Monday 23 April 2018

Toute l'afrique

(AFP (eng) 03/31/18)
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 People's Party (SLPP) had a narrow edge over Samura Kamara of the ruling All Peoples' Congress (APC), in a ballot with a turnout of more than 80 percent. "So far this morning, everything is normal, it is...
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
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 percent. It gave no explanation for the upward revisions. Sisi, who as army chief ousted Egypt's first freely elected president -- Islamist Mohamed Morsi -- after mass street protests in 2013, won his first term in 2014...
(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 into the bush. Police and local officials on Thursday said 12 herders were killed on the spot and three were shot dead later in a second attack, which targeted mourners at a...
(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 Abidine Ben Ali and sparked the Arab Spring uprisings. But much of it has yet to be passed into law, including provisions on gender equality. Now, moves are afoot on women's political representation, interfaith marriage and the contentious question of inheritance.
(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 charges of embezzling public funds. Prosecutors are seeking a seven-year prison term for Sall and his financial director Mbaye Toure, and a fine worth nearly $10 million (more than eight million...
(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 loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar near the city of Ajdabiya some 840 kilometres (520 miles) from Tripoli, general Fawzi al-Mansouri, a top officer in the local security 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 Beitelmal's house on Wednesday night and took him "by force of arms", the city council had said in a statement. But Seddik al-Sour, a senior prosecution official, said Beitelmal was "subject to legal procedures" and was being...
(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 serious injuries, she said. "He had been tortured and abandoned," his wife Neusa Ribeiro said, adding that doctors considered his condition serious. The incident happened against a backdrop of tense negotiations between...
(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 played a pivotal role in securing the key region surrounding Lagos for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party in 2015 but has since been sidelined. Buhari, from Nigeria's mostly Muslim north, has not...
(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 Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled Angola for 38 years. Battling graft is a cornerstone of Lourenco's promised "economic miracle" that he hopes will halt the oil-dependent country's economic slump caused by stubbornly low crude prices. A once-loyal minister under Dos Santos, Lourenco has purged state-run corporations of leaders appointed by his former boss.
(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 of alleged abuse during their detention from December 28 to January 3. "We were tortured for a week," said party activist Ernesto Obama Ondo, 42. "I received 150 lashes every...
(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 thrust into the spotlight after his deportation last month, and his attempted return to Kenya this week has seen the nation gripped by political theatrics. As Miguna was held at the airport for two days over the immigration spat, the high court twice ordered Interior Minister Fred Matiangi, Police Chief Joseph Boinnet and a top immigration official to produce...
(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 Falaise hotel in the town of Bandiagara, a former tourist magnet in the heart of Mali's picturesque Dogon Country. Two assailants were killed and two other people were injured, the ministry said...
(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 unclear. The council urged Libya's internationally-recognised unity government to "immediately take all necessary measures" to ensure Beitelmal's release. It also announced his office was suspending all its activities in protest at his kidnapping. The oil-rich North African country has been wracked by chaos since a 2011 uprising that toppled and killed long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi.
(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 Kadhafi who was killed in 2011. The rebels had taken control of the capital in the summer of 2011 two months before Kadhafi was caught in his hometown of...
(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 during the three days of polling that ended Wednesday, state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram reported. Twenty-three million voted for Sisi. The Akhbar el-Youm newspaper did not report the full turnout but said Sisi won 21.4 million votes, and his rival Moussa Mostafa Moussa 721,000 votes...
(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 -- there is little doubt that he will remain Egypt's president for years to come. He stormed to victory in the 2014 presidential election, having led the military a year before in...
(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 earth to mud, it all became too much to bear for the 44 year-old. "I have seen it all. When I thought about the lives of my relatives and...
(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 Terbu region 400 kms farther south, an official with Haftar's so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) told AFP. "The strikes aim at restoring security and applying law in the south," the official said,...
(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 the immediate release" of the journalist, it said in a statement, adding that he was being held for defamation in a "dungeon in the public prosecutor's office near the Tshikapa High Court". It said Nkongolo...

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(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 into the bush. Police and local officials on Thursday said 12 herders were killed on the spot and three were shot dead later in a second attack, which targeted mourners at a funeral. The Emir of Gusau and chairman of the state council of traditional rulers told reporters the toll had increased after more bodies had been found. "We have so far recovered 36 bodies from the...
(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 Abidine Ben Ali and sparked the Arab Spring uprisings. But much of it has yet to be passed into law, including provisions on gender equality. Now, moves are afoot on women's political representation, interfaith marriage and the contentious question of inheritance.
(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 loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar near the city of Ajdabiya some 840 kilometres (520 miles) from Tripoli, general Fawzi al-Mansouri, a top officer in the local security forces,...
(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 Falaise hotel in the town of Bandiagara, a former tourist magnet in the heart of Mali's picturesque Dogon Country. Two assailants were killed and two other people were injured, the ministry said...
(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 earth to mud, it all became too much to bear for the 44 year-old. "I have seen it all. When I thought about the lives of my relatives and...
(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 the immediate release" of the journalist, it said in a statement, adding that he was being held for defamation in a "dungeon in the public prosecutor's office near the Tshikapa High Court". It said Nkongolo...
(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 Shehu, told AFP. His account was corroborated by a senior local government official, Gado Anka. Anka told AFP motorcycle-riding gunmen stormed the remote village in Anka district around 1:00 pm (1200GMT), shooting dead 12 residents before...
(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 domestic and international flights were cancelled after the meteorological department issued a pre-dawn advisory, an official at Khartoum airport said. "From 3:00 am (0500 GMT) no flight has landed or taken off from Khartoum airport," Mohamed Mahdi, Khartoum airport spokesman, told AFP. "Because of the bad weather we expect the airport to remain shut until further notice," he said.
