COUNTRIES

Dakar (AFP) Leading Senegalese politician Khalifa Sall was handed a five-year jail term for fraud on Friday, a sentence that will rule him out of presidential elections due next February. Sall, 62, who is mayor of Dakar, had denied the charges against him as politically motivated. He had been accused of fraudulent use of public funds, for which he was also fined five million CFA francs (7,625 euros). He was found not guilty on charges of criminal conspiracy, money laundering and misappropriating public funds. Prosecutors had sought a seven-year prisonRead More
Kinshasa (AFP) Around 230,000 people have been driven from their homes in Democratic Republic of Congo, the government estimated Friday, a vastly different figure from the reports of humanitarian groups in the conflict-torn country. Kinshasa put the figure at “231,241 internally displaced people” compared with the more than four million estimate of NGOs, Bernard Biango, humanitarian affairs minister said at a governmental meeting broadcast on public television. At the same, Biango confirmed DR Congo’s “non participation in the Geneva conference” on April 13, called by the United Nations and theRead More
Dakar (AFP) Leading Senegalese politician Khalifa Sall was jailed for five years for fraud on Friday, a sentence that will rule him out of presidential elections due next February. Sall, 62, who is mayor of Dakar, had denied the charges against him as politically motivated. He had been accused of fraudulent use of public funds, for which he was also fined five million CFA francs (7,625 euros). He was found not guilty on charges of criminal conspiracy, money laundering and misappropriating public funds. Prosecutors had sought a seven-year prison termRead More
Monrovia (AFP) As UN peacekeepers leave Liberia after 14 years, headway in reforming the security forces is being undermined by lack of progress in tackling the country’s traumatic legacy of war crimes, officials say. Liberia’s 1989-2003 conflict killed around a quarter of a million people, while government forces and rebel groups murdered, maimed and raped with impunity. The UN mission, known as UNMIL, was deployed in September 2003 as the highly politicised army and police were disbanded after committing some of the worst abuses. The effort to protect Liberians afterRead More
Nairobi (AFP) An outspoken member of the opposition alliance was Wednesday expelled from Kenya for the second time in two months, his lawyer told AFP. Miguna Miguna, a firebrand member of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, was forced onto an international flight to Canada last month. The High Court on February 26 ordered immigration authorities to allow him to return to the country and he arrived back on Monday. “He has been deported,” for a second time, said lawyer Cliff Ombeta by telephone. “It is a Dubai destined flightRead More
Malakal (South Sudan) (AFP) By the time her 19-year-old son was shot in front of her, Ayak had already lost her four brothers and witnessed countless deaths in South Sudan’s brutal war. Living alone in a miserable structure of plastic sheets and tin in a huge camp for displaced people, watching as relentless rains turned earth to mud, it all became too much to bear for the 44 year-old. “I have seen it all. When I thought about the lives of my relatives and their deaths, I decided to takeRead More
Lagos (AFP) Lagos, Nigeria’s thriving economic capital, was on lockdown Thursday for President Muhammadu Buhari’s first official visit to the city as campaigning for next year’s presidential polls heats up. In front of the cameras, it was all smiles between Buhari and Bola Tinubu, a political grandee who played a pivotal role in securing the key region surrounding Lagos for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party in 2015 but has since been sidelined. Buhari, from Nigeria’s mostly Muslim north, has not formally declared if he is running for re-election,Read More
Khartoum (AFP) A thick sandstorm engulfed the Sudanese capital on Thursday, forcing authorities to cancel flights and shut schools in Khartoum and other nearby towns. Children and office workers stayed indoors while vehicles kept off roads as a thick orange haze shrouded the capital from early morning. Several domestic and international flights were cancelled after the meteorological department issued a pre-dawn advisory, an official at Khartoum airport said. “From 3:00 am (0500 GMT) no flight has landed or taken off from Khartoum airport,” Mohamed Mahdi, Khartoum airport spokesman, told AFP.Read More
Nairobi (AFP) A Kenyan court fined the interior minister and police chief Thursday after they defied orders to produce an opposition politician in court, who was instead deported for the second time in two months. A prominent but unelected politician with the National Super Alliance (NASA), Miguna Miguna was thrust into the spotlight after his deportation last month, and his attempted return to Kenya this week has seen the nation gripped by political theatrics. As Miguna was held at the airport for two days over the immigration spat, the highRead More
Maputo (AFP) Mozambique’s renewed efforts to solve its spiralling “secret debt” crisis have again collapsed, leaving the country struggling to recover its reputation as one of Africa’s potential growth hotspots. Last week, Finance Minister Adriano Maleiane flew to London to present creditors with a long-awaited restructuring plan for the $2.2-billion (1.77 billion euros) debt that Mozambique has defaulted on since last year. Maleiane presented options including a massive write-down, low interest rates until 2023 and a partial swap for a local long-term debt. All his proposals were dismissed by theRead More