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Scam, kidnap by South African police

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June 8, 2011. The Consul General for Angola moved from her job in New York to a consular position in Houston. Dr Chika Onyeani, above, gave a speech in recognition of the great work she has been doing in African communities. Dr Chika Onyeani publishes African Sun Times, and is a prolific writer of intellectual works.

Pictures of dancers above right and on Aug Daily Updates. Also on Aug Daily Updates, picture of the Consul General Mrs Julia Machado Esq with Princess Tosin Mustapha and Dr Susanna.
The Republic of Angola
Flag and map from Wikipedia

The Portuguese colonized Angola, and left in 1975, and a civil war started which ended in 2002. Angola has a lot of oil, a lot of minerals and a lot of poverty. They banned Islam in 2013.

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Cientos de miles de trabajadores de la construcción salvadoreños corren el riesgo de ser deportados, lo cual generaría graves repercusiones económicas, advierten contratistas y dirigentes sindicales.

Mon, 16 Sep 2019 11:00:01 GMT


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Asylum Deal With Guatemala Is Contentious, Despite U.S. Assurances
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More Than 2,000 Migrants Were Targeted in Raids. 35 Were Arrested.
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A Day After It Was Filed, New Trump Asylum Policy Gets Hit in Court
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Most Migrants at Border With Mexico Would Be Denied Asylum Protections Under New Trump Rule
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‘It Is Our Fault’: El Salvador’s President Takes Blame for Migrant Deaths in Rio Grande
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Latest Top (10) News


Tunisian establishment stunned as outsiders claim election win
TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian voters appear to have up-ended their nation’s politics in Sunday’s presidential election, rejecting established leaders for two outsiders with 39% of votes counted.,

Kais Saied, a conservative law professor, and Nabil Karoui, a media magnate held in detention since last month, have an apparently solid lead over a moderate Islamist candidate and seem set to advance to a runoff vote next month.

 

Eight years after Tunisians staged the first of the Arab Spring revolutions to overthrow autocratic rule, Sunday’s vote represents a sharp rebuke of democratically elected governments that struggled to improve living standards or end graft.

 

“He will fight corruption and establish a just state and continue the process of the revolution,” said fishmonger and Saied voter Noureddine el-Arabi, proudly showing the inky forefinger that proved he had voted.

 

Karoui has for years used his Nessma television station and the charity he founded after his son died to present himself as a champion of the poor and a scourge of government, while his critics describe him as an ambitious, unscrupulous, populist.

 

He denies all claims of wrongdoing against him, including old tax evasion and money laundering charges which kept him in jail on election day, calling them an undemocratic plot.

 

“We hope that Karoui will keep his promises and keep helping us like he did in recent years (with his charity),” said a woman at Tunis fishmarket, who did not want to be named.

 

His wealth and massive electoral organisation stand in sharp contrast to Saied, who spent so little on his campaign that Tunisians joke it cost no more than a coffee and packet of cigarettes.

 

Saied, who speaks in public in formal Arabic as if in a faculty meeting, drives an old car and wants to remain in his humble house if elected rather than move into the luxurious presidential palace at Carthage.

 

A social conservative who backs restoring the death penalty and rejects equal inheritance for men and women, Saied’s main focus is decentralisation in a country where politicians in the capital have traditionally dominated.

 

With 39% of votes counted, Saied was on 19%, Karoui was in second place with 15% and the moderate Islamist Ennahda party candidate Abdelfattah Mourou was on 13%, the official figures showed, proportions that now appear to be holding.

ISLAMISTS, POPULISTS, ESTABLISHMENT

 

In a radio interview on Sunday, Saied described his lead as “like a new revolution”, a reference to Tunisia’s 2011 uprising that brought in democracy and set off the Arab Spring revolts elsewhere.

 

Tunisia’s prime minister, two former prime ministers, the defence minister and a former president were among the political heavyweights competing in a field of 26 candidates.

 

“We received the message sent by the Tunisian people,” Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said late on Sunday, conceding defeat.

