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US issues travel ban to top Cameroonian military official

Colonel Jean Claude Ango Ango and his wife, Engono Akomo are banned from ever entering the United States

Kathleen Ndongmo

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The United States has announced that, it has banned a top Cameroonian Military official and his wife from entering its territory, the spokesman of the US State Department said in a statement, on Tuesday.

Colonel Jean Claude Ango Ango and his wife, Engono Akomo are by the statement blocked from ever entering the United States.

The statement says; “The Secretary of State is publicly designating the Republic of Cameroon Inspector General of the Cameroonian Gendarmerie, Colonel Jean Claude Ango Ango, due to his involvement in significant corruption related to wildlife trafficking.”

The Cameroonian official and his wife were handed the sanction under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2019 (Div. F, P.L. 116-6) (“Section 7031(c)”). Section 7031(c), parts of the statement suggests.

The law provides that in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.

The law, the statement says also requires the Secretary of State to publicly or privately designate such officials and their immediate family members, reason why the official’s wife is also affected.

“Today’s action sends a strong signal that the United States is committed to fighting corruption and combating the transnational crime of wildlife trafficking to preserve our world’s iconic species,” the statement concludes.

The United States Department of State, commonly referred to as the State Department, is a federal executive department equivalent to the foreign ministry.

SOURCE: NEWS CENTRAL AND NEWS PARTNERS

 

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Central Africa News

1 dead as police break up banned marches in DR Congo

Policeman wounded in the Goma unrest following “resistance” to police efforts to disperse the marchers

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1 dead as police move to prevent banned marches

A protester died after being shot at a march in Goma in the DR Congo Sunday as police dispersed hundreds of anti-government protesters in Kinshasa and President Felix Tshisekedi warned against “anarchy”.

Police and organisers said the man was shot at a banned march in Goma in the east to mark the 59th anniversary of the central African country’s independence from Belgium. “One person seriously wounded by gunshot died in hospital,” national police spokesman Pierrot Mwanamputu said, while an opposition youth official said: “They fired real bullets.”

Mwanamputu said a policeman was wounded in the Goma unrest adding there was “resistance” to police efforts to disperse the marchers. Provincial police commissioner Placide Nyembo told AFP some of the demonstrators were armed.

An opposition youth official, Robert Zibawanza, said some militants torched a commuter minibus. In Kinshasa, police used tear gas to break up another banned march and about 50 officers blocked a car transporting former presidential candidate Martin Fayulu and ex-prime minister Adolphe Muzito.

An AFP journalist saw police using bayonets to puncture three of the car’s tyres. The two men emerged from the car to talk to Kinshasa police chief Sylvano Kasongo as some demonstrators tried to group around them.

On Saturday, Tshisekedi said he backed a decision to ban the march planned by his former opposition comrades, pointing to violence that broke out last weekend.

No repression

Speaking in his first major interview since taking office early this year, Tshisekedi – son of opposition icon Etienne Tshisekedi – told French media: “We have the impression that there are some who confuse democracy with anarchy.”

He vowed there would be “no repression”, asserting that: “The security forces are trained to keep the peace.” Last Sunday, as opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba flew back into the country, police fired tear gas at rock-throwing protesters who targeted his convoy.

Before being elected president, Tshisekedi inherited the mantle of opposition leader from his father Etienne, who died in February 2017. Sunday’s march was called by Bemba and Fayulu, who maintains he was robbed of victory in the country’s December 30 presidential election.

Their Lamuka coalition said late Friday it would go ahead with the march to protest the constitutional court’s invalidation of the election of about 20 opposition lawmakers. Kasongo had warned that any gatherings of more than 10 people would be dispersed.

On Sunday, he said there had been “no major incidents” in Kinshasa where “all those arrested were immediately released” apart from one protester who remains in detention for “attacking and wounding” a police officer.

