Monthly Archives: May 2015

Cameroon announces a first-time trial run at the 42 MW windpower plant in the Monts Bamboutos hills

(Business in Cameroon) – To promote renewable energy, the Cameroonian government is expected to launch its very first windpower project this year with “a pilot project in energy production […] in the Monts Bamboutos hills, with the construction of a 42 megawatt plant that can be extended to 80 megawatts.”
Cameroun is facing a major energy shortage despite having the second largest hydroelectric potential in Sub-Saharan Africa behind the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The windpower plant will reinforce Cameroon’s complement of energy sources which is currently dominated by hydroelectricity, accounting for 73.3% of national production compared to 1% for biomass. Thermal plants produce 25% of the nation’s electricity.



Nigeria army repels Boko Haram attack on Maiduguri

Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) – Boko Haram fighters launched an attack on northeast Nigeria’s largest city Maiduguri on Wednesday ‎but were repelled by Nigerian troops after intense clashes, residents and the army said.
Dozens of militants armed with heavy guns and rocket-propelled grenades stormed the northern outskirts of the city near Giwa military base, shooting and firing explosives indiscriminately, local witnesses told AFP.

The army said in a statement its soldiers had fought off “a band of terrorists” and that two bombs carried by female suicide bombers were detonated ahead of the attack.

There was no immediate information on any casualties.

The assault was the first on Maiduguri after a three-month lull following sweeping offensives on Boko Haram strongholds by a regional coalition of troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

“They came in through the Kayamla area around 6:30 pm (1730 GMT) when residents were preparing for evening prayers, firing in all directions and hurling bombs,” said local resident Ibrahim Sidi.

“Soldiers from Giwa barracks deployed and intercepted them just on the outskirts of the city and engaged them in a fight that lasted for over 40 minutes,” he said.

Hajara Musa was among hundreds of residents of Fori neighbourhood who sought refuge in a nearby university campus to escape the clashes.

“Bullets were flying all over the place, we had to crouch and move on all fours as bullets whizzed overhead,” Musa said.

Bilkisu Ahmad, a students at the Maiduguri University said they were ordered by the campus security guards to lay flat to avoid being hit by bullets and grenades.

“It was terrifying,” Ahmad said.

After the Islamists were forced to withdraw, some residents were able to return to their homes.

“Some of us have moved back to our homes after soldiers neutralised the attack but many others have fled into the city‎,” Musa added.

A member of the civilian vigilantes‎ assisting the Nigerian military in the fight against Boko Haram said the attack could have been a reprisal for the losses incurred by the extremists in a Tuesday offensive on their camp some 40 kilometres (25 miles) outside the city.

“The attack was from all indication in response to the huge casualties Boko Haram suffered yesterday in the military operation on their camp in Mafa area ‎in which some women and children were rescued,” said the vigilante who asked not to be named.

AFP



ANGLOPHONE LAWYERS ‘READ RIOT ACT’!

