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


Republic of Congo police say 14 killed in train attack

Sat, 1 Oct 2016 19:54:04 UT

Police officials said Saturday that Friday's attack took place near the Mindouli train station in the Pool region, 200 kilometers (124 miles) south of Brazzaville, the capital. Police say another attack Thursday by former Ninjas Nsiloulou militia members killed four soldiers 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Brazzaville.

Congo plans to delay a national vote for 2 years to 2018

Sat, 1 Oct 2016 19:03:35 UT

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Congo's electoral commission president says a national election, originally scheduled for November this year, will likely take place at the end of 2018 — a two-year delay likely to cause more unrest in the tense central African nation. Corneille Nangaa said Saturday that voter registration lists won't be ready until July 2017 and the commission then needs 504 days to organize the vote.

South African universities say academic year is in peril

Sat, 1 Oct 2016 16:06:19 UT

Demonstrations picked up again after the government said universities can increase fees by up to 8 percent next year, although it will pay about $180 million to cover the costs of poor students in 2017. Ntshwanti was standing outside the Great Hall, a temple-like building whose tall columns evoke Western academic traditions that irk some South African students who demand a curriculum more focused on African affairs. About 10 police vehicles were stationed on a nearby campus road and in a parking lot besides the Origins Centre, a university museum that explores human evolution. On Sept. 20, protesters at Wits threw stones at private security guards, smashing glass at the Great Hall entrance. In a separate incident, the government blamed student activists for the death of a university worker who was hospitalized after being affected by a fire extinguisher sprayed by protesters. Wits Vuvuzela, a university newspaper, advises students how to respond to stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas in a section titled: "What to expect from the police and how to stay safe."

Leader pledges to rid Nigeria of hunger, omits worst crisis

Sat, 1 Oct 2016 15:10:18 UT

The United Nations has warned that 75,000 children could die of starvation in a year if speedy action isn't taken in northeast Nigeria, where underfunded aid agencies say 4.4 million people need food and 65,000 are living in famine-like conditions amid an Islamic insurgency by Boko Haram extremists. Famine and malnutrition are among many emergencies hitting Nigeria, a nation that has fallen into recession this year and lost its position as Africa's biggest oil producer as militant attacks in the south slashed petroleum production. Nigeria also is beset by separatists in the southeast, an ever-deadlier conflict in the Middle Belt pitting mainly Muslim nomadic herders against Christian farmers, and mounting crime including a slew of kidnappings for ransom. The London-based rights group cited examples of police violently blocking peaceful protesters, including activists demanding the government rescue more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014.

Somali police: Car bomb kills 2 at restaurant in Mogadishu

Sat, 1 Oct 2016 14:23:39 UT

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A Somali police officer says a car bomb blew up at the entrance of a restaurant in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, killing two people. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing but the Islamic extremist group of al-Shabab often carries out such attacks.

UN condemns Congo clashes, calls for quick election calendar

Sat, 1 Oct 2016 00:09:18 UT

Dimitris Christopoulos, president of the international human rights group FIDH, which includes 184 organizations from close to 120 countries, said: "The United Nations just sent President Kabila a crystal-clear message: respect the rule of law, the constitution and the electoral process; otherwise you will be held to account before the international community." The Human Rights Council expressed deep concern at reports of violations of civil and political rights, "particularly freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, committed by state actors in the context of crucial election processes."

Police: Autopsies done for sisters found dead in Seychelles

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 20:37:26 UT

VICTORIA, Seychelles (AP) — Two American sisters found dead in their tropical island villa while vacationing in Seychelles died of excess fluid in their lungs, according to police in the African archipelago nation. Police spokesperson Jean Toussaint told local media that the women were seen drinking and were helped to their room by hotel personnel the night before they were found dead. Autopsies conducted Wednesday determined the Minnesota natives died from acute pulmonary edema, or having fluid in their lungs, according to a police report obtained by Minnesota television station KARE. Many things can cause acute pulmonary edema and cerebral edema, said Dr. Patrick Lank, a Northwestern Medicine assistant professor of emergency medicine in Chicago.

Somalia accuses US over airstrike

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 18:07:49 UT

The confusion over who launched the attack in the early hours of Wednesday deepened after the Pentagon denied it targeted Somali forces but said it did carry out an airstrike in the same area that killed nine Islamic extremist fighters from al-Shabab. The Galmudug state also warned that the strike would divert attention from fighting Islamic extremism to a political rivalry, apparently with its rival Puntland state. The attack was conducted after extremists launched attacks on Somali troops and their U.S. advisers on Monday near the port city of Kismayo, the U.S. Africa command said in a statement.

Attack on train kills at least 3 in Republic of Congo

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 18:07:11 UT

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo (AP) — A police spokesman says armed men have attacked a train carrying security forces in Republic of Congo's Pool region, killing several people. Auxence Itoua Langa said Friday that individuals opened fire with automatic weapons on a group of gendarmes about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of the capital, Brazzaville.

