Africa This Week: DARFUR TRIBAL CLASHES

3,000 Year Old Ancient City Unearthed in Egypt

MONDAY

IMO PRISON BREAK
On Monday, a correctional service facility in the south-eastern state of Imo in Nigeria was attacked and 1,844 inmates were freed.
A suspected fleeing inmate was killed during the attack which lasted for about three hours.
The gunmen reportedly set ablaze the correctional facility, and burnt the vehicles in sight parked at the command headquarters.
Eye witnesses say the attackers sang solidarity songs close to the government house for about 30 minutes before finally attacking the facilities.

NIGER ATTACK
In neighbouring Niger, a twin terror attack killed four soldiers in the south-eastern region of the country.
The Defence Ministry said the attack, which came a day after President Mohamed Bazoum was sworn in, was carried out by heavily armed attackers from a neighbouring Nigeria, where groups linked to Boko Haram are active.
The Ministry noted “several terrorists” had been killed in a simultaneous attack against military positions on Saturday, two days earlier.

DARFUR TRIBAL CLASHES
In East Africa, eighteen people were killed and 54 others wounded following tribal clashes in Sudan’s Darfur region.
West Darfur Doctor’s Committee remarked that the ambulance conveying the injured for medical care to Al-Jeneina Teaching Hospital was attacked in the heat of the violence.
West Darfur Doctor’s Committee, is part of a nationwide independent body formed in 2016 representing the medical community.

LIBYA
Same Monday, the European Union called for the exit of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya, in what it described as a “precondition” for a return to stability in the oil-rich country.
EU Council President, Charles Michel urged Libya’s political and armed factions to build a united, sovereign, stable and prosperous country.
The EU is supporting efforts at national reconciliation, following years of chaos since the U.S. and its allies induced the overthrow and assassination of the country’s president, Moammar Gaddafi in 2011.

ZIMBABWE AND THE COMMONWEALTH OF NATIONS
In southern Africa, Zimbabwe’s attempt to rejoin the Commonwealth of Nations nears completion as re-engagement efforts continue to bear fruits.
The country is already in the second stage of the application process.
In May 2018, President Emerson Mnangagwa wrote to the Commonwealth secretary-general Patricia Scotland expressing Zimbabwe’s willingness to return to the group after almost two decades of isolation.
The Commonwealth, a voluntary association of 54 independent and equal countries with 2.4 billion people, initiated a four-step process to assess Zimbabwe’s suitability to regain membership.
The new administration led by Mnangagwa is opening Zimbabwe for business and eager to end the isolation of the country on the global stage.

TUESDAY

DARFUR’S STATE OF EMERGENCY
On Tuesday Sudan declared a state of emergency in West Darfur state, following ethnic clashes that left no less than 40 people dead and thousand others displaced.
At least 40 people were killed after violence broke out between Arab groups and the non-Arab Massalit ethnic community in the city of El Geneina.
UN Humanitarian Affairs Agency, OCHA said the situation remains tense in the town as the clashing sides continue to mobilize their forces.
Humanitarian operations have since been suspended and the humanitarian flights have been cancelled until the security situation improves.

BURKINA FASO INSURGENCY
Staying on security matters, eight people were killed in the latest attack in Burkina Faso.
Three police personnel and five members of a civilian anti-terrorist force were killed when Joint units of gendarmes and Volunteers for the Defence of the Motherland came under attack in Gourma province.
The attack was confirmed by security sources who said the joint patrol was attacked by several dozen men on motorbikes.

RWANDA TO THE WORLD
Staying in East Africa, Rwanda continues to put its name on the world map, for good reasons too.
Zipline, arguably the world’s largest drone delivery service for medical supplies founded in Rwanda announced a partnership with Toyota Tsusho Corporation, a member of the Toyota Group.
This will see the Zipline model rolled out in Japan, delivering medical supplies to even remote parts of the country.
While the firm is owned by American investors, the concept was first tested in Rwanda before being rolled out in other countries.
The firm covers about 260 health centres in Rwanda with an aim to reach 700. It made a name and caught international headlines by becoming the first firm to deliver critical medical supplies on demand using drones.

