Wednesday 23 August 2017
(AFP (eng) 06/15/17)
"I sell the small bottle of cooking oil for 140 SSP. Six months ago, it was 70. The customers complain," said James Deng, an 18-year-old stallholder in Aweil, South Sudan. In this regional market in the country's northwest -- just as at the main Konyokonyo market in the capital Juba, 800 kilometres (500 miles) to the south, and other towns across the country -- prices of essential items have rocketed as a direct consequence of almost uninterrupted civil war since December 2013. The South Sudanese Pound (SSP) has collapsed from 18.5 to the dollar in December 2015 to around 140 now in black market transactions in Juba. Inflation has reached record levels increasing by 730 percent in the 12 months...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
The United Nations said Tuesday it feared a "security vacuum" in central Africa after the withdrawal of Ugandan, South Sudanese and US troops formerly tracking Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony. One of Africa's longest-surviving rebel groups, the Lord's Resistance Army has terrorized parts of central Africa for 30 years. Since being set up by Kony in 1987, it is accused of slaughtering more than 100,000 people and abducting 60,000 children who were forced to become sex slaves and soldiers. But on April 19, Uganda began withdrawing troops from the eastern Central African Republic (CAR). And 100 special forces soldiers from US Africa Command (AFRICOM) wrapped up their operation...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Extortion, corruption and fear; violence, hunger and sometimes even death: for west African migrants dreaming of reaching Europe, the road to get there can be an absolute minefield. - Departure - Whether it's The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Senegal or Nigeria, everything starts with the "hustlers" -- slang for the middlemen or fixers who organise the trip. Their honesty and prices vary, with the would-be migrant usually deceived about the welcome expected in Europe. Many possess no official documents from their home country, and do not understand illegal status in Europe. Most are ignorant about the extreme difficulties they will encounter en route. "We didn't know we were risking our lives," said Kante Sekou...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
South Sudan's northwest is untouched by civil war, yet hunger still wreaks havoc: here food shortages are cyclical and the annual "hunger gap" is about to begin. About 800 kilometres (500 miles) from Juba, where a new conflict erupted in late 2013, the northern state of Bahr el Ghazal has some of the highest levels of malnutrition in the country. Two of its five counties are classified by the UN as being in a food emergency, the stage preceding famine, which was declared in February in two parts other of the country. The so-called "hunger gap" is the period between a lean last season and the next harvest which, if the rains are good and security maintains, will only come...
(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)
The conflict in South Sudan and its massive population displacements have produced many names synonymous with misery. The latest is Aburoc, a northeastern village where aid workers face the toughest of challenges. In the space of a few days, this remote settlement in Upper Nile State, close to the Sudanese border, grew by 30,000 as men, women and children fled yet another government offensive. Few choose to live in Aburoc, a desolate ash-grey landscape of flies and dry rivers. The earth, bone dry now, is "black cotton" a type of soil that turns into a sucking quagmire with the first of the year's rains. Yet it was to this flat, tree-dotted land that many of the inhabitants of the town...
(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)
Their hug is long and moving but awkward as Jorgina, sobbing, strains to embrace her teenage son Emmanuel who has grown taller since South Sudan's war tore them apart. It has been three and a half years since they last saw each other. They've both been shunted to and fro by the relentless fighting. Emmanuel is now a gangly two metre (6.5 foot) tall 17-year-old. He and Jorgina are among thousands of family members who lost sight of each other in the chaos of the civil war in the new African nation that just gained independence from Sudan in 2011. More than 3.7 million people have been forced to flee their homes since the war started in December 2013. That...
(APA 06/12/17)
The US Charge d'affaires in Khartoum, Stephen Kotsis, discussed with Sudanese undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Abdul Ghani Al-Naeem the East African country's efforts to restore security and stability in southern Sudan. The two countries' views coincided with the importance of supporting the peace efforts, reaching a ceasefire and the comprehensive solution, and supporting the efforts of IGAD to restore security and stability in the south, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Gareebullah Kheddir, on Monday. Kotsis expressed appreciation for the Sudan's efforts to stop the war, fighting and contributing to humanitarian aid in S/Sudan, according to a spokesman for the Sudanese Foreign Ministry. Sudanese President Omar Al-Beshir is due to fly to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Monday for the extraordinary...
