Monthly Archives: April 2015

Migrant Crisis: EU Takes Tough Measures

European Union leaders held an extraordinary summit in Brussels April 23, 2015.

European Union leaders have taken a decision to henceforth engage in systematic efforts to identify, capture and destroy traffickers’ ships before they are used to transport clandestine migrants from Africa and Asia to Europe. This is one of the major resolutions of the extraordinary summit of European leaders in Brussels, Thursday, April 23, 2015, International Business Times report.

Thursday’s extraordinary summit that came on the heels of the meeting of European Union Foreign Ministers was provoked by the persistent drowning of African and Asian migrants as they struggle to get to Europe at all costs with the recent incident being the drowning of more than 800 migrants off the coast of Libya on Sunday, April 19, 2015 when their boat capsized. The talks of the leaders focused on the 10-point action plan the ministers proposed.

To prevent more deaths. Statistics indicate that more 200,000 migrants have successfully reached Europe via boat over the past 15 months. Another 5,000 are believed to have died trying, of which 1,700 perished in the first four months of 2015 only. The European Union Border Agency Chief is said to have warned last March that up to one million people are expected to attempt crossing the Mediterranean from Libya before the end of 2015.

Donald Tusk, EU President urged the 28-nation bloc “to agree on very practical measures,” such as “strengthening search-and-rescue possibilities, by fighting the smugglers and by discouraging their victims from putting their life at risk, while reinforcing solidarity,” International Business Times quoted.

Prior to the summit, the United Nations Organisation and the International Organisation  for Migration urged the EU to begin a sea rescue operation for migrants and accept significantly more refugees. International Organization for Migration Chief William Lacy Swing, U.N. Special Representative for Migration, Peter Sutherland and U.N. Human Rights and Refugee Agency heads, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and António Guterres  are quoted to have said in a joint statement that, “The European Union response needs to go beyond the present minimalist approach… which focuses primarily on stemming the arrival of migrants and refugees on its shores.”

Cameroon Tribune



Cameroon president’s daughter posts racy photo on Instagram, then deletes

Brenda Biya is the only daughter to the president of the Republic of Cameroon and schools in the USA

The daughter to the president of the Republic of Cameroon, Brenda Biya may have found herself on the wrong side of history after posting and later deleting a picture of her kissing a mystery boy on her Instagram.

The young lady posted a blurry photo on social media yesterday, April 22, showing herself and a guy French kissing.

This is the very first time Brenda has posted such an intimate photograph on her Instagram.

She captioned the pic: ”my boo three years ago”.

Wondering what the ‘Unity Palace’ has to say about this? Oh well, she took down the picture and all her Inst-photos before anyone could notice… not us though!

brenda-biya-kissing-instagram

Pulse Nigeria



Nigerian Military Enters Boko Haram Hideout in Sambisa Forest

Nigeria’s military is moving into the northeastern Boko Haram hideout in the Sambisa forest and is focusing operations on areas it believes more than 200 abducted schoolgirls from Chibok are being held.
“Presently, the military is moving into the Sambisa forest after taking Alagarno, Gwoza, Bama, Malam Fatori, Abadam, among others,” Mike Omeri, an Abuja-based government spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday. “Our intelligence indicates that the present military operation is focused in the area where the girls are believed to be held.”
On Tuesday, rallies and events were held in Nigeria to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Boko Haram’s abduction of the girls from the northeast town of Chibok, which provoked an international outcry. The majority of the students are still missing.

Bloomberg



50 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram reportedly seen in Nigeria three weeks ago

More than 50 of the girls abducted by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria last year were seen alive as recently as three weeks ago, a Nigerian woman has told the BBC.

The woman—who did not want to be identified out of fear for her safety—told the BBC she saw the girls in northeastern Gwoza before government forces drove Boko Haram Islamic extremists out of the town.

Boko Haram sparked global outrage after seizing at least 276 girls from Chibok town in Nigeria last April. Dozens were able to escape but at least 219 remain missing. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has said the girls have been converted to Islam and married off. Relatives of the girls feared the militants had used them as bartering goods and sex-slaves.

Shekau has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), which is known for carrying out abductions in Syria and Iraq.

Despite international pleas for their return, the girls have never been traced, and little has been heard of them since they were taken from dormitories during a nighttime raid at their Chibok boarding school.

The unidentified woman who spoke to the BBC, said she lived under Boko Haram’s rule in Gwoza, and saw the girls in Islamic attire, being escorted by militants.

“They said they were Chibok girls kept in a big house,” the woman said. “We just happened to be on the same road with them,” she added.

Three other female witnesses also told the BBC they had seen the girls in Gwoza. Boko Haram was believed to have turned Gwoza into its headquarters after it captured the town in August 2014.

