Africa

Regional News • Africa
Ship runs aground off Mauritius with fuel aboard
Ship runs aground off Mauritius with fuel aboard
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

A Chinese-flagged trawler containing 130 tonnes of oil ran aground off the Indian Ocean archipelago nation Mauritius. It is the second shipwreck in less than a year off Mauritius, after a tanker struck a reef in July and leaked 1,000 tonnes of fuel in the country's worst environmental disaster in history.

Fisheries Minister Sudheer Maudhoo said the captain of the Lurong Yuan Yu, a trawler flying the Chinese flag, issued distress calls late Sunday afternoon. By the time the government issued an urgent appeal for international help the slick had reached the shore, coating mangrove forests, fragile ecosystems and coral reefs. The disaster was unprecedented for Mauritius, an archipelago of 1.3 million people where many derive their livelihood from tourism and fishing, and tens of thousands marched in protest over the government's handling of the crisis.

Regional News • Africa
Italian ambassador to DRC killed during attack on World Food Programme field mission
Luca Attanasio
Luca Attanasio Credit: Italian Embassy in DRC (Public Domain)

Luca Attanasio, Italy's ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been killed in an armed attack.

According to diplomatic sources in Kinshasa, the ambassador to his injuries on Monday after an attack on a World Food Programme convoy near the city of Goma in the east of the country.

A policeman from the escort and the driver also died.

Regional News • Africa
Guinea: First Ebola outbreak since 2016 kills at least three

In Guinea at least three people died of the Ebola virus in the past weeks. These are the first reported cases of Ebola since the country was declared Ebola-free in 2016.

"The government reassures the people that all measures are being taken to stem this epidemic as soon as possible," Guinean minister of health Rémy Lamah.

Regional News • Africa
Uganda's long-term ruler Museveni declared winner, opponent speaks of "manipulation"

Uganda's longtime President Yoweri Museveni has been elected for a sixth term with nearly 59 percent of the vote, according to the state election commission. Museveni's main rival, Bobi Wine, received just under 35 percent of the vote, the electoral commission said Saturday.

Thursday's presidential and parliamentary elections were preceded by one of the most violent election campaigns in years. At least 54 people died, government critics were intimidated or jailed, and journalists who had covered opposition events were attacked. On election day itself, a massive security force ensured calm, and the Internet has been blocked ever since.

Regional News • Africa
Uganda shuts down internet ahead of general election
Uganda shuts down internet ahead of general election
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Real-time network data shows that national internet connectivity in Uganda has fallen to 33% of ordinary levels following a government order to shut down the internet for the general population ahead of the general elections.

Regional News • Africa
South Africa: 1 million Coronavirus cases
South Africa: 1 million Coronavirus cases
Credit: NIAID, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

South Africa has surpassed 1 million cases of the Coronavirus. The new and more contagious strain 501.V2 is spreading more dominantly in many areas of the resurgence, experts say.

“We are not helpless in the face of this variant,” infectious disease specialist, Dr Richard Lessells told Associated Press. “We can change our behaviour to give the virus less opportunities to spread.”

Regional News • Africa
South Africa: New Coronavirus strain, unrelated to UK strain

Another new variant of the coronavirus was discovered in South Africa that is unrelated to the one found in the UK. The new strain, known as 501.V2, is causing a rise in new infections in the country.

Professor Salim Abdool Karim, chairman of the government’s Ministerial Advisory Committee: “It is still very early but at this stage, the preliminary data suggests the virus that is now dominating in the second wave is spreading faster than the first wave.”

Regional News • Africa
Amnesty international: 54 dead after Ethiopia massacre

After a massacre carried out by rebels in western Ethiopia on Sunday, survivors have counted 54 bodies in a schoolyard, according to Amnesty International.

The attack deliberately targeted the ethnic Amhara minority. The prime minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, has denounced the attack and stated that security forces had been sent to the area and "started taking measures".

Regional News • Africa
American hostage held in Nigeria rescued by US forces
American hostage held in Nigeria rescued by US forces
Credit: gregwest98 (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

An American abducted in Niger on Monday and taken to Nigeria has been rescued by the US Navy's elite SEAL Team 6.

Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman: "U.S. forces conducted a hostage rescue operation during the early hours of 31 October in Northern Nigeria to recover an American citizen held hostage by a group of armed men. This American citizen is safe and is now in the care of the U.S. Department of State. No U.S military personnel were injured during the operation."

Regional News • Africa
Côte d’Ivoire: "Stop to a third term" – Anti-Ouattara Rally joined by opposition leaders
Tweet reads: "Supporters of Ivory Coast's Coast opposition coalition parties hold signs during a stadium rally to protest against president Alassane Ouattara's bid for a third term in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, October 10, 2020. The front sign reads: "Stop to a third term".
Tweet reads: "Supporters of Ivory Coast's Coast opposition coalition parties hold signs during a stadium rally to protest against president Alassane Ouattara's bid for a third term in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, October 10, 2020. The front sign reads: "Stop to a third term". Credit: @Cropperboyce via Twitter (Reproduction)

Opposition leaders have joined thousands of opposition supporters to protest President Alassane Ouattara's plan to seek a third term in the Oct. 31 presidential election. People held banners that said "The people say no to an illegal third term" and "Stop to a third term".

Ouattara has been in power for almost a decade and has announced he'd run for a third term after his chosen successor's sudden death.

Regional News • Africa
Malawai: President reverses his campaign promise to create one million jobs

President Lazarus Chakwera has reversed his campaign promise to create one million jobs. He justified his action by saying that the government could only employ 200,000 people and could not create more jobs on its own. Chakwera calls on every entrepreneur to employ more people.

Critics have accused Chakwera that he had no job creation plan and that his promise was nothing more than a campaign strategy.

Regional News • Africa
Mali appoints retired colonel Bah Ndaw as interim president

After the military coup that deposed former president Boubacar Keïta, Mali appointed the Bah Ndaw as interim president until elections in 2022. Ndaw, a former Defence Minister and retired colonel, will have Colonel Assimi Goita as vice president.

The junta of Mali has come under intense pressure from leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to return power to civilians after the coup on August 18. It is still not clear if a government led by Ndaw would satisfy ECOWAS conditions to avoid economic sanctions and even a total embargo on the landlocked country.

Regional News • Africa
Zimbabwe: Coal mining banned in national parks
Elephants at a water hole in the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Elephants at a water hole in the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe Credit: JackyR / Wikimedia Commons

Zimbabwe banned coal mining in all national parks. Previously the country allowed two Chinese firms to explore for coal in the country's biggest national park Hwange. The decision came after campaigners, in an effort to prevent "ecological degradation" in parks, took the government to court.

Numerous species live in the national parks, including 40,000 elephants and the endangered black rhino.

"Steps are being undertaken to immediately cancel all mining titles held in national parks," Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said as she announced the ban. The ban is effective with immediate effect.

Regional News • Africa
Mozambique: State of Emergency to be lifted on September 7th

The state of emergency in Mozambique will be lifted on Monday, September 7th. President Filipe Nyusi makde the announcement on TV on Friday, saying: “We are proud of the measures we have taken that have allowed the spread of the disease to be contained.”

Regional News • Africa
Zimbabwe bans expelling pregnant women from school
Zimbabwe bans expelling pregnant women from school
Credit: SuSanA Secretariat (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Schools in Zimbabwe are not allowed anymore to expel pupils who get pregnant. Women's rights campaigners said this would help tackle gender inequality in schools and stop many girls from dropping out of school.

Cain Mathema, the education minister in charge of schools, has stated that "I'm expecting every parent and guardian and everyone else to understand that every child must be assisted by all of us to go to school" as many parents of pregnant girls, or the girls themselves, decide to quit schooling due to the pregnancy, and schools do not always do enough to encourage them to stay.

Regional News • Africa
Mali: Military forces announce new elections "after a reasonable period of time" following coup

Mali's Air Force Chief Ismail Wague, on behalf of a "National Committee for the Rescue of the People", announced the military's plan for new elections "after a reasonable period of time" during a TV address. "We do not want to hold on to power, but to the stability of the country," said the General. Mali should be equipped with "strong institutions" that would restore the people's confidence in their government. A transitional government should be appointed and new elections organized.

