• Libya truck bombing kills scores of police, injures hundreds

    08/Jan/2016 // 229 Viewers


    (AFP): A massive truck bomb exploded near a police base in the western Libyan town of Zliten on Thursday, killing at least 60 policemen and wounding around 200 others, officials said.

    No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but a local Islamic State affiliate has been trying to gain a foothold in Zliten, spreading westward from its central stronghold in the city of Sirte along the North African country’s coast.

    The U.N. special envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, denounced the attack and urged Libyans to “put their differences aside and unite to confront the scourge of terrorism.” The bombing was yet another reminder for Libyans that “urgent progress is required” toward empowering a unity government and rebuilding state bodies, Kobler said in a statement.

    Hours after the blast, rescue crews at the scene had only managed to extract 60 bodies out of the wreckage, said a hospital spokesman, Moamar Kaddi. Libyan officials said they believed there might be dozens more dead.

    The police base, where about 400 recruits were training, was used by Libya’s border police, a Zliten security official said. Border police foiled numerous human smuggling attempts off the coast of Zliten last year. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

    In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Thursday that the U.S. has not yet determined who is responsible for carrying out a “cowardly act of terrorism” and extended condolences to the victims and the families of those who were killed, and to the Libyan people.

    Earnest said the U.S. remains “deeply concerned” about Islamic State-inspired militants carrying out acts of violence in Libya.

    Smugglers operating in Libya are notorious for responding with violence to any attempt to disrupt their lucrative operations, but there have been no reported incidents in which they used car bombs, suggesting that Islamic militant are more likely to have been behind Thursday’s attack. Also, it was not immediately clear whether the attack was a suicide bombing, a hallmark method of Islamic militants.

    In recent years, thousands of migrants seeking a better life in Europe sailed from Libya on rickety, overcrowded boats. Hundreds have drowned in those crossings.

    Libya slid into chaos following the 2011 toppling and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The oil-rich country is torn between an Islamist government based in the capital, Tripoli, and a rival, internationally recognized administration in the east. Meanwhile, a U.N.-supported unity government sits in neighboring Tunisia.

    Residents in Libyan coastal cities have long expressed fears of the variety of smugglers and traffickers who run lucrative operations along the Mediterranean Sea. Authorities have echoed the same concerns, claiming they are unable to fully tackle these networks without international assistance.





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  • US bombs Islamic State training camp in Libya

    21/Feb/2016 // 680 Viewers


    TRIPOLI—A US air strike on a jihadist training camp in Libya killed dozens of people Friday, probably including a senior Islamic State group operative behind attacks in Tunisia, officials said.
    Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said Noureddine Chouchane, also known as “Sabir,” and other jihadists had been planning attacks against American and other Western interests.
    “We took this action against Sabir in the training camp after determining that both he and the ISIL fighters at these facilities were planning external attacks on US and other Western interests in the region,” Cook said, without providing specifics.
    Freedom. Libyan men wave their national flag during a demonstration marking the fifth anniversary of the Libyan revolution, which toppled strongman Moamer Kadhafi, in the city of Benghazi, the 2011 uprising’s birthplace, some 1,000 kilometres east of Tripoli. Unlike the capital Tripoli, celebrations did not reach Benghazi, where war has raged for two years between the Libyan army and armed groups including Islamists. AFP
    “We see what’s happening in Iraq and Syria and we believe that these fighters in Libya posed a threat to our national security interests.”
    It was the second US air raid in the violence-wracked North African country targeting the fast-expanding jihadist group in the past three months.
    The strike early Friday near the city of Sabratha “likely killed” IS operative Chouchane, a US official said earlier.
    Britain’s defense ministry said the strike on the camp was carried out from a Royal Air Force base, RAF Lakenheath.
    A jihadist safe house was destroyed in the dawn raid about 70 kilometres (42 miles) west of Tripoli, according to Hussein al-Dawadi, an official in Sabratha near the border with Tunisia.
    “The latest toll shows that 49 people were killed,” including up to three women, he told AFP.
    “There are also five wounded, some of them are in critical condition.”

    “It looks like someone important was in the house, but we cannot confirm that for now,” Dawadi added.
    US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that as IS came under pressure in Iraq and Syria it was seeking to establish itself elsewhere, and “Libya has been an area of concern for some time.”

