Central African Republic Capital Under Lockdown After Clashes

central african republicThe capital of the Central African Republic (C.A.R) is under a night-time curfew, after days of intense fighting between Christian and Muslim groups.

Fierce clashes between the two groups erupted after the killing of a Muslim taxi driver in Bangui on Saturday.

At least 36 people have died in the violence, and the United Nations (UN) says it has forced nearly 30,000 people to flee.

A UN spokesman said the country may be returning to a state of unseen violence since conflict erupted two years ago.

“We fear that the violence we’re seeing in Bangui is a return to the dark days of late 2013 and 2014, when thousands were killed and tens of thousands had to flee their homes,” Leo Hobbs said.

The Central African Republic has been wracked by violence since a mainly Muslim rebel group, Seleka, seized power in march 2013.

The Seleka group was then ousted, sparking a wave of violent reprisals against the Muslim population, thousands of whom fled their homes.

Interior Minister, Modibo Bachir Walidou, told BBC that the government remained in control, but the situation remained volatile.

Interim President, Catherine Samba Panza, returned from the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, telling the BBC that elections postponed for October would now be canceled.

She accused ‘former dignitaries’ of fomenting violence, singling out former President Francois Bozize.

Mr Bozize has criticised the decision to Barr him from standing for election, saying: “democracy was murdered in front of everyone in the Central African Republic.”

Burkina Faso: African Leaders To Mediate With Coup Leaders

Burkina_Faso_ProtestersA day after the military took over power in Burkina Faso, two West African Presidents, Senegal’s Macky Sall and Thomas Boni Yayi of Benin, have taken steps to mediate with the leaders of the coup.

The putsch was announced after the presidential guard stormed a cabinet meeting, detaining the Interim President and Prime Minister.

A close ally of ex-President Blaise Compaore has been named the new leader.

World leaders and the African Union (AU) have condemned the takeover.

At least three people have been killed by the presidential guard, RSP, amid protests in the capital, Ouagadougou.

Report says that an unknown number of protesters have also been detained.

Burkina Faso Coup: Officers Dissolve Government

burkina-fasoThe transitional government in Burkina Faso has been dissolved by the presidential guard officers.

To end the deviant regime, a new “national democratic council” in the country had taken control.

Interim Parliament Speaker, Cheriff Sy, said the move was “clearly a coup”.

There is heavy shooting by presidential forces at the revolutionary square in the capital, Oaugadougou.

On Wednesday, the Interim President and Prime Minister were arrested by the presidential guards.

They were due to hand power to a new government after elections on October 11.

Network Africa: S.Sudan, CAR Search For Funds As Nigeria Searches For Missing Girls

Network AfricaNetwork Africa looks at how far things have gone concerning bringing back the missing schoolgirls in Nigeria, amidst claims by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, that the military had located the girls.

Demonstrators in the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, however, have vowed to carry on with their protests.

South Sudan is relying heavily on the international community as more funds are also needed to save the people of Central African Republic.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says more assistance is needed in an overcrowded and flooded South Sudanese Refugee Camp where almost 100,000 people are sheltered in tents.

Illegal immigration is also on the rise, as migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa penetrate the United Kingdom in search of greener pastures at all cost.

We bring you interviews and reports.

 

Indian Consulate In Herat, Afghanistan Attacked

Afghanistan_2415914bThe Afghan city of Herat has witnessed another round of violence after heavily-armed gunmen launched a pre-dawn attack on the Indian Consulate.

Police say the attackers stormed nearby houses to fire on the compound with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

The gunmen were killed in a firefight with security forces that lasted several hours on Friday in Afghanistan’s third-largest city.

The attackers began their assault on the Indian consulate in Herat hours before dawn, firing guns and rocket propelled grenades from their vantage point in a neighbouring building.

Indian staff at the mission escaped soon after the shooting began at around 3 a.m. Police say Afghan security forces had killed the attackers, who were holed up in buildings overlooking the consulate.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack and no one claimed responsibility, though suspicion would inevitably fall on the Taliban and other loosely associated groups.

The attack has underscored a worrying security picture for Afghanistan as it prepares to take over from foreign combat troops after more than 12 years of war against a Taliban insurgency, and hold a presidential election run-off in June.

The small consulate in Herat, one of Afghanistan’s largest cities, is guarded by a team of commandos from the indo-Tibetan border police, with Afghan security forces forming an outer ring.

The Herat mission was considered one of India’s safest in Afghanistan compared with Jalalabad in the East, which was attacked in 2013, and Kandahar in the South.

Afghanistan has seen a surge in attacks in recent weeks as foreign troops begin to withdraw from the country.

Thailand’s Coup Leaders Detain Former PM Yingluck

yingluck-shinawatraAs the army seeks to tighten its grip on power, Thailand’s ex-Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra and some members of her family have been detained.

