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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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...
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
The US embassy has warned its citizens in Senegal of a "credible threat" of a terror attack in the capital Dakar, advising them to take special care when visiting places and areas popular with Westerners. The embassy also told its own staff members to stay away from seaside hotels in Dakar. A message, issued on Wednesday to US citizens in the country, warned them "to be vigilant when visiting establishments and staying at hotels frequented by Westerners due to a...
(AFP (eng) 10/19/17)
Four people have been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of four British nationals in southern Nigeria, police said on Thursday. The Britons, including a husband and wife from a Christian medical charity, were seized last Friday in Delta state, where they had been providing free health treatment. Delta state police spokesman Andrew Animaka said there was still no update as to their whereabouts. But he added: "We are following up on a lead with the arrest of four persons...
(AFP (eng) 10/19/17)
Two people have died from the Marburg virus in eastern Uganda, in the country's first outbreak of the deadly Ebola-like pathogen in three years, the health ministry said Thursday. "Blood samples were taken from two people who have since died and were found positive for Marburg", Uganda's health ministry permanent secretary, Dr. Diana Atwine told AFP. She said a team of experts had been sent to Kween district, near the Kenyan border, to contain the virus. "At moment we don't...
(AFP (eng) 10/19/17)
At least three soldiers were killed when Boko Haram fighters ambushed a military convoy in northeast Nigeria, security and civilian sources told AFP on Thursday. The attack, which happened on Wednesday near the town of Damboa, on the edge of Boko Haram's Sambisa Forest enclave in Borno state, is the second against the military within a week. Last Friday, one soldier was killed and nine others were wounded as the jihadists overran a military base in the town of Marte,...
(AFP (eng) 10/19/17)
The International Criminal Court said Wednesday it was investigating several potential war crimes including murder in Mali, months after finding an ex-jihadist guilty liable for millions worth of damage in the landlocked country. "Our investigations are continuing (into) other crimes... sexual crimes and crimes against peacekeepers, killings and all those," ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told reporters in Bamako. The Hague-based tribunal said in August that ex-jihadist Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi caused 2.7 million euros worth of damage when he destroyed several fabled shrines in Timbuktu, in northern Mali, during the jihadist takeover there in 2012.
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Tanzanian police said Wednesday they had arrested 12 men, including two South Africans and a Ugandan, for presumed homosexuality as part of an ongoing crackdown against gays. "We arrested the criminals at (the hotel) Peacock -- they were promoting homosexuality. Two are South Africans, one Ugandan and nine Tanzanians," Dar es Salaam police head Lazaro Mambosasa said at a weekly press conference. He said the 12 were being questioned ahead of being sent before a court and did not say when they had been arrested. "Tanzanian law forbids this act between people of the same sex, it is a violation of our country's laws," said Mambosasa.
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
An outbreak of highly contagious plague has claimed 74 lives in Madagascar over the past two months with the capital particularly affected, according to a new official toll published Tuesday. A total of 805 cases have been reported on the poor Indian Ocean island nation since August, the health ministry said in a statement. Madagascar has suffered plague outbreaks almost every year since 1980 -- typically between September and April -- and are often sparked by rats fleeing forest fires...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Tunisia's navy has found the bodies of 26 migrants at sea a week after their boat collided with a navy vessel, bringing the death toll to 34, the defence ministry said. On October 8, a migrant boat sank following a collision with a navy vessel off the coast of the Kerkennah islands in the Mediterranean. At the time, the defence ministry said eight migrants drowned and 38 others were rescued, while NGOs spoke of dozens still missing. On Sunday night,...

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