Regional News • Africa
Mali's president is detained and resigns
Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta
Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta Credit: Photo Claude TRUONG-NGOC (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta has resigned the presidency of Mali after being detained by soldiers. Keïta addressed the nation and stated he was also dissolving the government and the parliament.

The resignation came hours after Keïta and the former Prime Minister Boubou Cissé were taken to a military camp.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the African Union, condemned news of the arrests, in a tweet: "I strongly condemn the arrest of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the Prime Minister and other members of the Malian Government and call for their immediate release."

Regional News • Africa
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia resume talks over management of Ethiopian Nile dam
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia resume talks over management of Ethiopian Nile dam
Credit: Hailefida (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Under the leadership of the African Union the three in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) involved countries Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt have announced that they'll continue negotiations over the management of the dam.

The water and foreign ministers of the countries have agreed "to work on unifying the texts of the agreements submitted by the three countries" according to the water ministry of Sudan.

Regional News • Africa
Malawi: Masks now mandatory in public places

Malawi has made masks mandatory in public places starting Friday night. Violations will be fined $15. Activists are urging the government to provide free masks. The government has also closed all shops located near hospitals and forbid public gatherings. Malawi has around 100 confirmed daily cases.

Regional News • Africa
Somalia: Suicide bomber attack on Mogadishu military base, at least 8 dead
Somalia: Suicide bomber attack on Mogadishu military base, at least 8 dead
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

A suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden car at the gates of the military base "12th April Army Brigade" in Mogadishu, Somalia. Officials have reported the death of 8 people so far and over a dozen injured. The base is located near the newly reopened stadium in the Warta-Nabadda district.

The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabaab militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Regional News • Africa
Côte d'Ivoire: President Alassane Outtara will run for third term
President of the Ivory Coast Alassane Ouattara, 2017
President of the Ivory Coast Alassane Ouattara, 2017 Credit: U.S. Department of State from United States / Public domain

Côte d'Ivoire President Alassane Outtara said he will run for re-election in October. Outtara has already served the maximum of two terms. Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly was supposed to be his successor for the upcoming election, but he died earlier this month.

Outtara went on television and said: "Faced with this case of force majeure and out of civic duty, I have decided to respond favourably to the call of my fellow citizens asking me to be a candidate in the presidential election of 31 October 2020."

The opposition has condemned this move and pointed out that the constitution forbids a third term.

Regional News • Africa
Zimbabwe: Shortage of health workers, drugs and equipment
Main entrance Mbuma Mission Hospital
Main entrance Mbuma Mission Hospital Credit: Dingeman / Public domain

Zimbabwe is facing a shortage of health care workers, basic drugs and medical equipment. Medical staff reports of being overburdened, overworked and underpaid. Amid rising Coronavirus cases and health care crisis, the capital Harare reports seven stillbirths in one week.

Regional News • Africa
South Africa: Over half a million confirmed Coronavirus cases
Ambulance responding to Covid-19 cases in Durban, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.
Ambulance responding to Covid-19 cases in Durban, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Credit: Khethukuthula Mbonambi / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

On Saturday, 10107 new Coronavirus cases were reported in South Africa. This brings the total of Coronavirus cases of the country to over half a million, confirmed by health minister Zwelini Mkhize.

28000 additional hospital beds were made available but the country does not have enough doctors and medical staff.

Regional News • Africa
Botswana: Capital under two-week lockdown due to rise in Coronavirus cases
Botswana: Capital under two-week lockdown due to rise in Coronavirus cases
Credit: Brandon Gregory / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Botswana's capital Gaborone was placed under a 14-day lockdown again as Coronavirus infections doubled in the past week. Dr. Lemogang Kwape, the country's health minister, said this was a necessary move as the capital was experiencing a "worrying rise" of infections. The lockdown started Friday. People, except essential workers, will need temporary permits to move around.

Dr. Lemogang Kwape said: "During the course of this week the disease has taken an unexpected turn. This now requires that we place the greater Gaborone zone under lockdown for a minimum period of two weeks to enable us to contain the disease."

