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African News Explained

RFI France

A look at the issues behind one of the stories making headlines on the African continent.

A look at the issues behind one of the stories making headlines on the African continent.
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Paris, France


RFI France


A look at the issues behind one of the stories making headlines on the African continent.




African news explained - Only two rape convictions in a mass trial of 39 soldiers on charges of rape and murder in DRC

A court in the Democratic Republic of Congo has acquitted dozens of soldiers who were facing rape charges after it was alleged that that they had sexually assaulted women in Minova, in the east of the country. But the court sentenced the accused to long jail sentences for looting and wasting ammunition. Holly Dranginis, a researcher with the Enough Project, an anti-genocide group based in Washington DC, comments.


African news explained - World press freedom day in Africa

Although the world celebrated freedom of the press at the weekend, many African governments cast a baleful eye on journalists. Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta cautioned that press freedom is not absolute, urging reporters to be more responsible. In Zambia, Labour Minister Fackson Shamenda warned that the government is considering arresting reporters who harbour political motives. And in Somalia, journalists remain targets in what is the most dangerous country for reporters in Africa. The...


African news explained - Church representatives visit South Sudan

A high-level delegation representing Christian churches arrived in Juba, In South Sudan, on Friday. The group includes leaders of ACT Alliance, an umbrella group of religious NGOs who give aid, the World Council of Churches, the All-Africa Conference of Churches and the World YWCA. Isaiah Kipyegon, a church leader, comments.


African news explained - US Navy Seals take control of rogue Libya oil ship

US Navy Seals have boarded and taken control of an oil tanker that had loaded crude at a Libyan port held by militias in the east of the country and escaped to sea. No one was hurt in the operation, which came at the request of both Libya and Cyprus. The oil tanker is now expected to be taken to a government-controlled port in Libya. Anas El Gomati, a Libyan analyst of the Sadeq Institute, comments about the relations between Washington and Tripoli.


African news explained - South Sudan opposition leaders to return to face trial for treason

In South Sudan the trial of four men for treason is slated to return to court on Wednesday. Pagan Amum, the former head negotiator for the government, Majak D'Agoot, the former deputy minister for defense, Oyai Deng Ajak, ex-National Security minister and Ezekiel Gatkuoth, former ambassador to the US have been held since December 17. One group of human rights campaigners called Justice4Juba4 have called for the men to be released due to a flawed legal system. Jason McCue from...


African news explained - Gambia's new party declared political war on Yahya Jammeh

A group of former top military officers from Gambia have formed a new political party, called the National Resistance Movement of the Gambia (NMRG). The group says that it gets its funding from the Gambian people. Alhajie Kanteh, one of the founding members, says that they created their movement to get rid of Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh.


African news explained - Strike-hit African diocese finds comfort in pro-poor stance of Pope Francis

Pope Francis became head of the Roman Catholic Church a year ago. He has sought to bring about a renaissance of the Church after years of corruption and sex scandals. He has reached out to non-Catholics and insisted that he wants a Church "for the poor". What does that mean ? RFI asked South African bishop Kevin Dowling, whose diocese has been grappling with the strike in the platinum mines – now in its seventh week.


African news explained - Africa's top Tweeting cities

A new study is due to be released today on how the social media platform Twitter is being used across the African continent. The in-depth research, will reveal which African cities tweet the most and what subjects are the most hotly discussed. RFI spoke to Matthew Gould, one of the team who undertook the study at Portland Communications, about the impact of Twitter in Africa.


African news explained - Violence spreads in Sudan's Darfur

The United States has accused the Sudanese government of supporting mercenaries in the Darfur region, and has urged Khartoum to prevent further violence there. The State Department singled out a militia group called the Rapid Support Forces, believed to be behind recent attacks including violence against civilians and the burning of villages.


African news explained - Nigeria appoints new defence minister to fight Boko Haram

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan shuffled his cabinet this week after a number of defections from his People's Democratic Party (PDP). General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, a former military intelligence officer, has been appointed defence minister, as alleged Boko Haram attacks in Borno state escalate. Sebastian Spio-Garbrah, a Nigeria expert, comments.


