Ex-militia leader ‘Rambo’ is extradited

An MP and former militia leader in the Central African Republic (CAR) has been extradited to The Hague.

He will stand trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Alfred Yekatom was known as “Rambo” when he led a Christian militia in sectarian conflict after Muslim rebels seized power in 2013.

Violence in the country continues and nearly 40 people died in clashes there on Friday.

A UN peacekeeper died of injuries he received in a gunfight during an attack on a base in the west of the country, a priest was burnt to death in a central town, and the UN said thousands of people were forced to flee violence.

Mr Yekatom’s alleged crimes go back to late 2013 and early 2014.

He led a Christian militia that operated in the south of the country, in a backlash against the country’s Muslim minority seizing power.

The ICC said Mr Yekatom was responsible for murder, torture, attacking civilians and using child fighters.

This is the first extradition to the court from the CAR.

The International Federation for Human Rights (known by its French acronym FIDH) said it signalled the authorities were committed to fighting against impunity.

Mr Yekatom was elected as an MP in 2016, despite being subject to UN sanctions. He was arrested last month when he fired a gun in parliament, then ran away, after a row with a fellow MP.

The conflict in Central African Republic

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Africa Top10 Lifestyle & Travel News

1Is This South Africa’s 12th Official Language?

Learn about the importance of dance in South African culture and how the toyi-toyi has become a powerful source of self-expression and activism.


2Review: Exhibitions by Kwame Brathwaite, Deana Lawson, and Meleko Mokgosi Challenge How Blackness Is Represented

Three current art exhibits in Los Angeles focus on the West’s impressions of Africa and differing depictions of black culture.


3At This St. Lucian Festival, Creoles Celebrate Age-Old African Culture That Survived Slavery and Colonisation

With about 90% of its population of African descent, St. Lucia is proudly African and celebrates its cultural history every October with the Jounen Kweyol festival.

SOURCES: Face2Face Africa

4Zeitz MOCAA Premiers 21 Years of South African Fashion

As a retrospective for the past 21 years of South Africa Fashion Week, the Zeitz MOCAA is staging an exhibit featuring the immense diversity and talent of SA fashion designers.


5Slow-Cooking History

Learn about the history of West African cuisine and its enduring impact on diasporan culture.

SOURCES: New York Times

6Catch the Most Botanically Biodiverse Place on Earth on your Next Visit to South Africa

Spring is a special time in the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden, with 9,500 plant species (including 6,500 endemic) squeezed into an area slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut.


7Being a Beach Bum in Africa

Most people wouldn’t ordinarily associate Egypt with epic beaches. But in Sharm el-Sheikh, a city known for hosting large number of international peace conferences, Egypt has one of the region’s most spectacular beaches.


8The Smallest Medina in Tunisia

With few touristy sites, industrial Sfax usually falls off travellers’ radars, but its 1200-year-old medina has plenty of history and heritage architecture to entice art lovers, markets and eateries to tempt any foodie, and lots of local colour and atmosphere.

SOURCES: Lonely Planet

9River Activities to Try in Africa

The phenomenal, mega-rivers of Africa continue to rack in visitors to their waters for the wealth of wildlife, strong currents and incredible scenery. These bodies of water stand out from the rest of the continent, from white-water rafting, to looking for hippos, to enjoying a scenic tour in a boat.


10The Lake that Lies Beneath an African Desert

Namibia is famous for its wildlife and deserts; less well-known, however, is that it is home to the largest underground lake in the world not formed by a glacier. The most unique water creatures can be found in the isolated lake, including the golden catfish. No light penetrates the lake’s surface, but this suits these fish.

SOURCES: Getaway

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20 Top Industry Experts. One Day. One Stream. Ted Talk Style.

“An absolutely formidable array,” is how IMC CEO Dale Hefer describes the speaker line up for the 2019 Nedbank IMC Conference happening in March 2019.  “Our mission was to bring together 20 great marketing minds and it is mission accomplished” 

Included on the line-up is Khensani Nobanda Group Executive Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Nedbank.  “I am delighted to be part of this august gathering” says Nobanda.

With a career that spans 18 years, Nobanda is passionate about purpose led brands that embody that purpose in everything they do. “I’ll be talking about ‘sponsorship stripped down – brand value or CMO ego?’. If we are serious about the bottom line as marketers, we need to put our own egos aside and make clear and well-informed decisions that will add actual value.”

On 14 March 2019, the IMC brings you the 2019 Nedbank IMC Conference, Marketing Gets N*ked™ at Fox Junction in Newtown, Johannesburg. The one-day conference aims to strip marketing down to the bare bones of what really matters and features an exciting line-up of 20 top local and international speakers, who will share their insights in short, sharp Ted-talk style presentations.

