Friday 20 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
Chadian police arrested more than 60 students and schoolchildren Monday as they protested in N'Djamena against austerity measures slashing their teachers' pay, said an AFP journalist on the scene. Police dispersed gatherings of young people in the capital with tear-gas grenades and turned out in riot gear to patrol key street junctions and certain schools and colleges, the journalist said. "The police went ahead with the arrest of more than 60 pupils who are being held by the crime squad" police spokesman Colonel Paul Manga told AFP, adding that "several cars have been stoned".
(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) 01/27/18)
Chad's President Idriss Deby Itno on Friday evening reshuffled the government, including the replacement of its public security minister, officials said. In office since a reshuffle on December 25, public security minister Amadai Abdelkerim is to be replaced by Ahmat Mahamat Bachir, it was announced on national radio. Bachir held the strategic position from 2014 until he was replaced in late December. Mahamat Moctar Ali was appointed public service minister, taking over from Mahamat Allahou Taher, according to the radio. No explanation was given for the new appointments, which come amid public anger over austerity measures imposed...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
The cash-strapped central African nation of Chad risks bankruptcy unless it implements drastic austerity measures, its finance minister has warned after a backlash against government plans to lower the wages of civil servants. Civil service salaries in 2017 totalled 376 billion CFA francs (about 600 million euros/$720 million), roughly the equivalent of the combined revenue from income tax and customs duties, according to official figures given to AFP. "It's worth knowing that over a period of 10 years, the wage bill (of public servants) has increased by 700 percent," Finance and Budget Minister Abdoulaye Fadoul Sabre told journalists late Thursday. "Today we need to make sacrifices collectively in the hope of redressing state finances and preserve social gains," he said...
(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) 01/26/18)
The oldest remains of a modern human outside Africa have been dug up in Israel, offering evidence of what genetic studies have already suggested -- that humans migrated out of Africa some 50,000 years earlier than previously thought. Facial fragments, including a jawbone and several teeth, were found at a site called Misliya Cave in Israel, one of several prehistoric cave sites located on Mount Carmel. The bones date to between 174,000 and 188,000 years old, said the report in Thursday's edition of the US journal Science. Until now, the earliest modern human fossils found outside of Africa were estimated to be between 90,000 to 120,000 years old. "Misliya is an exciting discovery," said co-author Rolf Quam, an anthropology professor...
(AFP (eng) 01/24/18)
Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang, Africa's longest-serving leader, dismissed the country's ambassador to Chad on Tuesday, weeks after authorities said they had thwarted an attempted coup. Ambassador Enrique Nsue Anguesomo was removed due to "irregularities committed in the exercise of his functions," and stripped him of his rank of police colonel, according to two decrees read out on state television. The dismissal comes after the oil-rich country was put on alert earlier this month after reports of a putsch mounted by foreign mercenaries on December 24, according to government officials. State broadcaster TGVE also reported clashes with "mercenaries" near the border with...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/22/18)
KLEINARL, Austria (Reuters) - The chilly conditions on an Austrian mountainside belied the warm reception given to people from 15 African countries who took part in an annual luge race aimed at helping migrants integrate into European society. The event over the weekend, dubbed the African Winter Sports Cup, is a luge race contested by people with little or no experience of winter sports. Its aim, over the six years it has been held, is to promote social integration through sport, organizers said. The countries represented included Nigeria, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan. Some of the people taking part had come to Europe as asylum seekers while others were born on the continent. “We are all human, we have...
(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)
Britain is set to send helicopters to bolster a key French counter-terrorism operation in Mali in a package of measures to be agreed at a summit near London on Thursday. The commitment will come as Prime Minister Theresa May meets French President Emmanuel Macron at an army base near the British capital, with immigration and global aid also on their agenda. In a separate move, Italy's parliament on Wednesday also approved a ramped up military presence in Niger by agreeing to send an initial 120 troops with 350 more to follow as Rome looks to stem migration and people-trafficking of African migrants. European powers are desperate to stem the flow of African migrants crossing the Mediterranean and are spooked by...
(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) 01/16/18)
Five Sahel countries - Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso -- on Monday launched their second anti-Jihadist operation in the troubled region, after talks in Paris with their partner France. After the discussions between the defence ministers of the so-called G5 Sahel and their French counterpart no details were released about the new operation due to "security reasons". "We are moving forward... the joint force is gaining momentum... the first operation has taken place, the second one is starting today," Malian Defence Minister Tiena Coulibaly told a press conference, alongside his G5 counterparts and French Defence...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Defence ministers from five countries in the Sahel were meeting Monday with French counterpart Florence Parly in the latest push for a pooled force fighting jihadism in the fragile region. The brief meeting, in which senior military officers were to take part, aims at setting down a concrete timetable for deploying the so-called "G5 Sahel" force, which carried out its maiden mission in November with French support. The unprecedented initative brings together Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, which aim to create a fully fledged force of 5,000 troops by mid-2018.
(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)
The cash-strapped central African nation of Chad has suspended a plan to reduce the salaries of its civil servants, Prime Minister Albert Pahimi Padacke announced on Wednesday. The plan, announced earlier this month, aims to ease the strains on a budget badly hit by a nearly four-year slump in oil revenues and a rise in borrowing. Trade unions had angrily opposed the scheme. Civil service salaries in 2017 totalled 376 billion CFA francs (about 600 million euros/$720 million), roughly the equivalent of the combined revenue from income tax and customs duties, according to official figures given to AFP on Tuesday. Chad is under pressure to cut costs to meet performance targets under an International Monetary Fund (IMF) aid programme. The...
(AFP (eng) 01/09/18)
Four west African states have launched a major offensive against the Boko Haram jihadist group in Nigeria, the military said on Tuesday. Soldiers from Nigeria and the neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger are targeting a Boko Haram faction led by Abubakar Shekau in the Sambisa Forest, and another led by Mamman Nur, on and around Lake Chad. Both locations are in Borno state, northeast Nigeria. According to the Nigerian military, scores of jihadists have been killed and hundreds of others have been forced to surrender in recent days. Top brass in Abuja have claimed that Nur had been injured and one of his wives killed in an aerial bombardment.
(AFP (eng) 01/09/18)
Five Sahel countries that have pledged to pool military efforts to fight terrorism have set up a fiduciary fund to oversee donations for their campaign. The decision was made by the defence and foreign ministers of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, Malian Foreign Minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly said late Monday. Their countries form the so-called G5 Sahel, a French-supported group that last year launched a joint military force to combat jihadism plaguing the region. Pledges last month brought total funding over the 250 million euros ($298 million) needed to get the force up and running following a maiden mission in the volatile border zone between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger in November. A summit of donor nations is...
(AFP (eng) 01/04/18)
Chad's Foreign Minister Mahamat Zen Cherif, in a visit to Equatorial Guinea after a bid to overthrow long-time President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, condemned the attempted coup as a "major threat" to central Africa. "The attempt at destabilisation is not just an affair that only concerns Equatorial Guinea, it is also a major threat of destabilisation that concerns the entire sub-region of central Africa," he said in remarks reported by state television TVGE. On Wednesday, Security Minister Nicolas Obama Nchama said the authorities had thwarted an attempted coup, allegedly mounted on December 24 by foreign mercenaries recruited by political opponents. Hours after his statement, TGVE reported clashes with "mercenaries"
(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...

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