    “As we have opportunities we’re gonna carry out airstrikes against those ISIL elements that are operating in Libya,” he said.
    ‘Four big hits’
    Tunisia’s interior ministry issued a picture of Chouchane Friday and a statement saying that he was a “dangerous terrorist” and a wanted man.

    The Sabratha Municipal Council’s website said rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons were found in the house, which was rented by foreigners including Tunisians.

    It posted pictures of mattresses and blankets among the rubble and a piece of metal bearing the inscription “Islamic State.”
    An AFP photographer saw four large holes he said were probably caused by missiles.
    “We heard four big hits at around 3 am that shook our houses,” resident Moussaab Kamouka said.
    Chouchane is suspected of being behind an attack in July on a beach resort near the Tunisian city of Sousse that killed 38 tourists—including 30 Britons.
    He is also accused of involvement in an attack on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis in March that killed 21 tourists and a policeman.
    Both assaults were claimed by IS, which Washington is also targeting with air strikes in Syria and Iraq where the group has proclaimed an Islamic “caliphate” and committed widespread atrocities.

    The Pentagon’s Cook said Washington was still assessing the raid’s results.

    “Destruction of the camp and Chouchane’s removal will eliminate an experienced facilitator and is expected to have an immediate impact on ISIL’s ability to facilitate its activities in Libya, including recruiting new ISIL members, establishing bases in Libya, and potentially planning external attacks on US interests in the region,” he said.
    He said the strike showed the US will target IS “whenever it is necessary”.

    - Obama pledge -

    In November, a US air strike in Libya killed an IS leader, Abu Nabil, an Iraqi also known as Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al-Zubaydi.
    It was the first US strike against an IS leader in Libya, where the Pentagon estimates the jihadist group has about 5,000 fighters.
    US President Barack Obama vowed Tuesday not to let IS build a base in Libya.
    “We are working with our other coalition partners to make sure that, as we see opportunities to prevent ISIS from digging in in Libya, we take them,” Obama said.
    “We will continue to take actions where we got a clear operation and a clear target in mind.”
    IS has exploited the turmoil in Libya since the overthrow of dictator Moamer Kadhafi five years ago, raising fears that it is establishing a new stronghold on Europe’s doorstep.

    Last June, it captured the city of Sirte, 280 miles (450 kilometres) east of Tripoli, and has since attacked coastal oil facilities and staged a string of suicide bombings.
    The internationally recognised government has been based in the country’s far east, having fled a militia alliance including Islamists that overran the capital in August 2014.
    The alliance has its own administration and parliament in the capital. The UN is pushing both sides to back a unity government to tackle jihadists and people-smugglers. - AFP

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  • : Breaking News: Top Government Minister assassinated!

    01/Jan/2017 // 7932 Viewers


    PARIS, JANUARY 1, 2017: (DGW) REPORTS  filtering into our newsroom here in the French capital of Paris say a 54-year-old  top government Minister has just been assassinated thus provoking tears, fears, and sorrow.

    He is Burundi Minister of water and environment, Mr. Emmanuel Niyonkuru in wake of the continuing the cycle of violence in the tiny African country.

    Burundi’s police confirmed the death of the 54-year-old cabinet member of the government of President Pierre Nkurunziza. He was appointed minister after a long time in banking in August 2015.

    At least 500 people have been killed and 300,000 have fled the country since unrest began in April 2015.

    Niyonkuru was shot dead in the capital Bujumbura early on Sunday, police said, the first assassination of its kind since the country was plunged into political turmoil.

    He was killed shortly after midnight, according to a tweet sent by police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye.

    The murder, the first of a serving government minister since Burundi sank into turmoil over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial bid for a third term , came after months of relative calm.

    “Minister of water and environment killed by a criminal with a gun on his way home to Rohero, around 00:45,” Nkurikiye wrote four hours after the incident.

    He added that a woman had been arrested following the “assassination”.

    Also on Twitter, Nkurunziza offered his condolences “to the family and all Burundians” vowing the crime would be punished.

    Niyonkuru was born on 20 July 1962 in Gashingwa in the province of Muramvya. He attended the University of Burundi from 1987 to 1991 in the Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences.

    He was elected Senator of the electoral district of Muramvya for the 2015-2020 term.

    From 2 January 1992 to 24 August 2015, Niyonkuru was deputy director of the Bank of the Republic of Burundi (BRB).