* Restore 2-State Federation *Halt Discriminatory Amendment Of Constitution *Convene Constitutional Conference *Restore Independence Of Judiciary *Stop Adulterating English Educational Sub System *Do So In 6 Months, Else … By Chris Mbunwe. An All Anglophones Lawyers Conference held at the Big Mankon Cathedral Hall in Bamenda on Saturday, May 9, and resolved, among other issues, to give Government six months within which to revert Cameroon to a two-state federation, as obtained from 1961 to 1972. The Common Law lawyers also requested the Government to make constitutional amendments that will march the two-state federation. The advocates of the Anglo-Saxon legal system further requested that Common Law Judges be appointed to Anglophone Regions as opposed to what obtains today, where the two Regions have been flooded with Francophone Judges who do not master the Common Law system. The lawyers asked President Paul Biya to cause his Government to respect the Anglophone cultural heritage in all its facets. Concerning the educational system, they averred that they will no longer tolerate any wrong translation of examination questions; be it at public or other exams, as happened with the Police recruitment recently. They argued that Common Law is a whole package and, as such, nobody should question why they are intervening in what is happening with the Anglophone sub-system of education. The lawyers vehemently condemned the appointment of Notaries in the Southwest and Northwest Regions, describing it as a diabolic move to deprive them of their rights to get what is rightfully theirs. The Anglophone lawyers appealed to the Higher Judicial Council to start appointing seasoned private lawyers of the Bar who have practised for so many years, as High Court judges. To avoid quarrelling with Francophone Judges who would insist on presenting their submissions only in French, the Common Law lawyers said, henceforth, only Anglophone judges should be sent to Anglophone Regions. The lawyers gave the Government a time limit of six months, after which, they stated, very drastic decisions would be taken. “If the Government as usual snubs us, after this period, the matter shall be drafted to the International Court of Justice,” the President of Fako Lawyers Association, FAKLA, Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho asserted. He, however, said they are aware that in any struggle, there are always blacklegs. “If we spot any lawyer who is a traitor, he or she will be dealt with severely because we have been maltreated for too long and nobody will stand on our way this time around,” Barrister Nkongho stated. The conveners of the All Anglophone Lawyers Conference, Barristers Harmony Bobga Mbuton and Eta Bissong Jr. expressed gratitude to lawyers for attending the confab in their numbers and advised that they remain focused so that the battle will be won. “Today, we have sent a signal to the Government in place, to stop eroding our cultural heritage and in our resolutions, we have stressed on the fact that we must revise the Constitution of this country that is said to be binding the two people. This Constitution is not worth anything because what took place in Foumban was a safari,” Barrister Bobga stated. Earlier, the President of the Northwest Court of Appeal, Justice Nyaryor, who sat throughout the opening ceremony, remarked that she was happy that the conference was going on in peace. She observed that nobody can be talking about national integration without “knowing our various backgrounds.” She expressed the wish for the conference to come up with resolutions that would go a long way to build a better Cameroon. The oldest lawyer, Barrister Pius Njobara Nfor, who chaired the conference, remarked that Anglophone lawyers have, for once, come together to examine what is bogging them down. “I am happy because the resolutions we have taken touch on everything that these our Francophone brothers want to kill, and we cannot sit and watch”. The President of the General Assembly of the Cameroon Bar Council, Barrister Nico Halle praised the lawyers for coming together to discuss what he said is good for their profession and prayed God to continue standing by lawyers in Cameroon.

Cameroon Post



Nigeria’s Jonathan says friends abandoned him after defeat

Lagos (AFP) – Outgoing Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said Sunday that some of his friends deserted him shortly after he conceded defeat to his rival General Muhammadu Buhari in the March election.

Jonathan publicly conceded defeat to Buhari on March 31, a decision which was commended by local and foreign commentators and doused tension in the country.

“Some hard decisions have their own costs. No doubt about that. It is a very costly decision but I must be very ready to pay for it,” Jonathan said during a farewell church service in Abuja.

Jonathan’s public admission of defeat in the nail-biting election came more than six hours after he rang Buhari to concede, earning him widespread praise for statesmanship.

“If you take certain decisions, you should know that people close to you will even abandon you at some point. I tell people that more of my so-called friends will disappear.”

Many party faithful and erstwhile loyalists of Jonathan have either crossed over to Buhari’s All Progressives Congress or made harsh statements against Jonathan’s party or its leaders.

Jonathan said he was not surprised by the desertions or statements by his former loyalists, adding that former South African president Frederik de Klerk faced a similar situation when he decided to abolish minority rule in that country.

Jonathan said that de Klerk’s marriage to his wife, Marike, broke down after he took that decision.

“But that is the only decision that made South Africa to still be a global player. If by this time w still have minority rule in South africa, nobody would have been talking about South Africa in the present generation,” he said.

He said that ministers who served under him should brace themselves for “persecution” following his loss and his decision to concede defeat.

Buhari, a former military leader, is scheduled to be sworn into office on May 29.

