Category Archives: Africa

Cameroon: Islamists attack refugee camp

Islamist group Boko Haram is suspected to be responsible for killing of 15 people and leaving the other six wounded in a grenade attack on a camp for displaced people in northern Cameroon on Sunday,August 2, a local official told. The village is located in the Mozogo district, close to the Nigerian border in the Far North region.

In the early hours, assailants threw a grenade into a group of sleeping people inside the camp in the village of Nguetchewe, said district mayor, Medjeweh Boukar. At present the camp is hosting around 800 people, he said.

Boukar was informed by the camp residents that 15 people had died. A security official confirmed the attack and the death toll. The wounded were taken to a nearby hospital, they added. The image of mourners around a grave appeared on social media.

“The attackers arrived with a woman who carried the grenade into the camp,” Boukar said, underlinging that women and children were among the victims.

Over the past month there have been twenty incursions and attacks by suspected Islamist militants, Boukar said.

The other Boko Haram suspect attack took place in State Borno, Nigeria, on July 30.

Boko Haram has been fighting for a decade to establish an Islamic caliphate on the territory of Nigeria. «6 people killed, 27 wounded by 4 explosives fired into Borno state capital #Maiduguri, by suspected #BokoHaram insurgents yesterday 30 Jul, #Nigeria police reports. Attack, following failed attempt to invade army barracks 13 Jul, is 2nd major breach of city’s security in 3 weeks» wrote on his Twitter micro blog Nnamdi Obasi, the senior adviser for International Crisis group from Nigeria.

The violence, which has cost the lives of 30,000 people and displaced millions more, has frequently spilled over into neighbouring Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

Image above: social media

Namibia: no alcohol consumption in bars

Namibia has 2,129 confirmed cases and 10 deaths with the country’s rate of daily new cases now the fourth highest on the continent following South Africa, Eswatini and Gabon, according to President Hage Geingob announcement.
Subsequenly he imposed limits on public gatherings, deacreasing to 100 from 250 amid surging cases, the President announced.

People will also not be allowed to consume alcohol at bars and taverns. They will only be permitted to drink beverges at home.

Geingob relaxed rules for international tourists, who will no longer be subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival but will be required to present a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test conducted 72 hours before arrival.

They will, however, be required to remain at their initial destination in the country for seven days. A test will be conducted during this period and tourists can proceed with their holiday if the result is negative.

In a televised speech on Friday July 31, Geingob said there is also a decision to suspend schools from August 4 for 28 days came after considering the risks associated with the spread of the virus.

The measures also affect early childhood development, pre-primary, primary and the first two grades of high school, while Namibian schools will be suspended for the second time in four months next week.

Namibia has 2,129 confirmed cases and 10 deaths with the country’s rate of daily new cases now the fourth highest on the continent following South Africa, Eswatini and Gabon, according to Geingob.

De Beers diamond mining to cut jobs

Diamond mining company De Beers is likely to have to cut jobs, its chief executive said on Thursday July 30, as it outlined strategy for an overhaul of its business after the coronavirus pandemic crisis hit demand for jewellery.

De Beers earlier reported plunging earnings in the first half of 2020 as a drop in rough diamond sales and prices hurt margins.

Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were just $2 million in the period, down from $518 million in the first half of last year.

De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver told media official consultations with workers will begin on August 11. The business overhaul “is likely to lead to some job losses, but I can’t tell you at this point what that number will be”, he continued.

Cleaver said the process would last for three months and involve a review of the entire spectrum of activities from mining to rough sales, retail and the corporate centre, but exclude joint venture businesses in Botswana and Namibia where the miner employs 20,000 people.

Harare in lockdown amid public discontent

Zimbabwe’s two main cities – Harare and Bulawayo – have been in lockdown since July 31, Friday, patrolled by the secuiry forces in an attempt of government to prevent protests called by activists over corruption and rapidly degrading economic situation, causing unprecedented hardships.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s critics blame his government the return to the authoritarian methods of late Robert Mugabe, banning demonstrations, and abducting and arresting opponents.

Mnangagwa has responded that the protests constitute an attempt of “insurrection” by the opposition.

The leading ZANU-PF party this week branded the U.S. ambassador in Harare a “thug,” accusing him of funding protests.

In central Harare, the capital, banks, supermarkets, and businesses were shut as police and soldiers patrolled the streets.

A journalist in Bulawayo, the other main city, described a similar situation there, with some police patrolling on horseback. Businesses also stayed shut in Harare’s townships, including Mbare – an epicenter of protests in the past.

Public indignation is rising over an economic crisis marked by inflation running above 700%, shortages of foreign currency and public hospitals crippled by strikes and a lack of medicine.