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COVID-19 VACCINE
A report by the World Bank on Tuesday estimated that Africa requires about $12 billion to buy and distribute enough coronavirus vaccines to interrupt transmission of the virus.
A paper written with the International Monetary Fund also argues that G-20 countries should extend their moratorium on debt repayments offered to the world’s poorest countries.
There are suggestions this should be done for another year, in response to the pandemic.

TUNISIAN ELECTIONS
In North Africa, former Tunisian president, Moncef Marzouki made calls for early elections to help solve the country’s political and economic crises.
President Marzouki said early presidential and parliamentary elections may be an adventure, but the adventure may include some hope.
The former president noted the current situation could further erode the State’s role and worsen the healthcare crisis and poverty.
Tunisia has been embroiled in one challenge or the other since January 16, when Prime Minister Hicham Mechichi announced a Cabinet reshuffle, but President Kais Saied is yet to swear-in the new Ministers.

WEDNESDAY

WORLD HEALTH DAY
Wednesday was World Health Day. Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Ghebreyesus stressed the need to end inequalities in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
He also made calls for urgent action to improve health for all.

MOMBASA-MALINDI ROAD MISHAP
Still on Wednesday in East Africa, at least 15 people died in a road accident along the Mombasa-Malindi road in Kenya’s coastal region.
A government official confirmed that about 20 others were injured following the early morning head-on collision involving two passenger buses. Both drivers died on the spot.
A video has been shared of the mangled wreckage of the two vehicles, with civilians assisting to carry the injured and the dead onto rescue vehicles.
Eyewitnesses remarked that the road section where the accident occurred had been under construction.

MOZAMBIQUE UNREST
Moving on to Southern Africa now, where Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi ruled out foreign military intervention to deal with the growing terrorist conflict in the north of the country.
He instead called for strengthening of the country’s defence and security forces.
Displaced people in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province have received support from the UNHCR after a recent attack by insurgents on the coastal town of Palma.
This comes after attacks forced at least 11,000 people to flee Palma with thousands more reportedly trapped inside the area.
UNHCR, the UN refugee agency has warned that this number could cross the million mark by June this year if the ongoing violence does not stop.

IMO PRISON BREAK UPDATE
And now for an update on the Imo prison break.
More than 80 inmates who fled the Owerri Custodial Centre voluntarily returned on wednesday.
A source at the Nigerian Correctional Service disclosed that those who returned were mainly on awaiting trial, those who have less prison term and those who were about to complete their terms.
None of the hardened and condemned inmates who escaped returned. Gunmen whom the police say are members of the Indigenous People of Biafra attacked the Correctional facility and freed 1,844 inmates two days earlier on Monday.

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GLOBAL FOOTBALL
And finally on Wednesday, FIFA banned Chad from global football until further notice over government interference in the running of the Central African country’s football federation.
The move came after the Minister of Youth and sports’ dissolution of Chad’s Football Associations in March.
The Confederation of African Football disqualified the national team from last month’s final two rounds of qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations shortly after the announcement of the dissolution.
An official statement says the Bureau of the FIFA Council may lift the suspension at any time before the next FIFA Congress in May takes place.

THURSDAY

WFP SLASHES FOOD RATIONS TO FILL FUNDING GAP
On Thursday, in East Africa, the World Food Program decided to cut food rations for nearly 700,000 refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in South Sudan due to significant funding gaps.
WFP Representative and Country Director in South Sudan, Matthew Hollingworth, said the refugees and IDPs will receive 50 percent of a full ration, down from 70 per cent.
A full ration provides 2,100 kilocalories per person and 50 percent is 1,050 kilocalories.
WFP made urgent calls for $125 million to meet its food assistance operations needs for the next six months to provide food in sufficient quantities.

KENYA ENTERS THE ARMS MANUFACTURING MARKET
Staying in East Africa, Kenya on Thursday unveiled a firearms factory located at Ruiru, Kiambu County.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said the ammunition plant would manufacture small arms, with plans to expand to midrange firearm production in the next five years.
Kenyatta added that the plant has already shipped 12,000 assault rifles.
He explained that Kenya joined the arms-manufacturing trade to reduce importation costs, coupled with the desire to locally produce ammunition customized for Kenyan security operations.
President Kenyatta is optimistic Kenya would be a regional and international small and midrange firearms supplier, with plans underway to expand another ammunition plant in Eldoret.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING
And to Uganda now where police rescued 29 Burundian girls and arrested five suspects involved in a human-trafficking racket in the east African country.
Police spokesperson for criminal investigations directorate, Charles Twiine, said the Burundian girls were rescued while in transit to other countries for sex trade.
He added that the suspects will be arraigned in court to answer to charges of human trafficking.
Trafficking of girls is one of the dehumanizing crimes that is associated with sexual and labor exploitation.

