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


Somali extremist group confirms killing of senior commander

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 20:42:15 UT

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — The Somali Islamic extremist group al-Shabab is confirming that one of its top commanders was killed by a U.S. airstrike in July. The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist groups, says al-Shabab issued a statement Monday confirming the killing of Ali Muhammad Hussein, also known as Ali Jabal. A statement from the U.S. Africa Command in early August said the strike on July 30 killed Jabal. It said Jabal was "responsible for leading al-Shabab forces operating in the Mogadishu and Banadiir regions in planning and executing attacks against the capital of Mogadishu." The strike reportedly hit an al-Shabab stronghold in the Lower Shabelle region of southern Somalia.

9 UN peacekeepers hurt in Mali by roadside bomb attack

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 16:40:25 UT

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — U.N. officials say nine peacekeepers have been wounded when their convoy was hit by a roadside bomb in northern Mali. Oliver Salgado, spokesman for the U.N. mission in Mali, said the violence took place Sunday along the road between the northern towns of Aguel'hoc and Tessalit. Salgado said the wounded peacekeepers had been evacuated for medical treatment. Such attacks have become increasingly common in northern Mali, where a number of Islamic extremist groups are active. Earlier this month, an attack on a U.N. camp in Timbuktu killed seven people. The U.N.

Nigerian president vows to step up fight against Boko Haram

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 11:58:35 UT

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari said his government will step up its campaign against Islamic extremist rebels but made no mention of his health he spoke to the nation for the first time Monday, after more than three months of medical treatment in London. "Terrorists and criminals must be fought and destroyed relentlessly so that the majority of us can live in peace and safety," said Buhari in a televised speech on Monday. "Therefore we are going to reinforce and reinvigorate the fight not only against elements of Boko Haram which are attempting a new series of attacks on soft targets, kidnappings, farmers versus herdsmen clashes, in addition to ethnic violence fueled by political mischief makers.

Aid workers face unique crisis in South Sudan war, says ICRC

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 10:12:17 UT

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — South Sudan's civil war presents humanitarian workers with "one of the unique crises" in the world, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross said Monday. "This is not a crisis which can be reduced to the conflict," Peter Maurer told reporters in Uganda's capital, Kampala. "This is also a crisis where the uncomfortable elements of poverty, of lack of development, of international pressures on the economy, pay an enormous toll." He described "a special crisis" in which even ICRC's relief operations have had to be moved several times over the last three years in order to keep up with people fleeing violence.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari addresses nation on television after months away for medical treatment

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 06:02:28 UT

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari addresses nation on television after months away for medical treatment.

Hospital officals: Nearly 500 dead in Sierra Leone mudslides

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 17:16:10 UT

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Churches across Sierra Leone held special services Sunday in memory of those killed in mudslides and flooding earlier this week, as hospital officials announced the toll had risen to nearly 500 bodies collected. More than 600 people remain missing and rescue officials have warned that the chances of finding survivors are decreasing each day. The death toll earlier stood at 450. The Inter-Religious Council called for the services to be held Sunday in honor of the deceased, as special prayers and recitals were offered in mosques Friday and Sunday.

Grace Mugabe gets diplomatic immunity, returns to Zimbabwe

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 14:50:49 UT

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Granted diplomatic immunity by South Africa, the wife of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe returned home from Johannesburg on Sunday despite calls that she be prosecuted for allegedly assaulting a young model at a luxury hotel there. Zimbabwean state broadcaster ZBC showed Grace Mugabe greeting government and military officials at the Harare airport after returning on an Air Zimbabwe plane with her husband, who had attended a summit of southern African leaders in Pretoria. The Mugabe couple did not attend a state funeral for a senior ruling party official later in the day in the Zimbabwean capital; the president usually presides over such events.

The Latest: South Africa grants immunity to Zim first lady

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 13:20:01 UT

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — The Latest on Grace Mugabe returning to Zimbabwe (all times local): 3:15 p.m. South Africa granted diplomatic immunity to Zimbabwe's first lady, who was accused of assaulting a woman in a Johannesburg hotel a week ago. South Africa's foreign minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, granted immunity to Grace Mugabe in a government gazette notice that was published Sunday. The notice recognizes "the immunities and privileges of the First Lady of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Dr. Grace Mugabe." Grace Mugabe returned to South Africa with President Robert Mugabe early Sunday. ___ 12:35 p.m.

