Tuesday 27 June 2017
(AFP (eng) 06/27/17)
A special advisor to United Nations chief Antonio Guterres on Saturday urged Congolese authorities to pare back their military presence in the restive Kasai region following an explosion of deadly violence in recent months. More than 3,300 people have been killed in eight months of spiralling unrest in DR Congo's central Kasai, and the UN on Friday said it was sending a team of experts to investigate gross rights violations there. "It's vital to reduce the militarisation of the government's response and to prioritise dialogue between all parties in the conflict," Adama Dieng, UN special adviser on prevention of genocide told reporters in Kinshasa. "There is no genocide in the Kasai. There is violence that...
(AFP (eng) 06/27/17)
The UN on Monday criticised a decision by a Congolese military tribunal not to prosecute seven Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers for crimes against humanity. "We regret" the tribunal's decision, Jose Maria Aranaz, director of the United Nations joint human rights office (UNJHRO) and representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the DRC, told AFP. "Prosecuting these crimes is a way of preventing other legal violations and further excessive use of force by the armed forces," Aranaz said. The seven soldiers were on trial for war crimes and other offences -- including murder, mutilation and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment -- apparently committed in the Kasai region. They are being prosecuted after a video emerged in February showing...
(AFP (eng) 06/26/17)
A Swede held hostage by Al-Qaeda in Mali since 2011 has been freed to head home, and is doing well although he is "overwhelmed" by his release, Sweden's foreign ministry said Monday. "It is with great pleasure that I can announce that Johan Gustafsson has been released and can return to Sweden," Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in a statement, giving no details about how his release was secured. Gustafsson, 42, was abducted in Timbuktu, northern Mali, in November 2011...
(AFP (eng) 06/26/17)
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has marked the end of Ramadan with an audio broadcast to the nation, the presidency said, his first public statement since going on medical leave in early May. The recording attributed to the president features a tired-sounding and hesitant voice, speaking in the local language Hausa, and was played on the country's radio channels over the weekend. Buhari departed for London on May 7 for unspecified medical treatment and his office had repeatedly rejected rumours he...
(AFP (eng) 06/26/17)
Investigators have widened a corruption probe into the French assets of three African ruling families, charging the daughter and son-in-law of Congo's President Denis Sassou Nguesso, judicial sources told AFP on Sunday. Julienne Sassou Nguesso, 50, and her 53-year-old husband Guy Johnson were placed under investigation this week for "money laundering and misuse of public funds", the sources said. Investigators are trying to determine how the couple in 2006 were able to purchase a mansion valued at 3 million euros...
(AFP (eng) 06/26/17)
Morocco's king has rebuked ministers over delays to a development programme meant to pump investment into a region rocked by months of protests over unemployment and perceived state neglect. Mohammed VI told ministers Sunday of his "disappointment, dissatisfaction and concern" that the $670 million (600 million euro) programme in the northern Rif region was behind schedule, according to a cabinet statement. He also cancelled the annual leave of ministers involved in programme so they can "monitor" its progress, it said. The Rif's main port, Al-Hoceima, has been rocked...
(AFP (eng) 06/26/17)
Tanzania has threatened to arrest and deport those campaigning for gay rights and de-register organisations protecting homosexual interests, local media reported Monday. "I would like to remind and warn all organisations and institutions that campaign and pretend to protect homosexual interests ... we are going to arrest whoever is involved and charge them in courts of law," the state-owned Daily News quoted Interior Minister Mwigulu Nchemba as saying. In the country's latest attack on its homosexual community, Nchemba also said foreigners involved in such campaigns would be "deported within no time ... they will not have even the time to unplug their mobile phones from the socket."
(AFP (eng) 06/26/17)
Eight Chadian soldiers were killed in fierce fighting with Boko Haram insurgents at the weekend on islands on Lake Chad, which borders four countries on the edge of the Sahara, Chad's army said Monday. "Our forces attacked Boko Haram elements on five islands near Nigeria on June 24 and 25," said spokesman Colonel Azem, indicating eight soldiers had died and another 18 were wounded. He also claimed troops had killed 162 jihadists from the Nigeria-based group. Chad is part of a five-nation regional force -- comprising Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Benin --
(AFP (eng) 06/24/17)
Mali's government and armed groups which signed a 2015 peace deal have relaunched talks aimed at speeding up its implementation after several delays, they told AFP Saturday. The accord signed in 2015 aimed at curbing separatist uprisings in Mali's north after a 2012 rebellion was hijacked by jihadists, throwing the nation into chaos. But several of its key planks have yet to be fully implemented, while jihadists continue to roam the north and centre of the country, despite being ousted from key northern towns by a French-led military intervention in 2013. Malian lawmaker...
