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Northern Africa

Gunmen abduct three UNHCR staff members in W. Darfur

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November 27, 2016 (EL-GENEINA) – Unidentified gunmen Sunday abducted three staff members of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in El Geneina, capital of West Darfur State.

The three workers, a Sudanese national and two foreigners, were kidnapped near the UNHCR office as they had been returning from a mission outside El Geneina.

“The abductees are two foreigners and a Sudanese, they have been kidnapped and transferred from the UN vehicle they used to a four-wheel-vehicle which headed to an unknown destination,” said West Darfur Government Spokesperson, and State Minister of Information, Abdallah Mustafa Jarel-Nabi.

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In press statements on Sunday, he said the state government took the necessary security measures to follow up the situation and secure the release of the captives as soon as possible.

He stressed that the state government has the capacity to release them, based on its large experience to deal with similar incidents. He further ruled out political motivations saying the armed gangs seek ransom.

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An eyewitness said the kidnapping took place at 05:00 pm near El Geneina Grand Mosque in down town and not far from the police headquarters.

He added that the kidnappers were six men who came from Um Shalaya area where is a camp of Chadian refugees and headed towards Aljebel neighbourhood.

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Earlier this month, the recently appointed Governor of West Darfur State, Fadl al-Mula al-Haga, vowed to impose the state authority, rule of law and fight against all forms of crime in the state.

(ST)

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Northern Africa

UN Urges International Community To Help Restore Peace In South Sudan

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Antonio gutterres, south sudan

September 23, 2017 (JUBA) – The secretary general of the United Nations has urged the global community to use all tools to compel the warring parties in South Sudan conflict to accept a peaceful settlement of the four-year armed conflict.

Antonio Guterres warned that South Sudan faces the spectre of complete economic collapse, yet the prevailing approach continues to be the pursuit of military victory.

“This will require determination and a commitment to use all the tools at our disposal to compel the parties to choose peace. We must continue to push for a peaceful resolution to the conflict with as much unity and pressure as we can apply. We must also continue to call for protection and humanitarian concerns to be addressed immediately, and for unhindered access to civilian populations,” Guterres said in a speech before the High-Level Meeting on South Sudan on Friday.

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The United Nations, with the African Union (AU) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), convened this high-level meeting on the margin of the UN Assembly General New York to agree on collective measures to support the revitalization of the political process in South Sudan.

The top UN official pointed out that the shared objective must be to determine what concrete measures the global community can take either collectively or individually to bring the fighting to an end and the parties back to dialogue.

He, also, called for globalized efforts to agree on how best they can support to regional efforts aimed at revitalizing the peace agreement, especially through the High-Level Revitalization Forum, and how can they apply leverage on the parties to heed the will of the international community.

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The government-led national dialogue, he noted, remains to be seen whether it evolves into the type of broad and representative undertaking necessary for success.

“The onus is on the government to make this initiative genuine and inclusive, rather than something done simply as a token display of commitment to peace,” he said.

Stressing that “The delegations and individuals in this room have stood with the people of South Sudan over the course of the country’s tragic journey since independence”.

Meanwhile, the South Sudan’s First Vice-President, Taban Deng Gai who attended the meeting expressed commitment of the Transitional Government of National Unity to restore peace and unity to the people.

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He further called on the partners to the peace agreement to allow access to the humanitarian aids.

Also, UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcok said, humanitarian needs in South Sudan to prevent famine continue to remain a challenge.

He appealed for additional flexible and needs-based funding to South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan and the South Sudan Regional Refugee Response Plan, which is underfunded.

Foreign Affairs Ministers from Uganda, Kenyan and Norway reaffirmed their government’s commitments to Support South Sudan people at the very hectic situation of war and hunger.

UN Member States, regional organizations, UN partners and members of the civil society expressed their concern to bring to an end the chaotic situation in South Sudan.

(ST)

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Northern Africa

Geingob Urges World Leaders To Resolve Western Sahara Issue

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Windhoek-President Hage Geingob has reminded the world that the protracted Western Sahara issue still needs sorting out.

Namibia has on many occasions undertaken not to tire in its quest to see Morocco, which was recently re-admitted into the African Union (AU), give up its illegal occupation of Western Sahara.

Geingob made the call in Windhoek yesterday when he addressed a conference of the African-European party dialogue of socialists and democrats, aimed at overcoming inequality as a political challenge.

“I don’t know why socialists are quiet. We are not assisting those who want to get their independence. In Europe and Africa, we are not helping them [Western Sahara] to get self-independence. We don’t hear [anything] it’s only Southern Africa. Why are you quiet?” Geingob asked.

The president is hopeful that Europeans and other African nations will follow Namibia’s stance to stand up against Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara.

