Saturday 24 February 2018
(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.
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Warning of a risk of ethnic cleansing, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday urged the Security Council to beef up the peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic with 900 extra troops. In a report to the council, Guterres said the 12,000-strong MINUSCA mission had reached its limit and was struggling to cope with the worsening violence in the impoverished African country. "Since late 2016, the security situation progressively deteriorated outside Bangui, with growing sectarian violence and a heightened risk of ethnic cleansing in parts of the country," Guterres said in the report, which was obtained by AFP. "I therefore recommend an increase of 900 military personnel," including two infantry companies and a battalion to be deployed in the east...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
At Bouar appeal court, presiding judge Aime Pascal Delimo twiddles his thumbs, surveys his empty office and then, with a sigh, closes his door to leave early. Delimo wields jurisdiction over territory in western Central African Republic (CAR) that is the size of Austria. Violent crime here is chronic. But he has no work. In one of the world's poorest countries, the criminal justice system in Bouar and many other of CAR's provincial towns has quite simply broken down. "Normally we would be finishing at 3:30 pm, but given the pace of the court, I leave in the early afternoon, around 2:00 pm," Delimo says. "It's been four years I've been here and no criminal cases have been heard." He...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said Tuesday that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year -- double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent. The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg. "It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and offers accommodation ranging from single bedrooms to whole homes in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The company announced Tuesday that it would invest $1 million (850,000 euros) in Africa by 2020 to "promote and support community-led tourism projects". "For...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Though its motto is "one Africa, one voice", the reality of "Africa's parliament" could not be more different. Since its creation in 2004, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has struggled to make its voice heard, prompting its deputies to ask themselves at a recent gathering: "What are we for?" "Every time we're here, we obsess over the same things. If we are not making laws, then what's the point of being here?" Corneille Padonou of Benin said to his fellow parliamentarians. "This forum is not a parliament, it is just a discussion platform that does not have any legislative powers. This institution is still wobbly," said Floyd Shivambu, a parliamentarian from South Africa. "As it is, it is a waste of...
(APA 10/16/17)
APA-Dakar (Senegal) - The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture on Monday 16 October as part of the World Food Prize events taking place from October 16 to 20, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The Norman Borlaug Lecture under the title: “Betting on Africa to Feed the World”, will be held on World Food Day, October 16, in conjunction with the annual World Food Prize celebration. AfDB President Adesina will receive the 2017 World Food Prize on Thursday October 19, announced a press release issued by the AfDB on October 16, which also said “the prize is to agriculture what the Nobel Prize is to peace, science and literature.” The World...
(AFP (eng) 10/12/17)
Peacekeepers in the Central African Republic are accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl, the United Nations said Wednesday, the latest in a spate of rape claims that have hit the UN mission. The minor was taken to hospital after being allegedly assaulted on September 30 in the southern town of Bambari, said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. The UN said the girl was 16 years old, but Amnesty International, which interviewed her, said she was 19. News of the allegation came as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is preparing to meet victims of sex abuse by UN peacekeepers when he visits the Central African Republic later this month. It will be the UN chief's first visit to the poor African country...

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