Author Archives: Europe correspondent

SA: Ramaphosa half million in sofa

Brussels 01.12.2022 South Africa is facing deep political turmoil and corresponding uncertainty across markets amid growing calls for President Cyril Ramaphosa to step down over an emerging bizarre scandal centered on the alleged theft of $580,000.

The over half million in cash was literally found stuffed in a sofa at a farm that Ramaphosa owns. The timing of the crisis couldn’t be worse given long-awaited economic reforms had only just begun to take shape and improve the country’s outlook.

The mysterious cash payment has sparked outrage particularly among the opponents of the ruling African National Congress, and with his allies holding emergency consultations. On Thursday South African media is reporting President Ramaphosa is to imminently address the nation as prospect for his resignation grows, and as he faces impeachment.

Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday moved to the brink of becoming the first South African president to face impeachment after a report found evidence that he might have broken the law in relation to a stash of money stolen at one of his properties.

The finding by an independent parliamentary panel essentially amounts to a recommendation that Mr. Ramaphosa face a hearing in Parliament that could lead to his removal if two-thirds of the lawmakers vote against him.

The panel cast doubt on the president’s explanation for how the large sum of U.S. currency came to be hidden in — and stolen from — a couch in his living quarters. “The information presented by the president on the storage of the money is vague and leaves unsettling gaps,” the report said.

MEPs: DRC conflict escalation concerns

Strasbourg 24.11.2022 Forced displacement of people as a result of escalating conflict in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). (Image above: European Parliament, Strasbourg)

MEPs express their deep concern regarding the escalation of violence and the alarming and deteriorating humanitarian situation in the DRC, caused by the armed conflicts in the eastern provinces. They denounce the full range of threats and human rights violations and abuses, particularly experienced by women and girls, who are often specifically targeted.

Parliament strongly condemns the ongoing brutal aggressions of armed groups and calls for the M23 armed group to withdraw from its positions and disarm.

They urge Rwanda not to support M23 rebels, and all governments concerned to ensure that any political settlement does not include an amnesty for those responsible for grave international crimes.The international community should take concrete actions to stop the ongoing violence by supporting the regional mediation Luanda process, MEPs add.

The resolution calls for the EU and its member states to impose sanctions against perpetrators of human rights violations in Eastern DRC, provide humanitarian aid to the region, and continue increasing its development and humanitarian funding for the country.

More than 232 000 civilians have been displaced in the Eastern Region, and 2.4 million Congolese children under the age of five suffer from global acute malnutrition. An estimated 7.5 million people are currently in need of assistance with no access to water and sanitation.

The resolution was adopted by 546 votes in favour, 2 against with 24 abstentions. For further details, the full version will be available here. (24/11/22)

France ends assistance to Mali

Brussels 17.11.2022 France has suspended development assistance to Mali after concluding its move to end its 10-year military presence in the country, a foreign ministry source told the AFP news agency.

French mass-media quoted the foreign affairs ministry as announcing it had suspended aid over the “attitude of the Malian junta allied to the Russian Wagner mercenaries”.

The decision was said to have been taken “two to three weeks ago”.

A group of French NGOs are said to have denounced the decision in a letter sent to President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, calling on him to review the position.

According to the NGOs, the suspension of aid jeopardises dozens of development projects that are under way or planned in the country over the coming years.

This suspension comes amid the increasing isolation of Mali.

The UK on Monday said it would withdraw its 300 troops deployed in support of the UN peacekeeping mission there, a decision prompted by the junta’s partnership with the controversial Russian group Wagner.

Algeria applied for BRICS group

Brussels 08.11.2022 Algeria has officially applied to join the BRICS economic group, Anadolu News Agency reports.

The bloc of emerging economies includes Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa.
Foreign Ministry official, Leyla Zarruki, said the North African country has requested membership of the economic bloc, the State radio reported.

Zarruki said Algeria has finalised all necessary measures for membership, without any further details.

In July, Algerian President, Abdelmadjid Tebboun signalled willingness to join the bloc, saying BRICS “attracts Algeria’s attention”.

“Joining this group will take Algeria, the pioneer of the Non-Alignment principle, away from the attraction of the two poles,” he said.

The economies of the five BRICS members, which have more than 40 per cent of the world’s population, account for about a quarter of the world’s gross domestic product.

