Category Archives: Africa

Gulf of Guinea: Russian anti-piracy drills

Brussels 13.10.2021 The Russian Northern Fleet task force deployed on an anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Guinea in the Eastern part of the Atlantic Ocean practised freeing a vessel simulating a situation of being seized by pirates, the Fleet’s press office reported on Wednesday, October 13.

“The crews of the large anti-submarine warfare ship Vice Admiral Kulakov, the medium sea tanker Academic Pashin and the rescue tug Altai held drills for freeing a notional vessel seized by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea of the Atlantic Ocean near the coast of the African continent,” the press office said in a statement.

Under the scenario of the drills, the pirates captured a tanker whose crew managed to hide in the vessel’s machinery compartment and send a distress signal. The Russian naval sailors successfully stormed the vessel and freed its crew. A Ka-27PS helicopter that took off from the deck of the anti-submarine warfare ship Vice Admiral Kulakov provided fire support for the drills from the air, the press office said in a statement.

Following the drills for releasing the captured vessel, the crew of the large anti-submarine warfare ship practiced firing a 100mm AK-100 artillery gun and a Kinzhal surface-to-air missile system against the target that simulated the pirates boat.

#PandoraPapers: President Kenyatta hidden wealth

Strasbourg 05.10.2021 While Uhuru Kenyatta succeeded in a political comeback by campaigning against corruption, his family’s secret fortune was growing offshore, a massive new leak to @ICIJorg shows.

At his annual State of the Nation address last autumn, President Uhuru Kenyatta addressed Kenya’s Parliament acknowledging that too many Kenyans live in poverty and too many civil servants loot the country’s public resources.

During this address the son of Kenya’s first President and leader of one of Africa’s largest economies, the 59-year-old Kenyatta urged lawmakers to join him in fighting corruption and yet again repeated “the centrality of transparency, accountability and good governance as the anchors of sustainable development.”

However a massive amount of newly leaked documents show that Kenyatta’s family has for years been intensely accumulating a personal fortune behind offshore corporate veils.

Kenyatta, along with his mother, sisters and brother, have for decades shielded wealth from public scrutiny through foundations and companies in tax havens, including Panama, with assets worth more than $30 million, according to records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and shared with more than 600 reporters and media organisations around the world.

The records – from the Panamanian law firm Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Alcogal) – show that the family owned at least seven such entities, two registered anonymously in Panama and five in the British Virgin Islands. One BVI company owned a home in central London, according to the records, and two other companies held investment portfolios worth tens of millions of dollars. The Kenyattas’ offshore wealth, revealed here for the first time, represents part of an estimated half-billion-dollar family fortune amassed in a country where the average annual salary is less than $8,000 a year.

The family began to accumulate much of its offshore wealth while Uhuru Kenyatta was a rising star of politics, promising defeat corruption. Two offshore companies were created during an investigation into alleged looting of the public treasury during the watch of President Daniel arap Moi, Kenyatta’s former political patron.

Under Kenyan law, the President must provide a list of financial interests to the Ministry of Finance each year. Kenyatta and his family members did not respond to requests for comment, including whether he declared any offshore interests or was required to do so.

Details of the Kenyatta family’s offshore wealth have been brought to light by the leaked Pandora Papers, a collection of more than 11.9 million records from 14 law firms and other service providers based in the United Arab Emirates, the Seychelles, Panama, Singapore and other tax havens.

The investigation has revealed assets of 35 current or former world leaders, including the king of Jordan, the prime minister of the Czech Republic, and Kenyatta’s fellow African leaders Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon and Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of Congo.

Sudan: Juba Peace Agreement anniversary

Brussels 02.10.2021 The European Union congratulates the Sudanese people on the first anniversary of the signature of the Juba Peace Agreement (JPA). The agreement is a significant milestone of the transitional period towards freedom, peace, democracy and justice. If well implemented, the people of Darfur, of the Two Areas and of all other parts of Sudan can finally live in peace and have a say on their future.