Ms Yingluck and scores of politicians from the deposed government had been told to report to a Bangkok army base.

She was kept for several hours and then driven to an undisclosed location.

Army Chief General, Prayuth Chanocha also met key officials, telling them reform must come before any elections.

Senior government officials and the caretaker prime minister arrived at an army facility in Bangkok on Friday; after Thailand’s military leaders summoned them to a meeting.

Military leaders also summoned ousted Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, to the meeting; a day after Army Chief, Prayuth Chanocha seized power in a bloodless coup and said he wanted to restore order following months of turmoil.

Prayuth launched his coup after the various factions refused to give ground in a struggle for power between the royalist establishment and a populist government that had raised fears of serious violence and damaged Thailand’s economy.

Soldiers detained politicians from both sides when Prayuth announced the military takeover, which drew swift international condemnation, after talks he was presiding over broke down.

The U.S. Department of State Spokesperson, Jen Psaki, in his condemnation said: “At this point what we are doing is we are reviewing our military and other assistance to the government of Thailand. We’ve taken preliminary steps to suspend military engagement and assistance while we consider the facts on the ground.

“This is a standard part of the process that would take place. So right now there is a comprehensive review of that going on. The State Department and USAID provide approximately 10 million dollars annually in bilateral assistance to Thailand only a portion of which is assistance to the Thai government.”

The military censored the media, dispersed rival protesters in Bangkok and imposed a nationwide 10P.M. to 5A.M. curfew.

ICC Sentences Congo Warlord Germain Katanga

Germain KatangaIt’s judgment day for ex-Congolese militia leader, Germain Katanga, as the International Criminal Court has sentenced him to 12 years in prison for aiding and abetting war crimes.

Katanga who was found guilty in March is only the second person to be convicted by the Netherlands-based court.

He was behind the 2003 massacre of hundreds of villagers in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The fighting escalated into an inter-ethnic conflict that is estimated to have killed 50,000 people.

The Congolese warlord was sentenced on Friday after being convicted of being an accessory to war crimes including murder and pillage during an attack on a village more than a decade ago. But he was also cleared of a number of other charges.

The trial has been seen as a test of the ability of prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which had handed down only one conviction and one acquittal in 12 years, to bring solid cases.

Judges found that Katanga had made a significant contribution to a February 2003 attack on the village of Bogoro, in a diamond-rich region of north-east Congo, in particular by procuring guns to speed the massacre of some 200 ethnic Hema civilians.

Bogoro is a village in Ituri province which saw violent conflict between various ethnic groups between 1999 and 2003.

Much of the conflict centered on the province’s municipal capital, Bunia and original ICC documents said Katanga’s Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri (FRPI) was involved in fighting for control of the city in the spring of 2003.

Events in Bunia did not play a significant role in the ICC case.

Presiding judge, Bruno Cotte, said that during the trial that the timing of the attack on Bogoro and the methods used – encircling the village while its inhabitants were still asleep, the use of machetes to attack them, and shooting indiscriminately – led the chamber to find that combatants intended to target the civilian population.

The judge said attackers had fired indiscriminately as villagers sought shelter in the bush, adding that without a supply of weapons commanders would not have been able to carry out the attack with such efficiency.

The conviction, at the end of a 6-year trial, was controversial.

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Christine Van Den Wyngaert, said that the decision to convict Katanga as an accessory, when he had originally been charged with playing an essential role in the attack, meant his trial was unfair.

Network Africa: Quest For Justice In C.A.R, S. Africa, As Nigerians Cry ‘Bring Back Our Girls

Chibok Girls NAThis edition of Network Africa focuses on ‘Bring Back Our Girls’, getting justice for Nigerians, conflict resolution and more brow raising details concerning the trial of the decade.

While protests continue both in Nigeria and many parts of the world, the dastardly Boko Haram group which is responsible for the abduction conveniently made a video which was released by the French news agency, the AFP, on Monday may 12.

The video supposedly showed images of the schoolgirls who were kidnapped by them.

The terror group claims many of the girls have been converted from Christianity to Islam while being held and all those in the footage could be seen wearing headscarves. The group’s leader said that it will release them in exchange for militant prisoners being freed.

Another issue generating a buzz is the death of Oluwatoba Falode; his grieving mother suspects foul play in the murder of her son, who was a 19 year old student in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

Her speculation contradicts the report of the Dubai Police, which recorded that the boy fell off the balcony of his 17th floor apartment in Manchester Towers, Dubai Marina.

Outside of Nigerian shores, the U.S President, Barack Obama, has imposed sanctions on Central African Republic’s former president, François Bozizé, and four other men linked to violence and human rights abuses in the country.

The country has been plagued by sectarian violence for a year after Seleka rebels, who are mostly Muslim, seized power, and “anti-Balaka” militias, mainly Christian, fought back.

