• Cameroon delays quizzing of bomber claiming to be Chibok schoolgirl as doubts mount

    29/Mar/2016 // 188 Viewers

     

    By Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

    ABUJA, Nigeria, March 28 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Cameroon officials delayed on Monday the questioning of a female suicide bomber claiming to be one of the schoolgirls abducted from Chibok in northeast Nigeria two years ago by Islamic militants due to injuries as doubts mounted over her identity.

    The girl claiming to be one of the 219 missing schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram and another woman were arrested on Friday carrying explosives in Limani in northern Cameroon that has been the target of frequent suicide bombings recently.

    The arrest raised hopes that the girl might be able to assist the Nigerian government in investigations regarding the fate and whereabouts of the missing Chibok girls.

    Nigerian officials said they were sending parents from Chibok to verify whether the girl was one of the secondary school girls whose abduction sparked world outrage and the massive campaign #bringbackourgirls.

    Garba Shehu, spokesperson for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, said they had hoped the girl could be questioned on Monday and meet Chibok parents to confirm her identity but it was looking less likely that she was one of the missing girls.

    He said she now needed medical treatment before being questioned with the cause of her injuries unknown. Cameroon officials have instead sent photos to local non-government organisation, the Murtala Muhammed Foundation, to pass to the Chibok parents.

    "She was found to be heavily drugged and bore several injuries on her body, for which she is receiving treatment," Shehu told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an email statement.

    But he said as investigations went on it was seeming less likely the girl was one of the missing girls. He said she appeared to be aged between nine and 12 and her accomplice aged about 30 years or older.

    "All these go to reinforce suspicion that the arrested girls may not fit into the profile of secondary students who are usually of the age 15 and above," Shehu said.

    Shehu said Nigeria's Ministry of Women Affairs, the Nigerian High Commission in Cameroon and all government agencies were continuing "to work together with other stakeholders in trying to get to get to the bottom of the issue".

    The Murtala Muhammed Foundation in Nigeria, a non-government organisation which has been supporting the Chibok parents association, was working with the Nigerian government to organise a trip to Cameroon by parents to meet the girl.

    Former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan was criticized for his slow reaction to the Chibok abductions by Boko Haram, which at its strongest held large swathes of northern Nigeria.

    Joint operations between Nigeria and neighbouring countries succeeded in driving Boko Haram from many of its strongholds last year but the Islamists have stepped up cross-border attacks and suicide bombings, many of them carried out by young girls.

    Muhammadu Buhari, who defeated Jonathan in a 2015 election, ordered a new investigation into the kidnappings in January.


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  • Shocking New Evidence: The Real Reason Gaddafi Was Killed

    29/May/2016 // 9138 Viewers

     

    Qaddafi was not killed for humanitarian purposes but for the oil and for money. His ideas of an African gold-backed currency were his major undoing.


    The recent Hillary Clinton email leaks have opened a can of worms everywhere including in Africa. Wikileaks released an unclassified U.S. Department of State document emailed to Clinton, dated April 2, 2011. Sidney Blumenthal, the sender of the email confirmed what the world already suspected. Qaddafi was not killed for humanitarian purposes but for the oil and for money. His ideas of an African gold-backed currency were his major undoing.

    In April 2011, then President of the World Bank, Robert Bruce Zoellick spoke at a panel discussion about how he hoped the World Bank would have some sort of role in the reconstruction of Libya along with other countries.

    “Reconstruction now means (Ivory Coast), it now means Southern Sudan, it means Liberia, it means Sri Lanka, I hope it will mean Libya,” he said.

    To the ordinary person, this was the World Bank hoping to come in to help a failing state but to Economist John Perkins, the World Bank was not to be considered as fulfilling its supposed mandate. It was in actual fact a U.S. bank together with its sibling, the IMF. The United States controls about 16% of the World Bank while the second largest member, Japan has a paltry 7%. The United States again has around 17% voting rights in the International Monetary Fund. His point was that these institutions were and still are extensions of the Western foreign policy.

