Libreville (AFP) Six Red Cross workers were killed last week amid violent clashes in southern Central African Republic, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Wednesday in an updated toll. The bloodshed occurred last Thursday at a health centre in Gambo, 70 kilometres (45 miles) from the town of Bangassou, where nine peacekeepers have been killed since early May, it said in a statement. The organisation on Tuesday gave a toll of three dead among its local staff, and said “dozens” of other people had also been killed.Read More
Libreville (AFP) Ten people were injured in Libreville on Tuesday as Gabon police broke up a rally organised to mark the return of opposition leader Jean Ping following a trip to Europe. The interior ministry said there were “no deaths and no injuries” during the demonstration, according to spokesman Jean-Eric Mangala. But an AFP journalist at the scene saw the injured receiving first aid at Ping’s headquarters where the former foreign minister had addressed thousands of his supporters following his return from a European tour. “Two of them suffered deepRead More
Libreville (AFP) Dozens of Boko Haram suspects have died in Cameroon custody, rights group Amnesty International said Thursday, with security forces brutally torturing them in the fight against the jihadist group. Though Boko Haram originated in Nigeria, the Islamic State-affiliated group has carried out frequent attacks in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The NGO said it had found 101 people who said they were held in secret and tortured by the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) and the General Directorate of External Research (DGRE), Cameroon’s intelligence services, between March 2013 and MarchRead More
Libreville (AFP) Cameroon’s security forces were on Thursday accused of torturing hundreds of Boko Haram suspects, leading to dozens of deaths, in what Amnesty International said was a war crime. The global human rights monitor said US and French military were also seen at one site where the abuses allegedly took place and urged Washington and Paris to investigate. Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency has devastated northeast Nigeria since it began in 2009, and the violence has spread to neighbouring countries, including northern Cameroon. Cameroonian troops are part of a regionalRead More
Libreville (AFP) Armed groups in the Central African Republic have killed hundreds of civilians in an unfettered spree of bloodletting, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Wednesday. The group issued a 92-page report ahead of the impending opening of a Special Criminal Court, a new judicial body that will probe rights violations in the country since 2003. Investigators found evidence of more than 560 civilian deaths and the destruction of more than 4,200 homes by militias since late 2014, HRW said. But this was likely to be just a small fractionRead More
Libreville (AFP) “Heavy gunfire in Zemio. Impossible to go out. They have cut the phones and we can’t go out — it’s just too dangerous. So I am posting on Facebook.” The sense of fear and urgency is palpable as Jean-Alain Zembi, a priest in Zemio, a southeastern parish in the Central African Republic (CAR), sends a stream of messages to his Facebook feed recounting the horror of ongoing violence. “The information simply must get out as we are holed up here and the shooting is continuing”, Father Zembi, 33,Read More
Lope national park (Gabon) (AFP) For several months, electric fences have been put up in Gabon as part of a new programme to stop the country’s 40,000 forest elephants from destroying crops. So far three electric barriers have been built but dozens more are required, Professor Lee White, the British-born director of Gabon’s national parks agency (ANPN), told AFP. “I want 500 barriers,” said White to emphasise that others methods had failed to stop the huge animals from trampling over villagers’ fields in the west African country. “We have alreadyRead More
Libreville (AFP) A team from the International Criminal Court (ICC) will visit Gabon next week to look into claims of post-election violence last year, the court prosecutor’s office announced Friday, in a move welcomed by rights activists. The ICC has yet to open a formal inquiry into the claims of violence made by defeated presidential candidate, opposition leader Jean Ping and 15 non-governmental organisations. But an ICC spokesman said Friday they would make a two-day visit next week, arriving Tuesday to carry out a preliminary investigation. Ping and the NGOsRead More
Libreville (AFP) A newsreader for Gabon state television has been taken off the air after mistakenly announcing the death of President Ali Bongo, the channel said on Saturday. Journalist Wivine Ovandong made the error during a Gabon Television news bulletin on Thursday when she read from notes saying that Bongo had died in Barcelona. In fact, Thursday was the eighth anniversary of the death of Bongo’s father and predecessor, Omar, who did die in Barcelona on June 8, 2009, after more than four decades in power. Current president Ali BongoRead More
Libreville (AFP) UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres voiced concern Friday over the “widespread instability” and attacks on UN troops in the Central African Republic, which has been wracked by renewed sectarian violence since last month. One of the world’s poorest nations, the Central African Republic has been struggling to recover from a three-year civil war between the Muslim and Christian militias that started after the 2013 overthrow of leader Francois Bozize. A new flare-up of sectarian violence since the beginning of May has forced tens of thousands to flee conflict-ravagedRead More