Bureau Chief, East Africa
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Sep 17, 2015

EU wants new aid for Eritrea soon to help stem migrant exodus

NAIROBI (Reuters) – The European Union aims to agree on 200 million euros ($226 million) in development aid for Eritrea by year-end to help stem an exodus of people from the poor Horn of Africa nation to Europe, a senior EU official said on Thursday.

The five-year package, already the subject of months of talks, was not prompted by the latest migrant influx into Europe but has gained impetus as the number of asylum-seekers arriving from the Middle East and Africa has surged.

Sep 8, 2015

Somalia’s government investigating Soma Oil charges – minister

NAIROBI, Sept 8 (Reuters) – The Somali government is
investigating allegations related to British exploration firm
Soma Oil and Gas, which has been searching for oil in Somalia,
the foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said on July 31 it had
launched a criminal investigation into Soma Oil, although it did
not outline the corruption allegations against the company,
whose London headquarters were also searched.

Sep 8, 2015

Somalia needs army help, investment to fight Islamists: minister

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Somalia needs more support for its national army and new investment to create jobs to help it fight al Shabaab Islamist militants, the foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Al Shabaab, which once ruled much of Somalia, has been driven into smaller pockets of territory by an African Union force and Somali troops, but showed it still packs a punch earlier this month by retaking a town and killing 12 Ugandan troops at a base.

Jul 28, 2015

Second-term Obama tells Africa’s ‘Big Men’ to quit when time is up

ADDIS ABABA/NAIROBI (Reuters) – Judging by the applause at the African Union headquarters, Barack Obama hit a chord when he took aim at the continent’s ‘Big Men’, telling them they should quit when their time was up – especially since most have the cash to retire comfortably.

In joining African reformists who demand term limits be observed, the U.S. president was lining up squarely against entrenched leaders from Congo Republic to Rwanda and Burundi who are intent on extending their years in power.

Jul 23, 2015

U.S. to review Burundi aid in next two months over crisis: envoy

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – The United States will review its relations and level of aid to Burundi over the next two months after the central African nation held elections that Washington says were not credible, the U.S. ambassador said on Thursday.

The United States provides training and equipment worth about $80 million a year for Burundi’s military and security forces, along with other aid, supporting a nation now in crisis after President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third term.

Jul 22, 2015

Burundi opposition leader calls for unity government to avert conflict

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – Burundi’s leading opposition politician called on President Pierre Nkurunziza to hold talks with rivals and form a national unity government after a disputed election, saying it could help avert a new conflict in the poor African nation.

Agathon Rwasa, a former rebel leader like Nkurunziza in Burundi’s civil war, told Reuters action was needed to prevent generals behind a foiled coup in May taking up arms in a crisis triggered by Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in office.

Jul 21, 2015

Two killed as blasts, gunfire mar Burundi presidential vote

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – A policeman and civilian were killed in overnight clashes hours before the start of Burundi’s presidential elections, already hit by opposition boycotts and protests over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term.

Blasts and gunfire echoed around the capital before polling stations opened on Tuesday in a nation grappling with its worst crisis since a civil war ended in 2005. It has faced weeks of demonstrations, a failed coup and clashes between rebel soldiers and the army.

Jul 21, 2015

Overnight blasts, gunfire mar Burundi presidential vote

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – Blasts and gunfire overnight marred Burundi’s presidential election on Tuesday, which the opposition said it would boycott after President Pierre Nkurunziza sparked a crisis by seeking a third term in office.

The rebel-turned-president’s campaign for another five years in power led to weeks of protests, a failed coup attempt and clashes between rebel soldiers and the army, stoking tensions in a region with a history of ethnic bloodshed.

Jul 20, 2015

On eve of presidential vote, Burundi opposition urges boycott

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – Burundi’s opposition has urged voters to follow their lead and boycott the presidential election scheduled for Tuesday, saying the vote will deepen political deadlock in a nation with a long history of political violence and ethnic strife.

President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third-term in office has plunged the East African nation into its worst crisis since an ethnically charged civil war ended in 2005. Though street protests and a would-be coup were quelled, almost daily violence has left the country tense.

Jul 13, 2015

Burundi president’s faces emerging armed rebellion as vote looms

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza may find an election victory he is assured of this month swiftly overshadowed by the emergence of an armed insurgency in a nation at the heart of one of Africa’s most combustible regions.

After weeks of protests against the president’s bid for a third term, a general involved in a failed coup says he is mobilizing troops, grenade attacks echo round the capital and armed clashes have erupted in the north of a nation still scarred by civil war.

    • About Edmund

      "Edmund Blair is responsible for Reuters coverage from more than a dozen East African nations and Indian Ocean islands. He was bureau chief for Egypt and Sudan, and ran the bureau in Iran. He has worked across the Middle East and Africa, covering the Egyptian uprising, Iraq war, Palestinian-Israeli conflict and crises in East Africa. He also has experience in covering the oil and gas industry and financial affairs, including a period as an equities reporter in London."
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