(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) 06/09/17)
South Sudanese rebels on Friday claimed responsibility for an ambush that killed at least 15 people on the main road between the capital and the Ugandan border. In a statement, Lam Paul Gabriel, spokesman for the SPLA-IO rebel group led by exiled former vice president Riek Machar, said; "The SPLA-IO would like to make it clear that the ambush on the Nimule-Juba highway was carried out by its forces." He added that Thursday's attack was "our response to the constant attacks on our bases" as well as the "false claim" that rebels had agreed to join national dialogue with the government of President Salva Kiir to end the more than three-year-long civil war. Gabriel claimed the ambush destroyed four military...
(AFP (eng) 06/09/17)
Unknown gunmen on Thursday ambushed a convoy on the main road connecting South Sudan's capital with the Ugandan border, killing at least 15 people, officials said. Nine others were wounded in the attack on a civilian convoy escorted by the military on the insecure Juba-Nimule highway. "The convoy was attacked in Moli village when it was coming from Nimule to Juba with an escort," said South Sudan police spokesman Daniel Justine, who confirmed the death toll. He said the convoy was "targeted with heavy weapons" and that gunfire struck a military vehicle and two private civilian vehicles. Some of the wounded and the dead were taken to Juba's main hospital while others were transported to the border town of Nimule...
(AFP (eng) 06/09/17)
At least 20 foreign journalists have been refused entry to South Sudan for producing reports deemed "insulting", a government official confirmed Thursday. This week, Juba-based Eye Radio reported that "about 20" foreign journalists had been banned for their "unsubstantiated and unrealistic stories". Elijah Alier, manager of the government regulatory body, the Media Authority, confirmed to AFP that the report was "true" but refused to provide any detail on who the banned journalists are and which media they work for. He also refused details on what criteria was used to determine who would be banned or whether further restrictions will be put in place. Foreign journalists seeking to visit South Sudan require clearing by the Media Authority before a visa is...
(Voice of America 06/08/17)
A U.S. congressional delegation returned from central Africa last week with one overriding question: what can be done to stop South Sudan's war and help the refugees streaming into Uganda, suffering from a lack of food? Representative Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, says the answer lies with the parties in South Sudan's conflict, especially the government and military, which have been accused of blocking food aid to needy populations, using rape as a weapon of war and engaging in ethnic cleansing.
(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...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
Sixteen-year-old Stacey narrowly escaped what could have been a life of poverty and prostitution on the streets of South Sudan's capital Juba when she was taken into a shelter and offered safety and schooling. South Sudan's civil war, which erupted in late 2013, has uprooted a quarter of the population, shattered families and left thousands of orphans, abandoned children and runaways to fend for themselves in the city. With few options, sex work has become a form of survival for many girls and young women. While there are no accurate figures to gauge the extent of child prostitution in the scrappy, low-rise city
(Xinhuanet 06/07/17)
South Sudan seeks to strengthen effectiveness and efficiency of the community health sub-system by training more health workers and upgrading infrastructure, Health Minister Riek Gai Kok told Xinhua. The Boma Health Initiative launched in April seeks to empower rural communities through training of three community health workers in each village (Boma) and upgrading health infrastructure to enable delivery of high impact and cost-effective primary health care services. "Production of trained health workers is priority to reduce the labor deficit and upgrading infrastructure is key to improving health sector at the local level," Kok said in a recent interview. It will provide integrated community case management for child health including screening for malnutrition; malaria, tuberculosis, promotion of immunization, provision of safe...
(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...
(Bloomberg 06/06/17)
Total SA approached South Sudan about developing two of its biggest oil blocks after previous talks on the fields collapsed, according to the African nation’s petroleum minister. "They have written to me that they are still interested" in blocks B1 and B2, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said Monday in an interview in Cape Town. Tullow Oil Plc has also asked to discuss the blocks, he said. South Sudan needs foreign investment to ramp up oil production -- currently at about 130,000 barrels a day -- after conflict that erupted in 2013 cut output. Discussions with Total on blocks B1 and B2 reached an impasse in April
(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,...

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