Dec 152014

OTTAWA, Canada, December 15, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Honourable Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights, today issued the following statement:

“As the first anniversary of a horrifying outbreak of violence in South Sudan approaches, Canadians—including the many members of the South Sudanese diaspora who have made our country their new home—will remember the thousands who died at that time and those who continue to suffer in a senseless conflict that has gone on far too long.

“Canada calls upon the parties to the negotiations currently being sponsored by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in Addis Ababa to renew their efforts and to make the courageous decisions and compromises that will be needed if South Sudan is to live at peace with itself once again. History will not forgive those who procrastinate or argue for further military action at this time; South Sudanese of all ethnic groups and political persuasions expect greater things of their leaders.

“There could be no better gift to the people of South Sudan than a ceasefire that is respected on all sides and a sustainable peace agreement.”

Dec 122014

ACCRA, Ghana, December 12, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On behalf of the French Ambassador to Ghana, H.E Frederic Clavier, Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud CREZE, French Liaison Officer to Ghana, handed over some materials to Colonel DK Mensah, Director of Education at Burma Camp. The material amounts 14.000 dollars and will equip the six French Language Teaching centers. The ceremony took place at Burma Camp on Thursday 11th December.

The ceremony was also the opportunity for Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud CREZE and Majdah RACHIQ, Coordinator for French Teaching in Ghana, to reaffirm Ghana and France mutual will to develop French Language teaching in Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), and also to express their “sincere appreciation to the Military High command, the Director of Education and Instructors of the various French Language centers for their hard work and dedication to duties over the years”. On behalf of Chief of Defense Staff; Vice Admiral M Quashie, Colonel DK Mensah thanked the French government for the support.

The project Teaching French in the militaryis the result of the military cooperation between France and Ghana. It aims at encouraging and promoting the use of French language in the Ghana Armed Forces to facilitate their engagement alongside with the Armed Forces of the francophone countries, particularly as part of the peace keeping operations. Lieutenant Colonel Creze urged the personnel of GAF to “take the study of French language very seriously to enhance their capacity to work with their francophone counterparts”.

The project was initiatedin 2004 and allowed the setting-up of sixspecialized centers(in Burma Camp, MATS SOE and GMA cadets in Accra (Military Academy and Training School), Tamale, Kumasi, Sekondi).Every year, more than 150 students benefit from this training. France gives support to the teaching programme with pedagogical, material and training follow-up for instructors and military students. Teachers’ training is also completed in France at the CIFR (Regional Training Center for Joint forces in Rochefort). A specific course book have been designed by France to meet with the specific needs in terms of French Learning for the Military forces engaged in peace keeping operations. At the end of sessions, all students go through the certification exam DELF/DALF to provide them with a subsequent international recognition of their knowledge level in French.

Details of materials handed over:

- 100 coursebooks En avant 1

- 100 coursebooks En avant 2

- 46 books for Pedagogical French Language Teaching

- 3 Centers equipped with Internet Access

- 4 Centers equipped with French TV Channels

- 8 fully furnished computers for students

- 5 whiteboards

- 11 UPS

- 2 DVD players

- 1 printer

Dec 122014

ABUJA, Nigeria, December 12, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United States condemns in the strongest terms the December 11 twin bombing attack in the central Nigerian city of Jos that killed dozens of people and injured scores more.

Dec 122014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, December 12, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Merck (, a leading company for innovative and top-quality, high-tech products in the pharmaceutical, chemical and life science sectors, today announced that Ethiopia will receive around 13 million praziquantel tablets in 2015. Merck supports the World Health Organization (WHO) to fight the parasitic worm disease schistosomiasis in Africa. Praziquantel is the most effective treatment for schistosomiasis.


According to WHO, Ethiopia is one of the most endemic countries for schistosomiasis in the world. It is estimated that around 22 million people, which is more than 20% of the entire population, requires treatment. Since the start of the program around 1.4 million patients, primarily children, have been treated. “We have committed to continuing our efforts in Africa, in cooperation with WHO, until schistosomiasis is eliminated. In order to fulfill this commitment, we will donate 100 million praziquantel tablets to African countries in 2015. Ethiopia will be one of the main beneficiaries of this donation”, said Frank Gotthardt, Head of Public Affairs at Merck and responsible for the Merck Praziquantel Donation Program.

Yesterday, the first meeting of the Global Schistosomiasis Alliance took place at the UN Conference Centre in Addis Ababa. “This alliance will allow the different constituencies to engage in a coordinated approach to better address the challenges of meeting the elimination target”, commented Gotthardt. The round table discussions and first global schistosomiasis meeting took place during the neglected tropical diseases week being hosted by the Ethiopian government from December 8 to 12.

The Merck Praziquantel Donation Program was launched in 2007. Since then, more than 200 million tablets have been supplied and over 54 million children have been treated. Between 2011 and 2014, Merck’s annual donation has grown from 25 to about 75 million tablets. At the beginning of 2012, Merck announced that it will fight schistosomiasis until the disease has been eliminated in Africa. To reach this goal, the company will increase the annual donation of tablets up to 250 million in the medium term. The further scale-up of the program will allow the treatment of about 100 million children a year. The expanded Merck Praziquantel Donation Program will result in a financial commitment totaling around USD 23 million a year. In addition, Merck is also supporting awareness initiatives at African schools to explain the causes of schistosomiasis to children and teach them how to prevent the disease. Furthermore, Merck is conducting research on a pediatric formulation of praziquantel for preschool children within the scope of a public-private partnership. So far, praziquantel tablets can only be administered to children over the age of six.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Merck KGaA.

Media contact:

Willemijn Zaadnoordijk

Phone : +41 79 593 1741

More information on the fight against schistosomiasis can be found on the Merck website:

Merck ( is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical, chemical and life science sectors. With its four divisions Merck Millipore, Merck Serono, Performance Materials and Consumer Health, Merck generated total revenues of € 11.1 billion in 2013. Around 39,000 Merck employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to further the success of customers and to help meet global challenges. Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company – since 1668, the company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70% interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany is holding the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company is known as Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

Dec 122014

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 12, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM this week conducted a training course, funded by the European Union (EU), for ten police officers from Puntland State in Somalia at the Africa Capacity Building Centre (ACBC) in Moshi in Tanzania.

IOM is supporting the capacity building of the Puntland State and its civil society to address human trafficking. The training at the ACBC aims to increase the understanding of law enforcement personnel in human trafficking, often confused with smuggling, and improve their skills in case management, with a particular focus on child trafficking.

Since 2013 when IOM started focusing on Counter-Trafficking (CT) in Puntland, 21 children trafficked from the south central regions of Somalia, were assisted by the Puntland State and NGOs, with financial and technical support from IOM.

This training on human trafficking investigation skills will be followed up by secondment of an investigation expert who will provide local training to the police in order to support the process of establishing counter trafficking units.

In addition to the capacity building of its law enforcement personnel, IOM is helping Puntland State and the NGOs to conduct information campaigns to raise awareness of the general public in human trafficking and strengthen the referral process of victims to better access assistance, based on their gender, age and specific protection concerns, including gender-based violence.

Speaking during the training, the Head of Police Counter-Trafficking Unit in Puntland, Abdirahman Muse Ali said: “This training will enhance investigative and case management skills to better provide assistance to victims, but most importantly to effectively prosecute the perpetrators of human trafficking network cartels and other related transnational organized crimes in the region.”

ACBC is a training centre, which provides residential training on immigration and border management to African member states of IOM and is co-managed by both the Government of Tanzania and IOM. IOM’s Somalia counter trafficking and gender-based violence project is funded by the EU.