Tuesday 12 December 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 10/30/17)
UNITED NATIONS/ABIDJAN (Reuters) - The United States has promised up to $60 million to support the Group of Five Sahel States (G5 Sahel) Joint Force’s counter-terrorism efforts, the State Department said on Monday. The force - which will eventually comprise nearly 5,000 troops units from Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania - is meant to counter a growing jihadist threat in West Africa’s arid Sahel region that includes groups linked to Al Qaeda and Islamic State. It is due to begin joint patrols along the borders between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso in the coming days. An ambush by unidentified militants earlier this month in Niger killed four U.S. Special Forces troops and threw a spotlight on American involvement...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/26/17)
N‘DJAMENA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Ginette Ngarbaye, 52, rises from her seat, leans forward and glares intensely at the ghost of her tormentor. “I gave him a long, deep look - like this,” she said, recalling how she came face to face with former Chad President Hissène Habré - the man responsible for the worst moments of her life. Aged 20, she was arrested by Habré’s soldiers, interrogated, tortured and raped – all while pregnant with her first child. Unable to get medical help, she gave birth on the cement floor of her cell, crowded with other women and crawling with insects. “I don’t even know what was used to cut the umbilical cord,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation,...
(AFP (eng) 10/26/17)
The Nigerian military on Wednesday said it was investigating reports that a recent bombing raid killed one of the wives of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. Fighter jets attacked what was said to be "a large gathering of Boko Haram terrorists" at the Durwawa settlement, near Urga in the Konduga area of Borno state on October 19. The bombing killed jihadists on the ground and triggered a fire, air force spokesman Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya said in an emailed statement. "Efforts are ongoing to confirm the reported killing of Shekau's wife, alongside other BHTs (Boko Haram terrorists)," he added.
(AFP (eng) 10/26/17)
Five nations in Africa's Sahel region are progressively deploying a counter-terror force to combat jihadist groups but the project will be vulnerable during its fledgling stage, diplomats and military sources say. The so-called "G5 Sahel" states are some of the world's poorest and least developed nations, comprising Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. Spread across largely tough, desert terrain, the G5's counter-terror force will launch its first operation against jihadists at the end of October, codenamed "Buffalo" in a local language according to official documents seen by AFP, with several more planned. At the new force's military headquarters in Sevare, central Mali, Commander Didier Dacko is highly aware of vulnerabilities linked to incomplete troop numbers and a funding gap...
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
Ten people were killed in clashes at a gold mine in the Tibesti Mountains in northern Chad, pitting locals against outsiders in search of riches, a security source told AFP. The violence erupted early Tuesday when local residents told gold miners who had flocked to the central Sahara mountain region from other parts of Chad to leave, the source said on condition of anonymity. "A fight broke out and the outsiders killed three locals," he said. "The locals then ambushed the outsiders, who ended up leaving the area ... but seven gold miners were killed while the others got away." The discovery of gold in Tibesti in 2012-2013 drew miners from all over Chad, and also from neighbouring Sudan. But...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Elephant poaching in Africa declined for a fifth straight year in 2016 but seizures of illegal ivory hit records highs, the CITES monitor said Tuesday, calling it a "conflicting phenomena". In its latest report, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species also noted that despite the overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has continued to drop "due to continued illegal killing, land transformation and rapid human expansion." Global illegal ivory trade has remained relatively stable for six years, CITES reported. But 2016 saw a full 40 tonnes of illegal ivory seized, the most since 1989, as well as the hightest-ever number of "large-scale ivory seizures", the group said. "The overall weight of seized ivory in illegal trade is...
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
An appeal by Sahel region countries for help in their battle against jihadist violence received a boost Sunday when a visiting UN Security Council ambassador pledged support. "I can assure you Burkina Faso and the G5 Sahel Countries will get the support they need," said Ethiopian ambassador Tekeda Alemu, who co-presided with his French and Italian colleagues in the 15-strong UN delegation ending a five-day visit to the region. The trip came on the initiative of France, which is presiding over the UN Security Council this month.
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. More than a third of girls in the region are married under the age of 18, with the rate over 50 percent in six countries and up to 76 percent in Niger. Driven by factors including poverty, insecurity and religious tradition, marrying off girls once they reach puberty or even before is a deeply engrained social custom in much of West and Central Africa. The practice hampers global efforts to reduce poverty and population growth and has negative impacts on women’s and...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
The killing of four American special operations soldiers in Niger has highlighted the increasing role elite units are playing across Africa, which is rapidly becoming a major center of US military action. Their mission is to counter the advances of a slew of jihadist movements across the continent, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, affiliates of the Islamic State group in the Sahel region and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Of the 8,000 special forces "operators" deployed globally this year, more than 1,300 are in Africa, according to officials from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which is based in Tampa, Florida. Another 5,000 or so are in the Middle East. In five years, the number of US commandos in Africa has tripled...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The #MeToo social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual harassment and abuse has sparked conversation in parts of Africa where domestic violence is rampant but strong cultural and religious taboos prevent women from admitting it. Prompted by sexual abuse allegations against American film mogul Harvey Weinstein, millions of women around the world have been sharing their experiences of harassment and abuse on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo. The movement has reached only a small part of the population in West Africa, but some women are participating in defiance of attitudes which dictate that being abused brings shame on the family, is a curse, or makes a woman unmarriageable. In Senegal, some women...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said Tuesday that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year -- double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent. The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg. "It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and offers accommodation ranging from single bedrooms to whole homes in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The company announced Tuesday that it would invest $1 million (850,000 euros) in Africa by 2020 to "promote and support community-led tourism projects". "For...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Though its motto is "one Africa, one voice", the reality of "Africa's parliament" could not be more different. Since its creation in 2004, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has struggled to make its voice heard, prompting its deputies to ask themselves at a recent gathering: "What are we for?" "Every time we're here, we obsess over the same things. If we are not making laws, then what's the point of being here?" Corneille Padonou of Benin said to his fellow parliamentarians. "This forum is not a parliament, it is just a discussion platform that does not have any legislative powers. This institution is still wobbly," said Floyd Shivambu, a parliamentarian from South Africa. "As it is, it is a waste of...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/16/17)
N‘DJAMENA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - In a dusty alleyway in Chad’s capital, veiled women sell peanuts laid out on handkerchiefs and children bring home firewood on donkeys, as if from another era. But behind tall iron gates, a group of twenty-somethings, armed with laptops, business books and a red motor bike have established a digital start-up, aiming to help propel their country into the 21st century. MossoSouk (Chadian Arabic for “trade-market”), Chad’s first online store for merchants, shopkeepers and individuals with goods to sell, is the brainchild of 26-year-old Andreas Koumato, who hopes to turn it into the Central African country’s version of electronic marketplace Amazon. In reality, Koumato and his team face huge obstacles to carving out a new...
