Africans protest in #China as man dies in police custody

african-migrants-china
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More than 100 Africans protested on Tuesday outside a police station in China’s southern Guangdong province after an African man died in police custody.

The protest in Guangdong’s capital Guangzhou, which brought traffic to a halt, lasted for two hours on Tuesday, Xinhua reported, citing an official from the Guangzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau.

The dead African man, whose identity has not been confirmed, “suddenly fell unconscious” at a police station on Monday afternoon and “died after medical efforts failed”, according to police sources quoted by Xinhua.

The African man was taken into the police station for questioning on Monday after he had a “physical altercation” with another person, the owner of an electric bicycle who had given the African man a ride as a passenger on Monday afternoon. Both of them disagreed over payment.

The protest comes ahead of a summit between China and Africa that China is expected to host in July, and amid a crackdown by Beijing and Shanghai on “illegal foreigners”. In late May, Beijing launched a 100-day campaign to “clean out” foreigners living or working illegally in the city and has stepped up police checks on expatriates.

The Xinhua report said police have launched an investigation into the death and that “police in Guangzhou have called for foreigners to abide by Chinese law and refrain from disturbing public order”.

via Reuters.

Investors Could Get Rattled

By now most people watching the geopolitical world will know that Chinese investment (and thus immigration) is becoming a huge deal in Africa. But we hadn’t really been considering African immigration to China until today.

Images of the protest posted on Weibo paint a chaotic scene. This photo, posted by @ndgz via @城事风云榜, shows the scale of the protest:

African Migrants China

Weibo

Another photo, posted by @onccnews seems to show migrants fighting with police officers:

African Migrants China

Weibo

China is due to hold a summit for African nations in July, as Reuters notes, but the timing of that summit is beginning to look perilous, as anti-foreigner sentiment within the country grows. Shanghai recently began clamping down on illegal foreigners, while a prominent TV host recently warned on Weibo about the influx of immigrants in the country.

via Business Insider

Nigerian Immigrants Demanding A Consulate

Most of the demonstrators are thought to have come from the city’s various African communities and sources in the city said the dead man was Nigerian.

Guangzhou police said via its microblog account it had opened an investigation into the death of a foreign national on Monday. It said officers in Yuexiu district had been called because of a fight between a foreigner and an electric bicycle driver over a fare dispute.

In a separate post, the police said foreigners had blocked traffic on Guangyuan West Road – where the fight broke out – on Tuesday afternoon but were dispersed by officers.

They appealed to expatriates living in China to “abide by Chinese laws, not harm public interests or disrupt public order” and said police would investigate the death in strict accordance with the law.

One picture posted on Sina’s Weibo microblog showed a man carrying a cardboard placard reading “Give us the dead body” in English and Chinese.

Protests by foreign nationals residing in the country are rare in China. More than 100 demonstrators surrounded a police station in Guangzhou in 2009 after a Nigerian man died during an immigration raid. Reports said he had jumped from a second-floor window as police mounted surprise passport checks.

Nigerians in the city recently called for a consulate to be set up there, saying it would help them deal with immigration issues and tackle harassment.

via Guardian

 

Chinese Investment In Nigeria Hits $8.4 Billion – Official

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Chinese investment in Nigeria has hit the 8.4 billion dollar mark, says Mr Yonghua Ding, the Head of the Political and Press Section at the Chinese Embassy.

Ding, who stated this in Abuja on Thursday, noted that the investment was in telecommunications, agriculture, oil and gas and power, among others.

He said the figure was recorded in 2011.

Ding also said that trade between both countries had reached the 10.7 billion mark, a 40 per cent increase over the figure for 2010.

He said that the bulk of the trade was recorded in the wholesale and retail sectors.

The envoy said the balance of trade was in China’s favour because Nigeria’s main export was oil which accounted for only 1 per cent of the trade.

“China is interested in agriculture and solid mineral products, we hope to explore these areas and have more exports from Nigeria.’’