AFP



Nigeria, Chad troops should cooperate in Boko Haram fight -Chad’s Deby

ABUJA (Reuters) – Chad’s President Idriss Deby said on Monday in Nigeria’s capital Abuja that the fight against Islamist Boko Haram insurgents was being hindered by failure of the two countries’ troops to work together. He said there were plans to form a rapid response force for the African Union from troops of the four countries around the Lake Chad basin – Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Nigeria’s outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan, Deby said he was disappointed that a joint agreement with Nigeria was not working. Chad has repeatedly complained about the lack of cooperation between the two armies since they launched offensives against the Islamist militant group earlier this year.

Deby also met president-elect Muhammadu Buhari, who beat Jonathan in the March 28 polls.

“‎It is regrettable that the two armies, that is the Nigerian army and the Chadian Army, are working separately in the field… If they were operating jointly, they would have achieved more results,” President Deby said.

Having defeated al Qaeda in Mali two years ago, Chad’s military believes it could finish off Boko Haram alone. It has notched up victories that have pushed the Nigerian militants back from the Cameroonian border.

The insurgents seized control of a swathe of northeast Nigeria last year, killing thousands in an unprecedented land grab while increasing incursions on neighbouring countries.

Nigeria has managed to roll back most of the group’s gains since the start of the year with the help of offensives launched by Chad and Niger into Nigerian territory while Cameroon has repeatedly repelled attacks on its border towns.

Deby said that he did not know where Boko Haram’s elusive leader Abubakar Shekau was hiding. Earlier this year, Deby threatened the militant chief by saying he knew where he was hiding.

“I cannot tell you today that I know where Shekau is hiding ‎and even if I knew I wouldn’t tell you,” he said.

A statement from Buhari’s press team said Deby and Buhari discussed Boko Haram’s cross border activities and the impact on trade due to the destruction of key infrastructure, such as bridges, and how to work jointly to defeat the militants once the new administration comes into power.

“We know how Chad, Niger and Cameroon have been helping Nigeria to secure our border…we will sit and make sure we have a comprehensive review of the security situation in the northeast,” Buhari said.

(Reporting By Felix Onuah, Additional reporting and writing by Julia Payne; Editing by Hugh Lawson)



Boy smuggled into Spain in suitcase

Border guards have foiled an attempt to smuggle an eight-year old boy into Spain in a suitcase.

The boy, from the Ivory Coast was discovered at the border of Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta.

The suitcase was carried by a young woman of 19, which was checked when she crossed into the small territory situated in the north of Morocco.

“Passing the suitcase through the scanner, the operator observed something strange, what appeared to be a person in the suitcase,” a spokesman for the Civil Guard said. “When he opened it, he found a child in a terrible state.”

The young woman who was with him, who is not believed to be his mother, was arrested.

A few hours later, the boy’s father was arrested while passing through customs. A native of the Ivory Coast, he lives in the Spanish Canary Islands and is thought to have been trying to smuggle in his son to join him.

Earlier this week, a 23 year old Moroccan migrant was found dehydrated in a container in the port of Melilla, another Spanish enclave in Morocco.

He had spent four days trapped without water and without food.

