Saturday 24 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 11/14/17)
The United Nations on Monday opened an independent investigation to determine whether UN peacekeepers responded appropriately to an outbreak of recent violence in the Central African Republic. A team led by retired Brigadier-General Fernand Marcel Amoussou of Benin will arrive in the country on Tuesday and carry out the investigation until November 28. "The investigation will look into attacks against civilians by armed groups that occurred in close proximity to a presence of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in Haute-Kotto, Basse-Kotto, Mbomou and Haut-Mbomou prefectures, as well as the mission's response to these incidents," said a UN statement.
(Xinhuanet 11/14/17)
The United Nations on Monday authorized Israel to expand its technological support for its peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic and help improve security in the country. In a letter of assist UN Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare signed with Israel, the UN approved the Israeli government's proposal to expand its existing observation systems used by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). Since 2015, Israel has contributed both static and mobile observation systems to MINUSCA. "These capacities have proven highly successful in increasing situational awareness and preventing outbreaks of violence...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/14/17)
KIGALI (Reuters) - The global airline industry has $1.2 billion blocked in nine dollar-strapped African countries, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Monday. The global commodities price crash that began in 2014 hit economies across Africa hard, particularly big resource exporters such as Angola and Nigeria. Low oil and mineral prices have reduced government revenue and caused chronic dollar shortages and immense pressure on local currencies. The fiscal slump has meant governments have not allowed foreign airlines to repatriate their dollar profits in full. At an aviation meeting in the Rwandan capital, IATA’s Vice President for Africa, Raphale Kuuchi, said that airlines were in talks with “a few governments to unblock airline funds”. He did not specify the...
(AFP (eng) 11/13/17)
Four people were killed and over 20 wounded when grenades were thrown into a concert in the capital of the chronically unstable Central African Republic, while revenge attacks later left another three people dead, the UN peacekeeping force and a local official said Sunday. In the first serious incident of violence in Bangui this year, the assault late Saturday saw two unidentified attackers hurl grenades at a cafe called "On the Crossroads of Peace" during a performance, said Herve Verhoosel, spokesman for the UN peacekeeping force MINUSCA. CAR's minister for public security, Henri Wanzet...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/13/17)
BANGUI (Reuters) - Seven people were killed and around 20 others were injured in a grenade attack on a peace concert and reprisal violence in Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, on Saturday and Sunday, government officials and city residents said. The riverside city has in the past been a flashpoint for inter-religious violence that erupted between Muslims and Christians in 2013 and has since engulfed most of the impoverished, landlocked nation. Interior Minister Henri Wanzet Linguissara said two individuals on a motorcycle approached revelers attending a concert organized to foster reconciliation and social cohesion late on Saturday night and threw a grenade into the crowd. “Following this heinous act, we have registered four deaths and 20 wounded, including four who...
(AFP (eng) 11/13/17)
Ministers from 13 European and African countries on Monday pledged steps to ease the migrant crisis around the Mediterranean, vowing especially to improve conditions for migrants held in Libya. Interior ministers and other representatives from countries impacted by the ongoing wave of migration up through Africa towards Europe, including Libya, voiced deep concern over the "ongoing human tragedy" along the so-called Central Mediterranean route. "The participants intend to address the challenges posed by the alarming situation along the migration route to North Africa," Switzerland, which hosted the third meeting of the so-called contact group on the crisis, said in a statement. Thousands of migrants and refugees who attempt to travel along this route "find themselves in catastrophic situations," it said,...
(AFP (eng) 11/11/17)
Around him, pigs squeal and goats bleat and beat their hooves in excitement as feeding time approaches. Life has changed a lot for Richard Ngueringu, a former militiaman in his early thirties who has witnessed some of worst things that humanity can offer. Once a member of a so-called self-defence group, he says he has witnessed hundreds of killings, as well as atrocities, in Central African Republic's years-long conflict. Today, in the central town of Bambari, he has swapped his weapon for a bucket of corn meal, under an innovative scheme to help former fighters return to civilian life. "Before the troubles began, I was a farmer. In fact I took over this farm, when my parents died. This is...