(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 (AQIM) official," the US military's Africa Command said in a statement. Officials said the strike had been coordinated with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. "Dawud...
(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 brutal 22-year rule came to an end. Major Lamin Sanyang, an army spokesman, said the pair were "charged with desertion of duty contrary to the Gambia Armed Forces Act", and would appear before...
(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 allegedly corrupt scheme to acquire a Nigerian oil block called OPL 245. Though the complaint is not connected to the billion dollar OPL 245 deal, the employee...
(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 province of Rhamna. In footage posted online on Tuesday, the assailant kneels on top of the teenager touching and hitting her as she struggles in the dusty ground to get...
(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 from the opposition who say it undermines the country's sovereignty. Ghana and the United States are working to forge closer ties between their armed forces but both have denied rumours that Washington is planning to set up military bases in the West African nation. "This is an insensitive government," said protestor Yaa Yaa Abban. "We'll resist this deal with the US because it does not favour us."
(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 North Kivu, Captain Mak Hazukay told AFP. "We listed 10 dead civilians so far," he said. A rebel from Uganda's Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia was also killed, he said, adding that fighting was...
(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 in the dusty ground to get free. "Don't you have a sister?" she cries out, as a third person films the assault. Moroccan police announced that they had opened an...
(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 Kasala city which borders Eritrea. "Three people have been killed and several wounded," Sulayman said. A medic at a hospital where the wounded were brought said they had been stabbed. Residents said the attacker had tried to address worshippers who refused to listen to him and then started stabbing them. "People in the mosque then retaliated and killed the attacker,"...
(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 Security Council said last week in a unanimous statement which the Kinshasa government dismisses as a gross exaggeration. As the spat continues with the DR Congo shunning a massive donor conference in Geneva next month aimed at raising $1.7 billion (1.37 billion euros) to tackle the crisis, rapes are increasing in the volatile region. "In 2015, we noticed a noticeable decrease in sexual violence,"...
(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 which a 22-year-old student who was not taking part was shot dead by a stray bullet from police. Mbowe is being prosecuted on eight charges, according to a source at the Kisutu...
(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 demonstrators and police. Officials of the Collectif d'ONG, an association of grassroots groups that organised the protest, said those in custody had been charged with organising and taking part in a banned march and "abetting damage to public and private property".
(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. The figure applies to people who have been helped by the Red Cross and Red Crescent to head away from the violence. Many are being given vouchers that can be exchanged for...

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(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 and its local rival Petrolin would be "compensated fairly", without elaborating. Philippe Labonne, deputy CEO of Bollore Transport and Logistics, said the firm should be compensated notably for the some 140 kilometres (85 miles) of rail it has already laid down. "We are a little disappointed not to complete" the project, he said, speaking to AFP on the sidelines of a business forum in the Ivorian business hub Abidjan...
(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 serves as the main gateway for landlocked Chad and Central African Republic. But the procedures for clearing goods are a permanent headache, and very little gets done without greasing palms with extra cash, traders say. "There is high-level corruption at Douala port," says one businessman as he slips a 1,000 CFA franc (1.50 euros) note to the ticket seller at the entrance -- a quarter of the official entry price. Bribes are just one of...
(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 restructuring plan for the $2.2-billion (1.77 billion euros) debt that Mozambique has defaulted on since last year. Maleiane presented options including a massive write-down, low interest rates until 2023 and a partial swap for a local long-term debt. All his proposals were dismissed by the Global Group of Mozambique Bondholders, which says it represents most of the holders of the Eurobond debt and commercial...
(AFP (eng) 03/24/18)
South Africa, whose debt is rated as "junk" or non-investment grade by credit rating agencies Fitch and S&P, has escaped a third junk rating from Moody's which suggested the country's economic outlook was set to improve under its new President Cyril Ramaphosa. Moody's said in a statement that it was holding the rating on South Africa's long-term debt at Baa3, the lowest investment grade above junk status. But the statement, released overnight on Friday, said that the ratings agency had decided to upgrade the outlook for the country's debt from "negative" to "stable", meaning that a further downgrade...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
The World Bank will provide Ivory Coast $1 billion for development, in particular to help it get more value out of its agricultural exports, a top official for the bank's Africa region has said. Of that figure, $300 million would be set aside for the cocoa industry while another $200 million would be ploughed into cashew nut production, said Makhtar Diop, vice president of the World Bank's Africa region. Ivory Coast is the world's top cocoa-producing nation and the second...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
South African internet and entertainment group Naspers on Friday raised $9.8 billion (7.8 billion euros) selling two percent of its hugely-profitable stake in Chinese technology giant Tencent. Naspers' investment in Tencent has been "one of the greatest venture-capital investments ever", according to Bloomberg News. It said the stake in Tencent that Naspers bought for $32 million in 2001 was valued at $175 billion on Thursday. Naspers, Tencent's biggest investor, vowed to not sell any more shares for three years. "These...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
Benin's President Patrice Talon has asked local firm Petrolin and French giant Bollore to "withdraw" from a major rail infrastructure project to make way for China, in the latest development of the controversial scheme. In an interview published on Thursday in the French magazine Challenges, Talon asked the two companies to "withdraw amicably from the project", which links Benin to Niger to the north, promising they will be "compensated fairly". "A private investor cannot finance the railway we want alone," the head of state was quoted as saying, describing Bollore's offer as "lower-end".
(AFP (eng) 03/20/18)
A ship's cargo of phosphate claimed by the disputed territory of Western Sahara has been put up for auction in South Africa, 10 months after being seized by local authorities. The cargo, which was extracted by a Moroccan company, has been claimed by Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony controlled by Rabat where the Polisario Front group is fighting for independence. Last month, a court in Port Elizabeth, South Africa gave an order granting the auction after a petition from the Polisario Front. South Africa is a strong supporter of Western Sahara's struggle for independence.
