Thursday 21 September 2017
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Maria gave smugglers all her family savings and crossed three countries and the searing Libyan desert, but when she finally boarded a boat for Europe her dream was swiftly shattered. She was 24 and pregnant with her second child when she left Liberia with her husband and their three-year-old son. The family passed through Guinea and Mali before crossing southern Algeria to reach the Libyan desert. "The smugglers took all our money" -- more than $2,150 (2,000 euros), she said. "We spent four days in the desert. People died of thirst and the sun in the back of the truck." They finally arrived on the beach at Sabrata, 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Libya's capital Tripoli, a key departure...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Uche's real journey had yet to begin but he had already spent four days in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after travelling on public buses and potholed roads from Imo state in the southeast. He planned to go to Agadez, a transit town on the southern edge of the Sahara desert in central Niger, take a truck to Sebha, in southwestern Libya, and from there to the capital Tripoli, and then to Italy or Spain. But his contact, who was supposed to drive him and three women across Nigeria's northern border, was arrested on suspicion of people smuggling. "His house had been under surveillance," explains the 38-year-old electrician in Kano's bustling Sabon Gari district. "The movement of the three...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Monday meet African leaders in Berlin on initiatives aiming to reduce the poverty and conflict driving a mass migrant influx to Europe. The idea is to team up African nations willing to reform with private investors who would bring business and jobs to a continent where instability or graft often scare off foreign companies. Merkel is hosting the initiative as part of Germany's presidency of the Group of 20 powerful economies, whose leaders meet in the northern port of Hamburg a month later. Invited to Berlin are Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leaders of Ghana, Ivory Coast...
(AFP (eng) 06/10/17)
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres voiced concern Friday over the "widespread instability" and attacks on UN troops in the Central African Republic, which has been wracked by renewed sectarian violence since last month. 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 Christian militias that started after the 2013 overthrow of leader Francois Bozize. A new flare-up of sectarian violence since the beginning of May has forced tens of thousands to flee conflict-ravaged areas. "I am concerned by the widespread instability and repeated violations of human rights in the Central African Republic, as well as by the attacks targeting United Nations peacekeeping forces in the...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/08/17)
More girls are completing secondary school across sub-Saharan Africa as attitudes change and state spending rises, but some of the most marginalized girls — like those married young or forced to work — are still missing out, education experts say. The percentage of girls completing secondary school has risen in all regions of Africa since 2005, said a recent report by the African Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the U.N. Development Program. Almost twice as many girls in East Africa and three times as many in Central Africa completed secondary education in 2014 as in 2005, according to the annual African Economic Outlook report, which was published at the end of last month. Yet more...
(AFP (eng) 06/07/17)
The UN force commander in the Central African Republic is calling for hundreds of peacekeepers from Congo Republic to be sent home for sexual abuse, fuel trafficking and poor discipline, according to a confidential memo released Tuesday. Lieutenant-General Balla Keita said Congo should "commit itself to improving without delay the standard of its unit" or else a "decision should be made to repatriate and replace the Congolese battalion," according to the memo dated May 12. The document was released by the Code Blue Campaign
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
Building a network of African women leaders in fields ranging from business to politics could galvanize female leadership across the continent and boost peacebuilding efforts and good governance, the head of U.N. Women said on Tuesday. The African Women Leaders Network, which was launched last week in New York by the United Nations and the African Union Commission, hopes to drive more women into leadership roles, through mentoring, peer learning and harnessing contacts. By supporting women's leadership in Africa, the platform aims to galvanize their contributions to building and sustaining peace, improving political processes and driving social change, and realizing the U.N. global goals, according to U.N. Women. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in 2015, include targets on...
(Xinhuanet 06/06/17)
Delegates of an African conference in solidarity with Cuba on Monday called on the United States to lift its over 50-year economic blockade against Cuba. "We applaud the positive development in this respect and we commend the U.S. government and Cuba for their efforts towards normalizing of ties," said Namibian President Hage Geingob, officially opening the fifth Continental Africa Conference in Solidarity with Cuba here on Monday. "However, there is still much ground left to cover to ensure the complete lifting of the blockage against Cuba," said Geingob. According to Geingob, the conference will lead to the development of the common African strategy in terms of support to Cuba. The delegates also called for the return of the Guantanamo Bay,...
(Voice of America 06/02/17)
The United Nations warns a new spiral of escalating violence in the Central African Republic is threatening to wipe out progress made since 2013 toward peace and reconciliation. Renewed fighting between Christian anti-Balaka militia and the ex-Seleka Muslim rebels in mid-May continues to take a heavy toll. The United Nations reports more than 100,000 people have fled their homes, more than 100 have been killed and hundreds of others wounded. The U.N.'s humanitarian coordinator for C.A.R., Najat Rochdi, says the peace dividend people were beginning to enjoy has all but disappeared. She warns worse lies ahead if the humanitarian and protection needs of the people
(Xinhuanet 06/02/17)
Fifty-four African Union member states will convene the 5th Continental Conference of Solidarity with Cuba in the Namibian capital from June 5-7, said an Naminian official on Thursday. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of International relations and Cooperation, Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, said the aim of hosting the conference in Namibia is to intensify solidarity and to strengthen bounds of friendship between the people of Cuba and the progressive peoples throughout the African Continent. Namibia's President Hage Geingob will open and address the conference, which will run under the theme, "Intensifying Solidarity and continuing the legacy of Fidel and Che". The conference, which will also be attended by a Cuban delegation, will also recognize the important work done in support of...
