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seattlepi.com: Africa News From the Associated Press





 



Gambia's new president, still in Senegal, names female VP

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 21:18:34 UT

BANJUL, Gambia (AP) — Gambia's new vice president will be a female leader of the opposition coalition that helped bring new President Adama Barrow to power, a presidential spokesman announced Monday, as regional troops continued security sweeps to prepare for Barrow's return to the country he now rules. A former U.N. Development Program staffer, Tambajang was instrumental in helping Gambia's opposition parties overcome their differences and unite against ousted President Yahya Jammeh, who came to power in a coup and ruled for 22 years. The armed forces have pledged loyalty to him, though regional forces from the West African body known as ECOWAS on Monday continued to push Gambian soldiers out of the official residence, State House, in advance of Barrow's arrival. Jammeh should not qualify for political asylum because he triggered Gambia's crisis by refusing to step down, the Democratic Opposition Front said in a separate statement Sunday.



Official: 236 dead at camp bombed by Nigeria's air force

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 16:35:43 UT

In a rare admission, air force officials said it was an accident and formed a panel of senior officers to investigate. Satellite imagery supports witness accounts that the camp was struck with "multiple air-dropped munitions" even though tents should have been easily visible, Human Rights Watch said last week.



Congo expels Human Rights Watch researcher a second time

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 16:19:04 UT

The group said Monday that immigration authorities on Friday escorted Ida Sawyer, its Central Africa director, across the border into Rwanda after annulling her visa. Sawyer, based in Congo since 2008, had her work permit revoked last August and was in Brussels before returning in January after receiving a visa from the embassy there.



Liberia: Charles Taylor's ex-wife named as VP candidate

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 14:25:33 UT

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberia's international soccer star turned presidential candidate has named the ex-wife of former President Charles Taylor as his running mate. In a statement broadcast by Liberian radio stations Monday morning, George Weah said he and Jewel Howard-Taylor would head a coalition of three parties. Weah said reconciliation and tackling youth unemployment would be among his focus areas if elected, though his critics say he has a lackluster record as a politician and senator.



Turkey's Erdogan urges Tanzania to end Gulen ties

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 14:20:00 UT

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday talked about trade and security on the first stop of an African tour, urging Tanzania's leader to shut institutions linked to a Muslim cleric who is accused by Turkey of leading a failed coup. A key priority for the Turkish government is also targeting international schools and other institutions inspired by cleric Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based critic of Erdogan who has denied involvement in the botched military uprising in Turkey in July.



Cameroon helicopter crashes, killing general and 5 others

Sun, 22 Jan 2017 23:10:29 UT

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AP) — Authorities in Cameroon say a helicopter fighting the Boko Haram insurgency has crashed on the border with Nigeria, killing six people including the commander of this central African nation's troops. A multinational force has been fighting Boko Haram extremists who have expanded their deadly insurgency beyond Nigeria and into neighboring countries in the Lake Chad region.



Gambia's ex-leader made off with millions, luxury cars

Sun, 22 Jan 2017 22:02:20 UT

BANJUL, Gambia (AP) — Exiled Gambian ruler Yahya Jammeh stole millions of dollars in his final weeks in power, plundering the state coffers and shipping out luxury vehicles by cargo plane, a special adviser for the new president said Sunday. [...] a regional military force rolled in, greeted by cheers, to secure this tiny West African nation so that democratically elected President Adama Barrow could return home. At a press conference in the Senegalese capital, Barrow's special adviser Mai Ahmad Fatty told journalists that the president "will return home as soon as possible." The unpredictable Jammeh, known for startling declarations like his claim that bananas and herbal rubs could cure AIDS, went into exile under mounting international pressure, with a wave to supporters as soldiers wept. Jammeh's dramatic about-face on his December election loss to Barrow, at first conceding and then challenging the vote, appeared to be the final straw for the international community, which had been alarmed by his moves in recent years to declare an Islamic republic and leave the Commonwealth and the ICC. Barrow's adviser disavowed a joint declaration issued after Jammeh's departure by the United Nations, African Union and West African regional bloc ECOWAS that bestowed a number of protections upon Jammeh, his family and his associates — including the assurance that their lawful assets would not be seized. Barrow, who has promised to reverse many of Jammeh's actions, told The Associated Press on Saturday he will launch a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate alleged human rights abuses of Jammeh's regime.



