Saturday 25 November 2017
(AFP (eng) 07/24/17)
An ambush killed a Moroccan peacekeeper and wounded three others on Sunday in the Central African Republic, the United Nations said, blaming pro-Christian militias for the violence. "A MINUSCA (peacekeeping mission) military convoy was targeted by anti-Balaka," it said of the clash in the southern city of Bangassou. The country is struggling to emerge from a civil war that erupted in 2013 following the overthrow of former president Francois Bozize, a Christian, by Muslim rebels from the Seleka coalition. The coup led to the formation of "anti-Balaka" (anti-machete) vigilante units...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/24/17)
DAKAR (Reuters) - Christian militias in Central African Republic have launched several attacks in the town of Bangassou in recent days, attempting to seize a cathedral housing displaced Muslims and killing a Moroccan peacekeeper, the United Nations said on Sunday. The incidents, including one on Sunday, came after attacks on the same diamond-mining town in May that killed at least 115 people and point to the inability of U.N. peacekeepers to contain violence in a country where government control barely extends outside the capital. "The attack took place as the peacekeepers from the Moroccan contingent were escorting water trucks filling up in the river in order to meet the humanitarian needs of the town," Vladimir Monteiro, spokesman for the 13,000-strong...
(Bloomberg 07/24/17)
Rough diamonds enabled Abdoul Raouf to marry three women and put his nine children through school. Now that his town in western Central African Republic can legally export the gems to world markets again, his neighbors are expecting similar fortunes. “Diamonds are my life,” said Raouf, who trades the stones bought from artisanal miners in the town of Gamboula, near the border with Cameroon and a 10-hour drive to the capital, Bangui. “It’s because of diamonds that I can take care of my family.” Gamboula is one of five areas in the west that can freely trade in diamonds again after the gradual easing of an export ban imposed three years ago. While fighting has flared in the southeast, forcing...
(The Associated Press 07/24/17)
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) -- The United Nations says a peacekeeper from Morocco has been killed in Central African Republic. A statement Monday morning says the peacekeeper was killed Sunday in the southeastern town of Bangassou by suspected anti-Balaka militias. The statement says three other peacekeepers were injured. Hundreds of people have been killed in Central African Republic and roughly 100,000 displaced in the past two months. Sectarian violence that began in 2013 has been moving into the impoverished country's central and southeastern regions, prompting warnings of a national conflict roaring back to life. In Bangassou alone, more than 150 people have died in fighting between militias and U.N. peacekeeping forces.
(AFP (eng) 07/21/17)
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will expand from 16 to 24 teams and be staged in June and July, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Thursday. The tournament has traditionally been held in January and February, with the timing of the tournament a source of frustration to European clubs forced to release players in the middle of the season. The CAF executive committee confirmed the changes to the format following a two-day symposium in Rabat, although the tournament will continue to be held every two years and exclusively on African soil. The decision to increase the number of teams mirrors a similar one taken by UEFA to expand the European Championship, with 24 nations taking part at...
(The Associated Press 07/20/17)
BANGASSOU, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC — Bullet-riddled roofs line the "boulevard of death" in Central African Republic's southeastern town of Bangassou, where almost everyone who enters is seen as an enemy. The city, spared sectarian bloodshed until May, now has more than 2,000 Muslim residents forced to take refuge at the local cathedral after attacks by the mostly Christian anti-Balaka militia. More than 300 people have been killed and 100,000 displaced since May as violence that began in 2013 moves into the impoverished country's central and southeastern regions, prompting warnings of a national conflict roaring back to life. In Bangassou alone, more than 150 people have died in fighting between militias and U.N. peacekeeping forces. "We were driven out by force...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/17)
An EU court on Thursday upheld the bloc's freeze on the funds of two companies charged with trafficking in conflict diamonds and supporting armed groups in the Central African Republic. In 2015, the European Union decided to block the European assets of Badica, a large diamond trading firm in the Central African Republic, and its Belgian unit Kardiam. The companies argued that the freeze was not warranted saying it was not sufficiently proven that they had supported armed groups by trading natural resources. The court rejected this view. "By continuing to purchase diamonds from collectors, Badica and Kardiam necessarily provided support to armed groups," the EU's General Court said in a statement.
