Sunday 18 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
Sixteen people are to be prosecuted in connection with the massacre of 14 young men in Senegal's troubled region of Casamance, a source close to the case said on Friday. The accused face charges of murder and criminal association over the January 6 killings in the forest of Bayotte. The 16 suspects, who were arrested on Sunday, also face charges of participation in a rebel movement and possession of weapons without authorisation, according to the source. Six other people detained by police have been released without charge "for the moment", added the source without naming the suspects.
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
US Ambassador Nikki Haley expressed regret on Thursday to African ambassadors who were outraged by President Donald Trump's alleged description of African countries as "shithole" nations, the head of the African Group said. Haley asked to meet the African ambassadors at the United Nations after they released a joint statement on Friday demanding an apology from Trump for his "outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks." Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea, who chairs the Africa Group, said the US ambassador did not offer an apology during the closed-door meeting, but she did express regret. Haley told the meeting that "she was not there at the White House, she is not sure what was said, but she regretted all this situation...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
President Macky Sall on Thursday suspended all authorisations for logging and ordered an overhaul of Senegal's forestry laws after a massacre connected to the illegal trade in timber. In a statement, Sall said he had instructed the government "to suspend until further orders all authorisations for logging and to immediately proceed with a revision of the forestry code." He also urged the armed forces to "use all necessary means to permanently neutralise all armed groups" operating on national soil. On January 6, 14 young men were murdered, most of them in execution-style killings in the forest of Borofaye in the southern Casamance region. Twenty-two people have been arrested.
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
There's nothing covert about Roxy -- a huge market in Abidjan selling counterfeit medicine, the scourge of Africa and the cause of around 100,000 deaths annually on the world's poorest continent. Located in the bustling Adjame quarter of Ivory Coast's main city and commercial hub, the haven for fake medicine has been targeted time and again by authorities and stockpiles burnt. But it resurfaces every time. "The police hassle us but they themselves buy these medicines," said Mariam, one of the many mainly illiterate vendors who hawk everything from painkillers and antibiotics to anti-malaria and anti-retroviral treatments. "When we are harassed we always come to an arrangement with them to resume our activities," she said. Fatima, another hawker, said: "Many...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
A gunman was killed in Senegal's southern Casamance region during a shootout at the weekend with soldiers searching for the killers of 14 men in an area known for its illegal logging networks. A military source told AFP on Monday that troops fell upon an armed group in the search area. "There were clashes. We killed one of them," the source said. Senegalese police said Sunday they had arrested 22 people suspected of involvement in the January 6 massacre, which many have blamed on rival criminal outfits who target prized teak and rosewood timber. The arrests were the first in connection with the killings in a region largely separated from the rest of Senegal by The Gambia, and which has...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Senegalese police said Sunday they have arrested 22 people suspected of involvement in a January 6 massacre of 14 young men in the troubled region of Casamance. The arrests were the first in connection with the killings in a region separated from the rest of Senegal by The Gambia, and which has been the target of an independence campaign for more than 35 years. "Ongoing investigations have opened up useful lines of enquiry leading to the arrest thus far of 22 people, all of Senegalese nationality," a police statement said. A rebel movement in the area has blamed the massacre on a feud in the illegal teak logging industry, ending a period of relative calm in Casamance. Around 20 men...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The brutal murder of 14 people in a protected forest in Senegal's southern Casamance region has interrupted years of relative calm in this once restive region. A week on, what do we know about the motivations for the killings and their repercussions? - What happened? - On January 6, around 20 men were collecting wood in the protected forest of Bayottes, close to the regional capital of Ziguinchor. Around 15-20 armed men ambushed them, according to victim testimony, confiscated their mobile phones and bicycles, and told them to lie face down before opening fire. The government said 10 were shot dead, two were stabbed to death and one was burned. Half a dozen more were wounded. The army immediately began...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The African Union said Friday that President Donald Trump's reported description of African nations as "shithole countries" broke with "accepted behaviour" and was "extremely upsetting." Ebba Kalondo, spokeswoman for AU Chairperson Moussa Faki, told AFP that Trump's statement "truly flies in the face of accepted behaviour and practice." "This is not only hurtful, I think, to people of African origin in the United States, but certainly to African citizens," she said. "It's an extremely upsetting statement," she added. The comment was reportedly made during a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
President Donald Trump reportedly lashed out in a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform, demanding to know why the US should accept citizens from what he called "shithole" countries. The comments, first reported by The Washington Post, sparked anger among Democrats and Republicans and revived questions about Trump's tendency to make racially charged remarks. Trump sat down with senators and congressmen at the White House to discuss a proposed bipartisan deal that would limit immigrants from bringing family members into the country, and restrict the green card visa lottery in exchange for shielding hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump said, according to people briefed...
(AFP (eng) 01/10/18)
Senegal has said it will step up efforts to stop the trafficking of prized timber in its southern Casamance region, following the massacre of 13 men in an incident believed linked to the trade. The army is leading a search for the perpetrators of the January 6 attack in the forest of Borofaye, close to the regional capital of Ziguinchor. Most of the victims were shot, and one was burned to death. Justice Minister Ismaila Madior Fall said the authorities would "evaluate the policy for criminality linked to wood trafficking in the region" in remarks released late Tuesday, after the illicit sale of teak emerged as a possible motive for the killings.
