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Preview: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Africa Africa News From the Associated Press


Zimbabwe's new leader begins journey to key 2018 election

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:25:18 UT

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe's new president is showing signs of charting a path different from that of his ousted mentor, Robert Mugabe, as he tries to win over the country before next year's elections. On Friday, the ruling ZANU-PF party is expected to endorse President Emmerson Mnangagwa as party leader and its presidential candidate. The elections are a key test of his promises to strengthen Zimbabwe's democracy and attract badly needed foreign investment to revive a devastated economy.

The Latest: Zimbabwe's new leader wants sanctions lifted

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:11:08 UT

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — The Latest on Zimbabwe's new president (all times local): 3:10 p.m. Zimbabwe's new leader is calling for the "unconditional lifting" of sanctions that he says has crippled the once-prosperous country's development. President Emmerson Mnangagwa spoke to the ruling party's Central Committee on Thursday, a day before the party is expected to endorse him as its candidate for next year's election. He says the government will do all in its power to make sure the election is "credible, free and fair." Mnangagwa was sworn in last month after Robert Mugabe resigned under pressure from the military and ruling party following 37 years in power.

South Africa's famed ANC risks split in choosing new leader

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 12:54:16 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The stakes for Africa's oldest liberation movement have rarely been higher. As thousands of delegates from the ruling African National Congress party meet this weekend to choose a successor to scandal-ridden President Jacob Zuma, the race between his deputy and ex-wife threatens to split Nelson Mandela's legacy. Zuma is finishing his second and final term as ANC leader, and whoever follows him will likely be elected South Africa's next president in 2019. Though weakened by multiple corruption allegations against the president, the ANC has led the country since the end of white minority rule in 1994.

Tanzania urges UN to probe killings of peacekeepers in Congo

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 12:29:17 UT

DODOMA, Tanzania (AP) — Tanzania's government is urging the United Nations to conduct an independent investigation into the killings of 15 Tanzanian peacekeepers last week in eastern Congo. Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa made the comments to the state broadcaster as he led hundreds of mourners in an emotional ceremony for the slain peacekeepers in the commercial hub, Dar es Salaam. The event was attended by the U.N.'s top peacekeeping official, Jean-Pierre Lacroix. Majaliwa says Tanzanians want to know what exactly happened and "we want legal actions against all those involved." The Dec. 7 attack was the deadliest single assault on a U.N. peacekeeping mission in nearly 25 years.

Who will lead South Africa's ANC? A look at top candidates

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 10:44:22 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The race to lead South Africa's scandal-weakened ruling party, and likely the country, has put the future of the African National Congress in question. The rift between the top candidates is so pronounced that some observers warn the party of Nelson Mandela could split in two. Here's a look at the leading contenders to succeed President Jacob Zuma and lead the party toward the 2019 elections: ___ DEPUTY PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA One of South Africa's richest businessmen, the 65-year-old Ramaphosa is a veteran of the struggle for liberation from the country's former apartheid system of white minority rule and helped negotiate the transition to democracy.

The Latest: Suicide bomber kills 17 at Somali police academy

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 10:10:49 UT

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — The Latest on Somalia suicide bombing at police academy (all times local): 11:25 a.m. A Somalia police officer says that the death toll has risen to 17 in the suicide bombing Thursday at a police academy in the capital. Col. Mohamud Aden said that at least 20 other police officers were wounded in the attack, some of them seriously. ___ The bomber, disguised as a police officer with hidden explosives strapped around his waist and torso, infiltrated Gen. Kahiye Police Academy and targeted officers gathering for special morning exercises, Capt. Mohamed Hussein said. The officers were rehearsing for Somalia's Police Day celebrations scheduled for Dec. 20, Hussein said.

Suicide bomber kills 17 at Somalia police academy

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 10:06:33 UT

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — An Islamic extremist suicide bomber disguised as a police officer killed at least 17 and injured 20 at a police academy in Somalia's capital on Thursday, police said. Col. Mohamud Aden said that 20 other officers were wounded by the blast, some of them seriously. The bomber, with explosives strapped around his waist and torso, infiltrated Gen. Kahiye Police Academy and targeted officers gathering for special morning exercises, Capt. Mohamed Hussein said. The officers were rehearsing for Somalia's Police Day celebrations scheduled for Dec. 20, Hussein said.