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa's major central banks are entering an easing cycle as they try to stimulate growth after months of drought, austerity drives and confidence issues across the continent, a Reuters poll found on Thursday. Much of southern and eastern Africa is still recovering after an El Niño-related drought wilted crops last year. Poor business confidence in South Africa and foreign exchange restrictions in Nigeria have also hampered growth. "We expect that African monetary policy is entering a widespread and protracted period of policy easing. This will provide a boost to growth," said John Ashbourne, Africa analyst at Capital Economics. Ghana, which agreed a three-year fiscal discipline deal with the International Monetary Fund in exchange for aid in 2015,...
(Bloomberg 07/19/17)
Vodacom Group Ltd. sees the expansion of mobile-banking services into new markets in sub-Saharan Africa as a top priority following a shareholder vote to rubber stamp its purchase of a 35 percent stake in Safaricom Ltd., Kenya’s biggest company. “We will use Safaricom to enter other markets where neither Vodacom nor Safaricom are,” Chief Executive Officer Shameel Joosub said in an interview at the wireless carrier’s annual general meeting in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The two businesses have a combined 30 million mobile-banking customers, giving them “a very sizeable platform on the continent,” he said. Vodacom’s purchase of the Safaricom stake from U.K. parent company Vodafone Group Plc gives the South African company access to the fast-growing M-Pesa platform, which processed...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/18/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Spiraling violence between armed factions in Central African Republic could plunge the country back into a large-scale humanitarian crisis four years after conflict first erupted, the United Nations' aid chief and agencies said on Tuesday. A surge in fighting between militias in several hotspots has uprooted more than 100,000 people since April, in the worst spell of displacement since the peak of the conflict in 2014, say aid groups including the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). More than 1 million people are displaced - about half are living as refugees in neighboring countries - and nearly one in two people - at least 2.2 million - need aid, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination...
(UN.org 07/18/17)
Renewed fighting in the Central African Republic (CAR) is increasingly targeting children, while there are concerns that the humanitarian needs in the country could escalate to levels not seen since the crisis four years ago, United Nations humanitarian officials today said. Months of renewed fighting have led to an “increasing number of violent acts” targeting the youngest population, including murders, abductions, rape and recruitment into armed groups, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said. Christine Muhigana, UNICEF Representative in CAR warned that “armed groups and parties to the conflict must cease these flagrant violations of children’s rights and make every effort to keep children safe.” The exact numbers of attacks on children is unknown because fighting prevents humanitarian access to many...
(Unhcr 07/18/17)
Recent violence in southern border areas of Central African Republic is driving more people to flee, including into remote areas of northern Democratic Republic of the Congo, putting immense pressure on difficult-to-reach local communities close to the border. In Zemio, around 1,000 kilometres east of the capital Bangui, our partner MSF reported last week that a baby had been shot dead by militants in a hospital housing more than 7,000 displaced people. MSF has since withdrawn from the town amid violence that has also forced the temporary closure of a UNHCR field office. The main areas from which people have been fleeing are the towns of Bangassou, Bema and Mobaye – all several hundred kilometres east of the capital Bangui...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/18/17)
Three years after he risked his life crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy on a small boat crammed with migrants, 22-year-old Sow Muhammed can hardly believe his luck. The former street hawker from Guinea now works as a caterer in Venice, rents his own apartment, and sends money back home regularly to his mother and siblings in the West African nation. "I am happy I came to Europe, and my family is also happy," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation as he packed up leftovers at a training event for people who work with refugees, where he had served a menu which included traditional African dishes. "I talk to my family frequently, ask them their needs, and help...
