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Bangui (Central African Republic) (AFP) At least 15 people died in clashes between UN peacekeepers and former rebels in the centre of the chronically restive Central African Republic, a humanitarian source said Sunday. The violence broke out on Saturday in the market town of Kaga-Bandoro when rebels from the former Seleka movement of mainly Muslim fighters attacked the town “to settle an old score,” a source in MINUSCA, the UN mission which has some 12,000 troops in the country, told AFP. “They (the former Seleka rebels) were confronted by theRead More
Johannesburg (AFP) South African President Jacob Zuma, who has been weakened by growing criticism from within the ruling ANC party, will face a vote of no confidence in parliament on August 8, officials announced Sunday. Opposition parties have pushed for the vote to be held in secret, hoping to encourage ANC lawmakers to vote Zuma out of office after a series of corruption scandals. But the president retains strong support from many lawmakers in the African National Congress, which led the fight against apartheid. In the last two years, ZumaRead More
Bamako (AFP) French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Mali on Sunday to consolidate Western backing for a regional anti-jihadist force, with France urging greater support for the Sahel region amid mounting insecurity. The so-called “G5 Sahel” countries just south of the Sahara — Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger — have pledged to fight jihadists on their own soil with instability and Islamist attacks on the rise. Macron is joining the heads of state of these nations in Bamako for a special summit where France’s full support for theRead More
Bamako (AFP) French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday threw his weight behind a planned Sahel force to fight jihadists on a lightning visit to Mali but told countries in the region their efforts had to bear fruit. Faced with a growing number of jihadist attacks in central Mali which have also hit neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger, the so-called G5 Sahel nations have moved to set up a regional force to tackle the threat. The aim is to combat the wave of Islamist bombings, shootings and kidnappings in the Sahel,Read More
Cotonou (AFP) Sadiatou used to be a well-off trader of traditional cloth at the market in Benin’s economic hub of Cotonou but now sells school equipment from the doorstep of her home. In 2010 she sank more than five million CFA francs ($8,700, 7,600 euros) into an investment scheme that promised a quick profit. “It’s a deposit I should never have made,” she told AFP. “My business took a hit and my health as well. I’ve been depressed for a long time. “I was counting on the savings I’d makeRead More
Monrovia (AFP) Standing in sweltering heat for hours at a time, painted head-to-toe in the colours of the tax authority, Emmanuel Howard has become a fixture at traffic junctions in Liberia’s capital Monrovia. He and dozens of other young men are deployed by advertising firms as colourful human billboards for client ranging from government agencies to brides-to-be. Standing stock still on the bustling roadsides, they have become street sensations. “I feel good being painted because this is what gives me my daily bread. Some of my friends are in theRead More
Kinshasa (AFP) The United Nations on Saturday called on the Democratic Republic of Congo to publish a timetable for elections which are due by the end of the year. Under a deal brokered last New Year’s Eve, President Joseph Kabila agreed to a transitional arrangement enabling him to stay in power pending presidential and legislative elections by the end of 2017. In a statement, the UN’s special representative for DR Congo, Maman Sidikou, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) “to publish an official, consensus-based timetable, without further delay”Read More
Bamako (AFP) About 2,000 people rallied Saturday in conflict-torn Mali against a constitutional referendum over concerns the proposed changes hand the president too much power, an AFP correspondent said. During the demonstration in the capital Bamako, which organisers say attracted 10,000 people, protesters held signs reading “Don’t touch my Constitution”, “No, means no” and “No to the referendum”. The protest, which authorities said was not authorised under the state of emergency, took place on the eve of the so-called “G5 Sahel” summit aimed at consolidating Western backing for a regionalRead More
Buenos Aires (AFP) A Southern Kings team facing the Super Rugby axe next week triumphed 31-30 in Buenos Aires on Friday as a horror run by the Jaguares continued. It was the fourth win in six matches for the one-time South African whipping boys, and the seventh loss in eight games for an Argentine outfit who began the season promisingly. Jaguares led 20-14 at half-time in an often scrappy, error-strewn round 15 tussle in which only pride was at stake in Estadio Jose Amalfitani as neither team can reach theRead More
Rio de Janeiro (AFP) The worn paving stones discovered under a thick layer of modern concrete in Rio de Janeiro don’t look like much at first. But it was here that some million slaves from Africa took their first steps in Brazil. “It’s a unique memorial, containing the last remaining vestiges of the slaves’ arrival,” said anthropologist Milton Guran. Next week, the UN cultural body UNESCO will consider whether to award what’s known as Valongo Wharf world heritage status, winning protection as a site of global importance. The wharf, orRead More