(AFP (eng) 03/19/18)
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will not attend the African Union summit in Rwanda this week, an official statement said Sunday, in a blow to plans to launch a major free trade treaty across 54 countries. The meeting in Kigali is intended to formally launch the African Continental Free Trade Area Treaty, which Nigeria's cabinet endorsed last Wednesday. Buhari was scheduled to leave Abuja on Monday ahead of Wednesday's launch but pulled out to allow for more consultations. "Mr President will no longer be travelling to Kigali for the event because certain key stakeholders in Nigeria indicated that they had not been consulted, for which reasons they had some concerns on the provisions of the treaty," the statement said.
(AFP (eng) 03/16/18)
Egypt's national carrier EgyptAir said Friday it would resume direct flights between Cairo and Moscow, three years after they were halted following the bombing of a Russian charter jet over the Sinai. The announcement came three days after Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot said it would restart flights between the two capitals from April 11. EgyptAir flights are set to resume the following day. Both companies suspended the route in October 2015 after an airliner operated by Russia's Kogalymavia, carrying holidaymakers...
(AFP (eng) 03/15/18)
South Sudan this week got yet another finance minister as it struggles to halt the free fall of a war-ravaged economy, but analysts warn prospects are bleak as long as conflict and corruption go unaddressed. President Salva Kiir named Salvatore Garang Mabiordit, a former undersecretary in the finance ministry, to head the portfolio after sacking Stephen Dhieu Dau on Tuesday. "We have lost the value of our currency... this is a challenge that is ahead of you and you must...
(AFP (eng) 03/15/18)
Egypt is seeing a promising rebound in tourism following devastating jihadist attacks, in welcome news to the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he seeks re-election this month. In the eastern Red Sea city of Hurghada, tourists lounge on sunbeds on the beach or play volleyball as boats carrying divers pass by. Among them is Bent Skovboe from Denmark, a 77-year-old who says he has visited Egypt more than 75 times. "If there was only Red Sea for snorkelling,...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/14/18)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Djibouti’s container port will remain in state hands as the government seeks investment, a senior official said on Wednesday in comments likely to reassure Washington where lawmakers say they fear it could be ceded to China. The Doraleh Container Terminal is a key asset for Djibouti, a tiny state on the Red Sea whose location is of strategic value to countries such as the United States, China, Japan and former colonial power France, all of whom have...
(AFP (eng) 03/14/18)
The United Arab Emirates has offered $1.4 billion to Sudan's central bank to help Khartoum tackle an acute foreign exchange crisis, the official Sudanese news agency reported Tuesday. The Sudanese pound has weakened against the dollar in recent months on the black market amid a shortage of hard foreign currency, in turn forcing the central bank to devalue the pound this year. "President Omar al-Bashir has been informed by the UAE that it is giving Sudan 4 billion dirhams... as...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/14/18)
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya’s Zawiya oil terminal returned to normal operations on Tuesday after workers who were blocking ships from docking agreed to end a one-day strike, two sources said. Zawiya exports crude from Libya’s giant El Sharara oilfield, which produces 300,000 barrels per day (bpd), more than a quarter of the North African country’s output. Production at El Sharara had not been affected by the strike at Zawiya, an engineer at the field said. The field is operated by...
(AFP (eng) 03/13/18)
Somalia's parliament has declared "null and void" a port deal signed by breakaway Somaliland that has raised tensions between Mogadishu and Hargeisa. Dubai-based DP World this month struck a deal giving Ethiopia a 19-percent stake in Somaliland's Berbera port. The move has angered Somalia, which does not recognise Somaliland's long-standing claim of independence and has a history of animosity with Ethiopia. Declaring the deal unconstitutional and therefore "null and void" Mogadishu's parliament on Monday asserted in a resolution: "It is only the Federal Government of Somalia that can engage in international deals." "All ports, and airports in the country are national property and... no one can...
(AFP (eng) 03/12/18)
DR Congo President Joseph Kabila enacted a law to hike taxes on so-called strategic metals and ordered government consultations with foreign companies worried by the change, an official said Sunday. "The law has been promulgated in the same form as was adopted by parliament," a presidential adviser who asked not to be named told AFP. The new text replaces the Democratic Republic of Congo's 2002 mining code, which the government considered to favour foreign investors at the expense of the...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/18)
DR Congo President Joseph Kabila has promised to have "constructive dialogue" with mining companies worried over plans to hike taxes on so-called strategic metals, a category expected to include the booming market for cobalt and copper. Kabila on Tuesday held more than seven hours of talks with leading players in the Democratic Republic of Congo's mining sector over plans to change the country's 2002 mining code. "The president reassures mining operators that they are economic partners in the DRC and...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/18)
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday met with Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Mnangagwa and discussed possible military co-operation as well as plans to boost economic ties. Lavrov, who is on a tour of Africa, is the first high-profile Russian official to visit Zimbabwe since veteran ruler Robert Mugabe's resignation in November last year. "We talked about the tasks that we have to pursue in order to develop these trade and economic ties between our countries," Lavrov told journalists after meeting Mnangagwa at his office in the capital Harare. "We emphasised the implementation of the joint project of exploring the Darwendale platinum deposits," he said.
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
Kenya's government cannot account for $400 million in public funds, according to a damning report from the auditor general highlighting the country's failure to crack down on graft and misuse of state resources. The report for the 2015/2016 financial year describes a litany of misspending and poor accounting under President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is several months into a second term after an election in which he again vowed to tackle graft. Less than a third of financial statements of ministries, departments and agencies that were scrutinised were clean, according to the report presented to parliament last week. Auditor general Edward Ouko noted that this was however an improvement, with only six percent of financial statements...

