Sunday 22 October 2017
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
Twelve paramilitary police were killed Saturday in a fresh attack in Niger's restive southwest bordering Mali, the interior minister said. "There was a new attack. Twelve gendarmes were killed. We have launched search operations," Mohamed Bazoum told AFP. It comes after an ambush at the beginning of October killed four US and four Niger soldiers along the border, which has been regularly targeted by jihadist groups. The latest dawn raid happened in the town of Ayorou in the Tillaberi region, 200 kilometres (124 miles) northwest of the capital Niamey. A security source said the attackers arrived in five vehicles and fled when police reinforcements arrived. Villagers saw them leave carrying bodies.
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
At least 26 people were killed during clashes in a southeast region of the Central African Republic where the government has struggled to assert its authority, the UN's peacekeeping force in the country said Friday. Another 11 people were wounded in the violence on Wednesday, which came ahead of a visit by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to the country next week. The clashes occurred in the town of Pombolo, in a region where tensions have flared between Muslim and Christian militias since May in which dozens of civilians have been killed. Seraphin Embondza, commander of the UN's MINUSCA mission in the country, told the UN radio station Guira FM that the wounded had not yet been evacuated from the...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis thanked his French counterpart Friday for France's assistance in the immediate aftermath of a Niger ambush that killed four US troops, as questions mounted in Washington about what happened. French warplanes flew overhead and armed helicopters evacuated the US wounded following the October 4 attack near the Mali border, which is thought to have been carried out by jihadists. The Pentagon chief has previously praised the less than 30-minute French response time after the attack on the joint US-Niger patrol, and officials say it shows how well the two countries'...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
Somalia's deadliest ever attack, a truck bomb in the capital Mogadishu, has now killed 358 people with 228 more injured, the government said late Friday, a major jump in the fatality toll. A truck packed with explosives blew up in Hodan on October 14, destroying some 20 buildings in the bustling commercial district, leaving scores of victims burned beyond recognition. Several experts told AFP the truck was probably carrying at least 500 kilos (1,100 pounds) of explosives. "The latest number...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
A 1,200-kilometre (750 mile) round bus trip taking about 22 hours: that is the weekly grind faced by families of activists arrested over a protest movement in northern Morocco if they want to see their loved ones jailed in Casablanca. "The families of those detained are exhausted, every week it's the same ordeal," complained Rachid Ahbbad, as he visited his 19-year-old son Bilal who was jailed in June. "Why do they make us go through this suffering?" The Rif region...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
At least 35 Egyptian police officers have been killed in an ambush by Islamist fighters near the Bahariya oasis in the country's Western Desert, security and medical sources said Saturday, in a rare flare-up outside the Sinai Peninsula. The interior ministry said security forces hunting down Islamist militants in the region were attacked late Friday on a road to the Bahariya oasis, some 200 kilometres (125 miles) southwest of Cairo. An official statement said a number of the attackers were...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda’s main opposition leader was arrested and charged with murder, police said on Friday, after they broke up a rally organized to protest moves to extend President Yoweri Museveni’s rule. Kizza Besigye, who has contested and lost four elections against long-time leader Museveni, was detained on Thursday. Police blamed Besigye for the deaths of two protesters during Wednesday’s rally, in which officers fired bullets and teargas during clashes with government opponents. “Besigye and his colleagues led these...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian authorities have released high-profile Irish detainee Ibrahim Halawa following his acquittal last month of charges including murder, in a four-year mass trial criticized by human rights groups. Halawa, a student, and three of his sisters were charged along with nearly 500 others with a host of crimes including breaking into a mosque, killing 44 people, and illegal possession of firearms in violence that followed the military’s overthrow of Egypt’s Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi, in 2013. Irish...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Thousands of Somalis prayed in Mogadishu on Friday at a symbolic funeral for more than 300 people killed by the country’s deadliest truck bombing. The truck detonated next to a fuel tanker on Saturday, creating a huge fireball that incinerated multi-story buildings. Around half the dead were burned beyond recognition, said authorities. The government conducted mass burials soon after the blast, in keeping with the Muslim practice of interring the dead as quickly as possible. Religious leader...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
NIAMEY (Reuters) - A part of southwestern Niger where four U.S. Green Berets were killed during a mission the U.S. military had considered low-risk has seen at least 46 attacks by armed groups since early last year, a U.N. agency said on Friday. The deaths of the four U.S. soldiers and ensuing confusion over what happened during the Oct. 4 ambush have thrown a spotlight on the U.S. counter-terrorism mission in the West African nation, where about 800 U.S. troops are deployed. Four Nigerien soldiers were also killed. U.S. forces do not have a direct combat role in Niger and instead provide assistance to its army, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support.