Nigeria's ailing president returns after 3 months away

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 20:51:15 UT

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari returned to the country Saturday after more than three months in London for medical treatment but the government gave no details on what has been ailing him. Buhari will address the nation in a broadcast Monday morning, his office said, referring to the president's issues merely as a "health challenge." The 74-year-old leader also spent seven weeks in London for treatment earlier this year, saying he had never been so sick in his life. He spoke of receiving blood transfusions. Buhari's long absences have led some in Africa's most populous nation to call for his replacement and for the military to remind its personnel to remain loyal.

South Africa mulls fate of Mugabe's wife after assault claim

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 16:43:10 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — In a tit-for-tat dispute, Zimbabwe blocked flights by South Africa's government-owned airline on Saturday amid tensions over allegations that Zimbabwe's first lady assaulted a young model at a luxury hotel in Johannesburg. Zimbabwe's action followed the grounding Friday evening of an Air Zimbabwe flight at Johannesburg's main international airport after South African authorities concluded it was not in compliance with civil aviation rules. Both countries said they imposed restrictions because planes did not have a "foreign operator's permit.

The Latest: Nigeria's president returns after 3 months away

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 15:54:10 UT

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — The Latest on Nigeria president's return after three months of medical treatment in London (all times local): 4:55 p.m. Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has returned to the country after more than three months in London for medical treatment. His plane has landed in the capital, Abuja. Supporters have lined the road to the airport, singing. Buhari's long absence, his second this year, had created uncertainty in Africa's most populous country amid some calls for his replacement. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who has been acting president, was on hand at the airport for Buhari's return. Nigeria's government has never said what exactly has been ailing the 74-year-old leader. ___ 10:30 a.m.

The Latest: South Africa blocks Air Zimbabwe flight

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 13:42:01 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The Latest on assault allegations against Zimbabwe's first lady (all times local): 3:40 p.m. South African authorities say an Air Zimbabwe flight was not allowed to take off from Johannesburg because it was not in compliance with civil aviation rules. The South African Civil Aviation Authority says an inspection was conducted Friday evening on the Boeing 767-200 aircraft and it was found not to be in compliance with South African and international guidelines. The aviation authority says an aircraft must have a "foreign operator's permit" and other documents in order to fly in and out of South Africa.

Hundreds missing in Sierra Leone mudslides likely dead

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 13:28:27 UT

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Survivors picking through the debris of Sierra Leone's deadly mudslides were facing the reality Saturday that most, if not all, of the hundreds of people missing are dead, as relief and aid efforts intensified. The death toll is already above 450 from the flooding and mudslides in the capital, Freetown, early Monday. The number of missing could go higher than 600, according to Sierra Leone's deputy minister of information and communications, Cornelius Deveaux. Satellite images and census figures are being used to calculate a more accurate human toll. Rescue officials have warned that the chances of finding survivors "are getting smaller every day.

Congo landslide death toll likely 200, governor says

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 12:29:53 UT

GOMA, Congo (AP) — Authorities in northeastern Congo say a landslide earlier this week in Ituri province likely has killed at least 200 people. Gov. Abdallah Pene Mbaka said Saturday the estimate is based on missing people and homes affected. He says 50 houses were destroyed and only 44 bodies have been found. Wednesday's landslide in Tora village followed heavy rains in the fishing community located along Lake Albert. The governor is calling on the international community for emergency assistance with rescue and recovery efforts. Many people die each year in Congo as the result of poorly regulated development.

Zimbabwe blocks South African Airways flights amid scandal over president Mugabe's wife

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 12:03:27 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Zimbabwe blocks South African Airways flights amid scandal over president Mugabe's wife.