Nigeria’s military– backed by troops from neighboring countries– recaptured the town in March. Many of the Islamic militants were suspected to have fled to the nearby Mandara Mountains, near the border with Cameroon. But whether the girls went with them is unclear.

Another woman told the BBC she last saw some of the girls—who range in age from 16 to 18– in November at a Boko Haram camp in Bita village, also in the northeast.

“About a week after they were brought to the camp, one of us peeked through a window and asked: ‘Are you really the Chibok girls?’ and they said: ‘Yes’. We believed them and didn’t ask them again,” the woman said.

“They took Koranic lessons, cleaned their compound, cooked for themselves and they braided each other’s hair. They were treated differently – their food [was] better and water clean,” the woman added.

Nigeria’s outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan has been under fire for not doing enough to find the girls and end the six-year insurgency in the northeast. Incoming President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to “crush” the insurgents. He is expected to be inaugurated on May 29 after defeating Jonathan in last month’s presidential elections.

Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language. The terror group has killed thousands and displaced some 800,000 children, according to a UNICEF report released Monday.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai criticized Nigeria’s government and the international community and called for more action to free the Chibok schoolgirls in an open letter to the girls Monday.

“We cannot imagine the full extent of the horrors you have endured. But please know this: we will never forget you,” Yousafzai said in the letter.

“I look forward to the day I can hug each one of you, pray with you, and celebrate your freedom with your families,” Yousafzai said.

The campaign group Bring Back Our Girls has launched a week of events in Nigeria encouraging people to remember the girls ahead of the first anniversary of their abduction on Tuesday.

Fox News



E-governance: Government Signs MoU With KOICA

The FCFA 1.2 billion project is expected to bring services closer to the people.
A press release from the Korea International Cooperation Agency, Cameroon office, KOICA, says the institution on March 27, 2015, signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, MINPOSTEL for a three-year E-governance project. KOICA’s Resident Representative to Cameroon, Kim Tae Young, revealed that the MoU seeks to establish the project’s master plan.
Korea is proposing a better governance system whereby services will be available and closer to citizens in a convenient, efficient and transparent manner. The system is an application of Information and Communication Technology, ICT, for delivering government services. It also entails the exchange of information communication transactions, integration of various stand-alone services between government and customers, government-to-business, government-to-government as well as back office processes and interactions within the entire government framework.
The 2015-2017 Korean-funded project worth two million USD (approximately FCFA 1.2 billion) is expected to be executed in four phases, with activities comprising the establishment of an E-governance master plan and development of a new strategy for Cameroon. There will also be the establishment of a design for a priority initiative and support for the development and operation of education programmes in schools and the training of Cameroonian officials in Korea. “Given Korea’s excellence, which is globally recognized as the world’s best for the development of E-government-related projects, the transfer of knowledge and technology to Cameroon through this project will contribute highly to improve transparency and efficiency in public administration,” Kim Tae Young explained.
Cameroon will be endowed with a sustainable E-governance strategy. Over 300 Cameroonian officials from the public and para-public sectors are expected to be trained while the country is expected to grow by 30 per cent on the basis of the United Nations E-governance classification report.