He commended the cordial relations between both countries, adding that China had simplified its visa procedure to facilitate trade for Nigerian businessmen.

“Those who meet the necessary requirement are issued visa within a week; these are part of measures to boost economic cooperation between both nations’’.

NAN recalls that both nations signed the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement in 2001 and 2002 respectively.

Nigeria and China established diplomatic relations in 1971.

Leadership Newspapers.

#Nigeria Claims Over $12 Billion Lost to Pipeline Vandalism And Oil Theft

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20 May 2012 UPDATE: Appears the announcement of losses below was a prelude to this announcement of deploying security forces.

Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin [Today's Nigeria]

Losing over 180 million barrels of crude oil daily, Nigeria has inaugurated a joint military task force on crude oil theft, the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Oluseyi Petinrin, told journalists on Saturday in Lagos, during a stakeholders’ meeting on security in the oil and gas industry.

Petinrin said the task force consisting of senior army personnel and other security agencies, would check the incessant oil theft and bring sanity to the industry.

“I quite agree with the collective decision of the stakeholders on ways to address oil theft in the country.

All the security agencies will ensure adequate monitoring of the country’s oil theft to logical conclusion,” he said.

He assured the nation that the security agencies that would be involved in the assignment of the task force would never compromise anything.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who confirmed that over 180 million barrels of crude oil were lost daily, said that the task force would include both indigenous and international oil chiefs.

The minister said that it had been observed that in the last six months, oil theft on Nigerian waters increased.

“This crude oil theft affects both our environment and economic values in Nigeria,” she said.

Source African Press Agency

Political map of the 36 States of Nigeria (Eng...

Political map of the 36 States of Nigeria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Nigerian government has said it has incurred losses of more than $12 billion to pipeline vandalism and oil theft in the last one year.

Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke, told a stakeholders meeting on the rising security in the oil sector in Lagos on Friday that $5 billion was spent in the last one year on pipeline repairs, while the amount lost to crude theft was valued at $7 billion.

The minister, who decried the menace of oil theft, said that the meeting was convened in order to strengthen partnership with leadership of security agencies in curbing the problem.

“In the last six months the level of oil theft in the country has become alarming and has necessitated the need for this roundtable with all stakeholders. It will be very productive if we open up discussion to provide solution on the situation we have found ourselves,” she said.

Alison-Madueke said that the meeting would evolve a short, medium and long term solutions to tackle the issue as oil theft was taking its toll on the economy of the nation.

She thanked the service chiefs for the support and expressed optimism that the problem would finally be addressed with their support.

The minister stressed the need for urgent replacement of old pipelines and rehabilitate the infrastructure in the sector.

According to her, the government is exploring alternative sources of funding to fast track infrastructure development and ensure asset integrity in the sector.

The meeting was attended by Chief of Defense Staff, Air Marshall Oluseyi Petinrin, Chief of Army Staff, Azubuke Ihejrika and managing directors of international and indigenous oil companies.

Source African Press Agency

Why has @WFP chopped #Nigeria #Sudan and #Eritrea…

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Why has @WFP chopped #Nigeria #Sudan and #Eritrea off the #Sahel? #LastYearsTargets

Wikipedia:
“The Sahel covers most parts of the territory of (from west to east) Senegal, southern Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, southern Algeria, Niger, northern Nigeria, Chad, northern Cameroon, Sudan (including Darfur and the southern part of Sudan), and Eritrea.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahel

WFP:
“Hunger is on the rise across the Sahel region of West Africa, a massive swathe of territory that stretches across eight countries from Chad in the east to Senegal in the west.”

http://www.wfp.org/stories/sahel-crisis-by-country

#AQIM kidnap, hostage swap, but where is #Mauritania gendarme Ely?

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The story of gendarme Ely Ould Mokhtar has been full of holes and contradictions from the outset. For Al-Qaeda to take a soldier hostage is unusual enough. For it to happen in Mauritania, where Aziz has claimed to have eradicated the AQIM threat was unremarkable, knowing his passion for the politically fantastic, but as the details emerged it became increasingly perplexing.

