Africa | Homeland Security Newswire

  • Sub-Saharans prefer Morocco to Europe

    Morocco was once merely a stepping stone for those desperately trying to migrate from Africa to Europe, but the north African country has now become the destination of choice for many migrants. The Moroccan government has implemented two legalization programs — in 2014 and again last year — encouraging sub-Saharans to apply for residency papers. The most recent initiative saw nearly 20,000 migrants apply. Migrants who decide to settle in Morocco compare Morocco favorably to countries such as France, where they say it is more difficult to gain legal status and where racism is rife.

  • Côte d'Ivoire/Disparus du Novotel: 18 ans de prison pour l'ex-chef de la Garde républicaine

    Une cour d’assises d’Abidjan a condamné jeudi à des lourdes peines de 6 à 20 ans de prison les principaux accusés dans l’affaire des “Disparus du Novotel”, dont le général Brunot Dogbo Blé, ancien chef de la Garde Républicaine ivoirienne. Le 4 avril 2011, au plus fort de la crise postélectorale en Côte d’Ivoire, un commando venu de la présidence, alors aux mains des partisans de Laurent Gbagbo, avait fait irruption à l’hôtel Novotel d’Abidjan, capitale économique en proie aux combats, s’emparant de quatre personnes, dont deux Français.

  • Parler avec les jihadistes ? Le dilemme qui agite le Mali

    L’idée d’une négociation avec les groupes islamistes maliens a été évoquée à l’issue de la Conférence d’entente nationale qui s’est tenue à Bamako. Les gouvernements français et malien s’y opposent. C’est un sujet embarrassant pour Bamako qui a resurgi ce mois-ci. Faut-il dialoguer avec les jihadistes maliens? Cette suggestion, contenue dans une discrète ligne du rapport de la Conférence d’entente nationale qui s’est tenue du 27 mars au 2 avril, a fait couler beaucoup d’encre dans la foisonnante presse locale. Comment interpréter autrement cette recommandation, inscrite au chapitre 7.3, de «promouvoir une culture de paix et de dialogue avec tous les fils de la nation, y compris avec des islamistes maliens une fois que leurs préoccupations, comprises, n’entament pas l’unité nationale et les fondements de la République»? La question est, en réalité, évoquée depuis longtemps par les responsables politiques et religieux à Bamako.

  • Egypt: Alexandria church bomber fugitive with militant ties

    Egypt on Wednesday named the suicide bomber who attacked a cathedral in Alexandria as 31-year-old Mahmoud Hassan Mubarak Abdullah, a fugitive with links to militant Islamist cells that carried out previous strikes in the country. Abdullah detonated his explosives at the entrance to Saint Mark’s Cathedral, the historic seat of the Coptic Pope, killing seventeen people as mass was being conducted. Hours earlier, another bomb tore through a church in Tanta, a city in the Nile Delta. … The interior ministry said Abdullah had links with the Islamist militant cell behind the December suicide bombing on Cairo’s main Coptic cathedral, an attack also claimed by Islamic State. Authorities are still trying to identify the Tanta attacker, the ministry said.

  • Egyptian lawyer sentences to 10 years for Facebook posts

    An Egyptian court has sentenced a human rights lawyer to ten years in prison and five years of house arrest, and also banned him from using social media, for using Facebook to “destabilize the general order” and “harm national unity and social peace.” The court, in sentencing Alexandria-based lawyer, Mohamed Ramadan, used a controversial 2015 counter-terrorism law, days after President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi declared a 3-month state of emergency. The law determines terrorism to include a wide range of actions including propagating ideas and beliefs calling for the use of violence via social media.

  • Famine en Afrique et au Yémen: "Il faut une résolution politique des conflits"

    La famine menace de faire un nombre massif de victimes dans la Corne de l’Afrique et au Yémen faute de moyens suffisants. Selon l’ONG Solidarités International, la réponse politique est essentielle pour mettre fin aux crises alimentaires chroniques. Des images de corps décharnés, de visages émaciés. Des populations contraintes de se nourrir de feuilles ou de semences. Au Soudan du Sud, en Somalie, au Nigeria, jusqu’au Yémen, la situation humanitaire ne cesse de se dégrader depuis quelques mois. Favorisée par la sécheresse, la violence et les conflits armés — et parfois la conjonction de ces trois facteurs — la famine est telle que d’aucuns craignent un bilan humain bien plus grave qu’en 2011, où 260 000 personnes perdirent la vie dans la Corne de l’Afrique.

