COUNTRIES

Nairobi (AFP) In its heyday, half a century ago, East Africa’s Safari Rally was renowned as being among the toughest in the world, a formidable challenge for car and driver, across escarpment and savannah. Winners have included Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz, Juha Kankkunen and Ari Vatanen, and the difference between victory and defeat sometimes depended on which car avoided herds of cattle wandering on the road. The rally’s fall from grace was slow but steady and, after the 2002 edition, it was dropped from the World Rally Championship (WRC) altogether.Read More
Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) Boko Haram killed at least 20 people and wounded scores of others in coordinated attacks on a military camp and villages around the flashpoint northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, which they also tried to infiltrate across a defensive trench, officials said Monday. The brazen operation — which unfolded around the very city where Boko Haram was born — turned the spotlight on the authorities’ struggle to quell the jihadists’ nearly nine-year-old offensive. Boko Haram fighters attacked a military base in the Cashew Plantation area at the entranceRead More
Addis Ababa (AFP) Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, apologised to people harmed in recent political unrest and reached out both to the political opposition and longtime rival Eritrea at his swearing-in on Monday. Abiy is the first ethnic Oromo to be selected by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) as prime minister in its 27 years of rule. In a parliamentary session, Abiy formally replaced Hailemariam Desalegn, whose surprise resignation in February came after more than two years of anti-government protests led by the Oromo. “Ethiopians livingRead More
Johannesburg (AFP) Injuries emerged as a key factor as South Africa batted on before declaring at tea on the fourth day of the fourth Test against Australia at the Wanderers Stadium on Monday. South Africa declared at 344 for six, setting Australia a formidable target of 612 to win, or more realistically needing to bat for four sessions or a possible 131 overs to avoid defeat. Captain Faf du Plessis hit 120 and Dean Elgar made 81. They shared a fourth wicket partnership of 170, the best for any wicketRead More
Addis Ababa (AFP) Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, apologised to people harmed in recent political unrest and reached out both to the political opposition and longtime rival Eritrea at his swearing-in on Monday. Abiy is the first ethnic Oromo to be selected by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) as prime minister in its 27 years of rule. In a parliamentary session, Abiy formally replaced Hailemariam Desalegn, whose surprise resignation in February came after more than two years of anti-government protests led by the Oromo. “Ethiopians livingRead More
Johannesburg (AFP) Winnie Mandela, the former wife of South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, died on Monday aged 81, triggering an outpouring of tributes to one of the country’s defining and most divisive figures. The firebrand activist died in a Johannesburg hospital, her family said, adding that she had “fought valiantly against the Apartheid state” and that she was known “far and wide as the Mother of the Nation”. Winnie Mandela, who was married to Nelson Mandela for 38 years, played a high-profile role in the struggle to end white-minorityRead More
Soweto (South Africa) (AFP) Crowds of mourners flocked Monday to Winnie Mandela’s home in the heart of South Africa’s Soweto township, a centre of anti-apartheid resistance that remained her base decades after white rule fell. Neighbours, supporters and passers-by assembled to sing and chant at the gates of her modest two-storey red-brick home in the Orlando neighbourhood shortly after her death was announced. “I was friends with her mother for some time. I saw it on the TV just now and came here to check and was shocked,” said ConstanceRead More
Zintan (Libya) (AFP) Nearly a year after a Libyan militia announced it had set free the son and heir apparent of slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi, the fate of Seif al-Islam remains a mystery. His reported release from detention by the Abu Bakr al-Sadiq Brigade which once controlled the town of Zintan in western Libya has never been confirmed and has fuelled wild rumours. While some insist he is still somewhere in Zintan, others claim Seif is dead. One thing is certain, however: he has not been seen or heard ofRead More
Bangui (Central African Republic) (AFP) UN peacekeepers on patrol in the Central African Republic exchanged fire with members of an armed group in a Muslim enclave of the capital Bangui, the United Nations said Sunday. The peacekeepers were fired at in the Muslim rebel bastion called PK5, home to several armed groups and they responded, said Herve Verhoosel, spokesman for the UN peacekeeping mission known by its initials MINUSCA. The attack occurred Saturday evening and “clearly the target was the peacekeeping troops,” he added. The armed groups operating in theRead More
Mogadishu (AFP) Heavily-armed Al-Shabaab militants attacked an African Union military camp outside Mogadishu on Sunday, killing four Ugandan peacekeepers, their army said. Local sources said a massive blast was heard in the Bulomarer district, around 150 kilometres (93 miles) south of Mogadishu, and fighting broke out after dozens of heavily armed Shabaab militants stormed the base. “The heavy blast struck the base before fighting broke out. We are hearing the militants used a minibus loaded with explosives to make their way in before the heavily armed confrontation started at theRead More