June 17, 2018

Nigeria attacks: Blasts and rockets ‘kill 31’ in Borno state

Nigeria attacks: Blasts and rockets 'kill 31' in Borno state Image copyright AFP Image caption Nigeria's army chief urged residents in the north-east to return to their homes Two suicide bombers have attacked a town in north-eastern Nigeria only hours after the country's army chief urged displaced residents to return home because it was safe. The blasts hit the town of Damboa in Borno state on Saturday evening and reports say at least 31 people died. The explosions were followed up by rockets fired from outside the town. Boko Haram militants are suspected. Army chief Lt Gen Tukur Buratai had said they were no longer a threat. "Let me use this opportunity to call on the good people of northern Borno... to return to their communities which have long been liberated by our gallant troops," he said at an inauguration ceremony for gunboats earlier on Saturday. A four-month military operation started on 1 May to expel Boko Haram insurgents from northern Borno and the Lak..
June 16, 2018

South Africa’s cash-in-transit heists: A national emergency?

South Africa's cash-in-transit heists: A national emergency? Image copyright SAPS Image caption Commercial-grade explosives have been used in several robberies The shaky footage could come from a film: men standing on the grassy verge wielding AK-47s, bombs exploding, and the sound of gunfire. But this is not the latest action blockbuster. This is a small South African town in the middle of the day, and what the shocked driver is recording from the relative safety of his own vehicle is a scene being repeated across the nation on an almost daily basis: a cash-in-transit heist. It is an epidemic which has seen millions of rand disappear into the hands of highly organised criminal gangs - a crime spree which some say can be traced back to the police themselves, and that others suggest is being orchestrated by criminals already serving time behind bars. It is, according to those in the know, seen as high prestige and low risk - at least, for those carrying out the attacks. What is hap..
June 15, 2018

Boris Becker: Central African Republic has bigger problems

Boris Becker: Central African Republic has bigger problems Image copyright AFP Image caption Violence has forced about 27% of the population to flee their homes The Central African Republic (CAR) has been put back in the spotlight after former tennis champion Boris Becker claimed diplomatic immunity. He says that his 2018 appointment as a CAR's sport and culture attache to the EU affords him protection from any legal claims. Mr Becker is attempting to thwart ongoing bankruptcy proceedings against him in the UK. But for the citizens living in the landlocked Central African country - which has been plagued by hunger, coups, rebellions and destitution since it gained independence from France in 1960 - the German tennis ace's financial woes are the last things on their minds. Dictators and diamonds CAR, a country roughly the size of Spain, is one of the poorest in the world in spite of its rich deposits of diamonds, uranium and gold. Its first President David Dacko was overthr..
June 15, 2018

The surprise place where hijab can spell trouble

The surprise place where hijab can spell trouble Image copyright Dalia Anan Image caption Dalia says she was refused entry to two restaurants because of her hijab "It is easier to be wearing hijab in London than Cairo." This is how 47-year-old Dalia Anan describes her experience as a woman wearing the Islamic headscarf - also known as hijab - in London compared to her hometown in Egypt. Dalia, an engineer who works in the IT industry, moved to the UK two years ago to be with her children, who are studying in London. "I feel judged in Egypt more than I do here," she says. But this was not always the case. Egypt, whose population is predominantly Muslim, used to be a welcoming space for women who chose to wear hijab. But for the past few years this has been changing, especially for women from the upper class. "After a certain time in the evening, you are not allowed into some restaurants or what are regarded as 'cool' places, especially in the north coast," Dalia says. &..
June 14, 2018

Africa’s week in pictures: 8-14 June 2018

Africa's week in pictures: 8-14 June 2018 A selection of the best photos from across Africa and of Africans elsewhere in the world this week. Image copyright Reuters Image caption The entire continent appears to be gripped by World Cup fever, and these inmates at Kenya's Kamiti Maximum Prison were not going to miss out. Hours before the first game of the contest on Thursday, they held their own Russia v Saudi Arabia match. Image copyright AFP Image caption Six days earlier, Mali's visually-impaired football team were in Madrid to play against Brazil in the Blind Football World Championships. Image copyright AFP Image caption Then on Tuesday, Nigerian police officers were pictured settling into their Moscow base, where they will be for the duration of the World Cup, by taking a selfie with one of their new colleagues. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption On Wednesday, it could have been tears for Morocco after it failed to win its bid to host the World Cup in 2026..
June 14, 2018