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(AFP (eng) 03/21/18)
Shortly after sunrise, a group of young women arrives at a football pitch in Mogadishu, where they shrug off their hijabs -- some changing underneath the billowing veil -- to reveal their team kit. Young Somali men stand nearby, some disapproving but all watching closely, as the women jog up and down, dribble a worn-out ball between colourful cones and do sit-ups, less than 200 metres (656 feet) from a heavily guarded security checkpoint. The sight of young women playing football is highly unusual in Somalia, due to societal pressures as well as fear of Al-Shabaab. The Al-Qaeda linked Islamist group launches regular attacks in Mogadishu and considers forms of entertainment, such as football, to...
(AFP (eng) 03/03/18)
Murielle Ahoure blasted out of her blocks to lead Ivory Coast to a 1-2 after scorching to a historic gun-to-tape victory in the women's 60m at the world indoors on Friday. Ahoure, with two previous world indoor silvers to her name, clocked an electric 6.97 seconds down the blue track in Birmingham, the fastest time run over the sprint this season. Ahoure's teammate Marie-Josee Ta Lou (7.05sec) took silver by five-thousandeths of a second in a photofinish from Switzerland's Mujinga Kambundji. It was not only a first world indoor gold for Ivory Coast but also the first time an African sprinter, male or female, has won the 60m title. Ahoure, 30, acknowledged that it had been a difficult year personally...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/18)
The head of motor sport governing body the FIA on Tuesday encouraged Kenya to meet the road safety regulations necessary for the country to rejoin the World Rally Championship (WRC). FIA president Jean Todt said he was keen to see Kenya once again feature on the international rally circuit. "You deserve to have your rally back in the calendar. But you need to deliver (on) the job," said Todt, who is making his third visit to Kenya since it declared...
(AFP (eng) 02/17/18)
One player was sent off, 12 cautioned and 46 fouls committed during a fiery South African Premiership derby won 2-0 by Maritzburg United against AmaZulu Friday. There could have been more red cards as Togo centre-back Sadat Ouro-Akoriko of AmaZulu escaped with a yellow after pushing his hand into the face of an opponent. The red card that was shown went to another AmaZulu player, Butholezwe Ncube, midway through the second half after a second booking. Both United goals came...
(AFP (eng) 02/16/18)
Thirty-eight police officers were injured when they were pelted by smoke bombs, stones, chairs and pieces of metal at Thursday's Tunisian league match between bitter rivals Esperance of Tunis and Etoile Sportive Sahel. The match at Rades on the outskirts of Tunis was won by Esperance 3-2, but was twice interrupted by the violence. Objects were thrown at the police "by supporters of EST (Esperance)", said an interior ministry spokesman. Nineteen police needed treatment in hospital. Football in Tunisia is regularly plagued by violence especially when the country's top clubs clash. In recent years, violence has escalated so much that sports minister...
(AFP (eng) 02/02/18)
A controversial former minister who coordinates armed groups in conflict-hit Central African Republic was on Friday elected to the governing board of Africa's top footballing body. Patrice Edouard Ngaissona, who is Central Africa's football chief, was elected following a vote in Casablanca among delegates at the Confederation of African Football's general assembly. He was elected to the board seat representing eight central African nations, winning by 30 votes compared to his Gabonese rival, who got 23. Ngaissona is responsible for...
(AFP (eng) 11/15/17)
Belgian coach Marc Wilmots parted ways with Ivory Coast Wednesday after failing to help the west African country to qualify for next year's World Cup in Russia. Ivory Coast lost their decisive World Cup match 2-0 to Morocco on Saturday, leading to talks between the federation and Wilmots. "At the end of talks, the two parties agreed to amicably end their collaboration, all the while praising the good atmosphere during the six months of work together," the federation said. Ex-Belgium...
(AFP (eng) 11/04/17)
South African prosecutors argued Friday that Oscar Pistorius' six-year jail sentence for murder must be increased, saying he failed to show genuine remorse after killing his girlfriend. The Paralympic athlete shot dead Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day in 2013 when he fired four times through the door of his bedroom toilet. He pleaded not guilty at his trial in 2014 and has always denied that he killed Steenkamp in a rage, saying he mistook her for...
(AFP (eng) 11/04/17)
Tanzanian marathon runner Ismael Juma died on Thursday when his motorbike collided with a lorry, Athletics Tanzania (AT) announced on Friday. The 26-year-old was one of Tanzania's hopes for a medal at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in April. "Tanzania athletics has lost one of its top long distance runners," AT secretary general Wilhelm Gidabuday told AFP. "Ismail Juma was one of 19 athletes selected to start training later this month for the Commonwealth Games in Australia." Gidabuday...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/09/17)
Papa Massata Diack has described accusations he was part of a large corruption racket involved in determining the location of the Olympic games as the biggest lie in the history of world sport. France’s financial prosecutor said this week that investigations had revealed a corruption scheme centered on Diack, the son of the former head of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Lamine Diack. The prosecutor said there were indications that payments were made in return for the votes of IAAF and International Olympic
(AFP (eng) 06/29/17)
Authorities in Tunisia on Wednesday announced they have frozen the assets of football club magnate and former presidential hopeful Slim Riahi on suspicions of money laundering. An investigating judge imposed the restriction on all of Riahi's shares on the stock market, bank accounts and property, said prosecution spokesman Sofiene Sliti. The announcement comes after the government launched what Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has called a "war" on graft from which he said nobody involved in corruption would emerge unscathed. Corruption...
(AFP (eng) 06/18/17)
Ivory Coast international Cheick Tiote, whose sudden death in China at just 30 years old shocked his country, was laid to rest Sunday as he was hailed a "worthy son" of the African nation. Tiote, a 52-time capped player who featured at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, was honoured with a military funeral at the Williamsville cemetery in Abidjan where hundreds of people gathered to mourn. "Ivory Coast has lost a worthy son who served so bravely, who fought...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
The agent of the late Ivory Coast midfielder Cheick Tiote on Wednesday called for the media to cease making unsubstantiated claims about the reasons for his death. The 52-time capped star -- a member of the Ivory Coast squad that ended a 23-year drought in winning the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations -- died after fainting during training with second division side Beijing Enterprises on June 5. He was 30 years of age. His death shocked the football world, reverberating...
