Wednesday 18 April 2018

All Africa

AFP (eng) 3/31/18
Voting began Saturday in Sierra Leone in the final round of a delayed run-off presidential election after a campaign marked by verbal sparring, sporadic violence and a last-minute legal battle.
A wafer-thin margin separated the two frontrunners after the first round on March 7, adding to tensions in the West African country where political loyalties are often divided along ethnic lines and traumatic memories of civil war run deep.
Opposition challenger Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone...
AFP (eng) 3/30/18
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has won a second term with 96.9 percent of valid votes, state media reported on Friday, raising a previous tally from the preliminary count.
The flagship state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram also raised its estimate of turnout in the March 26-28 election to 42.08 percent, saying 25 million of Egypt's 60 million registered voters had cast ballots.
On Tuesday, the paper had reported that Sisi was reelected with 92 percent of the vote on a turnout of just over 40...
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
The death toll from an attack by suspected cattle rustlers on a herding village in northern Nigeria's Zamfara state has risen to 36, the local traditional ruler said on Friday. Motorcycle-riding gunmen stormed the village of Bawon-Danji on Wednesday, opening fire on herders and forcing many to flee...
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
Long seen as a pioneer for women's rights in the Arab world, Tunisia is pushing ahead with reforms promised after its 2011 revolution -- but campaigners say much remains to be done. The country's 2014 constitution was praised as a key achievement in the revolt that toppled longtime dictator Zine El...
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
A Senegalese court on Friday will deliver a verdict in a high-profile corruption trial that could make or break the presidential ambitions of the capital's popular mayor, Khalifa Sall. After being held in pre-trial detention for nearly a year, Sall went before the court in January and February on...
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
At least eight people, including civilians, were killed late Thursday in a suicide car bombing of a security barricade in the east of Libya, the second such attack in less than a month, local security and hospital sources said. A suicide attacker exploded his vehicle at a barricade manned by forces...
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
The mayor of Libya's capital Tripoli was released Thursday after being held in detention in confused circumstances, the city council said. Earlier, prosecutors said he had been arrested and interrogated. The council, however, reported he had been kidnapped. Armed men stormed Abdulraouf Hassan...
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
A Mozambican journalist was kidnapped from the streets of the capital Maputo and brutally beaten hours after criticising President Filipe Nyusi's son on TV, his wife told AFP on Thursday. Ericino de Salema was snatched in broad daylight on Tuesday, savagely beaten and dumped two hours later with...
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
Lagos, Nigeria's thriving economic capital, was on lockdown Thursday for President Muhammadu Buhari's first official visit to the city as campaigning for next year's presidential polls heats up. In front of the cameras, it was all smiles between Buhari and Bola Tinubu, a political grandee who...
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
Tensions between Angola's president and his long-serving predecessor have erupted into the open as an anti-corruption drive targets the former ruler's family. President Joao Lourenco has pledged to crusade against entrenched state corruption and nepotism since taking over in September from Jose...