 

An official in Ennahda, seen as Tunisia’s main anti-establishment force before it joined successive recent governments, said it would now focus on the Oct. 6 election for parliament, which wields more power than the presidency.

 

With a low turnout of 45% - down from 63% in 2014 - the result underscored widespread frustration over the sluggish economy, high unemployment, poor public services and persistent corruption.

 

Karoui, in a statement read by his wife after exit polls were published, said result was a message to a political elite that he accuses of using the judicial process to try to silence him.

 

Tunisia’s electoral commission has said he can stay in the race so long as he has not been convicted, though no date is set for a final verdict.

FILE PHOTO: A child peeks out under a campaign poster of detained presidential candidate and Tunisian media mogul Nabil Karoui after unofficial results of the Tunisian presidential election in Tunis, Tunisia, September 15, 2019. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

 

Courts have ruled that he must stay in custody while facing the charges, despite complaints by election monitors that this prejudices his chances. His opponents have said his use of his unlicensed television station should itself disqualify him.

 

Legal questions over whether he could take the oath of office while in detention, or whether presidential immunity would protect him, are unsettled. A constitutional court to address such issues has not yet been set up.

 

“You punished those who tried to steal the votes by putting me in prison without trial, and who prevented me from speaking to people in the campaign,” Karoui’s Sunday night message said.

 

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Mon, 16 Sep 2019 13:08:40 GMT


Congo police detain former health minister in Ebola probe
KINSHASA (Reuters) - A former Congolese health minister was taken into custody on Saturday over alleged mismanagement of funds for the country’s response to the Ebola epidemic, police said.,

Oly Ilunga oversaw Democratic Republic of Congo’s handling of the outbreak, the second deadliest in history, for nearly a year. He was stripped by the presidency of that responsibility in July and resigned from the government days later. [nL8N24N4CD]

 

Earlier in September, his lawyers said he had been questioned by police about his role managing the Ebola response. They denied any wrongdoing by Ilunga.

 

In a statement, the national police said Ilunga was detained because they believed he planned to evade legal proceedings by leaving the country.

 

“Unfortunately, police received information about his disappearance with a view to reaching Congo-Brazzaville,” the police’s press service said, referring to neighbouring Congo Republic.

 

It said Ilunga was in police custody and would come before a prosecutor on Sept. 16.

 

Ilunga’s lawyers denied he had planned to flee the country. “He strongly reaffirms his innocence in this case and vows to defend himself,” they said in a statement.

 

Foreign donors have provided more than $150 million in funding to the Ebola response over the past year, but the United Nations has said hundreds of millions of dollars more are needed. [nL8N24G2D4]

 

The outbreak has so far killed over 2,000 people and infected 1,000 more. Only the 2013-16 epidemic in West Africa, which killed more than 11,300, was deadlier.

 

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Mon, 16 Sep 2019 12:42:57 GMT


Tears and tributes as leaders, supporters bid farewell to Zimbabwe's Mugabe
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s founder Robert Mugabe was honoured as an icon, principled leader and African intellectual giant at a state funeral on Saturday, after a week of disputes over his burial threatened to embarrass President Emmerson Mnangagwa.,

 

The body of Zimbabwe's founder and longtime ruler Robert Mugabe is brought to the national sports stadium for a state funeral in Harare, Zimbabwe. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Mugabe led Zimbabwe for 37 years, from independence until he was ousted by the army in November 2017, by which time he was viewed by many at home and abroad as a power-obsessed autocrat who unleashed death squads, rigged elections and ruined the economy to keep control.

He died in a Singapore hospital on Sept. 6 aged 95, far away from a country he left polarised by a raging political rivalry between its two largest political parties, ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC.

His remains will be interred in a mausoleum at the National Heroes Acre in the capital Harare in about 30 days, his nephew said on Friday, contradicting earlier comments that a burial would be held on Sunday.