US commander orders new probe into deadly Somalia raid

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 08:43:15 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of U.S. Africa Command has asked for an additional investigation into whether civilians were killed during a deadly August raid in Somalia involving American and Somali forces. Army Col. Mark Cheadle, a spokesman for Africa Command, said Wednesday that Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser has asked the Naval Criminal Investigative Service to look into the details of the raid in Bariire village by Somali troops supported by U.S. special operations forces. The decision comes just two weeks after Africa Command released a statement discounting reports that several civilians, including children, were killed in the attack.

Death toll rises to 17 in suicide bombing at Somalia police academy, more than 20 injured

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 08:17:16 UT

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Death toll rises to 17 in suicide bombing at Somalia police academy, more than 20 injured.

Suicide bomber in Somalia kills at least 10 people at police academy in the capital, say police

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 06:52:03 UT

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Suicide bomber in Somalia kills at least 10 people at police academy in the capital, say police.

Congo court sentences 12 to life for gang-raping children

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 19:07:49 UT

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — In a groundbreaking trial in a country where sexual violence is rampant and perpetrators often go unpunished, a military court in eastern Congo on Wednesday sentenced 12 militia members to life in prison for the gang-rapes of dozens of children as young as 11 months old, and for murder. The court convicted provincial deputy Frederic Batumike for organizing the violence that began in 2013 and continued for years in the village of Kavumu, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Bukavu city. Young girls were raped in the militia members' superstitious belief that it would make them "impervious to bullets," a United Nations report said earlier this year.

Rwanda-backed report alleges France's role in 1994 genocide

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:39:04 UT

KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — A new report commissioned by Rwanda's government accuses France of supplying weapons and protection to the perpetrators of its 1994 genocide in which over 800,000 people were killed, deepening a feud between the East African country and its former benefactor. The report by U.S. law firm Cunningham Levy Muse cites evidence that purportedly shows French complicity before, during and after the genocide by ethnic Hutu extremists against ethnic Tutsi and some Hutu moderates. French officials provided safe sanctuary to some genocide suspects and have obstructed attempts to bring them to justice, the report says.

Zimbabwe seizes $500,000 worth of ivory on way to Malaysia

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:46:19 UT

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe's parks agency says it has seized 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of ivory destined for Malaysia. National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo on Wednesday said the ivory was worth over $500,000. Farawo says no one has been arrested yet and police questioned officials from a travel agency before releasing them. Poaching is rife in Zimbabwe's national parks, which teem with elephants and other big game. The agency says close to 900 elephants have been poached since 2013. The southern African country is estimated to have more than 84,000 elephants.

Group protests human rights activist's detention in Burundi

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:55:50 UT

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Human Rights Watch is urging Burundian authorities to either free or charge an activist who has been detained since Nov. 21. The group said Wednesday that Nestor Nibitanga was arrested at his home in Gitega province and taken to the national intelligence service headquarters in the capital, Bujumbura, before being transferred to jail. Human Rights Watch's Ida Sawyer calls the arrest part of a "broader crackdown" on rights activists and journalists in the East African nation. Nibitanga has worked for the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons. There was no immediate comment from Burundian authorities.

Global companies snared in South Africa's corruption scandal

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:54:00 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's biggest corruption case since the end of apartheid has entangled not only the president and ruling party but also some major international companies, including U.S. firm McKinsey and KPMG. The scandal has weakened the ruling African National Congress, which meets this week to choose a new party leader who likely will become the country's next president in 2019. The web of allegations that has threatened to take down President Jacob Zuma and briefly sent the country into recession this year includes illicit dealings with state-owned companies and other multinational firms, including German software giant SAP and British public relations company Bell Pottinger.

Police: At least 13 dead in multi-vehicle accident in Kenya

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:38:17 UT

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenyan police say at least 13 people have been killed in a multi-vehicle accident on a highway outside the capital, Nairobi. Nakuru County Police Commander Hassan Barua says a speeding truck swerved and rammed an oncoming bus before hitting two vans and other vehicles on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway at a place called Sachangwan. He says dozens of people were hospitalized. The accident rate in East African towns tends to rise during the festive season, with police citing drunk driving and speeding. On Saturday, 30 people were killed in two accidents in central Kenya. In his Independence Day speech on Tuesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta urged drivers to be cautious.

