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/ 26 February 2008

Equatorial Guinea eyes quick trial for Mann

Simon Mann, the suspected British mastermind of a failed 2004 coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea, has yet to have any date set for his trial, the country’s defence minister said on Monday. ”There is no date fixed but, as we have already said, we want [the trial] to take place quickly,” Antonio Obama Ndong said.

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/ 4 January 2008

Politics and graft undermine African healthcare

The crowd of African women are tired and angry after hours waiting in the hot sun, but the officials will not vaccinate their children until the president inaugurates the campaign on state television. When he finally does so, half a day has been lost from the five-day vaccination scheme. It is a small reminder that, for healthcare in Africa, politics can be as decisive as poverty.

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/ 12 October 2007

Former Chadian rebels march towards border

Former Chadian rebels waiting to join the national army have left their eastern bases to make for the Sudanese border, their former chief told international French radio station RFI. ”They are unhappy for several reasons … These are fairly complex problems, fairly serious. I understand them,” he said.

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/ 9 May 2006

Africa opens talks to fight child-trafficking

Delegates from West and Central African countries gathered in Gabon’s capital Libreville on Tuesday to open talks on a joint accord to fight the trafficking of children and women that plagues the continent. Gabon’s Foreign Minister, Jean-Francois Ndongou, opened the session, saying ”better regional cooperation is necessary” to combat trafficking.

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/ 30 November 2005

Long-ruling Gabon president re-elected

Gabon’s President Omar Bongo, who has been in power since 1967, was re-elected for seven more years after winning 79,2% of the votes cast in Sunday’s election, the country’s interior minister said late on Tuesday. Voter turnout was at 63,3% of the 570 000 Gabonese who were eligible to vote in the presidential contest.

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/ 4 September 2005

African gourmets threaten great apes

Take one soup cube, pepper, salt and onions, not forgetting chunks of monkey, head included. Cook in a casserole and serve. At the restaurant Maman Marie Gibier in Libreville, the dish will set appreciative diners back 1 500 francs CFA (R17,40). ”I have been eating monkey since I was little,” said one diner.

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/ 3 August 2005

Mbeki signs agreements in Gabon

South African President Thabo Mbeki arrived in Libreville on Tuesday for a state visit as part of a drive to strengthen relations across the African continent. Mbeki met his Gabonese counterpart Omar Bongo Ondimba and signed agreements on protecting and promoting investments, maritime matters and cooperation in the arts, education and training.

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/ 5 April 2005

Aids activists describe pope as an ‘obstacle’

Aids activists in Africa describe the late Pope John Paul II’s fierce opposition to the use of condoms as a major obstacle in the battle against Aids in Africa, where the disease killed 2,3-million people in 2004. They said that his position was a big obstacle in slowing the spread of Aids, and hoped that the next pope would be more progressive on the issue.

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/ 25 February 2005

Gabon cracks down on child trafficking

Children’s rights activists have long expressed concern over the extent of child trafficking and exploitation in West Africa. Recent events in Gabon might give them cause for hope, however. For the first time in its history, the country is to try persons accused of these crimes. Eight nationals from Benin and Togo have been indicted for trafficking and exploitation.

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/ 20 December 2004

Not what the doctor ordered

Street vendors who ply their trade in African cities aren’t generally viewed as posing a serious danger to public health. That is, unless one buys medicines and other forms of treatment from them — as the citizens of Gabon are discovering. The vendors sell smuggled and counterfeit treatments that are often cheaper that those available over the counter.

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/ 19 December 2004

Taxis: a new weapon in the fight against Aids

Flag down a red and white taxi in Gabon’s capital between now and February and you might get more than you bargained for. Around 300 taxi drivers in Libreville have been drafted into the fight against HIV/Aids and are handing out free condoms to passengers as well as leaflets about the disease and practising safe sex.

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/ 19 December 2004

Street drug trade flourishes because of high prices

The young woman lying in a hospital bed in Libreville, Gabon’s capital, complained of pains caused by poor blood circulation in her swollen legs. She could hardly walk, she said, because of the cramps which started after she took slimming pills her sister had bought on a city street. She could be considered lucky. Others have suffered much more from drugs bought from informal vendors on the street.