    Until his appointment as minister, he was a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of the Republic of Burundi and a member of the National Committee for Development and Implementation of the Development Plan. Financial Market in Burundi.

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  • Clashes as France starts destroying 'Jungle' migrant camp

    01/Mar/2016 // 200 Viewers


    Calais (France) (AFP) - Clashes broke out between French riot police and migrants on Monday as authorities began destroying makeshift shelters in the grim shantytown on the edge of Calais known as the "Jungle".


    Police lobbed tear gas cannisters at migrants who protested as around 20 workers moved in to start pulling down the shacks by hand, initially under blue skies as an icy wind blew.

    As night fell some 150 migrants threw rocks and struck vehicles heading for England on a port road which runs next to the sprawling camp, staying there for an hour or so, some wielding iron bars, an AFP reporter said. Police responded with tear gas.

    Several trucks and cars were blocked by migrants on the stretch of road overlooking a piece of ground which had previously been part of the Jungle.

    Earlier, migrants and members of the British "No Borders" activist group, who launched projectiles at the police, set fire to about 20 shelters at the camp, as running clashes continued through the afternoon.

    By 1845 GMT police had back control of the port road, which remained strewn with debris. Three members of No Borders and one migrant were arrested, according to local government officials.

    - 'Infinitely sad' -

    The demolition of the southern half of the camp began after a court petition by charities to stop it was rejected last week.

    "It's infinitely sad to see the waste of so much work that we've done in the past months," said Maya Konforti of the Auberge des Migrants (Migrants' Hostel) charity.

    Volunteers and aid workers have spent months trying to improve conditions in the camp, built on a former toxic waste dump on the outskirts of Calais.

    Local authorities, who have promised that no one will be evacuated by force, say 3,700 people live in the camp, and that between 800 and 1,000 will be affected by the eviction.

    But charities say a recent census they conducted counted at least 3,450 people in the southern part alone, including 300 unaccompanied children.

    The evicted migrants have been offered heated accommodation in refitted containers set up next door to the camp, but many are reluctant to move there because they lack communal spaces and movement is restricted.

    They have also been offered places in some 100 reception centres dotted around France.

    But the migrants do not want to give up their hopes of Britain, which they try to reach daily by sneaking aboard lorries and ferries crossing the Channel.

    "These people want to reach Britain and won't leave. They will end up in even more hardship, particularly in winter," Konforti said.

    - Under pressure -

    The demolition of the Jungle comes ahead of talks on Thursday between French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

    Britain has put substantial pressure on France to stem the flow of migrants getting across the Channel, and has funded a huge increase in security measures around the port and tunnel in Calais.

    The Jungle has played into fraught discussions about Britain's possible exit from the European Union (EU).

    Some opponents of "Brexit" say that if Britain were to leave the EU, the British government would lose the ability to call on France to stop the refugees from trying to make their way across the Channel.

    "We are carrying out our orders so that the migrants leave the camp and we will continue this work this morning... so that the destruction work can continue calmly and that the migrants are not under pressure from the No Borders activists," said local authority head Fabienne Buccio on Monday.

    The migrants in Calais make up a tiny fraction of those fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.

    They try to climb on to lorries boarding ferries for Britain, which they are drawn to by family or community ties, because of a shared language, or because they think they have a greater chance of finding work there.- AFP

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  • Egypt rescuers widen search for Russian plane crash victims

    01/Nov/2015 // 168 Viewers

     Egyptian Prime Minister's office/AFP | Wreckage of the crashed Russian airliner in the mountainous Hassana area of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula



    Egyptian rescue teams were looking Sunday for more victims of a Russian passenger plane crash in Sinai, widening the search after finding bodies scattered across eight square kilometres a day after the incident.

    A military officer helping with the search told AFP that rescuers had found 163 bodies out of a total of 224 people who were on board the Airbus 321, which crashed after taking off from a Red Sea beach resort.

    The plane was carrying 214 Russian and three Ukrainian passengers, along with seven crew members.

    Rescuers have decided to widen the search perimeter to 15 square kilometres (six square miles), the officer added.

    "We found a three-year-old girl eight kilometres from the scene" of the main wreckage, he told AFP from military base in El-Hasana, around 60 kilometres from the crash site.

    Many of the bodies were missing limbs, said the officer, who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to media.

