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Rwandan president, Paul Kagame meets Ali Bongo in Gabon

Paul Kagame’s visit to Gabon comes a day after President Ali Bongo’s post-stroke return to Gabon.

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Rwandan president, Paul Kagame meets Ali Bongo in Gabon

The president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame was in Gabon Monday where he met with his counterpart Al Bongo Ondimba.

President Ali Bongo officially received the Rwandan president at Palais de la Renovation, where they held talks.

While speaking to the press, President Kagame acknowledged Ali Bongo’s recovery, saying he could not resume his duties.

“I am glad that there is significant improvement to his health that has led to the resumption of his responsibilities,” Kagame said.

Paul Kagame’s visit to Gabon comes a day after President Ali Bongo made his first televised speech since returning to the country after a long absence during which he was being treated for a stroke.

Realated: Gabon’s Ali Bongo makes post-stroke appearance

He suffered the stroke in October last year while on an official visit to Saudi Arabia.

After spending several months in Morocco where he was recuperating from his illness, President Ali Bongo returned to Gabon in late March.

President Kagame also seized the opportunity to acknowledge the role Gabon has been playing in Africa’s development.

“Gabon has been central to African interests, vision and the strategy to achieve that vision. President Bongo has been very active working with other leaders on our continent to make sure we raise our level of development,” he said.

President Kagame had earlier hosted the Gabonese leader in Kigali in February 2018, when both leaders held bilateral talks and pledged to promote trade and investment as well as cooperation between both their nations and people.

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Central Africa Politics

Ali Bongo joins independence celebration in Libreville

The public outings were the first time Gabonese have seen their leader beyond the presidential palace since he fell ill last October

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Ali Bongo joins independence celebration in Libreville
Gabon's President Ali Bongo (C-L) and his wife Sylvia Bongo (C-R) sit on the tribune as they attend a parade during the country's independence day celebration in Libreville, on August 17, 2019, marking its independence from France in 1960. - Ali Bongo on August 17, 2019 made a rare public appearance to attend the country's independence day celebrations, nearly ten months after suffering a stroke that fueled speculation about his ability to rule. (Photo by Steve JORDAN / AFP)

Gabon’s President Ali Bongo on Saturday made a rare public appearance to attend the country’s independence day celebrations, nearly ten months after suffering a stroke that fueled speculation about his ability to rule. 

Bongo, whose every move is scrutinised for signs of his state of health, on Friday made his first public appearance since his illness, taking part in events on the eve of celebrations to mark Gabon’s independence. 

The public outings were the first time Gabonese have seen their leader beyond the presidential palace since he fell ill last October, except for appearances filmed and edited by Gabonese government or state media.

Standing straight in an army vehicle, in a dark suit and dark glasses, Bongo on Saturday arrived at the military parade on Libreville’s main boulevard along the capital’s seafront. 

President Ali Bongo of Gabon on August 16, 2019 made his first live appearance in public nearly 10 months after suffering a stroke, attending ceremonies in the capital Libreville. (Photo by STEVE JORDAN / AFP)

Early on Saturday morning, many people had flocked to the seafront, trying to make their way through many security barriers to catch a glimpse of their leader.

“There are people who said he was sick, but he was able to greet us,” said Mama Youssouf, a young spectator in the crowd.

Speculation about 60-year-old Bongo’s capacity to rule the country surged after he suffered a stroke while in Saudi Arabia.

He was flown to Morocco for treatment, returning in January. During his extended absence, the army quashed a brief attempted coup.

Ten members of Gabon’s political opposition, civil society and trade union movement have filed a suit requesting Bongo be assessed to see whether he is medically fit to continue in office.

A lower court dismissed the case in May, saying only the two houses of parliament, or the Constitutional Court acting for the government, were empowered to determine whether the president was unfit.

But the Court of Appeal has said it would hear an appeal by the plaintiffs and set a date for it — August 26.