On Saturday, Mnangagwa walked behind the casket carrying Mugabe’s body as it was wheeled into the centre of Harare’s National Sports Stadium and placed on a podium decorated with flowers so that heads of state could say their farewells. Senior army generals and Mugabe’s wife and children followed, as a brass band played.

The 60,000-seater stadium was only half-filled.

In a tribute to his predecessor, Mnangagwa said Mugabe stood in defence of Africans. He urged the West to remove sanctions that were imposed during Mugabe’s rule.

 

“We who remain shall continue to hear his rich, brave, defiant and inspiring voice ... encouraging and warning us to be vigilant and astute,” Mnangagwa said in a speech.

“A giant tree of Africa has fallen. Today Africa weeps.”

Mnangagwa and the ruling ZANU-PF party wanted Mugabe buried at the national shrine to heroes of the 15-year liberation war against white minority rule. But some relatives, expressing bitterness at the way former comrades ousted Mugabe, had pushed for him to be buried in his home village.

Walter Chidhakwa, who spoke on behalf of Mugabe’s family, said Mugabe was an icon who was determined and unflinching in pursuing policies like land reform and later the black economic empowerment programme.

Mugabe left behind a country wrecked by hyperinflation, dollarisation and deeply entrenched corruption.

But many Zimbabweans also remember Mugabe as their country’s liberator from white minority rule and for broadening people’s access to education and land.

 

RAMAPHOSA BOOED

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was booed by the crowd in the stadium after a wave of deadly riots and xenophobic attacks in South Africa earlier this month that triggered international anger. The attacks mainly targeted shops owned by African migrants.

The master of ceremony was forced to appeal to the crowd to give Ramaphosa a chance to speak.

“I stand before you as a fellow African to express my regret and to apologise for what has happened in our country,” Ramaphosa said, to cheering from the crowd.

Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta called Mugabe an intellectual giant, “a visionary leader and a relentless champion of African dignity.”

Other heads of state who attended Saturday’s funeral included long-ruling leaders from Equatorial Guinea and Congo while China, Russia and Cuba, which supported Zimbabwe’s liberation movements that fought white minority rule, were represented by officials.

Prominent officials from Western countries, which were critical of Mugabe’s rule, did not feature in the official funeral programme.

Mnangagwa led heads of state in viewing Mugabe’s body, which was followed by a military 21-gun salute to honour Mugabe.

Banners at the stadium where Mugabe’s body lay in state read “Hamba kahle, Gushungo,” (go well, Gushungo)”, a reference to his clan name, and “Go well our revolutionary icon”.

 

Cleo Mapuranga, a caterer, told Reuters that Mugabe fought to give land and economic freedom to blacks and provided non-racial education.

“Now, people are suffering. No one is controlling the prices in the shops. Our finance minister is trying to implement first-world policies which don’t work in third-world countries.”

Mugabe’s death has made some Zimbabweans question what Mnangagwa has achieved in his two years in power.

His government has taken steps to cut the budget deficit, remove subsidies on fuel and power and repeal laws curbing public and media freedoms, but those reforms and austerity measures have compounded ordinary people’s hardships.

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Mon, 16 Sep 2019 12:40:28 GMT


Egypt's Sisi rebuffs videos alleging corruption
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Saturday allegations of corruption within the army and government were “lies and slander”, in his first public response to graft accusations that have gone viral online.,

“I swear to God, these are lies and slander,” Sisi told a youth conference in Cairo, referring to the accusations made by Mohamed Ali, a businessman and actor turned political activist who accuses Sisi and some army generals of squandering billions of Egyptian pounds.

 

Sisi, a former army chief who took power after the overthrow of the former Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in 2013, strongly defended the army and said he tolerated no corruption.

 

“The army is a ...very sensitive institution towards any inadequate behaviour, especially if it was attributed to its leaders,” he said.

 

Ali, whose contracting company used to carry out civilian projects for the Egyptian army, has posted a series of videos from exile in Spain. In them he accuses Sisi of wasting money on presidential palaces and the army on spending billions of Egyptian pounds on projects like a luxury hotel in a Cairo suburb.

