Tuesday 23 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/22/18)
Tunisian security forces have killed a senior member of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb who was wanted by Algeria for two and a half decades, officials said. "A terrorist wanted by Algeria since 1993 was killed in an operation carried out by the Special Unit of the National Guard," Tunisian interior ministry spokesman Khlifa Chibani said Saturday. A security source said the person killed was Bilel Kobi, an Algerian who was close to the network's leader Abdelmalek Droukdel. Kobi had been charged with overseeing links between the network, known by its French initials AQMI, and its Tunisian branch, the official said on condition of anonymity. Another Algerian, Bechir Bin Neji, thought to have been the...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/22/18)
TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia special forces killed a local leader in al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) during an operation in which a top aide to the group’s leader died, the interior ministry said on Sunday. Security forces killed Bilel Kobi, the top aide to Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, in an ambush near the Algerian border when he was on a mission to reorganize AQIM’s Tunisian branch following Tunisian air strikes, security forces said on Saturday. The Okba Ibn Nafaa, the local branch of AQIM, has mostly been based in the Semmama and Chaambi mountain range along the border with Algeria and the army has been trying to flush them out for several years. Militants have in the past carried out...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/22/18)
KLEINARL, Austria (Reuters) - The chilly conditions on an Austrian mountainside belied the warm reception given to people from 15 African countries who took part in an annual luge race aimed at helping migrants integrate into European society. The event over the weekend, dubbed the African Winter Sports Cup, is a luge race contested by people with little or no experience of winter sports. Its aim, over the six years it has been held, is to promote social integration through...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
The International Monetary Fund does not want austerity in Tunisia, and in fact proposed programs to protect the poor from the impact of economic reforms, a Fund spokesman said Thursday. Several hundred people have been arrested in Tunisia since social unrest erupted a week ago, fueled by unemployment, corruption and austerity measures in the 2018 budget. "The frustration the Tunisian people are feeling is understandable," said IMF spokesman Gerry Rice, speaking on the anniversary of the 2011 Tunisian uprising that...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
US Ambassador Nikki Haley expressed regret on Thursday to African ambassadors who were outraged by President Donald Trump's alleged description of African countries as "shithole" nations, the head of the African Group said. Haley asked to meet the African ambassadors at the United Nations after they released a joint statement on Friday demanding an apology from Trump for his "outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks." Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea, who chairs the Africa Group, said the US ambassador...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
It's been seven years since they ousted their longtime dictator in the first of the Arab Spring uprisings, but Tunisians are still taking to the streets. Why, after so long, has the country been unable to tackle its economic problems? Unemployment, corruption and austerity measures in the 2018 budget have fuelled widespread protests as the North African country marked the anniversary of the 2011 revolt that toppled longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. While Tunisia has been praised as a model of democratic transition, post-revolution governments have struggled to improve living standards and tackle pervasive graft. Why the new protests? "Work, bread and national dignity"...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
The first ever film festival celebrating the LGBT community is underway in Tunisia, a Muslim country where homosexuals can face up to three years in prison. Twelve short and medium-length films produced in Tunisia and across the Middle East and North Africa are being shown at the "Mawjoudin Queer Film Festival" that opened Monday. The four-day event is organised by Mawjoudin, Arabic for "We Exist", a Tunisian non-governmental association which defends the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. It is the first event of its kind in Tunisia and the organisers say the "festival conceives of itself as audacious".
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
There's nothing covert about Roxy -- a huge market in Abidjan selling counterfeit medicine, the scourge of Africa and the cause of around 100,000 deaths annually on the world's poorest continent. Located in the bustling Adjame quarter of Ivory Coast's main city and commercial hub, the haven for fake medicine has been targeted time and again by authorities and stockpiles burnt. But it resurfaces every time. "The police hassle us but they themselves buy these medicines," said Mariam, one of...