FIGHTING TERRORISM
Still on thursday, Egypt and Uganda signed a memorandum of understanding on intelligence sharing to fight terrorism in eastern and northern Africa.
Uganda’s Military Intelligence Chief, Abel Kandiho, said the agreement will see both countries share resourceful intelligence on a regular basis, which is key to combating terrorism and other crimes.
Sameh Saber El-Degwi, head of an Egyptian delegation currently in Uganda, underscored the importance of cooperation between the two sides.
The Egyptian delegation is in Uganda for a four-day visit.

TUBERCULOSIS IN NAMIBIA
That same day, Namibia’s Ministry of Health and Social Services launched the Tuberculosis Preventive Therapy campaign under the theme Where is my TPT?
The campaign, launched in Windhoek, is aimed at combating tuberculosis mostly among people living with HIV.
The event was officiated by Health Executive Director, Ben Nangombe, who said Namibia is classified as one of the countries with the highest tuberculosis burdens in the world.
He added that the ministry has considered ways of defeating the pandemic so that they can save people from the illnesses and dying.

FRIDAY
MOZAMBIQUE AFTER THE PALMA ATTACK
Moving on to Friday, in Southern Africa, the regional body, the Southern African Development Community said it is committed to finding lasting solutions to the insurgency in Mozambique.
That came after the emergency talks on how to respond to the growing threat from militants in the north of the country.
The body also directed the immediate deployment of SADC’s Organ technical to Mozambique.
Meanwhile, thousands of Mozambicans are struggling with trauma and devastating loss after continued attacks in Cabo Delgado province.
Civilians have been arriving in Pemba, Nangade, Mueda and Montepuez by foot, road, and boat since 24 March, in the aftermath of the attack on Palma.

DAADAB AND KAKUMA CAMPS
On Friday, the United Nations Refugee Agency proposed to the Kenyan government an alternative set of measures aimed at identifying solutions for refugees living in the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps.
These include enhanced voluntary repatriation in safety and dignity, while taking into account the movement restrictions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The UN also suggested resettlement to third countries for a small number of refugees who were not able to return home and face protection risks.
UNHCR also proposed acceleration of the issuing of national ID cards to over 11,000 Kenyans who had previously been identified as registered in the refugee database.

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DJIBOUTI DECIDES
And we move to Djibouti where voting started on Friday as incumbent President Ismail Omar Guelleh is seeking a fifth term.
More than 200,000 voters were expected to cast the ballots before polls close at 19:00 local time.
President Guelleh has led the country for 22 years.
All major opposition parties have boycotted the election terming it a sham.
NAIROBI SUICIDE
Staying in east Africa, a senior official of the United States Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya was found dead in his hotel room, in what is believed to be a suicide.
Local newspapers reported that the unidentified officer’s body was found hanging in the room hours, after he failed to report to work on Wednesday.
The police said a suicide note was found near the man’s bed, insisting that investigations will determine whether he authored it.
The body was transferred to a mortuary in Nairobi as authorities launched a probe into the incident.
ARCHEOLOGICAL BREAKTHROUGH
And finally on Africa weekly, An Egyptian archeological mission discovered a 3000-year-old “Lost Gold City” in the city of Luxor.
The Egyptian mission, headed by renowned Egyptian archeologist Zahi Hawass, in collaboration with Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, found the city that was lost under the sand.
The city which was known as “The Rise of Aten,” dated back to the reign of Amenhotep the third and continued to be used by king Tutankhamun.
Terming the discovery as the largest city ever found in Egypt, Hawass explained that the LGC was founded by one of the greatest rulers of Egypt, king Amenhotep the third, who ruled Egypt from 1391 till 1353 B.C.
The Egyptian mission, which started working on the discovery in September 2020, found the well-preserved city with almost complete walls, and with rooms filled with tools of daily life.

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