(AFP (eng) 06/06/17)
Ivory Coast international midfielder Cheick Tiote has died aged 30 while training with his Chinese club Beijing Enterprises, his spokesman announced in a statement on Monday. Tiote, who was part of the Ivory Coast squad that delivered the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations after a 23 year drought although he was injured for the final, had only moved to China in February after ending a seven year stay with English outfit Newcastle United. "It is with deep sadness that I...
(AFP (eng) 05/06/17)
South Africa's Akani Simbine surprised a world-class sprint field, including Justin Gatlin, Asafa Powell and Andre De Grasse to claim a season-opening 100m Diamond League victory on Friday. The 23-year-old powered home in a time of 9.99sec to become the first South African man to win a Diamond League 100m, and serve notice that the Blue Riband event could be more competitive than for some time with the impending international retirement of Usain Bolt. "I'm happy with my shape now,...
(AFP (eng) 05/06/17)
Reigning Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge from Kenya narrowly failed in his attempt to complete the distance under the previously insurmountable two-hour mark, finishing in a time of 2hr 00min 24sec on Saturday. The time, which smashed the world record of 2hr 02min 57sec set by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya, will not enter the record books largely because of the non-compliant system of pacemaking used in the attempt, made on the Monza National Autodrome racing circuit. For the entire attempt, Kipchoge ran behind a six-man pacesetting team which trailed a time-keeping vehicle by less than 10 metres. Despite narrowly missing the mark, Kipchoge said he believed it was possible and that he could make
(AFP (eng) 05/06/17)
Sports Minister Bidoung Mkpatt has called on Cameroon's athletes to come away with as many medals as possible at the Islamic Solidarity Games which take place in Baku from May 12-22. Mkpatt made the comments at a farewell ceremony for the team in Yaounde. The west African country is sending 62 athletes to the Azerbaijan capital and they will compete in six sports -- athletics, football, weightlifting, handball, wrestling and judo. Four years ago, Cameroon took part in the third edition of the Islamic Solidarity Games in Palembang, Indonesia in 2013, but could only come away with one bronze medal
(AFP (eng) 04/22/17)
Ethiopian track legend Kenenisa Bekele believes he is in the sort of form to break Eliud Kipchoge's fastest ever time in the London Marathon on Sunday. Should the 34-year-old -- who still holds the 5,000 and 10,000 metres world records -- manage that it would be a fitting end to a week that has seen the great race receive even more advance publicity than usual. That has been thanks to Britain's Prince Harry revealing earlier this week he had sought...
(AFP (eng) 03/25/17)
Cameroon began their reign as African champions with a 1-0 friendly victory over Tunisia in Monastir Friday thanks to a Vincent Aboubakar goal. The Turkey-based striker took advantage of his first scoring opportunity to beat Aymen Mathlouthi after 14 minutes in the Mediterranean resort. Aboubakar had several other chances, including a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but could not add to his tally. Tunisians Taha Yassine Khenissi and Syam Ben Youssef were foiled by the woodwork during the first half. Aboubakar...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/22/17)
Frank Fredericks will stay on the IAAF Council while an ethics board reviews allegations that he accepted payments before the awarding of the 2016 Olympics to Rio, Sebastian Coe, the organization's head, said on Tuesday. Fredericks, an International Olympic Committee member, stepped down two weeks ago as head of the team evaluating bids to host the 2024 Olympics and has also removed himself from the IAAF task force looking into doping in Russia. Despite the allegations, however, he will remain a member of the IAAF council while the ethics board determines if an investigation is necessary.

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(AFP (eng) 03/19/18)
Oozing charm and confidence, 22-year-old Sithembiso Mutukura beat 12 other contestants in Zimbabwe's first Miss Albinism beauty contest aimed at reducing stigma and increasing awareness about the condition. Friday's "Beauty Beyond the Skin" pageant was held in a Harare nightclub, making Zimbabwe the second African country after Kenya to host such an event. Many African countries have a dark relationship with albinism -- a genetic disorder inherited from parents who both carry a faulty gene that prevents the skin from making melanin properly and thereby giving it colour. They are hunted down in some African countries by witch doctors for their body parts which are used in potions to bring good luck or riches. Some...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/18)
A cartoonist who was held in custody for more than five months in Equatorial Guinea was released on Wednesday, an NGO said. Ramon Esono Ebale, who works under the pseudonym "Ham and Cheese", was arrested for works "that regularly criticise the government of Equatorial Guinea", the African Union previously said. Confirming his release, director of the US-based rights group EG Justice, Tutu Alicante, said in a statement: "The release of Ramon is proof of the power of the collective work of hundreds of artists, concerned citizens and NGOs." On February 27 at the start of his trial in capital Malabo public prosecutor Rafael Ondo Nguema asked for the release of Ebale, saying there was a "lack of clear evidence". Ebale...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/18)
An Egyptian court sentenced pop star Sherine to six months in prison on Tuesday for suggesting drinking from the Nile River leads to illness, although she will remain free pending an appeal. Sherine Abdel Wahab, known simply as Sherine, had apologised after being caught on tape joking with concert goers that Nile water could give them parasites. The Cairo misdemeanour court convicted her of having spread "false news". Judicial officials said she would remain free on bail pending an appeal...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
Burkinabe filmmaker Idrissa Ouedraogo, a towering figure in African cinema, died Sunday at the age of 64, the national film makers guild announced in a statement. Ouedraogo produced or directed some 40 films from the 1980s to the 2000s, set in Africa and often exploring the strains between modern urban and traditional rural lifestyles. In 1990, he won the Grand Prix award at the Cannes Film Festival for "Tilai", an African version of a Greek tragedy about family dishonour, which...
