Africa

AFP

Sudan accuses Israel of air raid, threatens action

AFP – Sudanese government officials met in urgent session after accusing Israel of a deadly missile strike on a military factory in Khartoum, 18 months after alleging a similar raid by the Jewish state. The cabinet issued no statement after its Wednesday night meeting. Outside the government office about 300 protesters denounced the United States and carried banners calling for Israel to be wiped off the earth. “The army of Mohammed is returning,” they shouted. Culture and Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman had earlier said four radar-evading aircraft carried out an attack at around midnight Tuesday (2100 GMT) on the Yarmouk military manufacturing facility in the south of the city. Read Article

France to send drones to Mali region

AP – France will move surveillance drones to West Africa and is holding secretive talks with U.S. officials in Paris this week as it seeks to steer international military action to help Mali’s feeble government win back the northern part of the country from al-Qaida-linked rebels, The Associated Press has learned. France and the United Nations insist any invasion of Mali’s north must be led by African troops. But France, which has six hostages in Mali and has citizens who have joined al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, is playing an increasing role behind the scenes. Read Article

No Mali offensive against rebels ‘until 2013′

Al Jazeera – Western officials say a planned military push to reclaim northern Mali from armed rebel groups is unlikely to begin before next year – despite concerns about an escalating “terrorist” threat posed by the fighters there. Proposals for an offensive by Mali’s forces, supported by troops from neighbouring nations and other African Union states – but not Western countries – are to be discussed at a meeting of African officials in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, on Wednesday. An international plan is being finalised to help Mali’s weak interim government take on the groups, including armed Islamist groups and Tuareg rebels, that have become the de facto rulers of the country’s north following chaos prompted by a military coup in March. However, diplomats expect that the preparations and moves to secure a UN Security Council resolution to authorise the action could take months. Read Article

Nigeria: ‘Oil-gas sector mismanagement costs billions’

BBC – A leaked report into Nigeria’s oil and gas industry has revealed the extent of mismanagement and corruption that is costing billions of dollars each year. The report, seen by the BBC, was commissioned by the oil minister in the wake of this year’s fuel protests to probe the financial side of the sector. It says $29bn (£18bn) was lost in the last decade in an apparent price-fixing scam involving the sale of natural gas. It also calculated the treasury loses $6bn a year because of oil theft. Nigeria is one of the world’s biggest oil producers but most of its people remain mired in poverty. Read Article

Somali pirate attacks show sharp fall

BBC – The number of ships attacked by Somali pirates has fallen sharply this year, the International Maritime Bureau says. Just 70 attacks were reported by ships in the first nine months of this year, compared with 233 incidents in 2011. International intervention and new security measures are deterring pirates, the IMB adds. But the organisation warned seafarers to remain vigilant in the waters around Somalia. Read Article

6 killed in attack on Guinea-Bissau military barracks

CNN – he transitional government of Guinea-Bissau said its forces killed six people amid an attack on the barracks of an elite military unit near the capital’s airport. The transitional authorities, which took power in the West African nation after military commanders overthrew the previous government in April, said they believed the attempt to seize control of the barracks on Saturday night was led by people loyal to the former prime minister Carlos Gomes Jr. The government said the assault was a “premeditated action aiming at destabilizing the legal order and whose main aim is to create a political situation where an international force in Guinea-Bissau could be justified.” Read Article

African nations can no longer afford to be France’s garden

GlobalTimes – The West in general and France in particular, cannot do without Africa, especially now that the global financial crisis caused by the corruption of the Western financial system is threatening the economic viability of many NATO countries. Read article

0

NPR – “The word ‘ivory’ rang in the air, was whispered, was sighed. You would think they were praying to it.” — Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness. Conrad wrote more than a century ago, when there were no laws against shooting elephants. If anything, today’s restrictions on the ivory trade have only added to its dark allure. Read article

Deadly attack on Guinea-Bissau army barracks

Al Jazeera – At least six people have been killed in a firefight after gunmen attacked an army barracks in Guinea-Bissau, military sources said. They claim the army repelled Sunday’s pre-dawn attack just outside the capital Bissau, killing six “rebels”. The fighting lasted for two hours early on Sunday before the rebel troops were defeated by security forces, a military officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said. There is no indication if any senior officers were involved in the uprising. Read Article

Hong Kong customs seize four tonnes of smuggled ivory

PhysOrg. – Hong Kong customs officers seized almost four tonnes of ivory worth about $3.4 million, hidden in shipments from Kenya and Tanzania, officials said Saturday. The 1,209 pieces of raw ivory tusk and a small number of ivory ornaments were discovered in two containers marked “plastic scrap” and “roscoco beans”, shipped to Hong Kong earlier this week, a customs official said. Read article

Three Ugandans die in deadly Marburg virus outbreak

Reuters – Three people have died in southwest Uganda from an outbreak of Marburg virus disease, officials said on Friday, a severe and highly fatal infection, just two weeks after the east African nation said it was free of the deadly Ebola virus. Another four people who have died since October 4 were also suspected to have been killed by the disease, the Ugandan government said in a statement. Read article