Euronews



Beninese, Nigerian Arrested for Wildlife Trafficking

Four traffickers in protected wildlife species were arrested on Tuesday April 29, 2015 during two back to back operations carried out in Idenau and Limbe in the South West region by wildlife officials from the Fako divisional delegation of forestry and wildlife. The traffickers were arrested for illegal possession and commercialization of 10 sea turtle shells. The four suspected traffickers include 47-year old Akam Michael, 31-year old Kanghi Joseph who are both Cameroonians , 37-year old Fiongnon Kocou from Benin and Reuben Akpan Jack, a 43-year old Nigerian.
During the first operation, the Beninese used a couple of tricks as he attempted to sell his share of sea turtle shells. From every indication, the exchange of money and shells was supposed to take place near the Idenau council premises. So when he arrived some 20 metres to the council office, he alighted from a motorbike, shapely and nervously looked around, moved forward into the bush, shot one last quick look and hid the bag of sea turtle shells.
He then covered the remaining 20 m on foot, made a number of phone calls, returned and collected the bag of products. But before he could go too far, wildlife officials, accompanied by gendarmes from the Idenau territorial brigade who had been monitoring the comings and goings, immediately stepped forward to arrest him. Seeing that danger was coming too close, he dashed out in a desperate last minute attempt to flee but was quickly rounded up.
It was disclosed by sources close to the case that during investigations leading to his arrest, it was found out that he worked with a Nigerian who played the role of an undercover agent and this information led to his arrest.
Shortly after the operation in Idenau, the wildlife officials quickly boarded a car with the suspects to Limbe where two other traffickers were firmly under the radar of an investigation mission and this quickly turned into an operation as one of the two came forth to sell their own share of the sea tulle shells. They were equally rounded up before they could realize what was going on.
The operations were carried with technical assistance of The Last Great Ape Organisation – LAGA. A case file is being established in Limbe against the suspects arrested in the town while the Beninese who was arrested in Idenau and detained in Limbe is expected to be presented before the state counsel in Buea.
Sea turtle are totally protected wildlife species which are facing serious survival challenges following intense poaching for food. Its eggs are equally poached. But the beauty of its shell is considered to be the main reason behind the trafficking. The shells are generally used for decorative purposes. There are 6 species of sea turtle including the green sea turtle, the Kemp’s ridley, the loggerhead, the hawksbill, the flatback and the leatherback which is the largest and can weigh up to 680 kg comparable to the native African cow – the Ankole-Watusi that weighs a maximum 730 kg. The huge weight of these species may therefore explain why they are poached for food but the 1994 wildlife law prohibits trade in any protected wildlife species and anyone found with such species is considered to have killed or captured the said species.

Eric Kaba



Buetec to invest 650 million FCfa to hit the European market

(Business in Cameroon) – Specialised in knitting, dying and sewing and promotional product market leader in Cameroon, Buetec has just announced a 650 million FCFA plan to target the European market where Buetec plans to export 100% made in Cameroon products by 2017.
According to the plan, 250 million FCFA are to be immediately invested to improve the company’s productivity and production capacity while 450 million FCFA will be subsequently used to increase production capacity to to meet export demands to Europe.
With these investments and exports to Europe, the Cameroonian company, which imports thread from India because of limitations on local thread in terms of knitting, plans to quadruple its sales in the next 5 years. Exports currently represent 60% of total sales. In 2014, the company announced 700 million FCFA in sales.



Nigerian troops who fled Boko Haram now have them on the run

YOLA, Nigeria (AP) — A year ago, a dozen Nigerian troops fighting about 200 Boko Haram militants in the town of Chibok exhausted their ammunition and ran, leaving the road open for the abduction of nearly 300 girls.Today, Nigerian soldiers are rescuing hundreds of kidnapped girls and women from the last forest stronghold of the Islamic insurgents.

The reason for the unimaginably swift shift in fortunes?

In the last three months, military forces from neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon have joined the battle. In addition, Nigerian troops are finally receiving better arms and weapons, as well as hazard pay that they had not received until this year.

As a result, Boko Haram’s supply lines are being cut off, creating conditions for the security forces to deliver a potential knockout blow to the extremists who have created havoc in northeastern Nigeria for years.

Nigeria’s military has announced that it has recaptured all major towns seized by the insurgents and that Boko Haram’s main fighting force is hemmed into the Sambisa Forest, where it is being pounded by air raids and attack helicopters. While the government forces are stronger, Boko Haram is growing weaker by the day.

Women rescued in recent days from forest camps said that now it is the insurgents who are running out of ammunition, along with food and fuel. That could explain why — when the captives refused to follow fleeing Boko Haram members last week — the militants did not shoot them. Instead, they stoned the girls and women, killing several of them.

Last year, Boko Haram fighters were able to escape across Nigeria’s borders to evade capture. Now, they are blocked by the troops from Chad, Niger and Cameroon. With Nigeria’s permission, Chad and Niger have even sent their forces inside Nigeria to pursue the extremists.

