Friday 23 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 11/13/17)
Ministers from 13 European and African countries on Monday pledged steps to ease the migrant crisis around the Mediterranean, vowing especially to improve conditions for migrants held in Libya. Interior ministers and other representatives from countries impacted by the ongoing wave of migration up through Africa towards Europe, including Libya, voiced deep concern over the "ongoing human tragedy" along the so-called Central Mediterranean route. "The participants intend to address the challenges posed by the alarming situation along the migration route to North Africa," Switzerland, which hosted the third meeting of the so-called contact group on the crisis, said in a statement. Thousands of migrants and refugees who attempt to travel along this route "find themselves in catastrophic situations," it said,...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/10/17)
DOSSEYE, Chad (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Leila Ousmane and her 10-year-old daughter walk in disbelief atop the crumbling bricks that, until a few days earlier, formed the walls of their family home. Heavy rains and floods in late September ravaged the Dosseye refugee camp where they live, toppling their house of mud bricks and wooden stumps into rubble. “We went to live with my neighbor,” said Ousmane. “But last night, the storm made their house collapse too.” Chad, a country already beset by economic and humanitarian crises, faces another looming disaster: climate change. It was ranked as the country most vulnerable to the effects of global warming in a 2016 index compiled by risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft. The annual ranking...
(AFP 11/09/17)
France said Wednesday it will increase its development aid to the troubled Sahel by more than a third, linking the extra funds to the fight against jihadist groups in the vast African region. The five nations in the sprawling area south of the Sahara -- Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- pooled their military resources to create the G5 Sahel force, which began operations on November 1. The fledgling group is tasked with combatting Islamist terrorism after thousands of civilians have died in fighting, many of them in suicide bombings, and tens of thousands of people have fled their homes. France, the former colonial power in the Sahel, is the scheme's biggest political backer and provided a hefty...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/09/17)
DANAMAJA, Chad (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Wearing a pastel-colored dress embroidered with a tatty trim and speaking almost in a whisper, 17-year-old Chancelle looks like she should be in school. But, since the age of 15, she has instead been going into isolated huts or simply to the fields to sell sex for money. “Each week, I would meet with three or four men,” the teenager, who declined to give her real name, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Chancelle fled north to Chad in 2014 after her father was killed by armed militants in her native Central African Republic (CAR), where Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian and animist “anti-balaka” militias have been fighting since 2013. A spike in violence in...
(AFP (eng) 11/08/17)
A dozen other students look on as Umar Amadu uses a glass pipette to draw a solution from a conical flask as part of a chemistry experiment. It could be a scene from any school laboratory around the world, but until two months ago Amadu and his fellow students had no access to any science equipment. Science subjects at his rural secondary school outside the city of Katsina in northern Nigeria were taught using theory only. But now they have all the kit they need to put theory into practice, thanks to a mobile science lab that tours selected state schools. "It's an exciting experience. We were being taught only the theoretical aspect of science subjects," Amadu, who wants to...
(AFP (eng) 11/07/17)
The maiden mission of a counterterrorism force that aims to tackle jihadist groups in the troubled Sahel experienced "logistical problems" but they are not "insurmountable", according to the military's first appraisal of the operation. The G5 Sahel force -- an initiative comprising Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- last week began its first operation, dubbed Hawbi, with French military support. "It's the first mission. We have lots of lessons to learn, but I don't think it is insurmountable," said Mahamadou Mounkaila, a Nigerien colonel, from a command post in the Niger capital, Niamey. Construction work is still underway, but the complex is already the strategic and logistical hub of the new multinational force. It has an unprecedented mandate...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/07/17)
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc. [UBER.UL] is growing rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa and considering moves into more markets, despite sometimes violent opposition from metered taxi drivers, a senior executive said on Tuesday. Uber’s service has triggered protests by rivals from London to New Delhi as it up-ends traditional business models that require professional drivers to pay steep licensing fees to do business. “We are bullish on Africa. The growth here is still substantial and we think that given the right regulatory environment, the growth could be even better,” Justin Spratt, head of business development for the sub-Saharan region, told Reuters. “Africa’s growth thus far has been faster than America and a large part of that is...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/06/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa’s mobile internet connections are set to double in the next five years, a study showed on Monday, thanks to affordable smartphones and the roll-out of high-speed networks. A report by research and consulting firm Ovum in London estimates that mobile broadband connections will rise from 419 million at the end of this year to 1.07 billion by the end of 2022. “Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the continent in areas such as digital media, mobile financial services, and the Internet of Things,” said Matthew Reed, Practice Leader Middle East and Africa at Ovum. “But as Africa’s TMT market becomes more convergent and complex, service providers are under...
