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


Liberia to swear in new leader ex-soccer star George Weah

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 09:28:57 UT

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Former international soccer star George Weah will be sworn into office Monday as Liberia's new president, taking over leadership of this post-war, impoverished West African nation from Africa's first female president. The 51-year-old, who was FIFA's 1995 player of the year, won the runoff vote on Dec. 26 against the outgoing vice president. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf served for 12 years, lifting Liberia from the destruction of back-to-back civil wars that ended before her tenure and facing the challenge of the Ebola crisis that killed thousands here. Weah, who has run for the presidency before but is relatively new to national politics, inherits a weak economy along with poor health and educational sectors.

Kenya: Explosive kills 4 more children grazing livestock

Sun, 21 Jan 2018 19:59:38 UT

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A Kenyan official says four more children have been killed by an explosive device that went off in a field where they grazing livestock. Mandera Governor Ali Roba is blaming devices that Britain might have planted during its colonial occupation of Kenya for the deaths on Saturday. He asked security agents to clear the fields of any devices from before Kenya gained independence in 1963. Five children between the ages of 12 and 17 were killed in the same area of northern Kenya on Dec. 20 while playing with an explosive device they found while grazing livestock. Many children living in the arid and semi-arid regions of Kenya often tend to their family's livestock after school.

7 die at Ethiopia's Epiphany in clashes with security forces

Sun, 21 Jan 2018 19:07:03 UT

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — An Ethiopian police official in the restive Amhara region in the north confirmed Sunday evening that seven people were killed when worshippers celebrating the Epiphany holiday clashed with security forces. The killings on Saturday in the town of Woldiya, some 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of the capital Addis Ababa, happened on the second day of the colorful Epiphany celebrations in this East African nation. Amare Goshu, a police official in the region, told the state-owned Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation that seven people died, including one security officer, during the confrontation.

5 dead, dozens injured as Congo police disperse protests

Sun, 21 Jan 2018 17:42:23 UT

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Police in Congo used tear gas and gunfire to disperse thousands of anti-government demonstrators across the nation on Sunday, leaving five people dead and injuring more than 33 who marched after church services calling for President Joseph Kabila to step down, the United Nations said. Catholic churches and activists had called for peaceful demonstrations Sunday in Kinshasa, Goma, Lubumbashi and other cities. The protests turned violent as police tried to disperse the demonstrators. Security forces arrested 69 people countrywide, said U.N. spokeswoman in Congo Florence Marchal. The five dead were in Kinshasa, though it was unclear if police were among any of the casualties, she said.

Ethiopia refuses World Bank arbitration over Nile River dam

Sun, 21 Jan 2018 15:58:18 UT

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia's leader has rejected arbitration by the World Bank on a disagreement with Egypt over the hydroelectric dam that Ethiopia is building on the Nile River. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Saturday refused the suggestion made by Egypt in late December that the World Bank should be brought in to resolve the dispute with Ethiopia over the construction of the dam on the Nile River that Egypt says threatens its water security. Sudan is also part of the negotiations because the Nile flows through it on the way to Egypt.

2 Americans, 2 Canadians abducted in Nigeria are freed

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 20:51:59 UT

YOLA, Nigeria (AP) — Two Americans and two Canadians who were kidnapped in Nigeria's north-central Kaduna state on Tuesday have been freed and are in good condition, police said Saturday. Police and a special anti-kidnapping squad rescued the foreigners in the Kagarko local government area Friday night after a massive manhunt, state police commissioner Agyole Abeh said. "No ransom was paid. It was the efforts of the police through the directives of the Inspector General of Police that led to their release," he said. One suspect was arrested in connection with the kidnapping and police were on the trail of remaining suspects, Abeh said.

2 Americans, 2 Canadians abducted in Nigeria are freed and in good condition, police say

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 13:23:32 UT

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — 2 Americans, 2 Canadians abducted in Nigeria are freed and in good condition, police say.

Gabon says major ivory trafficking ring dismantled, 10 held

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 13:14:15 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Gabon says a major trafficking ring that smuggled six tons of ivory out of the country in 2017 has been dismantled, in a victory against poachers who have killed large numbers of forest elephants in the Central African country. The Chadian head of the syndicate, Abdoulaye Mohamoud Ibrahim, and eight accomplices, including his wife, son and daughter-in-law, were arrested on Nov. 1 after a two-year investigation assisted by Interpol and French law enforcement, Gabon's national parks agency said. The ring's "moneyman" was arrested three weeks later.