(AFP (eng) 06/24/17)
The brutal death of anti-apartheid campaigner Ahmed Timol was allowed to go quietly unsolved in the interests of South Africa's democratic reconciliation. But now more than 45 years after he fell from a 10th-floor window at a notorious regime security building and died, Timol's case is being re-examined following a campaign to expose the truth led by his family. Timol, a 30-year-old activist with the then-banned South African Communist Party (SACP), was arrested in Johannesburg on the night of October 22, 1971. After being held in detention for five days, he was declared dead following his plunge...
(AFP (eng) 06/24/17)
The international community pledged $358 million at a fundraising summit Friday to help Uganda tackle the world's fastest growing refugee crisis, falling well short of expectations. Organisers had hoped the meeting in the central city of Entebbe would raise at least $2 billion (1.8 billion euros) to help nearly a million South Sudanese fleeing civil war. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the pledges were a good beginning, but that more was needed. "I think it is a very good...
(AFP (eng) 06/24/17)
Nigeria's intelligence service on Friday said it had thwarted a plan to target Muslims celebrating the end of Ramadan after fears that Boko Haram was planning a major attack. The Department of State Services (DSS) said two men were arrested in a dawn raid on Friday on suspicion of plotting an attack on the northern city of Kano. A third man, described as an "explosive expert", was arrested in Kano state on Tuesday, DSS spokesman Tony Oyuipo said in an...
(AFP (eng) 06/24/17)
Nigeria's acting president Yemi Osinbajo has ordered troops in to keep the peace in the restive state of Taraba after deadly clashes between herders and farmers. The vice-president, standing in for President Muhammadu Buhari, who is on indefinite medical leave, said Thursday the extra military battalions and police reinforcements had been sent. Police say 18 people were killed in unrest between the Mambilla and Fulani groups in the central state earlier this week but others put the death toll at...
(AFP (eng) 06/24/17)
An Egyptian real estate tycoon jailed for the murder of a Lebanese pop diva was freed Friday as part of a presidential pardon for hundreds of detainees, security officials said. State television said President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pardoned a total of 502 prisoners to mark Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Hisham Talaat Moustafa, who was sentenced to 15 years in jail in 2010 for the murder of Suzanne Tamim, was among those pardoned on health grounds, an interior ministry official told AFP.
(AFP (eng) 06/23/17)
Zimbabwe's Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday pledged that next year's elections will be peaceful, "free and fair" despite opposition concerns about electoral interference. Speaking on the sidelines of a conference aimed at courting South African investors, Mnangagwa noted that the last election in 2013 "was free of any violent incidents." "We believe that we shall have a free and a fair election during 2018," he told reporters, pledging that the upcoming presidential and parliamentary ballot would, like the last, be "free of violence." Previous elections have been marred by violence against opponents...
(AFP (eng) 06/23/17)
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for international solidarity with Uganda at a fundraising summit to help the country deal with nearly a million South Sudanese fleeing war. Held in Entebbe, Uganda, the summit hopes to raise at least $2 billion (1.8 billion euros) to help tackle the world's fastest-growing refugee crisis triggered by continuing civil war in South Sudan. Guterres said Uganda's "exemplary refugee policy" stood out in a world where many countries are turning their backs...
(AFP (eng) 06/23/17)
The UN Human Rights Council on Friday decided to send a group of experts to the Democratic Republic of Congo to help investigate an explosion of deadly violence in the Kasai region. A council resolution called on the UN rights office to dispatch a team of international experts to help Kinshasa investigate gross rights violations in the region, including extrajudicial killings, torture, rape and the use of child soldiers. More than 3,300 people have been killed in eight months of...
(AFP (eng) 06/23/17)
The EU pledged 85 million euros ($95 million) to Uganda on Thursday as UN chief Antonio Guterres urged donors to give 20 times that amount to help the country deal with nearly one million refugees from South Sudan. Guterres visited a refugee camp in Uganda's remote north where he met with South Sudanese who fled civil war in their country, a day before a summit in Kampala aimed at raising at least $2 billion to deal with the world's fastest...
(AFP (eng) 06/23/17)
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi extended a state of emergency declared after twin church bombings in April by jihadists, in a decree issued in the official gazette on Thursday. The renewed three-month state of emergency will start on July 10, according to the decree. Parliament approved the initial state of emergency in April after the two church bombings claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group that killed at least 45 people. The jihadist group said it was behind the bombings...
(AFP (eng) 06/23/17)
Clashes between militants and government troops on Thursday left 16 dead in the restive east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the army said. The fighting erupted in the eastern suburbs of Beni, a city in the troubled North-Kivu province, with residents hearing gunshots and heavy weapons fire. The province has been plagued by regular flare-ups of ethnic bloodshed, which over the past year has seen a cycle of attacks and reprisal raids between militias. "The provisional toll is 13...

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