Attacks on aid workers increasing in South Sudan, UN says

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 11:11:55 UT

RENK, South Sudan (AP) — The United Nations says attacks against aid workers are increasing in South Sudan. A statement by the humanitarian coordinator there, Serge Tissot, says the attacks also put millions of South Sudanese in peril amid the country's civil war. Millions face severe hunger. The world's youngest nation has become one of the most dangerous places for aid workers to operate. Eighty-two have been killed since 2013, including 15 this year. Many are local workers. The U.N. says attacks include the looting of warehouses and trucks and the loss of tons of food aid. The world body has repeatedly asked South Sudan's government to better protect aid workers and let them do their jobs without restrictions.

Nigeria says ailing president returning to country today after more than 3 months in London

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 09:20:27 UT

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria says ailing president returning to country today after more than 3 months in London.

Kenya opposition files challenge against presidential vote

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 22:24:09 UT

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Lawyers representing the Kenyan opposition coalition National Super Alliance filed a petition Friday with the Supreme Court challenging President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election, beating a midnight deadline. A statement from the group's presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, and his running mate, Kalonzo Musyoka, said they turned to the court because of alleged irregularities in the Aug. 8 presidential vote. Those included, among others, "numerous instances when their ticket was denied votes and others in which their competitor ... had undeserved votes added to his total," the statement read. Odinga has rejected the electoral commission's results which say Kenyatta won by roughly 1.4 million votes.

Official: Rwanda genocide suspect extradited from Germany

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 19:56:46 UT

KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — Rwanda prosecution officials said say the German government has extradited a suspect in the 1994 Rwandan genocide to Rwanda to face charges. Jean Twagiramungu's arrest in the German city of Frankfurt two years ago came more than two decades after the genocide in Rwanda, where more than 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered by extremist Hutus. Twagiramungu has been battling extradition request from Kigali, arguing he cannot receive fair trial in Rwanda. He was handed over Friday to Rwandan police for prosecution in Rwanda by German officials at Kigali International Airport.

Sierra Leone death toll now up to 450 after mudslides

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:34:15 UT

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Rescue officials in Sierra Leone warned Friday that the chances of finding survivors in the debris of this week's mudslides "are getting smaller every day," as bereaved and homeless survivors faced the magnitude of all they have lost. Burials and rescue efforts pressed on amid the threat of further disaster. Up to 450 bodies have been recovered in and around the capital, Freetown, after Monday's mudslides and flooding, according to Dr. Simeon Owiss Koroma, the government's chief consultant forensic pathologist. Some 600 others are missing and feared dead. At least 122 of the victims are children, and a similar number have been orphaned by the disaster, the aid group Save the Children said.

The Latest: Death toll up to 450 in Sierra Leone mudslides

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:14:09 UT

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — The Latest on deadly mudslides in Sierra Leone (all times local): 6:10 p.m. Authorities in Sierra Leone now say up to 450 bodies have been recovered following this week's torrential mudslides. Aid officials have estimated that at least 600 others are still missing four days after heavy storm caused the disaster. Dr. Simeon Owiss Koroma, the government's chief consultant forensic pathologist, said Friday afternoon that up to 450 bodies now have been recovered. Those that can be identified are being returned to loved ones for burial, but others too badly decomposed have been taken to a cemetery where Ebola victims were laid to rest in 2014 and 2015.

Rwanda leader Kagame inaugurated; won nearly 99 pct of vote

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 17:47:14 UT

KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — Rwandan President Paul Kagame was sworn in for a third term Friday after winning re-election with nearly 99 percent of the vote. Many African leaders attended the ceremony in the capital, Kigali. The longtime president had described the Aug. 4 election as "a formality" while campaigning. The East African nation has virtually no political opposition, and critics accuse Kagame of being intolerant of dissent. He denies it. "It's a day of gratitude and I will continue to work for Rwandans with pride and honor," Kagame said Friday. "Africa is on the right path, and we are going to do just fine." Kagame has been de facto leader or president since the end of the 1994 genocide.