With marketing guru Pepe Marais, Group CCO of Joe Public United, at the helm as Master of Ceremonies, the conference kicks off at 8.30am sharp with an opening address by David Duarte, CEO of Treeshake.

Other speakers include Anne Thistleton, Mind Science Practitioner, Lethepu Matshaba, Vice President Home Care: Unilever; Bongani Chinkanda, CEO HDI Youth Consultancy; Greg Garden, CEO Marketing Association of SA; Prof. David Uribe, Regional Data Director Africa and the Middle East TBWA; Musa Kalenga, Chief Future Officer at House of Brave; Gillian Rightford CEO of Adtherapy; Tbo Touch, Touch HD Founder and Simon Lloyd, Managing Partner, Algorithm.

Also on the speaker line-up are Andrea Quaye, Vice President Marketing, Anheuser-Busch InBev; HDI Youth Consultancy’s The Junior Board of Directors; Prof. Elaine Rumboll, Managing Director of The Creative Leadership Consultancy; Gareth Whittaker, CEO of T & W; GG Alcock, Author and Entrepreneur; Khaya Dlanga, Columnist Author; Katherine Madley, Marketing Practitioner; and Mosidi Seretlo, Founder and Director at Mosidi K Seretlo Consulting.

Delegates can also can also look forward to Andy Rice, Marketer at Large and Tseliso Rangaka, ECD Ogilvy and Loeries Chair, being put on the spot to strip down.

“As the naming sponsor of Marketing Gets N*ked™, Nedbank is passionate about bringing banking, business and marketing together. By cutting through the glitz and nice-to-haves we can get down to the bare bones of what it takes for marketers and their clients to thrive,” concludes Nobanda.

Says Hefer, ”When times get tough, the bottom line comes to the fore and delivering smart, practical marketing solutions with great ROI for our clients becomes increasingly relevant. Our speakers will be providing actionable tools and ideas that can be applied to real-life scenarios. No smoke and mirrors; no sales pitches. Just good practical best practice for marketers.”

Join Nedbank and the IMC for the 2019 Conference and be a part of a marketing movement that works together to build better, purpose-led brands.

For more information on how to register now for our Early Bird or to apply for one of R70 000 worth of bursaries, brought to you in partnership with MSE Education Holding, visit our website: www.imcconference.com.

The IMC is proudly presented in association with MASA; CPD points to Designated Marketers based on proof of attendance. With thanks to our Travel Partner kulula.com.

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Mauritania On The Verge Of Historic Afcon Qualification

Mauritania, who have never qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations, are among the 15 countries who could secure places at the 2019 tournament this weekend.

The team will be assured of a top-two finish in Group I and qualification if they defeat Botswana in Nouakchott in their penultimate group game.

Cameroon qualify automatically as hosts, and Madagascar have secured their place at a Nations Cup for the first time after qualifying last month along with Egypt, Senegal and Tunisia.

The Mauritanians travelled to Botswana for the first round of qualifying in June last year and won 1-0 through an Abdallahi Soudani goal.

While Mauritania have won three of four games in a group completed by Burkina Faso and Angola, Botswana have lost three, drawn one, and not scored a single goal.

Botswana’s only previous Nations Cup visit to Nouakchott resulted in a 4-0 defeat 12 years ago.

Elsewhere, South Africa need a win and Nigeria a draw from their Group Eclash of former champions in Soweto to be certain of qualification after both missed the 2017 tournament.

Both countries will secure finals places irrespective of the result if Libya lose in the Seychelles.

Egypt against Tunisia in Alexandria is another high-profile fixture, even though both have already booked finals places from Group J.

Some of the stars from the African Champions League winners Esperance of Tunisia and runners-up Al Ahly of Egypt have been selected as the Pharaohs seek revenge for a 1-0 loss in Rades.

Guinea and Uganda will be sure of places among the 24 finalists in Cameroon provided they do not lose at home.

Guinea have a Group H top-of-the-table clash with Ivory Coast, who will be without injured Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha as they take on a team who beat them 3-2 in Bouake.

In Group L, Uganda, who share with South Africa the record of not having conceded a goal in 2019 qualifying, will be confident of securing at least a point against Cape Verde in Kampala having beaten them 1-0 away.

If Uganda triumph, Tanzania, whose only previous Cup of Nations appearance was 38 years ago, can accompany them from Group L by collecting maximum points in Lesotho.

Mali will go through from Group C should they complete a double over Gabon after winning 2-1 in Bamako.

For Gabon to qualify, they must triumph in Libreville and hope third-place Burundi lose away to South Sudan in Juba.

