Tuesday 27 June 2017
(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 is terminally ill. "I am immensely grateful to God for his mercy in guiding us successfully to conclude another Ramadan fast. My greetings to all Nigerian Muslims and our brother Christians on the occasion of...
(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 ($3.4 million) in the swanky Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine just north of the ritzy 16th arrondissement, according to a judicial source. The tentacles of the case also reach out to ruling families in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Julienne Sassou Nguesso...
(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) 06/24/17)
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)
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)
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)
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...
(AFP (eng) 06/23/17)
Botswana's former president Sir Ketumile Masire, the southern African country's second post-independence leader and who led efforts to bring peace to Mozambique, has died aged 91, an aide said on Friday. Masire had been heavily involved in efforts to end violence between Mozambique's government and the main opposition Renamo party in his role as co-chair of an international group of mediators. Renamo, which waged a 16-year civil war that ended in 1992, refused to accept the results of 2014 elections...
(AFP (eng) 06/22/17)
Over a thousand people took to the streets of Benin's economic capital of Cotonou on Thursday to protest against President Patrice Talon amid growing unease with his government's economic reforms. A coalition of opposition parties and civil activists led the rally, which coincided with trade unions launching a two-day strike against the government's move to privatise port management. "We wanted to say to President Talon that the people are hungry and that the poor governance that characterises their management enrages...
(AFP (eng) 06/22/17)
South Africa's highest court on Thursday ruled that lawmakers can cast secret ballots in a no-confidence vote in President Jacob Zuma, who is facing mounting criticism within the ruling ANC. Although no date has been set for such a vote, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said the National Assembly speaker had the authority to order a secret ballot in a case brought by the country's opposition parties. "The speaker of the National Assembly has constitutional power to prescribe that voting in a motion of no-confidence in the President of the Republic of South Africa be conducted by secret ballot," the chief justice said.
(AFP (eng) 06/22/17)
Mali on Wednesday delayed a constitutional referendum due to be held on July 9 in the face of heavy political opposition and street protests. The vote was aimed at enshrining elements of a 2015 peace deal into the charter and establishing a senate in parliament, but came under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. The cabinet "has decided to delay the referendum initially planned for July 9 to a future date," a statement issued by the government said, without providing a...
(AFP (eng) 06/21/17)
The death toll from clashes in Central African Republic has surged to around 100, local officials said Wednesday of violence that erupted hours after the government signed a truce with rebel groups. The bloodshed, which left dozens more injured, dashed hopes of an end to the simmering sectarian violence which has blighted the country since 2013, pitting Christian anti-Balaka militias against mainly Muslim ex-Seleka rebels. Shooting erupted early on Tuesday in the central town of Bria and by midnight (2300 GMT) security sources and NGOs said some 40 people had been killed with another 43 wounded. But by Wednesday morning, the death toll had risen to around 100...
(AFP (eng) 06/21/17)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday said he was in talks with authorities in Congo Republic on the fate of its troops who are facing accusations of misconduct while serving as peacekeepers in the Central African Republic. UN officials told AFP that the 629 troops serving in the MINUSCA force will be withdrawn as a result of the allegations of sex abuse, corruption and poor discipline. Guterres was to announce the withdrawal during a press conference on Tuesday, but discussions were continuing with the government in Brazzaville, delaying the announcement. The UN chief said he was engaged in "necessary contact with the authorities of the country before a public announcement of the measure."
(AFP (eng) 06/20/17)
Police have arrested three more members of a protest movement in northern Morocco's neglected Rif region, prompting hundreds of demonstrators to rally demanding their release, activists said Tuesday. Three activists from Al-Hirak al-Shaabi, or "Popular Movement", were arrested Monday in the flashpoint northern port of Al-Hoceima, a member of the grassroots group told AFP. Two other activists, one of them a minor, were summoned by the police and told to "sign a pledge vowing not to take part in any...
(AFP (eng) 06/20/17)
What was once Bentiu, the gateway to South Sudan's oil fields, is now a cluster of bullet-riddled buildings and piles of scrap metal, its ghostly avenues abandoned. Residents of the town have long since decamped to a well-ordered grid of mud dwellings ringed by sewage, where they live in wretched limbo after three years of war, too scared to leave. Some 120,000 people living in the camp fear that if they leave their ethnicity would make them a target for...
(AFP (eng) 06/20/17)
More than 3,000 people have been killed in eight months of spiralling violence in DR Congo's troubled central region of Kasai, a report by the Roman Catholic church said. According to figures compiled by the church and listed in a report by the papal envoy, a copy of which was seen by AFP on Tuesday, some 3,383 people have died in violence between security forces and a tribal militia. The UN's MONUSCO peacekeeping mission had previously spoken of "more than...
(AFP (eng) 06/20/17)
The UN rights chief on Tuesday accused authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo of backing a new militia behind "horrific attacks" in the Kasai provinces, including killing and mutilating hundreds of civilians. "I am appalled by the creation and arming of a militia, the Bana Mura, allegedly to support the authorities in fighting the Kamwina Nsapu (rebels)," Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein told the UN Human Rights Council. Over the past two months, the militia had carried out "horrific attacks against civilians from the Luba and Lulua ethnic groups," destroying entire villages, and shooting, burning and hacking to death villagers...

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