Category Archives: West Africa

Gabon coup d’état failed

The situation in Gabon is “under control” following an attempted military coup, a spokesman for the government said.

All five of military who attempted to seize power have been arrested by the authorities.

The junior officers claimed they took part in the coup “to restore democracy” in oil-rich Gabon, where the President’s family has ruled for half-a-century.

The situation is calm. The gendarmes who are often stationed there have taken control of the entire area around the radio and TV headquarters, so everything is back to normal”, said Guy-Bertrand Mapangou. a government official.

Many experts noticed that the coup took place immediately after the US President Trump sent troops to Libreville to assist American citizens in case of deterioration of the situation in neighboring Congo.

AMENDED: Security forces have been deployed in the capital and will remain there over the coming days in order to maintain order, he said.

The elite Republican Guard was deployed around the presidential building and armored vehicles blocked access to the area.

Reportedly Gabon President Ali Bongo suffered a stroke, and is in treatment in one of Morocco clinics since November last year. There have been no official information notices about the state of his health ever since. The insecurity caused by the secrecy surrounding the whereabouts and condition of the President contributed to the destabilization of the situation.

AMENDMENT:  ‘The EU is closely following the developments regarding the attempted coup d’etat in Gabon. In these critical moments, it is fundamental that all actors refrain from violence and respect the principles of the rule of law and democracy that should allow for the organisation of an open and inclusive national dialogue’ European External Actions Service (EEAS) spokesperson said.

 

trump letter 4 jan

“Guinean” champagne charms Africans

In a luxury lounge in Abidjan, customers of Cote d’Ivoire enjoy a special champagne:  Laurent-Perrier? Widow Clicquot ? Moet and Chandon? There is a new brand of  named after Dian Diallo to welcome guests.

This is the first brand of champagne that bears an African name,” says creator Dian Diallo, a 40-year-old Guinean wine expert. “This is by no means an African champagne because it does not exist, an African champagne!” He explains that “Dian Diallo” was developed in the art and know-how of the traditional Champagne method from A to Z, from the vine to the bottling, everything was done in Champagne “in the respect of the AOC,” he says.

Dian Diallo, who studied management, economics and marketing in France, knows the industry well. Before launching in 2017, he worked for ten years for major brands of champagne. “I realized that Africans consumed a lot more sweet and fruity champagne (…), much more than classic dry or semi-dry, because the crude has the acid side they do not like” he added.

By bringing a small dose of cane sugar, we completely remove this bitterness.” This addition allows “to soften a little champagne so that it is delicious” without being “too sweet“. The element of cane sugar is a special feature in Champagne and Dian Diallo is then looking for a champagne that suits him. “I had a very nice welcome and I partnered with a winemaker, Rémi Jacques, Baye“, whose family has been making champagne since 1932. Objective: sell this sparkling in Africa, in relation to the expectations of the public on the spot.

In terms of grape varieties, Dian Diallo champagne is composed of “50% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, it gives a supple champagne, soft, easy to taste with a touch of freshness, that we can take at all times of the day, “says Rémi Jacques.”But there is no adaptation to an “African taste “, we are not in an industrial product: it’s champagne!”, he concludes.

Dian Diallo sells more than 10,000 bottles a year in Africa in Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Liberia, Cameroon, Gabon, Guinea, and Burkina Faso. He says he enjoys a “strong craze for champagne and luxury goods in Africa“, favored by a middle class with increasing purchasing power.

If he intends to seduce the African public by the quality of his product, he also plays on the continental fiber: “There is a real pride of Africans to see an African evolve in this closed environment,” says Dian Diallo. This marketing specialist invites upscale customers to tastings in hotels and chic places in African capitals.

Russian sailors abducted near Benin

Six sailors were abducted when pirates attacked a ship with a Russian crew off the coast of Benin (picutred) in West Africa, Russia’s Maritime and River Transport agency confirmed.

The pirates boarded Panama-flagged MSC Mandy early on December 2, Wednesday, Rosmorrechflot said.

There were 23 Russians and one Ukrainian among the crew members. Six sailors were kidnapped by the perpetrators, while the rest remain aboard unharmed.

AMENDED 5.01.2019 A group of armed individuals boarded the MSC Mandu vessel in the Guinea Strait on the night of January 2 and kidnapped six members of the crew: five Russians, and one Ukrainian.