    Meanwhile Russian investigators have arrived in Cairo and will be given access to the scene of the wreckage in a remote part of the restive Sinai Peninsula, the official MENA news agency reported.

    Investigators had recovered the plane's black box and the government said its contents were being analysed to determine the cause of the incident.

    Egyptian and Russian officials have expressed scepticism about a claim by an Islamic State group branch in Egypt that it downed the plane.

    The jihadists operate in the north of the peninsula, where they have waged an insurgency that killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since 2013.

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  • Al Shabaab militants launch deadly attack on Somali hotel

    01/Nov/2015 // 3368 Viewers

     Mohamed Abdiwahab, AFP | In this file photo, a Somali soldier stands guard next to the site where Al Shabaab militants carried out a suicide attack against a military intelligence base in Mogadishu on June 21, 2015

    Two bombs ripped into a hotel in the centre of the Somali capital on Sunday morning and police fought Islamist al Shabaab gunmen who stormed inside the building, police and witnesses said. At least eight people were killed.

    Al Shabaab, which has frequently launched attacks in Mogadishu in its bid to topple the Western-backed government, said it was behind the assault on the Sahafi hotel where government officials and lawmakers stay.

    “Mujahideen (fighters) entered and took over Sahafi hotel where enemies lived. The operation still goes on,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman, told Reuters.

    The incident mirrored tactics used before by al Shabaab, in which it detonates bombs to break through security at targets and then sends in fighters.

    Major Ahmed Nur, a police officer, told Reuters that a car bomb rammed the entrance to the hotel and was followed by second blast, which a security guard said was a second vehicle bomb.

    Nur said at least eight people were killed, including the hotel owner, guards and civilians, but said the toll could rise.

    Police were still exchanging fire with attackers inside the hotel about two hours after the assault began.

    “Fighters with machines guns are firing at us from the rooftop of the hotel,” said Major Osman Ali, another police officer.

    The hotel lies near a busy area in Mogadishu known as K-4. Plumes of smoke rose above the capital on the Indian Ocean coast.

    “We get phone calls from staff hiding in hotel rooms saying that there are several injured people in the hotel,” police officer Nur said. “Some government officials are inside the hotel. The death toll may rise.”

    A Reuters witness saw wrecked cars and destroyed motorbikes in the area, as well as two dead civilians lying outside. At least three others were injured. Some parts of the hotel were damaged.


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  • Tanzanzia officially announces John Magufuli as new President

    01/Nov/2015 // 151 Viewers

    Tanzania's next president is officially announced, but the opposition boycotts the ceremony, claiming votes were rigged. Meanwhile on Zanzibar, uncertainty is growing after elections were annulled.

    The UN's top official in the Central African Republic condemns the violence as at least 11 people are killed in religious unrest. And we head to eastern Ethiopia, where Hyenas are local stars. For some communities the animal is believed to have spiritual powers

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  • Former Sierra Leonean rebel leader Sankoh dies

    02/Jan/2016 // 942 Viewers


    Associated Press: Foday Sankoh, who led a devastating 10-year rebel campaign in Sierra Leone, has died while awaiting trial for war crimes, the United Nations said today.
    Sankoh, 65, died late last night while in UN custody in a hospital in the capital Freetown, said David Hecht of the UN-Sierra Leone war crimes court.

    Sankoh's death from natural causes granted him "a peaceful end that he denied to so many others", according to a statement from the office of the court's chief prosecutor, David Crane.

    Sankoh had been unwell since his capture in early 2000. In June 2002, in one of his last court hearings in which he spoke, the rebel leader appeared dishevelled, in matted white dreadlocks.

    "I'm a god," the handcuffed ex-warlord told court officials then. "I'm the inner God. I'm the leader of Sierra Leone."

    Authorities announced in October 2002 he had suffered what they at first called a mild stroke. The war crimes court said in June it was pursuing a waiver on a UN travel ban against Sankoh so it could send him outside Sierra Leone for treatment.

    The court's acting chief of defence, John Jones, said then that Sankoh was in a "catatonic, stuporous state".

    Sankoh, a former wedding photographer turned soldier, trained in the cold war guerrilla camps of Muammar Gadafy.

    His companions there included Charles Taylor, the president of neighbouring Liberia, who also has been indicted for his alleged role in supporting rebels in the Sierra Leone conflict.