(AFP (eng) 02/14/18)
South Africa's film censorship authorities on Wednesday elevated the age restriction imposed on a controversial Oscar-shortlisted coming-of-age film, effectively banning it from being screened at public cinemas. The film came under fire for lifting the veil on secret initiation rites practised by one of the country's largest ethnic groups and exposing taboos around gay love and sex. In a statement the film and publication board tribunal said it has re-classified the age rating of the movie "Inxeba – The Wound",...
(AFP (eng) 01/23/18)
South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela died on Tuesday aged 78, his family announced, triggering an outpouring of tributes to his music, his long career and his anti-apartheid activism. "After a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer, he passed peacefully in Johannesburg," Masekela's family said in a statement. It hailed his "activist contribution" to music, which it said "was contained in the minds and memory of millions." South African President Jacob Zuma praised Masekela as a "jazz artist, legendary trumpeter, cultural activist and liberation struggle veteran." "He kept the torch of freedom alive globally fighting apartheid through his music and mobilising international support," Zuma said.
(AFP (eng) 12/13/17)
Cameroonian author Patrice Nganang has had his custody extended by 48 hours by the authorities, his lawyer said Tuesday, nearly a week after his arrest for publishing an article critical of the country's president. "His detention was extended (Monday) for 48 hours by the state prosecutor," lawyer Emmanuel Simh told AFP, adding that Nganang would "in principle" appear before the prosecutor after its expiry. Simh said the detention was "illegal" because Nganang was not initially notified he was being placed...
(AFP (eng) 11/11/17)
A frank documentary about the lives of gay Tunisians received an enthusiastic welcome at a local film festival Friday despite homosexuality being a crime in the North African country. "It's brilliant. If this film made it, then of course we can screen many others," said Sikander, a member of the audience who only gave his first name, as he left the theatre at the Carthage Film Festival. The room of 500 seats was not big enough to fit all those...
(AFP (eng) 10/26/17)
In Madagascar, ceremonies in which families exhume the remains of dead relatives, rewrap them in fresh cloth and dance with the corpses are a sacred ritual. But an outbreak of plague sweeping the Indian Ocean island nation has prompted warnings that the macabre spectacle, known as the turning of the bones or body turning, presents a serious risk of contamination. On a recent baking hot Saturday in Ambohijafy, a village outside the capital Antananarivo, a "turning" procession snaked through the...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Zekarias Mesfin spent months making a movie about his dangerous illegal migration from Ethiopia -- and when he arrived at the film's premiere, he was in a coffin carried by six white-gloved pallbearers. Not that Zekarias, 33, was dead. But he chose the dramatic entrance to show how close to death he came 12 years ago when he left his home in Ethiopia to journey across the deserts of Sudan and Egypt to try to get to Israel. "I was...
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
A documentary about the back-breaking work of a young Congolese coal seller to feed his family has won the top prize at the Cannes film festival's Critics' Week. "Makala" by French director Emmanuel Gras follows Kabwita, who goes door-to-door selling coal on his bicycle in the southern Democratic Republic of Congo. "Makala" means coal in Swahili. "There is something beautiful and dignified in his work," the director told AFP, "earning his living by the sweat of his brow. "I wanted to show a man of action, not someone in (the misery) of poverty but someone who lives their life," he added.
(AFP (eng) 05/03/17)
Tunisian and international non-governmental organisations warned Tuesday of deteriorating freedom of the press in a country considered to be a rare success story of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. "The Tunisian government these past weeks has not stopped tightening its grip on the press," they said in a joint statement published on World Press Freedom Day. Twenty-five associations, including the Tunisian Press Syndicate, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Amnesty International, said they were "deeply concerned" about the creation of a regulatory body for audiovisual communication. Six years after a popular uprising toppled longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the rights groups expressed concern about the recent banning of a small daily
(Voice of America 05/03/17)
Ethiopia’s state of emergency has seen thousands of people detained, allegedly in connection with the unrest last year in the Oromia region. Those arrested have included journalists and bloggers. VOA sat down with three of them in Addis Ababa ahead of World Press Freedom Day (May 3). University lecturer and commentator Seyoum Teshome was arrested in October and detained for two months after he gave a radio interview to Deutsche Welle in which he criticized the government. Since his release,...
(AFP (eng) 04/28/17)
"I haven't once spoken my mother tongue Kilokele in the 62 years I've lived in Kinshasa. None of my nine children speak it," says Charles Tongohala. Tongohala's native tongue is one of 450 spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a sprawling nation of 71 million people whose lingos -- almost all of them spoken, not written -- account for nine percent of the world's 5,000 languages. He was a boy when he moved to DR Congo's capital from a...
(AFP (eng) 04/21/17)
A painting by a South African artist showing President Jacob Zuma raping the late Nelson Mandela has caused outrage in the country, with the ruling party Friday describing it as "grotesque". The piece by controversial artist Ayanda Mabulu shows Zuma seated on a red chair, penetrating a crying Mandela. Both men have their legs wide apart, exposing their genitals. The African National Congress and the Nelson Mandela Foundation have condemned the colourful artwork titled: "The economy of rape". "Whilst we respect Mabulu's freedom of expression, we find his work grotesque, inflammatory and of bad taste,"
(AFP (eng) 03/05/17)
"Felicite," a tale about a nightclub singer who has to scrape together funds to pay for her son's treatment after a road accident, scooped the top prize on Saturday at Africa's top cinema festival. The film won the Golden Stallion award at the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou, held in the capital of Burkina Faso. The prize adds to the Silver Bear jury prize awarded to the film two weeks earlier at the Berlin Film Festival. The film...
