Africanews RSS Receive free and in real-time all news published by, by subscribing to our RSS feeds. Sun, 23 Apr 2017 13:47:26 +0000 Sun, 23 Apr 2017 13:47:26 +0000 Somalia: Roadside bomb kills 8 in Puntland Sun, 23 Apr 2017 13:47:26 +0000 A roadside bomb blast on Sunday struck an army convoy carrying Puntland troops positioned in Galgala Mountains killing 8 soldiers and injuring three others, police official Ahmed Mohamed said. Mohamed told the Associated Press that Sunday’s blast targeted a military convoy located south of the commercial city of Bossaso in Bari region of the country. The military convoy belonging to Puntland state forces was targeted in the blast planted by the roadside as the convoy was moving from Galgala towards Bosaso city. According to a source, the blast was reported to cause causalities but the numbers are not confirmed yet. Though no militant group has claimed responsibility, but they previously planted roadside bombs targeting security officers. Galgala mountains near Bosaso, was a stronghold area for the militant group al-Shabaab in the past, and have been the scene of landmine attacks over the past few years. Puntland forces have bases near Galgala and have been fighting al-Shabaab group in the areas, however, Puntland government officials haven’t released any statement in regard to the attack against security forces or the causalities behind the blast. Puntland, located northeastern of Somalia, has been relatively stable compared to the rest of the country but attacks by the terrorist groups are posing serious risks to the stability of the region. Burkina Faso cotton output to rise in 2017-18 season- Industry official Sun, 23 Apr 2017 13:30:00 +0000 Africa’s top cotton grower sees output rising by as much as 20 percent in the 2017-18 season. An industry official in Burkina Faso said cotton output will surge to 820,000 metric tons and added that the target is realistic and achievable if rains are favorable and well distributed over the season. According to Bloomberg, Georges Yameogo, general secretary of the country’s cotton association, told reporters this on Saturday in the capital, Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso harvested 683,000 tons of cotton in the 2016-17 season, which was below the target of 700,000 tons due due lack of rains in September. This is still 17 percent higher than the 586,000 tons harvested in the 2015-16 season, Georges revealed. The price for the new season was set at 245 CFA Francs ($0.40) a kilogram up from 235 Francs the previous season. Guinea: Conakry officially becomes World Book Capital 2017 Sun, 23 Apr 2017 13:21:00 +0000 As the world marks the World Book and Copyright day on April 23rd, Guinea’s capital Conakry has been officially declared the World Book Capital 2017, a tenure that will last a year. The day will focus on visually impaired persons who have difficulty accessing books and other printed materials leading them not to fully and effectively contribute to society. Conakry becomes the 17th city to be chosen since 2001 and authorities in the country have earmarked activities that will nurture the reading culture amongst its population especially young people. In particular, the PHARE project which involves the construction of a media centre in each commune within the capital and series of reading areas in each neighbourhood at an estimated cost of 5 billion CFA Francs (EUR 7 million). In a country where the illiteracy rate stands at 60% officials hope that the series of events planned for a whole year will contribute towards lowering the figure. Conakry was singled out by UNESCO due to the quality and diversity of its programmes that put emphasis on youth and literacy. The city takes over from Wroclaw, Poland and becomes the third African city after Alexandria in 2002 and Port Harcourt in Nigeria in 2014 to hold the title. Syrian refugee helps fulfill football dreams in Egypt Sun, 23 Apr 2017 12:18:56 +0000 Although the hopes of many Syrians have been shattered by the country’s civil war, one Syrian working in Egypt has not allowed the tragic conditions to hinder his dreams as he aims to help inspire other refugees through his love of football. Anas Abu Jawwad once played in one of the top Syrian teams, Al Wehda, and also enjoyed a stint playing in Cyprus. But his career went off course when the civil war broke out in his home country. “I left to Cyprus first where I excelled in the second division but was not allowed to continue because I didn’t have the proper documents. I then went to work in Dubai where I received an Asian coaching license for the youth teams and came to Egypt because the coaching license from Africa has more leverage internationally,” he said. Anas took more coaching courses in Egypt and has worked as a youth coach in several academies. He established a Football Academy for Syrian refugees and called it the Syrian Stars Academy, the academy offers young Syrians opportunities they otherwise would never have. “This academy is aimed at giving a chance to the Syrian talents that are abundant but don’t have the opportunity to play. Many of the Syrian boys were born here or came when they were only two or three years old. They know nothing about their country. For them, it’s not only about playing football but about enjoying their time and learning more about their country,” said Anas. Despite the great success Anas has built with his academy in Egypt, he still said he’s ready to leave everything behind and return home should peace be restored in his homeland. “If you now told me to go back to Syria, I would run back with my shorts and shirt, nothing else,” he said. He said Egypt, and the Egyptians have been great to them but added that being in one’s own home is another feeling. In only two years, the number of players has increased by just a dozen to over 500 across many different age groups. South Sudan takes first steps to a new constitution Sun, 23 Apr 2017 12:15:26 +0000 South Sudan is racing against time to draw up a new constitution in line with the 2015 Peace Agreement, this comes even as the security situation in the country degenerates. The National Constitution Amendment Committee (NCAC) led by Gichira Kibaara, a former Kenyan Permanent Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, on April 13 presented a draft constitution to the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Paulino Wanawilla. But the country is behind schedule, as the agreement required that the country would have a new constitution 18 months after the establishment of the Transitional Government of National Unity. The transitional government is now 20 months old and the initial stage of the process identifying areas to be amended in the country’s Transitional Constitution, 2011 to conform with the agreement that has just been completed. The delay, blamed on the continued conflict, has put doubt that South Sudan will hold elections by 2018 regarding the peace agreement. Kibaara said the Committee reached decisions by consensus, and where consensus was not immediately achievable, the issues would be deferred for further discussion. “Through this approach, the Committee was able to go through all the provisions of the Constitution and make appropriate amendments. The proposed changes were then incorporated into the Bill that we are handing over today,” he said. Yet what has been completed is just the technical part of the constitutional reform process. The next step would be for the minister to table the draft in parliament. The committee and parliament would then identify articles that need to be amended to conform to the Agreement. From there, the draft will be taken to the grassroots for consultation and gathering of public views. The constitution review faces two major challenges. First, the war in the country did not allow NCAC to seek views from the grassroots as had been provided for in the Agreement. South Sudan is being torn apart by a civil war that is forcing thousands to flee to neighbouring Uganda. Refugees claim government soldiers have overrun their villages and killed their relatives in a refugee camp in northern Uganda. France: Hollande votes in cliffhanger as Henin mayor predicts a hopeful far-right win Sun, 23 Apr 2017 10:22:48 +0000 French President Francois Hollande cast his vote in the first round of a bitterly fought presidential election that is crucial to the future of Europe and a closely watched test of voters’ anger with the political establishment. “All the measures have been taken and I would like also to thank the communes that associated themselves to the necessity of being vigilant and assuring all the French citizens the conditions to exercise this fundamental right that is to choose their future. We have made sure, with the government, the Prime Minister, and the Interior Ministry and as I said previously with all the local collectivities, these guarantees,” he said. He noted that the period the country is right now is neither recent nor over, adding that they have to mobilize a lot of means and in particular for the two days of vote for the presidential election and then the legislates. However, the National Front mayor of Henin-Beaumont where French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen will cast her vote, says he is hopeful for a far-right win. Henin-Beaumont mayor Steeve Briois on Sunday said his National Front party was full of hope’ over a win for leader Marine Le Pen. “We are full of hope because for five years the French people have had the socialist party in power, whereas before they had the UMP (now known as The Republicans party) and in the end nothing changed. So today there is a decisive vote, that’s the one for Marine Le Pen as only that can change France,” he said. Le Pen is expected to cast her vote later in the National Front stronghold, with party members including her campaign director David Racheline gathering at the polling station. The former mining community is widely expected to vote in favour of Le Pen, who polls say will make the second round of the country’s two-stage election on May 7. Nigeria: Anti-graft agency recovers about $53.6m in 4 months Sun, 23 Apr 2017 09:51:51 +0000 Acting Head of Nigerian anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu said the commission recovered over N17 billion (about $53.6m) in the last four months. Magu made the disclosure on Saturday at the 2017 Association of national Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) Week/ Award Day at the Federal Capital territory Archive Building, Abuja. He further said the anti-graft agency recovered N521,815,000.00, $53,272 747.00, £122,890.00, and €547,730.00. Magu also revealed that the commission recorded 62 convictions in the first quarter of the year. “Apart from several other recoveries running into several billions of naira, the recent whistleblower policy has led to the recovery by EFCC of N521,815,000.00, $53,272 747.00, £122,890.00, and €547,730.00,” he said. The recent recovery has been credited to a whistleblowing policies launched in December by Nigeria’s finance minister. Whistleblowers can now anonymously provide information through a secure portal, if the information leads to the recovery of stolen public funds, the whistleblower is entitled to between 2.5%-5% of the total money recovered. EFCC Recovers N17b In 4 Months – Magu— Oriental Times (@OrientalTimes) April 23, 2017 In February, the minister of information, lai Muhammad, said the policy has led to the recovery of $180 billion. Dibie Ike Michael Germany pushes plan to boost private investment in Africa Sun, 23 Apr 2017 09:49:22 +0000 In a bid to narrow the gap between the rich and poor, a key to avoiding a destructive rise in populism, as described by Germany Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble on Saturday, the country has laid out a plan to boost private investment in Africa. “If we do nothing to change this, we can expect a rise in populist parties and demagogues, and a rise in instability around the world, with all its negative effects on sustainable growth,” he said in Washington. During the Global Infrastructure Forum at the Inter-American Development, Bank he disclosed that they are already seeing it in some parts of the world. He reiterated that Germany which holds the presidency of the G20 group of nations is pushing a plan to have Africa nations partner with certain G20 countries and international lenders, such as the World Bank, to attract other investors into the continent. He noted that the first stage of the proposal tagged “Compact with Africa” would focus on Rwanda, Senegal Tunisia, Morocco and Ivory Coast. “If we want to ensure long-term stability and security, we have to continue to reduce the gap in wealth between the rich countries and the poor countries of this world, especially on the African continent,” he added said. #Germany pushes plan to boost private #Investment in #Africa #WolfgangSchaeuble— InvestmentGuruIndia (@InvGurInd) April 23, 2017 Dibie Ike Michael Polls open in tightly-fought French election Sun, 23 Apr 2017 08:14:15 +0000 The polls have opened in one of France’s most unpredictable presidential elections in decades. The vote comes amid an unprecedented context of security and terrorist threats in France. Polls are now open in France for the first round of voting in the country's closely-fought presidential election— Emma Clark (@emmaclarkuk) April 23, 2017 Eleven candidates are vying for presidency in this first round of voting. The top two will face a run-off vote in two weeks time. A blackout on opinion polls and the candidates or their policies came into force at midnight on Friday. The threat of terrorism was pushed to the top of the agenda in the final hours of the campaigning after a policeman was shot and killed on the Champs-Elysee. Officials promised tight security during the voting, with more than 50,000 police and other security personnel on duty. The country has already been under a state of emergency for many months, with soldiers patrolling key public places. The polls opened at 8am and will remain open until 7pm and 8pm in major cities. Some 47 million people are eligible to take part in the ballot. C.A.R holds unprecedented disarmament talks with rebel groups Sun, 23 Apr 2017 08:51:03 +0000 Central African Republic (CAR) officials and rebel groups have recorded remarkable success during a meeting to brainstorm on the implementation of a disarmament deal in Bangui. For the first time in the Disarmament, Demobilization, Reinsertion and Repatriation programme, DDRR, the Central African Republic Government was seated at the same table with all the armed groups responsible for numerous abuses in the country. “General progress has been quite substantial,” said Jean-Marc Tafani, head of the disarmament process for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Central Africa, MINUSCA. The meeting took place on Friday with representatives of 14 armed groups. A faction of ex- Seleka rebels known as the FPRC want “a political agreement which allows their participation in government”, “more development programmes in their regions North of the Central African Republic”, as well as the putting in place of a mixed force made up of Muslims and Christians. The disarmament programme is financed to the tune of $45M by the World Bank, United Nations and the government of the Central African Republic with the aim of disarming and reinserting close to 5000 rebels. The next meeting of the Advisory Committee of the DDRR Management will take place between May 25 and 27. The Central African Republic is the poorest country in the world and is struggling to come out of a political crisis sparked in 2013 by the toppling of former president Francois Bozizé by Seleka rebels-mostly Muslims which was followed by resistance from the anti-balaka Christian dominated militia. The U.N. says some 2.2 million people more than half the population remain in dire need of assistance. While parts of the country remain wracked by violence, a military intervention in 2013 by France and MINUSCA restored relative calm to the capital Bangui. But since France withdrew in October, and with the Central African army still under an international arms embargo, U.N. peacekeepers are now the sole functioning force on the ground. Egypt equips police with detention rooms on wheels to tackle militancy Sat, 22 Apr 2017 14:38:09 +0000 Egyptian police have received a fleet of vehicles equipped with detention rooms and sophisticated technological equipment to apprehend extremists and criminals. Egyptian Interior Ministry confirmed the purchase of the vans which will be used during security patrols and forensic operations, Saudi news portal Al Arabiya reported Friday. The vehicles are reported to be fitted with a camera system connected to a tracking device that can trace their location vis GPS. Policemen have been trained to operate the new vehicles which can transfer data wirelessly to operation room countrywide, the portal added. Egypt is a target for Islamist extremists with the latest bomb attacks in Tanta and Alexandria where at least 45 worshippers died and over a hundred injured during Sunday mass ahead of Easter eve prayer services. The government declared a state of emergency and called in the army to protect “vital” installations. Photo Credit: Ismail Akwei Guinean baby girl born on flight promised educational support, future job Sat, 22 Apr 2017 11:08:06 +0000 A Guinean baby girl who was delivered 42,000 feet mid-air on a Turkish Airlines flight from Guinea’s capital Conakry to Istanbul in Turkey early April has been promised educational support. Turkish Airlines offered to support little Kadiju through her education and also give her a job as a staff member of the airlines in the future, the company’s chairman, Ilker Ayci said in Istanbul last Thursday. Kadiju was delivered by cabin crew as a premature baby after her mother, Nafi Diaby who was 28 weeks pregnant, suffered labour pains after take off. Guinean baby girl delivered by cabin crew 42,000 feet mid-air— africanews (@africanews) April 11, 2017 The baby brought joy to the faces of the cabin crew even after the Boeing 737 landed at the Ouagadougou Airport in Burkina Faso where Kadiju and her mother were reported to be in good health at a hospital. Welcome on board Princess! Applause goes to our cabin crew! 👏🏻👶🏽— Turkish Airlines (@TurkishAirlines) April 7, 2017 Ismail Akwei Pics of the day: April 21th, 2017 Sat, 22 Apr 2017 11:05:20 +0000 Africanews pics the best images of the day’s news. Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, S. Africa, Malawi join #MarchForScience on Earth Day Sat, 22 Apr 2017 09:59:18 +0000 As the world marks the 2017 Earth Day to create awareness on environmental and climate protection, tens of thousands of scientists and science advocates worldwide are marching in 500 cities to speak out about the importance of scientific research. Although the March for Science was sparked by the Trump Administration’s position on climate change and budgetary cuts for science research, Africans in Africa are also marching for more investment in science in their countries. The march is going on in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, Ghana’s capital Accra, Kampala in Uganda, Blantyre in Malawi and Cape Town as well as Durban in South Africa among other cities. Speeches will be delivered by scientists as well as researchers and climate ernthusiasts to educate people on the importance of science and the importance of climate protection against the Earth Day. The #marchforscience in Nigeria will bring together scientists, researchers, the media and lovers of #Science to speak with one Voice!— OFAB Nigeria (@OFABnigeria) April 17, 2017 #marchforscience in #SouthAfrica will be in #Durban from City Hall to Gugu Dlamini Park from 10:00 to 12:30 MRCza</a> <a href="">NRF_News dstgovza</a></p>&mdash; Elsabe Brits (elsabebrits) April 21, 2017 Join the #MarchforScience tomorrow April 22 at the Afia Beach Hotel at 10am.— Humanists Ghana (@HumanistsGH) April 21, 2017 The organisers of the main March for Science in United States capital Washington D.C. say the march is “not only about scientists and politicians; it is about the very real role that science plays in each of our lives and the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world.” “In the face of an alarming trend toward discrediting scientific consensus and restricting scientific discovery, we might ask instead: can we afford not to speak out in its defense?” they questioned. The Earth Day activities have been infused into the March for Science to build a global citizenry fluent in the concepts of climate change and aware of its unprecedented threat to the planet. “Environmental and climate literacy is the engine not only for creating green voters and advancing environmental and climate laws and policies but also for accelerating green technologies and jobs,” it says on the Earth Day website. Google has also launched a doodle for Earth Day on Saturday with a series of stories of a sleeping fox that has a nightmare about the consequences of climate change, featuring melted icebergs and dead plants. Disturbed, the fox enlists two friends to be more thoughtful about conservation – the trio eat vegetables, grow plants, ride bikes and use solar energy. See below some pictures and reactions from the #MarchForScience events in African cities. Preparing for the march in Uganda #marchforscience ScienceAlly</a> <a href="">UgandaBIC MakBBTSociety</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; busuulwa ian peter (lms121319) April 22, 2017 Supporting Science always… #marchforscience OFABnigeria</a> <a href="">roxydado ScienceAlly</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; OFAB Nigeria (OFABnigeria) April 22, 2017 Here's why we #marchforscience ScienceAlly</a> <a href="">#ScienceMarch</a> Nigeria <a href="">#WorldEarthday</a> 2017 <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Modesta (modestannedi) April 22, 2017 Why we #marchforscience. #GlobalScienceMarch— Humanists Ghana (@HumanistsGH) April 21, 2017 If you live in #SouthAfrica #MarchforScience in #CapeTown. For more info check— Eric Balfour FanSite (@EricBalfourFans) April 22, 2017 when a picture says a million words! #marchforscience #marchforscienceug— UBIC (@UgandaBIC) April 22, 2017 We're organizing a #MarchForScience in Blantyre, #Malawi. Join us.