The European Union commends the JPA signatories for their partnership and for the efforts done so far to implement some elements of the agreement, including the steps forward made in transitional justice. We are, however, concerned by the delays in implementing many other aspects of the JPA. The situation in the war-affected areas, which have been marginalized for decades, has not changed yet for the better, and the dividends of peace have not yet reached most Sudanese.

The European Union, as the witness to this agreement, is therefore urging the signatories to make up for the delays by setting up the joint forces, speeding up the implementation of security arrangements and establishing the institutions foreseen in the JPA. At the same time, we urge the leadership of the SPLM-N/al Hilu to return to Juba and resume negotiations with the transitional authorities on the basis of the March 2021 Declaration of Principles.

The EU, as a staunch supporter of the December 2018 revolution and Sudan’s democratic transition, will continue to support politically and financially the implementation of the JPA as well as the continuation of the peace process in Juba to achieve sustainable peace and justice.

São Tomé and Principe elections

Brussels 07.08.2021 “The European Union welcomes the successful conduct of the second round of the presidential elections held in São Tomé and Principe and wishes to congratulate the President-elect, Mr. Carlos Vila Nova. We will continue with him and his government the excellent bilateral cooperation started with his predecessors for the benefit of relations between the EU and São Tomé and Príncipe and our peoples”.

“The electoral observation mission led by the African Union and the Economic Community of Central African States noted the peaceful and calm climate in which the ballot took place, despite the postponement and latent tensions following the results of the first tower. We welcome this free and competitive electoral process which demonstrates the solidity of the democratic institutions and processes of the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe”.

Guinea: Colonel Doumbouya ascends power

Brussels 06.09.2021 Colonel Mamady Doumbouya is regarded as the new leader in charge of Guinea after he headed a unit of elite soldiers seizing power on Sunday, September 5.

Announcing the military takeover, the 41-year-old former French legionary said the army had little choice because of the rampant corruption, disregard for human rights and economic mismanagement under President Alpha Condé.

“The president is with us, he’s in a safe place,” Colonel told French media on Sunday after the coup.

Dressed in a red beret, sunglasses and army fatigues, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya had announced earlier on Guinea’s state TV that “the Guinean personalisation of political life is over. We will no longer entrust politics to one man, we will entrust it to the people”.

Alpha Condé remains in detention while the UN, African Union and regional body ECOWAS all condemn the military junta ascending power in a coup d’état.

After meeting ministers from Alpha Condé’s government on Monday, the Colonel announced a new “union” government would be formed within coming weeks and promised there would be no “witch-hunt” against former officials.

“I condemn the seizure of power by force in # Guinea and call for the immediate release of President Alpha Condé” the European Union top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.
“I invite all actors to act with respect for the rule of law, the interests of peace and for the well-being of the Guinean population”.

ZAMBIA: EU congratulates Hakainde Hichilema

Brussels 16.08.2021 The European Union welcomes the announcement of results by the Electoral Commission of Zambia and congratulates President-elect Hakainde Hichilema.

We look forward to working with the new President and his government, as well as with the newly elected members of the National Assembly, to strengthen our long and productive partnership with Zambia.

As a longstanding supporter of Zambia’s democratic process, the European Union commends voters who clearly demonstrated their commitment to democracy, participating in large numbers despite the challenging context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The example set by those candidates who made timely statements of concession is also very welcome.

The EU Election Observation Mission’s preliminary assessment found that, despite a number of shortcomings during the campaign, the election day itself was largely calm and the electoral process was technically well managed. The EU Electoral Observation Mission remains in the country completing its work and finalising recommendations, on which we look forward to working closely with Zambian stakeholders.

Ethiopia fighting causes France concern

Brussels 02.08.2021 Brussels 02.08.2021 On 31 July 2021, the President of the Republic, Mr Emmanuel Macron, spoke with the Prime Minister of Sudan, Mr Abdalla Hamdok, and then with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Mr Abiy Ahmed. These conversations were an opportunity to highlight France’s concern about the increasing fighting in the north of Ethiopia and the evolution of the humanitarian situation in Tigray.