Thousands have been killed and about a million people displaced. The Interim President, Catherine Samba Panza is, however, determined to bring a change to the conflict ridden country.

The trial of the decade continues, a judge in the trial of South African athlete, Oscar Pistorius has ordered that he should undergo a mental evaluation.

She took that step based on the fact that psychiatric evidence before the court could not replace “a proper enquiry” into his mental health. Network Africa speaks to a clinical psychologist to find out his view on the matter.

Band members of Basi Na Mizik rehearsed for an upcoming festival, an event that many hope will become an important fixture on the Congolese music calendar. Founders of Basi Na Mizik – which means “women in music” in the local Lingala language – hope to create a movement that will give Congolese female artistes more prominence in the industry.

Egypt Government Resigns, Paving Way For Sisi To Seek Presidency

Egypt’s government resigned on Monday, paving the way for Army Chief Field Marshal, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to declare his candidacy for president of a strategic U.S. ally gripped by political strife.

After the July overthrow of elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi and subsequent crackdown on Islamists and liberals with hundreds killed and thousands jailed, critics say Cairo’s military-backed authorities are turning the clock back to the era of autocrat Hosni Mubarak era, when the political elite ruled with an iron fist in alliance with top businessmen.

“(The outgoing government) made every effort to get Egypt out of the narrow tunnel in terms of security, economic pressures and political confusion,” Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said in a live nationwide speech.

Beblawi, who was tasked by interim President Adly Mansour, with running the government’s affairs until the election, did not give a clear reason for the decision.

But it effectively opened the way for Sisi to run for president since he would first have to leave his post as Defense Minister in any case. “This (government resignation) was done as a step that was needed ahead of Sisi’s announcement that he will run for president,” an Egyptian official said.

He told Reuters that the cabinet had resigned en masse as Sisi did not want to appear to be acting alone.

Government spokesman, Hany Salah said only “this government feels that it did what it had to do in this critical period, and maybe it’s time for a change.”

Sisi has unveiled a political roadmap meant to lead to elections after toppling Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood following mass unrest against his increasingly arbitrary rule.

But promises of democracy have not borne fruit in the biggest Arab nation, where hundreds of thousands of people gathered in 2011 in an army-backed uprising that overthrew Mubarak and raised hopes of a new political landscape.

The presidential vote is expected within months in Egypt, which has great geo-strategic importance due to its peace treaty with Israel and control over the Suez Canal, a vital global shipping lane and the shortest between Asia and Europe.

Jonathan Gets Highest Honour In Mali

President Goodluck Jonathan has been conferred with the Grand Crois of the Nationale by the interim president Diangunda Traore in the presidential villa, and it is said to be the highest honour of the Republic of Mali.

Before decorating the President Jonathan, the visiting interim president said the honour was for Jonathan’s pivotal role in the restoration of peace and security in that country.

Professor Traore described the crisis as one that shook the entire nation for many months and thanked the Nigerian president for not hesitating in sending human, financial and material resources to rescue his nation.

In his response, President Jonathan said that what he did was a confirmation of the commitment of Nigeria to conflict resolution in the African continent.

He said that inspite of the loss, Nigeria remains committed in supporting the course of peace in Mali.

The President also congratulated Mali’s President-elect, Mr. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on his victory in last Sunday’s run-off Presidential election in the country.

He commended the people of Mali for successfully conducting the elections and taking a major step towards the full restoration of democratic governance to their country and that he is looking forward to the conclusion of the process with Mr. Keita’s inauguration as President in keeping with the wish of the Malian people as expressed at the polls on Sunday.

The President said he believes that for Mr. Keita to have served as Prime Minister capably for many years, Mr. Keita will assume the Malian Presidency with the requisite experience, knowledge and wisdom needed to guide the country towards a speedy return to peace, normalcy, political stability and further development.

President Jonathan assured Mr. Keita of the support, assistance and cooperation of Nigeria, ECOWAS and the African Union as he prepares to assume the burden of leading Mali away from political strife and instability, to national peace and progress.

He wished the Malian President-elect a very successful tenure in office.

 

 

Mali Junta accepts interim leader’s extension – Chief Negotiator

The chief negotiator for the West African regional bloc says the junta in Mali has accepted that the current interim president will stay in office until new elections can be held.

A group of middle ranking soldiers toppled Mali’s democratically elected president on March 21. Since then West African leaders have been pressuring the junta to exit the political scene and return to their barracks.

Djibrill Bassole, the foreign minister of Burkina Faso, told reporters late Saturday that the junta and ECOWAS were in full agreement on the matter.

The junta in Mali had been resisting the extended presidency of Dioncounda Traore who took over as interim president on April 12 for an initial period of 40 days.

Bassole did not say how long the transition would last.