First we heard that there were only three gendarmes at the Adel Begrou outpost at the time of the attack, in December 2011, because the others were off playing football or something. Then there was a story saying one of the three who were supposed to be on guard was “in the bathroom” and the other “didn’t have his shoes on”. So apparently it fell upon poor Ely, as the only member of his squad to have the misfortune to be up, dressed and on duty, to be taken hostage. What utter garbage and nonsense, you might well think. But the life of a gendarme in a remote Mauritanian outpost is a far cry from Hollywood movie sets or Tom Clancy novel.

But then the video “ransom” demand arrived – from AQIM’s “Al Vourghan” brigade, led by Algerian national Yahya Abou El Houmam, or so we were told.

The video shows Ely in handcuffs, beret balanced precariously on his head, seated in front of a typically “Al Qaeda” style white on black banner that doesn’t quite cover the blue plastic tarp covering the backdrop – perhaps a store of animal feed, which would help to explain the flies buzzing around. The first thing that struck me was he had no signs of injury – a very encouraging sign but indicating that he had not put up much of a struggle, as one might expect of a gendarme. Then I realised that there were no AQIM fighters in the video. This is a departure the other recent ransom video or photographs released by AQIM showing their European hostages. The banner in is far better physical condition that the one we see in the still photograph below – complete with weapon-toting terrorists. The demands were unusual too: the release of “two prisoners” – no names were given, although they are surely all known; and that Ely must never return to his post as a gendarme.

hostages

Although the military claimed to be sending teams out in search of their comrade, government officials showed no interest in rescuing Ely, and the only attention they paid to the case at first was to pressure his family into staying quiet, away from the media. There was a very curious story immediately after Ely went missing, from a mining operation during an industrial action. Apparently, a group of soldiers appeared but told workers they were not there to break their strike, but were searching for a missing gendarme. Quite why AQIM would be hiding out with a hostage inside in a mining camp in Mauritania, instead of high-tailing it out of the country to Mali or even Senegal, I am not quite sure.

The usual type of trashy rumours flared and died about Ely’s case, some focusing on his family, which was very unpleasant. A second demand was supposedly issued  in January, giving the government 20 days to reach agreement or Ely would be killed. The time ticked on towards the deadline and eventually, the government saw fit to comment. Ely, they said, is as good as dead already. They had no intention of negotiating for his life and would not be releasing any prisoners.

Then in late February and early March we experienced a completely botched spiral of stories linking Ely to Rosella Urru, one of three European aid workers kidnapped from a refugee camp in Tindouf  in October 2011 – before Ely’s alleged abduction – and claiming their release. It was utter fabrication, but it did help to obscure the monumental cock-up by British and Nigerian forces that cost the lives of an English and an Italian held hostage in Nigeria since May 2011. The Italians were reported to be furious with the UK, well with Cameron in particular, for authorising the botched operation without consulting them. No one thought to mention the recent visit to Mauritania by Italian MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri, as part of a delegation from the EU Parliament, but I don’t like to omit any small coincidence. Only after this tragedy was revealed did the Ely story take on a new dimension, with the reported transfer of  a prisoner and then later a report that Ely had been released. But where are the photographs of his jubilant reunion with his pregnant wife and his long-suffering mother? And is he excused from returning to his life as a gendarme, as demanded by AQIM?

Instead, we are presented with this image on an obscure website, claiming to be the first picture of Ely since his release. But he appears to have been treated so well by his captors that he has actually reversed time and now appears younger and a little heavier. The image is an odd pose, just like the sort of photograph taken of a brand new recruit. Which is exactly what I suspect it to be: Ely’s ID photo from his initiation into the gendarmerie. So, where is Ely?

Kidnapped gendarme Ely Ould Mokhtar

"Before"

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"After"