Cameroon Tribune



Remains Of Missing American Pilot Retrieved

Kimeng Hilton NDUKONG, with field reports. National – Société
Officials from Tombel Subdivision in Kupe-Muanenguba Division are trying to bring back the remains of William Fitzpatrick from the dense forest after his light aircraft went missing last June.
Administrative and security officials from Tombel Subdivision in Kupe-Muanenguba Division of the South West Region are still making their way out of the dense Equatorial forest near Eboko Bajo village where they went to collect the remains of a missing American pilot still stuck in the wreckage of his ill-fated small aircraft. The Cessna 172 light aircraft went missing on Sunday June 22, 2014, while on a flight from the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Nigeria, to Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo, via the Douala International Airport.
The officials started off from Eboko Bajo village on the 35-km, 30-hour long round trek into the dense forest on Sunday, April 12, 2015 at mid-day after travelling through Kumba and Konye in neighbouring Meme Division; a distance of over 100 km. This was informed by the inaccessible nature of the terrain from Tombel to Eboko Bajo, which is about 100 km in a straight line. Tombel is located about 150 km from Buea, the South West Regional headquarters.
The officials include the Divisional Officer for Tombel Subdivision, Ayuk Edward Takor, the Gendarmerie Company Commander for Kupe-Muanenguba, Captain Mahok, Dr Njoh of Tombel District Hospital, the Commander of the Tombel Gendarmerie Road Safety team, Lt. Akam Sylvestre and the Commander of the Tombel Gendarmerie ‘Post, ‘Adjudant Chef’ Ngoulouré Oumarou. However, because of the difficult nature of the terrain in the dense Equatorial forest on the Kupe-Muanenguba mountain range, only the gendarmes, Dr Njoh and some villagers – a team of 12 – continued to the site of the crash, reaching it at 60 am on Monday, April 13, 2015.
Talking to Cameroon Tribune on phone from deep inside the forest yesterday, April 13, 2015, Ngoulouré Oumarou explained that the wreckage was found by local hunters from Eboko Bajo village on April 9, 2015. This information was confirmed by the Member of Parliament for Tombel and Bangem, Hon. Nhon Ngujede Ngole Robert. The plane hit and broke a tree branch, with debris scattered all over, Ngoulouré explained. He added that upon receiving the news of the discovery, the local village chief sent another team back into the forest to confirm the information before reporting to the authorities.
According to ‘Adjudant Chef’ Ngoulouré, Nalovoka Oliver, Motia Ivo and third person known only as ‘Alhadji,’ made the discovery while on a hunting trip. They confirmed that the pilot of the aircraft was William Fitzpatrick, according to papers found on the spot. His insurance papers were also found in the wreckage, with his skeleton still in the cockpit. Fitzpatrick was the only one on board the plane with insignia ‘Ecogarde African Parks No. 9748N,’ Ngoulouré disclosed.
Information from the US Embassy in Cameroon shows that the pilot collected the newly-acquired plane from Dakar, Senegal, on June 19, 2014, where it had earlier been flown from America. The plane was to be used for conservation and anti-poaching surveillance activities in and around Odzala-Kokoua National Park in Congo Brazzaville. A US citizen and experienced pilot with more than 25 years’ experience, William Fitzpatrick joined African Parks as Odzala’s resident pilot in November 2013.

Cameroon Tribube



Kumbo: Suspects Detained Over Theft Of FCFA 50 Million

They include the manager, his deputy and accountant of Shisong Cooperative Credit Union Ltd.
Some four workers of Shisong Cooperative Credit Union Ltd in Kumbo, Bui Division of the North West Region, have been arrested and detained in connection with the misappropriation of FCFA 50 million.
The suspects, whose names have not been given, are said to be the Manager, the Assistant Manager, the Accountant and the former Cashier, said to have resigned when investigations were opened into the suspected misappropriation. Sources close to the State Counsel’s Chambers Kumbo hinted that relatives of some of the suspects have started paying back the embezzled money.
According to the law setting up the Yaounde-based Special Criminal Court, SCC, concerning the misappropriation of public funds above FCFA 50 million, a suspect who repays stolen money might be freed. It is still unclear if the provision in this law applies to the case in question since the money allegedly embezzled belonged to a credit union.

Cameroon Tribune



Cross-border Insurgency, Insecurity : France Offers Nearly FCFA 900 Million

The UN Refugee Agency will use the funds to improve on lives of refugees and displaced persons in Cameroon and Chad.

The French government will in the days ahead take its solidarity and humanitarian assistance to another level by offering a supplementary financial contribution of 1.5 million dollars (over FCFA 895 million) to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) for assistance to refugees and displaced victims of the Central African crisis and incursions of the sect, Boko Haram.
According to a press release dated March 27, 2015 from the French Embassy in Yaounde, the contribution, which is for the first quarter of 2015, includes the sum of One million dollars (over FCFA 597 million) which shall be provided by France to contribute to its assistance of internally displaced Central Africans and refugees resident in neighbouring countries, including Cameroon. More so, the sum of 500,000 dollars (over FCFA 298 million) will be disbursed to UNHCR to contribute to its activities in Chad and Cameroon for assistance to refugees and displaced persons chased from their towns and villages by Boko Haram.
In the following interview, the Ambassador of France to Cameroon, H.E. Christine Robichon, gives the reasons behind the supplementary grant to HCR by France.

Cameroon Tribune



Boko Haram disguised as preachers kill at least 24 in Nigeria

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria – Islamist Boko Haram militants disguised as preachers killed at least 24 people and wounded several others in an attack near a mosque in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, a military source and witness said on Monday.

The attackers arrived in cars late on Sunday and gathered people at a mosque in the remote village of Kwajafa, pretending to preach Islam. They then opened fire on them, witness Simeon Buba said.

The group’s six-year insurgency, and President Goodluck Jonathan’s failure to end it or protect civilians, were factors in the victory of opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari in last week’s election.

The group fighting for an Islamic state has killed thousands and kidnapped hundreds, although a military operation against them by Nigeria and neighbors Chad, Cameroon and Niger in the past two months has wrested back much of the territory it controlled.

“People didn’t know the Boko Haram men came for attack because they lied to our people that they came for preaching,” said Buba in a telephone conversation.

“They opened fire on them and killed many people,” he said, adding that houses were set on fire.