(AFP (eng) 02/25/17)
A solar-powered cinema was unveiled in Burkina Faso Friday ahead of the city's hosting of Africa's top film festival, even as movie theatres on the continent continue to disappear. The theatre, with its 300-seat capacity, will run on solar energy. Named Canal Olympia Yennenga, it is now the third-largest movie hall in the Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou. Located in the city's posh Ouaga2000 neighbourhood, the theatre cost about 3 million euros ($3.2 million) to build. It is the brainchild of French businessman Vincent Bollore, whose company owns French premium TV and cinema group Canal Plus. "In the city of Ouagadougou, we lack movie theatres of this calibre," said Burkina Faso
(AFP (eng) 02/21/17)
Nollywood film "The Wedding Party" has shown Nigerian cinema at the top of its game, with its success at the box office taking it to new audiences across Africa and the world. The country may well be in recession but Nollywood, which churns out some 2,000 films a year and is the world's second-biggest film industry outside India, has never been healthier. "The Wedding Party" is a madcap, glamorous comedy telling the story of the marriage of Dunny and Dozie, despite the misgivings of their families' rivalries. One family is Igbo and the other Yoruba -- two of the main ethnic groups in Nigeria.
(AFP (eng) 01/25/17)
A public television station in Morocco was given an official reprimand on Tuesday for broadcasting a sequence on how to use make-up to conceal the bruises of battered women. It was transmitted last November -- marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women -- by 2M on its morning magazine programme "Sabahiyate". The sequence depicted a woman with a swollen face, with the presenter telling viewers that she was not really injured, and that these were just "cinematic effects". On Tuesday, the country's High Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HACA) said the sequence
(AFP (eng) 01/12/17)
Every January, thousands of voodoo worshippers joined by crowds of tourists and descendants of slaves trudge down the long sand track leading to the beach at Ouidah in Benin. The cars, motorbikes and women in wrap skirts with tribal scars on their cheeks head to the Gate of No Return monument overlooking the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean beach. Erected in 1992 in memory of those packed on ships bound for the New World, it is a living reminder...

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(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
Prosecutors are demanding jail terms ranging from 20 years to life against militiamen accused of raping dozens of children, including a baby, in eastern DR Congo, plaintiffs said on Tuesday. Eighteen men, including provincial lawmaker Frederic Batumike, have been on trial since November 9 in Kavumu, in the troubled eastern province of South Kivu. "The prosecution yesterday demanded punishment ranging from 20 years' jail to life for most of the accused, except for four for whom it requested acquittal," Charles Cubaka Cicura, speaking on behalf of a group of lawyers representing the victims, told AFP. The defendants are suspected of belonging to a militia group called "Djeshi ya Yesu" -- meaning "Army of Jesus" in...
(The Associated Press 10/25/17)
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (AP) -- The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. says her government will continue sending aid to South Sudan despite the stalling of a peace process to end the civil war that has killed tens of thousands. Nikki Haley spoke Monday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa after meeting with Ethiopian and African Union leaders to discuss Africa's peace and security challenges. Haley said South Sudan's president "doesn't care if we pull USAID. He doesn't care if his people suffer. That's the concern we have." Haley warned South Sudan could become a breeding ground for extremist groups amid the suffering. South Sudan plunged into conflict in December 2013 after a dispute in the capital Juba between forces loyal...
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara will propose to his counterpart in Ghana that the two neighboring countries and world’s biggest cocoa producers narrow a gap in producer prices to discourage smuggling of beans, according to a person familiar with the matter. Ouattara will call Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo on Thursday before Ivory Coast announces a new minimum price for cocoa purchases on Oct. 1, said the person, who asked not to be identified because he’s not authorized to speak about...
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
Nigeria plans to sell as much as $5.5 billion of Eurobonds in the next three months to fund capital projects and replace local-currency debt, according to the Debt Management Office. Yields on existing bonds rose. That would bring the amount raised through Eurobond sales by Africa’s most-populous nation this year to more than $7 billion as President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration restructures its debt portfolio to almost double the portion of foreign borrowing in a bid to reduce financing costs. The government wants to raise $2.5 billion in October to help fund 2017’s 7.4 trillion-naira ($20.8 billion) budget
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
As the battle to succeed South African President Jacob Zuma as leader of the African National Congress grows increasingly fractious, party Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize is emerging as a possible compromise choice to keep the continent’s oldest political movement from tearing itself apart. While the race for the top job is widely seen as a head-to-head contest between Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the president’s ex-wife and former chairwoman of the African Union Commission, Mkhize, a 61-year-old medical doctor, has two advantages: he’s stayed above the infighting and has strong support in his home region of KwaZulu-Natal, which has the most ANC members of the nation’s nine provinces.
(Voice of America 09/27/17)
Al-Shabab militants have launched what appears to be a forced recruitment campaign in Somalia's southwestern regions of Bay and Bakool, according to Somali officials. The group, which controls large parts of both regions, is pressuring leaders of local villages to make sure teenagers join its ranks, according to the governor of Bay region, Ali Wardhere Doyow. "They have been holding meetings for clan elders and told them to meet specific numbers of recruits they want collected from clans," Doyow told VOA's Somali Service. Doyow said many families and their children have fled their villages to larger towns in the Bay region
(Bloomberg 09/26/17)
Ghana’s central bank kept its key lending rate at the lowest since 2015 after inflation accelerated for the first time in four months. The Bank of Ghana left the rate at 21 percent, Governor Ernest Addison told reporters Monday in the capital, Accra. Two of seven economists in a Bloomberg survey predicted the hold, while the rest forecast cuts ranging from 50 to 100 basis points. The central bank of West Africa’s biggest economy after Nigeria’s had reduced the key...
(Bloomberg 09/25/17)
Ayaak Deng’s first-ever flight let her skip over a hundred miles of bloodily contested South Sudan and visit family she hadn’t seen in a year. It’s the kind of trip that’s revitalizing small airlines that initially struggled because of the almost four-year civil war. The airport in the capital, Juba, has recorded about 1,000 domestic passengers a day this month, more than five times the average in the first half of 2016, before a peace deal collapsed and gunmen began...
