Monday 19 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
About 224 million people are suffering from malnutrition across Africa as climate change and conflicts heighten food insecurity across the continent, a top UN food agency official said Monday. The official, speaking at a conference on Africa organised by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said the situation was a "cause of concern" as the continent's population was expected to reach 1.7 billion by 2030. "Under-nourishment appears to have increased from about 21 percent to nearly 23 percent between 2015 and 2016," Bukar Tijani, FAO's assistant director general for Africa, said at the regional conference that opened on Monday in Khartoum. "Over the same period, the number of under-nourished rose from 200 million to...
(AFP (eng) 02/16/18)
The latest round of Ethiopia-led peace talks on South Sudan will wrap up on Friday with a possible agreement that could pave the way to further negotiations on ending the war, the UN envoy said. The talks that opened on February 5 in Addis Ababa are aimed at finding a settlement to one of Africa's worst conflicts. "We are hoping that there will be some form of agreement signed tomorrow," UN envoy David Shearer told reporters at UN headquarters in New York on Thursday. "It might not go as far as we had hoped, but it might provide the platform for ongoing discussions." Talks in Ethiopia have focussed on governance and security in South Sudan. The African Union and the...
(AFP (eng) 02/16/18)
About another 200,000 South Sudanese refugees are expected to arrive in Sudan this year, fleeing fighting and food insecurity in their country, the United Nations said Thursday. South Sudan, the world's youngest nation, descended into civil war just two years after it split from the north in 2011. Since the war erupted in late 2013, 417,000 South Sudanese refugees have already crossed into Sudan, according to the UN. About 200,000 more refugees are expected in 2018, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Office, or OCHA, said in its latest bulletin. "Continued fighting, limited humanitarian assistance and extreme levels of food insecurity are forcing citizens of South Sudan...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/18)
Senegalese singer Baaba Maal is quitting his role as global ambassador for Oxfam over the British charity's handling of sexual misconduct allegations concerning its staff, the BBC reported. "What has happened on a human level is disgusting and heart-breaking," he told BBC Newsnight late Wednesday. "It is very sad. Vulnerable people especially children should always be protected. As such I am disassociating myself from Oxfam immediately," he said. Maal is the second ambassador to leave Oxfam after British actress Minnie...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/18)
A former Oxfam country director at the centre of allegations of sexual misconduct embroiling the London-based charity does "not deny everything" but wants to give his version of events, a Belgian daily reported Thursday. Roland van Hauwermeiren, who led Oxfam's team in Haiti, was one of three staff members who resigned over allegations they hired prostitutes following the devastating 2010 earthquake there. "A lot of people, including international media, will be embarrassed when they hear my version of events," Van...
(AFP (eng) 02/13/18)
Scandal-hit British charity Oxfam was reeling Tuesday after fresh claims of sexual assault and cover-up in South Sudan, as Haiti's president condemned the behaviour of some of its staff in his country as "undignified and dishonest". Helen Evans, former global head of safeguarding, also warned of assaults on children volunteering in Oxfam's hundreds of high-street charity shops in Britain. She accused senior managers of failing to act, heaping pressure on chief executive Mark Goldring just hours after his deputy resigned...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
South Sudan rebel spokesman James Gatdet Dak was sentenced to death by hanging for treason on Monday, a year after he was deported from Kenya despite having refugee status. "Death sentence by hanging," Judge Ladu Armenio told Gatdet in the court in Juba, after he was found guilty of treason and other crimes against the state. The sentencing comes as peace talks between the government and rebels, taking place in neighbouring Ethiopia, stall amid mutual accusations of military assaults. Gatdet, a former journalist, was also handed jail sentences totalling 21 years, which he is expected to serve before his execution.
(Reuters (Eng) 02/12/18)
JUBA (Reuters) - A spokesman for South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar was sentenced to death on Monday on charges of treason and incitement against the government. James Gatdet Dak was deported to South Sudan from Kenya in November 2016, a move that rights groups and the United Nations said was in breach of international law. A high court in the capital Juba handed Gatdet the death sentence on Monday, as well as a combined 21 years for incitement and...