— Terrie Taylor (@ttmalawi) April 9, 2017 Varied reasons to match, same science #marchforscience #marchforscienceug— UBIC (@UgandaBIC) April 22, 2017 #marchforscience #marchforscienceug— UBIC (@UgandaBIC) April 22, 2017 Photo Credit: OFAB Nigeria (Twitter) Ismail Akwei Morocco extends hand to Cuba after 37 years, diplomatic ties restored Sat, 22 Apr 2017 08:47:29 +0000 Morocco and Cuba have restored 37-year-old broken diplomatic ties weeks after the private visit of Morocco’s King Mohamed VI to Havana. Ambassadors of the two countries to the United Nations signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday in New York to reestablish diplomatic ties. Tuvo lugar hoy ceremonia d firma del Acuerdo d Restablecimiento d Relaciones Diplomáticas entre República de #Cuba y el Reino de #Marruecos— Cancillería de Cuba (@CubaMINREX) April 21, 2017 Cuba’s Foreign Ministry confirmed in a statement that: “Guided by the mutual will to develop friendly relations, the two governments agreed to reestablish ties as well as political, economic and cultural cooperation.” #Cuba and #Morocco reestablish diplomatic relations. #Maroc CubaMINREX MarocDiplomatie JoseCarlosRguez— JoseCarlosRodRuiz (JoseCarlosRguez) April 21, 2017 Already, King Mohamed VI of Morocco is reported to have ordered the opening of an embassy in Havana. Morocco cut ties with Cuba in 1980 after the latter’s recognition of Western Sahara and support for the Polisario Front. Cuba has since trained several Saharawis. Morocco annexed Western Sahara , a former Spanish colony in 1975 and fought the Polisario Front. It considers the mineral-rich territory as its “southern provinces” and has proposed wide-ranging autonomy. The UN brokered a cease-fire in 1991 and established a peace keeping mission to monitor and help prepare a referendum on the the territory’s future which has never taken place. Polisario Front insists on self-determination through a referendum for the local population which is estimated at between 350,000 and 500,000. Ismail Akwei Exiled Ethiopian athlete vows to protest Oromo killings at London Marathon Fri, 21 Apr 2017 22:15:05 +0000 “How can i regret (it)? I come from the people. My people are (still) dying. The blood is flowing,” this was the response of Feyisa Lilesa – the exiled Ethiopian athlete who is in London for the London Marathon which takes place on Sunday. In an interview earlier this week with BBC Sport, the Oromo activist who shot to fame in the last Olympic Games in Rio says he will continue to protest against killings of people in the Oromia region in his country. He has rejected all talks of returning to Ethiopia citing the reason that he stands to be arrested and jailed, barred from leaving (even killed) for returning to the country. The government had assured that he will be welcomed back home as a hero having won silver in Brazil but Feyisa sought and received asylum in the United States after leaving Rio. Lilesa, was named among the 2016 top 100 global thinkers by the US-based Foreign Policy (FP) magazine. Feyisa was classed in the group of thinkers called ‘‘the challengers.’‘ He made an anti-government gesture at the end of his track event – the men’s Olympic marathon. He crossed his arms above his head as he finished the event as a protest against the Ethiopian government’s crackdown on political dissent. Feyisa like the twelve others listed in his category were recognized for challenging the status quo in order to put their views across. ‘‘These individuals showed that agitation takes myriad forms,’‘ the FP said. Ethiopia recently extended a six-month state-of-emergency imposed last year to help quell anti-government protests in the Amhara and Oromia regions. The protests have led to mass arrests of political opposition and hundreds of people are said to have died in the security clampdown. The London Marathon is a long-distance running event held in London, United Kingdom, it forms part of the World Marathon Majors. The event was first run on 29 March 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since – this year’s takes place on Sunday April 23, 2017. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Man United and FIFA mourn 'electrocuted' Nigerian soccer lovers Fri, 21 Apr 2017 22:21:14 +0000 Football’s world governing body, FIFA, and English Premier League side, Manchester United have expressed condolences with families of victims in the tragedy that struck Nigeria on Thursday. Aside the two football entities, President Buhari has also expressed condolences to families of victims in a statement released on Friday. “The President offers his deepest condolences to the family and friends of the mostly young victims, whose sudden demise is a big blow not only to their families, but also to the football-loving nation,” it said. Manchester United and FIFA on the other hand used their official social media handles to sympathize with the people of Nigeria. Our thoughts go out to the United fans, their friends and families affected by the tragedy in Calabar, Nigeria, yesterday.— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 21, 2017 FIFA is deeply saddened by the deaths of several football fans in Calabar & offer our deepest condolences to family & friends of the victims— (@FIFAcom) April 21, 2017 Reports indicate that seven people died whiles 11 others sustained injuries. The deaths were as a result of electrocution while football lovers were watching the Europa league match between Manchester United and Anderlecht. The incident is said to have occurred when high tension cables from a nearby transformer fell on a local football viewing centre built with zinc roofing sheets. The cables fell on the structure after the transformer exploded twice leaving dozens injured and receiving treatment at a neighbouring hospital. The Governor of the Cross River State, Ben Ayade commiserated with the victims of the tragedy, he promised to launch a probe into the issue and also to assist victims of the tragedy. “The incident marks a dark chapter in the life of the state where the precious lives of football lovers have been lost,” he said in a statement on Friday. Local football viewing centres are popular in Nigeria with dozens of people gathering under structures to watch football games on television. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban San Francisco suffers large power cut for several hours Sat, 22 Apr 2017 07:49:13 +0000 San Francisco was hit by a massive power cut on Friday that severely disrupted life in the American west coast city. Businesses were particularly affected; San Francisco has a thriving financial district and his home to banks and technology companies. The outage was caused by a fire in a substation after a circuit breaker failure. Starting at 9am, at one point it affected nearly 90,000 customers in 14 neighbourhoods, according to the energy supplier. The city’s main shopping district virtually closed down as major retailers shut their doors. Emergency services were called to some 20 lift failures but there were no deaths or injuries. As public transport including San Francisco’s famous trams ground to a halt many people decided the simplest thing was just to go home. Happy to report no major injuries due to #poweroutage and PGE4Me says all power restored by 5pm.— Mayor Ed Lee (mayoredlee) April 21, 2017 Ethiopia announces arrest of '98 Eritrea sponsored' rebels in last 2 months Fri, 21 Apr 2017 22:53:18 +0000 Ethiopia’s security forces have disclosed the arrest of 98 ‘Eritrean sponsored anti-peace elements’ in the past two months alone, the state-run FANA Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) reported on Friday. According to FBC, the west Tigray zonal administration confirmed that the arrested persons were trying to cross into Ethiopia after having received training to execute a mission by Eritrean-based terrorist organizations, Ginbot 7 and Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). A senior security official of the zone, is reported to have disclosed that the ‘anti-peace elements’ were arrested as a result of coordinated efforts of the defense force and local residents. ‘‘According to him, 15 of them were arrested this week while attempting to enter into the central part of the country to attack socio-economic institutions,’‘ the FBC report added. Tensions between the two countries have been simmering with the most recent being claims by Ethiopia that Eritrea-backed rebels were behind an attempt to attack the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project. Ethiopia has also accused Eritrea of accommodating persons behind the Amhara and Oromia protests that have swept through the country since November 2015. Ethiopia is currently under a state of emergency which was imposed to quell the unrest. Eritrea achieved independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after decades of armed struggle. In 1998, the two neighbouring countries fought a two-year long war over their disputed border which has claimed the lives of at least 70,000. The two countries have had tense relations as a peace deal signed in 2000 to end the war has never been fully implemented. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Tears flow as 19 school kids and bus driver perish in South Africa crash Sat, 22 Apr 2017 07:53:30 +0000 A driver and 19 school children were killed in South Africa when the minibus they were travelling in collided with a truck and exploded in a ball of fire in Mpumalanga province, emergency services said on Friday (April 21). The vehicle was ferrying children from school when it collided with the truck between the towns of Verena and Bronkhorstpruit, northeast of the capital Pretoria, Russel Meiring, spokesman for ER24 emergency medical service said. Several children were injured, he added. It was not clear what caused the collision, police said. The aftermath at the #Bronkhorstspruit crash where several school children died. News24</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Iavan Pijoos (Iavan13) April 21, 2017 “The (minibus) was transporting learners from school and it collided with the truck and caught fire,” Mpumalanga police spokesman Gerald Sedibe said. He said the minibus driver was killed, while the truck driver survived. Back at the school premises, parents and relatives of the children were in grief outside the school hall at the Sizakele Primary School. Paramedics had also been quoted as saying some of the kids had been burnt beyond recognition. Even though it is Africa’s most industrialised economy with a modern road network, South Africa has a dire road safety record. Road deaths rose to 235 during this year’s Easter weekend compared with 156 fatalities last year, transport officials said earlier on Friday. Reuters Photo Credit: Ivan Pijoos (@Iavan13) of News24 Kenyan troops kill 52 Al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia Fri, 21 Apr 2017 21:06:05 +0000 Kenyan troops have killed some 52 al Shabaab fighters in an attack on a camp in southern Somalia. The incident happened in Badhaadhe in Lower Juba, military spokesperson Colonel Joseph Owuoth said. Rifles and improvised explosive devices and bomb making materials were recovered in the assault. Kenya has contributed thousands of troops in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to help curb the Al Shabaab insurgency and help improve security as part of reconstruction efforts. “The intelligence led operation was executed after surveillance assets sighted al Shabaab terrorist concentration on the location. Ground troops supported by mortar and artillery fire were employed to neutralize the camp thereafter,“ a statement said. “Following the operation, the initial assessment indicates that 52 terrorists were killed while others fled with injuries,” the statement added. Al Shabab has been fighting for years to impose its own harsh interpretation of Islam on parts of Somalia, where it has controlled for sometime in an attempt to topple what they say is a Western-backed government. In January, the group claimed responsibility for the death of over a dozen Kenyan troops when they attacked a remote military base in Somalia. 70 militants were also killed in the process. Local media have also consistently reported of other attacks highlighting their magnitude. 11,000 Congolese seek refuge in Angola over Kasai violence Sat, 22 Apr 2017 05:29:56 +0000 Violence in the Kasai Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has forced over 11,000 refugees to seek safety in Angola. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) spokesperson Babar Baloch has said those who fled have since arrived in Dundo, the capital of the north-eastern Luanda Norte province. “Refugees have reported fleeing attacks from militia groups, who are targeting police, military officials, and civilians who they believe are supporting or representing the government. “After running away also from fighting between rebels and government forces, some refugees had to hide in the forest for several days before fleeing to Angola. Refugees are arriving in desperate conditions, without access to clean water, food or shelter,” the UNHCR spokesperson further confirmed. The recent riots can be traced to mid-2016 after a traditional leader belonging to a rebel group known as Kamwina Nsapu was killed in fighting with security forces. The violence escalated in 2017. U.N. investigators have since discovered 17 mass grave sites, reportedly dug by Congolese soldiers, bringing the total to 40 in an area where the army has had run ins with the local militia. According to UNHCR the new arrivals are terrified and still fear for their lives. “The new arrivals are terrified and still fear for their lives and mentioned they do not have any immediate plans to return home. Some parents have reportedly sent their children across the border, worrying they would be forcibly recruited by the militia if they had stayed in the DRC,” Baloch added. The government has previously denied that soldiers use maximum force against the militia. According to the UNHCR, the brutal conflict in Kasai has led to more than one million civilians being displaced with more than 400 people killed in fighting since last August. Consistent violence has ruined parts of the the DRC, a vast and resource-rich country in the Central Africa region. Angola seeks more growth and slower inflation in 2017 Fri, 21 Apr 2017 17:27:38 +0000 Angola’s government expects economic growth to pick up this year as inflation slows closer to its target. The Finance Minister Archer Mangueira said he expects the economy to expand 2.1 percent in 2017 after an increase of just 0.1 percent or 0.6 percent in 2016. He added that last year’s data was still unconfirmed. The data would exceed forecasts published this week by the International Monetary Fund, which projects gross domestic product growth of 1.3 percent in 2017. Inflation will ease closer to the target of 15.8 percent after closing 2016 above 40 percent, the minister said in Washington, where finance ministers from around the world are attending meetings at the IMF and World Bank. According to him, the country right now is relatively far” from the inflation target, adding that it is already trending down compared with 2016.” He noted that as a result of this, the government is not ready for another devaluation of the currency kwanza, which would increase the cost of imports and strain household finances. “This process needs to be done with some care,” he said, adding that “we’re a country that imports a big portion of its goods,” However, OPEC member countries are recovering from a decline in oil prices that took a toll on fiscal revenue and exports. #Angola looks forward to year of #Economy Growth // #CRE— Africa Property News (@africapropnews) April 21, 2017 Mangueira, who succeeded Armando Manuel last year, explained that his economic priorities include controlling inflation, diversifying sources of state financing, promoting exports and improving the country’s financial system. Gambia's first visually impaired female MP Fri, 21 Apr 2017 16:57:14 +0000 Gambia President Adama Barrow has appointed a visually impaired woman as a member of the country’s 53-seat National Assembly. This appointment makes Ndey Yassin Secka-Sallah the first female visually impaired member of the country’s National Assembly. Ndey Yassin Secka-Sallah who is a former broadcaster at the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) was appointed early April as one of the five members to be appointed by the president per the constitution. She is the second visually impaired person to be appointed to the National Assembly after Abdoulie Saine, who was appointed by Yahya Jammeh in the previous Assembly. Ndey Yassin Secka-Sallah is one of the three females to be appointed into the National Assembly including current speaker and lawyer Mariam Jack Denton, and another lawyer Kumba Jaiteh. The Assembly has only one female elected member -Fatoumata Jawara – from Barrow’s party, the majority United Democratic Party (UDP). President Adama Barrow’s United Democratic Party (UDP) won a majority 31 seats in the National Assembly Elections held early April. Ismail Akwei Gambia to do away with iconic glass marbles for ballot papers Fri, 21 Apr 2017 14:58:12 +0000 The Gambia has been voting with glass marbles and ballot drums since the 1960s as its solution to eliminate spoilt ballots and allow illiterate voters to participate easily. This might change as local Standard Newspaper quotes chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Alieu Momarr Njai as saying the ballot system is a “huge logistical nightmare”. “We cannot afford to continue with this ballot system. With the change of system in governance, Gambians are now participating in politics in numbers and that means in every election, we will have to make lots of drums and paint them with different colours,” Njai told online site The Torch and cited by the paper. “There are countries using the ballot papers that have lower literacy level than us … These drums are not just expensive to make but you have to paint them with party colours and where you have independent candidates, you have to give each a colour,” he added. He also hinted that ballot papers might be adopted during the upcoming local government elections. “We are working on ensuring that this is done before the local government election because marble is practical and easy when you have few political participants,” he hinted. Gambia currently has 886, 578 registered voters. The Glas Marble Voting System Voters are each handed a glass marble and retreat into an enclosed space where they are faced with the three drums, once they choose their candidate they slip the token into a small hole. Polling officials will listen carefully for the clang of a bicycle bell which is attached to the end of a tube inside the drum, preventing people from voting more than once. Sawdust or sand is sprinkled on the bottom of the barrel so that no second sound is heard. Counting is snappy as the marbles are poured into a wooden tray with 200 or 500 holes and then counted. The counted votes are immediately declared at the polling stations. Ismail Akwei Zimbabwe Banks to be compelled to accept livestock as Collateral while South African authorities set to implement a new tax on sugary drinks [Business Africa] Sat, 22 Apr 2017 13:07:48 +0000 South Africa: sugar tax Zimbabwe ‘s Commercial banks maybe compelled to accept livestock such as cattle, goats and sheep as collateral for cash loans to informal businesses under a new bill presented to parliament last Tuesday. Zimbabwe: Livestock as bank collateral Now to South Africa where the authorities are set on implementing a new tax on sugary drinks. Africanews Tshepiso Radebe reports the aimed is to fight obesity in a country where about 70% of women and a third of the male population in the country are overweight. Afolake Oyinloye Retrospection on Business Africa Sat, 22 Apr 2017 13:05:42 +0000 Africanews is celebrating its one year anniversary, Business Africa has been your number one business news programme on the continent. To share this memorable moment with you, here are the best highlights of the programme in the past year. Afolake Oyinloye Pics of the day: April 20th, 2017 Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:38:34 +0000 Africanews pics the best images of the day’s news. Ivorian political parties form a new opposition coalition Fri, 21 Apr 2017 12:13:58 +0000 A new opposition coalition has been formed in Ivory Coast. The bloc known as “Together for Democracy and Sovereignty” was announced on Thursday. It will be led by Georges Amadin Ouegnin while his deputy is Laurent Dona Fologo. During his speech, the leader said, “I believe that along with supporters of former president Gbagbo that we must have peace. This is the message that I am sending to the current ruling party. We are open to constructive dialogue, because Ivory coast is one and indivisible.” The coalition comprises four political parties and several civil society organisations. The parties in the coalition are the Rassemblement pour la paix (RPP), the Ivorian Alliance for the Republic and Democracy (AIRD), the Union of New Generations (UNG) and the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI). While some of the civil society enjoined in the party