Adviser to Gambia president: Exiled leader emptied state coffers, shipped out luxury vehicles

Sun, 22 Jan 2017 20:12:01 UT

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Adviser to Gambia president: Exiled leader emptied state coffers, shipped out luxury vehicles.



Turkish president targets cleric's schools on Africa visit

Sun, 22 Jan 2017 13:09:19 UT

[...] the Turkish government lobbied African nations to close or take over local schools linked to Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Turkey of masterminding a failed coup attempt last year. Turkey accuses international schools inspired by Gulen of providing militant recruits for his movement, which in turn says an increasingly authoritarian government is casting as wide a net as possible for perceived opponents. Turkey, a NATO member repairing frayed ties with Russia, has a sometimes testy relationship with old allies in the West over Turkey's human rights record and other matters. The overtures to Africa are partly an effort to build Turkey's international profile as a partner and counter to global powers on a continent with a bitter history of Western colonialism and Cold War-era conflict. Turkey's involvement in Africa feeds into the Turkish ruling party's "self-perception as the protector of Muslims and Muslim minorities around the world," said Sener Akturk, associate professor in the international relations department at Koc University in Istanbul. The schools once had the approval of Erdogan's government, whose former alliance with Gulen partly derived from joint opposition to the hard-line secular circles that had ruled Turkey.



Gambia's defeated leader leaves country, ends standoff

Sun, 22 Jan 2017 00:07:28 UT

BANJUL, Gambia (AP) — Gambia's defeated leader Yahya Jammeh and his family headed into political exile Saturday night, ending a 22-year reign of fear and a post-election political standoff that threatened to provoke a regional military intervention when he clung to power. The flight came almost 24 hours after Jammeh announced on state television he was ceding power to the newly inaugurated Adama Barrow, in response to mounting international pressure for his ouster. The situation became so tense that Barrow had to be inaugurated in neighboring Senegal at the Gambian Embassy on Thursday, after Jammeh's mandate expired at midnight. Shortly after Jammeh's departure, the United Nations, African Union and the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, issued a declaration saying that any country offering him and his family "African hospitality" should not be punished and that he should be free to return to Gambia in the future. The joint statement did not include promises of amnesty but said the world and regional bodies "commit to work with the government of the Gambia to prevent the seizure of assets and properties lawfully belonging to former President Jammeh or his family and those of his Cabinet members, government officials and party supporters." In recent days, Jammeh had been holed up in his official residence in Banjul, increasingly isolated as he was abandoned by his security forces and several Cabinet members. The group assembled a multinational military force that rolled into Gambia on Thursday, after Barrow's inauguration and a unanimous vote by the U.N. Security Council supporting the regional efforts.



Gambia's defeated leader Yahya Jammeh now leaving the country, ending political standoff

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 21:13:34 UT

BANJUL, Gambia (AP) — Gambia's defeated leader Yahya Jammeh now leaving the country, ending political standoff.



Nigeria group: 20 die, many missing after pro-Trump rally

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 18:56:21 UT

WARRI, Nigeria (AP) — A Nigerian separatist group says the death toll has risen to 20 after a demonstration in support of U.S. President Donald Trump turned into clashes with police. Friday's demonstration in southern Rivers state was organized by the Indigenous People of Biafra, which wants Trump to support the creation of an independent Biafran state for the Igbo people.



AP INTERVIEW: New Gambia leader to set up truth commission

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 18:44:21 UT

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Gambia's new president Adama Barrow said Saturday that he will launch a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate the alleged human rights abuses of Yahya Jammeh's 22-year regime. In an interview with The Associated Press just hours after Jammeh finally acquiesced to political exile, Barrow, 51, said it is too soon to tell whether the former president could face trial at the International Criminal Court or elsewhere. On Thursday, Barrow, a former businessman and real estate developer, was sworn into office at the Gambian Embassy in Dakar as hundreds of exiled Gambians cheered and waved flags outside. The fears for Barrow's security were because Jammeh has long been accused by human rights groups of heading a government that tortured opponents and silenced dissent. Some people have effectively disappeared, but families cling to hope that they may still be alive, say human rights activists.