African news explained - African women advance in parliamentary representation

Women have made great strides in gaining seats in parliaments throughout Africa, according the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). Rwanda tops the list and Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea are close behind but US-based rights assessor Freedom considers those countries "not free". Kareen Jabre, the gender partnership manager of IPU, discusses whether female representation makes a difference when it comes to "genuine democracy".


Nigerian students debate fleeing Ukraine - 05/03/2014

Students at Crimea State Medical University in Simferopol resumed their studies on.


African news explained - Violence escalates in Darfur as conflict resolution seems remote

After eleven years of conflict, the violence in the Darfur region of Sudan shows no signs of abating. In the past few days an escalation in the clashes in South Darfur has led to the displacement of thousands of civilians. The peacekeeping force, Unamid, says it is unable to prevent these attacks, and humanitarian organisations are stretched beyond capacity. To find out more, RFI spoke to Eric Reeves, a Darfur specialist and researcher.


African news explained - Expert says multinational land lease in Senegal pushes herders off land

A new report on a government-sanctioned land grab in Senegal shows a new deal that threatens thousands of Peul pastoralists in the rural Ndiel area. RFI spoke to Frederic Mousseau, Policy Director of the agricultural policy think tank, the Oakland Institute, who says Senhuile-Senéthanol, a multinational corporation, has leased 20,000 hectares of prime pasture in Senegal, pushing herders off their land.


African news explained - Ugandan organisation to challenge anti-gay law in court

The Ugandan president has signed a controversial anti-homosexuality bill into law. Under the act, gays could be jailed for life. Homophobia is widespread in Uganda where non-African evangelical churches are on the rise. RFI talked to Pepe Julian Onziema who is with SMUG, Sexual Minorities Uganda, in Kampala.


African news explained - Paris trial of Rwandan Pascal Simbikangwa approaches key moment

Rwanda will continue to observe the trial of Pascal Simbikangwa, as it enter its fourth consecutive week today in Paris. Simbikangwa is accused of crimes against humanity and complicity in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. RFI speaks to Phil Clark, a Rwanda expert from SOAS in London, about why today is likely to be a key moment in the trial.


African news explained - Niger and Areva continue uranium mining negotiations

Civil society groups in Niger are holding a public discussion in the capital Niamey about the country's future contracts with French nuclear energy firm Areva. Niger and Areva are still in closed-door negotiations on mining contracts that expired in December. Areva wants to continue to pay a five percent tax rate to mine uranium instead of the market rate of 12 percent. RFI spoke to Ibrahima Aidara, the Economic Governance Program Manager at the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, about...


African news explained - Nigerian Central Bank governor suspended

Nigerian markets have plummeted following President Goodluck Jonathan's suspension of Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi, accusing him of financial recklessness and inconsistencies. Sanusi is an outspoken critic of the government and claims the state oil company NNPC failed to pay 20 billion dollars in crude oil revenues to federal coffers. Yemi Adamolekun, a good governance and accountability advocate in Abuja, explains how the government has treated this case.


African news explained - Sudan civil servants in Paris to discuss bilateral relations

Sudan's foreign ministry is meeting with its French counterparts in Paris on Monday to discuss bilateral relations, including debt relief and humanitarian work. Sudan has a debt of over 34 billion euros and is considered a parIah by its creditors. Khartoum-based analyst Abdalbasit Saeed says that this is an opportunity to bring up the humanitarian situation in Blue Nile State and South Kordofan.


African news explained - Boys die after circumcision rituals in South Africa

South Africa's Film and Publication Board has ruled that a website showing graphic photos of botched circumcisions can remain on the internet. The decision came after tribal elders in the Eastern Cape called for the site to be taken down, calling it 'pornographic'. Around 43 boys died last year in South Africa after undergoing botched traditional circumcisions. RFI spoke to Dingeman Rijken, the doctor who exposed this on his website, Ulwaluko.