(AFP (eng) 01/16/18)
Tunisia said Monday more than 930 people have been arrested since social unrest erupted a week ago, fuelled by unemployment, corruption and austerity measures in the 2018 budget. "A total of 937 people are in custody" after acts of violence, theft or vandalism, interior ministry spokesman Khlifa Chibani told AFP. On Sunday, the North African country marked the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that gave birth to the Arab Spring. Chibani said 41 people aged between 13 and 19 were...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/16/18)
TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian police arrested 41 more protesters after fresh violent protests against austerity measures in the North African country, the interior ministry said on Monday, bringing the number of arrested to around 850. Protests which started about a week ago erupted again on Sunday, fueled by anger at tax and price increases imposed by the government to cut a budget deficit. A Reuters witness saw youths throwing stones at police cars and setting fire to tires before security...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Tunisia's government on Saturday announced an increase in aid to the needy and improved health care as part of social reforms following a week of unrest triggered by austerity measures. Social Affairs Minister Mohamed Trabelsi told reporters that monthly aid to needy families would rise from 150 dinars (50 euros) to between 180 and 210 dinars (60 and 70 euros). He said reforms which have been in the pipeline for several months would guarantee medical care for all Tunisians, without elaborating, and also provide housing to disadvantaged families. The announcement came after President Beji Caid Essebsi consulted with political parties...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Tunisians on Sunday marked seven years since the uprising that launched the Arab Spring, with fresh protests and some people expressing pride but others anger over persistent economic problems. The North African country is seen as having had a relatively smooth democratic transition since the January 14, 2011 toppling of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in power. But seven years later, anger has risen over new austerity measures after a year of rising prices, with protesters...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/18)
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi was to hold talks Saturday with political parties, unions and employers to discuss means to overcome unrest triggered by austerity measures. The North African country has been shaken by a wave of protests over poverty and unemployment during which hundreds have been arrested before the unrest tapered off. The demonstrations broke out ahead of Sunday's seventh anniversary of the toppling of veteran dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in a revolt that sparked uprisings across...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/18)
Hundreds of Tunisians took to the streets of the capital and the coastal city of Sfax on Friday, waving yellow cards and demanding that the government reverse austerity measures. More than 200 young people rallied in Tunis following a call from the Fech Nestannew (What Are We Waiting For?) campaign for a major protest against the measures imposed at the start of the year. They held up yellow cards and chanted slogans amid a major deployment of riot police as...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
Tunisian authorities said Friday the number of people detained in a wave of violent protests had risen to nearly 800, as fresh unrest over austerity measures hit a provincial town overnight. Activists have called for a major protest Friday over the measures introduced at the start of the year that are expected to see prices rise. An AFP correspondent in the northern town of Siliana reported that police fired tear gas at dozens of youths who pelted them with stones...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/12/18)
TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian authorities arrested another 150 people including local opposition leaders on Friday, bringing the total detained close to 800 in response to demonstrations this week against price and tax rises. Protests, some violent, flared across Tunisia on Monday, when one protester was killed, before ebbing on Thursday. Protesters have burned dozens of state buildings, prompting the government to send the army into several cities and towns. Activists and opposition politicians appealed for fresh demonstrations in the capital,...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/12/18)
SIDI BOUZID, Tunisia (Reuters) - Shouting slogans and holding up placards outside a government office in the impoverished Tunisian city of Sidi Bouzid, university graduates have a message for officials - give us jobs or you will face trouble. They are part of the spasm of anti-government unrest that spread nationwide this week, stoking another political crisis in a nation in turmoil as austerity bites hard under pressure from foreign lenders to get Tunisia’s finances in order. It was in...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
Tunisia has been shaken by a wave of protests against austerity measures that have seen nearly 800 people arrested over the past few days. The demonstrations come almost seven years after president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was toppled in a revolt that sparked uprisings across the Arab world. What is behind the latest unrest and where does the country go from here? - What's different this time? - The trigger of the protests was a finance law imposing tax...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The Berbers -- descendants of pre-Arab populations across North Africa -- are currently celebrating their New Year festivities. On Friday -- for the first time -- the Yennayer New Year is being marked as a national holiday in Algeria. The Berbers, who refer to themselves as the Amazigh, have long fought for greater recognition for their ancient ethnic group, their culture and language. In Algeria they make up roughly a quarter of the country's total population of 40 million and...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The African Union said Friday that President Donald Trump's reported description of African nations as "shithole countries" broke with "accepted behaviour" and was "extremely upsetting." Ebba Kalondo, spokeswoman for AU Chairperson Moussa Faki, told AFP that Trump's statement "truly flies in the face of accepted behaviour and practice." "This is not only hurtful, I think, to people of African origin in the United States, but certainly to African citizens," she said. "It's an extremely upsetting statement," she added. The comment was reportedly made during a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform...

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