Texas woman in ID thefts gets 10 years in Nigeria cars scam

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 14:48:39 UT

DALLAS (AP) — A Texas woman is going to prison for a $1.2 million scheme that stole identities to get tax refunds to buy and ship used cars to Nigeria. LaTonya Carson was sentenced Thursday to spend 10 years in a U.S. prison. The Dallas woman was convicted on several charges, including aggravated identity theft, money laundering and wire fraud. Federal prosecutors in Dallas say some victims were in prison when their personal information was stolen. Investigators say that starting in 2012, Carson and others involved in the scheme used bogus tax refunds to buy and export nearly 280 vehicles to Nigeria. Another suspect, Smith Olsola Akin of Plano (PLAY'-noh), Texas, was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Zimbabwe's first lady remains quiet amid assault claims

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 10:08:32 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Zimbabwe's first lady remained out of sight Friday, several days after a young model claimed Grace Mugabe whipped her with an extension cord in a luxury hotel in South Africa. South African authorities are weighing a request by Zimbabwe's government for diplomatic immunity for the first lady, who has not commented since the alleged assault Sunday night. South African police have issued a "red alert" at its borders to ensure Mugabe doesn't leave undetected, and they say they are confident the first lady remains in the country. Police also say their investigation is complete but needs a government decision on the immunity appeal.

Sierra Leone mudslides death toll now above 400 as hundreds still missing, UN says

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 08:24:45 UT

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Sierra Leone mudslides death toll now above 400 as hundreds still missing, UN says.

Officials say extremist group beheads 3 people in Kenya

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 07:04:46 UT

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenyan officials say suspected Islamic militants have beheaded three people and burnt houses in an attack along the Indian Ocean coast. Lamu County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo says gunmen believed to al-Shabab militants attacked Maleli village near Witu town. Beheadings by al-Shabab have been relatively rare in Kenya, where the extremist group has carried out dozens of deadly attacks over the years. The group in July was accused of beheading nine people in another village in Lamu County and has stepped up attacks in East African country in recent weeks.

Burundi: 1 killed, 29 injured in grenade attacks, say police

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 06:35:33 UT

BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) — Burundian police say one person has been killed and 29 others injured in overnight grenade attacks in the capital. Police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said the attacks on Thursday night targeted two bars in the Buyenzi quarter of Bujumbura. Nkurikiye said it was not immediately clear who was responsible for the apparently coordinated attacks. Burundi has been plagued by sporadic violence since April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a disputed third term. Hundreds of people have been killed in violence since then.

Threat looms of more mudslides in Sierra Leone amid burials

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 23:52:52 UT

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — The president joined with families in paying final respects Thursday to victims of this week's mudslides and flooding in Sierra Leone's capital, while the government warned residents to evacuate a mountainside where a large crack opened. Approximately 350 people had been confirmed killed and 600 more remained missing from the disaster early Monday. Workers struggled in the thick mud and debris of smashed homes looking for more bodies, picking their way through stools, shoes and other remnants of daily life. The government hired 600 gravediggers for individual burials taking place in a cemetery that already holds victims of the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak which killed thousands in the West African nation.

'Red alert' over Zimbabwe first lady, accused of assault

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:31:30 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Lawyers for the young model who claims she was assaulted by Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe in a Johannesburg hotel said Thursday that her family had been approached with an offer of money to drop the allegation. South African police issued a "red alert" to prevent Mugabe from leaving the country after Zimbabwe's government requested diplomatic immunity. Lawyers for 20-year-old Gabriella Engels threatened to go to court if South Africa's government grants Mugabe immunity, saying it cannot be used to "escape prosecution from grave crimes." The lawyers said Engels' family had been approached with an offer of "financial compensation" by a third party, which Engels refused.

South African conservationist shot and killed in Tanzania

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:00:47 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A U.S.-based conservation group says its South African co-founder has been shot and killed in Tanzania. The PAMS Foundation said Thursday on Facebook that Wayne Lotter was killed Wednesday night in the Masa-ki district of Dar es Salaam. It says Tanzanian police are investigating. The foundation says Lotter helped to train thousands of game scouts throughout Tanzania and developed an "intelligence-based approach" to anti-poaching that has had success in countering wildlife trafficking there. It says he is survived by his wife and two daughters. Poachers have killed tens of thousands of elephants in Tanzania in the past decade.