(Xinhuanet 07/17/17)
Africa is making progress towards the establishment of a trade zone by Oct. 30 that will cover approximately half of the continent's member states. The Common Market for the Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Director of Trade and Customs, Francis Mangeni, said in a commentary published in the Star Newspaper on Monday that so far 19 of the 26 countries involved have signed the agreement. "Three outstanding annexes had meant the tripartite agreement was not complete and this was advanced by some countries as the reason they could not sign or ratify the agreement. However their adoption represented a milestone in the negotiation, as it removed the last obstacle to signing and ratifying the agreement," Mangeni said. The tripartite free...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/12/17)
Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) suspended operations on Wednesday in the town of Zemio in southeastern Central African Republic after militants shot and killed a baby in a hospital hosting thousands of people displaced by violence. Two armed men entered the hospital in Zemio - about 1,000 km (620 miles) east of the capital Bangui - on Tuesday and threatened a family before opening fire on them, shooting the baby in the head and killing her instantly, according to MSF. "The callousness of this attack highlights both the indiscriminate nature and disturbing escalation in violence in CAR against civilians ... and signals the diminishing space for aid organizations," said Mia Hejdenberg, MSF's head of mission. "It has also forced...
(Cnbc Africa 07/12/17)
"Africa is an awakening giant," according to the former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul. The leader who oversaw the transition of his country's power to Nelson Mandela said Tuesday that the future looks bright for a continent previously blighted by war, famine and a lack of infrastructure. "I believe Africa is an awakening giant and, yes, it is not performing according to what we expected soon enough, but it will perform," he said. De Klerk believes that African countries are primed to take advantage of the world's growing size. "If we look at food shortages for the rest of the world with a growing population, Africa is the solution," he...
(AL Jazeera 07/11/17)
The Norwegian Refugee Council says the number of refugees in the country's east has now reached 100,000. A fresh wave of violence has forced 40,000 more people to flee from their homes in the Central African Republic (CAR), bringing the number of refugees in the country's east to 100,000, an NGO says. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) reported on Monday that the ongoing fighting in the CAR has also left over 100 people dead since April. In the eastern province of Haute-Kotto, clashes between armed groups since June have forced almost the entire population of its regional capital Bria to flee for their lives.
(APA 07/11/17)
Moroccan peacekeepers deployed in Bria in the north central region of the Central African Republic (CAR) have been withdrawn, MINUSCA announced on Monday. MINUSCA the UN Integrated Multidimensional Mission for Stabilization in the Central African Republic said on a private radio station in Bangui, the nation’s capital, that the decision came at the end of the demonstration staged by inhabitants of Bria last Thursday, demanding the withdrawal of the Moroccan contingent from Bria, for “bias” in their security activities. “Depending on operational requirements, we very often have contingents or parts of the contingents across the country that move from...
(Voice of America 07/11/17)
In the past five years, terrorist attacks have killed nearly 20,000 people across Africa. Two groups, Boko Haram and al-Shabab, accounted for 71 percent of reported incidents and 91 percent of fatalities. But, while these and other militant groups remain active, fatal terrorist attacks across the continent are on pace to fall for a second straight year, and the total number of attacks is running far below 2012 highs. These findings are part of VOA’s original analysis of data from ACLED, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. ACLED tracks political violence, protests and terrorist events across Africa. Their reports include attacks since 1997 based on data collected from local news media, government statements, non-governmental organizations and published research...
(Bloomberg 07/10/17)
Many cell phone companies are rethinking their headlong rush into the continent. Only Orange is staying the course. Back when African countries were auctioning off mobile licenses by the boatload to serve the region’s young, tech-savvy population, investing in the continent’s fast-growing economies seemed like a no-brainer. Some of the world’s biggest wireless carriers rushed in. Now they’re wondering if they made a mistake. Increasing government and regulatory scrutiny, as well as a lack of expansion opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa, are making it harder for operators such as Vodafone Group Plc, Orange SA and Bharti Airtel Ltd. to grow. Their choice: Pull back or double down. Two companies beating at least a partial retreat are Millicom International Cellular SA, which...

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