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Fourth UN peacekeeper dies after Central Africa chopper crash1 minute read

A fourth Senegalese UN peacekeeper has died in hospital after he was injured in a combat helicopter crash

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A fourth Senegalese UN peacekeeper has died in hospital after he was injured in a combat helicopter crash in the Central African Republic two weeks ago, the UN said on Monday.

Read Also: Senegal’s Mourides brotherhood to open biggest mosque in West Africa

Three other Senegalese crew died when the Russian-made helicopter went down on September 27 in Bouar, in the western CAR, during a UN operation.

The Senegalese captain, badly wounded in the accident, died of his injuries on October 6, Mankeur Ndiaye, chief of the UN mission known as MINUSCA, said on Twitter.

The helicopter crew were part of a military operation against the 3R militia, one of several Central African armed groups, UN officials said.

The militia group is one of 14 that signed up to an eighth attempted peace agreement with the Central African government this year, but militias have breached the accord repeatedly.

One of the world’s poorest and most unstable nations, CAR has suffered several violent crises since 2003 when former president Francois Bozize seized power in a coup.

The country spiralled into bloodshed after Bozize was overthrown in 2013.

Fighting has since forced nearly a quarter of the country’s 4.5 million people to flee their homes and rival militia groups control most of the country.

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DR Congo rainforest attacked on all sides

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DR Congo rainforest attacked on all sides
A bicycle carrier cycles with a load of about 300 kilograms of charcoal to sell in Goma, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo(Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP)

Lush rainforest covers millions of hectares of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a central part of Earth’s natural defence against global warming — but it is under severe threat from a perfect storm of mismanagement.

An array of global and local NGOs are in a tense fight to save the rainforest, which lost an area twice the size of Luxembourg last year alone, according to Global Forest Watch.

But the problems run right through DR Congo society — from the poor who rely on charcoal for fuel in a country with meagre supplies of other power, to the senior officials who profit from illegal logging.

“There are lawmakers and soldiers involved. They don’t pay taxes — it’s unfair competition,” says Felicien Liofo, head of a wood craftsmen’s association.

Local police say soldiers simply rip apart the fences around the forest and threaten to shoot anyone who tries to stop them.

– NGOs fight back 

The government faces a daunting challenge to protect the rainforest. 

Its 2002 forestry code imposed a moratorium on new concessions and regulated the number of trees that could be chopped down under existing permits, but officials complain of a lack of resources.

Felicien Malu, a provincial environment coordinator, has roughly 1,200 workers to cover a province twice the size of Portugal.

DR Congo rainforest attacked on all sides
Joseph Bisole, 27, a former child soldier in the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, manufactures charcoal as part of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Ecomakala project to reduce illegal charcoal production, in Burungu, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, on September 28, 2019. (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP)

But his staff, he says, are not paid and lack even the basic tools of their trade — boats, motorcycles or pickup trucks. 

“We can’t organise control missions because there are many rivers to cross and unpaved roads,” he says.

His predecessor in the job was suspended for embezzlement, underlining how corruption feeds the problem of deforestation.

NGOs have launched a multi-pronged attack against the plunder.

Greenpeace Africa and a coalition of eight NGOs from DRC and neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville have demanded a halt to all industrial activities in the millions of hectares of peatland shared by the two countries.

DR Congo rainforest attacked on all sides
Two beneficiaries of a WWF (World Wildlife Fund) pilot project to produce domestic bio gas to combat illegal charcoal production look at their new gas cooker in their home in Sake, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, on September 28, 2019. (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP)

The ancient wetlands store huge amounts of carbon, but companies are involved in oil exploration, logging and industrial agriculture in the area.

Global Witness investigated the illegal logging trade and earlier this year accused a general in the Congolese army of illegally reselling logging permits.

However, electricity in DRC is a rare luxury, meaning that most Congolese still rely on charcoal as their main fuel supply.

Making charcoal involves chopping down trees and slow-burning the wood in covered ovens — all of which comes at a steep price for the environment.

“I get through a $30 sackful every two months. That’s a fair chunk of what I earn,” says Solange Sekera while shopping at a market in the eastern city of Goma. “We have no other means of preparing meals.”

Our forests may disappear’ –

The charcoal trade — known locally as Makala — is worth millions of dollars and it is attracting armed groups to the Goma area, threatening Virunga natural park, a sanctuary for endangered mountain gorillas. 

More than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) to the west, the reliance on charcoal in Kinshasa is also causing severe problems.

Kinshasa residents consume five million tonnes of wood a year, according to French research group Cirad, and increasing urbanisation is just raising the pressure on the forests.

On the hillsides around the capital, there are scarcely any trees left.

NGOs and the government are once again trying to respond.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is trying to minimise the impact of charcoal burning by introducing “eco makala” ovens that burn the fuel more efficiently and so use less wood.

DR Congo rainforest attacked on all sides
WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Ecomakala project managers visit a eucalyptus plantation partly intended to produce charcoal in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo on September 28, 2019. (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP)

And President Felix Tshisekedi is trying to boost electricity across the country to reduce demand for wood-based fuel.

He has championed hydroelectric power — and ground was broken in early October on a new dam in Goma.

NGOs and locals are not convinced of the viability of the project, but Tshisekedi is adamant: “Given the current rate of population growth and our energy needs, our forests may disappear by the year 2100,” he says.

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Jumia shuts down travel department in Nigeria

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Jumia Travel shuts down operations in Nigeria

Managing Director of Jumia Travel Nigeria, Omalara Adagunodo has announced the shutdown of Jumia’s travel operations in Nigeria. This follows reports of Jumia shutting down its operations in Cameroon and Tanzania.

A Twitter user with the handle @njinjoya tweeted: “So Jumia Travel just closed down operation in Nigeria?”

Another Twitter user claiming to be a staff of Jumia Travel lamented: ” Woke up this morning to hear the franchise I worked for in Jumia, Jumia Travel, is no more…so sad, buh still grateful to God…
New chapter, digital marketing n SEO “

Travelstart is expected to take over Jumia Travel’s operations in Nigeria according to a Jumia Travel staff who spoke under condition of anonymity.

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Nigeria’s meteorology body warns of a dusty and hazy Monday

According to NiMet, hazy conditions are expected to prevail over the central states within the forecast period

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Nigeria's meteorology body warns of a dusty and hazy Monday

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted dusty haze and hazy conditions over the north and central cities with possibilities of thunderstorms over some parts of the coastal cities on Monday.

NiMet’s Weather Outlook on Sunday in Abuja forecast dusty hazy conditions with localised visibility range between 2 to 5 km over Potiskum, Maiduguri, Katsina, Kano, Damaturu, and Yola during the forecast period. It further predicted day and night temperatures of the region to be between 31 and 36 degree Celsius and between 14 and 19 degree Celsius respectively.

According to NiMet, hazy conditions are expected to prevail over the central states within the forecast period with day and night temperatures of 27 to 37 degree Celsius and 12 to 23 degree Celsius respectively.

For Southern states, partly cloudy to sunny conditions with early morning mist/fog over Calabar, Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode, Akure, Oshogbo, Ibadan, Ado-Ekiti, Port Harcourt, Eket, Yenagoa, and Warri are envisaged over the region in morning hours.

The meteorological agency envisages the chances of thunderstorms over Port Harcourt, Calabar, and Lagos during the afternoon and evening hours.

It predicted day and night temperatures of the region to be between 31 and 37 degree Celsius and between 20 and 24 degree Celsius respectively.

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