More than a dozen activists sought by the police for promoting Friday’s protests were in hiding.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change spokeswoman Fadzayi Mahere and Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga separately said on social media they had been detained for protesting in their neighbourhood. Mahere posted a video of police advancing towards her and telling her to stop recording them. She later could not be reached for comment.

“The security situation in the country is calm and peaceful” police spokesman Paul Nyathi said.

«The Constitution of #Zimbabwe guarantees the right to peaceful protests; a right that @efie41209591, @advocatemahere and others exercised today. They should be released from police custody. #EU4HumanRights» reads the Tweet issued by EU delegation in Zimbabwe, calling for immediate release of Tsitsi Dangarembga,the award-winning novelist, and Fadzayi Mahere, the Consitutional lawyer.

Image above: social media

Botswana investigates elephants mysterious deaths

Preliminary laboratory tests explaining the reason for hundreds of mysterious elephant deaths in Botswana point to a naturally occurring toxin as a probable cause, a senior wildlife official said.

The government has sent samples to laboratories in Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the United States for tests.

It was highly unlikely that an infectious disease was behind the shocking deaths of at least 281 elephants, added Cyril Taolo, acting director of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.

Officials had been investigating to establish the cause of death more than two months after the first carcasses were spotted in the Okavango Panhandle region.

Initial investigations appeared to rule out common causes like poaching and anthrax.

We have received more test results from other countries including the United States, and so far the results show that it’s highly unlikely that the cause could be an infectious pathogen,” Taolo said.

Our main attention … is now on investigating broader environmental factors such as naturally produced toxins from bacteria that are found in the environment, such as water bodies.”

As of last week it had received results from bacterial detection and toxicology tests in Botswana, histopathology tests in South Africa, and bacterial detection and histopathology tests in Zimbabwe.

Taolo said toxicology results were expected from South Africa soon.

It’s a game of elimination where we start testing the most common causes and then move on to the less common ones. We then have to verify and corroborate these results from different laboratory tests. We are hoping to provide a more concrete update tomorrow,” he continued.

Africa’s overall elephant population is declining due to poaching but Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent’s elephants, has seen numbers grow to around 130,000.

The elephant deaths have concerned the conservationists, who fear deaths could spiral out of control if a cause cannot be established rapidly.

Uganda: 11 years in jail for killing gorilla

A poacher has been jailed for 11 years after he confessed to killing a rare mounteen silverback gorilla in Uganda last month.

The gorilla, named Rafiki, which means “friend” in Swahili — was part of the famed Nkuringo gorilla group that lives in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and is a legend among tourists across the world.

Rafiki was reported missing on June 1 and his mutilated body was found the next day inside the park.

A postmortem report revealed that Rafiki was injured by a sharp device to his abdomen and internal organs.

The poacher Byamukama Felix was arrested a few days later with bush pig meat and several hunting devices in his possession, authorities said.

Byamukama pleaded guilty to several charges, including killing a gorilla, entering a protected area and being in possession of illegal meat.
The convicted told authorities he killed Rafiki in self-defense when he went with a group to hunt in the park and they came across the group of gorillas. The silverback charged and he speared it, he said.

Three other men who were arrested with Felix remain in custody awaiting trial as they have pleaded not guilty.

Darfour: scores of killed and injured

Reports of killings of more than 60 people and nearly 60 others wounded during an armed attack in a village in Sudan’s fragile Darfur region on July 25, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

The attack in Masteri village in the West Darfur state “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,” the U.N. body announced in a statement. It did not reveal the source of its information.

There was no official word from the government on the incident and Reuters was not able to reach officials for comment.

Sudan authorities made clear they would deploy joint forces from various state security services in Darfur after renewed violence there recently, SUNA, the state news agency, reported.

The forces will be deployed to the region’s five states “to protect people and secure the agriculture season”, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said during a meeting in Khartoum with a delegation of women from Darfur.

The country’s Security and Defense Council has underlined the importance of “using the force necessary to save lives and property, confront all forms of lawlessness and support equal citizenship rights,” it said after a meeting on Sunday, July 26.

In a separate incident, at least 20 people died and 22 others were injured after gunmen from an unidentified militia attacked a village in the state of South Darfur, witnesses and a local community leader said during the weekend.

On Sunday,July 26, three people, including a woman, were killed during a renewed dispute between farmers and shepherds in the Al-Jarf area in North Darfur state, SUNA reported, adding that security forces intervened and separated the two sides.

Recent violence by militias in North Darfur prompted authorities to declare a state of emergency on July 13.

“The escalation of violence in different parts of Darfur region is leading to increased displacement, compromising the agricultural season, causing loss of lives and livelihoods and driving growing humanitarian needs,” the United Nations said.