    “So, we might ask ourselves: What happens when a “rogue” country threatens to bring the banking system that benefits the corporatocracy to its knees?” he asked later saying the Western empire has a standing army (NATO) to violently protect its position.

    Libya was the “rogue” nation but the question is: Just what did Gaddafi have in mind?

    According to the IMF, Libya’s Central Bank is 100% state owned and in 2011, it was estimated to have 144 tons of gold in its vaults. Muammar Gaddafi’s plan was to introduce a gold-backed currency which he hoped African and Muslim nations would adopt. He felt it could rival the euro and the dollar, and rightly so too.

    Sidney Blumenthal, in his email to Hillary Clinton confirmed, “Qaddafi's government holds 143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver. During late March, 2011 these stocks were moved to SABHA (south west in the direction of the Libyan border with Niger and Chad); taken from the vaults of the Libyan Central Bank in Tripoli.”

    He went on to say the gold and silver was valued at $7 billion and was one of the reasons Nicolas Sarkozy embarked on a French attack of Libya.

    “Sarkozy's plans are driven by the following issues:

    a. A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,

    b. Increase French influence in North Africa,

    c. Improve his internal political situation in France,

    d. Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,

    e. Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi's long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in, Francophone Africa,” wrote Blumenthal.

    If Qaddafi had succeeded, the United States of America and Europe would have been forced to buy oil and minerals in the gold backed currency thus tipping the scales. This was a horror the West dared not experience. The situation would have been a more lethal re-enactment of Saddam Hussein’s currency wars when he supported the new Euro currency at the expense of the United States Dollar. 

    At this point, the U.S. was highly insecure about the effects of the new currency to its economy. Hussein’s decision to sell oil in the then new currency was a blow to the U.S. worsened by the proclamation that the dollar was the “currency of the enemy”. Currency wars have therefore been a fact of history with the Hussein situation being a peculiar intra-Western conflict that culminated in the Middle East instability promulgated by U.S. interventionist policies. That Qaddafi would be killed for planning to introduce an African currency to the fray is not surprising but that does not make it acceptable.

    The leaked Clinton email has far-reaching implications on the fluid state of post-colonial relations with the West. If anything, it is an eye-opener. Where Africa seeks to build an independent economic structure, the West is seen to try and derail those plans so as to retain its primacy in world affairs.

    With regard to the creation of a new currency, Ministry of Peace Founder, Dr James Thring said, “It’s one of those things that you have to plan almost in secret, because as soon as you say you’re going to change over from the dollar to something else, you’re going to be targeted.”

    And Qaddafi was targeted. He may not have been the most democratic leader in the world but Libyan citizens had arguably the best way of life in Africa. His plan of action (without the human rights violations) should be a blueprint for African development.


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  • Muammar Gaddafi and The United States of Africa

    29/May/2016 // 803 Viewers

     

    Whoever killed the Colonel also killed off the prospects of a United States of Africa and its gold backed Afro–currency.

    Someone killed Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. It might have been the National Transitional Council of Libya or a French spy but someone did it. Whoever killed the Colonel also killed off the prospects of a United States of Africa and its gold backed Afro–currency. Yes, it sounds interestingly similar to the Star Trek ideas of a unified Africa and who knows, maybe the good colonel was inspired by the film or maybe he was just a step ahead in the evolutionary curve. Gaddafi was a known advocate of one unified African country with one leader and no prizes for guessing who that would be. It would be him, the one true King of Kings; a title he manipulated gullible traditional leaders to accord him. Interestingly, after his death, President Robert Mugabe showed interest in the idea. Who better to lead the United States of Africa than a man with thirty-six years’ experience in African politics? Do not answer that.