(APA 10/16/17)
APA-Dakar (Senegal) - The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture on Monday 16 October as part of the World Food Prize events taking place from October 16 to 20, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The Norman Borlaug Lecture under the title: “Betting on Africa to Feed the World”, will be held on World Food Day, October 16, in conjunction with the annual World Food Prize celebration. AfDB President Adesina will receive the 2017 World Food Prize on Thursday October 19, announced a press release issued by the AfDB on October 16, which also said “the prize is to agriculture what the Nobel Prize is to peace, science and literature.” The World...
(AFP (eng) 10/12/17)
People made homeless by Boko Haram's brutal insurgency will need years of support to help rebuild their lives, even if security improves, the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council said on Wednesday. "We will be here for the next 10 years. Donors need to stay the course. It's a marathon," Jan Egeland told AFP by telephone from Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria. "(The Boko Haram conflict) is now in its ninth year. That's two years more than the Syrian war, double the First World War. This is a long-term thing." Egeland was speaking as the NRC unveiled new research about the intentions of the 1.8 million people who are still internally displaced in remote northeast Nigeria. Of 27,000 people surveyed, 86...
(AFP (eng) 10/11/17)
Chad is to boost protection for a key haven for endangered wildlife in the south of the country under an agreement with a conservation group. African Parks is to take over management and protection of a territory of high ecological value that lies around the vast Zakouma National Park in southern Chad. The programme will help beef up security at the Siniaka Minia and Bahr-Salamat reserves around the park, as well as vital corridors used by fauna, African Parks said in a statement. The deal was signed on Tuesday in Johannesburg. African Parks has been managing Zakouma since 2010, after the park's elephant population had slumped by 95 percent over the previous eight years. Since then poaching has been "practically...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/11/17)
DIBA 1, Chad (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When armed gunmen stormed Ashta Sahade’s hometown of Bocaranga in Central African Republic, the only possession she grabbed as she fled was her unwieldy rectangular knitting machine. During the two-day journey to safety in nearby Chad, on foot and on the back of a stranger’s bicycle, single mother Sahade, 27, carried the machine precariously on her head, convinced it was the key to her and her three-year-old’s survival. In the village of Diba 1 in southern Chad, she was proven right. Not only does she make knitted goods to sell, she also teaches local Chadian women to do the same in a bid to boost her income. She is not alone. In the...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
France will open offices in Niger and Chad in the coming weeks to identify people who could be granted asylum, President Emmanuel Macron announced Monday. The offices would also "warn people in Niger and Chad better about the situation in order to avoid an influx of economic migrants" who would only be sent back from France, Macron said. The French president had made a similar proposal for migrant registration centres in Libya in July. But the idea was axed due to chronic insecurity in the North African country, a launchpad for hundreds of thousands of migrants setting sail for Europe across the Mediterranean. In Chad and Niger, candidates for asylum would come from lists provided by the United Nations refugee...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
South Africa and Chad on Sunday signed an agreement that will see the re-introduction next year of critically endangered black rhino to the central African country, decades after it was last seen there. Environment ministers from the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding "which will allow for the translocation of six black rhino from South Africa to Chad," said a government statement. The last time a rhino was spotted in Chad was in 1972, according to official documents Chad submitted to South Africa. The animals should be airlifted to Chad's Zakouma National Park "sometime next year. We are looking at around March, April or May" environmental affairs ministry spokesman Albi Modise told AFP. Black rhino are officially listed as...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
Nigeria's Boko Haram started as an Islamic anti-corruption group that became a violent, IS-affiliated movement whose insurgency has threatened stability in the Lake Chad region. But the Nigerian authorities say they are now rolling back the group and thousands of suspected members of the group were due to go on trial from Monday. Boko Haram, whose name loosely translates from the Hausa language as "Western education is forbidden", aims to create a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria. Its revolt has cost at least 20,000 lives since 2009. Mohammed Yusuf, the group's founder, blamed Western values left by Nigeria's British former for the country's ills and advocated a return to more fundamentalist Islam. He attracted many disaffected youths in Maiduguri,...

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