In the Russian Embassy in Benin in West Africa the diplomats commented on information about the abduction of the vessel crew. The diplomatic mission confirmed the incident, citing representatives of the Benin government.

To clarify the situation with the cargo ship MSC Mandy, the Russian Embassy in Benin contacted the relevant authorities. They were informed  by the Navy of Benin,  about the incident on the night of January 1 and 2, when the cargo vessel MSC Mandy, which was located near the territorial waters of Benin was attacked by an armed group <…> The attackers kidnapped six people and escaped. Afterwards the ship navigated into the territorial waters of Nigeria and is currently located five nautical miles from Lagos, said Dyabin Albert, first secretary of the Russian Embassy in Benin.

According to preliminary information, on board of the ship MSC Mandy, there were 26 people, including 20 Russians, four Ukrainians and two citizens of Georgia. Armed with firearms attackers, a group of 7-9 people, climbed onto a ship sailing under the flag of Panama, and committed a robbery and kidnapping.

Now the consular departments in Nigeria and Benin are working on the issue of the release of people abducted by pirates. There are some indications, making investigators suggest the attackers were Somalian pirates.

 

 

 

Niger strikes Boko Haram along Komadugu river

Niger governmental troops  have eliminated more than 280 Boko Haram militants in combat and in air strikes since an operation against the radical Islam group last week, the defence ministry said.

Boko Haram has intruded Niger, Chad and Cameroon from its base in northeast Nigeria, where it has been fighting for more than nine years to establish a religious Islamic state – Caliphate.

The defence ministry informed that the army mounted an intense operation against the militants in the end of 2018 along the Komadugu river, which separates Niger from Nigeria.

More than 200 militants were “neutralized” by air strikes and 87 were killed by Nigerien troops in combat it said.

Nigeria’s Buhari launches re-election

Nigeria’s ruling party has launched a rally of President Muhammadu Buhari’s (76) re-election bid in the southern city of Uyo, hours after naming a campaign team which includes Africa’s richest businessmen.

An election is scheduled to take place on February 16 to decide upon a leader of Africa’s biggest crude oil producer and the most populous country.

At the launch of the campaign event, Buhari told his supporters in the southern city – capital of Akwa Ibom state – that his government was winning the fight against Islamists who have intensified attacks in the northeast attempting to establish an Islamic state state based of Sharia law.

“Many local governments were held by the Boko Haram insurgents when we assumed office but none, presently, is physically controlled by the group,”Buhari  continued.

“We are going to secure this country, we are going to manage it properly. We will continue to improve the situation, security, economy and fighting corruption,”  Buhari promised.

Goddess Osun festival in Nigeria

Fertility goddess Osun festival attracts thousands of Yorubas, an ancient ethnic group in West Africa that numbers around 40 million, the vast majority living in Nigeria.

According to Unesco which named the area a World Heritage site in 2005, the dense forest of the grove and “its meandering river is dotted with sanctuaries and shrines, sculptures and art works in honour of Osun and other deities“.

Priestesses prepare offerings and sacrifices to the great goddess: a heady mixture of sacrificed chickens, ochre powder, potato chips and gin. Beating drums and the sound of shots from colonial-era rifles build to a crescendo.
Soon tens of thousands of people are marching past. Crowds accompany the  Arugba, a virgin whose face is covered with a scarlet cloth embroidered with shells, to the river where the spirit of the water goddess lives.

The wife of Sango, god of fire and thunder, once demanded a sacrifice to bring prosperity to the community, but today the virgin is just tasked with giving the offerings to the sacred river.

On the riverbank, in the shade of century-old trees, a woman reads the future in kola nuts.

One after another, women fall into a trance and have to be held back so that they do not drown in the river.

Nigerian women will turn to the beautiful Osun to give them children.

Al-Qaeda in Mali claims rocket attack

Nusrat al-Islam militants claim the mortar (or rocket) attack carried out on July 29th 2018 against a military camp in Aguelhok, Kidal region. The group also says that it will not end its attacks against  France until French soldiers have left their country.

Nusrat al-Islam is It is the official branch of  Al-Qaeda in Mali after its leaders swore allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the incumbent leader of the  terrorist group.

Some of the experts monitoring terrorism offered the translation of the text in Arabic:

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