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Freetown (AFP) Vote counting was under way in Sierra Leone Saturday after the final round of a delayed run-off presidential election, pitting the handpicked successor of the outgoing president against a former coup leader, The election, the result of which is expected early next week, followed a campaign marked by verbal sparring, sporadic violence and a last-minute legal battle. Challenger Julius Maada Bio of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) held a narrow lead over the ruling All Peoples’ Congress (APC) candidate Samura Kamara, a close ally of outgoingRead 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
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
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