• Nigerien portion of Sahara Desert to be shut to migrants as EU offers 610 million euros to block routes

    16/Dec/2016 // 2358 Viewers


    The European Union offered 610 million euros ($635 million) to Niger on Thursday for keeping a lid on migration from Africa through the Mediterranean to Europe. 

    The bloc, anxious to curb immigration after some 1.4 million refugees and migrants arrived this year and last, is stepping up cooperation with key African countries of origin and transit to ensure fewer people get to European shores.

    The latest money announced for Niger comes from the bloc’s new Africa fund, as well as from Germany, France, and Italy.

    Niger is a Western African country where the desert city of Agadez is a popular way station for migrants attempting to traverse Sahara to reach Libya and eventually Europe via Italy.

    The EU has also offered increased assistance to Senegal, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mali, as well as Afghanistan, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, among others, in similar money-for-migration deals.

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  • Breaking: President orders service providers , AIRTEL, others, to block social media

    16/Dec/2016 // 6203 Viewers


    Social media users' access to social media sites would soon be shut throughout the country as telecommunication companies such as  AIRTEL and others have been given marching orders to block social media networks commencing from Monday, DailyGlobeWatch reliably gathered. 

    President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo gave this order apparently to stop protests against his plans to stay in power beyond the end of his mandate.

    Service providers including Vodacom, Orange and Airtel were silent on the mandate whether they would comply or not. But one industry executive said all companies had signed an agreement to respect national security injunctions.

    The country’s top court has extended Kabila’s tenure beyond the end of his two-term limit in the wake of a deal between the government and some opposition leaders to delay a vote in November to choose a successor until April 2018.

    The government blocked social media networks and the Internet during protests in January 2015, justifying the measure as necessary to prevent rumors that could fuel violence. Human rights groups criticized the decision.

    Kabila took power in 2001 and a campaign by the opposition to force him to step down has led to years of sporadic demonstrations and arrests. More than 50 died in protests in September and a similar number died in January 2015.

    The request to block social media was made in a letter by the Regulatory Authority of the Post and Telecommunications of Congo (ARPTC). Social media listed in letter are Facebook, Twitter, Skype, YouTube and LinkedIn as services that should be blocked temporarily.

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  • EU countries struggle to return migrants to other countries

    16/Feb/2017 // 1798 Viewers


    Countries in the European Union struggled with returning migrants to third countries with less than 60 per cent of return decisions implemented in 2016, the EU border protection agency, Frontex, said in a report on Wednesday.

    “Of more than 305,000 migrants who were ordered to leave EU countries, only about 176,000 actually returned to their countries of origin or other non-EU countries,’’ the report said.

    It noted that the total number of return decisions was most likely even higher than 305,000 due to divergent reporting by four EU countries for part of 2016.

    It added that difficulties in implementing return decision arise from problems in identifying returnees and obtaining the necessary documents from non-EU authorities.

    “Migrants expected to voluntarily return often decide to stay illegally in the EU,’’ it said.

    Frontex’s report showed that by the end of 2016 most migrants arrived to the EU through the central Mediterranean with a total of 180,000 people coming to Italy, mostly via Libya.

    “We have to be ready to face the same number,’’ Fabrice Leggeri, Frontex Executive Director, said with a view to 2017.

    He said that smugglers from Libya try to get migrants to international waters where they are picked up by EU rescue operations and are brought to Europe.

    The small boats used by smugglers have been getting increasingly crowded: while an average of 100 people were crammed on one boat during 2015, the average figure now stands at 160 people. (NAN)


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  • At least 20 dead in ongoing Burkina Faso hotel siege

    16/Jan/2016 // 244 Viewers


    AFP - Burkina Faso troops supported by French special forces were battling Al-Qaeda linked gunmen in the early hours of Saturday in a Ouagadougou hotel where at least 20 people have been killed.

    Sixty-three hostages were rescued, 33 of them wounded, from the Burkinabe capital’s four-star Splendid hotel about two hours after the assault began and heavy gun battles were still being waged on the top floors of the hotel, popular with UN staff and foreigners.

    Twenty people have been confirmed dead, but the toll could rise further as interior minister Simon Campaore told AFP that firefighters had seen 10 bodies on the terrace of a restaurant opposite the hotel.

    It was not clear how many people remained trapped.

    We don’t yet have a total tally of the dead. The Burkinabe forces are still combing the hotel,” Campaore told AFP

    He said it was unclear how many attackers were still inside the 147-room hotel.

    The assault is ongoing with the Burkinabe forces supported by French special forces,” communication minister Remis Dandjinou told AFP.