(AFP (eng) 06/01/17)
One in five children born with a twin sibling in sub-Saharan Africa dies before the age of five -- three times the rate among singletons, said a study Thursday. Almost two-thirds die in the first month of life -- often succumbing to the after-effects of a difficult birth or entering the world too early or underweight, according to research published in The Lancet medical journal. And while rates of under-five deaths in the sub-Saharan African region have declined over two decades, the improvement has been much slower for twins than for single-borns. "Twins account for 10.7 percent of all under-five deaths and 15.1 percent of neonatal (newborn) deaths in the region and these percentages are increasing," the study said. "The...
(AFP (eng) 05/31/17)
A damning United Nations report on Tuesday alleged horrific crimes in the Central African Republic including rape, murder, torture, kidnapping and the use of child soldiers, which could amount to war crimes and even genocide. The UN said "appalling" crimes over 12 years between 2003 and 2015 were committed by the army, armed groups and international forces. Its report -- which documents cases of gang rape, sexual slavery, the torching of entire villages and possibly genocide -- was prepared for a new court that is being set up in the capital Bangui to judge the crimes. In a separate report the UN said surging violence has killed hundreds and forced around 88,000 people to flee their homes since the beginning...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/31/17)
A litany of killing, rape, mutilation, pillage and torture committed by successive governments and armed groups in Central African Republic from 2003-15 may constitute crimes against humanity, the United Nations said in a report on Tuesday. The 368-page mapping report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, based on more than 1,200 confidential and open sources, is meant to help authorities identify cases as they establish a Special Criminal Court to try the worst crimes committed in the landlocked, isolated nation. "The point is to send a signal, particularly to the 'big fish' ... that we have documented their crimes and will continue to document their crimes," Andrew Gilmour, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, told Reuters...
(Washington Post 05/31/17)
The old man’s house had become a camp for the displaced. In the back yard, groups of women boiled water for rice. Small children skittered across the dirt, running into the bedroom, where they careened around the long, skinny legs of Elijah Karama. “Because of the conditions, they are mine to take care of,” said Karama, 57, more tired than proud. By conditions, he meant Boko Haram’s destruction of vast areas of northeastern Nigeria, and the hunger crisis that has followed. This city of about 1 million has absorbed an additional 1 million people who fled the Islamist militants who burned their villages and kidnapped hundreds of children. In Maiduguri, the vast majority of the displaced aren’t living in U.N...
(AFP (eng) 05/30/17)
Surging violence in Central African Republic has killed hundreds and forced some 88,000 people to flee their homes since the beginning of the month, the United Nations said Tuesday. One of the world's poorest nations, the country has been struggling to recover from a three-year civil war between the Muslim and Christian militias that started in 2013. A new flare-up of sectarian violence since the beginning of May has forced 68,000 people to flee conflict-ravaged areas while another 20,000 have crossed into neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo as refugees over the past two weeks alone
(AFP (eng) 05/30/17)
They were attacked by "drugged, drunk and uncontrollable" armed men, and now the residents of a Central African town live in terror after one of the most murderous raids in months was carried out right under the nose of UN troops. At least 108 people were slaughtered and 76 injured during the attack by several hundred fighters on Bangassou on May 13, according to the Central African Red Cross and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The attackers "threw severed hands and feet at us", said Djamil, a Bangassou resident who has now sought refuge in a camp near the cathedral of the southeastern town on the border with Democratic Republic of Congo. MINUSCA, the UN...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/27/17)
Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations met African heads of state on Saturday, the final day of their annual summit which has been marked by discord over climate change, but unity on tackling terrorism. Italy had hoped to make Africa the major focus of the annual G7 gathering, holding the discussions on the island of Sicily that has taken in hundreds of thousands of migrants over the past four years as they flee war and poverty back home. However, the two-day meeting got overshadowed by a suicide bombing in northern England on Monday that killed 22 people, and also got bogged down by lengthy discussions on the merit of free trade and the 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle...
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
Entertainment | France | film | festival | Cannes | Zambia | witchcraft Cannes, France | AFP | Friday 5/26/2017 - 14:01 UTC+3 | 615 words by Katy Lee Being accused of witchcraft is no laughing matter in Africa -- but movie director Rungano Nyoni decided a dose of humour was just what was needed to tackle a problem rampant in parts of the continent. Set in Zambia, the sharp satire "I Am Not A Witch" has premiered to strong reviews at the Cannes film festival, taking aim at the blatant sexism behind accusations that overwhelmingly target women. White tourists are seen gawping at women detained in a "witch camp" in the movie, taking pictures of them as if they're...
(AFP (eng) 05/24/17)
The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor on Tuesday called for an immediate halt to the renewed sectarian bloodshed in the Central African Republic, warning that war crimes will be punished. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's call comes amid an upsurge of attacks on civilians and UN peacekeepers, as well as renewed fighting between factions of the Christian anti-Balaka coalition and the mainly Muslim ex-Seleka rebels. "Violence and clashes between armed groups in several parts of the Central African Republic (CAR) have increased in the last months," Bensouda said in a statement. "These reported crimes may fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court
(Reuters (Eng) 05/24/17)
When U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders of the world's seven major industrialized nations gather in Sicily on Friday, they will enjoy a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea, but won't get any glimpse of boats full of migrants. A common sight off Sicily in recent years, the authorities have banned all migrant landings on the island during the Group of Seven Summit for security reasons, telling rescue vessels that pick them up at sea to take them to the mainland during the two-day meeting. Out of sight does not mean out of mind. Italy chose to host the summit in Taormina, on the cliffs of eastern Sicily, to concentrate minds on Europe's migrant crisis and to seek ways...

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