(AFP (eng) 11/08/17)
The United States signaled on Tuesday it was ready to back a French-drafted UN resolution that would bolster the peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic with 900 extra troops. The Security Council is considering the measure following a request from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has warned of a risk of ethnic cleansing in parts of the impoverished African country. The draft resolution would extend the mission known as MINUSCA until November 2018 and increase the number of uniformed peacekeepers by 900, to a ceiling of 11,650, along with 2,080 police and 480 military observers. The United States, the biggest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping, said it was open to beefing up the mission after repeated calls for cuts...
(AFP (eng) 11/08/17)
Central African Republic's embattled government is in a faceoff with former fighters of an ousted militia who are occupying three barracks in the CAR capital Bangui, an AFP reporter saw Tuesday. More than 1,200 of the former rebels have been told to quit the buildings but some are refusing to leave, the reporter found. The former fighters were once with the so-called Seleka alliance, a coalition of Muslim-majority militias. They have been occupying the barracks since the Seleka overthrew the then president, Francois Bozize, in 2013. The Seleka, in turn, were ousted by a military intervention led by former colonial ruler France, and the United Nations launched a peacekeeping mission in 2014. But the country remains chronically unstable and violence-prone,...
(AFP (eng) 11/08/17)
A dozen other students look on as Umar Amadu uses a glass pipette to draw a solution from a conical flask as part of a chemistry experiment. It could be a scene from any school laboratory around the world, but until two months ago Amadu and his fellow students had no access to any science equipment. Science subjects at his rural secondary school outside the city of Katsina in northern Nigeria were taught using theory only. But now they have all the kit they need to put theory into practice, thanks to a mobile science lab that tours selected state schools. "It's an exciting experience. We were being taught only the theoretical aspect of science subjects," Amadu, who wants to...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/07/17)
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc. [UBER.UL] is growing rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa and considering moves into more markets, despite sometimes violent opposition from metered taxi drivers, a senior executive said on Tuesday. Uber’s service has triggered protests by rivals from London to New Delhi as it up-ends traditional business models that require professional drivers to pay steep licensing fees to do business. “We are bullish on Africa. The growth here is still substantial and we think that given the right regulatory environment, the growth could be even better,” Justin Spratt, head of business development for the sub-Saharan region, told Reuters. “Africa’s growth thus far has been faster than America and a large part of that is...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/06/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa’s mobile internet connections are set to double in the next five years, a study showed on Monday, thanks to affordable smartphones and the roll-out of high-speed networks. A report by research and consulting firm Ovum in London estimates that mobile broadband connections will rise from 419 million at the end of this year to 1.07 billion by the end of 2022. “Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the continent in areas such as digital media, mobile financial services, and the Internet of Things,” said Matthew Reed, Practice Leader Middle East and Africa at Ovum. “But as Africa’s TMT market becomes more convergent and complex, service providers are under...
(AFP (eng) 11/03/17)
US politicians are voicing concern over America's growing military presence across Africa, where they worry the Pentagon is getting ever more embroiled in a secretive campaign against a shifting enemy. Last month's killing of four US soldiers in a Niger ambush has thrust the issue into the spotlight, with lawmakers calling for greater transparency on what is going on in Africa. "The footprint in Africa is much bigger than the American public understands," Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said this week. The Niger ambush has also rekindled debate over the legal authorities the Pentagon uses to fight jihadist groups overseas, particularly in Africa where about 6,000 US troops are deployed across the vast continent. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis this week faced...
(AFP (eng) 11/02/17)
Six countries in central and western Africa have breathed life into long-running plans to allow visa-free movement of people among their nations. At a summit in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena, the countries formally declared late Tuesday that the scheme had now been ratified by all members. The agreement gathers six francophone states -- Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo -- in a bloc called the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). The association, set up in 2000, has a potential market of 30 million consumers, many of whom however, live in poverty.
(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...

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