    The attack comes less than two months after a jihadist hostage siege at the luxury Radisson Blu hotel in the Malian capital Bamako left 20 people dead, including 14 foreigners — an attack claimed by the same Al-Qaeda affiliate behind the unfolding Ouagadougou assault.

    – ‘Revenge against France’ –

    A fire raged at the main entrance of the hotel and screams could be heard from inside, while on the street outside about 10 vehicles were set alight.

    The head of the city’s main hospital confirmed prior to the start of the counter-assault at least 20 people had been killed and another 15 injured.

    A restaurant opposite the hotel was also attacked and a staff member, reached by telephone, said several people had been killed, but was not able to give an exact toll.

    Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack saying it was “revenge against France and the disbelieving West”, according to US-based monitoring group SITE.

    The “mujahideen brothers” of AQIM “broke into a restaurant of one of the biggest hotels in the capital of Burkina Faso, and are now entrenched and the clashes are continuing with the enemies of the religion”, SITE quoted the group as saying.

    The attackers were members of the Al-Murabitoun group based in Mali and run by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, SITE said.

    An AFP reporter at one point saw three men clad in turbans firing at the scene on Avenue Kwame Nkrumah, one of Ouagadougou’s main thoroughfares.

    A witness also reported seeing four assailants who were of Arab or white appearance and “wearing turbans”.

    – Unprecedented attack –

    The French embassy said on its website that a “terrorist attack” was underway and urged people to avoid the area. An Air France flight from Paris to Ouagadougou was diverted to neighbouring Niger.

    A US defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Washington could provide drone-based surveillance.

    The Burkinabe army, meanwhile, said a heavily-armed group of about 20 people had also carried out an attack on Friday near the border with Mali, killing two people — a gendarme and a civilian — and leaving two others wounded.

    Several attacks have taken place in Burkina Faso in recent months, but no such assaults had hit the capital.

    In April the Romanian security chief of a mine in northern Tambao was kidnapped in a move also claimed by Belmokhtar’s Al-Murabitoun group.

    Burkina Faso is part of the G5 Sahel grouping that counts the fight against terrorism as part of its remit.

    It has also offered support to France’s Barkhane counter-terror mission, spanning five countries in Africa’s restive Sahel region, and French special forces are stationed in Ouagadougou’s suburbs.

    Last month, Burkina Faso swore in Roch Marc Christian Kabore as president, completing the troubled West African state’s transition after the overthrow of its longtime ruler Blaise Compaore in 2014 and a failed coup attempt in September.










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  • Ivory Coast toll rises to 19 with body found on beach

    16/Mar/2016 // 222 Viewers


    Grand-Bassam (Ivory Coast) (AFP) - The toll from a deadly attack in Ivory Coast by an Al-Qaeda affiliate rose to 19 on Wednesday, with the body of a young man shot in the head found on the beach.


    State-run RTI television showed images of the body and quoted the person who had found it as saying it had been "washed back by the waves".

    Citizens from Burkina Faso, Germany and France were among those killed when gunmen stormed three hotels and sprayed a beach with bullets at the Grand-Bassam beach resort, an unprecedented jihadist assault in Ivory Coast.

    The sleepy town, with its pristine beaches and UNESCO-listed French colonial-era buildings, is packed with visitors on weekends from nearby Abidjan, Ivory Coast's main city and commercial capital.

    A security source said it was possible that some corpses had been washed away from the beach following the assault.

    Several witnesses had reported seeing the attackers firing on people bathing in the sea or swimming.

    Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM) said the shooting rampage was one of a series of operations "targeting dens of espionage and conspiracies".

    It directly threatened France and its allies in the region in warning that nations involved in the anti-insurgent Operation Barkhane and the 2013 French-led Operation Serval in Mali would "receive a response", with their "criminal leaders" and interests targeted, according to the SITE group which monitors extremist groups.

    Ivory Coast, the world's leading cocoa producer, was France's star colony in Africa.

    On Tuesday the visiting French foreign and interior ministers pledged to step up anti-terrorism cooperation in the region and deploy crack GIGN special operations troops specialising in counter-terrorism and hostage rescue missions.

    France has a permanent military base in Ivory Coast under a deal with the country's founding president Felix Houphouet-Boigny.

    French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said about 10 GIGN troops would be stationed in the capital of neighbouring Burkina Faso and could even intervene if needed.

    Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara meanwhile held a cabinet meeting in Grand-Bassam on Wednesday to show "our unity and our strength," adding: "Ivory Coast will not be intimidated."

    He said he hoped the town's numerous hoteliers would resume business soon, adding: "We will do everything possible so that normal life resumes."

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  • Burkina coup leader charged with ‘crime against humanity’

    16/Oct/2015 // 235 Viewers

    Burkina Faso's military said Friday a general accused of leading a failed coup last month would be prosecuted on an array of charges, including "crime against humanity".

