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Three-Year-Drought Pushes 1.5 Million People Into Hunger In Southern Madagascar

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UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) says a three-year drought in southern Madagascar has pushed 1.5 million people – over half of the population – into crisis and in need of emergency food and nutrition assistance.

Those affected include 75,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women. Also, 100,000 children aged under 5 are in danger of acute malnutrition with about 19,000 appearing to be in a ‘severe’ situation.

The WFP said the number of people in need of assistance had tripled in the past few months.

In the worst-hit area of Amboasary, three-quarters of children have dropped out of school to help their parents look for food.

Some people are exchanging essential household items, such as cooking utensils, for food.

The WFP said about $35m is needed to avert catastrophe in the area in the coming months

WFP’s Aina Andrianalizaha, who is visiting affected areas, said people are digging into the sand to find water “but rarely find any”, adding that “they have to walk several kilometres from their villages or hamlets to fetch water”

She added: “They can no longer plant and have, as a result, come to offer to exchange their scarce cooking utensils for a piece of cassava.”

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Ethiopian Forces Capture Tigray’s Capital In Final Offensive

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Ethiopian forces have captured Mekelle, the Tigrayan capital.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced this in tweets on Saturday, as he said the “Tigrayan criminals” will now be hunted by the Federal Police.

Ahmed on Friday met African envoys in Addis Ababa and reiterated that civilians in the region will not be harmed in the final offensive.

“I am pleased to share that we have completed and ceased the military operations in the #Tigray region.

“Our focus now will be on rebuilding the region and providing humanitarian assistance while Federal Police apprehend the TPLF clique.”

He said the town is now under the control of National Defence Forces, as humanitarian assistance will be provided to inhabitants of the region.

Recall that Ethiopia earlier announced that a Tigrayan town, Wikro, 50km north of Mekelle has been captured.

Tigray officials are yet to react to the Prime Minister’s claims as the region has been cut off from internet and phone access.

Both forces have been at daggers drawn since the 4th of November when Ethiopia accused Tigrayan forces of attacking state properties.

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Gunmen Kill Police Officer, Kidnap Chinese In Nigeria’s Ekiti State

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Some unknown assailants have abducted a Chinese expatriate in Nigeria’s southwest Ekiti State.

The Police in the state confirmed the incident happened in the capital, Ado Ekiti, on Friday, adding that a police officer was killed by the gunmen.

The abductee was one of the engineers working with the Chinese company handling the new Ado-Iyin road.

The Command Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Sunday Abutu, who confirmed the incident to newsmen on telephone, said the incident occurred around 4:30 p.m. along the new Ado Ekiti-Iyin Ekiti road.

He said that the abducted Chinese was one of the Engineers handling the new road network project awarded by the present administration.

Abutu said that aside from the late police officer, one other person was also shot at the scene of the incident.

“It is confirmed that a kidnapping incident occurred today at about 4:30 p.m. along new Iyin-Ekiti road.

“During the incident, one civilian, an expatriate, was kidnapped, one shot, while one policeman was shot dead.

“Our operatives are already combing the bush for possible apprehension of the perpetrators,” he said.

Abutu said that the Commissioner of Police in Ekiti, Mr Babatunde Mobayo, urged the public to be calm in spite of the incident.

“He also enjoined them to avoid any form of apprehension as the Command would do all within its powers to ensure freedom for the kidnapped expatriate and bring the culprits to book,” he said.

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