    Colonel Gaddafi pushed for the creation of the United States of Africa at the 2000 African Union Summit in Lome, Togo. He went on to provide financial incentives to encourage agreement with his ideas. In another world this would be bribery but in Gaddafi’s world, it was flawless politicking. The Wall Street Journal reports that the strongman at one point bankrolled African Union expenses by providing at least 15% of the African Union membership fees and helping nations in arrears like Malawi clear their balances. He then presented the USA idea in June 2007 in Conakry, Guinea and then again in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in February 2009. It did sound like a power-hungry man’s plot to take over the world. If he had had the signature villainous laugh, it would have been clear that he was indeed the reincarnation of every glorified childhood cartoon villain anyone ever knew. His idea though grand and impressive on paper was a proposal to take 54 egos and make them pledge allegiance to one leader; himself! A little far-fetched one would think.

    It is however true that the current hastily drawn state boundaries are a Western caricature of sorts. They are a disturbingly sharp echo of the Berlin conference and how men from without decided the fate of Africa’s within. It was an arbitrary process meant to save face and pretend an almost inevitable war at the time. These men ended up drawing boundaries on geographic lines yet Africa was based on ethnicity and tribe which blurred boundaries. Gaddafi’s idea was therefore a corrective measure which did not pretend to solve the complexities of African society. The Colonel was therefore very much in the right and to make certain he was going to be successful, he approached traditional leaders because these are in actual facts the true leaders of Africa. Modern day political leaders are again a shadow of Western civilization forced on Africa to strip tradition of its powers. Obviously people may roll their eyes at this seemingly idealistic and slightly quixotic idea but it is the truth. Gaddafi sought to bring back Africa to its state of nature where he would be royalty. The last bit did not get him any new friends and made his plans a toll order.

    Clearly, a United States of Africa would do away with boarders between territories and enhance trade and travel. It has been estimated that intra-African trade hovers around the 12% range compared to Europe’s 60% and North America’s 40%. One Africa would take away the unnecessary boundaries that prevent free trade and impose unnecessary tariffs and punishment on trade. More so, the Colonel had suggested that the continent have one currency, the Afro. This would again do wonders for internal trade and create one robust economy. Some conspiracy theorists claim this is why he was killed. He wanted to create an economy that would challenge Western dominance. Now that he is gone, the world may never know. For now, everyone has to be content with regional trading blocs which have increasingly become a force in African economics and internal trade. In fact, Gaddafi’s idea of a single currency was approved in 1991 marking 2028 as the year by which this currency which Gaddafi hoped would be called the Afro would have been brought into circulation in the continent. Already, eight countries in West Africa maintain a single currency and six more in Central Africa are doing the same. The philosophy bankrolling these moves is that Africa can only be recognized as a force if and only if it stands up as a synergy in one accord to do away with the imperial powers’ divide and conquer strategies.

    Though Colonel Gaddafi was buried together with Africa’s best chance of the United States, the dream has not entirely died off. It was not a Gaddafi original creation anyway since Bob Marley had sung about it and Marcus Mosiah Garvey had penned catchy poetry way before Gaddafi started advocating for it. It is a known fact that Gaddafi had tried to form some sort of coalition for the Arab nations and when this failed, he turned to Africa (maybe inspired by Garvey?) which resulted in his domestically unpopular “Africanization of Libya”. Maybe this was just a man trying to push his ends and achieve supremacy. President Zuma, in a speech soon after Gaddafi’s death said he was happy no one would intimidate other AU members in the manner Gaddafi did.

    However, President Mugabe of Zimbabwe has been heard to have accused the AU of an underwhelming discharge of its duties. He then suggested that a US of Africa would be better equipped to do away with the challenges the continent has been confronted with in the past few decades. Maybe the Gaddafi dream will come alive….maybe not but it is clear that unity has become an essential ingredient for African progress. It is no longer a matter of conviction and feeling but a necessity if the continent is to develop. - The African Exponent


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  • Pope Francis heads to conflict-hit Central African Republic

    29/Nov/2015 // 123 Viewers

     

     Gianluigi Guercia, AFP | A United Nations Mission in Central African Republic (MINUSCA) soldier stands guard near a billboard of Pope Francis ahead of the pontiff’s visit to the conflict-hit country on November 29, 2015

    Pope Francis was due on Sunday to the begin the final leg of his first African trip in Central African Republic where he will deliver a message of reconciliation and peace to a nation racked by years of violence between Muslims and Christians.