    "Eleven charges have been filed" against General Gilbert Diendere, "notably crime against humanity", Colonel Sita Sangare, in charge of military justice, told a press conference.



    Diendere is accused of leading a power grab by presidential guards loyal to ousted head of state Blaise Compaore on September 17.

    The poor Sahel country was brought to the brink of chaos for six days before the putsch collapsed, with its leaders admitting they lacked popular support.

    The presidential guard has since been disarmed and formally disbanded.

    According to government figures, 14 people were killed and 251 injured in the unrest.

    Amnesty International has demanded putschist troops be punished for violence against civilians.

    "(They) displayed a cold-blooded disregard for human life, killing 14 unarmed protestors and bystanders and wounding hundreds more with automatic weapons," the rights group said in a statement on Wednesday.

    The country's interim government on Wednesday said that presidential and parliamentary elections initially set for October, but delayed by the failed coup, would go ahead on November 29.


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  • Guinean opposition leader Diallo pulls out of vote, claims 'widespread fraud'

    16/Oct/2015 // 210 Viewers

    Preliminary results from Guinea's disputed presidential vote on Wednesday showed incumbent Alpha Condé leading the first round, as his main rival from the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) said he would pull out of the election.

    The opposition has said that Sunday's vote – only the second democratic presidential poll sinceGuinea gained independence in 1958 – was marred by widespread fraud, demanding a re-run.

    Preliminary results from around a quarter of the ballots cast showed Condé comfortably ahead of main rival Cellou Dalein Diallo of the UFDG, with the six other candidates trailing behind, the Independent National Electoral Commission said late Wednesday.

    Diallo's spokesman Aboubacar Sylla said: “The UDFG has decided to definitely put an end to its participation in the current electoral process.”

    He dismissed it as a "travesty of an election". Diallo himself had earlier dubbed the vote "a masquerade, a massive fraud throughout the day".

    His party would "use all legal means, including peaceful demonstrations... to protest against the denial of democracy and justice for which the current authorities are to blame", Sylla said.

    Sarah Sahko, FRANCE 24’s correspondent in the capital Conakry, said Condé’s government appealed for calm and said rival candidates should address electoral institutions with any complaints.

    “Condé warned that there would be sanctions for anyone who calls for post-election violence,” she said.

    It was not immediately clear what Diallo's withdrawal would mean if the election goes to a second round run-off.

    The election commission has been criticised by the opposition and by European Union observers for its poor organisation of the poll.

    EU observer mission chief Frank Engel said the many logistical and organisational problems "confirmed the lack of preparation".

    In a statement earlier, the commission said turnout was extremely high at almost 75 percent and described the atmosphere as being "characterised by serenity, calm and exceptional enthusiasm".

    The first free presidential vote in 2010, won by Condé, 77, in a run-off against Diallo, 63, was tainted by accusations of fraud and violence, as were legislative polls three years later.



    Condé spent nearly three decades in exile in France, where he led opposition to Guinea's dictatorial first president Ahmed Sekou Touré.

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  • Burkina Faso interim president, cabinet ‘detained by presidential guard’

    16/Sep/2015 // 200 Viewers

     AFP (file photo) | Burkina Faso's interim President Michel Kafando

    Soldiers from Burkina Faso’s powerful presidential guard interrupted a cabinet meeting on Wednesday and detained the ministers, the prime minister and interim President Michel Kafando, military sources said.

    The move came two days after a commission charged with drafting reforms for Burkina Faso’s transitional government proposed dismantling the elite unit. The presidential guard, known as the RSP, was a key pillar of President Blaise Compaoré’s regime before he was toppled by demonstrations in October after 27 years in power.

    “It is the whole of the government, including the prime minister and the president, taken by a group of soldiers from the presidential guard,” said one senior military source.

    “They have not asked for anything for the time being.”

    According to information obtained by FRANCE 24, gunshots were heard inside the presidential palace, while Kafando and the prime minister were taken to an unknown location by the soldiers. The presidential guard had reportedly surrounded the palace to prevent anyone from entering or leaving, with the cabinet ministers still inside.

    Journalists from state television, who had gone to film the cabinet meeting confirmed that the cabinet had been detained by soldiers.

    The head of the country’s interim parliament told Reuters that the prime minister, interim president and senior cabinet members had been taken “hostage” by the soldiers and military chiefs were now negotiating their release.

    Civil society activist Souleymane Ouedraogo said on his Facebook page that the soldiers were demanding the resignation of President Kafando. It was not possible to confirm this.

    Burkina Faso is due to go to the polls on Oct. 11 to elect a new president from a field dominated by former members of Compaoré’s regime.