Away victories for Algeria and Benin over Togo and the Gambia respectively would secure qualification from Group D while Zimbabwe need a draw in Liberia to advance from Group G.

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8 U.N. Peacekeepers Killed in Congo in Area Facing Ebola Outbreak

Eight United Nations peacekeepers and at least 12 Congolese soldiers were killed in a joint military operation against rebels in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is facing a deadly Ebola outbreak, the Security Council said Thursday.

Ten peacekeepers were injured and one was missing after Wednesday’s operation that targeted Allied Democratic Forces rebels, said the United Nations spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric.

The Security Council’s statement said seven of the peacekeepers who were killed were from Malawi and one was from Tanzania.

The joint forces were attacked while conducting operations to dislodge the rebel fighters from a stronghold in Kididiwe, near the regional capital of Beni, a United Nations official said. The mission succeeded and a number of rebels were captured, the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Congo’s volatile east is home to many armed groups vying for control of the mineral-rich region, and the Allied Democratic Forces are especially active in the Beni area.

The Security Council called on all armed groups to stop the violence immediately and lay down their arms. It also urged Congolese authorities to apprehend and bring to justice the perpetrators of attacks on civilians, national security forces and the peacekeepers.

The Security Council emphasized “that deliberate attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law.”

The Allied Democratic Forces group originated in Uganda as a rebel movement against that country’s government. A military campaign forced them to relocate to eastern Congo.

Since October 2014, the group’s fighters have killed more than 1,500 people in the Beni region. United Nations investigators blamed the Allied Democratic Forces for the deadliest single assault on the peacekeeping mission in Congo in almost 25 years, an attack last Dec. 7 at a base near Beni that killed 15 Tanzanian peacekeepers and wounded 43 others.

In recent attacks, the group has also killed civilians and abducted children in the Beni region.

Rebel attacks have forced suspension of efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in some areas.

Dr. Peter Salama, the emergencies chief for the World Health Organization, predicted Tuesday that Congo’s Ebola outbreak, which has killed more than 200 people, will last at least six more months.

The outbreak is “arguably the most difficult context that we’ve ever encountered,” Dr. Salama said, pointing to activities of the armed rebel groups in the region.

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The CIO Power Africa Summit 2019 #CIOPOW19

In February 2019, Johannesburg, South Africa will play host to Sub-Saharan Africa’s No.1 Business to Business CIO Power Summit, which will bring together the senior IT decision makers from the IPP, PPP and National Power communities across the region to focus on Information Technology within the Power Sector.

The digital revolution is here to stay within the power industry. If the last decade was about generating cheap, plentiful renewable energy, the next one will be about making energy generation, transmission and distribution systems smarter.

The #CIOPOW19 summit is leading the way to the digital revolution within the African power sector and will cover all the major topics that are hot in the industry right now. From analytics to IOT, connectivity to cyber security, the CIO Power Summit is the go-to event in Africa to keep up to date with digital transformation and a place for end users to meet with technology companies who are developing tomorrows technologies today.

The CIO Power Africa Summit separates itself from traditional conferences and exhibitions. There are no booths or exhibition halls at our summit. We focus on delivering extremely high quality, high level gatherings with some of the most senior executives in the power sector in an intimate five star environment. All the themes and topics of our summit are end user driven and are put together by our content committee which consists of our delegation and government relations team who set the hot themes and issues that are currently facing the power industry.

More information is available by visiting http://www.ciopowerafrica.com/ or contacting Vale Media Group by emailing Claire Hewitson.  [email protected]   

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Angola Cables And Broadband Infraco MOU Opens A Gateway To Improving Internet Connectivity Into Africa

Multinational telecoms company, Angola Cables has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Broadband Infraco.

Broadband Infraco provides extensive regional long-distance network coverage and SADC connectivity. From a South African connectivity perspective, Broadband Infraco currently has more than 14 960 km of fibre networks across the South African geography. It also has 156 Points of Presence (PoPs) providing a high capacity, stable national network environment.

Angola Cables CEO, António Nunes, said that the partnership will facilitate internet connectivity into Africa. “With our international connectivity and reach through our submarine networks and the expansive terrestrial network of Broadband Infraco, there is a genuine opportunity for us to collectively fast-track connectivity on the continent” added Nunes.

“The very real possibility now exists to connect Brazil and South Africa to the other BRICS nations of Russia, India and China through a high speed, low latency connection,” said Nunes. “Such a connection together with our robust network will accelerate international co-operation on multiple levels, promote economic development and fast-track projects that will enable new opportunities for digital content exchange across the region.”

