Friday 15 December 2017
(AFP (eng) 12/15/17)
International war crimes judges on Friday awarded $10 million in landmark reparations to "hundreds or thousands" of former child soldiers left brutalised and stigmatised after being conscripted into a ruthless Congolese militia. Warlord Thomas Lubanga, 56, was jailed for 14 years after being convicted in 2012 at the International Criminal Court (ICC) of abducting boys and girls and press-ganging them into his Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) in the eastern Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The judges said Friday that Lubanga, who is serving his sentence in a Congolese prison, was also liable for compensation to 425 victims, identified by the court. At the time of the crimes in 2002-2003, all were...
(AFP (eng) 12/15/17)
A Nigerian military court on Friday sentenced a soldier to death for killing five civilians rescued from Boko Haram. The soldier, Lance Corporal John Godwin, was convicted by the General Court Martial in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State for killing the civilians in Yamteke town. "The civilians were earlier rescued by troops of the soldier's battalion and were taken for investigation at the time the soldier shot and killed five of them," army spokesman Kinsley Mfon Samuel said in a statement. He said other soldiers were also handed jail sentences for offences ranging from manslaughter to illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. "Sergeant Innocent Ototo was sentenced to life imprisonment for manslaughter after torturing and killing a 13-year-old boy who...
(AFP (eng) 12/15/17)
The African National Congress was lauded for its moral authority in the fight against apartheid in South Africa, but many veterans of that era are deeply disillusioned by the party's actions today. As delegates prepare to elect a new leader to succeed Jacob Zuma, the ANC faces falling public support, a reputation for corruption and the threat of a damaging split between rival factions. The celebrated activists who stood alongside ANC leader Nelson Mandela in the struggle against white-minority rule...
(AFP (eng) 12/15/17)
For migrants who escape torture and starvation at the hands of people traffickers, a "Safe House" in an oasis town offers a rare commodity in Libya: shelter and medical care. Bani Walid, on the edge of the desert 170 kilometres (110 miles) southeast of the capital Tripoli, is a transit point on the way to the coast and perilous boat journeys across the Mediterranean to Europe. With the old green flags of Moamer Kadhafi's regime fluttering in the wind, time...
(AFP (eng) 12/14/17)
Nigerian troops fighting Boko Haram were on Thursday put on high alert after four military vehicles went missing during a raid on a army post in the restive northeast. A message sent to all military bases across the region called for "all units and troops to remain at alert and not be taken by surprise". Two armoured cars and two all-terrain pick-up trucks were taken after the jihadists tried to take over a military base at the village of Mainok...
(AFP (eng) 12/14/17)
A suicide bomber blew himself up inside the main police academy in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Thursday with several people feared dead, police said. Witnesses said the police were gathering for their early morning parade, and were crowded in an open square when the bomber attacked. "A man wearing an explosive vest entered the camp disguised as a policeman, and blew himself up," police officer Mohamed Abdulle said. "There are casualties, and many injuries." Abdulle did not immediately have a...
(AFP (eng) 12/14/17)
Boko Haram fighters battled Nigerian soldiers for about an hour on Wednesday as they tried to take over a military base, in the latest attack against troops in the restive northeast. A former local government official, a civilian militia member and a motorist who witnessed the shooting said the Islamist militants tried to storm the outpost in the village of Mainok in Borno state. Troops managed to repel the attack with the help of reinforcements but it comes after a...
(AFP (eng) 12/13/17)
US forces in Somalia conducted an air strike Tuesday against a bomb-laden vehicle outside Mogadishu that was deemed an "imminent threat" to the capital, officials said. The strike occurred about 65 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of Mogadishu and comes after as many as 512 people were killed in a massive truck bombing in October. "In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, US forces conducted an air strike against an al-Shabaab vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in the early morning hours...
(AFP (eng) 12/13/17)
When Bright stepped off the plane from Libya and heard that his home state in southern Nigeria had begun a rehabilitation programme for returned migrants, he thought it was another scam. "So many people cheated us in the past few months," he told AFP on the tarmac at Lagos airport, where he arrived earlier this month with nearly 300 other Nigerians. After months of fear, torture and prayers in detention centres in Tripoli or Benghazi, the returnees registered their name,...