 

At a time when many Egyptians are struggling with austerity measures as part of reforms agreed with the International Monetary Funds, Ali’s videos have drawn a huge online following. His first video on Sept. 2 garnered 1.7 million views on his Facebook page alone.

 

The popularity of Ali’s videos have turned him into a public figure. In Egypt dozens of cartoons have been made pitting him against Sisi, as well as images depicting Ali in the likeness of another Mohamed Ali, an Ottoman-era commander who ruled Egypt in the 19th century.

 

The military’s economic might has expanded since Sisi became president, and companies owned by the military have flourished, causing concern amongst local businessmen and foreign investors.

 

Sisi, however, defended the building of presidential palaces.

 

“Are they for me? I am building a new state. Do you think when you speak falsehood I will be frightened? No, I will keep building and building, but not for myself,” he said.

 

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Mon, 16 Sep 2019 12:36:56 GMT


Somaliland UAE military base to be turned into civilian airport
BOSASSO (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates no longer plans to establish a military airport in Somaliland and the facility currently being built will be turned into a civilian airport, the region’s president said.,

Somaliland said last year that the UAE would train military in the semi-autonomous region, part of a deal to host a UAE base in the region.

 

“The Berbera airport which was being built by the UAE and designed to be a military base will become a public airport for civilians,” Muse Bihi Abdi said on Saturday.

 

UAE officials did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

 

The UAE began construction of the base in 2017 in the port city of Berbera. Under the terms of the deal, the UAE was to have a presence there for 30 years.

 

Berbera is less than 300 km (190 miles) south of war-torn Yemen, where UAE troops have been fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi group since 2015 as part of a Saudi-backed coalition.

 

The UAE, concerned about rising tensions with Iran and Western criticism of the Yemen war, in June scaled down its military presence there.

 

 

 

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Mon, 16 Sep 2019 12:34:08 GMT


Tanzania's Zanzibar begins to register traditional healers
ZANZIBAR CITY, Tanzania (Reuters) - Zanzibar’s traditional healers with their toolkits of herbs, holy scriptures and massages are being registered by authorities keen to regulate the practitioners who treat everything from depression to hernias.,

    About 340 healers have been registered since Zanzibar, a region of the east African country of Tanzania, passed the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act in 2009.

 

There are an estimated 2,000 more healers, or mgangas, hoping to register, said Hassan Combo, the government registrar at the council that records them.

 

Traditional healer Bi Mwanahija Mzee has already registered. She tends to patients at her busy clinic where women line up in the early morning sun cradling their sick children.

 

One family seeks relief for a child suffering from an umbilical hernia, scared that if they bring the child to hospital for surgery he will die. A pregnant woman who has repeatedly miscarried comes for reassurance, herbs and prayers that this baby will survive.

 

“People come here because I actually help them. I met many patients that went to hospital first and got no help or the medicine didn’t work,” said Mwanahija Mzee, 56.

 

“This is my job six days a week for more than 20 years so I do better, know more than them. Patients that come to me don’t die.”

 

    Mwanahija Mzee’s parents were also traditional healers in Zanzibar, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean.

 

To be registered, mgangas must be aged at least 18, have at least three years of experience and have a recommendation letter from a trained mganga. A council of 11 members that can include birth attendants, respected healers, village elders and lawyers approve the applications each month.

 

    While the government does not try to dictate healers’ methods, it tries to work with them on quality control, government registrar Combo said, for example ensuring plants used in medicines are of the same standard.

 

A group facilitated by the registrars office links doctors with traditional healers to give them some medical education on specific diseases like hypertension, diabetes and pregnancy. The mgangas share information with the doctors about patient statistics and needs, he said.

SUPERNATURAL SPIRITS

 

    Some healers use herbs. Others use scriptures from the Muslim holy book, the Koran. Most use both. Belief in supernatural sprits like djinns features strongly.

