Sunday 22 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
A Senegalese court on Friday will deliver a verdict in a high-profile corruption trial that could make or break the presidential ambitions of the capital's popular mayor, Khalifa Sall. After being held in pre-trial detention for nearly a year, Sall went before the court in January and February on charges of embezzling public funds. Prosecutors are seeking a seven-year prison term for Sall and his financial director Mbaye Toure, and a fine worth nearly $10 million (more than eight million euros). A conviction could have far-reaching political consequences in Senegal, a country praised for its stability and democracy. It would bar Sall from standing in next year's presidential election, derailing a growing challenge to incumbent...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
"Sir, we're going to handcuff you," a coast guard from Sao Tome tells a man accused of fishing illegally in the archipelago's waters. But the "fisherman" is really a French navy seaman disguised in a T-shirt, cap and sunglasses -- a member of an unusual multinational training exercise to combat crime in the Gulf of Guinea. Illegal fishing, piracy and hostage-taking haunt the vast bay lying off West Africa, whose coastline runs from Liberia in the west to Gabon in the south. According to the European Union, the Gulf of Guinea is the "worst-affected region" in the world for unauthorised fishing. In 2016, around a third of all catches, a haul worth about 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion), were illegal,...
(AFP (eng) 03/05/18)
A Senegalese soldier was killed Sunday and another wounded in a military operation targeting "criminal activities" by rebels in the country's southern Casamance region, the army said. Also during the operation "two rebels were taken prisoner... three fields of Indian hemp were destroyed," and "weapons of war and munitions seized," the army said in a statement released late Sunday. Tensions have mounted in Casamance following the massacre of 14 young men in execution-style killings in a protected forest on January...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/18)
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Algeria on Monday as he embarked a new tour of Africa in a bid to ramp up Turkey's growing influence throughout the continent. The Turkish strongman touched down in Algiers, the first leg of the trip that he described as "historic" and that will see him also visit Mauritania, Senegal and Mali. "Algeria is one of our most important trading partners in the region... We want to strengthen our military, security and cultural relations,"...
(AFP (eng) 02/24/18)
The judge conducting a trial into controversial Senegalese mayor Khalifa Sall's alleged embezzlement of public funds will issue a verdict on March 30, the court has heard. Dakar mayor Khalifa Sall is accused with seven others of misappropriating 1.83 billion CFA francs ($3.3 million, 2.8 million euros) -- a charge he denies and which backers say is to prevent him from running for president. Judge Malick Lamotte said on Friday a ruling would be issued on March 30 as the two sides argued their case for the final time in a trial that has lasted more than a month.
(AFP (eng) 02/10/18)
Mauritania and Senegal on Friday signed an agreement on joint exploitation of a vast offshore gas field, but gave themselves more time to address a dispute over fishing. The two countries signed an intergovernmental cooperation agreement for the Grand Tortue/Ahmeyim gas field, which straddles their shared maritime border. The gas field is estimated to hold 450 billion cubic metres (nearly 16 trillion cubic feet) of gas. Senegal, announcing its discovery in January 2016, described it as the biggest offshore gas deposit in West Africa. The agreement was signed on the second day of a trip to the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott by Senegalese President...
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
The African Union's chairman dismissed during a visit to Beijing on Thursday a French newspaper report alleging that China had spied on the continental body as "lies" intended to derail cooperation. The report published by Le Monde in January claimed technicians at the AU's Chinese-built headquarters in the Ethiopian capital discovered last year that the contents of their computers had been regularly copied to servers in Shanghai since 2012, citing unnamed AU sources. "I don't see it is in the...
(AFP (eng) 02/07/18)
Dakar's mayor on Wednesday accused the Senegalese state of full knowledge of a slush fund held outside official accounts as he defended himself against embezzlement accusations in a high-profile corruption trial. Khalifa Sall is accused with seven others of misappropriating 1.83 billion CFA francs ($3.3 million, 2.8 million euros) -- a charge he denies and which backers say is to prevent him from running for president. "If the state wasn't part of it, it wouldn't have worked. It was the...
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
French President Emmanuel Macron got a rousing welcome Saturday from tens of thousands as he visited the historic city of Saint-Louis, Senegal's former capital, and announced an aid package of 40 million euros for the UNESCO World Heritage site which is threatened by coastal erosion from the Atlantic Ocean. Senegal's second city was founded in 1659 and was the capital of the west African nation until 1957. It also served as the capital of French West Africa, as it was...
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Israel began warning thousands of African migrants Sunday that they must leave by the end of March, officials said, under a plan that could see them jailed if they refuse. On January 3, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced implementation of a plan to deport about 38,000 migrants who had entered the country illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese. The controversial plan gives them until the end of next month to leave voluntarily or face jail and eventual expulsion. Immigration authority spokeswoman...
(AFP (eng) 02/02/18)
French President Emmanuel Macron joined megastar Rihanna in Senegal on Friday at a conference aimed at pressuring donors to finance the education of a quarter of a billion children worldwide who are currently out of school. Macron is co-hosting the event organised by the Global Partnership for Education with Senegalese President Macky Sall, while Rihanna is attending as a global ambassador for the organisation. It is not the first time the young French leader and the singer of "Umbrella" fame...
(AFP (eng) 02/01/18)
An international push to get a quarter of a billion children back to school got under way on Thursday at a conference aiming to fund education in defiance of poverty and unrest. Around the world, 264 million children are not in school, a gap that will keep many of them poor for the rest of their lives, according to organisers of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). Co-hosts Senegalese President Macky Sall and French leader Emmanuel Macron are expected to...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
President Donald Trump said the United States "deeply respects" Africans and will dispatch its top diplomat to the continent, in a letter to African leaders seen by AFP on Sunday. The letter sent last week comes after Trump provoked a firestorm of indignation among African nations earlier in January when he reportedly called them "shithole countries" during a meeting with lawmakers in Washington. While Trump has denied the remarks, they are expected to be formally condemned by the 55 member states of the African Union during their ongoing summit in the Ethiopian capital. "I want to underscore that the United States deeply respects the people of Africa, and my commitment to strong and respectful relationships...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
US President Donald Trump on Friday asked the African Union chairman to pass on his "warmest regards" to other regional leaders at a summit this weekend, after sparking outrage with a reported slur against Africans. Trump met Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where some African business leaders say they are planning to boycott Trump's closing speech later Friday. The outspoken US leader congratulated Kagame on taking over as chair of the 55-nation African bloc, which Trump said was a "great honour". "I know you're going to your first meeting shortly. Please give my warmest regards," Trump told Kagame after they held a one-on-one meeting at the forum.
(AFP (eng) 01/25/18)
Investigators probing a massacre in Senegal's troubled Casamance region said they had captured the organiser of the attack and said some separatist rebels were implicated in the killings. Fourteen young men were slaughtered in execution-style killings in a protected forest on January 6. The bloodbath -- which comes at a delicate time for peace talks for Casamance -- caused some to blame a group that has led a 35-year armed campaign for the region's independence. The separatist group itself blames...
(AFP (eng) 01/24/18)
A rebel leader in Senegal's Casamance warns his fighters may end a three-year truce if the army pursues a crackdown in the troubled region. Salif Sadio, a leader of the Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces (MFDC) which is staging a 35-year-old campaign for independence, issued the warning after a wave of arrests following a massacre in a protected forest. Fourteen young men were killed in execution-style killings on January 6 in the forest of Bayotte. Early suspicions for the bloodbath...
(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...
(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...
(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"...

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