COUNTRIES

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
Addis Ababa (AFP) More than 1,100 people have been arrested in Ethiopia since the nation declared a state of emergency following the prime minister’s resignation last month, state media reported Saturday. Hailemariam Desalegn’s surprise resignation came after more than two years of anti-government protests and increasing divisions in the ruling party. The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has for the first time picked an ethnic Oromo, Abiy Ahmed, to be its new leader. He is set to be sworn in as prime minister early next week. The state-affiliated FanaRead More
Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) Four teenage girl suicide bombers have killed two people in multiple attacks in northeast Nigeria, residents said Saturday, in the latest assault since the government announced it was in ceasefire talks with Boko Haram. The suspected Boko Haram attack took place late Friday in the northeast Borno state capital of Maiduguri, the epicentre of the group’s Islamist insurgency. The girls, estimated to be between the ages of 13 and 18, attacked the Zawuya settlement on the outskirts of Maiduguri, killing two people, residents told AFP. “We lostRead More
Dakar (AFP) Prominent Senegalese lawmaker Barthelemy Dias has been arrested for insulting the judiciary after close ally Khalifa Sall was jailed for fraud, his lawyer said Saturday. Dias is a strong supporter of Sall, the popular Dakar mayor who was sentenced on Friday to five years in prison, a punishment that will rule him out of a presidential election due next February. The dissident Socialist Party MP was arrested after he made disparaging remarks about the judges in the Sall case. Dias remained in detention on Saturday, his lawyer ElRead More
Kinshasa (AFP) The Democratic Republic of Congo’s main opposition party on Saturday chose the son of its founder, a historic opposition figure, as its leader and presidential candidate in long delayed polls due at the end of the year. The Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) said Felix Tshisekedi, the son of former premier Etienne Tshisekedi, who died in Brussels in February last year, will “be the presidential candidate” for the December election, after a night-long meeting in the capital Kinshasa. Tshisekedi was also chosen to lead the partyRead More
Dakar (AFP) A Senegalese court on Friday will deliver a verdict in a high-profile corruption trial that could make or break the presidential ambitions of the capital’s popular mayor, Khalifa Sall. After being held in pre-trial detention for nearly a year, Sall went before the court in January and February on charges of embezzling public funds. Prosecutors are seeking a seven-year prison term for Sall and his financial director Mbaye Toure, and a fine worth nearly $10 million (more than eight million euros). A conviction could have far-reaching political consequencesRead More
Luanda (AFP) Tensions between Angola’s president and his long-serving predecessor have erupted into the open as an anti-corruption drive targets the former ruler’s family. President Joao Lourenco has pledged to crusade against entrenched state corruption and nepotism since taking over in September from Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled Angola for 38 years. Battling graft is a cornerstone of Lourenco’s promised “economic miracle” that he hopes will halt the oil-dependent country’s economic slump caused by stubbornly low crude prices. A once-loyal minister under Dos Santos, Lourenco has purged state-run corporationsRead More
Libreville (AFP) Equatorial Guinea carried out a wave of arrests and torture after an attempted coup last December, activists say. Several members of the opposition Citizens for Innovation (CI) party among 38 who were held at the main police station in the capital Malabo — which they dubbed “Guantanamo” — told AFP of alleged abuse during their detention from December 28 to January 3. “We were tortured for a week,” said party activist Ernesto Obama Ondo, 42. “I received 150 lashes every day,” he said in Malabo. “My buttocks wereRead More
Tunis (AFP) Long seen as a pioneer for women’s rights in the Arab world, Tunisia is pushing ahead with reforms promised after its 2011 revolution — but campaigners say much remains to be done. The country’s 2014 constitution was praised as a key achievement in the revolt that toppled longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked the Arab Spring uprisings. But much of it has yet to be passed into law, including provisions on gender equality. Now, moves are afoot on women’s political representation, interfaith marriage and theRead More
Harare (AFP) Illegal gold miners in Zimbabwe have seized a farm belonging to former first lady Grace Mugabe, local media reported, just four months after former President Robert Mugabe was ousted from power. Hundreds of aggressive squatters have taken over portions of Grace’s Smithfield estate in Mazowe, 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Harare, and refused to move when she confronted them on Thursday. “Undeterred by the presence of the miners, who were waving shovels and machetes at her, Grace told them to leave the property but they would notRead More