has filed a motion to impeach President Edgar Lungu for violating the constitution, the presidency said Friday, in the latest development following a disputed 2016 election. The impeachment motion will be put before parliament on March 28 by the United Party for National Development (UPND). Although it could win support from some members of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), such as former minister Chishimba Kambwili, a leading Lungu critic who was arrested on Thursday, it looked set to be easily defeated. For an impeachment motion to succeed, the constitution requires a two-thirds majority in parliament. The UPND has 58 of the 167 lawmakers. "They do not have the numbers and the motion will not go anywhere,"...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari received the released Dapchi girls on Friday in a meeting clouded by the absence of a Christian student still held by Boko Haram for refusing to convert to Islam. "We entered into negotiation solely to make sure that no single girl was hurt. This strategy paid off as the girls are being released without any incident," Buhari said to reporters at the presidential villa in Abuja. The girls, dressed in brightly coloured hijabs, enthusiastically sang the national anthem before posing for photos with Buhari outside in a garden. Describing the release of the 107 youngsters -- 105 schoolgirls and a younger boy and girl -- as a "cheery and hearty" development, Buhari pledged to recover "every...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
Mali's Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga landed in the restive town of Kidal on Friday, representing the first such visit since 2014 to an area that remains in the hands of former rebels. Five French soldiers were wounded in Kidal on Thursday in an attack that France's defence minister said was likely linked to Maiga's visit. The prime minister touched down at 10:00 am (1000 GMT) at a UN base after a day-long delay due to bad weather, where he was greeted by the head of the world body's mission in the country, Mahamat Saleh Annadif. Appointed in December, Maiga was charged with bolstering security as jihadists mount near-weekly attacks on security forces, raising safety fears ahead of the presidential...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
The vice-president of Mauritius assumed temporary power on Friday a week after the resignation of President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim over allegations of a credit card scandal. A statement from the presidency said Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory had assumed the functions of the president on 23 March. He will hold the position until he is either confirmed by parliament or someone else is appointed. Gurib-Fakim, Africa's only female head of state, submitted her resignation in the "national interest" following accusations that she used a bank card provided by an NGO to make personal purchases, including jewellery and luxury goods worth at least 25,000 euros. In a statement as she handed over power on Friday, Gurib-Fakim said she had "a heavy heart" but insisted...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
Human Rights Watch on Friday urged Tunisia to extend the mandate of a commission set up to examine human rights violations during six decades of dictatorship. The widely-praised Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD) was set up following the 2011 revolt that toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked the Arab Spring uprisings. Tunisia's parliament is set to vote on Saturday whether to prolong its work. But HRW's Tunisia director, Amna Guellali, accused Tunisian authorities of hampering the commission "by refusing to fully cooperate with it and by adopting a controversial law on administrative reconciliation."
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
What's left of the Nanduadua mosque lies deep within a labyrinth of alleyways in Mocimboa da Praia, a port town in Mozambique's far north. A handful of veiled women hurry past the one-time place of worship, which is now reduced to rubble. "It was the mosque of criminals," local resident Ussene Amisse told AFP. "The mosque of those with hearts of stone." The Mozambique government ordered it to be levelled in October after a bloody attack blamed on radicalised Muslim youth who allegedly worshipped at the mosque. The apparent jihadist attack -- the first of its type in the country -- sent a shockwave through Mozambique, which emerged from its long civil war in 1992. The strike targeted a nearby...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari promised on Friday to free the remaining Christian schoolgirl still held by Boko Haram, as he prepared to meet the other Dapchi students released by the Islamist militants. Buhari is to meet the girls in Abuja later on Friday, after which they will undergo medical checks and counselling similar to that given to other former captives released by Boko Haram. A total of 104 of the 110 students seized from the school in Dapchi, in the northeastern state of Yobe, on February 19 were dropped off by the jihadists on Wednesday morning. Five other girls died on the day they were abducted, while the last one...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
A top UN official on Thursday urged Liberia to implement the recommendations of a truth commission, dating back to 2009, which included prosecuting eight ex-warlords for alleged crimes against humanity. "Liberia is at a turning point", Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told a conference in Monrovia, adding that a lasting peace "will only be possible if we ensure full and true reconciliation." She said it was "critical to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and for the legislature to pass key bills that will support local inclusion and reconciliation." She warned that peace would "remain fragile as long as people feel excluded from the economic...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
Gambian prosecutors have charged eight former spies with conspiracy to murder in the case of an activist whose death in custody sparked a political movement that ousted former leader Yahya Jammeh. Eight agents of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) were charged on Wednesday with conspiracy to commit murder and accessory to the facts of murder, police spokesman David Kujabie told AFP on Thursday. The alleged torture and killing of United Democratic Party (UDP) organiser Solo Sandeng in April 2016 sparked rare protests in the small West African, and encouraged a weak and split political opposition to unite behind a single flagbearer. That flagbearer, then unknown businessman Adama Barrow, beat Jammeh in December 2016...

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