Boris Becker claims diplomatic immunity in bankruptcy case

Boris Becker claims diplomatic immunity in bankruptcy case Image copyright Reuters Image caption Boris Becker was awarded the international tennis hall of fame ring in April Former tennis champion Boris Becker is claiming diplomatic immunity against an attempt to sue him. The three-time Wimbledon winner claims his appointment as a diplomat by the Central African Republic affords him protection from any legal claims. Mr Becker was declared bankrupt in 2017 over money owed to private bank Arbuthnot Latham. He is now being pursued for "further assets". His defence has been lodged in the High Court. The Central African Republic made Mr Becker a sport and culture attache to the EU in April 2018. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionBecker wins first Wimbledon aged 17 His legal team said: "This means he cannot be subject to legal process in the courts of any country for so long as he remains a recognised diplomatic agent." Mr Becker said the proceedings were "unjustifie..
June 14, 2018

Ceuta and Melilla: Spain wants rid of anti-migrant razor wire

Ceuta and Melilla: Spain wants rid of anti-migrant razor wire Image copyright Reuters Image caption A golfer hits a tee shot as African migrants attempt to cross into the Spanish territory of Melilla Spain's new interior minister has vowed to do "everything possible" to remove the "anti-migrant" razor wire fences, which separate Morocco from the Spanish territories of Ceuta and Melilla. The tiny enclaves on Morocco's Mediterranean coast have become magnets for African migrants seeking a better life in Europe. Injuries are common when "jumpers" try to scale the six-metre (20 ft) fences. They are often topped with barbed wire or even coils of razor blades. Fernando Grande-Marlaska, a judge who became Spain's interior minister earlier this month, has commissioned a report into finding the "least bloody possible means" of preserving border security. "I'm going to do everything possible to see that these razor wire fences at Ceuta and Melilla are removed," he told Span..
June 14, 2018

Rachel Saunders: Second missing botanist’s body identified

Rachel Saunders: Second missing botanist's body identified Image copyright Nick Bailey Image caption Rodney Saunders body was found by fishermen in February South African police have identified the body of a British botanist kidnapped with her husband in a case with suspected links to the Islamic State group (IS). Rachel Saunders, 63, and her husband Rodney Saunders, 74, were last seen alive on 10 February. Police found Rodney's body on 17 February in a river. Authorities identified Rachel's body on Wednesday but they did not say where they had found her remains. The pair, who owned a seed business in Cape Town, were on a trip looking for rare seeds in KwaZulu-Natal province when they were taken. Read more: The rise and fall of 'Islamic State' The mystery of the horticulturalists missing in South Africa ‘Islamic State’ around the world Suspects Fatima Patel, 27, and Saffydeen Aslam del Vecchio, 38, were arrested on 16 February, one day before Rodney's bo..
June 14, 2018

Ugandan wins Africa prize for bloodless malaria test

Ugandan wins Africa prize for bloodless malaria test Image copyright Africa Proof Image caption Matibabu shines a red beam through a patient's finger and detects tell-tale signs of malaria A Ugandan inventor has won a major prize for a device which tests for malaria without drawing blood. Computer scientist Brian Gitta, 24, is the first Ugandan, and the youngest person, to win the Royal Academy of Engineering's Africa Prize. The device, called Maitibabu, can diagnose malaria in a minute and shares its results on a linked mobile phone. Mr Gitta was inspired to develop the device with his team after blood tests failed to diagnose his malaria. 'Malaria killed my daughter, I'm protecting others now' Malaria experts fear disease's resurgence GM plant tech boosts malaria drug yield Malaria is the leading cause of death in Uganda, but it took four blood tests to diagnose Mr Gitta with the disease, Shafik Sekitto, who is part of the Maitibabu team, told the B..
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