    Sankoh's Revolutionary United Front, founded in Libya in 1988-89, launched the insurgency in 1991, bent on winning control of Sierra Leone's government and diamond fields.

    His drugged, drunk rebels became notorious for their heartlessness, killing, raping, maiming and kidnapping tens of thousands of civilians.

    Under Sankoh, rebels made a trademark of hacking off the hands, feet, lips and ears of victims with machetes.

    Sankoh was captured after his fighters gunned down more than a dozen protesters outside his Freetown home, and had been in UN custody in prisons and hospitals since.

    The war was brought to an end through military intervention by Britain, Guinea and the United Nations crushed the rebels in early 2002.

    Sankoh, born on October 17 1937, had faced a 17-count war-crimes indictment, as well as separate charges in a Sierra Leone national court.

    His condition had slowed proceedings, and Sankoh's last appearances in court were in a wheelchair, with Sankoh unable to respond to questions.

    The court statement said that despite Sankoh's death, prosecutors would attempt through other war-crimes trials to establish his "involvement in the atrocious deeds that have left a legacy of horror in the minds and memories of those who survived".

    He is survived by his wife, Fatou Sankoh, and at least one daughter. News of his death was slow to break in Freetown, a city still bearing scars of the war. Sierra Leone's government refused to issue any immediate comment.

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  • West African leaders 'in al-Qaida plot

    02/Jan/2016 // 822 Viewers


    The governments of Liberia and Burkina Faso facilitated an al-Qaida plot to funnel diamonds and weapons through west Africa before and after the September 11 attacks, it was reported yesterday.
    A joint investigation by European intelligence agencies has uncovered an elaborate web of bribery and clandestine deals which allowed Osama bin Laden's terror group to hide financial assets in the region, according to the Washington Post.

    The paper said the Liberian president, Charles Taylor, received $1m (£625,000) to harbour senior al-Qaida operatives after the attacks in New York and Washington in September 2001.

    The Islamists are said to have shuttled between areas under Mr Taylor's protection and the presidential compound in Burkina Faso while buying $20m worth of diamonds, effectively cornering the market in west Africa's precious stones. At the same time they sought sophisticated weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles.

    President Blaise Campaore of Burkina Faso and Mr Taylor deny the accusation, which is included in a summary of the joint intelligence findings.

    The European investigators, who lost track of the diamonds after they left west Africa, were quoted criticising the CIA for not responding to the information they shared.

    Since Mr Taylor triumphed in Liberia's civil war, the country has been run as his fiefdom and the UN has banned him and his aides from international travel. Gangsters and smugglers have flocked to the capital, Monrovia.

    Al-Qaida's effort to hide assets in the region appears to date from 1998, after the bombings of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya led to an international effort to freeze its bank accounts and other assets.

    Two al-Qaida operatives on the FBI's wanted list allegedly toured diamond fields in Liberia and Sierra Leone and supervised the trade from a military camp in Liberia.

    The report named three men - a Lebanese diamond merchant, his cousin and a Senegalese mercenary - as conduits who linked the Islamists to the Liberian leadership and a company in Belgium which polished and sold the stones.

    In 2000 the firm is said to have sold diamonds worth $14m. Calls from its headquarters and a satellite phone were traced to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq.

    In January 2001 the Islamists and their conduits rented a large house in Monrovia which became their base. In the summer of that year two alleged al-Qaida operatives, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani and Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, allegedly stayed in the compound of the president of Burkina Faso in the capital, Ougadougou, before moving to Camp Gbatala, a military camp in Liberia near Mr Taylor's private farm. For that the Liberian president was allegedly paid $1m.

    After September 11 the Pentagon sent a special forces team to neighbouring Guinea to snatch the pair, but the plan was scrapped when their identities could not be confirmed.

    Simultaneously, the Islamist cell allegedly tried to buy weapons from an Israeli arms dealer in Panama. An intercepted email from the Israeli to a Russian arms merchant, listing assault rifles, ammunition, ground-to-air missiles and 200 rockets for multiple rocket launchers, said the consignment was for "our friends in Africa".













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  • Rwanda accused of manipulating poverty statistics

    02/Nov/2015 // 235 Viewers

    Rwandan authorities manipulated the latest official statistics on poverty to make it look like it was going down, while much of the source data suggested it was actually on the increase, according to information obtained by FRANCE 24.

