Libreville (AFP) Civilians in a central province of the strife-torn Central African Republic are enduring “a horrifying surge in torture, pillage and forced displacement”, Amnesty International reported Friday. “Women have been raped, men murdered, villages destroyed, and the region’s UN peacekeeping force has proved ineffective in stemming these abuses,” Joanne Mariner, the rights group’s senior crisis response adviser, said in a statement. Amnesty blamed “a wave of brutal attacks” in Basse-Kotto province on the Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC), an armed offshoot of the mainly MuslimRead More
Libreville (AFP) Gabon on Sunday announced a ban on opposition leaders, including former top African Union official Jean Ping, from leaving the country in what it said was a “temporary, administrative measure”. “This measure follows inflammatory comments by Jean Ping on August 18 when he called for public disorder, rebellion and insurrection,” interior ministry spokesman Jean-Eric Nziengui Mangala said. Ping, a 74-year-old career diplomat, was narrowly defeated by incumbent Ali Bongo in Gabon’s August presidential election and accused the administration of electoral fraud. A number of demonstrations have been heldRead More
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