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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
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
Sydney (AFP) Distraught former Australian cricket captain Steve Smith accepted full responsibility Thursday for a ball-tampering scandal that has shaken the sport, breaking down in tears while denying it had ever happened before. Cricket Australia have banned Smith and David Warner from all international and domestic cricket for a year while opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was exiled for nine months over attempted cheating during the third Test in South Africa Smith, a golden boy compared to Donald Bradman for his batting exploits, was a broken man at an emotional pressRead More
Freetown (AFP) Sierra Leone chooses a new president on Saturday following a delay caused by a ruling party-backed court case over alleged electoral fraud, spiking tensions following an already fractious campaign. The West African nation’s 3.1 million voters will choose between the ruling All Peoples’ Congress (APC) candidate Samura Kamara and opposition challenger Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). Bio, a former junta leader, won by just 15,000 votes in the March 7 first round, but failed to attain the 55 percent of ballots needed toRead More
Sydney (AFP) When disgraced Australian cricketer Steve Smith faced the cameras in Sydney on Thursday with a tearful apology for a ball-tampering scandal, he joined a small club of sports stars who have very publicly said sorry. Athletes have played the penitent for everything from cheating at their sport to cheating on a wife; from pre-meditated assault on a rival to simply losing. Here are five high-profile mea culpas: Gianluigi Buffon – 2017 Fans reacted with shock and disbelief last year when Italy failed to qualify for the football WorldRead 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
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
Freetown (AFP) Veteran politician Samura Kamara, seen as a shrewd political operator, hopes to take up the mantle of outgoing president Ernest Bai Koroma as his hand-picked successor. An economist by training, the 66-year-old Kamara was foreign minister until last year when he stepped down to pursue the presidency under the flag of the ruling All Peoples’ Congress (APC), an announcement that came as a surprise to many. A Catholic in a majority Muslim nation, Kamara is known for his ready smile and dislike of confrontation, in sharp contrast toRead More
Serowe (Botswana) (AFP) President Ian Khama of Botswana this week wrapped up a national “farewell tour” before he stands down on Saturday in a power transfer designed to stress his statesmanship and the country’s stability. Khama has visited all of Botswana’s 57 constituencies since December, bidding a long goodbye to a population of just 2.2 million after serving the constitutional maximum of 10 years in office. He will be succeeded by Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi, a full 18 months before elections. Khama’s two terms in power have been defined byRead More