Saturday 25 November 2017
(AFP (eng) 10/31/17)
Fighting between armed groups around the town of Batangafo in northern Central African Republic have left at least two dead and 10 wounded, aid workers said Monday. Seven of the wounded were admitted to a hospital run by Doctors without Borders (MSF) in Batangafo and three were sent to a facility in Kabo, Sandra Smiley, with MSF in the capital Bangui, said. UN sources said fighting broke out on October 24 between anti-Balaka militia -- a group that says it is defending Christians -- and another armed group, the Patriotic Movement for Central Africa (MPC). At least two people died in the village of Saraghba, a few kilometres from Batangafo, but it was too dangerous to access the zone to...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Economic growth is expected to rise to 3.4 percent in sub-Saharan Africa next year from 2.6 percent in 2017, the IMF said in a report on Monday, but warned that rising debt and political risks in larger economies would weigh down future growth. Nigeria and South African are the biggest economies in Africa south of the Sahara, but both nations have been clouded by political uncertainty linked to the tenure of their leaders. The IMF said a good harvest and recovery in oil output in Nigeria would contribute more than half of the growth in the region this year while an uptick in mining and a better harvest in South Africa as well as a rebound in...
(AFP (eng) 10/27/17)
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres on Friday came under pressure to overhaul the role of UN peacekeepers in Central African Republic as he wrapped up a visit to the conflict-torn country. Guterres's four-day visit came ahead of a Security Council decision on whether to renew the mandate of the UN's peacekeeping force and meet a request for reinforcements. In a meeting with the secretary general, a group of lawmakers called on the UN peacekeeping force MINUSCA to be more active in tackling violence. "There's been a lot of words (about MINUSCA)...
(AFP (eng) 10/26/17)
The president of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadera, on Thursday vowed to push ahead with a contested programme of "dialogue" with militia groups, in comments backed by visiting UN chief Antonio Guterres. At a joint press conference on the penultimate day of a four-day visit by Guterres, Touadera said a programme of "disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration" of armed groups was at the "centre" of his strategy. Guterres said Touadera had "the entire support of the United Nations" and appealed to militias to "agree to participate in the country's political life". Militia groups hold sway over most of the impoverished central African country -- the outcome of a bloody conflict in which the then president Francois Bozize was ousted by...
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
UN chief Antonio Guterres arrived in the strife-ravaged town of Bangassou on Wednesday for a first-hand look at a notorious hotspot in Central African Republic's bloody conflict. Guterres, making his first visit to one of Africa's most troubled countries since he took the UN helm in January, stepped off a plane from the capital Bangui, where he arrived late Tuesday. Mineral-rich but extremely poor, CAR has been battered by a three-year conflict between rival militias that began after the then president, Francois Bozize, was overthrown. Acting under a UN mandate, the former colonial power France intervened militarily to push out the Muslim Seleka rebels who had taken over, and the United Nations launched a peacekeeping mission in 2014. But the...
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrived in the Central African Republic Tuesday to assess the country's fragile security situation as violence between militias threatens to intensify. Crowds of people braving heavy rain lined the road from Bangui airport to the capital to greet him. On the first day of his visit, which coincided with United Nations Day, Guterres led a wreath-laying service in honour of peacekeepers killed in action. "There is nothing more precious than peace. There is nothing more noble than working to maintain peace, even if the work means sacrificing lives," he said. "As we have unfortunately seen, there are times when troops have been killed while building peace here in Central Africa." At an official welcoming ceremony...
(The Associated Press 10/25/17)
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres paid tribute Tuesday to the thousands of U.N. peacekeepers in Central African Republic, the site of one of the U.N.’s most dangerous missions and the most sexual misconduct allegations against peacekeepers and U.N. personnel last year. The U.N. chief attended a wreath-laying ceremony in the capital of Bangui. A dozen peacekeepers have lost their lives so far this year amid escalating violence in the long-volatile country. “We need to make sure that the world fully appreciates the heroic contributions of peacekeepers protecting civilians, sometimes in extremely difficult circumstances, like the ones we face in the Central African Republic,” Guterres said. “I am very proud to be your colleague. I am very proud to serve in the...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Christian and Muslim leaders in Central African Republic (CAR), speaking ahead of a visit by United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, have urged the UN to overhaul its strategy for the strife-torn country. Guterres is expected on Tuesday, ahead of a requested renewal in November of the UN force in CAR, called MINUSCA, which has been accused by some of passivity. "If they're just television spectators of the conflict, that won't do," Cardinal Dieudonne Nzapalainga, the Catholic archbishop of Bangui said in a joint interview on Saturday alongside the country's Muslim and Protestant leaders. "A revision of strategy" has to go hand-in-hand with a mandate for UN troop renewal, said Protestant leader Nicolas Guerekoyamene-Gbangou.
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Elephant poaching in Africa declined for a fifth straight year in 2016 but seizures of illegal ivory hit records highs, the CITES monitor said Tuesday, calling it a "conflicting phenomena". In its latest report, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species also noted that despite the overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has continued to drop "due to continued illegal killing, land transformation and rapid human expansion." Global illegal ivory trade has remained relatively stable for six years, CITES reported. But 2016 saw a full 40 tonnes of illegal ivory seized, the most since 1989, as well as the hightest-ever number of "large-scale ivory seizures", the group said. "The overall weight of seized ivory in illegal trade is...