The conflict started in Darfur, in the west of Sudan, in 2003 after mostly non-Arab rebels rose up against the Khartoum government. Government forces and mainly Arab militia, which moved to suppress the revolt, were accused of widespread atrocities.
According to different international official sources more than 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, according to U.N. estimates.

21:20 AMENDMENT:

Increased inter-communal violence in several parts of Darfur has claimed more than 60 lives in West Darfur in recent days. All violence must be prevented and the perpetrators of these acts must be brought to justice. These incidents further underscore the need for continued engagement to protect civilians in Sudan and to respond to local demands for security, accountability and protection. The EU stands ready to support the civilian-led transitional government in its efforts to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Sudanese people. Much of the EU’s development cooperation in Sudan focuses in particular on peripheral areas, in particular Darfur, in order to foster peace” the European External Actions Service spokesperson said, reacting upon evens in Darfour.

EU expresses concerns about Zimbabwe arrests

«Recent developments in Zimbabwe are deeply worrying. The work of human rights defenders, journalists, and civil society organisations is essential to support reforms that stand the test of time. Upholding constitutional rights is a principle which cannot be compromised» the European Union top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

A court ruled on July 24 that a journalist charged with inciting violence was a danger to the public and extended his detention until August, while the United Nations and the European Union expressed concern that authorities could be violating the fundamental freedoms.

Hopewell Chin’ono (pictured) and opposition politician Jacob Ngarivhume were arrested on July 20 on allegations of promoting planned protests against corruption in government on July 31, which police insisted degraded to violence.

Both arrested, who deny the charges, face up to 10 years imprisonment if convicted.

Chin’ono’s lawyer Doug Coltart said a Harare magistrate had ruled that the journalist “is a danger to the public because he has not yet completed his mission of inciting people to demonstrate on 31 July.”

Chin’ono, who has gained a following on social media by being critical of the government’s handling of the economy and corruption, told reporters as he was being taken to prison cells: “Journalism has been criminalised. The struggle against corruption should continue. People should not stop, they should carry on with it.”

He will be kept in prison until the next court hearing on August, Coltart said he would appeal the ruling extending his detention until that hearing.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement it was concerned by allegations that Zimbabwean authorities may be using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to clamp down on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

“Merely calling for a peaceful protest or participating in a peaceful protest are an exercise of recognised human rights,” it said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa imposed an overnight curfew and tighter restrictions on movement from July 22 to combat rising coronavirus infections. But activists say the measures are meant to stop the July 31 protests.

Image above: Hopewell Chin’ono Facebook page

Mali protestors occupy state buildigs

Mali’s opposition coalition members indicates that the security forces had raided their headquarters on Saturday July 11 in the wake of violent protests against the President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Social media Twitter and Facebook were restricted on Friday Internet blockage observatory NetBlocks said, and further the internet availability remained sporadic.

Police fired gunshots and tear gas to disperse protesters on Friday, July 10, in attempt to remove them from occupied parliament building and the state broadcaster as part of a civil disobedience campaign aimed at forcing President to resign for failing to resolve deteriorating security situation and economic hardships. 

https://twitter.com/farida_n/status/1281652690984943616?s=21

Security forces focused on the headquarters of CMAS, an opposition movement led by influential Muslim cleric Imam Mahmoud Dicko that is part of the M5-RFP opposition coalition.

“While our activists were in a meeting, they came and attacked and ransacked our headquarters,” M5-RFP spokesman Nouhoum Togo said. 

One protest leader, Issa Kaou Djim, has been detained and remains in custody, Togo said earlier. 

However, I would like to reassure our people once again of my desire to continue idialogue and reiterate my readiness to take all measures in my power with a view to calm the situation down,” he said late on Friday. 

The streets of Bamako appeared largely quiet following the protest. State television ORTM resumed broadcasting after going off air during the interference of the protestors.

https://twitter.com/thomasvlinge/status/1281670955589423104?s=21

However there is a general recommendation to avoid travelling during the weekend.

Five killed in Johannesburg hostage situation

Five people were killed and hostages were being held at a church west of Johannesburg, South African police said on July 11, Saturday.

Police announced in a statement that they were alerted to a “hostage situation and shooting” in the early hours of the morning at the International Pentecost Holiness Church in Zuurbekom.

Thirty arrests were made and more than 25 firearms seized, police wrote on Twitter microblog, adding hostage negotiators were still at the scene.

Police did not explain the reason behind hostages situation.

Television station eNCA suggested there had been a leadership dispute at the church and cited a church official as saying roughly 200 people had been taken hostage.

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