Guinea President Alpha Conde Announces Govt Reshuffle

Map of GuineaFacing civil unrest and strikes in the crucial mining sector, Guinea’s President Alpha Conde reshuffled his government overnight, appointing new finance and security ministers among others.

State Television quoted by the website Africanews website on Sunday announced the changes. No official reason was given for the sweeping changes which followed the appointment of a new prime minister, Ibrahima Kassory Fofana.

The changes came amid heightened political tensions and speculation that Conde may be seeking to modify the constitution ahead of a 2020 election.

Guinea is Africa’s top producer of bauxite, the ore of aluminium, and Conde’s government has faced repeated strikes by mineworkers, as well as teachers and has seen civil unrest over local elections.

It has also suffered embarrassment over allegations by French authorities that billionaire tycoon Vincent Bollore’s conglomerate backed Conde’s election campaign in exchange for a port concession. Both Bollore and Conde deny any wrongdoing.

In his reshuffle Conde replaced 13 out of 33 ministers in his government. Finance Minister Maladho Kaba was sacked and replaced by Mamady Camara, Guinea’s former ambassador to South Africa. Her deputy, Budget Minister Mohamed Lamine Doumbouya, was replaced by former central bank official Ismael Dioubate.

Violent Protests in Guinea - VOA
Violent Protests in Guinea – VOA

Security Minister Abdoul Kabele Camara, in place since Conde’s election victory in 2010, was replaced by Alpha Ibrahima Keira, a loyalist from the regime of dictator Lansana Conte, who died in 2008.

As well as bauxite, Guinea has some of the world’s largest deposits of iron ore, but decades of mining have failed to lift most Guineans out of poverty.

About 10 people were killed in February and March when riots erupted in the capital Conakry and other cities following local elections, which the opposition said were marred by fraud.

Conde’s opponents also fear he seeks to modify the constitution to stand for a third term in 2020. Conde has not yet commented on his intentions, but speculation over them has had a destabilising effect.

Africanews

Libya Opens Investigation Into “Slave Market” In The Country

Map of Libya
Map of Libya

The north African national of Libya says will investigate alleged slave trading in the country, the internationally recognized government announced on Sunday following the release of video footage appearing to show migrants being auctioned off.

Chaos-ridden Libya has long been a major transit hub for migrants trying to reach Europe, and many of them have fallen prey to serious abuse in the North African country at the hands of traffickers and others.

US television network CNN aired the footage last week of an apparent live auction in Libya where black men are presented to North African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Metig quoted by the AFP said his UN-backed Government of National Accord would investigate the allegations, in a statement posted on Sunday on the Facebook page of the GNA’s press office.

Metig said he would instruct the formation of a “commission to investigate these reports in order to apprehend and bring those responsible to justice,” the statement added.

The CNN report apparently showing migrants being auctioned off in Libya was shared widely on social media, provoking outrage in Africa, Europe and the rest of the world.

The grainy footage shot on a mobile telephone shows a man CNN said was Nigerian and in his 20s being offered up for sale as part of a group of “big strong boys for farm work.”

In the CNN report, a person identified as an auctioneer can be heard saying “800… 900… 1,000… 1,100…” before two men are sold for 1,200 Libyan dinars ($875).

The image made from a footage aired by US television network CNN last week shows live auction in Libya where black men are sold off for as little as $400.
The image made from a footage aired by US television network CNN last week shows live auction in Libya where black men are sold off for as little as $400. 

Around 1,000 people took to the streets of Paris on Saturday to protest against slavery in Libya, according to French police.

Guinean President Alpha Conde, who is also chairman of the African Union, on Friday called for an inquiry and prosecutions relating to what he termed a “despicable trade… from another era.”

Senegal’s government expressed “outrage at the sale of Sub-Saharan African migrants on Libyan soil” that constituted a “blight on the conscience of humanity.”

African migrants from nations including Guinea and Senegal as well as Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Gambia make the dangerous crossing through the Sahara to Libya with hopes of making it over the Mediterranean Sea to Italy.

But a testimony collected by reporters has revealed a litany of rights abuses at the hands of gangsters, human traffickers and the Libyan security forces, while many end up stuck in the unstable North African nation for years.

More than 8,800 stranded migrants have been returned home this year, according to the International Organization for Migration, which is also compiling evidence of slavery.

AFP