    The visit to the former French colony will be the pontiff’s first trip to a combat zone and his arrival is being welcomed by both majority Christians and the Muslim minority, who hope his presence can foster renewed dialogue and ease the violence.

    The capital Bangui has seen a surge in clashes that have left at least 100 people dead since late September, according to Human Rights Watch, and security has been ramped up ahead of the papal visit.

    France, which has around 900 soldiers deployed in Central African Republic, warned the Vatican earlier this month that the visit could be risky, and the pope’s exact itinerary has remained uncertain even in the final days before his arrival.

    Gabriel Ouamale, 33, who sells souvenirs, including t-shirts and umbrellas bearing the pope’s image, in front of Bangui’s cathedral, said sales have only picked up in the past week.

    “There were people who doubted, who said he couldn’t come due to the situation in the country. But the people now know he’s coming,” he said.

    Hundreds of thousands of the city’s residents are expected to turn out to greet Francis.

    Others will brave rebel and militia checkpoints to travel to Bangui from the rest of the country, and believers from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo will cross the Ubangi River in pirogues to catch a glimpse of the pope.

    Central African Republic’s government is deploying around 500 police and gendarmes to secure the visit. More than 3,000 peacekeepers from the MINUSCA U.N. mission will also be deployed and French troops will be on alert as well.

    General Bala Keita, MINUSCA’S force commander, said the mission aimed to head off any potential spoilers among the city’s armed groups and had carried out operations to improve the security situation as much as possible.

    “We have brought banditry and attacks on civilians to the lowest level possible, but Bangui is not secure. That’s a fact,” he said.

    Source: (REUTERS)


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  • Rwandan parliament votes to extend President Paul Kagame's rule

    29/Oct/2015 // 212 Viewers

    Rwanda’s lower house of parliament voted on Thursday to allow President Paul Kagame to extend his rule beyond a second term that ends in 2017 and possibly stay on until 2034, a move opposed by the United States and other aid donors.

    Draft amendments to the constitution approved by the lower house still have to be backed by the upper house and also put to a referendum, but are not expected to stumble at either stage.

    After debates on Wednesday and Thursday, lawmakers agreed that presidential terms be cut to five years from seven with a limit of two terms, but an exception has been made for Kagame.

    Parliament, dominated by Kagame’s allies and supporters, debated the issue after a petition calling for changes was signed by 3.7 million supporters of the rebel-turned-president who is credited with rebuilding Rwanda after the 1994 genocide.

    Rwanda’s main but tiny opposition, the Democratic Green Party, tried to block the amendment to extend Kagame’s term, but a court rejected the bid. Critics say the government stifles opposition politicians and media, a charge officials deny.

    Speaker of the 80-seat lower house, Donatille Mukabalisa, said Article 172 of the amended constitution was supported by all 75 lawmakers present and meant Kagame could stay on until 2034. “No law stops him,” she told a news conference.

    Kagame has not said explicitly he wants to run again but has said he is open to persuasion.

    Article 172 allows Kagame to serve out his seven-year term that ends in 2017 and also to seek a third seven-year term after that. Even beyond that he could seek two more five-year terms, a lawmaker said, explaining the amendment.

    The debate about term limits has flared across Africa.

    In Burundi, President Pierre Nkurunziza sparked months of protests and a failed coup when he decided in April to run for a third term. Opponents said it violated the constitution and deal that ended a civil war there. A court ruled he could run again.

    In Congo Republic, voters backed a change to allow President Denis Sassou Nguesso to run for a third consecutive term. The opposition had called for a boycott of that vote.