 

    Some healers, like Haji Mrisho, mainly give blessings to pregnant women to prevent their unborn babies being possessed by djinns. Others, like sheikhs at the Shifaa Herbal clinic, read the Koran to cast out the djinns blamed for many maladies.

 

Mwanahija Mzee uses a mix of massages, medicines from roots, herbs and leaves and Koranic verses, which may be written on a plate in red food colouring. The plate is then rinsed, and the water ingested as part of the medicinal regimen.

 

    Some patients like Fatma Hamad say they trust traditional healers over the overcrowded, underfunded public hospitals where many feel their ailments are not treated properly.

 

Fatawi Haji Hafidh, manager at Makunduchi Hospital, the second-largest government-run hospital on Zanzibar’s main island, says overstretched doctors and nurses may not have the time to see patients or the diagnostic equipment.

 

    Patients may also be unable to afford the medicine prescribed, or they may stop taking it before the course is finished, leading them to relapse and adding to their suspicion of government-run facilities, he said.

 

    Many simply believe djinns are the problem.

 

Fatma Hamad took her 2-year-old daughter to hospital after one of the toddler’s legs became paralysed during a high fever. Unable to find the problem through X-rays, the hospital recommended she seek out a traditional healer.

Mwanahija Mzee massages the child and after a few appointments, her mobility is slowly improving. The mother has taken this as proof that the illness was caused by possession, “Must be a djinn, as Bi Mwanhija said,” Hamad said.

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Mon, 16 Sep 2019 12:31:55 GMT


Egypt resumes Nile dam talks with Ethiopia, Sudan
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s foreign minister said Cairo had resumed talks with Sudan and Ethiopia over a $4 billion dam Addis Ababa is building on the Nile which had been suspended for over a year.,

 

The three countries’ irrigation ministers met in Cairo on Sunday to resume negotiations over filling and operating the dam, which Egypt sees as a threat to its water supplies.

 

Egypt fears the dam will restrict Nile River flows, the economic lifeblood of all three countries, from Ethiopia’s highlands, through the deserts of Sudan, to Egyptian fields and reservoirs.

 

Sunday’s meeting came “after a halt of about a year and three months, a period exceeding what was planned”, state news agency MENA cited Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry as saying.

 

Ethiopia disputes the mega dam will harm Egypt, and in November, MENA quoted Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as saying he wanted to preserve Egypt’s Nile River rights.

 

Shoukry said he hoped the negotiations, due to continue on Monday, would lead to agreement on a firm timeline for talks that will eventually lead to a binding agreement on the dam’s filling and operation.

 

 

 

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Mon, 16 Sep 2019 12:27:20 GMT


Islamic State fills the void in Nigeria as soldiers retreat to 'super camps'
ABUJA/MAIDUGURI, Reuters (Reuters) - When Islamic State gunmen stormed the northeast Nigerian town of Magumeri on the night of August 21, they had free rein.,

Nigerian soldiers had left the town earlier that month under a new strategy of withdrawing to “super camps” that can be more easily defended against insurgents the army has been struggling to contain for a decade.

 

Unchallenged, the Islamist militants torched a clinic in Magumeri, ransacked government buildings and looted shops before returning to another town they had raided that night called Gubio, residents said.

 

The new military strategy announced by President Muhammadu Buhari in July to concentrate soldiers in big bases is designed to give troops a secure platform from which they can respond quickly to threats in the region and raid militant camps.

 

People familiar with the military’s thinking and security officials, however, say the new tactic for fighting Islamic State’s West Africa branch and Boko Haram is mainly an attempt to stem casualties.

 

The military did not respond to requests for more details about its strategy or the impact it will have on the region.

 

“We strongly believe the days of BH (Boko Haram) moving freely and passing in between static defensive locations are over,” Major General Olusegun Adeniyi, who commands the anti-insurgency operation, told reporters last month.