Ethiopia faces social media blackout after new ethnic unrest

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:10:00 UT

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia faces a social media blackout as clashes intensify between ethnic groups in various parts of the country. Facebook and Twitter are down Tuesday after reports emerged of killings on Monday by security forces in the Oromia region. Oromia regional spokesman Addisu Arega said the violence in Chelenqo town killed six people and was being investigated. On Facebook he called the victims "innocent civilians." The Addis Standard news site reported 15 killed, including women and children. The Associated Press was not able to independently verify the reports. Oromia regional officials have long accused special police from the neighboring Somali region of committing atrocities against ethnic Oromos.

Liberia sets Dec. 26 date for runoff presidential election

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:02:42 UT

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberia's National Elections Commission has set Dec. 26 as the date for the presidential runoff vote. The second-round vote between former soccer star George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai had been on hold after the Liberty Party alleged first-round voting irregularities. The Supreme Court last week cleared the way for the runoff, saying there was not enough evidence to support the allegations. Commission chairman Jerome Korkoya on Tuesday pleaded for all registered voters to go to the polls the day after Christmas to "make this one sacrifice for the good of our democracy and country.

Burundi's president launches campaign to extend his rule

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 15:45:40 UT

BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) — Burundi's president launched a campaign Tuesday to support constitutional amendments that could extend his rule despite warnings by his opponents of more violence ahead. President Pierre Nkurunziza told supporters in Gitega province to vote in favor of the changes in an upcoming national referendum. The proposed changes include extending a presidential term from five years to seven. A date for the referendum has not been set but it is expected next year. The opposition has warned that attempts to change the constitution could lead to more bloodshed in the East African country still reeling from deadly violence following Nkurunziza's contentious decision to seek a third term in 2015.

2 teenage girl suicide bombers kill 4 in Nigeria's north

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 15:33:12 UT

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — A Nigerian official says two teenage girl suicide bombers attacked the town of Gwoza, in the country's north, killing at least four people. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, spokesman for the Military Command and Control Center in Maiduguri, said Tuesday that the attack was carried out Monday evening. He said local defense forces spotted the girls and shot one, detonating her vest and killing only her. He said the other girl managed to infiltrate the crowded residential area in Borno state and detonated herself, killing four others. He said several people injured have been taken to a nearby medical facility for treatment.

Kenya's president urges unity after divisive election season

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 15:29:34 UT

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is urging unity after a divisive election that was boycotted by his main opponent. Speaking during Independence Day celebrations in the capital, Nairobi, on Tuesday, Kenyatta said the "unity of our nation is the shield against the dangers that have shattered other countries." He urged Kenyans to "reject the politics of divisiveness and confrontation." Kenyatta won with 98 percent of votes in the October election after the Supreme Court nullified the August vote over irregularities. Opposition leader Raila Odinga, whose legal challenge led to the new election, boycotted it while saying electoral reforms had not been made.

US drone strike removes 'imminent threat' to Somali capital

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 14:13:21 UT

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A U.S. military drone strike on a vehicle carrying explosives in Somalia has removed "an imminent threat to the people of Mogadishu" by the al-Shabab extremist group, the U.S. Africa Command said Tuesday. The airstrike was carried out early Tuesday morning about 65 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of Somalia's capital, the U.S. statement said, adding that no civilians were killed. It was not immediately clear how many al-Shabab fighters may have been killed. A senior Somali intelligence official said the airstrike largely destroyed a minibus travelling near the rebel-held village of Mubarak in Lower Shabelle region. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Zimbabwe ex-leader Mugabe on 1st trip abroad since resigning

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:17:27 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Zimbabwe's former leader Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, have traveled to Singapore on their first trip abroad since Mugabe resigned last month under pressure from the military and ruling party, the presidential spokesman said Tuesday. Mugabe, 93, has gone on his annual leave and for routine medical checkups, spokesman George Charamba told The Associated Press. "The former president is free to travel when and where he needs," said Charamba, who said this should dispel some reports that Mugabe had remained under house arrest. "This is their regular trip," he said. Mugabe has not made any public appearances since he stepped down after 37 years in power amid impeachment proceedings.