AP Interview: New Gambia leader says Jammeh leaving in hours

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 14:25:55 UT

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Gambia's new president says defeated leader Yahya Jammeh is expected to leave for Guinea within hours, and he plans to return home to take power once the situation is "clear." Barrow, who won December's presidential elections, spoke just hours after Jammeh announced he would relinquish power, ending hours of last-minute negotiations with the leaders of Guinea and Mauritania. An online petition urged that Jammeh not be granted asylum and should instead be arrested. Jammeh, who first seized power in a 1994 coup, has been holed up this week in his official residence in Banjul, increasingly isolated as he was abandoned by his security forces and several Cabinet members. The West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, pledged to remove Jammeh by force if he did not step down. Fearing violence as the political crisis dragged on, about 45,000 people have fled Gambia for Senegal, according to the U.N. refugee agency.



New Gambian president: Defeated leader Yahya Jammeh expected to leave for Guinea within hours

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 13:22:17 UT

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — New Gambian president: Defeated leader Yahya Jammeh expected to leave for Guinea within hours.



Gambia's defeated leader agrees to cede power, leave

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:26:56 UT

BANJUL, Gambia (AP) — Gambia's defeated leader Yahya Jammeh announced early Saturday he has decided to relinquish power, after hours of last-ditch talks with regional leaders and the threat by a regional military force to make him leave. [...] the speech signaled an end to the political crisis that has seen this tiny West African nation caught between two men claiming to be in charge. The famously mercurial Jammeh at first shocked Gambians by conceding his election loss to Barrow, but with the possibility of prosecution hanging over him for human rights abuses alleged during his 22 years in power, he decided to change his mind. The defeated Gambian leader, who first seized power in a 1994 coup, has been holed up this week in his official residence in Banjul, increasingly isolated as his security forces abandoned him and he dissolved his Cabinet. Defense forces chief Ousmane Badjie on Friday told The Associated Press that Gambia's security services now support Barrow and would not oppose the regional force that was ready to move against Jammeh if he refused to step down. In his address early Saturday, Jammeh expressed "infinite gratitude to all Gambians" and said not a single person had been killed during the political crisis.



The Latest: Defeated Gambia leader says relinquishing power

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 01:39:58 UT

BANJUL, Gambia (AP) — The Latest on Gambia's political crisis, sparked by defeated leader Yahya Jammeh's refusal to leave office (all times local): Gambia's defeated leader Yahya Jammeh says he has decided to relinquish power, after hours of talks with regional leaders and the threat by a regional military force to make him leave. Jammeh spoke early Saturday on state television, saying that "I think it is not necessary that a single drop of blood be shed." President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz spoke with reporters early Saturday at the airport shortly before boarding his flight home. Senegalese foreign affairs ministry officials who have briefed on the situation say Gambia's defeated leader Yahya Jammeh has agreed to cede power but is not leaving the country tonight. A United Nations official with knowledge of the process says mediators are making good progress to facilitate a peaceful transition of power in Gambia. Regional leaders have been meeting with defeated leader Yahya Jammeh in a last-ditch effort to get him to step aside. The statement from South Africa's foreign affairs department also "urges former President Yahya Jammeh to cooperate with ECOWAS, and should step down peacefully." Gambia's chief of defense forces has pledged his allegiance to the country's new president Friday, a major shift as mediation continued to persuade defeated Yahya Jammeh to cede power. Ousmane Badjie told The Associated Press the country's security services all support the newly inaugurated Adama Barrow and said they would not fight a regional force that is poised to push out Jammeh if the current negotiations talks fail.



Gambia's defeated leader Yahya Jammeh announces he has decided to relinquish power

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 01:34:58 UT

BANJUL, Gambia (AP) — Gambia's defeated leader Yahya Jammeh announces he has decided to relinquish power.



Jammeh agrees to cede power to new leader, Senegalese government official says

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 19:46:35 UT

BANJUL, Gambia (AP) — Jammeh agrees to cede power to new leader, Senegalese government official says.



Gambia's chief of defense forces pledges support, allegiance to new president

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 16:20:57 UT

BANJUL, Gambia (AP) — Gambia's chief of defense forces pledges support, allegiance to new president.



Boko Haram attacks camp bombed by Nigeria's air force

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 16:17:59 UT

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Boko Haram extremists attacked a refugee camp in northeast Nigeria just days after Nigeria's air force bombed it, witnesses said Friday, as reports emerged that the death toll from the bombing could be as high as 170. The witnesses, who included aid workers and camp residents, spoke on condition of anonymity because of safety fears. Satellite imagery from the bombing supports witness accounts that the camp was struck with "multiple air-dropped munitions" even though tents should have been easily visible, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.