 

Boko Haram launched an insurgency in 2009 to overthrow the government and establish an Islamic caliphate. The group, whose unofficial name means “Western education is forbidden”, held territory the size of Belgium in 2014 but a multinational offensive recaptured much of it the following year.

 

The group split in 2016 and the faction that has been the greater threat ever since won the recognition of Islamic State.

 

The decade of war has killed more than 30,000 civilians and spawned what the United Nations calls one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, which foreign nations are trying to contain with billions of dollars of aid.

 

But the crisis shows no sign of abating.

‘IT’S A MESS’

 

The army’s withdrawal into large bases has coincided with a string of insurgent raids on newly unprotected towns and has left the militants free to set up checkpoints on roads as they roam more freely across the countryside, according to three briefing notes from an international aid and development organisation, two security officials and residents.

 

That has left thousands of civilians without access to aid, according to the briefing notes seen by Reuters.

 

Soldiers are no longer protecting some key roads, cutting off access for humanitarians workers as more of the region falls under the sway of the insurgents, aid and security sources said.

 

“It’s a mess, militarily, and a disaster for humanitarian actors,” one foreign security official said.

 

The population of towns being abandoned by the military is a combined 223,000 people, according to one of the aid agency briefing notes.

 

The military departures so far have cut off more than 100,000 people from aid and if more soldiers go, as many as 121,000 other civilians could flee their towns, one aid agency briefing note said.

 

“The impact will be one of continued skirmishes - soldiers under constant strain to deal with the insurgency where Islamic State and Boko Haram dictate the momentum,” said Jasmine Opperman, a terrorism expert based in South Africa.

 

It’s not yet clear how many “super camps” the army plans to set up, where they will be nor how many soldiers each will hold.

‘HERE TO PROTECT YOU’

 

The new strategy follows a series of setbacks for the army which has failed to keep a tight grip on territory it has clawed back since 2015. Last year, insurgents repeatedly overran smaller bases and sent soldiers and tens of thousands of people fleeing from larger towns.

 

Security experts put the military death toll since June 2018 at anywhere from hundreds of soldiers to in excess of 1,000.

 

The military has not released casualty figures but denies that many soldiers have been killed.

 

One security adviser at an international aid organisation said a major goal of the new large bases was damage control, rather than going on the offensive.

 

“It is to consolidate all of the strength in one place to prevent them being overrun every week,” the adviser said.

 

He said the areas vacated were being filled by insurgents and that would make it harder for the military to re-enter, leaving civilians vulnerable.

 

Those concerns were echoed by the governor of Borno - the birthplace of Boko Haram and the state worst hit by the insurgency. Governor Babagana Umara Zulum told reporters last month that recent attacks were the result of a “serious vacuum” following the withdrawal of soldiers.

 

Islamic State is also using its newfound freedom to woo locals. Drained by the decade-long conflict, some are open to moving into areas controlled by the insurgents where life can be more stable, residents said.

 

Before hitting Magumeri last month, the militants had passed through the town of Gubio, some 40 km (25 miles) to the north.

 

There, an Islamic State fighter led evening prayers followed by a sermon, according to six residents.

 

“We are here to protect you, not to harm any one of you,” the IS fighter told residents. “Those with uniforms are your enemies, and we are here to deal with them and their supporters. You should feel free.”

 

Rather than flee to a government-controlled city such as Borno state’s capital Maiduguri, many Gubio residents stayed.

 

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Mon, 16 Sep 2019 12:25:04 GMT


Tunisian political newcomers say they are leading presidential vote
TUNIS (Reuters) - Two political outsiders said they believed they had advanced to the second round of Tunisia’s presidential election on Sunday, citing exit polls, though no official results have been announced.,

A representative for detained media magnate Nabil Karoui said he had scored “an impressive win”, while conservative law professor Kais Saied, who was largely unknown before the election, said his performance marked “a new revolution”.

 

If confirmed, their success on Sunday in a vote marked by low turnout would be a sharp rebuke to Tunisia’s established political powers after years of economic frustration. Only 45% of registered voters took part, compared to 63% in 2014, official figures showed.