Routes used by Boko Haram to transport fuel and ammunition have been reclaimed by the military. On Sunday, military intelligence officers arrested a man who allegedly supplied fuel and food to Boko Haram, reported Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade.

Last year’s toll of people killed by Boko Haram was estimated at 10,000 — more than in all the previous four years of the insurgency combined. The group carried out cross-border attacks with impunity, seized a swath of northeastern Nigeria the size of Belgium and created a wave of 1.5 million refugees fleeing the self-declared Islamic caliphate.

President Goodluck Jonathan did not take a strong stand until this year — too late to save him from losing re-election in March as disgusted voters in Africa’s biggest democracy opted instead for Muhammadu Buhari, a former military dictator.
Jonathan also was slow to act when the group last year abducted the more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok — initially denying it had even happened and losing precious weeks in the mass kidnapping that sparked worldwide outrage and a campaign for their freedom under the hashtag of #BringBackOurGirls. It is still unclear if any of the Chibok girls are among the 700 freed from Boko Haram in the past week.

Buhari had crushed another Islamic uprising in the 1980s, and he has vowed “to rid this nation of terror” after he becomes president on May 29. A retired major general, he describes himself as a convert to democracy, and showed it by taking power through the ballot box.

In the war zone, self-defense civilian groups patrol markets with homemade weapons, looking out for suicide bombers — but also for strangers buying large amounts of food, indicating they could be Boko Haram members or suppliers. While the group still has the ability to carry out bombings and isolated attacks, it would be difficult for it to surpass last year’s carnage.

Nigeria and its African partners say they want to eradicate Boko Haram. A more realistic goal may be to reduce it to what it used to be: a terror group with no control over territory — still able to launch attacks but not on as large a scale as before.

Soldiers on the battlefront around the hills and caves of Gwoza, which Boko Haram had declared the capital of its caliphate, told The Associated Press this week that many improvements have led to the turnaround against the insurgents. Among them:
— Troops this year began receiving the daily hazard pay of 15,000 naira ($75) for the first time.

— Some battle-weary troops who had been on the front lines for two years recently have been allowed to stand down.

— The forces have received new weapons and ammunition. Previously, there were reports that troops going into battle had only 30 rounds of ammunition each, with corrupt commanders diverting resources into their own pockets.

Since democracy was restored in Nigeria in 1999, civilian governments have deliberately kept the armed forces weak to ensure that soldiers could not mount any more of the coups that kept the West African nation subjected to military dictatorships for decades. Boko Haram has forced a change in that strategy.

Africa’s biggest oil producer has bought helicopters, drones, armored personnel carriers, tanks, rocket launchers and other armaments. This includes helicopter gunships that are being used in the Sambisa Forest to scatter the militants and drive them away from their captives, according to video released Monday by PR Nigeria, an agency that disseminates government information.
“What we never had, we now have,” the government spokesman on the insurgency, Mike Omeri, told the AP in a recent interview. “We have drones, we have aircraft, we have APCs, and so on, and we are getting to where we should be to rebuild the armed forces, returning it to its glory.”

Buhari will be tested on whether he can revive the economy in the northeast, which has been decimated by the uprising. Hundreds of thousands of farmers have been driven from their lands, some of the biggest cattle markets on the continent no longer exist and many investors have abandoned the region. Rebuilding the hundreds of thousands of structures razed by Boko Haram will cost many millions of dollars.

The stakes are high for landlocked Chad as well, since many of its trading routes have been closed by the insurgency.

Economic strife has been one of the root causes for the rise of Boko Haram, which has exploited the feelings of exclusion among the unemployed and disaffected men in predominantly Muslim northern Nigeria.

Buhari also has promised to address corruption, another reason for the group’s growth. Corruption sapped the military of its strength and has deprived front-line troops of weapons and vehicles. Unless Buhari can root it out, it will affect the military’s capability to prevent the rise of another group like Boko Haram.

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Associated Press writer Ibrahim Abdulaziz contributed to this report from Yola, Nigeria.