  • South Sudan: Government troops accused of rape, murder in Yei

    A civil society activist in Yei town accused government troops and allied militia of killing five youth based on their ethnicity and raping more than 15 women over the past two weeks. Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Tuesday, Hawa Adam said government soldiers have been continuously committing atrocities against Yei citizens. “The cases of rape are many here. On March 25, a 20-year-old woman was raped in Hai Leben and she was taken to the hospital. A 17-year-old girl and another woman who was pregnant were raped. In Mukaya Payam, a 90-year-old woman was also raped,” said Adam. Adam urged the state government to protect it civilians and prevent such atrocities in the state.

  • South Sudan violence is tribal genocide: British official

    A senior British official says she believes the violence in South Sudan is now genocide which is being perpetrated along tribal lines. Priti Patel, the U.K. secretary of state for international development, said in an interview late on Wednesday that there are “massacres taking place, people’s throats being slit.” She said there is a “scorched earth policy,” with villages being burned down, women being raped, and food being used as a weapon of war. She described the situation in South Sudan as “absolutely abhorrent and inhumane.”

     

  • Families flee from South Sudan to Uganda in Africa’s biggest exodus since 1994 Rwandan genocide

    At least 832,000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in Uganda since fighting erupted in July last year, in the biggest cross-border exodus in Africa since the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Overall, the fighting has uprooted more than three million people, and by July 5.5 million – nearly half the population – are unlikely to have a reliable food supply, according to the United Nations.

  • Burundi government bans opposition party for 6 months in continuing crackdown

    In line with the Burundian government’s crackdown on dissenting voices and political opponents, the nation’s Interior Ministry has suspended the statute and activities of opposition Movement for Solidarity and Democracy (MSD) party, whose leader Alexis Sinduhije is in exile. After a failed coup led by a disloyal faction within the army’s high command in May 2015, the government intensified its bloody crackdown on dissident and forcing the majority of the nation’s stifled opposition in exile. Recent reports increasingly points to a regime shifting towards totalitarianism: populations are forced to pay “voluntary” contributions to fund public works including buildings for the ruling CNDD-FDD, whose youth league Imbonerakure have in areas taken over the role of a para-military security force. The United Nations describe the Imbonerakure, who have been accused of committing serious violations of human rights, as a “militia.”

  • U.S. sanctions against militia leaders “send strong message to armed groups in CAR”

    Human rights groups have welcomed United States sanctions on two top Central African Republic (CAR) militia commanders who have been conspiring and stoking deadly sectarian violence to defend their own political and economic interests. Impunity in the CAR remains one of the main challenges in addressing past and ongoing atrocities, as the vast majority of suspected war criminals, who date as far back to December 2012, have never been held accountable. On 12 April, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed financial sanctions on two warlords and high-profile leaders, Abdoulaye Hissène, a key leader of the former mainly Muslim rebel group Seleka, and Maxime Mokom, a top commander of the Anti-Balaka militia made up largely of animists and Christians.

  • Acting fast: Two months to stop pandemic X from taking hold

    Over the past several years, DARPA-funded researchers have pioneered RNA vaccine technology, a medical countermeasure against infectious diseases that uses coded genetic constructs to stimulate production of viral proteins in the body, which in turn can trigger a protective antibody response. As a follow-on effort, DARPA funded research into genetic constructs that can directly stimulate production of antibodies in the body.

  • Disease “superspreaders” were the driving cause of 2014 Ebola epidemic

    A new study about the overwhelming importance of “superspreaders” in some infectious disease epidemics has shown that in the catastrophic 2014-15 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, about 3 percent of the people infected were ultimately responsible for infecting 61 percent of all cases. The issue of superspreaders is so significant, scientists say, that it’s important to put a better face on just who these people are. It might then be possible to better reach them with public health measures designed to control the spread of infectious disease during epidemics.

  • World still “grossly underprepared” for infectious disease outbreaks

    The world remains “grossly underprepared” for outbreaks of infectious disease, which are likely to become more frequent in the coming decades, warn a team of international experts. They reviewed reports on the recent Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa and say better preparedness and a faster, more coordinated response could have prevented most of the 11,000 deaths directly attributed to Ebola and also the broader economic, social, and health crises that ensued. “We will not be ready for the next outbreak without deeper and more comprehensive change,” they conclude.

  • Improving biosafety, biosecurity in West Africa

    The Defense Threat Reduction Agency and United States Strategic Command Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction (DTRA/SCC-WMD) have selected CH2M to lead efforts in West Africa to broaden its Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP) on the African continent and reduce the threat of infectious diseases. The CBEP, developed by the Department of Defense to address global health security issues, was used in 2014 to support international efforts to combat the Ebola virus outbreak and other threats to global health security.