South African rangers kill 3 suspected poachers

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 16:17:02 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South African authorities used a helicopter to recover the bodies of three suspected poachers who were fatally shot by rangers in a wildlife park where rhino poaching has increased in recent weeks. Richard Schouten of IPSS Medical Rescue, a private group, said Friday that a recovery team on Thursday carried the bodies of the suspects out of a deep ravine and winched them up, one by one, to a military aircraft.

Gabon gets anti-poaching helicopter from South African group

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:17:24 UT

The announcement was made during a Johannesburg meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES. In a statement, the foundation and Gabon's national parks agency praise Gabon's president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, for efforts to protect the Congo basin rainforest.

Group calls for Darfur chemical weapons investigation

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 20:28:16 UT

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Amnesty International is calling on the U.N. Security Council to take action over reports that the Sudanese government has used chemical weapons in Darfur. The British-based human rights group released a report Thursday detailing at least 30 chemical attacks they say took place in the Jebel Marra area over the past eight months. The report outlined violations of the arms embargo, the use of cluster bombs by the Sudanese government and the illegal transfer of intrusion software with electronic intelligence capability among other things.

ICC to look into Gabon situation at government's request

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 16:54:57 UT

LIBREVILLE, Gabon (AP) — The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court says she will conduct a preliminary investigation into the situation in Gabon, as requested by the government. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says she has to examine information regarding crimes allegedly committed by any groups or individuals before determining if a formal investigation is warranted.

OPEC deal shows cartel's resolve — and desperation

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 15:33:24 UT

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — OPEC's unexpected agreement to trim production shows the cartel still has the resolve — and even desperation — to try to guide oil prices higher. Ministers from the oil cartel reached a preliminary deal Wednesday in Algeria to cut production for the first time since the global financial crisis eight years ago. Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest producer, played a key role in the OPEC policies that helped push oil prices sharply lower over the past couple of years. Instead of cutting production, OPEC opted to pump at high volumes to maintain market share and, seemingly, to drive U.S. shale oil and gas producers, who have higher operating costs, out of business. Moscow is still smarting from economic sanctions and the period of low prices, which have caused a painful recession and blown a hole in its state budget. Whether or not the OPEC deal sticks and whether "cheating" can be controlled, analysts said this didn't herald a return to the era when OPEC could basically control the oil market through its production levels, not least because non-OPEC countries have a bigger stake than before.

Student protests at Mugabe-attended Zimbabwe graduation

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 15:26:37 UT

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Witnesses say a student has been whisked away by unknown people for protesting during a University of Zimbabwe graduation ceremony featuring President Robert Mugabe. An Associated Press photographer covering Thursday's event says the graduating student held a placard complaining about joblessness in the country.

Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa to fall to 1.6 percent

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 14:39:03 UT

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — A new World Bank report says economic growth across sub-Saharan Africa is projected to fall to 1.6 percent in 2016, the lowest level in more than two decades. The report notes, however, that some countries such as Senegal and Ethiopia are posting annual growth rates surpassing 6 percent.

South African leader urges end to violent campus protests

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 13:37:27 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's president says he is "seriously disturbed" by violent protests at some universities and is calling for calm on campuses nationwide. President Jacob Zuma said in a statement Thursday that South Africans have the right to protest peacefully but must obey the law. Students protesting for free education have clashed with police at several campuses in the past two weeks, forcing classes to be suspended in some cases. Police on Wednesday fired rubber bullets during confrontations at Rhodes University in Grahamstown.

US imposes sanctions on 2 Congolese security officials

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 13:34:23 UT

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — U.S. authorities are placing sanctions on two high-ranking Congolese officials who are considered to be close to President Joseph Kabila. The United States has been stepping up pressure against Congo amid growing political turmoil in the vast, mineral-rich nation where elections now have been delayed until next year.

75,000 could starve to death in Nigeria after Boko Haram: UN

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 11:36:01 UT

The severity of malnutrition levels and high number of children facing death make the humanitarian crisis confronting northeastern Nigeria perhaps the worst in the world, according to Arjan de Wagt, nutrition chief for UNICEF in Nigeria. Most severely malnourished children die of secondary illnesses like diarrhea and respiratory infections, de Wagt told The Associated Press. The crisis has reached "catastrophic levels" for people who have sought refuge in towns controlled by the military but who are "entirely reliant on outside aid that does not reach them," aid group Doctors Without Borders said Wednesday. UNICEF limited its outreach to the region after Boko Haram fighters attacked a military-escorted humanitarian convoy in July, wounding a UNICEF worker and others when a rocket hit an armored car. [...] de Wagt said the agency continues to deliver some therapeutic food by helicopter and to train local health workers to treat malnourished children living in dangerous areas. Doctors Without Borders, also known by the French acronym MSF, said the highest levels of starving children are in camps in Maiduguri, the northeastern city free of conflict where aid workers have been active for two years.

