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Senegal seizes Russian ship fishing 'illegally'

Senegal's navy has boarded a Russian ship that was allegedly illegally fishing in its waters and is escorting it toward Dakar, the military said on Saturday. The ship was boarded after it was observed illegally fishing in Senegalese waters near the border with Guinea Bissau, Lieutenant-Colonel Adama Diop, a military communications officer, told AFP. "The Navy boarded it and it is being escorted" toward Dakar, he said, adding that it was the third time in a week that an illegal fishing boat has been stopped in Senegalese waters.

Nigeria's Jonathan calls for unity at 'centenary'

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday called for greater national unity in 2014, urging compatriots to build on the work of their predecessors as the country marked its effective centenary. The amalgamation of the separate protectorates of northern and southern Nigeria by the British former colonial rulers on January 1, 1914, was the birth of the nation, said the president. "For us therefore, today (Wednesday) is not just the beginning of a new year but the end of a century of national existence and the beginning of another.

Guinea-Bissau orders ex-minister's arrest in Syrian refugee row

Guinea-Bissau's attorney general ordered the arrest of the recently-resigned interior minister on Saturday for suspected involvement in the boarding of a group of Syrians with allegedly false passports on a flight to Portugal. Portuguese flag-carrier TAP suspended flights between the two nations when one of its aircraft from Bissau arrived in Lisbon on December 10 with the group of 74 refugees. Antonio Suka Tchama, who is believed to have facilitated the Syrians' embarkation, announced his resignation over the affair on December 18 but has not admitted any wrongdoing.

Nigeria opposition proclaims new era after ruling party loses house

Nigeria's main opposition party said Thursday the country should expect a more accountable government after the ruling party, which had controlled the government since 1999, lost its majority in parliament. Thirty-seven lawmakers elected as members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defected to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday, stripping the PDP of its majority in Nigeria's 360-seat lower house.

Second Guinea-Bissau minister steps down over Syrian refugee scandal

BISSAU (Reuters) - Guinea-Bissau's Interior Minister Antonio Suka Ntchama became the second minister to step down in the tiny West African country amid an investigation into how 74 Syrians boarded a flight to Portugal with fake passports. "I am going to resign until there is light cast on these 74 Syrians," the minister told a news conference late on Tuesday. Foreign Minister Fernando Delfim da Silva stepped down last Friday after the incident earlier this month stoked tensions with former colonial power Portugal.

Nigeria president loses parliament majority after 37 MPs defect

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan lost his majority in parliament on Wednesday after 37 lawmakers bolted his party for a new opposition coalition, the latest political blow to hit the embattled leader. In a letter presented to the speaker of the lower house, the lawmakers elected under Jonathan's Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) declared that they had joined the All Progressives Congress, stripping the PDP of its majority in 360-seat chamber. They listed "divisions in the political party (PDP) that sponsored our election" as the reason for the move.

Concern over trickle down effect of Nigeria growth

Nigeria could soon become Africa biggest economy but there is growing recognition that the landmark will be largely symbolic and do little to change lives in the continent's most populous nation. On paper, the future looks bright for Nigeria: the International Monetary Fund has forecast 7.4 percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014, up from an estimated 6.2 percent this year. That comes despite the effects of a four-year Islamist insurgency in the north and rampant oil theft, which have dragged down the economy.

Guinea-Bissau hits out at Portugal in Syrian refugee row

Guinea-Bissau condemned Portuguese flag-carrier TAP on Thursday after it suspended flights to the former colony's capital following a row over the boarding of Syrian refugees. TAP stopped the service on Tuesday after one of its aircraft from Bissau arrived in Lisbon with 74 Syrian refugees whom the airline said were holding false passports. "I'm not surprised by TAP's reaction. It is to be expected from the Portuguese government. The cabinet will consider this and will make our position clear," government spokesman Fernando Vaz told a news conference.

Africans lament poor transparency over mineral wealth

Most Africans believe their politicians can commit crimes such as stealing and mismanagement with impunity, according to a survey released on Wednesday of 22 of the continent's natural resource-producing countries. Despite attempts to improve governance and transparency in the natural resources sector, a majority said it was difficult to find out how their government was using money from sectors such as mining and oil production. Yet people in the same countries overwhelmingly said they could speak and vote freely and relied on the local media to hold power to account.

Benin, Turkey vow to boost bilateral ties

Benin, Turkey vow to boost bilateral ties ANKARA, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Turkey and Benin signed on Wednesday several agreements during the official visit by Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi to Turkish capital of Ankara, in a bid to enhance the bilateral relations between the two countries. The visit of Benin president is expected to deepen cooperation between the two countries as part of Turkey's policy of " Partnership with Africa," a written statement on official website of Turkish presidency said.
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