    Kagame won international and domestic praise for rebuilding Rwanda after the chaos of the 1990s. Some 800,000 people, most of them Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were massacred before rebel forces led by Kagame ended the genocide.

    (REUTERS)


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  • Islamic extremist surrendered to ICC on charges of destroying Timbuktu monuments

    29/Sep/2015 // 179 Viewers

    [JURIST] Nigerian authorities on Saturday turned over to the International Criminal Court [ICC press release] an Islamic extremist wanted for his role in the 2012 destruction of religious and historically significant monuments in Timbuktu, Mali. Ahmad Al Mahdi Al Faqi, also known as Abu Tourab, was surrendered to the ICC's detention center in the Netherlands, fulfilling an arrest warrant issued in mid-September. Al Faqi is alleged to be a member of Ansar Dine [BBC backgrounder], an extremist group with ties to al Qaeda, and is suspected to have played a significant role in the group's destruction of 14 of the city's 16 mausoleums. After over a year of conflict, French forces were able to recover the city from Ansar Dine's grasp, which allowed the UN to restore the mausoleums.

    Malian Justice Minister Malick Coulibaly said in July 2012 that he would ask [JURIST report] the ICC to open an investigation into the destruction of Timbuktu's mausoleums. Minister Coulibaly's announcement came after ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told reporters [JURIST report] that attacks by Islamist rebels on religious monuments in Mali would not be tolerated and destruction of tombs of ancient Muslim saints in Timbuktu likely amounted to war crimes. Conflicts in Timbuktu took place against a background of significant domestic turmoil, as Malian soldiers took control of the government and suspended the constitution in March of that year, leading to what Amnesty International characterized as the nation's worst human rights crisis [JURIST reports] since it gained independence in 1960.


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  • Undocumented Immigrants A Problem - Nhleko

    29/Sep/2015 // 136 Viewers

    Cape Town - Police Minister Nathi Nhleko on Tuesday seemed to allude to the idea that illegal foreigners are linked to the perpetuation of certain types of crimes.

    “We also have the problem of the influx of undocumented immigrants,” said Nhleko as the portfolio committee on police delivered its report on the country's crime statistics in Parliament in Cape Town.

    “There tends to be a relationship with those concentrated points [where foreigners are based] with the prevalence of certain types of crimes around those particular areas,” he said, mentioning the resurgence of taxi-related violence and the thriving market for second-hand goods.

    Earlier this year, parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, were hit by waves of xenophobic violence in which at least seven people died and thousands were displaced.

    The violence was blamed on Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, who was accused of instigating the attacks after he made comments that "foreigners must pack their bags and go home".

    Source: News24


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  • South African Actress Caught With Drugs At OR Tambo Airport

    29/Sep/2015 // 235 Viewers

    Johannesburg - A South African actress was caught allegedly trying to smuggle drugs worth an estimated R4.6m into the country at OR Tambo International Airport, the SA Revenue Service said on Monday.

    Sars spokesperson Luther Lebelo said 15.4kg of ephedrine was found in the woman's bag on Sunday. She had arrived from Abu Dhabi.

    Ephedrine is used in the manufacture of crystal methamphetamine, or tik.

    "The passenger, who was proceeding through the 'Nothing to declare channel/green channel', was stopped by customs officials for her bags to be scanned," Lebelo said.

    One of her bags showed "suspicious images".

    "Upon further investigation and searching of the bag, officials discovered 15 parcels wrapped in carbon/foil-like material hidden in the luggage. Immediate tests conducted by Sars officials confirmed that the suspected substance was ephedrine.

    "The narcotics and passenger, identified as a South African actress, were detained and subsequently handed over to South African Police Service organised crime for further investigation.

    "In line with South African law, the details of the passenger will only be released once she has appeared in court," Lebelo said.