    While international NGOs such as Human Rights Watch regularly accuse the Rwandan government of oppressing its people, Rwanda is usually praised by the West for its development policies.

    But according to information obtained by FRANCE 24 and Belgian university professor Filip Reyntjens, Kigali has brazenly manipulated its latest official report on poverty in the central African country.

    The story starts with private organisation Oxford Policy Management (OPM), which regularly provides statistical data on Rwanda’s socio-economic situation. OPM hands over this data to Rwanda, which then publishes it.

    Poverty ‘actually rose by six percent’

    But in the most recent case – concerning a report entitled “Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey” (EICV4), focusing on the period 2013-14 and published last month – the facts appear to have been altered by the Rwandan government department responsible for publishing official economic statistics.

    “This time there was a disagreement between OPM and Rwanda over the methodology used,” one source close to the case – who like most sources who criticise Rwanda asked to remain anonymous – told FRANCE 24.

    This source contacted Dr Filip Reyntjens, professor of African Law and Politics at the University of Antwerp, who is considered one of the leading experts on Rwanda today.

    “The government changed the methodology, especially the poverty line, before publishing the report,” Reyntjens told FRANCE 24. “So in the final report, instead of going up, poverty levels appears to have gone down by several percentage points.”

    “We redid the calculations using the initial methodology, and the results show that the poverty rate actually rose by six percent in 2013-14,” he added.

    To obtain this decrease in the poverty levels, the authors modified the consumption criteria of the poorest Rwandans.

    “They massively reduced the quantities (by 70% of more) of three traditional staples: sweet potato, Irish potato and banana,” another source, who also asked not to be named, told FRANCE 24. “This is not valid and therefore we cannot have confidence in the new poverty line as put forward by the report.”

    OPM distances itself from the final report

    The Rwandan authorities do state in the report state they had to “update” the methodology. They also compare the EICV4 results with previous reports, an incorrect and misleading argument because of the altered methodology.

    Furthermore, in previous reports OPM was always mentioned as one of the authors. This time it isn’t, and OPM members reportedly refused to be named because of the changes.

    OPM told FRANCE 24 they had submitted work for EICV4 but did not want to make any further comment.

    “Our contract has a confidentiality clause that prevents us from disclosing any information about the work that we have done for Stats Rwanda,” said OPM Director Simon Hunt.

    FRANCE 24 also asked the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda, responsible for publishing the final report, for a reaction. At first they did not respond. The Institute later said that director had gone on holiday for several weeks.

    Britain backs Rwanda

    The United Kingdom is one of Rwanda’s biggest donors, and London is regularly accused of being too lenient with President Paul Kagame, who has been Rwanda’s de facto leader for more than twenty years.

    A change in the constitution will soon allow him to run for a controversial third term in office, and any proof that he has been able to reduce poverty in Rwanda will be a significant advantage.

    London has jumped to defend Kigali amid the latest allegations. The Department for International Development (DFID), a United Kingdom government department responsible for administering overseas aid, told FRANCE 24 it was “aware of concerns raised by some people regarding the latest poverty estimates in Rwanda”.

    “We believe the revision of the methodology used to estimate poverty levels for the EICV4 poverty survey was justified,” a DFID spokesman added.

    Filip Reyntjens, from the University of Antwerp, strongly disagrees: “There were no major changes in the structure of people’s consumption. They didn’t only update the poverty line, as they say, but they went as far as artificially reducing it to give the impression that the poverty rate was going down when in reality it was going up.

    “There is no methodological justification for that.”

    To explain why the West – and particularly the UK – remains silent on such blatant manipulation, one leading expert on Rwanda, who asked not to be named, put forward several reasons.

    “There are strategic interests,” the expert said. “Seven years ago Kagame decided that English would replace French in schools and in government administration. His country joined the Commonwealth and London is Rwanda’s biggest aid donor, so if the country’s results are good it shows that the aid money is being used efficiently.”

    For Filip Reyntjens, the EICV4 case is serious. “Rwanda is keen on showing strong ‘development’ and the international community continues to accept a trade-off between this ‘development’ and repression,” he said.

    “If this ‘development’ is not based on evidence, as appears to be the case now, all that is left is repression.”

    Date created : 2015-11-02

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