Author Archives: Europe correspondent

Five Mali soldiers killed in jihad

Five soldiers killed in an ambush, the  Malian army representatives said.  According to the statement  the soldiers were travelling between the towns of Hombori and Boni, about 100 km north of the Burkina Faso border, when they fell into an ambush. Their vehicle was also destroyed. Reinforcements have been immediately dispatched. (Image above: Hombori sunset).

It came days after gunmen killed 24 soldiers in an attack on an army unit in neighboring Burkina Faso.

Terrorist attacks targeting local security forces in the Sahel region have increased lately.

Since 2012, Islamists linked to al Qaeda have taken control of northern Mali, exploiting the downfall of Libyan state, and following Tuareg separatist uprising. The fragility of the Sahel region, is cause for international concern.
Despite French intervention and the deployment of joint forces from five Sahel countries, terrorist groups still control a large part of this region and are increasingly influential in Burkina Faso and Niger.

Nigeria: 16 people killed in Katsina

Armed groups have killed 16 people in separate attacks on remote villages, an area plagued by cattle-rustling and kidnappings, in northern Nigeria‘s Katsina state, officials announced. (Image above: illustration).

In separate attacks gunmen on motorcycles stormed the Dantakuri, Tsayau, Barza and Zakka villages on August 19-20, shooting residents and stealing cattle, local authorities reported.

The worst attack happened in Dantakuri, the area’s political administrator Sanusi Dangi Abbas told AFP news agency.

The bandits killed 11 people in Dantakuri. One person was killed and another injured in nearby Barza,” Abbas said. “In all, we lost 12 people in the attacks which began around 17:00 (16:00 GMT) on Sunday,” he said.

Community of Barza identified the victim as the chief imam of the village.

Katsina state police spokesman Anas Gezawa confirmed the attacks but said he was only aware of casualties from Tsayau, where four people were murdered and several herds stolen.

“I can confirm the killing of four people in Tsayau but we are awaiting reports from the other areas,” Gezawa clarified.

The bandits carted away some livestock and the villagers pursued them into the forest to reclaim their animals which led to the death of four people from the village,” he added. “We didn’t put up a fight and no one was hurt but we are still taking stock of the animals the attackers took away,” he said.

Katsina state, the birthplace of President Muhammadu Buhari, has been ravaged by kidnappers and cattle robbers in recent months, prompting villagers to form vigils groups to defend themselves.

 

Russian sailors abducted in Cameroon

The whereabouts of three Russian citizens from the crew of the vessel attacked in the Gulf of Guinea, close to Cameroon port of Douala on August 15, remain unknown,  the Foreign Ministry announced. (Image above: illustration).

“Based on the incoming information, on August 15, near the port of Douala (the Republic of Cameroon), unknown perpetrators attacked a cargo vessel “Marmalaita” belonging to the Danish company Ultrabulk, navigating under the flag of Antigua and Barbuda. According to the recruiting agency Marlow Navigation Russia, located in St. Petersburg, the attackers kidnapped eight members of the crew, among them three citizens of the Russian Federation,” the ministry informed.

According to the Russian Embassy in Yaounde, Cameroonian officials and representatives of the ship-owner company are currently investigating the incident. Russian diplomats actively cooperate with the governmental bodies in Cameroon and ship-owners in order to ensure the release of Russian citizens, the ministry added.

On August 15 the AFP agency reported, citing a Cameroon’s Navy source, that unknown perpetrators had abducted sailors from a vessel near the port of Douala. According to the source, “the kidnappers are probably Nigerian pirates.”

SA Cabernet Sauvignon in focus

South Africa has a long history with Cabernet Sauvignon, both as a varietal and blended wine. Highly rated examples abound, too, including many Stellenbosch-based bottlings from producers with long track records, like KanonkopLe RicheRust en VredeRustenberg and Waterford,

But South African Cabernet Sauvignon was never firmly identified as a consistent exemplar on the international wine stage.

It’s time for that to change, the Wine Enthusiast online recommends. Beyond the diversity and caliber of Cabernet Sauvignon produced in South Africa,­ the wines also represent tremendous value.

Babylonstoren 2015 Nebukadnesar (Simonsberg-Paarl); $45, 93 points.

Dark and brooding, this Cabernet Sauvignon-led blend, with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, currently smells somewhat reserved, with shy notes of black plum, cassis, Baker’s chocolate, boysenberry and cigar-box spice. It’s medium-plus in weight, with opulence and a rich body that’s framed by bold, supporting tannins and medium acidity. It’s well balanced, with a long, spicy finish that ends with a kiss of dark chocolate. Catamarca Imports LLC.