    In a report submitted to Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida, himself a former commander in the presidential guard, the national reconciliation and reform commission described the 1,200-strong unit as “an army within an army”.

    The RSP’s political meddling after Compaoré’s ousting, including attempts to force the prime minister’s resignation over his plans to reduce its size, provoked further protests and prompted authorities to call for a review of the guard’s role.

    Monday’s report recommended that the regiment be broken up and its members redeployed within the framework of a broader reform of the military.



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  • Ivory Coast attacks 'No2' arrested in Mali

    17/Apr/2016 // 523 Viewers


    BAMAKO (AFP) -Mali's special forces have arrested the suspected "Number Two" of a group of Islamists accused of carrying out an attack last month on Ivory Coast's Grand Bassam resort, Malian security sources told AFP Sunday.

    Malian national Alou Doumbia, 32, was arrested in the capital, Bamako, on Saturday night, the sources told AFP. He was wanted in connection with his role in a grenade and rifle assault on Grand Bassam's beachfront hotels that left 19 people dead.

    "Special forces from Mali's intelligence services carried out the arrest of the Number Two of the organisation behind the terrorist attacks against Ivory Coast during a 'special operation'," one of the sources told AFP under condition of anonymity.

    Fifteen people have been detained in connection with what was Ivory Coast's first jihadist attack, later claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in retaliation for anti-terror operations in the Sahel region led by France and its allies.

    Doumbia drove the attackers from Mali to Ivory Coast, according to a second security source, and helped the group rig a 4x4 vehicle to hide an arsenal of weapons in the spare tyre well.

    The brains of the operation, Kounta Dallah, is still at large, and is suspected of both organising and taking part in the attack, as well as appointing Doumbia to his role.

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  • Burkina Faso starts three days of national mourning after deadly hotel attack

    17/Jan/2016 // 278 Viewers


    AP: - Burkina Faso began three days of national mourning Sunday and the president said security would be stepped up after al-Qaida militants killed at least 28 people in an attack on a hotel and cafe popular with foreigners.

    In a message to the nation, President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said the people of Burkina Faso must unite in the fight against terrorism. He also announced on the national broadcaster, Burkina 24, that security forces would be stepping up their efforts to thwart future attacks and asked people to comply with the new restrictions.

    "These truly barbaric criminal acts carried out against innocent people, claimed by the criminal organization al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) seek to destabilize our country and its republican institutions, and to undermine efforts to build a democratic, quiet and prosperous nation," said Kabore.

    The national mourning began Sunday, a day after Burkinabe and French forces ended a more than 12-hour siege at the upscale Splendid Hotel in downtown Ouagadougou. When the gunfire and explosions finally stopped, authorities said 18 were killed in the hotel and 10 were killed at the nearby Cappucino Cafe.

    Among the victims were the wife and young daughter of Italian Gaetan Santomano, who owned the cafe. Government officials say the toll also includes six Canadians, five Burkinabes, two Swiss nationals, two French citizens and one American.

    The American - Michael Riddering, 45, of Cooper City, Florida - had been working as a missionary in Burkina Faso since 2011, where he and his wife ran an orphanage that also provided shelter to abused women and widows. He is survived by his four children, two of whom were adopted from Burkina Faso.

    Riddering was "a wonderful, godly man" who managed to find spare time to help teams of volunteers from other organizations who dug wells for local residents, said John Anderson, a board member of Sheltering Wings, Riddering's charity.

    "During the Ebola crisis, when it was hard to find people to do the digging, Mike would go out and join them so they could continue doing the work," Anderson said. "And that's backbreaking work. He never stopped moving and never stopped helping."

    Swiss authorities said its two nationals who were killed were also in Burkina Faso for humanitarian reasons.

    The al-Qaida group claiming responsibility for the carnage released an audio tape titled: "A Message Signed with Blood and Body Parts."

    On Sunday, French authorities were back at the scene carrying out a forensic investigation. Special forces from the former colonizer came during the overnight siege from their base in neighboring Mali to help Burkina Faso's military put an end to the killings.

    Some guests returned to the Splendid Hotel to pick up their luggage and other belongings left behind when guests fled for their lives when the gunmen began firing to kill as many people as possible.

    The attack, which began around 7:30 p.m. Friday, was the first of its kind in Burkina Faso, a largely Muslim country that had managed to avoid the kinds of jihadist attacks that have destabilized neighboring Mali since 2012.

    In a separate incident two Australian humanitarian workers were kidnapped by extremists in northern Burkina Faso. Surgeon Ken Elliott and his wife Jocelyn were abducted Friday. The couple, reported to be in their 80s, were kidnapped in the northern town of Djibo where they had run a medical center for 40 years.





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