Some people were being treated for gunshot wounds and burns at a hospital in the Borno state town of Biu on Monday, a source there said.

(Reporting by Lanre Ola; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Tim Cocks and Tom Heneghan)

Yahoo News



African campaigners take aim at immovable leaders

Paris (AFP) – Fed up with immovable African presidents and political dynasties, campaigners across the continent are joining forces to “turn the page” on leaders who see power as an end in itself.

As Nigeria marked its first ever democratic change of power following national elections, a report published this week by the Tournons La Page (Turn the Page) campaign group highlighted just how unusual incumbent Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to concede defeat was.

According to the report, 88 percent of Togolese and 87 percent of people in Gabon have only known one ruling family.

Burkina Faso dictator Blaise Compaore was driven out by his people last October after 27 years of rule while President Paul Biya of Cameroon and his Congolese counterpart Denis Sassou Nguesso have each accumulated more than thirty years in power.

Cameroon’s democracy hunters may well be casting envious glances over the border to Nigeria where Muhammadu Buhari scored a narrow electoral victory over Jonathan in the country’s March 28 poll.

With a raft of upcoming elections in mind, the regional appeal to turn the page was launched late last year by NGOs in 30 African and European countries and signed by prominent African figures including Senegalese singer Youssou N’dour and Cameroonian historian Achille Mbembe.
The call for change harks back to the multi-party politics which began to emerge in the 1990s.

Twenty years on the campaigners are seeking to energise ordinary people and make a round of elections throughout Africa over the next couple of years result in an end to the dynasties.

“We realised that Congolese civil society was becoming more amorphous… and was not playing its role,” said Jean-Chrysostome Kijana, head of the New Dynamic of Civil Society group founded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2013.

– The ‘dictators union’ –

He was in Paris for a conference organised by ‘Turn the Page’, at which he spoke alongside campaigners from Cameroon, Congo Gabon and Togo.
New movements are springing up and inspiring each other; “Enough is Enough” in Senegal and the “Citizens’ Broom” in Burkina Faso were trailblazers, recently joined by similar groups in Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The fall of Compaore in Burkina Faso and the proposal by Senegal’s President Macky Sall to reduce his own mandate by two years have fuelled hopes that public mobilisation elsewhere can bring about change.

“We have to understand, in Africa too, that we are able to offer an example, and that power is not an end in itself,” Sall said last month as he made his announcement.

His move followed a plea by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to African leaders gathered for an annual summit in January not to cling to power and to respect the wishes of their people.

“We are in communication with Citizen’s Broom in Burkina. We share our experiences,” said Kijana.
“I think we can make many links between African civil groups and that will send a message to the ‘dictators’ union’,” said Brigitte Ameganvi of the Synergie Togo group.

– Social networks –

“Each country has its own people and each organises in its own way,” said Marc Ona, a Gabonese participant at the Paris event.

“We’ve got the smartphones, the social networks, it’s impossible to block the flow of information today.”

But despite the exchange of ideas and experiences by linked-up civil groups across the continent, they are not yet in a position to take concrete action.
In the central African nation of Burundi, ahead of elections in May and June, civil groups and local media say they are paying the price for campaigning against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid to defy a two-term limit and stay in power for another five years.

There are allegations of widespread harassment and threats of violence, and even talk of a hit-list containing the names of opposition figures, civil society activists and journalists ahead of parliamentary polls in May and the presidential election in June.

Bob Rugurika, director of the popular independent African Public Radio (RPA), is among those who have been arrested, picked up in January after implicating intelligence officials in the recent murders of Italian nuns.

In the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila is suspected by the opposition of seeking to hang on to power at the end of his second term in late 2016.

US President Barack Obama this week urged him to respect his country’s constitution.

Protests against a draft revision of the electoral law were bloodily repressed in January. This was followed by an Internet shutdown and the blocking of social network sites.

In mid-March, 30 Congolese activists, along with others from Senegal and Burkina Faso, were arrested for taking part in a meeting in Kinshasa on democracy and good governance.

– ‘Dinosaurs’ –

“This is the behaviour of dictators and thugs”, said rapper Serge Bambara, known as Smockey, a founding figure of the Citizens’ Broom movement.

“We talk about the Arab Spring. Now we must speak of the African Harmattan (a hot dry wind from west Africa) because it’s time for the prevailing wind to move the people,” he added.

In his sights is President Kabila, but also Chad’s Idriss Deby who came to power by force in 1990 and Cameroon’s Paul Biya, all of whom he described as “dinosaurs.”

The African activists’ conference in Paris is also intended to nudge the international community, which he sees as often too complacent against African potentates.

“As African citizens, we want to see pressure and even sanctions” from the international community, “because things have to change,” said Kijana.

Yahoo News