Andrew Matseke, CEO of Broadband Infraco said that the partnership is pivotal in the development of digital connectivity within South Africa and Africa. “We have POPs and fibre connectivity options to all neighbouring SADC countries. Through the Angola Cables subsea networks, SACS and Monet, Broadband Infraco will have the ability to share international traffic and content that could unlock new business opportunities for SADC countries.”

Nunes added, “Angola Cables will also be in a position to support our new partner in other projects that are of national importance and which require global network connectivity. An example of this, is the Square Kilometre Array (“SKA”) Project, the world’s largest telescope where Broadband Infraco is the main supplier of international capacity to Europe. Given the large data requirements, the scientific information can now be shared with other entities.”

The cooperation between the two companies will also advance business channel synergies. This offers South African consumers an improved usage, low-latency or ´no lag experience’ that is of particularly benefit to the gaming community – or other users requiring greater bandwidth via the SACS routing to South America,” concluded Nunes.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) On behalf of Angola Cables.

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Behind the smiles of Eritrea’s president

Saturday’s visit of Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki to Addis Ababa, the capital of its neighbour Ethiopia, is a remarkable turnaround for the 72-year-old independence leader who has been isolated diplomatically and seen as secretive and paranoid.

A few weeks ago, Ethiopia and Eritrea were enemies, as they had been for the past two decades, yet now they are behaving as if they are the best of friends.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is set to reciprocate the welcome he received in Eritrea’s capital, Asmara, last Sunday. There, the two men embraced warmly and declared an end to the state of war.

This is a new phase in the president’s relationship with Ethiopia, which has largely defined his life.

He was born in 1946 in Asmara, which was, at the time, under British administration. In 1962 it was annexed by Ethiopia.

In 1965 he went to Addis Ababa to study engineering at Haile Selassie University but left a year later to join the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF), which was fighting for independence.

Mr Isaias was among the first group of fighters to travel to China in 1967 for military and ideological training. On his return he, along with others, agitated for change within the ELF but then went on to form a new party, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front.

‘Renaissance leader’

After a decades-long David-and-Goliath struggle, Eritrea held a referendum on independence in 1993, which was approved by 99% of voters.

Mr Isaias remains the only president the country has known.

In the early years he was hailed as a new type of African president. Then-US President Bill Clinton referred to him as a “renaissance African leader”.

At an Organisation of African Unity summit in Cairo in 1993, he blasted fellow heads of state for staying in power for too long and rejected a cult of personality.

More about Ethiopia and Eritrea:

In Ethiopia, there used to be portraits of Marxist military ruler Mengistu Hailemariam on display everywhere and on coming to power, Mr Isaias made a conscious effort to reject this approach.

Nevertheless he was greatly revered in Eritrea. He appeared austere, serious and scary from a distance, but some who met him had a different impression.

They speak about a helpful and supportive man who had a good sense of humour and made people laugh.

His reputation has since undergone a transformation. He has never been elected, has stopped any attempts to hold an election and in a 2009 confidential message from the US ambassador in Eritrea, he was described as an “unhinged dictator”.

Ambassador Ronald K McMullen wrote, in a document released in a tranche of Wikileaks cables, that President Isaias was “cruel and defiant”.

In the same year, the African Union urged the United Nations to sanction Eritrea over its alleged support of Islamist militants in Somalia. A charge that Eritrea denied.

Some see his 2001 jailing of prominent leaders of the independence movement, who had been critical of his presidency, as a turning point.

The detention of journalists and anyone who appeared to be an opponent gathered pace from then on. He also shut down fledgling newspapers which were beginning to find their voice.

But he had given indications of this type of behaviour before.

He was always charismatic and persuasive but was also “quite merciless and vindictive,” says Andebrhan Welde Giorgis, a former Eritrean ambassador and struggle comrade of Mr Isaias, who now lives in exile.

During the independence war, the need for solidarity when the rebel fighters were outnumbered and outgunned by Ethiopian government forces meant that criticism of him was kept in check, Mr Andebrhan adds.

After independence, the expectation was that a democratic government would be established, but although a new constitution was drawn up in 1997, it was never enacted.

The president used the 1998-2000 border war with Ethiopia as an excuse to suspend any moves towards democracy and they were never restarted.

Then the failure of Ethiopia to agree to a ruling by an independent border commission meant that Eritrea remained on a war footing and led to the indefinite conscription of tens of thousands of people.

‘Split personality’

Mr Isaias went on to “personalise power and having personalised power he abused it to the maximum”, former Eritrean ambassador Mr Andebrhan says.

He speaks about the president as if he has a split personality. On the one hand there is the inspirational leader and then there is the “dark and brutal” side.