South Africa's president under pressure at key party meeting

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 11:26:25 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The leadership of South Africa's ruling African National Congress party is holding a key meeting amid media reports of talks about the removal of President Jacob Zuma, whose scandal-plagued tenure has hurt the party's popularity and the economy. The party's National Executive Committee said Saturday that the ANC must rebuild trust with South Africans and reclaim a "moral legitimacy" that dates to its role as the main anti-apartheid movement but has been sullied by corruption allegations surrounding Zuma and his associates. The ANC says its new leader, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, and party officials will liaise with Zuma to ensure "effective coordination" between the party and the government.

US-backed Somalia commandos kill 4 al-Shabab extremists

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 18:31:25 UT

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Somali and U.S. commandos stormed a camp for al-Shabab extremist fighters in an overnight raid, killing at least four of the fighters and rescuing dozens of child conscripts, a Somali intelligence official said Friday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said special forces raided the camp in Jame'o village in Middle Shabelle region. A local commander was among those killed, he said. A second official confirmed the raid, which was carried out with the support of helicopters that later evacuated the young recruits. Human Rights Watch earlier in the week accused al-Shabab of the forced recruitment of hundreds of children in recent months.

A year after Jammeh's exit, Gambia emerges from the shadows

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 15:21:04 UT

BANJUL, Gambia (AP) — The military intervention looked imminent. West African troops were poised to push into Gambia as Yahya Jammeh, the tiny nation's leader for more than 22 years, refused to cede power after losing elections. President-elect Adama Barrow had flown to safety in neighboring Senegal, where he was sworn in at the Gambian embassy with international support. Days later, Jammeh kissed his Quran, waved goodbye to teary-eyed supporters and boarded a plane with his family and dozens of allies, eventually landing in Equatorial Guinea and disappearing into silence.

Crowds jostle for holy water as Ethiopia celebrates Epiphany

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 14:33:40 UT

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia's Orthodox Christians have gathered to celebrate Timkat, or Epiphany, a major holiday marking the baptism of Jesus. Priests sprinkle holy water that they have prayed on through the night. The crowds jostle to get some of the water on their faces, an act that symbolizes the renewal of baptismal vows. Other priests hold crosses or beeswax candles, with the smell of frankincense in the air. Streets in the East African nation are packed with thousands of pilgrims gathered around the Tabot. The holy altar slabs are replicas of the Ark of the Covenant.

Trump's vulgar Africa comment morphs into tourism campaigns

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 13:14:31 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — First, there was outrage in Africa at President Donald Trump's vulgar comment about the continent. Now some governments and tourism operators are humorously exploiting it to promote Africa's many attractions. Trump referred to African nations as "shithole countries" last week during a meeting in Washington, according to several participants. The president denied using that language. The Gondwana Collection, a private tourism operator in Namibia, has released a video featuring the southern African nation's wildlife and natural beauty. A narrator mimicking Trump's voice and repeating his remark invites people to visit "Africa's No. 1" such country.

Zimbabwe mourns Bennett, 'sharpest thorn' in Mugabe's side

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 09:31:51 UT

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — He was called the "sharpest thorn" in Robert Mugabe's side. Zimbabwe on Friday mourned Roy Bennett, a white founding member of the main opposition party who died Thursday with his wife, Heather, in a helicopter crash in the United States. With his fluent Shona, earthy manner and passion for political change in the southern African nation, Bennett won a devoted following among black Zimbabweans. He was known as "Pachedu," meaning "one of us" in Shona. His death comes as Zimbabwe sees dramatic change. Mugabe shocked the world by resigning in November after 37 years in power, under pressure from the military and ruling party.

New UNICEF chief to engage private sector to help children

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 09:08:42 UT

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — The new leader of UNICEF says the children's agency is taking a new approach in 2018 by engaging with private companies to help prepare young people for productive lives. In an interview with The Associated Press, executive director Henrietta Holsman Fore said she plans to draw on her experience in the business and development worlds. The American was the first woman to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development and was CEO of Holsman International, an investment and management firm.

