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C.A.R Rebel Groups Reject Peace Deal

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The alliance of Central African armed groups that control a large swath of the country will not make concessions to the government and UN troops in spite of the president’s call for national reconciliation, its spokesman said.

The naturally endowed country has been mired in sectarian violence since the ouster of President Francois Bozize in 2013.

Pro-Bozize militias clashed with the coalition forces, killing and displacing thousands.

Fighting was renewed after Muslim-backed President Faustin-Touadera narrowly won a new term in December.

Touadera and UN peacekeepers say Bozize is backing the rebels, although he denies it.

The president called for a return to peace after the nation’s top court certified his victory in mid-January.

“As long as Touadera continues calling us terrorists, warmongers and [saying] that he would continue fighting us in the extreme, that is not for peace, that is not for dialogue…

“We will continue our operations as previewed until successful completion,” Aboubacar Ali, a spokesman for the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), said.

The coalition was formed in November from six major rebel groups and is in talks on adding another one.

The government and UN forces have recently won several victories against the militias, stopping them from choking off the capital Bangui, and recapturing the southern city of Bangassou.

Siddick Ali said that CPC was unfazed by this string of defeats and was not intimidated by the plans of the 13,000-troop UN peacekeeping force MINUSCA to bring in reinforcements, which were announced after seven peacekeepers were killed in clashes in less than a month.

“We don’t want to fight against MINUSCA, every time it is MINUSCA who search to fight and to create a clash… If they want to increase the number of troops, it’s their right.

“We have a mission to accomplish,” the CPC spokesman said.

Resurging violence has triggered another mass exodus, compounding an already severe refugee crisis.

Humanitarian organisations have been forced to suspend much-needed aid.

MINUSCA said it held Bozize and allied militias responsible for the “serious consequences on the civilian population.”

Siddick Ali argued that militias were not targeting civilians, in spite of the UN arguments to the contrary.

He said the alliance’s main goal was to bring democracy to the African nation and repair the country’s war-torn “social tissue.”

“CPC has an order not to touch civilians; we don’t want to go walking on the dead… We need to find a solution and have legitimate power,” he said.

Siddick Ali claimed that CPC had a large grassroots support, as only every other citizen could cast their vote in last month’s elections.

The country faces a no less tumultuous legislative election on Feb. 7.

“Those who support us are bigger in numbers than those who voted for Touadera… We will make him resign from his post and then organize a transition in order to well prepare for future elections.

“We will find a way for all the Central Africans to agree,” the spokesman said.

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Africa’s Largest University Hospital Opens in Tangier

Africa’s largest university hospital, Tangier University Hospital with a capacity of 865 beds has opened in Morocco’s coastal city, Tangier.

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Africa’s largest university hospital, Tanger University Hospital – a 71,000 sqm healthcare facility with 865 beds capacity has opened in Morocco’s coastal city, Tangier.

The hospital, built by Morocco’s Health Ministry – Ministere de la Sante’ (MDS) at a cost of $130 million will help ease pressure on the northern regions’ hospitals.

Tangier is Morocco’s second-largest industrial hub, strategic port, and trade centre with a burgeoning population due to large-scale investments in industry, services, and transport.

The edifice shows two prominent semi-circular volumes linked by glazed pedestrian links and surrounded by planted green courts. Its facade features angled sun-shading fins and peculiar aesthetics that make the building respond to its climatic context.

The port is the largest on the Mediterranean and in Africa by capacity. connecting over 170 ports in 77 countries.

This is outstanding especially for Tangier, which has been one of the worst-hit Moroccan cities by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The 865-bed university hospital covers 4 floors, and comprises 15 surgical rooms and a unit for victims of fire accidents.

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Egypt to Host Second Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development

The first edition of the forum held in December 2019. Against the framework of the COVID-19 pandemic, participants will explore stimulating conversations on Post-Conflict Reconstruction & Development (PCRD), Forced Displacement, Sustainable Energy, Climate Change & Security, Resilience of State Institutions among others. It will deliberate on possible risks, new challenges, as well as associated opportunities for Africa.

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Egypt is set to host the second edition of the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development.  It is expected to bring together representatives of regional governments, experts, international organisations, financial institutions, the private sector, as well as members of civil society.

The virtual forum expected to hold from 1-5 March 2021 is titled “Shaping Africa’s New Normal: Recovering Stronger, Rebuilding Better”. It will be chaired by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

Cross section of participants at the Aswan Forum 2019

 The first edition of the forum held in December 2019. Against the framework of the COVID-19 pandemic, participants will explore stimulating conversations on Post-Conflict Reconstruction & Development (PCRD), Forced Displacement, Sustainable Energy, Climate Change & Security, Resilience of State Institutions among others. It will deliberate on possible risks, new challenges, as well as associated opportunities for Africa.

With a focus on Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, the forum will develop action-oriented recommendations for a strong post-COVID-19 recovery.

The forum is supported by the African Development Bank, international players and regional partners.  The meeting seeks to advance a comprehensive and ambitious agenda to address the peace, security and development challenges facing Africa.

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Nigerian Senate Confirms Abdulrasheed Bawa as Head of Antigraft Agency

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The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of Abdulrasheed Bawa as substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Bawa had earlier at plenary responded to questions from senators on his vision and mission if confirmed as chairman of the commission.

First to contribute was the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege who said that the nomination of Bawa was unique and an inspirational one.

“I am so impressed and in awe in this awesome presentation by Mr Bawa. Ordinarily there would have not been no need to ask the young man any question.

“I have been here; this is my sixth year in the Senate. And I have seen nominees come before us. I have not seen any as eloquent in his presentation.

“Ordinarily I would have said take a bow. Clearly he is a very brilliant young man. He is a good product.

“His nomination has generated hope for our young generation. It’s an inspirational nomination. It is a nomination that has generated hope for millions of our youths in this country.

“With this nomination, the youth of this country can now sit in offices and make those very crucial and fundamental decisions on how Nigeria should be governed. And there cannot be a better platform than the office of the chairman of EFCC.”

He said that the appointment of Bawa was the first time a nominee was appointed within the EFCC environment.

Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi drew the attention of Bawa to the pitfalls experienced in the institution over the years.

“For you as a young man, how are you going to straighten up your operations as Chairman of EFCC so that it works for Nigeria and that the controversies of the past are not repeated?”

Sen. Bala Na’Allah (APC-Kebbi) said Bawa had clearly demonstrated that he had the capacity and knowledge to run the office of EFCC as chairman.

“I call on my colleagues to approve his nomination.”

Sen. Ike Ekewremadu (PDP-Enugu) on his part advised the nominee to learn from the mistakes of his predecessors.

The approval of the appointment of Bawa was endorsed by the lawmakers after a Voice Vote by the President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan.

Bawa, an indigene of Kebbi and a certified anti-money laundering specialist has a Bachelor.s Degree in Economics.

Former chairmen of the commission included Nuhu Ribadu, Farida Waziri, Ibrahim Lamorde, Ibrahim Magu and Mohammed Umar.

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