Libreville (AFP) The European Union sees “a sharp decline” in human rights in Equatorial Guinea where an opposition figure died in custody and over 130 people have been detained since elections last year. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema seized power in the oil-rich former Spanish colony in 1979 and has faced a string of coup attempts during nearly four decades in office. Critics accuse him of brutal repression of opponents as well as election fraud and corruption. “The restrictions on freedom and arrests, particularly those of political opponents … since theRead More
Libreville (AFP) A spotted hyena has been sighted in a Gabon national park for the first time in 20 years, conservationists said Friday, the latest large predator to have returned to a region where many had gone locally extinct. The Bateke Plateau National Park lies close to Gabon’s border with the Republic of Congo. Its forests and grasslands once teemed with wildlife, including many large mammal predators, but the ecosystem was decimated by decades of poaching. Officials said a spotted hyena had been caught on camera traps in the parkRead More
Libreville (AFP) Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has rejected opposition claims that one of its activists died in custody after being tortured, and that some 200 of their number are under arrest. In an interview late Tuesday with French radio station RFI and France 24 television, Africa’s longest-serving president confirmed the death in custody of an opposition activist but put it down to ill health. “I think there are about 20 people” currently under arrest, he said, without saying why they had been arrested or if they faced anyRead More
Libreville (AFP) Gabon opposition leader Jean Ping was on Saturday prevented by the security forces from taking a flight to France over a judicial matter, he told AFP. “I was supposed to travel this evening but the security forces prevented me,” the former African Union chief told AFP. A career diplomat, the 75-year-old was narrowly defeated by incumbent Ali Bongo in last year’s presidential election last year in what he claims was electoral fraud. Ping told AFP he had not been notified of any ban on leaving the country, butRead More
Libreville (AFP) Gabon opposition leader Jean Ping was prevented from taking a flight to France late Saturday by security forces who said he needed to stay over a judicial matter, he told AFP. Ping, a 75-year-old career diplomat, was narrowly defeated by incumbent Ali Bongo in last year’s presidential election, a victory that he claims was tainted by electoral fraud. “I was supposed to travel this evening but the security forces prevented me,” the former African Union chief said. Ping told AFP he had not been notified of any banRead More
Libreville (AFP) Equatorial Guinea has launched a dragnet for “mercenaries” behind an attempt to overthrow President Theodoro Obiang, Africa’s longest-serving leader, a senior government official said on Friday. Separately, Chad said an Equatorial Guinean, living in exile in Europe, is believed to have been behind the attempted coup. “We are carrying out intensive searches everywhere,” the government official, reached by phone from the Gabonese capital Libreville, told AFP. The manhunt, the official said, is focused on “the Ebibeyin zone and other forests nearby,” located near the border with Cameroon andRead More
Libreville (AFP) Gabon’s President Ali Bongo vowed “radical change in governance” in the coming year and pledged to foster social cohesion among his citizens in his televised end-of-year speech on Sunday. “I am determined to do everything possible to strengthen our unity, regain our cohesion,” he said. “Cohesion is my ambition for Gabon”. “I intend to implement radical change in governance, which will be based on a fundamentally different approach,” he added, describing measures of “immediate impact” he wants to put forward. Some of them include a temporary exemption fromRead More
Libreville (AFP) “Here you’re in the heart of precarious living,” one of Gabon’s first medical responders says in Kolo Ngoum, a grubby shanty suburb of Libreville that has seen no doctors in ages. Residents initially express surprise at the arrival of an ambulance belonging to the SAMU-Social (Service for Urgent Medical Aid), but once they see stethoscopes and other common instruments, they smile with reassurance. “This is a good initiative,” says Natanael, in his 30s and sporting dreadlocks. “We thought all this was reserved for other people.” Launched five monthsRead More
Libreville (AFP) A grocer from Niger who knifed a Danish couple in Gabon shouting “Allahu akbar” came to the capital just two days before the attack and had been stalking the pair, a prosecutor said Monday. Saturday’s attack on the Danes, who were in the west African state filming for National Geographic, was “premeditated,” Libreville prosecutor Steeve Ndong Essame Ndong said, adding that the man had lived in Gabon for 19 years. He said the 53-year-old came to Libreville on Thursday “with the aim of committing this cowardly act ‘againstRead More
Libreville (AFP) Police in Gabon arrested dozens of people Sunday over a knife attack that wounded two Danish nationals working for National Geographic, apparently in retribution for “US attacks against Muslims,” officials said. The men detained were mostly traders and sellers in the popular market in Libreville where the attack occurred Saturday — and all are from west Africa. An official said they were taken to police headquarters, where they are due to be questioned. “Operations are ongoing,” government spokesman Alain-Claude Bilie By Nze told AFP. “We are not commentingRead More