Helicopter crash claims Texas investor, decorated pilots

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 01:47:31 UT

RATON, N.M. (AP) — Five friends, including a Zimbabwean opposition leader, traveling to a ranch in the U.S. state of New Mexico died when their helicopter crashed in a remote area. Here's more about the prominent people on board: CHARLES RYLAND BURNETT III, 61 Born in England, Burnett was an investor and philanthropist with links to a wide range of businesses and a love of entertaining friends extravagantly. Burnett was based in Houston and listed as an officer in dozens of companies registered with the Texas secretary of state's office. The Guardian newspaper reported in 2009 that he drove a steam-powered car at an average speed of 139.8 miles per hour (225 kilometers per hour), setting a world record.

Helicopter with Zimbabwe opposition leader crashes, kills 5

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 23:51:58 UT

RATON, N.M. (AP) — A group of prominent friends, including a key Zimbabwean opposition leader and a Texas-based investor and philanthropist, was heading to a ranch in the U.S. state of New Mexico when their helicopter crashed and burned in a remote area, killing five people aboard. Friends and family members confirmed Thursday that opposition leader Roy Bennett and his wife, Heather, had traveled to New Mexico to spend their holiday with friend and wealthy businessman Charles Burnett III at his ranch. Burnett's friends, pilot Jamie Coleman Dodd of Colorado and co-pilot Paul Cobb of Texas, were ferrying the group aboard a Huey UH-1 when it went down after dark Wednesday. All five died, according to New Mexico State Police.

Dozens of ex-US envoys to Africa urge Trump to reconsider

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 19:02:45 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Dozens of former U.S. ambassadors to African countries have written to President Donald Trump expressing "deep concern" over his comments about the continent and warning that respectful engagement is crucial to protecting American interests. The letter to Trump is signed by 78 former envoys including former assistant secretaries of state for African affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Johnnie Carson. The letter, dated Tuesday, asks the president to "reassess" his views on the 54-nation continent, which it calls blessed with "almost unparalleled natural resources" and with which the U.S. has deep historical ties.

28 aid workers killed in South Sudan last year, a new high

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 16:53:48 UT

AKOBO, South Sudan (AP) — The United Nations says violence against aid workers in South Sudan reached a new high in 2017, with 28 killed. Nearly half of the 1,159 humanitarian access incidents reported last year by aid agencies involved violence including killing, looting and threats. The U.N. humanitarian office calls the trend "indicative of increasingly difficult times for aid workers in the country." It says the trend continues even after President Salva Kiir in November ordered unimpeded movement for aid groups. South Sudan's civil war, now in its fifth year, has killed tens of thousands and plunged parts of the country into famine. Two million people have fled the country.

Uganda's leader to sign death warrants again after 19 years

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 16:40:22 UT

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Uganda's president said Thursday he will sign the first death warrants in nearly two decades to create fear among criminals in the East African country, vowing to "hang a few." President Yoweri Museveni said he had not ordered executions in 19 years but was changing his mind because people were taking advantage of the "leniency." "I am going to revise this and hang a few," he said. "We must hang some of these people because if you see how they kill people, they deserve to be killed." He was speaking at a graduation ceremony for prison wardens in the capital, Kampala. Museveni last signed death warrants in 1999, when 28 people were executed.

South Africa prosecutors urged to act in apartheid-era death

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 14:37:03 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The family of a South African anti-apartheid activist who was tortured and killed by police in 1971 is pushing state prosecutors to act against three former police officers linked to the murder. Ahmed Timol's family said Thursday that it does not want vengeance and would back plea bargains by the men, who are in their 80s, as long as they tell the truth about a case that was ruled a suicide at the time. A judge last year overturned that ruling and found that Timol, a member of the South African Communist Party, was murdered after his arrest and transfer to a Johannesburg police station where opponents of white minority rule were often held.

Zimbabwe's leader: 1st post-Mugabe elections in May or June

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 13:21:57 UT

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe's president says elections will be in May or June, as he faces pressure at home and abroad to deliver a credible vote to cement his legitimacy. President Emmerson Mnangagwa took power from longtime ruler Robert Mugabe with the military's help in November, and this will be the first election without Mugabe since Zimbabwe gained its independence in 1980. The state-run Herald newspaper quoted Mnangagwa on Thursday as saying "Zimbabwe is going for elections in four to five months' time" while on a visit to neighboring Mozambique. That would be ahead of the timeframe stipulated in the constitution, which says elections should be between July 23 and Aug. 21. Mnangagwa had hinted they could be held earlier.