(AFP (eng) 01/10/18)
The head of the influential Mouride brotherhood of Muslims in West Africa has died, Senegalese media reported on Wednesday. Around 95 percent of Senegal's population is Muslim and most men join Sufi brotherhoods that combine Islam with distinctive local beliefs. Serigne Sidy Moctar Mbacke, who was 92 or 93 when he passed away on Tuesday, was the grandson of the founder of the brotherhood, Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Mbacke, and became its seventh caliph in 2010. He was buried overnight in the holy city of Touba and will be succeeded by another grandson of Bamba, Serigne Mountakha Bassirou Mbacke, the official APS news agency reported. President Macky Sall was due in Touba to offer his condolences, Le Soleil newspaper reported, in...
(AFP (eng) 01/10/18)
In Nganda, a rural community in remote Senegal close to the Gambian border, restaurant owner Aissatou Tisse is carving out a reputation for tasty homemade, locally grown food. About 100 kilometres (60 miles) away in the village of Niakhar, handicapped Daba Dione feeds her family by raising chickens on a modest smallholding. Thanks to a training course in veterinary health, she is routinely consulted by neighbours about their own poultry. "Today, I've even forgotten the difficulties of the past," Dione told AFP. The two have benefited from schemes that seek both to support women's empowerment and fight poverty in rural Africa, where male dominance, backbreaking labour and misery go hand in hand. - 'Enormous need of women' - "We have...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
A rebel movement in a restive southern region of Senegal on Monday blamed the massacre of 13 young men at the weekend on a feud in the illegal teak logging industry. The Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces (MFDC) placed a statement on its website saying it "firmly condemns" the killings, which it said sought to wreck efforts to restore peace to the troubled Casamance region. The movement "will not let itself be distracted or disorientated by the gravediggers of peace", said the group, which has been campaigning for the independence of Casamance since 1982. The west African nation began two days of mourning on Monday. The MFDC called on the authorities to "focus their inquiries"...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
The Senegalese government vowed Sunday to be "relentless" in tracking down and bringing to justice those responsible for the execution of 13 people in the southern region of Casamance. Gunmen ordered a group of men and youths, out looking for wood, to lie on the ground deep in the forest before opening fire, a survivor said following the first upsurge in violence in the isolated Senegalese region in years. President Macky Sall, condemning an "armed attack of rare barbarity", summoned his national security council and ordered a ministerial delegation to the scene. "A hard and relentless hunt will be conducted to find the perpetrators of this despicable act," interior minister Aly Ngouille Ndiaye told Senegalese press agency APS during a...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
Thirteen youths were killed on Saturday by "armed elements" in the Casamance region of southern Senegal, an area ravaged by armed conflict for more than three decades, a security source said. The victims were out collecting wood in the Bayotte forest, 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the regional capital Ziguinchor, "when they were attacked by an armed band of 15 people," army spokesman Abdou Ndiaye told AFP. A source in Ziguinchor said that "thirteen were killed and two were able to escape,", with Ndiaye adding that seven others were injured in the attack. The attackers would have passed the buffer zone separating the positions of the Senegalese army from those of the MFDC (Movement for Democratic Forces in Casamance), the...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kuwait, Peru, Poland and the Netherlands formally joined the ranks of the non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday "to make a difference," the body's president said. "Peace and security are difficult to achieve," Kazakh envoy Kairat Umarov, who took the rotating presidency in January, told council members at a special ceremony. "You are going to have a real chance to make a difference." One after the other, ambassadors representing the council's six new member countries -- five men and a woman, Polish envoy Joanna Wronecka -- placed their flag among those of the body's nine other members. The UN Security Council has 15 members, including five with permanent seats who have the...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
Israel on Wednesday began implementing a plan to force tens of thousands of African migrants out of the country by April, threatening to arrest those who stay. "This plan will get under way today," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting. Under the programme, some 38,000 migrants who entered Israel illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, will have until the end of March to leave. Each will receive a plane ticket and $3,500 (2,900 euros) to do so. After the deadline, this amount will decrease and those who continue to refuse to go will face arrest. Holot, an open facility in Israel's desert south that can host 1,200 migrants who are allowed to leave to work...
(AFP (eng) 12/27/17)
The trial of 31 people accused of terrorism offences in Senegal was postponed Wednesday, setting back a case that has forced the country to confront a security problem plaguing its neighbours. The suspects, among them an imam and three women, are accused of criminal conspiracy related to financing a terror group, money laundering, acts of terrorism and funding terrorism. On the first day of proceedings Malick Lamotte, the presiding judge, delayed the next hearing to February 14 to allow the defence more time to prepare its case. The heavily-guarded Dakar court trial is believed to be the first collective prosecution of suspects accused of terror-related activities in the majority-Muslim country, which is seen as a pillar of democracy and stability...
(AFP (eng) 12/20/17)
Qatar's emir was to tour six West African nations starting Wednesday in search of new markets, six months after Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries cut ties with the wealthy emirate. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Lulwa al-Khater told a press conference that Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani's mission would begin in Mali, and include stops in Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea and Senegal. The visit is part of Doha's drive to open up new markets and diversify its economy amid an ongoing blockade by its neighbours, Khater said. She said the six countries on the emir's itinerary had "strong economic potential and opportunities despite some security challenges in some of them". The emir is to sign cooperation agreements in health,...
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
France on Monday accepted a first group of 19 refugees who were identified in Africa under an overhauled asylum policy that will also see it expel thousands of economic migrants. While it has drawn little public outcry in France, the policy faces stiff opposition from the left and from charities that shelter migrants, 22 of which called in an open letter for France's rights ombudsman Jacques Toubon to intervene. Djamel, a refugee from the Central African Republic, arrived at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport with his wife and four children after spending four years at a camp in Chad, telling AFP: "Now we've no other family. Now you are our family." The new refugees -- also hailing from Sudan --...

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