 

However, the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, a partner in recent coalition governments, said its count, to be announced at a news conference later, was different to that released in exit polls.

 

A party official, speaking anonymously, said the race was between Karoui, Saied and the Ennahda candidate Abdelfatah Mourou.

 

Tunisia’s prime minister, two former prime ministers, a former president and the defence minister were also among the 26 candidates on the ballot.

 

“This is an impressive win that shows Tunisians want to cut the old system and want to see a leader who is like them... it is a lesson for the rulers,” said Samira Chaouachi, an official in Karoui’s party.

 

A court on Friday ruled that he must stay in detention after his arrest last month on three-year-old charges brought by a transparency watchdog for tax evasion and money laundering.

 

He denies wrongdoing and his supporters say the timing of his arrest showed the establishment was trying to silence him. His critics accuse him of illicitly using his unlicensed television station and his charity as campaign tools.

 

Saied, a conservative constitutional law professor, is also a political newcomer. In the televised debates shown over consecutive nights last week, he expressed support for the death penalty and opposition to equal inheritance rights between men and women.

 

With no real political machine or publicity campaign, Saied has appealed to Tunisians in television appearances speaking in a highly correct form of Arabic devoid of the colloquial expressions used by most of his compatriots.

 

The simplicity of his campaign may also have strengthened his credentials as a crusader against the corruption which many Tunisians believe has bedevilled their transition to democracy.

ARAB SPRING

 

Heavily indebted, Tunisia’s next government, like its last, will have to navigate popular demands to relax public purse strings while foreign lenders push for spending cuts.

 

Tunisia threw off autocratic rule eight years ago in a revolution that inspired “Arab Spring” revolts in Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and Syria, but it alone has enjoyed a peaceful transition to democracy.

 

However, after years of economic troubles including high unemployment and inflation, many Tunisians have voiced frustration over their government’s inability to improve living standards.

 

Many voters are disillusioned. In the poor Ettadamen district, Mouaz Chneifiya, a 42-year-old unemployed man, was sitting in a cafe and said he would not vote.

 

“Since the election we’ve been getting promises and nothing is done on the ground, so why vote? The elections will end and the promises will be dropped as soon as they get into office like in past elections,” he said.

 

In the central Lafayette district of Tunis, dozens of people stood patiently queuing in the Rue de l’Inde primary school in a whitewashed stucco courtyard under sky blue wooden shutters.

 

Kholoud Alwi, 27, said none of the candidates had convinced her. “But I have to vote. It’s important for the country,” she said.

CROWDED FIELD

 

The election was brought forward after the death in July of the incumbent Beji Caid Essebsi.

 

Tunisia’s president has direct control over foreign and defence policy while most other portfolios are handled by a prime minister chosen by parliament, for which an election will be held on October 6.

 

With that limited role, many candidates have emphasised their policies on security - an area in which Tunisia has improved since two jihadist attacks in 2015 killed scores of tourists, devastating the country’s tourism sector.

 

A pair of armed soldiers stood outside each polling station Reuters visited.

 

Despite economic frustrations, many voters said they were proud of Tunisia’s march to democracy.

 

Outside the capital, in the village of Sidi Thabet, six middle-aged men sat debating the merits of rival campaigns in a field under the shade of a gum tree, having pulled chairs over from the cafe opposite.

 

They each had the inky forefinger that showed they had voted, and were united in concern at the poor level of public services in a local economy based on growing olives, vegetables and fruit, though they supported different candidates.

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Mon, 16 Sep 2019 12:22:17 GMT


Algeria to hold presidential election this year-interim president
ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria will hold a presidential election on Dec. 12, interim President Abdelkader Bensalah said in a televised speech on Sunday. ,

Weekly mass demonstrations forced veteran president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign in April, leaving Algeria in constitutional limbo and facing a stand off between the protesters and the army-backed government.

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Mon, 16 Sep 2019 12:20:12 GMT