comprise of the Pan-African Youth and Patriotic Congress and National Agricultural Trade Union for Progress among others. The parties signed a twelve-point agenda which focused on national reconciliation, the release of political prisoners, press freedom, Ivory Coast’s monetary policy and the trials of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Ble Goudé at the ICC. The opposition bloc will be seeking to challenge the ruling coalition in the next presidential election to be held in 2020. Nigerian football fans electrocuted while watching Europa League match Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:23:09 +0000 A number of football lovers were electrocuted in southern Nigerian town of Calabar on Thursday night while watching the Europa league match between Manchester United and Anderlecht. The incident occurred when high tension cables from a nearby transformer fell on a local football viewing centre built with zinc roofing sheets. “Twenty eight of the victims died on the spot while two died in the hospital. About 50 others were injured,” Nigerian news agency NAN reports. The cables fell on the structure after the transformer exploded twice leaving dozens injured and receiving treatment at a neighbouring hospital. The Cross River State police spokesperson, Irene Ugbo confirmed the incident to the media saying 7 bodies were found 11 injured people including one in critical condition have been taken to the hospital. The Governor of the Cross River State, Ben Ayade commiserated with the victims of the tragedy and promised to launch an investigation into the incident. “The incident marks a dark chapter in the life of the state where the precious lives of football lovers have been lost,” he said in a statement on Friday. Local football viewing centres are popular in Nigeria with dozens of people gathering under structures to watch football games on television. Photo Credit: Ismail Akwei Popular Nigerian pastor arrested in SA airport toilet over rape claims Fri, 21 Apr 2017 12:14:34 +0000 A Nigerian pastor wanted for alleged sexual assault and human trafficking of young women from his church has been arrested by South African police upon arrival at the Port Elizabeth Airport. The 58-year-old Durban televangelist Pastor Timothy Omotoso of the Jesus Dominion International was picked up on Thursday by armed policemen at the Port Elizabeth Airport toilet minutes after his plane landed from Durban, local media Herald LIVE reported. “After we got information that his flight was delayed, we did not just believe at first value. We took an initiative as the hawks to go to the airport ourselves. Only to find that the flight was on scheduled time, and when we had to get to our man, he did not use the way we thought he will use,” police spokesperson Lieutenant- Colonel Robert Netshiunda told the media. The popular pastor has been in the news in the past week after the police in Port Elizabeth opened an investigation into allegations that he has been sexually abusing minor congregants in his home in Mhlanga, north of Durban since 2002. About 30 girls made the claims which were aired on state broadcaster SABC on Monday alleging among others that he travels with young women and sexually abuses them on the trips. Tonight on Special Assignment, we focus on a pastor who is alleged to have sexually abused young women in his church. 21h00 on SABC3— SABC News Online (@SABCNewsOnline) April 17, 2017 “We had to go after him. We arrested him for trafficking in persons, we are laying that charge now, but because we might investigate further, there is a possibility of us adding more charges on to that one,” Netshiunda said. After attempts to arrest him failed, Pastor Omotoso agreed to hand himself over in Port Elizabeth where he was handcuffed at the airport and detained at the police station ahead of a court appearance on Friday. “He did not want to come to Port Elizabeth because he thought he would be arrested, but we said it would just be an interview … There was no talk about an arrest as he is not an accused, only a suspect,” his lawyer Terry Price was quoted to have said. The church is reported to have over 20 branches in South Africa including branches in the United Kingdom and France. Ismail Akwei French police detain family members of Champs Elysees shooter Fri, 21 Apr 2017 15:52:37 +0000 French police have detained three family members of the attacker who was shot dead in Paris yesterday after killing a police officer on the Champs Elysees. A second suspect in the attack, which also left two other officers and a tourist injured, has handed himself into Belgian police after they alerted Paris of his possible involvement. The French have identified the man as a troubled 39-year old who had previously served time for the attempted murder of three police officers in 2001, and who was on the security service’s watch list. “Over the next few days more than 50,000 police officers and gendarmes will be mobilised to ensure a calm and peaceful election. Nothing must be allowed to interfere with a democratic moment fundamental to the life of our nation,” said Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve. Police swept through the family home in Chelles in eastern Paris looking for evidence of links with ISIL, who claimed he was acting on their behalf. Neighbours expressed their shock. “He was a loner. Very solitary. Perhaps he had schizophrenia, I don’t know. But in any case, the guy was very solitary while he treated everyone properly. So to do this it means he lost his mind,” said one young man. Sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2005, state television France 2 reported he had recently been picked up on suspicion of buying firearms, but was released due to lack of evidence. Why is Africa importing $35bn in food annually? - AfDB boss asks Thu, 20 Apr 2017 22:52:37 +0000 President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, says his outfit has achieved major milestones in this year alone but a lot more needed to be done to improve the continent’s economic fortunes. Top of the AfDB’s proposals on how to ‘fast-track’ Africa’s economic potential is to improve the power sector and to turn to agriculture. The AfDB believes that the continent must break the food import chain and aim for self-sufficiency in food production within the shortest possible time. Adesina, a former Nigerian Agric Minister, was speaking at the Center for Global Development event held in Washington DC. He lamented the negative effects that huge food imports had on the continent. ‘‘Africa’s annual food import bill of $35 billion, estimated to rise to $110 billion by 2025, weakens African economies, decimates its agriculture and exports jobs from the continent. Africa’s annual food import bill of $35 billion is just about the same amount it needs to close its power deficit. ‘‘To rapidly support Africa to diversify its economies, and revive its rural areas, we have prioritized agriculture. We are taking action. The Bank has committed $24 billion towards agriculture in the next 10 years, with a sharp focus on food self-sufficiency and agricultural industrialization,’‘ he added. Adesina also touched on recent drought and famine facing some countries (South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda). He said the situation called for swift action, as 20 million face food insecurity and severe malnutrition. ‘‘The Bank is taking action and is planning to deploy $1.1 billion, following Board approval, to address the crisis and ensure that drought does not lead to famine,’‘ he further disclosed. Other areas of interest for the AfDB Other areas where the bank was looking to improve in order to advance the continent’s economic potential included the power sector. He described low access to electricity as ‘Africa’s growth decelerator.’‘ The AfDB was also looking at the area of women empowerment in the financial sector through its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA), they were also looking to cure rising youth unemployment and to also equip Small and Medium Enetreprises (SMEs). The High 5s – the AfDB’s vision for Africa According to him, the bank’s vision bordered on 5 main areas, the High 5s: Light up and power Africa Feed Africa Industrialize Africa Integrate Africa; and Improve the quality of life of Africans. ‘‘An independent analysis of these High 5s by the UNDP has shown that if Africa focuses on these High 5s, it will achieve about 90% of its SDGs and 90% of its Agenda 2063. In short: The High 5s are the accelerators for Africa’s development. ‘‘They bring the future to the present and make life worth living now for hundreds of millions of Africans. For we must not postpone all good things for Africa into the future. Africa’s future is now,’‘ he stressed. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Al-Shabaab cautions parents over 'non-Islamic' education Thu, 20 Apr 2017 22:49:56 +0000 Somali parents have been warned by militant group Al-Shabaab to desist taking their children to what they describe as ‘non-Islamic’ schools and institutions. The group, which holds parts of Somalia, earlier this month introduced a new all-Arabic education curriculum. Subjects included Quran, Hadith – sayings of the Prophet Muhammed, Maths, Geography and History. The latest directive was contained in a 26-minute recording, in which al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Rage said children should strictly be sent to Islamic schools. He is also heard describing all other forms of education as immoral and often encouraging young Somalis to adore Christianity and migrate to the West. #AlShabaab’s education office publishes a “complete curriculum” for primary schools, incl Quran, Hadith, Math, Geography & History. #Somalia— Live From Mogadishu (@Daudoo) April 15, 2017 The Somali government has vowed to crush the militants in two years. President Farmaajo recently offered them amnesty and asked them to come to the negotiation table. The group has continually called the government’s bluff and has claimed a series of bomb attacks on civilian populations and some military installations. The group is currently fighting the Somali national army and an African Union force (AMISOM) which pushed them out of Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab controls parts of Somalia and has staged attacks in neighbouring countries especially in Kenya. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Ethiopia adopts 2016 protest report, 'harsh' security officers to be prosecuted Thu, 20 Apr 2017 22:45:44 +0000 The House of People’s Representatives (HPR) – the Ethiopian parliament – has approved recommendations surrounding protest deaths as presented by the country’s rights commission’s recent report. The Ethiopia Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on Tuesday submitted its report on the Amhara and Oromia protests that threatened the security of the country last year. The main recommendation which the HPR backed was for ‘members of the security forces who used excessive force in the unrest to face justice,’ the state-owned FBC reported. Other areas the legislators touched on included the need to rehabilitate persons displaced by the events and to prosecute all persons and institutions who took part in the unrest. The parliament also decided that two parties – Blue Party and the Oromo Federalist Congress – be held responsible for playing ‘unsettling roles’ in violence activities in the town of Bahir Dar and Oromia regional state. The Horn of Africa nation imposed a six-month state-of-emergency to help quell the protests. The EHRC said the total number of casualties – protesters and security officials – stood at 669, a figure that activists dispute. Addis Ababa flatly refused to open its doors to independent investigators from the United Nations and the European Union. The Premier Hailemariam Desalegn has insisted that internal mechanisms were capable of probing the unrest. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Paris: one police officer dead in Champs-Elysées 'terror attack' Fri, 21 Apr 2017 04:35:48 +0000 One police officer has been killed in Paris and two wounded, one seriously, after an attacker opened fire on the central boulevard of the Champs-Elysées. The shooter was also killed, and according to a police source was known to France’s DGSI security sources. President Hollande has said he was convinced it was a terrorist attack. He held an emergency meeting at the Elysee Palace on Thursday night and is due to meet top security, defence and intelligence officials on Friday. The attack comes barely three days before the first round of France’s presidential election on Sunday. The choice of one of the world’s most famous avenues is seen as symbolic. According to Reuters, the so-called Islamic State has claimed via its Amaq propaganda agency that one of its “fighters” carried out the attack, naming him as “The Belgian”. However other reports, unconfirmed but quoting sources close to the inquiry, have suggested the suspect may be a French national. The Paris prosecutor François Molins said sometime after midnight (CET) that the gunman had been identified, but his name would not be revealed until investigators determined whether he had accomplices. An official anti-terrorist inquiry has been opened. What happened? The events began unfolding shortly before 9pm local time (CET). The French Interior Ministry has said that a car pulled up by a stationary police minivan. An attacker is then said to have got out of the vehicle and opened fire with an automatic weapon, fatally wounding the officer. Two others were wounded and a passer-by – a tourist – was also hurt by a ricochet. The assailant was shot dead by other police officers, who checked his car for explosives. Pierre-Henry Brandet, a spokesperson for the French Interior Ministry, refuted reports of two police officers dying in the incident. He confirmed the police officers were deliberately targeted. There were reports of another shooting but the Interior Ministry spokesman then confirmed there was only one incident being investigated in relation to the police shooting. #ChampsElysées Hommage au policier tué, pensées à sa famille. Respect aux forces de l’ordre qui nous protègent, au péril de leur vie.— STOP DJIHADISME (@stopdjihadisme) April 20, 2017 The French Interior Minister Matthias Fekl paid tribute to the “young” police officer who had been killed – and to the other officers who he said had stopped civilians from being killed by shooting the attacker dead. The Paris prosecutor said that of the two police officers who were wounded, one was seriously hurt while the other was slightly injured. According to a police source quoted by the AFP news agency, the suspected gunman’s home in the Seine-et-Marne department to the east of Paris has been raided after the attack. Earlier, Reuters reported a police source as saying an arrest warrant had been issued for a potential second suspect who had arrived from Belgium by train, but there was no later confirmation. Location of the shooting The first shots are believed to have been fired outside Marks and Spencer on the famous boulevard. Authorities asked people to stay away from the area. No vehicles or pedestrians were allowed onto the Champs-Elysées in the wake of the incident. Several metro stations were shut down as a safety measure. The area was placed on lockdown. Intervention de police en cours sur le secteur des #ChampsElysees Evitez le secteur et respectez les consignes des forces de police— Préfecture de police (@prefpolice) April 20, 2017 A low-flying helicopter was seen over the road shortly after the incident, Reuters reported. The news agency said it appeared to be part of a follow-up police operation. Eyewitnesses reported being held indoors in parts of the capital in the immediate vicinity of the Champs-Elysées, including a cinema on the nearby rue Lincoln. Armed officers taking position behind a kiosk.— Ralph (@vanderpauw) 20 Nisan 2017 Coming back from a run, Champs Elysées is a mess.. #paris— Ralph (@vanderpauw) 20 Nisan 2017 Election tension Security has been high on the agenda in the run-up to the first round of the French presidential election, on April 23. The attack came as all 11 presidential candidates were taking part in the final live TV debate before the vote. All condemned the murder and expressed their solidarity with the victims. The programme was almost entirely devoted to the events of Thursday night. President Hollande, who is not standing for re-election, said that a national tribute would be organised for the dead policeman. Earlier this week two men were arrested in Marseille who police said had been planning an attack ahead of the election. US President Donald Trump offered his condolences to the people of France, saying it “looked like” another terrorist attack. Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who was with Trump, also offered his sympathy. Figures suggest death by shooting is not a regular occurrence among French police officers. In 2015, six officers were killed by gunfire. The statistics for 2016 are not yet available. 1/ BREAKING: We're seeing dozens of pro-#ISIS accts posting old vids of ISIS against #France in wake of Paris shooting #CEPDigitalDisruption— CEP (@FightExtremism) April 20, 2017 Sarah Joanne Taylor Malawi cracks down on food smugglers seeking more profit Fri, 21 Apr 2017 17:28:05 +0000 Malawi has tightened its border controls to stop profiteers smuggling much-needed maize out of the country in search of higher prices. Months of drought had left more than a third of the population reliant on food aid. The government last month invoked the Special Crops Act, which bans the export of some crops. The Authority also deployed soldiers to seal its porous borders with Tanzania and Zambia, and impounded trucks that are smuggling out the staple crop in pursuit of more profit. Malawi police have also been searching vehicles on roads that lead to the borders. The size of the trucks stopped by the police suggests that large-scale traders may be involved. “Over a period of two days, we impounded 26 trucks loaded with white maize as they were heading to Chitipa (a district bordering Zambia and Tanzania),” said Enock Livasoni, a police spokesman in Karonga district, which borders Tanzania. Police in Chitipa detained at least 17 similar trucks carrying white maize last month, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. According to U.N. agencies Severe floods in 2015, followed by major drought in 2016, left 6.7 million Malawians out of a population of 17 million in need of food aid. Malawi Cracks Down On Food Smugglers Seeking More Profit— TransAfricaRadio (@TransAfrica872) April 20, 2017 This year’s harvest has recently begun and has eased the situation, although the World Food Programme said updated hunger figures were not yet available. Its emergency food aid operations ended last month, as planned. Dibie Ike Michael New World Bank report names Rwanda among most resilient economies Fri, 21 Apr 2017 09:27:45 +0000 Rwanda and six other African countries have exhibited economic resilience in recent past that saw them post annual growth rate above 5.4 per cent in 2015-2017, this is according to a new World Bank report released on Wednesday. According to the latest Africa’s Pulse, a bi-annual analysis of the state of African economies conducted by the Wor ld Bank, the six others countries include Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Senegal and Tanzania. The World Bank said, these countries economies, registered upswing in economic performance partly on account of strong domestic demand. Adding that the countries house nearly 27% of the region’s population and account for 13% of the region’s total GDP. Rwanda’s economy grew by 5.9 per cent in 2016, according to figures from the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR)..Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is rebounding in 2017 after registering the worst decline in more than two decades in 2016, the Bank said. “The region is showing signs of recovery, and regional growth is projected to reach 2.6% in 2017. However, the recovery remains weak, with growth expected to rise only slightly above population growth, a pace that hampers efforts to boost employment and reduce poverty,” the WB said. Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola, the continent’s largest economies, are seeing a rebound from the sharp slowdown in 2016, but the recovery has been slow due to insufficient adjustment to low commodity prices and policy uncertainty, it added. Furthermore, the WB says, several oil exporters in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) are facing economic difficulties. Cameroon restores internet in 2 Anglophone regions after 93-days offline Fri, 21 Apr 2017 05:44:28 +0000 The Cameroonian government announced the restoration of internet service to the country’s anglophone regions after over 3-months blackout. Some activists as at Thursday evening confirmed that their internet services were back as promised by the government. Others, however, choose to wait till they can personally verify the ‘return.’ The government statement announcing the restoration of the internet was signed by Communication Minister, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, but there was a caveat that Yaounde reserved the right to put people offline if they misused it. ‘‘The government urges the populations of these regions to be vigilant (and) to continue to nip in the bud the activities of extremists, secessionists and enemies of the Republic,’‘ the statement said. President orders restoration of Internet connection in the two english speaking regions— CRTVweb (@CRTV_web) April 20, 2017 Confirmed from sources on the ground. The internet is working in Limbe (SW region)... On nexttel_Camer</a> mobile line. <a href="">#BringBackOurInternet</a></p>&mdash; Kathleen Ndongmo (KathleenNdongmo) April 20, 2017 Pro-internet activists who kept pushing for the restoration of the resource have been celebrating the development. Internet access was blocked in Cameroon’s two anglophone regions (Beau and Bamenda) following anti-government protests. Govt basically saying that it will shut down internet again if it deems necessary… in violation of UN conventions#BringBackOurInternet— Rebecca Enonchong (@africatechie) April 20, 2017 The shutdown according to ‘The Internet Without Borders’ group cost businesses in the affected areas an estimated 44,000,000 CFA Francs, which translated to $723,000 or 675,000 euros. The group has been at the forefront of calls for the net ‘as a matter of urgency.’ The reason for the blackout was because of allegations on the part of the government that social media particularly was actively being used to spread false information. Protests were largely against discrimination by the country’s Francophone majority. Over 100 people were arrested and one person killed in November last year in the north-western town of Bamenda, following days of violent protests over the alleged discrimination against minority English-speaking people. French is spoken in eight of Cameroon’s 10 regions and English in the north-western and south-western regions. The anglophone regions are calling for authorities to stop imposing French on their educational and legal systems. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Egypt: 'World's heaviest woman' loses half her weight after surgery Thu, 20 Apr 2017 18:53:58 +0000 Egyptian Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty, reputed to be the world’s heaviest woman has reportedly lost 250kg after undergoing surgery in an Indian hospital. At the time of her admission, she weighed over 500kg. The Times of India reports that the 36-year-old is now able to fit into a customized wheelchair and to sit for longer periods. Earlier in March this year, the Hindustan Times reported that Eman had been put on a liquid diet that contains proteins and dietary fibers leading to the loss of 100kg since she underwent surgery in February. Post surgery issues – doctor speaks The Hindustan Times newspaper also reports that despite losing weight, Eman currently suffers from periodic seizures and cannot swallow liquids or speak clearly. ‘‘We will get a CT scan of her brain done as soon as she fits into the machine. The scan will help us understand her neurological status. ‘‘She hasn’t walked. The stroke left her bound to the bed. Our team of physiotherapists and occupational therapists are trying to mobilize her. We hope to see her walk someday, although we can’t determine the exact time frame yet,” one of her doctors is quoted to have said. Background to the journey for an Indian surgery She was admitted to the Indian hospital in February after a Mumbai-based surgeon, Dr. Muffazal Lakdawala, raised funds to have her flown over for treatment. Reports indicate that her weight is due to gland imbalance which caused an accumulation of liquids. Her family says she has not been able to leave home for 25 years. The Indian surgeon said he believed that Eman suffers from obesity-related lymphoedema which causes swelling of her legs. It took the intervention of the surgeon who tweeted to India’s foreign minister before the Indian embassy in Cairo agreed to issue her a visa. The Hospital built a special facility to enable the weight reduction surgery. The BBC reports that the facility at the Mumbai Saifee Hospital has an operating theatre and an intensive care unit. She was flown out of Cairo to Mumbai on a chartered flight. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Zambian court to rule on validity of treason charge on opposition chief Thu, 20 Apr 2017 15:56:54 +0000 A Zambian court will rule next week on whether to throw out a treason case against the leader of the main opposition party whose lawyers say the charges are vague and ambiguous, a magistrate said on Thursday. United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema was arrested last week in a police raid on his home and charged with trying to overthrow the government. His lawyers asked the court on Wednesday to dismiss the case, saying the charges were not specific. President Hakainde Hichilema speaking to his wife Mutinta earlier today at court.— UPND (@UPNDZM) April 20, 2017 Magistrate Greenwell Malumani said he needed time to decide whether to dismiss the treason charge and consider other preliminary issues that had been raised by the defence. “The issues involved are many and complex and therefore I cannot hurriedly make a ruling. I will adjourn the matter to Wednesday, 26th April for ruling on the preliminary issues raised,” Malumani said. Hichilema has been charged with plotting with other people between October 10 of last year and April 8 to overthrow the government. The arrest has raised political tension in Zambia, Africa’s second-biggest copper producer. The Southern African country has traditionally been relatively stable but relations between the government and opposition have been fraught since last August, when President Edgar Lungu’s Patriotic Front (PF) party beat the UPND in a presidential election marred by violence. The opposition says the vote was rigged but Hichilema has so far failed in his legal challenge against the result. Reuters Senegal's Mane is the only African in the PFA 'Team Of The Year' Thu, 20 Apr 2017 14:55:50 +0000 Senegalese skipper and Liverpool midfielder, Sadio Mane, has been named in the Professional Footballers Association’s (PFA) Premier League (PL) Team of the Year. The 25-year-old was the only African player to make the list, the recognition also comes despite a premature end to his season. “Mane’s season was ended prematurely by a knee injury sustained during the 3-1 victory over Everton on April 1, but his impressive performances throughout the majority of 2016-17 have earned recognition from his peers,” his club’s website said. Before his injury, Mane had scored 13 goals and given five assists in 27 PL appearances during his debut campaign at Mersey side. Sadio Mané has today been named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year! 👏 Read more:— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 20, 2017 He joined the Anfield side from Southampton and has since stamped his authority on Jurgen Klopp’s side. Algerian international Riyad Mahrez is the reigning PFA Players’ Player of the year after helping Leicester City to win their first PL title last season. He scored 17 goals and gave 11 assists as the team marched on to win the title against odds. Full list of the PFA PL Team Of The Year:  Goalkeeper: David de Gea (Manchester United) Defenders: Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur) David Luiz, Gary Cahill (both Chelsea) Danny Rose (Tottenham) Midfielders: N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) Dele Alli (Tottenham) Eden Hazard (Chelsea) Sadio Mane (Liverpool) Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Romelu Lukaku (Everton). Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Sub-Saharan Africa takes five steps back in travel and tourism Thu, 20 Apr 2017 14:34:49 +0000 Sub-Saharan Africa has lagged in the 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report with continental leaders South Africa placing 53rd globally – five steps back since 2015. The 2017 Index released on April 6 by Swiss nonprofit foundation, World Economic Forum, ranked 136 countries across 14 separate dimensions on their delivery of sustainable economic and societal benefits through the travel and tourism sector. The top three in the ranking are Spain, France and Germany as a result of their world-class natural and cultural resources, outstanding infrastructure and hospitality services, the report said. South Africa led Africa at 53 globally, followed by Namibia, Tanzania, Ivory Coast and Mozambique at 82nd, 91st, 109th and 122nd respectively. “South Africa’s tourism competitiveness has deteriorated on two elements—safety and security (120th) and environmental sustainability (117th),” the report stated citing terrorism fears and increased sense of insecurity related to crime as reasons for the underperformance. Among the top 15 most improved countries on the index are Algeria (118) – moved 5 places up, Gabon (119) – moved 5 places up, Egypt (74) – moved 9 places up, and Chad (135) moved 6 places up. “The increasing importance of demand from emerging markets and technology are changing the travel and tourism sector’s landscape at a fast rate … The capacity of countries to respond to and embrace these structural shifts will determine the future success of destinations,” said Roberto Crotti, Economist, World Economic Forum. Below is the index for sub-Saharan Africa Ismail Akwei UN, AU commit to strategically review peace operations Thu, 20 Apr 2017 14:31:54 +0000 The United Nations and the African Union have jointly committed to review the way peace operations are conducted to challenge the new forms of warfare. This was announced by the U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at a joint press conference on Wednesday with the African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat after signing a new partnership agreement at the UN Headquarters in New York. “We are witnessing, in Africa, as around the world, changes in the security situation that force us to have a strategic review of the way peace operations take place. We no longer have only the traditional peacekeeping operations,” Guterres said. “We are indeed creating the conditions for an enhanced coordination of our activities at all levels,” he added. Mahamat lauded the sustainable development, peace and security agreement saying it will help produce better results between the two organisations. The AU Chairperson earlier attended the United Nations- African Union (UN-AU) Annual Conference. The framework is expected to align the Agenda 2063 of the African Union for sustainable development and the United Nation’s Agenda 2030. “There are lots of positive success stories that need to be fully in our own narrative as a UN about Africa and in our cooperation with the African Union … I would also like to underline that in relation to human rights, to good governance, there was a total identity of points of view that will allow us to work together very strongly,” Guterres concluded. The two leaders earlier discussed situations in Libya, Mali, the Central African Republic, and Somalia, as well as the activities of the Boko Haram terrorist group. Ismail Akwei 3,900 tonnes of election materials distributed nationwide in the DRC Thu, 20 Apr 2017 09:57:34 +0000 The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) has airlifted 3,900 tonnes of election materials to 15 election centres around the country to be distributed to 107 satellite stations. The distribution, that started in October, 2016, was at the request of the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) in December 2015, the UN said Wednesday at a press conference. “As I speak, a helicopter is making a final rotation between Kinshasa and Kasongo Lunda in Kwango province. This ends the MONUSCO air operation to support the ongoing revision of the electoral register,” UN Communications Coordinator in the DRC, Florence Marchal was quoted by local media Radio Okapi. Four cargo aircrafts and 16 helicopters transported equipment including office kits, record materials, voter cards and generators from Kinshasa to the rest of the country, Marchal explained. The Electoral Commission has come under pressure last year to complete the voter registration process ahead of the earlier slated November 2016 election date. The Commission explicitly stated that they were unable to meet the election deadline due to lack of resources. A court extended the mandate of President Joseph Kabila whose term expired in December last year. A peace agreement was reached for a unity government after series of protests by the opposition who called on Kabila to step down. The election is expected to be held before the end of the year. Photo Credit: Radio Okapi Ismail Akwei Pics of the day: April 19th, 2017 Thu, 20 Apr 2017 09:47:41 +0000 Africanews pics the best images of the day’s news. South African man 'eaten' by crocodiles during hunt in Zimbabwe Thu, 20 Apr 2017 08:12:29 +0000 A South African hunter is believed to have been eaten by crocodiles after he went missing during a safari hunt in Zimbabwe. 