Somalia explosions: 100 dead

Brussels 30.10.202 2At least 100 people have been killed and 300 injured after two explosions shattered the capital of Somalia in an ongoing attack on the country’s education ministry. The attack occurred in a busy area where several key government offices are situated, and on a day when the nation’s President, Prime minister and other senior officials were meeting to discuss violent extremism. (Image: social media)

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud confirmed the death toll in a statement on Sunday on October 30 as he visited the site of the blasts outside the education ministry in Mogadishu.

“Our people who were massacred… included mothers with their children in their arms, fathers who had medical conditions, students who were sent to study, businessmen who were struggling with the lives of their families,” the President said.

Chad: Borrell condemns violence

Brussels 23.10.2022 “The European Union strongly condemns the violence perpetrated today in several towns in Chad which has led to the death of some fifty people. The repression of demonstrations and the excessive use of force constitute serious attacks on the freedoms of expression and demonstration which undermine the ongoing transition process” reads the Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell on the violence in Chad.

“The European Union calls on the transitional authorities to quickly identify the perpetrators of this violence and bring them to justice.

“The European Union reiterates the importance of a rapid return to constitutional order and of a time-limited transition that guarantees respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. A real engagement with all civil and political actors is also essential in order to guarantee the credibility and legitimacy of the ongoing process”.

Tigray: EU calls for respect of law

Brussels 16.10.2022 “Horrified by the reports of continuous violence, including targeting of civilians, in Shire, Tigray” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell (pictured) tweeted.
“Genuine peace efforts do not amount to increasing military offensives nor to provocation.
“Respecting international law is not an option – it is an obligation for all” Borrell concluded.

The chair of the African Union – Macky Sall- on Sunday called for those involved in the two-year-old conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region to implement an immediate, unconditional ceasefire and agree to direct peace talks.

Burkina Faso: EU denounces power grab

Brussels 01.10.2022 “The European Union denounces the new coup in Burkina Faso, which jeopardises the efforts undertaken for several months, in particular by ECOWAS, to supervise the Transition” reads the Declaration of the High Representative Josep Borrell on the new “coup de force” (power grab).

“The European Union calls for compliance with the commitments made, which formed the basis of the agreement reached with ECOWAS on July 3, in order to support Burkina Faso towards free and transparent national elections before July 1, 2024”.

“The European Union also deplores the deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in the country, and remains at the side of the people of Burkina Faso in these difficult times”.

Burkina’s Faso’s state television was interrupted on Friday by members of the country’s army declaring the previous coup’s leader Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba, had been overthrown.

The spokesman said: “People of Burkina Faso, fellow citizens, since 24 January 2022, faced by the continually worsening security situation, we the officers and junior officers of the national armed forces were motivated to take action with the desire to protect the security and integrity of our territory.”

Colonel Damiba and his allies overthrew the democratically elected president in January this year but has failed to quell jihadist violence and frustration with his leadership has grown in recent months.

The spokesman introduced Capt. Ibrahim Traore as the new head state.

At present the whereabouts of Colonel Damiba are unknown. The situation remains confused and fluid.

Burkina Faso: EU hopes calm returns soon

Brussels 30.09.2022 European Commission follows with concern the situation in Burkina Faso, said the press person of the European External Action Service. The military movements were observed from 4:30 AM early morning hours. “The situation remains confusing and fluid”, she continued.(Image above: social media).

“We are in permanent contact with our delegation there, which informs us about the situation. It is clear that the European Union hopes that the situation will return to calm soon”. She added that the EU expects that civil society will stay united in these challenging times.

Reports of gunfire near the Presidential palace in Ougadougou flow on social media. It is unclear at the moment if it could be a mutiny? The current President Lt Col Paul Sandaogo Dimba who took power in January this year from Gen Roach Marc Kabore. At present his whereabouts are unknown.

Gunfire rang out early in Burkina Faso’s capital and the state broadcaster went off the air, sparking fears that another coup attempt may be underway, nine months after the democratically elected president was ousted from power, the AP reports.

Burkina Faso capital under gunfire

Brussels 30.09.2022 The situation is Burkina Faso’s capital is “confused” after heavy gunfire was reported, the BBC reports. Armed soldiers have taken positions at several points in Ouagadougou. (Image: illustration).

The country’s leader Col Paul-Henri Damiba, who seized power in January, is “in the capital and doing well,” news site Jeune Afrique reports.

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