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Geingob has on many occasions spoken out in support of the right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, following similar stern demands by National Assembly Speaker Professor Peter Katjavivi and International Relations Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.

In an interview with New Era, Katjivivi echoed Geingob’s stance for the global community to stand up and speak out in support of the people of Western Sahara.

He revealed that members of the Namibian parliament are due to attend the Inter-parliamentary Union (Union) Conference in Russia in October, where they will make sure to push the agenda for self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.

“All member parliaments are going to be there. We are interested to see that the voice of the people of Western Sahara is heard. There is the danger now that Morocco has been campaigning for and pushing its own agenda and basically trying to undermine the solidarity and support being extended to the people of Western Sahara. We cannot afford to undermine the push for freedom and independence for the people of Western Sahara,” Katjavivi told New Era yesterday.He explained it is in that context that he welcomed Geingob’s stance in reminding the world that the question of Western Sahara and Palestine is still outstanding.

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“This in our view is unfinished business that the international community must address so that they too can gain their sovereignty. I really want to see delegates pushing that agenda,” Katjivivi noted.

Geingob said Namibia has a longstanding history in its relationship with European progressive movements.
During Namibia’s struggle for independence, he said, many organizations across Western Europe and Scandinavia stood in solidarity with Namibians in their struggle against apartheid South Africa.

He explained that they offered material and diplomatic support which helped shed light on Namibia’s plight to many people in Europe, leading to a groundswell of public support for the abolition of apartheid and the independence of Namibia.

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“The years of Africa’s struggle against colonial rule were tumultuous. The world was in a state of Geo-political flux, caught between two superpowers engaged in an economic, military and ideological tug of war. The bipolar environment led to a situation in which several proxy wars ignited across the world and Africa found itself caught in the middle of this ideological impasse.”

Throughout this political malaise, he added, European progressives maintained their unwavering commitment towards Namibia’s struggle for independence

But with the gain of political independence, Geingob said, the struggle is not complete. He therefore said there is a need for their support in completing Namibia’s struggle for economic independence.

Albertina Nakale

Via New Era!

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Conflicts

Egypt – Central Sinai, Anti Terror Military Raid, 7 Killed, 3 Arrested

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The Egyptian military has carried anti-terrorist operations in Sinai on Monday.

The military spokesperson said that the military killed seven terrorists including two “leading members of terrorist groups,” in North Sinai in a statement published on social media.

He also said in a separate statement that three terrorist suspects were arrested in central Sinai.

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In both operations together, the spokesperson said it destroyed vehicles and motorcycles, a tunnel, and cannabis farms, in addition to dozens of “terrorist dens” where they found computers and material used to manufacture explosives.

Several photos of the operations were published. They included one photo of the three arrested suspects and a photo of the tunnel. The tunnel was reported to have been discovered in the border zone, among other tunnels reported to have been destroyed every month.

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In 2014, the military began working on a buffer zone in Rafah by removing residents’ houses with the aim of securing the borders with Gaza and putting an end to terror.

Via Daily News!

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Northern Africa

South Sudan Tells Rebel Leader To Denounce Violence

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August 2, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir has vowed not to meet his main political rival and former First Vice-President, Riek Machar unless he denounces violence.

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South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (L) and former vice-president turned rebel leader Riek Machar (AFP)

The South Sudan leader, an aide said, made these remarks during a meeting with his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni in Kampala last week.

“People have been coming to me saying I should meet with Riek as the part of confidence building for the national dialogue. I told them I have no personal problem with Riek and he himself can attest that by how I treated him at J1 in July 2016,” said the aide, not authorized to speak to the media, told Sudan Tribune Wednesday.

He added, If there was a personal problem with him [Machar], I would have left him [out]”.

President Kiir, according to his aide, told Museveni that reunification of the ruling Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement [SPLM] and reconciliation should proceed without Machar if he [Machar] insists on renegotiation of the 2015 peace deal instead of implementing it.

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“This was the agreement he wanted to be implemented. So why call for renegotiation? He says the agreement has died. Is it because he is not the government? The agreement was not between individuals. It was between the parties and that is why it is still being implemented even when he decided to cause unhealthy working relations so that I am seen as having no interest in its implementation. But what happened after he was replaced?” asked Kiir.

The South Sudanese leader said issued that could have been in two months tool less than a week because there was a spirit for cooperation which came with Taban Deng Gai and his group.

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Gai, a former rebel chief negotiator, replaced Machar as the First Vice-President when the latter fled the capital, Juba in July last year.

“If he [Machar] had demonstrated this cooperation we have today with Taban, the issues which could not resolve would have been resolved and there would not have been war”, explained Kiir.

He said nation would continue because it was meant for the people.
Last month, the South Sudanese leader led a high level delegation of senior members his ruling party and held talks with Rebecca Nyandeng, widow of the SPLM founder, John Garang de Mabior.

