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New Era Newspaper Thursday January 4, 2018

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16 AFRICA Thursday, January 4 2018 | NEW ERA Amaury Hauchard Bangui Hundreds of people in northwest Central African villages following fresh violence between armed groups, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Sunday. chete attacks to arrive in the small town of Paoua, where thousands of people have already sought the region in November. “There are clashes at almost every point all around Paoua. We have seen hundreds of people in Paoua” since Wednesday, said Jean Hospital, MSF’s project coordinator in the region. “We received civilians who or were attacked with machetes, while others are collateral victims of the clashes,” he added. Rival armed groups the National Movement for the Liberation of the Central African Republic (MNLC) and Revolution and outskirts of Paoua on Wednesday, following renewed violence in the region since November, sources said. “The RJ told the population to case of an attack,” pastor Roy- Rodrigue Doutoumbaye told AFP on Wednesday at Paoua Hospital, where he accompanied a relative shot in the head. “They really wanted to kill me but because I had 110,000 francs (190 euros) on me they took the money and left me alive,” 52-yearold Jope, who suffers from tuberculosis, told AFP. “If we stay alone in the city we risk being raped. Our husbands have left to take care of the crops,” said Marie-Angele Dembaye, as armed men began looking for women. “The situation will become complicated very quickly because some of these people do not have any family to welcome them to Paoua,” said MSF coordinator Hospital added. According to the latest reports from the UN and the international Red Cross, there were already between 15,000 and 17,000 displaced people in Paoua by mid- Equatorial Guinea says it thwarted ‘coup’ MALABO The West African state of Equatorial Guinea said Wednesday it had thwarted “a coup” in late December mounted by mercenaries who sought to attack President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, Africa’s longestserving leader. Sources told AFP that the country’s ambassador to Chad had been arrested and was being held in a military camp. In a statement read on public radio, Security Minister Nicolas Obama Nchama said an attempted “A group of Chadian, Sudanese and Centrafricans [citizens of the ed Kye Ossi, Ebibeyin, Mongomo, Bata and Malabo to attack the head of state, who was in the Koete Mongomo presidential palace for the year-end holiday,” he said. The “mercenaries... were recruited by Equatorial Guinean militants from certain radical opposition parties with the support of certain powers,” the minister said. The plot had been prevented thanks to an operation carried out “in collaboration with the Cameroon security services”, he said. Formerly a Spanish colony, Equatorial Guinea is one of sub- Sahara’s biggest oil producers but a large proportion of its 1.2 million population lives in poverty. Obiang, in power for more than 38 years, is accused by critics of brutal repression of opponents, electoral fraud and corruption. Wednesday’s announcement came after Cameroon on December 27 arrested 38 heavily-armed men on the border with the tiny state. Two days later, Equatorial Guinea’s ambassador to France, Miguel Oyono Ndong Mifumu, referred to the incident as an “invasion and destabilisation attempt”. The suspects, taken into custody in a bus on the border, had rocket On Saturday, the 75-year-old Obiang said “a war” was being prepared against his regime, “because they say I have spent a lot of time in power”. The same day, the country’s ambassador to Chad, Enrique Nsue Anguesom, was arrested in the district of Ebibeyin, on Equatorial Guinea’s border with Cameroon, one of his told AFP on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity. He is being held in a military camp in Bata, Equatorial Guinea’s economic capital, “in connection with the investigation concerning the arrests” on December 27, said one of the sources. Concurring sources said Equatorial Guinea’s borders with Gabon and Cameroon were closed on December 27. Other sources said military reinforcements had been sent to the fronter with Cameroon. Obiang took power in a coup on August 3, 1979, ousting his own uncle, Francisco Macias Nguema, seven-year term in 2016, gaining more than 90 percent of the vote, Legislative elections on November 12 last year saw the ruling party win 92 percent of the vote, a result condemned as fraudulent by dissidents. The Citizens for Innovation (CI) opposition group, which secured one out of the 100 seats in the legislature, reported that at least 50 of its members were detained after the ballot. December. Mired in poverty but rich in minerals, the former French that began after then-president Francois Bozize was overthrown. Thousands of people have been the UN, more than a million people million people -- more than half of the Central African population -- are in need of humanitarian aid. The country has seen an upsurge in violence since France shut down its Sangaris mission there last year, but the UN Security Council agreed in November to extend a peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA, for a year and beef up the mission