(AFP (eng) 12/13/17)
Seated in his Khartoum office overlooking the Blue Nile, Sudanese journalist Adil al-Baz no longer fears a crackdown by security agents over his articles since he launched an online newspaper. "We are free to publish what we want on our online newspaper," Baz, a former print newspaper editor, told AFP at the office of Al-Ahdath, the website he launched this year. In a country of increasing media censorship, Baz is among several independent journalists who have left newspaper jobs and...
(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
Four people were killed in a blast at a camp for people displaced by the Boko Haram conflict in northeast Nigeria, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Tuesday. A Nigerian military source confirmed the incident and put the death toll at five. The explosion happened at about 12:30 pm (1130 GMT) on Monday in the border town of Pulka, in the Gwoza area of Borno state, where a Spanish team from the medical charity is providing healthcare. It was initially...
(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
Former Paralympic champion and convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius has been injured in a prison brawl over the use of a public phone, a South African official said on Tuesday. The double amputee -- who is serving a 13-year jail term for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp -- was left with a bruise after "an altercation with another inmate over the use of a public phone" on December 6, according to the department of Correctional Services. "Oscar Pistorius sustained...
(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
Two people were killed on Monday when a suicide bomber attacked a mosque in far northern Cameroon, a region that has been shaken by attacks blamed on Nigeria's Boko Haram jihadists, sources said. "A suicide bomber blew himself up this morning in a mosque in Kerawa," on the border with Nigeria, a regional security official reached by AFP said. "Two civilians and the bomber were killed," the source said, confirming an account by an eyewitness, who said the event took place shortly after morning prayers, when the mosque was relatively empty.
(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
Amnesty International on Tuesday accused European governments of "complicity" in the detention under horrific conditions of migrants in Libya, especially through their assistance to the Libyan coastguard implicated in people trafficking. "European governments are knowingly complicit in the torture and abuse of tens of thousands of refugees and migrants detained by Libyan immigration authorities in appalling conditions in Libya," the rights group said in a report. It accused European governments of "actively supporting a sophisticated system of abuse and exploitation of refugees and migrants by the Libyan coastguard, detention authorities and smugglers in order to prevent people from crossing the Mediterranean".
(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
A big roadside poster announces a "Pest Control Campaign" in Sao Tome and Principe, with a man in a white face mask wielding an insecticide spray fuelled by a tank on his back. The island nation in the Gulf of Guinea is at war against malaria, as it has been twice a year since 2003, with such success that the disease no longer routinely claims lives. In mainland central Africa, the incidence of malaria spread by infected female mosquitos is...
(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
A Somali television journalist was killed by a car bomb in front of his children, relatives said, the fifth murder of a journalist in the war-torn country this year. Mohamed Ibrahim Gabow, a journalist working for Kalsan TV, had taken a break from work to spend time with his children. He had just left his home on Monday afternoon when a bomb planted beneath the driver's seat ripped through the car. He later died of his wounds in hospital. "He...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
At least six soldiers died in two separate Boko Haram ambushes in northeast Nigeria, military and civilian militia sources said on Monday. Four troops were killed and 12 injured on Sunday when their convoy was attacked near Damboa, 90 kilometres (56 miles) from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. Two soldiers were killed in the same area on Saturday, the sources told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not allowed to talk to the media. A military...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
The United Nations on Tuesday warned that more than 400,000 children in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are severely malnourished and could die within months without emergency intervention. The crisis -- the latest to hit the poverty-stricken, strife-torn central African country -- is unfolding in the vast region of Kasai, the UN's children fund Unicef said. An 18-month-long combination of violence, mass displacement and slumping agricultural output are having a devastating impact on the very young, it said. "At least...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
With rifles raised, South African police speed through the streets of Manenberg, responding to yet another call to quell violence in one of the country's most murderous ganglands. Arriving in this drab suburb of the tourist city of Cape Town, a dead body is found lying in the road -- the aftermath of a battle between rival gangs. On the chaotic street, small children peek at the corpse as police shout at onlookers, ordering them to move on. Sporadic gun...
(AFP (eng) 12/09/17)
A Malian human rights association on Friday called for the immediate resumption of the trial of former coup leader Amadou Sanogo, who is accused of murdering 21 soldiers in 2012. Sanogo, a former army captain who staged a military coup in Mali the same year, went on trial in November 2016 charged with murdering the men, whose bodies were found in a mass grave, but the case has stalled after the defence rejected a forensic analysis of their remains. "We...

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