A group of the country’s former political detainees later joined the meeting hosted in Kampala to reconcile and unite the SPLM factions.

The meeting came up with a decision to form a working group and a communiqué calling up all SPLM cadres and the grass root, countrywide and in the diaspora, to embrace this new spirit of reconciliation and unity for the interest of people and the country.

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The communiqué called upon the Machar-led factions to join the process of reconciliation and unity of the SPLM. It also called upon other SPLM groups and cadres who are not part of the Arusha agreement to join the reconciliation and reunification process.

The working group was, on the other hand, tasked with developing a matrix for the implementation of the Arusha agreement with specific timeliness and report to Museveni after one week, starting July 31, 2017.

South Sudan’s civil war broke out in December 2013 after President Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup. Machar denied the accusation.

A peace deal signed in August 2015., however, led to the formation of a coalition government but was again devastated by fresh violence that broke out in July last year.

(ST)

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Algeria

Egypt – Al-sisi Discusses Libyan Crisis With African Ministers

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President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi received on Wednesday Bichara Issa Djadallah, the Chadian defence minister.

The meeting discussed military cooperation in light of the common challenges of terrorism expansion and securing borders with Libya amid the ongoing turmoil.

Al-Sisi further spoke about the need to work on developing infrastructure and transportation among African countries to enhance development within the continent.

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In a separate meeting with the Algerian minister for foreign affairs, Al-Sisi underlined the importance of restoring stability in Libya through respecting its sovereignty over its territory and through promoting political solutions and unity among its institutions and people.

He further said he encouraged finding “Arab solutions to Arab problems” by developing the role of the Arab League by combining Arab efforts.

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Northern Africa

Two Italian Fishing Boats Attacked Between Libya, Tunisia

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(ANSAmed) – MAZARA DEL VALLO (TRAPANI), AUGUST 3 – Two Italian fishing boats from the Sicilian port town of Mazara del Vallo – the ”Aliseo” and ”Anna Madre” – were reportedly attacked by a boat off Zarzis, at the border between Libya and Tunisia, in international waters.

An Italian Navy helicopter and a Tunisian military vessel reportedly intervened, persuading the vessel to back off, according to the president of the Sicilian fishing district, Giovanni Tumbiolo.

The vessel reportedly belongs to Tunisian Customs authorities.

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The incident occurred on Wednesday night and is allegedly connected to the so-called local ‘fishing war’ amid a climate of tension in the Mediterranean for the Italian mission in Libya to confront the ongoing migrant crisis. The vessel reportedly fired shots at both fishing boats that immediately asked for help. An Italian military helicopter and a Tunisian Navy vessel forced the boat to back off.

Tumbiolo expressed ”great appreciation for the joint action of the Italian foreign ministry and the Italian embassy in Tunis, as well as the Italian and Tunisian Navy”, while sounding the alarm on the ”fishing war that has been going on for over 50 years, endangering the safety of our fishermen” to control fishing in the area.

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Well-informed sources in Rome confirmed the attack, which was probably carried out by a Tunisian cutter that allegedly wanted to force the two Italian vessels to dock at a Tunisian port to check on its fishing activity. The shots were allegedly fired as a warning, the sources said.

The helicopter reportedly took off from an Italian Navy vessel in the area, forcing the Tunisian boat to desist from the attack and leave.

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The same well-informed sources said no Tunisian vessels intervened to defend the Sicilian boats, which resumed their activity on Thursday morning south of Lampedusa. Port authorities in Mazara del Vallo said they are in close contact with the ”Aliseo” and ”Anna madre”.(ANSAmed).

Via AnsaMed

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Libya

France, Tunisia Attempt To Thwart Fuel And Gas Crisis Committee’s Anti-smuggling Operations

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Reports have revealed that France and Tunisia are attempting to get in the way of the anti-smuggling efforts of the Libyan fuel and gas crisis committee in fighting the growing phenomenon of fuel and goods smuggling from Libya to neighboring countries via land border crossings and to other countries via the open sea.

A Source told Libyan local news operator, Press Solidarity, that Tunisia and France are two countries, among others, which are trying to thwart the committee’s work.

“This new revelation shows how deeply-rooted the issue of smuggling is as it raises tons of questions regarding the connection between such countries and the illicit process of smuggling Libya’s resources by a number of gangs.” The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the local news operator.

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The anti-smuggling campaign of the fuel and gas crisis committee, which is part of Brega Oil and Gas Company, has traveled beyond Libya’s borders as it managed to topple over some Tunisian officials such as the Governor of Tataouine city in southern Tunisia and other security officials, who could not persuade the Libyan committee to stop the crackdown on smuggling.

