Category Archives: Africa

Somalia: Turkish contractors killed

In Somalia at least three people were killed and 20 injured, including several Turkish nationals, when a suicide car bomb targeted a police convoy, escorting Turkish contractors Anadolu new agency reports.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency over the phone, Somali government spokesman Ismail Mukhtar Oronjo confirmed the attack in the town of Afgoye, in the lower Shabelle region.

“Several people including soldiers were killed and 20 others wounded, and casualties could rise,” he said.

He also said among those injured were Somalia’s deputy commander of special forces.

Separately, Bashir Ahmed, a police official in Afgoye, told Anadolu Agency that three people, including soldiers, were killed in the attack.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca and the Turkish Embassy in Mogadishu said that some four to six Turkish citizens, including building contractors, were injured in the attack.

Dokolo art collection future in question

The assets of Congolese art collector Sindika Dokolo who is renown for years of repatriation of African artefacts from Western collections have been frozen together with his wife’s fortune. Isabel dos Santos, often referred to as ‘richest African businesswoman‘, the billionaire daughter of the country’s former president, and her husband are facing trail for failing to repay to Angola an amount of $1bn in state loans claimed to be borrowed during her father’s term in office. (Image above: Bozar, Brussels).

The incumbent Angola’s president, Joao Lourenço, who took office in 2017, is attempting to recover the state loans he insists Dos Santos borrowed, abusing her proximity to power, and failed to repay during her father’s term in office.

Dos Santos personal fortune estimated by Forbes at $2.2bn, runs a vast business empire with large stakes in Angola companies across multiple sectors such as banking, telecoms and supermarkets.

Sindika Dokolo  has been devoted to search and repatriation of  precious artefacts which had left the continent during the colonial era to enter the European and US collections.

Dokolo is also a major collector of contemporary African art owning more than 3,000 masterpieces from different origins, and periods, including significant pieces of contemporary artists.

This contemporary art collection, which is administered by the Sindika Dokolo Foundation, is based in the Luanda, according to its website, although some artefacts may be stored abroad, including Dokolo‘s native Congo. At present there is no information about future destiny of the collection.

 

Kenya: Al-Shabaab attacks U.S. base

In early monrning hours around 4 AM Al-Shabaab militants launched an attack on the Manda-Magogoni naval base in Lamu. Heavy exchange of fire is ongoing, Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia confirms. (Image: sodial media).

In a brief statement the US military command for Africa, AFRICOM, confirmed there had been an attack, but did not provide any detail.

“U.S. Africa Command acknowledges there was an attack at Manda Bay Airfield, Kenya and is monitoring the situation. Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the incident. As facts and details emerge, we will provide an update.”

Militants from the Somali Islamist Shebaab group, affiliated with Al-Qaeda, launched an attack on a military base operated by American and Kenyan forces in Lamu (north of the country), near the Somali border, according to a local official Agnece France press reports. The press-release of the militants circulates in social media.

In the press-release Al-Shabaab group said the raid resulted in “severe casualties on both American and Kenyan troops stationed there.”

“The Mujahideen fighters covertly entered enemy lines, successfully stormed the heavily fortified military base and have now taken effective control of a part of the base,” the armed group announced.

The suicide bomber involved in the attack on Camp Simba in Manda Bay and fighters have taken control of part of the base, they claim. There are indications that plane was set on fire, while the heavy cloude of smoke has been seen from afar.

Turkey sends medics to Mogadishu

Military cargo plane from Turkey landed in Mogadishu on December 29 to evacuate people badly wounded in a truck bombing a day earlier that killed at least 90 people, including two Turkish nationals.

The plane also brought emergency medical staff and supplies, according to a tweet from the Turkish embassy, adding these had been transported to a Turkish-run hospital in Mogadishu.

Somali Information Minister Mohamed Abdi Hayir Mareye told state media that 10 badly injured Somalis would be evacuated to Turkey. He added that Turkey had sent 24 doctors to treat those wounded who would stay in the capital.

Mogadishu car bomb explosion

A car bomb exploded in the Somali capital Mogadishu on December 28, leaving at least 90 dead and scores of injured – with the death toll expected to rise.

The explostion occured in a busy area of the Somali capital Mogadishu, in the middle of desnse city traffic. “The number of casualties we have confirmed is 76 dead and 70 wounded, it could still be higher,” the director of the private Aamin Ambulance services, Abdukadir Abdirahman Haji told AFP.

Among the victims are students and two Turkish nationals, the Somali Foreign minister said.

Mogadishu is regularly hit by car bombs and attacks waged by Al-Shabaab Islamist militants allied to Al-Qaeda.

