US Envoy Heads to Horn of Africa

NEW YORK – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is sending his special envoy for the Horn of Africa to the region Tuesday in a bid to de-escalate tensions. In a statement, Blinken said Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman will visit Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan through May 13. The special envoy will meet with officials from those governments, as well as the United Nations and the African Union, in addition to political stakeholders and humanitarian groups. “The special envoy’s travel underscores the administration’s commitment to lead a sustained diplomatic effort to…

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Trade Between Chad and Cameroon Falls After Deby’s Death

KOUSSERI, CAMEROON    – Trade between Cameroon and its landlocked neighbor Chad has come to a virtual standstill, with Chad refusing entry to hundreds of trucks carrying essential supplies for its capital. Chadian military authorities sealed the border last week after the death of longtime president Idriss Deby amid threats from armed rebels. Hundreds of trucks with goods meant for Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, are sitting idle in Kousseri, a town on Cameroon’s northern border with Chad. Another long line of trucks sits and waits on Chadian side of the border. Only…

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Rights Groups Say Villagers Not Compensated for East Africa Oil Pipeline

KAMPALA – Chinese and French oil companies involved in the East African Crude Oil Pipeline project, to be built from Uganda to Tanzania, say affected villagers are being compensated. But rights groups representing hundreds of families who will be displaced by the project tell a different story. The $3.5 billion project is projected to run 1,450 kilometers from the southwestern Homia district of Uganda to the Port of Tanga in Tanzania. On Sunday, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania signed three agreements paving the…

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Benin Holds Presidential Election After Week of Violence

Benin voters are casting their ballots Sunday in a presidential election after a week of deadly violence against President Patrice Talon, who is seeking reelection. Opposition parties accuse Talon, who is expected to win a second term, of manipulating the race in his favor by sidelining opposition leaders, most of whom are living in exile. Although he points to strong economic growth while he has been in power, Talon has been accused by opponents of undermining the country’s standing as one of the most stable democracies in West Africa. Freedom…

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France Rejects UN Report of Airstrike on Wedding Party

PARIS – France is rejecting a U.N. report that said a French air strike in central Mali in January killed 19 civilians as part of anti-terrorist operations in the Sahel. What happened in the village of Bounti in central Mali on January 3 remains a question that is at the heart of a dispute between France and the U.N. peacekeeping mission to Mali, MINUSMA. Earlier this week, a U.N. investigation concluded that a wedding celebration was hit by the French airstrike that killed the civilians and three armed men, allegedly jihadist members…

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Death Toll from Egypt Building Collapse Climbs to 18

CAIRO – The death toll from the collapse of a nine-story apartment building in Cairo has climbed to 18 people, according to Egyptian state media. The building collapsed in the Egyptian capital early Saturday. State newspaper Al-Ahram said that search and rescue workers recovered the bodies over the course of the day. Excavators could be seen digging through the debris in the el-Salam neighborhood Saturday morning. Police cordoned off the area, keeping back the curious and people apparently looking for relatives in the building. “They took four people out in…

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Africa’s Elephants Now Endangered by Poaching, Habitat Loss

LIBREVILLE, GABON – Increasing threats of poaching and loss of habitat have made Africa’s elephant populations more endangered, according to a report released Thursday by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The African forest elephant is critically endangered, and the African savanna elephant is endangered. The two species had previously been grouped together as a single species and were classified as vulnerable by the IUCN. The number of African forest elephants has fallen by more than 86% over a 31-year period, while the population of savanna elephants dropped by…

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Trains Crash in Southern Egypt, Killing at Least 32

CAIRO – Two trains crashed Friday in southern Egypt, killing at least 32 people and injuring 165, authorities said in the latest of a series of deadly accidents on the country’s troubled railways. Someone apparently activated the emergency brakes on the passenger train, and it was rear-ended by another train, causing two cars to derail and flip on their side, Egypt’s Railway Authorities said, although Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly later added that no cause has been determined. The passenger train was headed to the Mediterranean port of Alexandria, north of…

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