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Pope lands in conflict-ridden Central African Republic on last leg of Africa tour BANGUI: Pope Francis landed in conflict-ridden Central African Republic on Sunday, flying in from Uganda to what is considered the most dangerous destination on his three-nation Africa tour.Thousands of believers, many from neighbouring countries, are expected to pour into CAR's capital Bangui to see the 78-year-old pontiff on his landmark visit to one of Africa's poorest and most unstable countries. As he stepped off the plane, he was greeted by acting CAR president Catherine Samba-Panza under tight security with roads leading to the airport bristling with troops and security forces, an AFP correspondent said.His plane touched down at around 10:00 am (0900 GMT) at Bangui airport close to an area where tens of thousands of displaced people have sought refuge from sectarian clashes since 2013.UN peacekeepers and French troops are based in the airport area.Ahead of the visit, workers have been busily repairing potholes and sprucing up Bangui's cathedral square ...

Girl, peacekeeper killed in Sudan shelling: UN KHARTOUM: Shelling killed a four-year-old girl and an Ethiopian peacekeeper in the disputed Abyei region between Sudan and South Sudan, the United Nations mission in the area said Friday.Abyei has been contested since Sudan split into two countries in 2011, and there have been tensions between the Arab Misseriya and Ngok Dinka peoples in the region.In Thursday's attack, "seven shells were fired from the northwesterly direction of Abyei town, by unknown persons," the UN mission ...
Boko Haram militants kill 15 in southern Niger NIAMEY: Boko Haram militants attacked a village in Niger's southern border area of Diffa on Thursday, killing 15 people, two security sources said. The guerrillas arrived in the village of Gogone on foot and opened fire indiscriminately on residents, the sources said, adding that Niger troops had pursued them. Niger's Diffa region has suffered dozens of cross-border strikes this year by the militant group whose stronghold in northeast Nigeria lies just a few kilometres away. ...
Nigeria's new ministers brainstorm roles after Buhari shake-up ABUJA: Speaking from a cramped and makeshift office, a top Nigerian civil servant says his minister, Udoma Udo Udoma, has spent much of the fortnight since his appointment in meetings trying to work out his team's remit. Udoma's new Ministry of Budget and National Planning reduces the power of the finance ministry - previously responsible for allocating spending - and, the civil servant says, will "help ministries to synergise". That is no small task. Since ...
Algeria sees energy earnings, reserves dropping sharply in 2016 ALGIERS: Algeria's energy earnings are forecast to fall to $26.4 billion next year while foreign exchange reserves will dip to $121 billion after low oil prices cut into the OPEC nation's economy, Finance Minister Abderrahmane Benkhalfa said on Sunday. The North African state, a major gas supplier to Europe, has already said energy earnings will fall by 50 percent this year to about $34 billion. Oil and gas sales make up 95 percent of its ...
Egyptians vote in second round of parliament elections dogged CAIRO: Egyptians voted on Sunday in the second phase of elections that are meant to restore parliament after a more than three-year gap but which critics say have been undermined by widespread repression. The elections have been hailed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as a milestone on the army's roadmap to democracy but voter turnout has been low, with only a quarter of the electorate casting ballots in the first phase on Oct. 18-19. Sisi ...
Obama condemns 'appalling' Mali militant attack KUALA LUMPUR: US President Barack Obama on Saturday condemned what he called the "appalling" militant hostage seige in Mali that left at least 27 people dead, including an American citizen."This barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge," he said during a visit to Malaysia, referring to the global threat of extremist violence.Gun-toting militants took more than 100 people hostage for around nine hours at a top hotel in Mali's capital Bamako on Friday.The ...


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