    The actress was expected to appear in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court on Tuesday

    Parcels of ephedrine found at OR Tambo International Airport (Sars)

    Source: 

     


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  • Troubled Burundi tops agenda as African leaders meet

    30/Jan/2016 // 156 Viewers

     

     

    ADDIS ABABA (AFP) - African leaders meet Saturday in a bid to end armed crises, including in troubled Burundi, with an unprecedented vote on deploying a 5,000-strong peacekeeping force despite Burundi's vehement opposition.

    While the official theme of the African Union (AU) meeting is human rights, leaders will once again have to deal with a string of crises across the continent when they open two days of talks at the organisation's headquarters in the Ethiopian capital.

    Talks at the AU Peace and Security Council, attended by presidents and foreign ministers from across the 54-member bloc as well as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, stretched late into Friday night in a bid to narrow positions before the opening of the formal summit.

    AU Peace and Security Council chief Smail Chergui warned "the stakes are indeed high", but Burundi remained defiant in its opposition to a mission it calls an "invasion force".

    Burundian Foreign Minster Alain Nyamitwe insisted he had the backing of other nations. Asked whether he had support of others in opposing the proposed force, Nyamitwe said, "Yes, very strong, you will see."

    Street protests, a failed coup and now a simmering rebellion began when Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to run for a controversial third term, which he went on to win in July elections.

    Hundreds have died and at least 230,000 have fled the country in the months since.

    "We have said that the deployment of this force is not justified," Nyamitwe said. "We believe that the situation in the country is under control."

    - Chad's Deby new AU president? -

    With Nkurunziza unmoved by AU and UN appeals, there have already been moves to water down the proposed military force to that of an observer mission.

    "It is not only Burundi that is resisting this idea... most interveners in a country are not welcomed," Gambian President Yahya Jammeh said.

    Jammeh said he would not support a military deployment "without the consent of Burundi".

    A two-thirds majority will be required to send the force, named the African Prevention and Protection Mission in Burundi (MAPROBU). It remains unclear who would be willing to contribute troops.

    The AU charter's Article 4h gives the pan-African bloc the right to intervene in a fellow nation state, "in respect of grave circumstances" including war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity."

    "In addition to Burundi's lobbying efforts, many heads of states will be reluctant to set a precedent of AU troop deployment in a country that clearly rejects it," said Yolande Bouka, of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) think tank.

    The two-day summit, the first since leaders last met in Johannesburg in June 2015, will also aim to tackle conflicts across the continent and is expected to open around 11:00 am (0800 GMT).

    The summit will see the annual election of a new AU chairman to replace Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe in the ceremonial role.

    Diplomatic sources suggest Chadian President Idriss Deby could be nominated for the one-year presidency which rotates between different regions of the continent, with this year being Central Africa's turn.

    Discussions are also expected to include stalled talks to end war in South Sudan.

    Neither Burundi's Nkurunziza nor South Sudan President Salva Kiir are expected to attend the summit.

    Nhial Deng Nhial, South Sudan's government negotiator in peace talks, dismissed concerns that negotiations were deadlocked, with violence ongoing and fears of potential famine.

    "As far as we're concerned, the implementation of the peace process still remains on track," Nhial said, despite a string of missed deadlines.

    The conflict now involves multiple militia forces who pay little heed to paper peace deals and are driven by local agendas or revenge attacks.

    Islamist insurgencies in Mali and Nigeria, violence and political instability in Libya and the formation of a new government in Central African Republic will be the other issues on the agenda.

     

    By Justine Boulo


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  • JUST IN: African Union readmits Morocco as member of continental body after months of intense lobbying

    30/Jan/2017 // 649 Viewers

     

    PARIS, JANUARY 30, 2016: (DGW) THE Kingdom of Morocco has been reportedly readmitted into the African Union, BBC has reported.

    This move follows months of intense lobbying. The north African country pulled out of the continental body sometimes 32 years ago, 1984 to be precise after the then Organization of African Unity recognized Western Sahara an independent country which Morocco laid counter claims to as part of its historic territory.

    Before now Morocco was the only African country that was not a member of the African Union.


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