(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)
More than 300 child soldiers have been released in South Sudan's war-torn region of Yambio under a programme to help reintegrate them into society, the UN said on Wednesday. Of the 311 children freed by armed groups, 87 are girls, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said. "This is the first time so many young women have been involved in a release like this in South Sudan," said David Shearer, the UN's secretary general's special representative and head...
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Another round of South Sudan peace talks began in Ethiopia on Monday, amid growing international impatience with the country's years-long war that has defied all efforts to end the conflict. "You, collectively, by your personal and political interests are responsible for the nightmare your own people are going through," Ethiopia's foreign minister Workneh Gebeyehu told South Sudanese delegates gathered at the opening of talks hosted by the IGAD regional bloc. "You have had numerous opportunities to change directions. You have repeatedly failed to do so. This really is the very last chance for you to accept your responsibilities and take the necessary actions to ensure South Sudanese peace and prosperity," Workneh said.
(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) 02/03/18)
Appalled by ongoing violence in South Sudan, Washington on Friday restricted arms transfers to the African country where tens of thousands have died in civil war. "In response to this continued violence and brutality against civilians and humanitarian workers, the United States is enacting restrictions on arms transfers with South Sudan," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. The United States is South Sudan's biggest aid provider, and was a major backer of its 2011 independence from Sudan...
(AFP (eng) 02/03/18)
Megastar Rihanna vowed she would "never stop fighting" to get millions of children back in school on Friday as French President Emmanuel Macron promised a major boost in foreign aid for education in developing nations. Macron co-hosted a conference in Dakar organised by the Global Partnership for Education with Senegalese President Macky Sall, while Rihanna attended as the organisation's global ambassador. "We have made tremendous progress today but of course our work is never done, we have a long way...
(AFP (eng) 02/02/18)
Rihanna on Thursday used her star power to urge key governments to commit to ensuring education for the world's poorest as she takes part in an international conference in Senegal. The chart-topping singer arrived in the capital Dakar where she on Friday will join the Global Partnership for Education talks co-hosted by Senegalese President Macky Sall and French leader Emmanuel Macron. Rihanna, the fourth most followed person on Twitter with 86 million followers, took to social media to urge Macron,...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/30/18)
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - The African Union said on Monday it is open to imposing sanctions on leaders violating ceasefires in South Sudan, joining a growing chorus of officials who say those prolonging the conflict must be punished. “We need to act against those who, with impunity, are continuing to massacre their peaceful populations,” the head of the African Union commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, told reporters at the AU Summit on Monday. Oil-rich South Sudan has been wrecked by civil...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/30/18)
JUBA (Reuters) - South Sudan has temporarily abandoned some of the fees it charges foreign and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in a bid to encourage groups to help with a humanitarian crisis, a senior government official said. The government and the United Nations said last month that South Sudan needs $1.7 billion in aid this year to help six million people cope with the effects of war, hunger and economic decline. Paul Dhel, deputy chairman of the South Sudan Relief...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
African Union chief Moussa Faki Mahamat said Sunday that "the time has come" to slap sanctions on those blocking peace in South Sudan, one of the most intractable wars facing African leaders as they meet in Ethiopia. At the opening of the 30th annual African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Faki deplored the "unbelievable cruelty" and "senseless violence" of warring parties in South Sudan, which has been torn apart by conflict since December 2013, just two years after gaining independence...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
African nations mediating South Sudan's peace efforts must not "squander" the opportunity of a renewed push to end the country's war, the head of an international ceasefire monitoring team said Saturday. Festus Mogae, a former president of Botswana who leads the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), urged members of the eight-nation IGAD trade bloc to work together. Mogae said Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda must "maintain a unified approach, demonstrate one voice (and) challenge those who...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/29/18)
JUBA (Reuters) - A South Sudanese rebel group said on Monday it had released 15 army soldiers it had been holding to The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in line with a ceasefire agreed by the government and rebel groups last month. SPLA-IO spokesman Lam Paul Gabriel told Reuters the rebel group had released the prisoners on Sunday and that it was collecting names of prisoners of war from battlefields across the Equatoria region, which borders Uganda. More...

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