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
Equatorial Guinea carried out a wave of arrests and torture after an attempted coup last December, activists say. Several members of the opposition Citizens for Innovation (CI) party among 38 who were held at the main police station in the capital Malabo -- which they dubbed "Guantanamo" -- told...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
A Kenyan court fined the interior minister and police chief Thursday after they defied orders to produce an opposition politician in court, who was instead deported for the second time in two months. A prominent but unelected politician with the National Super Alliance (NASA), Miguna Miguna was...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Suspected jihadists carried out a late-night attack on a hotel in central Mali several days after the town was visited by the country's prime minister, officials said Thursday, adding that at least one assailant was killed. The security ministry and the army said attackers late Wednesday struck the...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Armed men have kidnapped the mayor of Libya's capital Tripoli from his home, authorities said Thursday. Gunmen stormed Abdulraouf Hassan Beitelmal's house on Wednesday night and took him "by force of arms", the city council said in a statement. As of Thursday afternoon, the gunmen's demands were...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Leaders of the two most heavily armed towns in western Libya met Wednesday for the first time since they fought for control of Tripoli four years ago, hailing the reconciliation talks "historic". The towns of Misrata and Zintan were among the first to rise up against the regime of dictator Moamer...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been re-elected for a second term with about 92 percent of the vote, preliminary results showed on Thursday, with just over 40 percent of voters casting ballots. Twenty-five million of the 60 million registered voters, or some 41.5 percent, turned out...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
With his trademark black sunglasses and blanket media presence, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, elected this week to a second term in office, projects an air of benign paternalism. Whether the people love or loathe Sisi, see him as a bulwark of stability or as a domineering autocrat --...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
By the time her 19-year-old son was shot in front of her, Ayak had already lost her four brothers and witnessed countless deaths in South Sudan's brutal war. Living alone in a miserable structure of plastic sheets and tin in a huge camp for displaced people, watching as relentless rains turned...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
The armed forces of Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar said on Thursday that their warplanes had attacked Chadian rebels in the country's southern desert last weekend. Air raids targeted a rebel-held roadblock 400 kilometres (250 miles) southeast of Sebha, as well as other positions in an oasis in the...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
A DR Congo press freedom body on Wednesday called for the "immediate release" of a journalist detained on defamation allegations. Serge Olivier Nkongolo is a journalist for Kilimanjaro Radio which broadcasts to Tshikapa, the capital of the central Kasai region. Journalist in Danger (JED) "demands...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Nigeria's economic capital Lagos was on a lockdown Thursday as President Muhammadu Buhari makes his first official visit to the city of 22 million inhabitants since coming to power in 2015. The president rarely travels outside of Abuja, home to the government seat, and has only visited a few of...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Gunmen believed to be cattle thieves killed 15 herders in the latest bout of violence in northern Nigeria's herding communities, police and a local official said Thursday. "Armed bandits attacked Bawon-Daji village yesterday and killed 15 people," the police spokesman for Zamfara state, Muhammad...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
A thick sandstorm engulfed the Sudanese capital on Thursday, forcing authorities to cancel flights and shut schools in Khartoum and other nearby towns. Children and office workers stayed indoors while vehicles kept off roads as a thick orange haze shrouded the capital from early morning. Several...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
An outspoken member of the opposition alliance was Wednesday expelled from Kenya for the second time in two months, his lawyer told AFP. Miguna Miguna, a firebrand member of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, was forced onto an international flight to Canada last month. The High Court on...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Sierra Leone chooses a new president on Saturday following a delay caused by a ruling party-backed court case over alleged electoral fraud, spiking tensions following an already fractious campaign. The West African nation's 3.1 million voters will choose between the ruling All Peoples' Congress (...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Julius Maada Bio, 53, a former coup-maker who once apologised for exactions carried out by his comrades, is taking a second stab at leading Sierra Leone as a civilian. The straight-talking retired brigadier, who briefly led a junta in 1996, is hoping to end a decade in power for the All Peoples'...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Veteran politician Samura Kamara, seen as a shrewd political operator, hopes to take up the mantle of outgoing president Ernest Bai Koroma as his hand-picked successor. An economist by training, the 66-year-old Kamara was foreign minister until last year when he stepped down to pursue the...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
