• Libya truck bombing kills scores of police, injures hundreds

    08/Jan/2016 // 524 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 // 1021 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: African Union backs mass withdrawal from ICC, but Nigeria, Senegal remain - BBC reports

    01/Feb/2017 // 2969 Viewers


    Africa has 34 signatories to the Rome Statute, the treaty that set up the court
    The African Union has called for the mass withdrawal of member states from the International Criminal Court (ICC). However, the resolution is non-binding, with Nigeria and Senegal opposing a withdrawal.
    South Africa and Burundi have already decided to withdraw, accusing the ICC of undermining their sovereignty and unfairly targeting Africans.
    The ICC denies the allegation, insisting it is pursuing justice for victims of war crimes in Africa.
    The AU took the decision on Tuesday following a divisive debate at its annual heads of state of summit in Addis Ababa, the BBC's Emmanuel Igunza reports from Ethiopia's capital.
    Part of the resolution also said the AU would hold talks with the UN Security Council to push for the ICC to be reformed, our correspondent adds.
    Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the court on charges of genocide in Darfur, was at the summit.
    In 2015, a South African court criticised President Jacob Zuma's government for failing to arrest Mr Bashir when he attended an AU meeting in the main city, Johannesburg.
    The government later announced that it was withdrawing from the ICC because it did not want to execute arrest warrants which would lead to "regime change".
    A total of 34 African states are signatories to the Rome Statute, which set up the ICC.

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  • Amid anxiety, controversies at home African Union Heads of States and Gov'ts reportedly observe one-minute silence in memory of Nigeria's President

    01/Feb/2017 // 7188 Viewers


    PARIS, FEBRUARY 1, 2017: (DGW) AS Buhari's death rumour continues to spread across the world like wildfire with repeated denials by the Nigerian government, African Union Heads of states and government reportedly held a one-minute silence in honor and memory of the 'departed' Nigerian leader, President Muhammadu Buhari.

    The one-minute silence was held on Monday, January 29, 2017 at the 28th ordinary session of the AU summit in the African diplomatic capital of Adis Ababa, Ethiopia.

    It was, however, reported during the official opening session at the Summit, the Chadian President Idris Derby Idno, who is also the current Chairman of the continental body urged his counterparts to stand up for a one-minute silence for ''our departed late brother'', the president of Nigeria.

    But the Nigerian government in a swift reaction has repeatedly and consistently denied the report, dismissing it with a trivial hand as a rumour while threatening fire and brimstone on the President's ill-wishers insisting that the President is hale and hearty and only taking a rest from work on vacation in the UK.

    The president of Africa's most populous nation departed Nigeria on January 19, 2017 for a 10-day vacation which expired on January 29, 2017 thus giving rise to worries and anxiety by many Nigerians across the world about the whereabouts of their president.

    Meanwhile, the Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo, a Professor of Law, has since assumed duties as Nigeria's  Acting President until his anticipated return.



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  • : Breaking News: Top Government Minister assassinated!

    01/Jan/2017 // 8345 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 // 460 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 // 370 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 // 3706 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 // 390 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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  • No longer at ease, Italy blows hot, 'bypasses' Nigeria, releases 200 million euros to African countries to beef up border controls

    02/Feb/2017 // 6960 Viewers


    Italy set up a fund to help African countries better seal their borders in a bid to keep migrants from boarding flimsy and often deadly rubber boats bound for Europe, the foreign minister said on Wednesday.

    Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano's announcement of the 200-million-euro ($216 million) fund comes two days before European Union leaders meet in Malta to discuss their plan to stop African immigrants from arriving in Europe.

    A record 181,000 migrants reached Italy over the Mediterranean last year, most of them leaving from Libya where people smugglers operate with impunity. More than 5,000 are believed to have died attempting the crossing in 2016, aid agencies estimate.

    "The strategic objective is to help (African countries) control their external borders and to stop departures," Alfano told reporters in Rome. African countries can request training and equipment to beef up border controls.

    At the moment, Libya, Tunisia and Niger are the three "strategic" partners for the fund, Alfano said, but Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt and Ethiopia could be future partners.

    Italy has repeatedly criticised the EU response to the migration crisis, in particular the failure to agree between EU states over how to share out those refugees and migrants who make it into the bloc.

    All 28 EU states agree, however, on the need to prevent them from coming in the first place and are increasingly offering money and other assistance to countries in the Middle East and North Africa to that end.

    The bloc's executive European Commission last week proposed mobilising a further 200 million euros for projects such as training and equipping the Libyan coast guard and boosting voluntary returns.

    European leaders will give such plans a political push on Friday during a meeting in Malta. The bloc is looking at financing camps on the southern shores of the Mediterranean sea to house refugees and migrants.

    "We haven't talked about setting up camps in Tunisia or elsewhere," Alfano said, saying it would be premature to do so in Libya because of the lack of security. "We're trying to work so that there will be no need for camps."

    The security situation in Libya is extremely poor since the overthrow of the country's strongman leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. State structures have collapsed and a new, U.N.-backed government in Tripoli does not control its territory.

    Militias and people smugglers control the migration routes and the United Nations sounded alarm last year that migrants in Libya suffer consistent and widespread abuse, including arbitrary detention, forced labour, rape and torture. - Reuters

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