Correction: Algeria-Oil Prices story

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 09:18:24 UT

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — In a story Sept. 29 about OPEC's deal to curb oil production, The Associated Press misspelled the Algerian energy minister's name. OPEC nations reached a preliminary agreement to curb oil production for the first time since the global financial crisis eight years ago, in an effort to reduce a global glut of crude that has depressed oil prices for more than two years and weakened the economies of oil-producing nations ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — OPEC nations reached a preliminary agreement Wednesday to curb oil production for the first time since the global financial crisis eight years ago, in an effort to reduce a global glut of crude that has depressed oil prices for more than two years and weakened the economies of oil-producing nations. Iran had been resistant to cutting production, as it's trying to restore its oil industry since emerging from international sanctions over its nuclear program earlier this year. According to Wednesday's deal, Iran will be allowed to increase production to 3.7 million barrels a day, according to Algerian participants at the meeting. Instead of cutting production, OPEC opted to pump at high volumes in an attempt to maintain market share and drive some U.S. shale oil and gas producers, with higher operating costs, out of business. The preliminary agreement on production comes just weeks after the International Energy Agency said that growth in oil demand had slowed significantly during the third quarter, further suppressing crude prices. Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil producer and Iran's rival for power in the Middle East, appeared to be more amenable to some sort of production limit, certainly more so than in April when OPEC failed to agree on measures to curb supplies.

Investigators identify 2 men who took bag that held bomb

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 03:27:18 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Investigators probing bomb blasts in New Jersey and New York believe they've identified two men who walked off with a bag abandoned by the bomber on a street as Egyptian tourists. Police began looking for the men after they were seen in security video handling a bag prosecutors say was used by bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami to conceal an explosive that failed to detonate in Manhattan. Surveillance video shows Rahami rolling a suitcase down a Manhattan street, then abandoning it on the sidewalk where that unexploded device was found, authorities said.

Man shot by police was distraught over best friend's death

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:59:43 UT

(AP) — The unarmed black man shot by police in a San Diego suburb had a history of run-ins with authorities and was distraught over the recent death of his best friend. Olango was shot several times after refusing to obey police commands and drawing an object from his pants pocket and pointing it at an officer in a "shooting position," police said. After being released from federal prison, he was brought into court for violating the terms of his release — the federal equivalent of probation — because of a drunken driving conviction.

Police in a San Diego suburb say an officer shot a mentally ill black man a minute after arriving at scene

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 21:20:07 UT

EL CAJON, Calif. (AP) — Police in a San Diego suburb say an officer shot a mentally ill black man a minute after arriving at scene.

OPEC nations reach preliminary accord to curb oil production to boost prices; 1st time in 8 years

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 20:54:14 UT

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — OPEC nations reach preliminary accord to curb oil production to boost prices; 1st time in 8 years.

US extradites Rwandan academic to face genocide charges

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 17:51:42 UT

Richard Muhumuza, Rwanda's prosecutor-general, said the suspect is considered one of the key ideologues of the genocide, in which over 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists. According to the indictment, Munyakazi allegedly shot and killed Félicien Ugirashebuja, who lived in Kirwa village in the southern district of Muhunga.

Nigeria trying to muzzle dissenting voices, Amnesty says

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 17:34:42 UT

The London-based rights group cites examples of police blocking peaceful protests. The statement Wednesday says Amnesty has documented cases of enforced disappearances and killings of pro-Biafra supporters by security forces.

Shark attack survivor campaigns for sharks at UN meeting

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 15:36:56 UT

Shark attack survivor campaigns for sharks at UN meeting Achmat Hassiem on Wednesday called for tighter controls on trade in some shark species as well as in mobula rays, saying their numbers are in sharp decline. Sharks get a "bad rap" in a popular culture that portrays them as killing machines, when in fact they are increasingly vulnerable, he said.

South African police clash with student protesters

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 15:34:35 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South African media say police fired rubber bullets during clashes with university students protesting for free education. Several South African universities have suspended classes because of clashes between police and students as well as arson and other vandalism on campuses.

South Sudan says rebel leader's call to arms 'unacceptable'

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 15:15:18 UT

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan's government is making its first public response to a rebel leader's call for a return to armed conflict, saying Riek Machar is placing his own ambition above peace. President Salva Kiir quickly replaced him as vice president in a unity government under a fragile peace deal.

Global wildlife meeting approves ban on trade in pangolins

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 14:56:49 UT

The nocturnal, ant-eating animal got a much-needed boost Wednesday at a U.N. wildlife conference that approved a ban on trade in all eight species of Asian and African pangolins. Delegates approved a ban on trade in seven pangolin species by consensus at a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES. The new decision effectively prohibits virtually all commercial trade, allowing it only in what CITES calls "exceptional circumstances." The CITES meeting seeks to protect "iconic" species such as the lion and elephant, but it also debates the survival of lesser-known species such as the pangolin, said Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.