As UN peacekeepers leave Liberia after 14 years, headway in reforming the security forces is being undermined by lack of progress in tackling the country's traumatic legacy of war crimes, officials say. Liberia's 1989-2003 conflict killed around a quarter of a million people, while government...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
President Ian Khama of Botswana this week wrapped up a national "farewell tour" before he stands down on Saturday in a power transfer designed to stress his statesmanship and the country's stability. Khama has visited all of Botswana's 57 constituencies since December, bidding a long goodbye to a...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
A high-ranking Al-Qaeda operative and another jihadist were killed in a US air strike in Libya, the Pentagon confirmed Wednesday. The March 24 strike near Ubari in southern Libya killed "two Al-Qaeda terrorists, including Musa Abu Dawud, a high ranking Al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
The Gambian army has filed desertion charges against two renegade generals who went into exile with former president Yahya Jammeh last year, the force told AFP on Wednesday. General Umpa Mendy and General Ansumana Tamba sought refuge in Equatorial Guinea alongside Jammeh in January 2017 after his...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Shell has filed a criminal complaint in the Netherlands against a former employee in connection with a 2011 oil deal in Nigeria, a company spokesman said Wednesday. News of the complaint, which was filed last week, comes at the same time the energy giant is facing a criminal trial in Italy over an...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Morocco announced Wednesday the arrest of a man allegedly seen in an online video sexually assaulting a girl in broad daylight, a scene that sent shock waves across the country. The interior ministry said the unnamed 21-year-old was arrested for attempted rape of the girl aged 17 in the southern...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Hundreds of people took to the streets of Accra, Ghana's capital, on Wednesday to protest against a controversial military deal with Washington which was passed by parliament last week. The agreement was approved by President Nana Akufo-Addo's government on Friday but has come under heavy criticism...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Ten civilians and a Ugandan militant died when Congolese troops clashed with rebels in the flashpoint town of Beni in Democratic Republic of Congo's troubled east, an army spokesman said Wednesday. The incident took place on Tuesday evening when rebels attacked military positions around Beni in...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
The central African state of Chad is on course for reforms to the presidency after a forum on constitutional change that was boycotted by the opposition. The meeting, which ended late Tuesday, increases the presidential tenure from five to six years, with a maximum of two terms. The current mandate...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
For the first time, Ethiopia has picked a leader from the Oromo ethnic group that drove years of anti-government protests, and analysts say Abiy Ahmed faces a tricky task of reconciliation and reform. The 42-year-old former minister of science and technology will take the reigns of one Africa's...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Egyptians were voting on Wednesday in the third day of a presidential election guaranteed to give a second term to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, leaving turnout as the only contest. Voters trickled into polling stations as authorities encouraged them to show up in high numbers. The country's election...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) say they are investigating an exiled opposition leader who has vowed to stand in December's presidential elections. The announcement late Tuesday coincided with a demand by the UN Security Council that the elections -- viewed as crucial for the...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
A former Zambian minister and a leading critic of President Edgar Lungu appeared in court on Wednesday to deny charges that he had profited from the proceeds of crime. Chishimba Kambwili has emerged as one of the most prominent voices speaking out against Lungu, who is accused of increasingly...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
In Egypt's Nile Delta city of Tanta, scene of a bloody church bombing a year ago, there were few indications Tuesday that the country was in the middle of a presidential election. Several banners were strung in the streets and a speaker from a car blared patriotic songs -- but polling stations were...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
French transport giant Bollore said Tuesday it would seek compensation for work already carried out on a major rail infrastructure project after Benin asked it to withdraw "amicably" in favour of China. Patrice Talon, president of the small West African country, said both the French conglomerate...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Moroccan police on Tuesday announced an investigation into a video showing a teenage girl being pinned down, stripped and assaulted in broad daylight after it stirred a wave of anger. In the footage circulated online an assailant kneels on top of the teen touching and hitting her as she struggles...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Mozambique's three main political parties agreed Tuesday to go ahead with constitutional reforms that will decentralise power as part of efforts to consolidate peace between the government and former rebels. "We have made significant strides," said Margarida Talapa of the ruling Frelimo party after...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