So how is this squared with the jovial scenes when Mr Isaias met the Ethiopian prime minister?

“He was acting. Most dictators are good actors and he’s able to suck people in,” Mr Andebrhan says.

While seasoned observers of Eritrea welcome the progress towards peace with Ethiopia, there are those who remain sceptical that he will bring change at home.

Many want to know about the thousands imprisoned before they can be optimistic about the future of the country.

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Feted Zimbabwe women rangers denied visas

The UK’s decision to deny visas for two pioneering female anti-poaching rangers to attend an awards ceremony has been criticised by organisers.

Zimbabwean Nyaradzo Hoto risks her life every day to protect elephants from ivory poachers in an all-female anti-poaching unit.

She and a colleague were due to accept an award for the team on 3 November.

But Ms Hoto’s trip, her first outside Zimbabwe, was called off after visitor visa applications were rejected.

“I haven’t told my daughter yet. I don’t want to disappoint her, she was so proud of me,” the 26-year-old whispers down the phone.

“It would have been my first time on a plane. She said ‘I wish you good luck Mummy!'”

Zimbabwe International Women Awards (Ziwa) created the Founder’s Award specifically to honour the unit known as Akashinga, which means the brave ones in Shona.

In a rejection letter, the Home Office cited Ms Hoto’s and Petronella Chigumbura’s lack of financial assets and property, suggesting they were not genuine visitors and could try to remain in the UK.

Read more about poaching:

Ms Hoto’s six-year-old daughter would not have joined her on the trip and the ranger says emphatically: “I wouldn’t flee Zimbabwe, I have to look after her.”

Like many Akashinga women, Ms Hoto is a domestic abuse survivor.

She says her daughter Tariro tells her how proud she is now that her mum protects wildlife.

“I’m someone from a tough background, so I’m working hard to fill in the potholes of my life,” the star ranger, who featured in a BBC short documentary, explains.

“I couldn’t understand the rejection, it’s not fair.”

Women’s war on poaching

Akashinga women are trained to be armed soldiers, patrolling and protecting an area in the Lower Zambezi Valley, an ecosystem which is home to some 11,000 elephants.

Since October 2017, Ms Hoto and her colleagues have made or contributed to 72 arrests without firing a single shot.

“We’re seeing increasing evidence that empowering women is one of the greatest forces of change in the world today,” says Damien Mander, the founder of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation.

The Australian, a former soldier who hand-picked the Akashinga women, believes placing wildlife conservation in their hands not only empowers the rangers but improves their communities.

“Women in rural Africa are often the most oppressed demographic. They’re given the least amount of opportunity, it’s very hard for them to rise up and acquire property and status.”


The group of British women who founded Ziwa say they were gutted when Ms Hoto and Ms Chigumbura were denied their visas.

“The awards are there to change the narrative of African women,” Rhoda Molife, one of the founders of Ziwa and a former doctor in the UK’s National Health Service, told the BBC.

“Other Zimbabwean and South African nominees got their visas,” she added.

The organisation, which wrote letters supporting the rangers’ visa applications, believes their socio-economic background negatively affected the outcome.

“It’s only because of their circumstances that they are where they are, not because of what’s in them – their potential,” Dr Molife says.

The awards ceremony went ahead without Ms Hoto and Ms Chigumbura in Birmingham.

“I was looking forward to interacting with different women from different countries, to learn leadership skills,” Ms Hoto laments from her unit’s camp, more than six hours north of the capital, Harare.

“It would’ve been a beautiful event, and a great thing for our project.”

‘Positive mind’

A Home Office spokesperson told the BBC that the women’s personal and financial circumstances were “considered on their individual merits”.

“The onus is on the applicant to demonstrate that they satisfy the immigration rules,” the spokesperson added.

More on visa denials:

Mr Mander says that many of the women he employs are slowly building up assets. But he adds: “Their wealth pales in comparison to London standards.”

“I am saving up to buy a house,” Ms Hoto says. She hopes to still visit the UK one day, adding: “I’m not angry, I still have a positive mind.”

The single mother plans to study wildlife conservation and continue to protect the animals under threat on her continent.

“My daughter is the light of my life, my joy,” she says. “I just want to make her proud.”

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In pictures: Melania Trump’s whistle-stop Africa tour

US First Lady Melania Trump is visiting Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt to promote children’s welfare on what is her first major foreign trip alone.

President Donald Trump has not visited Africa since taking office in January 2017. In February, a row broke out after he allegedly used “shithole” to describe some African nations.

Mrs Trump’s week-long trip to the continent is seen as an attempt to heal some of the divisions.

Pictures from AFP and Reuters

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