with 900 extra troops. - Nampa / AFP to overthrow Obiang in a coup thought to be largely funded by Mark Thatcher, son of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, was reportedly involved in the funding and was convicted In October last year, a French court handed down a three-year suspended jail term to Obiang’s son, Teodorin, who is also vice president, after convicting him of siphoning off public money to fund a jet-set lifestyle in Paris. He was accused of spending annual salary on a six-storey mansion in a posh part of the French artworks, among other assets. His lawyers said they would appeal the ruling. - Nampa / AFP Nigerians protest after deadly farmerherder clash LAGOS Hundreds of people stormed Makurdi, the capital of Nigeria’s eastern Benue state, on Wednesday protesting the death of 20 farmers allegedly killed by cattle herders, a local civil society group said. The farmers in Guma and Logo local government areas were reportedly killed by Fulani herdsmen in a series of attacks that took place on Monday and Tuesday. The mainly Muslim nomadic cattle rearers have been clashing with largely Christian farmers over grazing rights in Nigeria for decades. At a press conference on Tuesday, Benue governor Samuel Ortom said that more than 20 people were killed in the violence, be released. “People were slaughtered like animals,” Ortom was quoted as saying by Nigerian newspaper The Guardian. More than 1,000 people took to the streets of Makurdi and blocked the highway on Wednesday morning, according to Helen Teghtegh, the head of local nongovernmental organisation Community Links. “There have been no policies implemented to slow down the attacks made by Fulani herdsmen,” she said. “We feel that (President Muhammadu Buhari) being a Fulani man, he’s turning a blind eye on the issue.” Teghtegh said another protest was planned for Thursday. The killings usually occur at the end of rainy season between December and March, when the Fulani pastoralists arrive in large numbers to graze their cattle and the farmers start harvesting yams. But as the country’s population explodes -- Nigeria is set to become the world’s third most populous country by 2050 according to the UN -- the battle over land is intensifying. Hundreds of people were reported dead in Benue state in early 2016 following a week-long clash between herdsmen and farmers. In November, at least 30 people were killed after farmers attacked herdsmen in the Numan district in eastern Adamawa state. The violence is a perennial security headache for Nigeria, which has been battling Boko Haram Islamists in the northeast since in the oil-producing south. The International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think-tank, said in a September that some 2,500 people had been killed and tens of thousands were forced from their homes last year. Such attacks were “becoming as potentially dangerous as the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast”, it added. - Nampa / AFP

Thursday, January 4 2018 | NEW ERA WORLD 17 Saudi envoy to Lebanon presents credentials BEIRUT Saudi Arabia’s new ambassador presented his credentials to Lebanon’s president on Wednesday, a month after the crisis TEHRAN Violent demonstrations have rocked Iran since Thursday last week leaving at least 21 people dead, with protests that started over the economy turning against the Islamic regime as a whole. The wave of demonstrations, that kicked off in second city Mashhad on December 28 and quickly spread, is the biggest in the tightly controlled country since unrest over a disputed election in 2009. Here is a summary: A few hundred demonstrators gather in Mashhad and several other towns on December 28 to protest high living costs after a call reportedly goes out on the Telegram social messaging service. Videos on reformist media show protesters focusing their ire on President Hassan Rouhani but there are also slogans lambasting the entire regime and Iran’s the Middle East. The next day larger-scale including the western Kermanshah and religious centre Qom, where footage shows hundreds of demonstrators chanting “Death to sparked by the Lebanese premier’s mysterious resignation from Riyadh. President Michel Aoun said in an online statement that he received the credentials of Walid al-Yaqub. The move came days after Saudi Arabia agreed to the appointment of Fawzi Kabbara as the Lebanese ambassador. Kabbara had been in and the delay had been interpreted by some observers as a sign of strained ties despite reassurances from the Lebanese foreign ministry. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation on a Saudi-owned channel from Riyadh two months ago, in a move the dictator” and “Free political prisoners”. First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri suggests hardline opponents of Rouhani’s government may be behind the demonstrations. On December 30, regime supporters rally around the country for tions to commemorate the defeat of the 2009 protest movement. Interior Minister Abdolrahman Rahmani Fazli calls on the public to avoid “illegal gatherings”. But the protests grow. In Tehran, demonstrators attacking a town hall, overturning a police car and On December 31, the authorities issue more warnings and of- during the demonstrations in Tehran and another 80 in Arak, some 300 kilometres (190 miles) away. In a bid to stall further demonstrations, the authorities block access to online messaging services, including Telegram. Rouhani insists people are “absolutely free” to express their anger but “criticism is different to violence and destroying public property”. But the unrest continues as videos on social media show demonstrations hitting areas across the country for a fourth night. Iranian media and officials report 10 people died in protests overnight Sunday to Monday in different areas in the west of the country. In a second statement on January 1, Rouhani plays down the protests as “nothing” and insists the Iranian people will “respond to rioters and lawbreakers”. US President Donald Trump says it is “time for change” in Iran. As fresh protests break out in Tehran at nightfall Monday, state television says a policeman had been killed and three others in the central city of Najafabad. State television says nine people, including the policeman, were killed in unrest overnight Monday to Tuesday. Six died in the town of Qahderijan, in the central province of Isfahan, where protesters had tried to storm a police station, the state broadcaster reports. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei breaks his silence, saying on January 2 that Iran’s “enemies have united and are using all their means” against the regime. Trump denounces a “brutal and corrupt” Iranian regime. that caused widespread perplexity and fears of fresh chaos in Lebanon. Amid speculation he was being held hostage by Saudi Arabia, a Frenchled diplomatic effort appeared to resolve the crisis and allowed Hariri to return to Lebanon where he withdrew his resignation. - NAMPA / AFP Almost a week of deadly protests in Iran A divided nation… Pro-government demonstrators march in Iran’s southwestern city of Ahvaz yesterday, as tens of thousands gathered across Iran in a massive show of strength for the Islamic rulers after days of deadly unrest. The United Nations says it expects “the rights to peaceful assembly and expression of the Iranian people will be respected” and the United States demands Iran end social media blocks. US envoy Nikki Haley calls for emergency sessions on Iran at the UN Security Council and the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Commission. Rouhani phones his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to demand action against a “terrorist” Iranian opposition group he accuses of fomenting the protests. He appears to be referring to an exiled Iranian opposition group based in Paris and called the Mujahedeene-Khalq. The French president calls for “restraint and appeasement”. On January 3, after few reports of anti-regime protests overnight, tens of thousands gather across the country in a massive show of strength for the regime. Chants of “Leader, we are ready” are heard as images show thousands rallying in the cities of Ahvaz, Kermanshah, Gorgan, and elsewhere. In a telephone call, Rouhani tells his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan the protests will end in a few days. - NAMPA / AFP Israel plans to force out thousands of African migrants JERUSALEM Israel plans to force tens of thousands of African migrants to leave over the next three months by threatening to arrest those who stay, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday. Under the plan, some 38,000 migrants who entered Israel illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, will have until the end of March to leave. Each will receive a plane ticket and ,500 (2,900 euros) to do so. After March, this amount will decrease and those who continue to refuse to go will face arrest. Holot, an open facility in Israel’s desert south that can host 1,200 migrants who are allowed to leave to work during the day, is also set to be closed. When the plan was first announced in November, the United Nations refugee agency expressed concerns. Netanyahu on Wednesday defended the plan when he spoke about it before a cabinet meeting. “Every country must maintain its borders, and protecting the is both a right and a basic duty of a sovereign state,” he said. Israel tacitly recognises that the Sudanese and Eritreans cannot be returned to their dangerous homelands, so it has signed deals with Rwanda and Uganda, which agree to accept departing migrants on condition they consent to the arrangement, activists say. Migrants started coming in large numbers across the porous border between Israel and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in 2007, when nearly 5,000 entered, The government has since completed fencing the border and deploying electronic sen- last year, no one made it across. Over the years, those caught at the Egyptian frontier were detained at prisons in the Negev desert in southern Israel. On release they were given bus tickets to Tel Aviv, arriving at the central bus station on the south side of the city. Israeli residents of southern Tel Aviv have long complained of their presence and right-wing politicians have pledged to heed calls to force them out, often with harsh rhetoric. During a visit in August, Netanyahu pledged to “return south Tel Aviv to the citizens of Israel”, adding that the Africans were “not refugees but illegal - NAMPA / AFP

New Era

New Era Newspaper Vol 22 No 167