A man attacked worshippers with a knife inside a mosque in Sudan's eastern state of Kasala on Tuesday, killing three people and wounding several others, a police officer told AFP. Kasala police chief Yahi Sulayman said it took place when worshippers had gathered for evening prayers in a mosque in...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Cameroon's newly-appointed Interior Minister Paul Atanga Nji said on Tuesday he was bringing a "message of dialogue" to the restive southwest anglophone region, where the army is fighting separatists. Atanga Nji, himself an anglophone, told state radio he was in the region to "bring a message of...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Ethiopia's ruling coalition on Tuesday elected as leader Abiy Ahmed, from the country's largest ethnic group the Oromo, paving the way for him to become prime minister, state media reported. As leader of the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), Abiy is set to take over...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
In Cameroon's port of Douala, corruption, bureaucratic red tape, overpriced services and a growing backlog have combined to put a major drag on cargo trade through central Africa's largest harbour. More than 95 percent of Cameroon's maritime traffic transits through Douala, a sprawling hub that...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Sexual and ethnic violence are alarmingly on the rise in Democratic Republic of Congo's lawless east, spawning a humanitarian catastrophe with millions forced to flee their homes. At least 13.1 million Congolese need humanitarian aid, including 7.7 million who are severely food insecure, the UN...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Mozambique's renewed efforts to solve its spiralling "secret debt" crisis have again collapsed, leaving the country struggling to recover its reputation as one of Africa's potential growth hotspots. Last week, Finance Minister Adriano Maleiane flew to London to present creditors with a long-awaited...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerian doctors are expanding a pay strike and teachers are resuming one, representatives said on Tuesday, putting pressure on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his prime minister at a time when resources are limited. Medical students and specialist doctors in several...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/27/18)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - The East African bloc IGAD has said South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar should be released from house arrest in South Africa as soon as possible on condition he renounces violence, amid signs of mounting diplomatic pressure on the Juba government. Machar, who has been held...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
The head of Tanzania's main opposition party was charged Tuesday with inciting hatred and rebellion after being arrested alongside five other members of his party, a legal source said. Freeman Mbowe, leader of the Chadema party, was charged over his alleged role in a February 16 protest during...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Four leading opposition and rights figures are being held in Niger prisons following a banned weekend demonstration that turned violent in the capital Niamey, media reports said Tuesday. They were among 23 people arrested after the protest Sunday against new taxes degenerated into clashes between...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Nearly 5,000 people have fled Burkina Faso's northern frontier region with Mali since January as a result of cross-border jihadist attacks, the International Red Cross said on Tuesday. The exodus from the border province of Soum since September now totals "more than 18,000," it said in a statement...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Eight prominent columnists working for Kenya's biggest media group quit Tuesday over what they said was increased meddling by government and a loss of media freedom at its outlets. The columnists include George Kegoro, executive director of the Kenyan Human Rights Commission; Lynne Muthoni Wanyeki...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
In a contentious vote late Monday, Tunisia's parliament voted to end the work of a tribunal tasked with healing the wounds of six decades of dictatorship. After two particularly stormy sessions on Saturday and Monday, Tunisian MPs rejected an extension of the Truth and Dignity Commission's (IVD)...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
As the Dapchi schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram were finally reuniting with their families, Nigeria delivered a small bombshell: it revealed it had begun ceasefire talks with the notorious jihadists. The talks began months ago, according to officials. But, to those desperate for a breakthrough in...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Five people were killed when a fire broke out in a camp housing thousands displaced by Boko Haram violence near the Nigerian border with Cameroon, military and civilian sources told AFP. The incident happened on Monday in a camp for around 55,000 internally displaced persons (IDP) in the town of...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Polls opened in Egypt on Tuesday for the second day of a presidential election incumbent Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to win easily against a little-known rival. Few voters could be seen at one polling station which opened at 9:00 am (0700 GMT) in Cairo. Authorities have been urging Egyptians...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/27/18)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Voting got off to a slow start on the second day of Egypt’s presidential election, which President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to win easily, as authorities urged people to turn out and give the former general a strong mandate. Sisi says he is seeking a second term to repair...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