The group was forced out of the Somali capital in 2011 but still controls parts of the countryside and has also staged attacks in neighbouring Kenya.

Urbi et Orbi: Pontifex preys for Africa

Africa, in particular South Sudan and the problems of migration to Europe, have been at the heart of Pope Francis’ urbi et orbi message this Christmas 2019.

The situqtion in South Sudan has given rise to a new initiative with the broadcast, on the morning of December 25, of an international appeal notably co-signed by Pope Francis, Justin Welby, leader of the Anglican communion.

“We wish to formulate for you, they write, and for the people of South Sudan, our best wishes for peace and prosperity, by assuring you of our proximity to your efforts for the rapid implementation of the peace agreements”. They also ask that “the way of reconciliation and fraternity” be able to “make possible our desired visit to your dear country”.

Last November 13, Justin Welby and François had publicly expressed their desire to go to South Sudan together in 2020 if the political situation, which should lead to the establishment of a transitional government of national unity, allowed it.

Pontifex expressed closeness to people of Africa who are often forced to migrate because of persistent unjust social and political situations.

“May the Son of God, come down to earth from heaven, protect and sustain all those who, due to these and other injustices, are forced to emigrate in the hope of a secure life. It is injustice that makes them cross deserts and seas that become cemeteries. It is injustice that forces them to endure unspeakable forms of abuse, enslavement of every kind and torture in inhumane detention camps. It is injustice that turns them away from places where they might have hope for a dignified life, but instead find themselves before walls of indifference.

In particular Pope Francis mentioned the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, “torn by continuing conflicts.”

May the Redeemer, he said, “bring consolation to all who suffer because of violence, natural disasters or outbreaks of disease. And may He bring comfort to those who are persecuted for their religious faith, especially missionaries and members of the faithful who have been kidnapped, and to the victims of attacks by extremist groups, particularly in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.”

West Africa abandons colonial franc

West Africa’s monetary union has agreed with France to rename its CFA franc the Eco and cut some of the financial links with former metropole, ensuring the region’s common currency since its creation soon World War Two.

Under the new agreement, the Eco will remain pegged to the euro but eight African countries in the bloc won’t have to transfer 50% of their reserves in the French Treasury and there will no longer be a French representative on the currency union’s board, meaning Paris will also withdraw “from the governance bodies in which it was present”.

Critics of the CFA have long seen it as a relic from colonial past while proponents of the currency say it has provided financial stability for the turbulent region.

“This is a historic day for West Africa,” Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara said during a news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Abidjan, the capital.

In 2017, Macron highlighted the stabilizing benefits of the CFA but said it was up to African governments to determine the future of the currency.

“Yes, it’s the end of certain relics of the past. Yes it’s progress … I do not want influence through guardianship, I do not want influence through intrusion. That’s not the century that’s being built today,” said Macron.

We have decided to reform the CFA franc with three major changes (…) including the change of name “and” stopping the centralization of 50% of the reserves in the French Treasury, “said Mr. Ouattara during at a joint press conference on the second day of the French president’s visit to Côte d’Ivoire.

Emmanuel Macron described this decision as “major historic reform”. “The Eco will see the light of day in 2020, I welcome it,” he added, adding that the CFA franc was “perceived as one of the vestiges of Françafrique”.

This reform has been negotiated for six months, according to a French source, between France and the eight countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA): Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

It does not currently concern the six Central African countries which use the CFA franc but which form a separate monetary zone.

Paris said it was “open” to this development after multiple discussions with African capitals, while the controversy over this currency had again grown in recent months.

The “franc of the French colonies in Africa” was created in 1945 and became the “franc of the African Financial Community” after independence.

The fixed parity with the euro of the CFA franc, the future Eco, maintained (1 euro = 655.96 CFA francs), but this point is likely to change when the common West African currency comes into being.

Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today on the reform of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU)’s CFA franc framework:

“I welcome the reforms to the WAEMU’s CFA franc currency arrangement that were announced today by Presidents Ouattara and Macron in Abidjan. They constitute a key step in the modernization of long-standing arrangements between the West African Economic and Monetary Union and France.

“The announced measures build on WAEMU’s proven track record in the conduct of monetary policy and external reserve management. In recent years, the WAEMU has recorded low inflation and high economic growth, the fiscal situation has improved, and the level of foreign exchange reserves has increased.

“The reforms also maintain key elements of stability that have served the region well, including the fixed exchange rate with the euro and the guarantee of unlimited convertibility provided by France.

“The IMF stands ready to engage with the regional authorities, as needed, and to support the implementation of this important initiative.”

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