Since the start of the fuel and gas crisis committee’s campaign in early March, many smuggling attempts have been thwarted with huge quantities of goods and fuel being retrieved for the Libyan government.

Around April 06, the fuel and gas crisis committee announced that it had been joined by Libyan land and naval forces as well as the Libyan air force in an operation named The Mediterranean Storm, aiming to fight smuggling everywhere across the country.

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The committee pursued its work despite death threats received by its personnel and despite the outrage by Tunisian nationals who blocked the land border crossings in protest of the anti-smuggling operation.

Tunisia’s oil sector is very weak with the prices of fuel soaring to new heights every day making it hardly affordable for the citizens, who instead have always fell back upon Libyan fuel as it is cheaper and could be smuggled easily under no control from neither the Tunisian nor the Libyan authorities.

With the roaring success that the fuel and gas crisis committee had achieved thus far – from arresting smugglers to targeting smuggling vehicles on land and vessels in the waters – the Presidential Council of the UN-proposed government hosted the Chief of the committee, Milad Al-Hajrasi, last week and offered to provide the committee with the needed support so that it could be even more broadly successful.

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“The fuel and gas crisis committee will go on with its anti-smuggling operation in cooperation with the Libyan forces and with the support of the Libyan citizens to save their natural resources and fortunes despite all local and international attempts to hamper its efforts.” The source quoted the officials of the committee as saying.

Via Libya Observer!

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Algeria

Algerian Pilots Suspended For Allowing Ten Years Old Fly Passengers

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Two pilots of Air Algerie have been suspended for allowing a 10-year-old orphaned boy to control a domestic passenger flight in fulfilment of his dreams.

According to local media, the pilots were suspended because the act was a breach of civil aviation regulations.

The boy’s adventure was filmed by a TV crew as part of a charity initiative and aired on local television station El Bilad on July 26, reports say.

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The pilots were suspended on July 29 for investigation into the incident, it added.

The number of passengers in the flight is unknown.

The boy, dressed like a pilot, was filmed seated in the cockpit and pushing buttons under the supervision of the two pilots during a flight from the capital Algiers to Setif in the east.

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The video showed the boy being taken around the plane before take off.

Below is the video of the boy’s adventure aired by El Bilad TV.

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Morocco

Morocco – Société Générale Maroc Clients Panic After Thousands Of Dirhams Withdrawn From Accounts

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Rabat – Société Générale Maroc’s (SGM) clients woke up to a bad surprise this morning. The bank charged several clients’ accounts a sum of MAD 2,000, justifying the withdrawal as “credit card sign-up fee for a virtual purchasing card.”

After hundreds of customers of the SGM bank saw their bank accounts accidentally debited sums of money without having carried out any transactions, clients took to social media to express their dismay, demanding answers from the bank.

Some rushed to the bank customer relations center to try to understand what is happening, as the switchboard is currently blocked. The issue seems to be a general attack on all servers of the bank.

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The bank confirmed that the issue is simply a technical error in the information system of the bank error that touched about 900,000 clients’ accounts.

Speculations about an alleged hacking attack pushed a number of customers to block their banking accounting, while a bank official assured that SGM will reopen their accounts without any extra fees.

This is not the first time the bank has encountered similar problems. In late June, the Moroccan subsidiary of the French bank experienced severe disruptions in wage transfer operations managed by the bank. Thousands of clients did not receive their salaries on time.

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After the incident in June, Société Générale explained that “the computer engineering that manages the transfers [had] experienced malfunctions that disrupted the operations.”


Via Morocco World News!

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Northern Africa

Western Sahara – Ireland Reassures Frent Polisario On Sahrawi Natural Resources

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Dublin (Ireland), August 02, 2017 (SPS) – The Frente POLISARIO received a response from the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning  a concerns of the Frente POLISARIO on the EU-Morocco Association Agreement.

In this regard, the Irish government affirmed its willingness to abide by the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which excludes the territory of Western Sahara from the EU-Morocco partnership, stating that ” the Court’s ruling is consistent with Ireland’s long-standing position in support of the right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. ”

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The Irish government explained that “as a result of the Court’s decision, In May 2017, the EU Council authorised the European Commission to open negotiations on the adaptation of protocols to the Association Agreement, and the modification of its protocols to provide for treatment of goods coming from Western Sahara.”

The letter sent by the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained the complexity of the matter, since “it requires the conciliation between the operative as the concretion of the origin of the products and the positions with respect to the right of the Saharawi people”.

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This is a highly complex issue which will have to involve finding a way of reconciling practical issues such as certifying the origin of goods, with matters of principle relating to the consent of the people of Western Sahara

In the same vein, the Irish government demanded that any agreement entered into by the EU will have to be consistent with EU law, including the Court’s judgment of 21 December 2016.SPS

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Via Sahara Press Service!

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