The head of a local militia group and a policeman have been arrested over the shock killing of two UN experts in DR Congo a year ago, officials said on Monday. The two were arrested by troops on Saturday in the village of Bukundo, where the pair were found murdered, the deputy governor of Central...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Police in Niger have arrested 23 people after a demonstration against new taxes in one of the world's poorest nations turned violent, the interior minister said Monday. The arrests came after a protest on Sunday, Bazoum Mohamed told AFP, adding that the organisers had defied a ban and then clashed...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Gambian police have arrested a top official in the state intelligence agency over the murder of political activist Solo Sandeng in April 2016, a spokesman said Monday. Sandeng's death in custody sparked a political movement that eventually ousted former leader Yahya Jammeh, who ruled the tiny West...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Sierra Leone's electoral body announced on the eve of a presidential run-off on Monday that the vote would be delayed until Saturday after losing days of preparation due to a court order. The country's High Court had earlier lifted an injunction imposed on Saturday that halted the runoff until...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Five people have been killed in fresh clashes between farmers and nomadic herders in Benue state in central Nigeria, the epicentre of a wave of deadly violence this year over grazing land, police said Monday. "Just yesterday we had a case where two persons were reportedly killed in a village in the...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Of the many headaches facing the UN mission in DR Congo as its mandate comes up for renewal, few are greater than the ethnic bloodshed and brewing humanitarian crisis in the Kasai region. The sprawling diamond-rich region exploded into violence in September 2016 after soldiers killed a local...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Inside a sprawling former "imperial palace" near Bangui, Russian instructors have set up a camp where they are training soldiers of the Central African Republic (CAR) in using Russian weapons. Since late January, the former home of president Jean-Bedel Bokassa -- who took over in 1966 and later...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Self-testing kits and vending machines distributing prescription drugs are two ways that HIV treatment is being automated to reduce stigma in South Africa, home of the world's biggest HIV epidemic. With 7.1 million people living with HIV in the country, removing human intervention is helping...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Former South African president Jacob Zuma is set to appear in court on April 6 to face corruption charges, police said Monday. Zuma is accused of taking kickbacks before he became president in 2009 from the $5 billion purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military equipment manufactured by...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
The son of Angola's former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos has been charged with fraud linked to a $500 million transfer executed when he ran the country's sovereign wealth fund, prosecutors said Monday. Jose Filomeno dos Santos is accused of "fraud, misappropriation of funds, money laundering...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Hundreds of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's supporters revelled outside polling stations in Cairo on Monday as voting got underway to celebrate what they expect will be his certain re-election. In the southwestern neighbourhood of Al-Haram, close to the ancient Giza pyramids, women danced and a...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Sierra Leone's High Court on Monday lifted an order that had halted the country's presidential runoff because of a complaint of electoral fraud backed by the ruling party. The order that the electoral commission should be "restrained" from conducting Tuesday's vote is no longer in force, the court...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Liberia's new leader, ex-football player George Weah, on Monday lent the number from his national team jersey to a military hospital as he unveiled the first major project of his presidency. The "14 military hospital" will primarily care for Liberian soldiers returning from peacekeeping missions...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Mozambique police said on Monday that a pick-up truck ploughed into a crowd of party-goers at the weekend killing 23 people, many of whom were teenagers. The speeding vehicle ignored orders from traffic police, hit an obstacle and veered into the local carnival in the working-class Luis Cabral...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
A Chadian soldier and 20 Boko Haram members were killed in a clash in the restive Lake Chad region near Nigeria, a Chadian military officer told AFP Saturday. The incident occurred on Friday on an islet named Tchoukou Hadje, the officer said, adding that five soldiers were wounded. "Twenty Boko...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Ethiopian police have arrested a group of 11 high-profile dissidents, some of whom had been pardoned and freed from jail just weeks before, an attorney said Monday. Among those detained on Sunday were journalist Eskinder Nega and opposition politician Andualem Arage, who were pardoned in a mass...