He was then jailed by the International Criminal Court based in The Hague for alleged atrocities carried out by his troops in the Central African Republic. But he was finally acquitted and freed on appeal in June 2018, when he returned to Belgium. Protests were also reported in the western city of Bandudu, the fief of both Fayulu and Muzito.

SOURCE: NEWS CENTRAL AND NEWS PARTNERS

 

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Protesters clash with Biya’s entourage in Geneva

The Geneva daily tribune reports a “fight” between demonstrators and the president’s security personnel

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People protest Cameroon's President Paul Biya on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House on October 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. 

Some 40 protestors entered a five-star Geneva hotel this week where Cameroon’s president was staying and scuffled with his security staff in the lobby, according to police and Swiss media reports.

Geneva police were called to the luxury Intercontinental Hotel shortly after noon on Tuesday, after around 40 protesters had “penetrated into the lobby”, spokesman Jean-Philippe Brandt said.

“They were demonstrating against the current government in Cameroon,” he said, adding that it had taken about 30 minutes to “re-establish the peace”.

According to the Tribune de Geneve daily, the demonstrators were Cameroonian opposition figures living in exile who had come to protest the country’s long-time president Paul Biya who was a guest at the hotel.

It said the 86-year-old, who has ruled Cameroon since 1982, had been staying at the hotel since Sunday.

The paper reported that there had been a “fight” between the demonstrators and the president’s security personnel, but Brandt said he could not confirm that information.

When contacted, the hotel refused to confirm Biya’s presence in the establishment or that the unauthorised demonstration had taken place there. 

Biya’s office did tweet on Sunday that the president and his wife had left the country “for a short private stay in Europe.”

The Cameroonian embassy in Bern meanwhile voiced concern in a statement over what it said was a planned “violent” demonstration in Geneva next Saturday by Cameroonian nationals living in various European countries “to protest against the presence of the Head of State, His Excellence Paul Biya, in Switzerland.”

“The embassy calls on the Cameroonian community in Switzerland and in neighbouring countries to turn their back on such demonstrations, which for some time have been an expression of hatred, violence and tribalism, which are all contrary to patriotism and love of Cameroon.”

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Journalists’ association condemns police threats in Somali

Police at a checkpoint near the site of Saturday’s bombing in Mogadishu, which killed eight people

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somalia journalists bash police

A Somali journalists’ association Sunday slammed the actions of police who it said threatened to shoot reporters trying to access the scene of a car bombing near parliament and warned of a “worsening situation” for the country’s press.

Police at a checkpoint near the site of Saturday’s bombing in Mogadishu, which killed eight people and was claimed by the Al-Shabaab jihadist group, stopped a group of reporters from international newsgroups.

“When the journalists tried to explain to the police about their reporting mission, a police officer fired two bullets (in the) air and then pointed his rifle on Jama Nur’s head, according to Jama Nur Ahmed and two other colleagues,” the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said in a statement.

Also in the group were journalists from Reuters, AFP and Turkey’s Anadolu news agency, followed by a second wave of reporters who were similarly denied access.

“The journalists said the police officers told them they had orders restricting journalist coverage at the scenes of attacks and threatened that any journalist who tries to film will either be shot dead or his/her equipment will be broken resulting (in) the journalists to return back from the scene,” said the SJS.

It charged Somali police treat journalists “like criminals”, preventing them from doing their work of reporting on events in the country. “This is a symptom of a worsening situation against journalists in Somalia”.

It said that on May 14 police confiscated reporters’ equipment, detained a cameraman, and beat up two others trying to report on another Mogadishu explosion.  

AFP has documented several incidents in recent months of journalists being intimidated and threatened and their equipment seized while trying to report on Shabaab attacks.

The SJS called on the Ministry of Information, the commissioner of police and the office of the prime minister to open an investigation, “and take appropriate steps against those responsible.”

“We call the highest offices of the government including that of the Office of the Prime Minister to intervene in order to for the journalists to report freely and accurately without fear,” said the statement.

SOURCE: NEWS CENTRAL AND NEWS PARTNERS

 

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