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Gaborone (Botswana) (AFP) Botswana prepared to inaugurate Mokgweetsi Masisi as president on Sunday in a ceremony designed to highlight a smooth handover of power in one of Africa’s most stable countries. Ian Khama, the son of Botswana’s first post-independence leader, officially stepped down as president on Saturday after serving the constitutional maximum of 10 years in office. His vice president, Masisi, will take over a county widely seen as a success story — benefitting from good governance and lucrative income from its diamond, beef and tourism sectors. It is ratedRead More
Gaborone (Botswana) (AFP) Botswana’s new president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, used his inauguration speech on Sunday to vow to tackle youth unemployment in one of Africa’s most stable countries. The swearing-in ceremony in parliament came after Ian Khama stepped down having completed the constitutional maximum of 10 years in office. As the vice president, Masisi took over automatically, and he is likely to secure a further five-year term in elections in October 2019 when the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is expected to hold on to power. Botswana prides itself on goodRead More
Vatican City (AFP) Pope Francis on Sunday called for an end to “carnage” in Syria and “reconciliation” in the Middle East in his traditional Easter message. “Today we implore fruits of peace upon the entire world, beginning with the beloved and long-suffering land of Syria,” the pontiff said in the “Urbi et Orbi” (To the City and the World) address. Appealing to the “consciences of all political and military leaders,” Francis urged “that a swift end may be brought to the carnage” in Syria as 80,000 pilgrims listened in StRead More
Bangui (Central African Republic) (AFP) UN peacekeepers on patrol in the Central African Republic exchanged fire with members of an armed group in a Muslim enclave of the capital Bangui, the United Nations said Sunday. The peacekeepers were fired at in the Muslim rebel bastion called PK5, home to several armed groups and they responded, said Herve Verhoosel, spokesman for the UN peacekeeping mission known by its initials MINUSCA. The attack occurred Saturday evening and “clearly the target was the peacekeeping troops,” he added. The armed groups operating in theRead More
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
The Hague (AFP) A Malian jihadist was arrested Saturday and handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face war crimes charges for the destruction of Timbuktu and sex slavery, the tribunal said. Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud was detained by the Malian authorities and has now arrived at the tribunal’s detention centre in The Hague, the court said in a late-night statement. The 40-year-old is alleged to have been a member of the Al-Qaeda linked Ansar Dine and the de facto chief of theRead 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
Freetown (AFP) Voters in the West African state of Sierra Leone were called out to vote on Saturday in the final round of a presidential campaign marked by verbal sparring, sporadic violence and a last-minute legal battle. A wafer-thin margin separated the two frontrunners after the first round on March 7, adding to tensions in a country where political loyalties are often divided along ethnic lines and traumatic memories of civil war run deep. Opposition challenger Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) had a narrow edgeRead More