Ernie Els 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon (Stellenbosch); $24, 91 points. While this is currently slightly tight and closed, it shows the structure and elements to present a complete and well-balanced wine with a little time. Scents of charred plum skin, dark chocolate, cigar box and roast beef dance in the bouquet, while the bold, firm palate offers flavors of black fruit skin, cassis and char. Drink 2019–2022. Editors’ Choice.

Robertson Winery 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Robertson); $10, 91 points. Brambly berry, black plum and cherry abound on the nose of this attractive wine. Touches of cinnamon stick, violet and milk chocolate add interest. The medium-weight palate is fresh and vibrant in ripe fruit tones, with velvety tannins and ample acidity. It’s well balanced and harmonious, while the lasting finish evolves from fruit flesh to soil then tree bark and finally soft sweet spice. Best Buy.

Ebola hits South Kivu

A woman and her child were confirmed with Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s South Kivu region this week, which outlines new challenges in defeating the outbreak.

Health officials expressed their concerns that the latest cases were registered more than 700 km south from the initial epicenter of the outbreak .

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the young woman (24) died, and her 7-month-old son, who is also confirmed to be infected with the Ebola virus, is receiving a relevant treatment.

Ebola disease has killed at least 1,900 people in Congo over the past year.

Zimbabwe protests stemmed

Movement for Democratic Change  (MDC) party the leading opposition force in Zimbabwe gave up to government pressure, calling off a street protest planned for August 16. 

The of street demonstrations scheduled by the MDC, which accuses the government of corruption and economic mismanagement, are viewed as a screening of President Emmerson Mnangagwa  disposition toward dissent in view of the Zimbabwe legacy of repressions of democratic political competition. 

However the police did not allow the “examination” to take place,  banning the protest foreseen in the capital Harare, explaining it would turn violent, and warned that anyone taking part would be committing a crime.

A High Court judge early on August 16 dismissed the MDC complaint with a demand to overturn that ban, and the party spokesman Daniel Molokele said the Movement will proceed with the scheduled demonstration.

At the moment there in no information about cancellation of protests planned next week in other cities, presumably they would go ahead.

The Government of Zimbabwe must do more to deliver the promised fundamental political and economic reforms and take responsibility for the humanitarian crisis affecting the people. The UK stands with the people of Zimbabwe at a time when million are at risk of starvation and diseases. Through trusted partners we will continue to give families access to food and clean water and support children to gain a decent education,” said Alok Sharma, the United Kingdom International Development Secretary.

Following a United Nations appeal concerning Zimbabwe, facing a chronic food crisis, Mr.Sharma has announced an allocation of a £49 million UKAID Fund which is meant to support and help malnourished children, families and communities.

Without  support from outside the country more than 5, 5 million people in Zimbabwe will be deprived of food by 2020, according the the latest estimates.

France: tribute to Africans soldiers

Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the Second World War heroes of the landing in Provence on August 15, 1944, a majority of African soldiers who wrote this “crucial page” of the history of France, imprinted it with “freedom and dignity“. African participation amounted up to a half  of the French contingent, indigenous soldiers from what are now some two dozen independent countries.

France has a part of Africa in it and on the soil of this Provence, this part was that of bloodshed”, Macron said during his visit to Saint-Raphaël (Var). Alongside President Guinean Alpha Condé and his counterpart from Cote d’Ivoire Alassane Ouattara, French head of state laid a wreath in honor of died of this battle.

Emmanuel Macron has called on the mayors of France to “bring to life” the memory of African soldiers who fell in battle during the Second World War by giving their names to streets and squares, because the African fighters have not had the “glory and esteem that their bravery deserved”.

We will never forget anything or anyone;” he said. “This is a crucial page in our history,” he added. “You have restored our country’s freedom and dignity.”

Two months after the landing of Normandy, 250,000 men of the French army, supported by more than 120,000 soldiers of the Allied forces, land on the shores of Provence.

A military choir sang “The Song of the Africans,” while some veterans chanted with them. Fighter jets flew over the necropolis, trailing blue, white and red smoke to represent the French flag.

The former President of the Republic Nicolas Sarkozy appeared among the invited by Emmanuel Macron to the ceremony 75th anniversary of the landing of Provence in Saint-Raphael, in the Var.

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