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
NAIROBI/MOGADISHU (Reuters) - The size and methods of the latest truck bombing in Mogadishu show how international and Somali government efforts to stop the killings are failing, partly because intelligence gathering to counter such attacks is so disjointed, security sources say. More than 300 people were killed in the bombing in the heart of the capital on Saturday, the deadliest attack in the history of the Horn of Africa nation. The Islamist insurgency al Shabaab was blamed for the blasts, which happened when a car bomb and a truck bomb headed for the airport detonated prematurely. Somali security services and the donor nations working with them are both to blame for disorganization in the divisions...
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his rival Raila Odinga made calls Friday for election peace, while making veiled digs at each other on a day when the country celebrates its independence heroes. In the capital Nairobi, Kenyatta oversaw a celebration full of pomp and ceremony for the annual Heroes Day, using the opportunity to push his campaign for re-election and warn his rival against disrupting next Thursday's vote. The president, whose August victory was overturned by the Supreme Court, accused the opposition of abusing hard-fought democratic freedoms "to create anarchy". Upon his arrival at the ceremony Kenyatta was obliged to shake hands with Chief Justice David Maraga...
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
Thousands of people took to the streets of Benin's commercial capital Cotonou on Friday to protest against President Patrice Talon's economic reforms and the high cost of living. One of the organisers said "more than 10,000" people turned out for the march to the trades union congress building. No official figure was immediately available. The head of the main workers' union in Benin, Nagnini Kassa Mampo, told the crowd: "Public hospitals will soon be privatised, repeated strikes in the education...
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
Malawian police said Friday that 124 people had arrested after a vigilante mob killed two men accused of being "vampires" trying to obtain human blood for voodoo rituals. The killings bring the death toll to nine as vampire rumours have swept the country's southern region since last month, forcing authorities to impose a night-time curfew. "One person was burned and another stoned to death by angry mobs in incidents on Thursday for being suspected to be blood suckers," police spokesman Ramsy Mushani told AFP. The latest killings took place outside Blantyre, the country's commercial capital, where angry mobs clashed with police and blocked main roads...
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
French President Emmanuel Macron was on Friday urged to step in to help find a solution to an increasingly violent power struggle between Togo's opposition and the government. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets since late August calling for the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe, whose family has been in power for over 50 years. They want the constitution changed so that presidents can only serve two, five-year terms of office. Gnassingbe has been in power...
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
The death toll from a plague outbreak in Madagascar has risen to 94, with the number of suspected cases jumping to more than 1,100, the World Health Organization said Friday. Officials on the poor Indian Ocean island nation had earlier this week reported 74 fatalities and 805 cases. WHO's director for health emergencies in Africa, Ibrahima Soce Fall, told reporters in Geneva that out of 1,153 suspected cases, 300 had been laboratory confirmed. Fall said WHO has sent 1.3 million doses of antibiotics to Madagascar, enough to treat 5,000 patients and protect another 100,000 people who may have been exposed to the infectious disease.
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday vowed to ramp up security and and economic cooperation between Ankara and Africa's most populous nation. Speaking after talks at Erdogan's palace, Buhari and the Turkish leader vowed to increase investment and cooperate in the fight against extremist groups including Boko Haram jihadists. "There are a lot of potentialities in terms of investment. Already a lot is being done in the education and the health sectors," said Buhari...
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
The EU on Thursday pledged more money for Italy's work with Libya to stem migrant flows to Europe, with Brussels seeing a "real chance" to close the central Mediterranean route. Italian Prime Minister Paulo Gentiloni has been working with his UN-backed Libyan counterpart Fayez al-Sarraj to sharply reduce the perilous migrant sea crossings to Italy, the main entry point to the European Union. "Leaders agreed to offer Prime Minister Gentiloni stronger support for Italy's work with the Libyan authorities," EU President Donald Tusk said at a summit of the bloc's 28 leaders in Brussels. "We have a real chance of closing the central Mediterranean route," Tusk told a press conference...
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
Togo's opposition on Thursday said three people were killed and dozens more injured as gangs of youths clashed with security forces trying to prevent the latest anti-government protest in the capital. Opposition spokesman Brigitte Adjamagbo-Johnson told reporters "the provisional toll at 3:30 pm (1530 GMT) is three shot dead in Lome", with 44 shot and wounded, and a further 36 beaten up. Togo's security minister, Colonel Yark Damehame, denied the claims, however, saying no-one was killed. The streets of the coastal capital were largely deserted in anticipation of the rally, which the opposition refused to cancel despite a government ban on weekday marches on security grounds.
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
On a weekday morning in Cecelia Dunbar school, a bumpy hour's drive from Liberia's capital, a group of seven-year-olds concentrate on their maths lesson, seated at individual wooden desks. Children at schools like Cecelia Dunbar read and count at a level improved by 60 percent from a year ago -- proof, according to the government and private education companies, that a bold experiment for one of the world's worst education systems has succeeded. "The approaches that each of the providers...

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