UNICEF: 400,000 Congo children suffering severe malnutrition

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 12:47:59 UT

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — The United Nations Children's Fund says at least 400,000 children under 5 in Congo's troubled Kasai region are severely malnourished. UNICEF said Tuesday that more than a year and half of deadly violence, displacement and reduced agricultural production are contributing to the problem. It says the children could die next year if not urgently reached with aid. Dr. Tajudeen Oyewale, the agency's acting representative in Congo, says the true scale of the problem is becoming clear as security improves in some areas and families return home. UNICEF says about 220 health centers have been destroyed or damaged and crops have been neglected, with 1.4 million people displaced.

Oscar Pistorius bruised in a jail fight over telephone use

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 11:34:36 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Olympian Oscar Pistorius, in jail for murdering his girlfriend, was bruised in an altercation with another inmate over telephone use, a South African prison spokesman confirmed Tuesday. Pistorius sustained a minor injury in an alleged assault at the Attridgevill Correctional Centre last week, Singabakho Nxumalo of the Department of Correctional Services told The Associated Press. Pistorius had a medical checkup and was found to have a bruise, said Nxumalo, who added that the incident is being investigated. "The injury is minor but we at the department take incidents like this seriously and want to prevent any altercations," said Nxumalo.

UN promises justice in Congo against peacekeeper attacks

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 19:00:20 UT

DODOMA, Tanzania (AP) — The bodies of 15 United Nations peacekeepers killed last week in eastern Congo arrived home in Tanzania on Monday, as a U.N. official vowed military offenses will be launched against rebels who carried out the attack. The bodies were received in the commercial hub of Dar es Salaam by Tanzanian defense and military officials. The killings shocked many in this East African country that is known for its relative stability in a region often wracked by violence. In a memorial ceremony Monday David Gressly, the U.N. deputy special representative for Congo, said those who staged the assault, which wounded 50 others, will pay for their actions. The Dec.

Car bomb kills journalist in Somalia capital, says witness

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 17:18:06 UT

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A Somali journalist has been killed by a car bomb in the capital late Monday, says a fellow journalist. Mohamed Ibrahim, a news presenter for Kalsan TV, died at a hospital after being injured by a bomb concealed in his car in Mogadishu's Wadajir district, said Ahmed Mohamed, who works for the same broadcaster. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast. Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries for media workers. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 59 journalists have been killed since 1992, soon after a civil war began in this Horn of Africa nation. The deadliest year was 2012 when 18 journalists were killed.

Gold coin worth $1,200 left in SC Salvation Army kettle

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 17:42:30 UT

TEGA CAY, S.C. (AP) — An anonymous person dropped a single gold coin worth about $1,200 in a Salvation Army kettle in South Carolina. Multiple media outlets report the one-ounce South African Krugerrand was dropped into a Salvation Army kettle during a fundraising drive at a Walmart store in Tega Cay. The coin will likely be sold to a jeweler's store with proceeds going to Salvation Army programs. Mike McGee of the Salvation Army in Rock Hill says a typical kettle fundraiser will raise about $300 a day.

Kenya opposition group says protest mock inaugural postponed

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 17:13:56 UT

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya's main opposition group on Sunday postponed a mock ceremony to inaugurate its leader as president. Opposition leader Raila Odinga and his colleagues said in a statement the decision to delay the event until a later date was reached after wide consultations but that they "remain fully on course in pursuit of electoral justice." "We are aware that this will be a disappointment to the people of Kenya who were eagerly waiting for this occasion," the statement said. "We wish to assure them that our resolve has not changed. Specifically, we wish to reiterate that any national dialogue must have electoral justice on the agenda. We are not interested in sharing illegitimate dictatorial power.

Kenya president says no talks with defiant opposition leader

Sat, 9 Dec 2017 16:02:42 UT

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya's president is ruling out dialogue with the opposition leader who boycotted the recent election and plans a mock "inauguration" next week. President Uhuru Kenyatta said Saturday the time for politics is over and the country should focus on development until the next election in 2022. The government says Raila Odinga's planned "swearing-in" on Tuesday would amount to treason. Odinga brought a successful legal challenge against Kenyatta's August re-election but boycotted the repeat vote in October, saying there had not been enough electoral reforms to guarantee a credible vote.