Regional News • Africa
Namibia: Rise of coronavirus cases, schools ordered to close again
Hage Gottfried Geingob
Hage Gottfried Geingob Credit: Kremlin (Public Domain)

Namibia is reporting rising numbers of Coronavirus infections, recording 2129 cases on Saturday. To curb the spread of the virus, schools will close again on August 4th for 28 days. Namibian President Hage Geingob said this was a necessary move to "eliminate the risks associated with the spread of the virus." Public gatherings will be reduced from 250 to 100 people and liquor will not be served at bars or taverns.

Regional News • Africa
Zimbabwe: Tsitsi Dangarembga arrested in anti-government protests
Zimbabwe: Tsitsi Dangarembga arrested in anti-government protests
Credit: David Clarke, Ayebia / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Author and Booker Prize nominee Tsitsi Dangarembga has been arrested during anti-corruption demonstrations in Harare, Zimbabwe. She was arrested alongside other protestors after the government called the protests a "planned insurrection". The police also warned that protestors "only have themselves to blame" when attending the banned demonstrations.

Dangarembga has been documenting the demonstration and her arrest on Twitter. She told the BBC: "Every sector is disintegrating. Health, education, the economy. I am concerned for my safety. It would be naïve not to be because we have a very repressive regime and we know that they will most likely be deployed against the people. This is one of the grievances that the people have, that the security forces, the security service is often deployed against the people, instead of being deployed for the protection of the people."

Regional News • Africa
Sudan: 60+ people killed in armed attack in Darfur region
Sudan: 60+ people killed in armed attack in Darfur region
Credit: Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports an armed attack in the Masteri village near the Darfur region in Sudan. Over 60 people were killed, further 60 wounded. The Sudanese government has not reported nor commented on the attack.

The U.N. statement added that this attack "was one of the latest of a series of security incidents reported over the last week that left several villages and houses burned, markets and shops looted, and infrastructure damaged."

Regional News • Africa
Tanzania: Former President Benjamin Mkapa dies aged 81
The late Benjamin William Mkapa, third President of Tanzania, during World Economic Forum on Africa 2010.
The late Benjamin William Mkapa, third President of Tanzania, during World Economic Forum on Africa 2010. Credit: Copyright World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org)/Photo by Aly Ramji / Mediapix / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Benjamin Mkapa, the former President of Tanzanzia, has died at age 81. The news were broadcasted by Tanzania’s president John Pombe Magufuli alongside a declaration of a seven-day national mourning period.

Mkapa led from 1995 to 2005 and was the leader of regional peace mediation efforts. He also played a part in the ending of the post-election violence in Kenya in 2007.

Regional News • Africa
South Africa: Schools to close again over Coronavirus surge
School children from KwaMangqakaza Primary School receiving school uniforms that were donated by a good Samaritan. South African schools are expected to begin a phased re-opening from the 1st of June 2020.
School children from KwaMangqakaza Primary School receiving school uniforms that were donated by a good Samaritan. South African schools are expected to begin a phased re-opening from the 1st of June 2020. Credit: Khethukuthula Mbonambi / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Most of South African public schools will close again for a month. The schools year will be extended into 2021, affecting over 14 million pupils. The country has reported over 400,000 cases in total and has seen rising Coronavirus infections.

President Ramaphose said on Thursday: "We have taken a deliberately cautious approach to keep schools closed during a period when the country is expected to experience its greatest increase in infections. I am aware that this arrangement that I’ve just announced will disappoint many learners who want to be back at school and may cause inconvenience and difficulty for many families who need to make alternative child care arrangements. We ask you to do this because we believe it is important to ensure that schools do not become sites of transmission at a time when infections are rising fast."

Regional News • Africa
Malawi: Nine jailed over wildlife crimes
Malawi: Nine jailed over wildlife crimes
Credit: Save-Elephants / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Nine members (seven Chinese nationals, two Malawians) of a Chinese wildlife trafficking gang were found guilty of trafficking protected animal species and parts. These parts include ivory, rhino horns and pangolin scales. Each member will have to serve seven years in jail and will be deported upon release.