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is expected to arrive in the Central African Republic on Tuesday, as violence between Muslim and Christian militias has intensified in the past few months. "This is a gesture of solidarity with the peacekeepers working in one of the most dangerous environments," Guterres said in an interview with AFP and Radio France Internationale (RFI). His trip to one of the world's poorest countries will be his first as part of a peacekeeping mission since taking office on January 1 -- but he regularly visited the country as former head of the UN refugee agency UNHCR. The secretary general's visit comes at a time when the United Nations faces a precarious financial situation, as the United...
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
The Central African Republic, which the UN Secretary General is to visit on Tuesday, is one of the world's poorest nations, wracked for the past four years by civil war. The landlocked country has been struggling under international pressure to recover from conflict between Muslim and Christian militias that started after the 2013 overthrow of leader Francois Bozize. The primary victims have been civilians. - History of instability - The country has enjoyed little peace or stability since gaining its independence from France in 1960. Five years later president David Dacko was ousted by Jean-Bedel Bokassa, who took charge in January 1966 and crowned himself emperor in 1977 in a wildly extravagant ceremony that made waves around the world. His...
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
The Central African Republic, where UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will Tuesday pay his first visit to a peacekeeping operation, holds the record for international interventions on its soil. During a history of chronic political instability and sporadic social upheaval, the country has been the focus of more than a dozen international military interventions. Given a plethora of acronyms, the interventions took place under many different flags: the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and regional African organisations, and also France...
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
"Finally in Bangui, and without incident," said Evelin Bokassa, a truck driver from the Central African Republic (CAR) who has just arrived in the landlocked capital city after completing a treacherous five-day journey from the west coast of Cameroon. He has driven along what's known as "the corridor" -- winding, dangerous roads, full of bandits and thieves, that act as the main supply route to Bangui, on the southeastern side of the country. Years of neglect have left many of the roads in ruins and outbreaks of inter-communal violence between different ethnic and religious communities have made the route even more perilous. "You arrive at a checkpoint, you need 2,000 to 3,000 CFA francs (3 to 4.50 euros, $3.60 to...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. More than a third of girls in the region are married under the age of 18, with the rate over 50 percent in six countries and up to 76 percent in Niger. Driven by factors including poverty, insecurity and religious tradition, marrying off girls once they reach puberty or even before is a deeply engrained social custom in much of West and Central Africa. The practice hampers global efforts to reduce poverty and population growth and has negative impacts on women’s and...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
At least 26 people were killed during clashes in a southeast region of the Central African Republic where the government has struggled to assert its authority, the UN's peacekeeping force in the country said Friday. Another 11 people were wounded in the violence on Wednesday, which came ahead of a visit by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to the country next week. The clashes occurred in the town of Pombolo, in a region where tensions have flared between Muslim and Christian militias since May in which dozens of civilians have been killed. Seraphin Embondza, commander of the UN's MINUSCA mission...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
The killing of four American special operations soldiers in Niger has highlighted the increasing role elite units are playing across Africa, which is rapidly becoming a major center of US military action. Their mission is to counter the advances of a slew of jihadist movements across the continent, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, affiliates of the Islamic State group in the Sahel region and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Of the 8,000 special forces "operators" deployed globally this year, more than 1,300 are in Africa, according to officials from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which is based in Tampa, Florida. Another 5,000 or so are in the Middle East. In five years, the number of US commandos in Africa has tripled...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The #MeToo social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual harassment and abuse has sparked conversation in parts of Africa where domestic violence is rampant but strong cultural and religious taboos prevent women from admitting it. Prompted by sexual abuse allegations against American film mogul Harvey Weinstein, millions of women around the world have been sharing their experiences of harassment and abuse on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo. The movement has reached only a small part of the population in West Africa, but some women are participating in defiance of attitudes which dictate that being abused brings shame on the family, is a curse, or makes a woman unmarriageable. In Senegal, some women...
(AFP (eng) 10/19/17)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is traveling to the Central African Republic next week to draw attention to the world's "forgotten crisis" and its heavy toll on aid workers and UN peacekeepers. "The Central African Republic is very far from the attention of the international community," Guterres told AFP and Radio France Internationale in an interview on Wednesday. "The level of suffering of the people but also the trauma suffered by aid workers and peacekeepers are deserving of our solidarity and heightened attention," he said. Guterres will be in Bangui on Tuesday for United Nations Day, which marks the entry into force of the UN charter, and will also travel to Bangassou in the south, where heavy fighting broke out in...
(AFP (eng) 10/19/17)
Violence in southeastern Central African Republic is believed to have killed a number of civilians, in a region marred by growing unrest, the UN said Wednesday. Vladimir Monteiro, spokesman for MINUSCA, the UN's peacekeeping mission in the country, said troops were sent to the region between Alindao and Bangassou after clashes erupted. The number of victims has yet to be confirmed. In August, in the nearby town of Gambo, clashes killed 60 civilians and 22 fighters, according to the UN. President Faustin-Archange Touadera visited Bangassou on Tuesday in a bid to reassert authority in the region. One of the world's poorest nations, the Central African Republic has been struggling to recover from a three-year civil war between the Muslim and...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
The crises in DR Congo, Central African Republic, Burundi and South Sudan are expected to come under the microscope at a 12-nation summit in Brazzaville on Thursday, officials say. The summit will gather heads of state or government from Angola, Burundi, CAR, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Security officials, military chiefs and foreign ministers held ground-clearing meetings on Sunday and Monday in the Republic of Congo's capital. The group is called the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), which last met at summit level in June 2016.

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