Libya battle: Gaddafi ex-stronghold Bani Walid shelled

BBC – At least five Libyans have died and dozens have been wounded in fighting around Bani Walid – a former stronghold of slain leader Muammar Gaddafi. Militias allied to Libya’s army reportedly shelled the hilltop town from three sides, prompting clashes. The fighting came after the 50-day kidnap, shooting and torture in the town of one of the men credited with capturing Gaddafi last year. Omran Ben Shaaban, 22, died from his injuries last month. Many blamed pro-Gaddafi factions for the abduction, and at Shaaban’s funeral last month in his hometown of Misrata, protesters called for the government to avenge his death. Read Article

Rwanda admitted to UN Security Council

Aljazeera – The latest report by the body’s Council’s Group of Experts provides more details of Rwanda’s alleged continued involvement. It says M23 leaders “receive direct military orders” from Rwanda’s chief of defence staff, General Charles Kayonga, “who in turn acts on instructions from the minister of defence”, General James Kabarebe. It also says Kigali has supplied the M23 with heavy weapons and stepped up recruitment for the group. Both Rwandan and Ugandan officials have strongly denied the accusations made in the report. Read article

Cannabis factory couple who gave away their £400,000 drug-dealing fortune to poor Kenyan village are jailed for three years

Daily Mail – A couple who ran a cannabis factory and spent their fortune on helping poor African families and charities have been jailed. Michael Foster, 62, and Susan Cooper, 63, made £400,000 by illegally growing hundreds of plants at their farmhouse home during a six-year operation. But instead of pocketing the money, they spent a large proportion of it on people in a Kenyan village – paying for life-saving surgery, computers for a hospital and schooling for poor children. Read Article

Somali lawmakers approve new prime minister

CNN – Somalia’s parliament voted by an overwhelming majority to approve Abdi Farah Shirdon as the country’s new prime minister Wednesday. Shirdon, who was the president’s nominee, received 215 out of 275 votes. His appointment comes as the nation works to set up an effective central government following two decades of civil war. Read article

Rwanda defence chief leads DR Congo rebels, UN report says

BBC – Rwanda’s defence minister is effectively commanding a rebellion in the Democratic Republic of Congo, UN experts say. The confidential report, leaked to Reuters agency, says Uganda is also backing the M23 rebels, who have been fighting the DRC’s army since April. The document builds on a UN report published in June which accused Rwanda of supporting the insurgents. Rwanda and Uganda strenuously deny supporting the rebellion. The BBC’s Barbara Plett, at the UN, says that during the past two decades Rwanda has backed armed groups in the east of DR Congo as a way to fight Hutu rebels who fled there after the genocide of the 1990s. Read Article

Rhino poachers set record in South Africa

ABC – Poachers have slaughtered 455 rhinos in South Africa so far this year, already surpassing the record annual tally for 2011. South Africa has seen a dizzying spike in the pace of rhino slaughters fuelled by the lucrative Asian black market trade in rhino horn. Last year, a total of 448 rhinos were poached, up from 333 in 2010 and just 13 in 2007. Read article

25 primate species in Africa, Asia reported on brink of extinction from deforestation, hunting

WP — Twenty-five species of monkeys, langurs, lemurs and gorillas are on the brink of extinction and need global action to protect them from increasing deforestation and illegal trafficking, researchers said Monday. Six of the severely threatened species live in the island nation of Madagascar, off southeast Africa. Five more from mainland Africa, five from South America and nine species in Asia are among those listed as most threatened. Read article

Rival protesters clash in Egypt’s capital

Alyazeera – Clashes have erupted in Cairo’s Tahrir Square as supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi tried to wrest control of the iconic square in rival rallies. The state news agency on Friday cited a doctor at a hospital near Tahrir saying at least 100 people have been injured as protesters showered stones at each other in some of the worst violence over the country’s new leader. The clashes started after Brotherhood supporters tore down a podium belonging to a group that was chanting anti-Morsi slogans, witnesses said. Read article

Africa facing intensified ‘food crisis’

Aljazeera – Seventy-five per cent of countries on the African continent and several Arab countries face an impending food crisis, a new study has revealed. Maplecroft’s Food Security Risk Index, a report released on Wednesday, found that in a survey of 197 countries worldwide, up to 39 of the 59 most at risk of food insecurity were African countries. Read Article

Botswana women allowed to inherit

BBC – The Botswana High Court has overturned a customary law which prevented women from inheriting the family home. The judge ruled that the law contravened the constitution, which guarantees equality for men and women. Edith Mmusi and her sisters have fought a five-year legal battle after their nephew said he was the rightful owner of their house. Correspondents say traditions which stop women from inheriting property exist in many African societies. Read Article

The Second Scramble For Africa – UN adopts resolution on northern Mali. Military ‘intervention’ imminent?

BBC – The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution paving the way for military intervention in Mali to retake the north from Islamist extremists. The resolution requests a detailed plan for such an operation from African organisations within 45 days. The UN has so far refused to endorse requests for military intervention without details of a plan. Islamist groups and Tuareg rebels took control of the north after Mali’s president was overthrown in March. Both Mali’s government and the West African regional body Ecowas have made requests for authorisation for an international force to intervene, with Ecowas proposing a force of 3,000. Read Article