44-year-old Scott van Zyl, who owns a professional hunting company, disappeared last Friday on the banks of the Limpopo River in Zimbabwe, British news portal The Telegraph reported on Tuesday. The dogs he was hunting with returned without him and his rifle and personal items were intact in his pickup truck. A search team traced his tracks to the banks of the river and found his backpack. Police and park authorities decided to shoot two suspected Nile crocodiles and “found what could possibly be human remains in them”, a member of the search party told The Telegraph. The remains are reportedly being tested by forensic experts to verify if they belong to Scott van Zyl. Crocodile attacks are common near river banks with at least four people killed in Zimbabwe in the past month. In March, a 19-year-old Mozambican football player Estevao Alberto Gino was killed by a crocodile along the Zambezi river in western Mozambique. “The crocodile came out of the water abruptly and took him by the waist. After that, the animal ran back into the water,” the founder and coach of his amateur side club, Eduardo Carvalho told the media. 19-year-old Mozambican footballer killed by crocodile while training— africanews (@africanews) March 20, 2017 Ismail Akwei Nigeria meningitis death toll rises, 745 killed Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:18:55 +0000 A meningitis outbreak in Nigeria has killed 745 people, an increase of more than 50 percent in barely a week, officials said Wednesday, sounding the alarm over the feared epidemic. “We need all hands on deck,” said Chikwe Ihekweazu, head of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as the federal government announced the latest toll from the outbreak, which has mostly affected children. The flare-up of Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) serotype C cases is concentrated in northern Nigeria, where authorities convened a meeting of governors and traditional leaders from all states in the region, said a government statement. “State governors reaffirmed their commitment to immediate and concrete actions towards halting the outbreak,” said the statement after the meeting, held in collaboration with the federal health ministry and national agencies. Over 8,000 suspected cases of the disease have been reported across the country over the past five months, some 93 percent of which occurred in five northern states, a statement said. The new death toll was a rise of 52 percent on last week’s total of 489 dead. The mass outbreak has mostly affected children, prompting a large-scale vaccination programme. Meningitis is caused by different types of bacteria, six of which can cause epidemics. It is transmitted between people through coughs and sneezes and facilitated by cramped living conditions and close contact. The illness causes acute inflammation of the outer layers of the brain and spinal cord, with the most common symptoms being fever, headache and neck stiffness. Nigeria lies in the so-called “meningitis belt” of sub-Saharan Africa, stretching from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east, where outbreaks of the disease are a regular occurrence. The five northern states hit are Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Kebbi and Niger. The federal government said raising awareness of the disease among ordinary people was crucial. “The traditional leaders also committed to continued awareness-raising in their communities and jurisdictions,” it said. “At national level and in affected states, activities aimed at driving information into grassroots .. continue,” it said. Action to counter the outbreak is being coordinated by the CSM National Emergency Operations Centre at the NCDC, and involves rapid response teams across the region. “We are grateful to all rapid response team members, including government agency and partner staff who have remained at their different field posts, through the Easter period working on this outbreak response and control,” said incident manager John Oladejo. Berlin's street names provoke debate over forgotten history Thu, 20 Apr 2017 10:37:00 +0000 Wandering around the northeast part of Berlin’s Wedding neighbourhood, it would be easy not to realize you have entered the city’s so-called African Quarter. The mix of early 20th century apartment buildings and communist tower blocks resembles many other parts of the German capital. Only a glance at the street signs offers a hint to an unexpected history. It wasn’t always so. The creation of Berlin’s African Quarter in the late 1800s was originally linked to the establishment of a ‘Volkerschau,’ a human exhibition in the area, where people from the colonies were brought from their countries and held in zoo-like conditions, in order for Berlin residents to become familiar with their physical aspect and cultures. Kamerunstrasse and Togostrasse were the first streets to receive their names in 1899. Later, came Kongostrasse as well as monikers to celebrate the colonial figures such as Nachtigalstresse. Gustav Nachtigal was the second founder of German colonies in Africa, annexing Togo and Cameroon for the empire. He led a bloody campaign against Cameroonians who opposed colonial rule. ‘Ignorance and arrogance’ The problematic history that is celebrated by the neighbourhood’s street signs is little recognized by local residents, let alone further afield because German’s colonial history gains little space in school curricula. Which is where PostKolonial comes in. The group, co-ordinated by historian Christian Kopp, aims to inform and encourage debate around some of the problematic issues of race, identity and historical legacy raised by these monuments to the past. They propose adding commentaries alongside the street signs to recognise the different historical perspectives and replacing those commemorating figures of colonial repression with the names of their victims or opponents. “There is still very little awareness about the colonial context of these street names,” observes Kopp. “Many do not see more than a geographic reference to Africa, Asia or Oceania.” Kopp’s conviction is that “Germany’s dealing with African countries is still marked by ignorance and arrogance and we can sense hardly any signs of a kind of historical responsibility for the colonial reign of terror. A majority of white Germans still believe that the country has given more to Africa than it has taken away.” Jenny Engler, an author and researcher at Humbolt University, agrees. The issue reaches beyond academic debate and into the lives of Germans today, she argues, because street names quite literally form part of the identity of citizens. Failing to recognize and challenge the one-sided perspective they present means continuing to propagate a kind of exclusion, that can support an entrenched structural racism, she argues. Of course the issue runs deeper than just the street signs. Postkolonial organises seminars and guided tours around the role of Germany in the slave trade or historical crimes. It wants Germany to return remains used in eugenics research as well as looted cultural artifacts. “How can we unlearn racism and democratise postcolonial social and global structures if we have no knowledge about the long global history of colonialism and racism?” Kopp wonders. Justice, a century late? Such a process of education and recognition “could build momentum that may profoundly change the economic, political relations between the African Union and the European Union as well African countries and Germany,” added Marianne Moudoumbou, the Cameroonian leader of the Central Council of the African communities in Germany. As far as official policies are concerned, the German government has recently taken some concrete steps regarding the country’s colonial past. It moved to recognize the Namibian genocide following pressure from the ‘No Amnesty on Genocide’ campaign, started in 2011 and demanding justice for the descendants of the Ovaherero and Nama. Germany had declared it did not intend to repay the damage done, but rather provide development aid and projects offered as an act of charity. The descendants of the Namibian genocide victims are far from content with this and are currently seeking justice in international courts. According to Nicolai Roschert from AfricAvenir International, a nonprofit engaging in political and cultural education from an African perspective, it is “unacceptable that the German government has not issued an apology and does not negotiate [directly] with the descendants of the Herero and Nama people directly and include them in any solution of restorative justice and reconciliation.’ He added that similar actions should be untaken by Germany towards the affected governments of other former colonies, especially Tanzania, Cameroon and Togo. It should apply in colonial matters, “the same moral standards as in restoring justice to Holocaust victims,” suggested Kopp. By Raluca Besliu. Photo credit Tahir Della The world of travel [Travel] Thu, 20 Apr 2017 22:44:19 +0000 People have been on the move since the dawn of time. Our ancestors for example migrating from one place to another. Now more than ever, it is easier to travel. Whether by road, air or sea, the options are many. In this weeks travel segment we explore the various ways of traveling with a specific focus on the train. Take a look