(AFP (eng) 11/04/17)
In a cloud of ochre dust, a column of army pickup trucks slowly advances on a dirt road near Mali's border with Burkina Faso -- one of the world's hotspots for jihadism. The national flag of Mali flaps in the wind: an appropriate symbol for a brand-new force whose first task is to assure terrified locals that governance is returning to lawless lands. "We are here to secure the zone and to reassure people that they can live a normal life," Lieutenant Gaoussou Diara, who commands 100 Malian troops in the convoy, told AFP. "The track between Tessit and Kayrougouten (in central Mali) is a major route, used by traders and the population." The new force, called the G5 Sahel,...
(AFP (eng) 11/03/17)
US politicians are voicing concern over America's growing military presence across Africa, where they worry the Pentagon is getting ever more embroiled in a secretive campaign against a shifting enemy. Last month's killing of four US soldiers in a Niger ambush has thrust the issue into the spotlight, with lawmakers calling for greater transparency on what is going on in Africa. "The footprint in Africa is much bigger than the American public understands," Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said this week. The Niger ambush has also rekindled debate over the legal authorities the Pentagon uses to fight jihadist groups overseas, particularly in Africa where about 6,000 US troops are deployed across the vast continent. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis this week faced...
(AFP (eng) 11/02/17)
Six countries in central and western Africa have breathed life into long-running plans to allow visa-free movement of people among their nations. At a summit in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena, the countries formally declared late Tuesday that the scheme had now been ratified by all members. The agreement gathers six francophone states -- Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo -- in a bloc called the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). The association, set up in 2000, has a potential market of 30 million consumers, many of whom however, live in poverty.
(AFP (eng) 11/01/17)
A joint anti-jihadist force linking countries in the Sahel began operations on Wednesday, the French military mission in the region, which is providing support, told AFP. "The deployment of Malian, Nigerien and Burkinabe troops in the G5 Sahel force began this morning," said a colonel for France's Barkhane mission, speaking on condition that only his first name of Marc-Antoine was used. Several hundred troops have been deployed in the initial operation, codenamed Hawbi, he said. It will "provide a show of strength and demonstrate presence" in the Mali, Burkina and Niger border regions "and impede freedom of movement, which several armed groups have enjoyed for months," Marc-Antoine said. "The ultimate goal is to boost the power of the G5 Sahel...
(AFP (eng) 10/31/17)
The UN Security Council looked at ways of shoring up a new G5 Sahel regional counter-terrorism force on Monday, with France seeking UN funding and support for the fight against jihad in Africa. What are the origins of the force to number up to 5,000 troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, and why is it needed? - Why now? - Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- the so-called "G5 Sahel" countries just south of the Sahara -- first raised the idea of a regional force in November 2015 in Chad's capital, N'Djamena. The idea resurfaced in the light of the deteriorating security situation in Mali, and following mounting incidents of jihadist violence in neighbouring Burkina...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Economic growth is expected to rise to 3.4 percent in sub-Saharan Africa next year from 2.6 percent in 2017, the IMF said in a report on Monday, but warned that rising debt and political risks in larger economies would weigh down future growth. Nigeria and South African are the biggest economies in Africa south of the Sahara, but both nations have been clouded by political uncertainty linked to the tenure of their leaders. The IMF said a good harvest and recovery in oil output in Nigeria would contribute more than half of the growth in the region this year while an uptick in mining and a better harvest in South Africa as well as a rebound in...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/30/17)
N‘DJAMENA/LONDON (Reuters) - Chad is on a collision course with top creditor Glencore as it wants to divert oil from the Swiss trading house to U.S. energy company ExxonMobil from the new year amid a dispute over debt restructuring. A government document showed that Chad wants to hand over crude oil marketing rights currently held by Glencore under a $1.4 billion loan agreement to Exxon, the biggest oil producer in the Central African country. Three government and industry sources confirmed the details. Sources close to Glencore say they believe the contract does not allow such a change. Under pressure from the International Monetary Fund, Chad is renegotiating its hefty external commercial debt, namely to Glencore, which eats up nearly all...
(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...

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