Bongo succeeded his father Omar Bongo, who became head of state in 1967 and died in June 2009, leaving a legacy of corruption allegations.

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Libyan National Army attack Mitiga airport and Zuwara airfield

Libyan National Army said it targeted a hangar “which houses Turkish drones and their ammunition”.

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(FILES) This file photo taken on April 08, 2019, shows the Mitiga International Airport in Libya's capital Tripoli. - Rocket fire on August 11 hit the Libyan capital's sole functioning airport, violating a temporary truce between the unity government and forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar, airport authorities said. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

Tripoli’s sole functioning airport Mitiga and Zuwara airfield were targeted for the second time in less than 48 hours – the former hit overnight Thursday and the latter on Friday morning.

The Government of National Accord (GNA) reported that three people were wounded in the raids by forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar against the two airports under its control.

Airport management at Mitiga reported rocket fire against the runway “as planes took off and landed”. 

The UN-recognised GNA said on Facebook that Haftar’s forces “targeted employees of the airport services company” at Mitiga with Grad missiles, causing shrapnel wounds to two workers and damaging a bus.

Flights were temporarily suspended or rerouted to Misrata, 200 kilometres (120 miles) east of Tripoli.

In the attack against Zuwara airfield, Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army said it targeted a hangar “which houses Turkish drones and their ammunition”.

The Tripoli-based GNA said a member of civil protection was wounded in that attack.

Pro-Haftar forces also “targeted other hangars… located 1.5 kilometres to the east of Abu Kamach”, LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mesmari said on Facebook.

The country’s biggest petrochemical complex is located there, near the Tunisian border.

Forces loyal to the GNA and the LNA are embroiled in a stalemate in Tripoli’s southern outskirts after Haftar launched an offensive against the capital in April.

Fighting over the last four months has killed 1,093 people and wounded 5,752, according to the World Health Organization. 

Some 120,000 have been displaced over the same period.

Libya has been mired in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. 

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Mozambique’s Renamo party says members attacked after peace deal

Renamo spokesman, Jose Manteigas said party members have been assaulted by police and members of the ruling Frelimo party

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Mozambique's Renamo party says members attacked after peace deal
(Photo by STEFAN BARBIER / AFP)

Mozambique’s former rebel group-turned-opposition party Renamo on Friday said its members came under attack just days after the signing of a historic peace deal aimed at ending years of conflict. 

Renamo spokesman, Jose Manteigas said dozens of party members have been assaulted by police and members of the ruling Frelimo party across the country, adding that the attacks could threaten the landmark peace agreement.

He said Renamo members have been beaten and their houses and other properties torched in the provinces of Tete, Zambezia, Inhambane and Gaza, mainly in night-time attacks since August 8.

That was just two days after the much-hailed and long-awaited peace deal was signed by President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Ossufo Momade on August 6.

“Unfortunately, contrary to the common desire for peace, national reconciliation, acceptance of different thinking and peaceful political cohabitation, two days after the signing of the Maputo Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, acts of violence and political intolerance were perpetrated by members of the Frelimo party, (and) police… in various parts of the country,” Manteigas said.

“These macabre acts are politically motivated” and bring into “question the effectiveness of the agreement,” he told reporters at the party headquarters in the capital Maputo.

He added that said senior Frelimo officials, particularly in the northwest of the country, have consistently prevented Renamo from carrying out political activities.

The allegations come just two weeks before campaigning begins for general elections on October 15 that Frelimo, the country’s dominant political force for more than four decades, is expected to win.

After the country gained independence from Portugal in 1975, Renamo fought a brutal civil war against the Frelimo government that left one million people dead before fighting stopped in 1992.

Despite the end of the civil war — and the group transforming into a political party — Renamo retained an armed wing.

Fresh clashes then erupted again between government forces and Renamo fighters between 2013 and 2016.

However, Renamo started disarming its armed wing late last month as part of the peace deal.

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