Group: 11 killed at Nigeria pro-Trump rally; police deny it

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 15:58:09 UT

WARRI, Nigeria (AP) — Eleven people were killed when Nigerian security forces cracked down on a demonstration supporting the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, a separatist group said Friday, though police denied there were any deaths. The London-based human rights organization said an analysis of 87 videos, 122 photographs and testimony from 146 witnesses showed "the military fired live ammunition with little or no warning" into crowds protesting in several cities between August 2015 and August 2016.



Call for Nigeria military chief to stop intimidating press

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 10:27:53 UT

Buratai had complained about the site's exclusive reporting of a major defeat suffered in an Oct. 17 battle with Boko Haram Islamic extremists that even the army acknowledged left dozens of soldiers missing in action. The defamation charge relates to a December story by Okakwu saying the Code of Conduct Bureau was investigating Buratai for alleged false declaration of assets over a property in Dubai allegedly bought with cash within days of his July 2016 appointment to head the army.



Defeated Gambian leader ordered to cede power by midday Friday or be forced out by regional troops already in country

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 06:53:47 UT

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Defeated Gambian leader ordered to cede power by midday Friday or be forced out by regional troops already in country.



Regional troops enter Gambia in effort to get Jammeh to go

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 22:39:55 UT

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — A West African regional force charged into neighboring Gambia late Thursday to support the country's newly inaugurated president, while longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh showed no sign of stepping down. The troops moved in shortly after Adama Barrow was inaugurated at Gambia's embassy in neighboring Senegal, after a final effort at diplomatic talks with Jammeh failed to secure his departure. In his inaugural speech, which took place under heavy security, Barrow called on Jammeh to respect the will of the people and step aside. The new president also called on Gambia's armed forces to remain in their barracks as the regional military intervention got underway. Shortly after the inauguration, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution expressing "full support" to Barrow, calling on Jammeh to step down and condemning his attempts to usurp power. The resolution also backed the regional efforts to get Jammeh to respect the election results. [...] once it was suggested that Jammeh could face criminal charges linked to human rights abuses during his long rule, he backtracked and challenged the vote in court, alleging irregularities.



French military: Death toll in Mali base attack rises to 77

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 21:20:59 UT

PARIS (AP) — The death toll in a suicide attack on a Mali army camp in the African country's north has risen to 77, a French military spokesman said Thursday. The former fighters at the camp include ethnic Tuareg secular rebels who once fought the Malian military as well as Malian soldiers and militia close to the Malian government. According to SITE, the responsibility claim read: "With this operation, we warn all who were lured by France to march (as) its allies" that "we do not permit" bases, patrols or war against Mujahedeen fighters.



Senegal army spokesman says troops have entered Gambia in effort to get Jammeh to step down

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 18:56:11 UT

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Senegal army spokesman says troops have entered Gambia in effort to get Jammeh to step down.



Images show Nigeria bombed refugee camp multiple times

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 18:29:23 UT

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Satellite imagery supports witness accounts that Nigeria's military bombed a refugee camp with "multiple air-dropped munitions," even though tents should have been easily visible, Human Rights Watch said Thursday. The New York-based group again urged a thorough investigation of Tuesday's bombing of the camp that one Nigerian official said killed more than 100 refugees and aid workers. Nigeria's military has said the bombing in the remote community of Rann in Borno state was an accident, saying it was trying to target Boko Haram Islamic extremist fighters.



Who is Gambia's new leader? A look at Adama Barrow

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:26:30 UT

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Adama Barrow is a former businessman and real estate mogul who emerged as the unlikely head of a coalition of several Gambian opposition parties. Shortly after winning election in December, the 51-year-old Barrow said he planned to reverse longtime leader Yahya Jammeh's decisions to pull out of both the Commonwealth, a group made up mostly of former British colonies, and the International Criminal Court, which prosecutes the world's worst atrocities such as genocide. Barrow also has said he would prioritize reviving the tiny West African country's stagnant economy and improving Gambia's relationships with the international community.



Botswana says it does not recognize Gambia's Jammeh

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 13:03:40 UT

Botswana says Jammeh's refusal to hand power to President-elect Adama Barrow, who plans to be sworn into office Thursday in neighboring Senegal, "undermines the ongoing efforts to consolidate democracy and good governance" in Gambia and Africa in general. The African Union earlier announced that the continental body would no longer recognize Jammeh once his mandate expired.