(Bloomberg 09/25/17)
Rwanda’s police said they arrested an activist barred from running for the presidency and two family members for alleged offenses against state security and forgery. Diane Rwigara, her mother and sister were arrested Saturday after the East African nation’s police “uncovered credible evidence linking the trio to offenses against state security,” the force said in a statement on its website. Investigators have five days to complete the probe and decide whether to forward the case to prosecution, the police said. Rwigara’s lawyer didn’t immediately answer phone calls seeking comment. A women’s rights activist, Rwigara attempted to run in August’s presidential vote against long-time ruler Paul Kagame only to be disqualified
(Bloomberg 09/25/17)
Kenya’s main opposition alliance will begin mass protests this week to force out electoral officials it suspects of rigging last month’s annulled presidential vote. The National Super Alliance will begin its campaign on Tuesday and will continue until the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission officeholders resign, said Norman Magaya, chief executive officer of the opposition coalition. It may escalate the protests if lawmakers from the ruling Jubilee Party continue with plans to amend the country’s electoral laws, he said. “Demonstration...
(Bloomberg 09/25/17)
Now that Nigeria’s economy is recovering from its worst slump in 25 years, the central bank can turn its focus to fighting inflation again -- and shoring up its currency. The Monetary Policy Committee has kept its interest rate at a record-high 14 percent since July 2016, trying to support the economy, and will probably hold it there at its decision this week to contain above-target consumer-price growth. Officials can take heart from a pickup in West Africa’s biggest economy...
(Euronews 09/25/17)
Egypt’s economy has started to improve but has yet to recover from the country’s 2011 uprising and the years of unrest that followed – according to the Ratings Agency… Egypt’s economy has started to improve but has yet to recover from the country’s 2011 uprising and the years of unrest that followed – according to the Ratings Agency Moody’s. One of the top reforms on the agenda concerns small and medium enterprises (SMEs). A new law is expected to come...
(Financial Times 09/23/17)
Government departments told to examine relationships with firm after political scandal. South Africa’s finance minister has told all government departments to review their relationship with KPMG in response to the accounting firm’s role in a political scandal over links between the Gupta family and President Jacob Zuma. In a statement published yesterday, South African finance minister Malusi Gigaba, who was appointed in March, said he had “deep concerns about audit matters currently surrounding KPMG”. “These developments further threaten to undermine...
(Bloomberg 09/22/17)
Nigeria’s decision to designate a group campaigning for an independent state of Biafra as “terrorist” and ban it runs the risk of backfiring. A federal high court in the capital, Abuja, on Wednesday granted an application by President Muhammadu Buhari’s attorney general to proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra, known as Ipob, designating it as a terrorist organization. The move came as tensions escalated in southeastern Nigeria, with the group’s leader, Nnamdi Kanu, threatening to disrupt state elections unless there’s a vote on secession and his supporters clashing with the security forces. “We saw in videos young people willing to confront the military with their bare hands,” Freedom Onuoha
(Bloomberg 09/22/17)
Kenya’s electoral commission rescheduled the date for a rerun of last month’s annulled presidential vote, as President Uhuru Kenyatta slammed the Supreme Court ruling that overturned his victory as a “judicial coup.” The Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission said Thursday the vote will be held Oct. 26, nine days later than its initial suggestion, to ensure the body is “fully prepared” to deliver a credible election. Just before, Kenyatta said in a televised address that the East African country’s highest...
(Bloomberg 09/22/17)
Dangote Cement Plc, the Nigerian company controlled by Africa’s richest person, has written to PPC Ltd. offering South Africa’s biggest cement maker cash and shares as part of a takeover deal that is fueling a bidding war. PPC’s shares rose. “We are waiting for them to get back to us, hopefully early next week,” Aliko Dangote said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in New York. “They can be part and parcel of the Dangote Cement story, where we’re going...
(Bloomberg 09/21/17)
The United Nations said its road map for peace in Libya wasn’t working in its current form and unveiled plans to revamp the agreement to unify the North African country and pave the way for new elections. Ghassan Salame, the UN’s envoy for Libya, outlined an action plan at a high-level meeting Wednesday in New York. He said the initiative would be led by Libyans to find a way out of the crisis that’s split the nation among rival militias...
(Bloomberg 09/20/17)
South African programs to add coal and gas power generation from independent providers should wait until policies are updated and the nation’s future needs are clearer, said Energy Minister Mmamaloko Kubayi. The government is also seeking a “middle ground” with developers in a program to add renewable-energy projects, she said in a phone interview Tuesday. Kubayi announced earlier this month that the long-delayed contracts must be signed by the end of October, but not before pricing was renegotiated to make the deals more attractive to state-owned power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. South Africa expanded the so-called independent power-producer
(Bloomberg 09/20/17)
President Muhammadu Buhari urged the international community to support the Lake Chad region in its fight against Islamist extremism even as other conflicts emerge. Nigeria and neighboring countries lack the resources and the capacity to effectively deal with the security threat from groups linked to al-Qaeda and other Islamist organizations, he said Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “New conflicts should not make us lose focus on ongoing unresolved old conflicts,” Buhari said. The Islamist group...
(Bloomberg 09/19/17)
A United Nations commission urged the International Criminal Court to investigate possible crimes against humanity committed in Burundi, saying it had compiled a list of alleged perpetrators of violence during the country’s two-year crisis. The UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi has reasonable grounds to believe “serious human-rights violations and abuses” have been committed in the East African country since April 2015, its chairman, Fatsah Ouguergouz, said Tuesday in Geneva. The abuses included torture, extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and rape, with most victims being opponents of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government, he said. The commission has drawn

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