The President said that the very serious humanitarian situation and the need to deliver assistance to the people of Tigray required strong measures, including the lifting of all restrictions on delivery of aid. In this context, France supports the efforts of the chief of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Mr Griffiths, who is currently in Ethiopia.

The President also indicated that the development of the situation required the negotiation of a break in hostilities and the opening of political dialogue between the belligerents, with respect for the integrity and unity of Ethiopia.

France and its partners are ready to support Ethiopia accordingly.

South Africa epic looting

Brussels 13.07.2021 In South Africa’s most populous province of Gauteng, which includes the largest city, Johannesburg, at least six people had died, officials announced early on Tuesday, July 13. Another 10 bodies were discovered in the aftermath of the looting spree in the Johannesburg township of Soweto.

The deployment of 2,500 soldiers to support the South African police hadn’t stopped the rampant looting on Tuesday, July 13, although a number of arrests were being made at some areas in Johannesburg.

What had been sporadic pro-Zuma violence degraded into the epic mass looting of the malls and warehouses.
So far the mayhem had not spread to South Africa’s other nine provinces.

The Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court, heard Zuma’s application to have his sentence rescinded on Monday. Zuma’s lawyer presented his arguments that the top court made errors when sentencing Zuma to prison. After 10 hours of testimony on Monday, the court judges said they would study the arguments and announce their decision at a later date.

Police Minister Bheki Cele told journalists on Tuesday that, if the looting continued, there was a risk areas could run out of basic food supplies.

However, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said there was not yet a need to declare a state of emergency over the violence.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said some 26 people had been killed in the province so far. In Gauteng the death toll is 19, including the 10 who died at the mall in Soweto.

South Africa: 30 deaths among looters

Brussels 13.07.2021 Protesters clashed with security forces in several areas of South Africa and looters ransacked shopping malls on Tuesday, July 30, as frustrations over poverty and inequality boiled over in to the country’s worst unrest in years, with the death toll rising to more than 30. (Image above: social networks).

The national defence force is set to quell “free Zuma” protests, after violence and looting in response to the former president’s arrest spread from KwaZulu-Natal to Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

Many of the deaths occurred in chaotic stampedes as scores of people looted food, electrical appliances, liquor and clothing from retail centres.

Yesterday’s events brought a lot of sadness. The number of people who have died in KwaZulu-Natal alone stands at 26. Many of them died from being trampled on during a stampede while people were looting items,” said Zikalala.

The bodies of 10 people were found on Monday evening after a stampede at a Soweto shopping mall as looting continued in Gauteng province, premier David Makhura said on Tuesday, July 13.

Security officials said the government was working to ensure the violence and looting did not spread further, but they stopped short of declaring a state of emergency.

“No amount of unhappiness or personal circumstances from our people gives the right to anyone to loot, vandalise and do as they please and break the law,” Police Minister Bheki Cele told a news conference.

Ethiopia: EU condemns MSF killing

Brussels 26.06.2021 “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of three staff members of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Tigray today, outside Abiy Addi, while delivering aid to those needing it most. We offer our deepest condolences to their loved ones” reads the statement of Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell and Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič, on the killing of three humanitarian workers in Tigray.

“This atrocity is another horrific example of the escalation of the conflict in Tigray and a flagrant breach of International Humanitarian Law.

“It Follows the bombing of a market in Tigray earlier this week, targeting civilians and killing dozens. Indiscriminate and deliberate attacks against civilians have been ongoing been since the conflict started.

“Next to continuous blockings of humanitarian workers while trying to deliver assistance to the people caught in the conflict, this represents yet another tragic attack against humanitarian workers in Tigray.

“The targeting of civilians and aid workers adds to existing allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity as well as the use of starvation and sexual violence as weapons of war. We reiterate the urgent call for an immediate ceasefire in Tigray and unrestricted humanitarian access to all those affected by the conflict in the region, and recall in the strongest possible terms that civilians and aid workers must not be a target”.

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