South Africa's Ramaphosa denounces graft before Davos forum

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 09:40:51 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's deputy president is urging state prosecutors to target suspects in corruption scandals, some of whom have been linked to a business family with close ties to President Jacob Zuma. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said in Johannesburg on Thursday that he wants prosecutors to "act with urgency and increase the tempo" in their work to curb graft that has hurt the South African economy and the popularity of the ruling African National Congress party. Ramaphosa, who replaced Zuma as ruling party's leader in December, travels next week to the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. He says he will deliver a message that South Africa is "deadly serious" about fighting corruption.

EU suspends Kenya water conservation funding over killing

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 22:31:32 UT

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The European Union is suspending funding for a water conservation project in Kenya after a tribesman was shot and killed by government forest service guards and another seriously wounded, the EU announced Wednesday. The shooting took place Tuesday in the Embobut Forest and came after the bloc of European countries warned it would suspend the $35 million project if force was used against locals, the European Union's ambassador to Kenya, Stefano Dejak, said. The conservation project was designed to protect land in the Mount Elgon and the Cherangani Hills areas of Kenya. Known as water towers, the terrain stores rainwater and enables regular river flows, among other benefits.

2 Americans, 2 Canadians kidnapped in central Nigeria

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 21:59:52 UT

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Gunmen ambushed two Americans and two Canadians traveling through Nigeria's northern Kaduna state, kidnapping them and killing two policemen, a state police spokesman said Wednesday. The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan in Kaduna state to the capital, Abuja, on Tuesday night when they were ambushed around Kagarko, Kaduna state police spokesman Mukhtar Aliyu said. Aliyu reported earlier in the day that only two people were kidnapped, one American and one Canadian. He revised the numbers based on updated information. "The two police escorts attached to them engaged the kidnappers in a fierce gun battle, which resulted in the unfortunate death of the two police officers," he said.

Ethiopia releases top opposition figure from prison

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 19:39:04 UT

BURAYU, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia's top opposition figure and hundreds of others were released from prison on Wednesday as part of the government's recent pledge to free detained politicians and "widen the democratic space for all" after the worst anti-government protests in a quarter-century. Merera Gudina led the Oromo Federalist Congress party and was arrested a year ago under the country's state of emergency after he returned from Europe, where he had briefed lawmakers on widespread and sometimes deadly anti-government protests in the East African nation. Merera was released along with 115 others from a federal prison on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa.

Suicide attack at market in Nigeria's Maiduguri kills 12

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:19:26 UT

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — A double suicide bombing at a market in Nigeria's northern city of Maiduguri killed at least 12 people and wounded 48 others on Wednesday, residents and an emergency official said. Ibrahim Usman, a trader in Muna Garage market, said the first bomber attacked inside the market while the other remained outside, killing only himself. "Suddenly there was a loud bang and everywhere became disorganized," he said. "I counted 12 corpses and over 40 injured victims." The head of rescue operations for the State Emergency Management Agency, Bello Dambatta, said a female bomber attacked the market while the other attacker was male.

12 killed, 48 others wounded in double suicide attack at market in Nigeria's Maiduguri city

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 17:47:44 UT

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — 12 killed, 48 others wounded in double suicide attack at market in Nigeria's Maiduguri city.

Challenge in Uganda against removing presidential age limit

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 17:32:42 UT

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Uganda's government says it is preparing a response to the court challenge filed by a lawyers' association against a new law removing a presidential age limit from the constitution. The change allows 73-year-old President Yoweri Museveni to run for another term in 2021. The opposition has loudly protested the change, and the Uganda Law Society on Monday filed a petition arguing that it should be annulled and alleging that the process was flawed. The Uganda Media Center's executive director, Ofwono Opondo, says the attorney general is working on a reply, adding that "we have no problem with people who go to court to challenge this legislation.

South Africa targets McKinsey firm in corruption scandal

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 13:04:12 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Global management consultancy firm McKinsey is coming under increasing scrutiny in South Africa amid government efforts to recover funds linked to a corruption scandal. South African media outlets are reporting that asset forfeiture officials have filed an affidavit alleging that the country's power utility made a $130 million illegal payment to McKinsey and Trillian, a company linked to the Gupta business family. The family is accused of using its association with President Jacob Zuma to land state contracts and steal public funds, an allegation that it denies. McKinsey previously said it committed "errors of judgment and process" in its dealings with Eskom, the power utility.