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Gunmen Free 11 Teachers Abducted In Cameroon After Protests

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The 11 teachers kidnapped and held hostage in Cameroon’s restive anglophone region have regained their freedom after several protests.

Presbyterian pastors and their followers staged daily protests at the camp where they were held captive by a separatist group since November 3rd when the teachers were abducted.

The teachers were kidnapped from the Presbyterian Primary and Secondary School in Kumbo city in the mainly English-speaking North-West by heavily armed men.

Reports said no ransom was paid for the release of the teachers.

The teacher’s abduction came on the heels of the killing of eight schoolchildren in Kumba in the neighbouring Southwest Region last month, which the government blamed on the separatists.

Anglophone separatists – the North-West and South-West Regions – have been demanding an independent state, saying they do not want to be part of French-speaking Cameroon and wished to secede to form a new country called Ambazonia.

The declaration, which has not been recognised internationally, sparked a brutal conflict with the country’s security forces.

More than 3,000 people have been killed and 700,000 fled their homes. Rights groups say crimes and abuses have been committed by both sides.

Schools and other institutions representing the Cameroonian state have been repeatedly targeted for attacks and kidnappings, often for ransom.

In November 2019, the UN children’s fund, UNICEF, estimated that 855,000 children were without schooling in the two anglophone regions.

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Southern Africa

South Africa’s Second Largest Refinery Shut Down After Explosion

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Following an explosion earlier on Friday, South Africa’s second-largest refinery has been shut down, Engen has announced.

The crude oil refinery in Durban exploded earlier on Friday, leaving seven people injured afterwards.

The fire resulting from the explosion was brought under control immediately, according to the Spokesperson of the refinery, Robert McKenzie. He also said there was no death recorded from the incident.

Engen has also launched investigations into the fire incident at the refinery which produces 120,000 barrels of oil per day.

“Engen is currently assessing its overall bulk fuels supply and demand position and implementing immediate mitigations to manage inventory and product supply requirements,” Engen said.

The refinery is largely owned by Malaysia’s Petronas but controlled by Engen.

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West Africa News

Ivory Coast Gives Passports To Former President, Gbagbo

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Former Ivorian President, Laurent Gbagbo has been granted passports by the country, months after his acquittal by the International Criminal Court for committing war crimes.

Gbagbo, who has been on exile in Belgium was given his passports as part of current President, Alassane Ouatara’s conciliatory strategies.

Ouattara’s third term Presidential quest and victory caused an uproar with Gbagbo seeking to come home and contest but wasn’t granted a passport.

Gbagbo also championed the call for the boycotting of the elections which was rejected by several other candidates in the country.

The former President led Ivory Coast for 11 years between 2000 and 2011 and was removed from office following months of riot over his refusal to leave. His successor Ouattara granted him diplomatic and regular passports as part of his plans to bring his oppositions closer.

Read: Gbagbo Freed In Belgium After ICC Approval

Gbagbo’s candidate, Habiba Toure made the confirmation of the gesture of the Ivorian government on Friday.

Toure described the move as a means of appeasement.

Recall that French President, Emmanuel Macron had advised Ouattara to rally his political opposition, so they can work together.

Gbagbo, 75, was tried at the International Criminal Court, The Hague over the killing of thousands of people during the 2011 riots. He was acquitted in 2019 but Prosecution has filed an appeal against the judgement.

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East Africa News

EU Says Aid Pact With Ethiopia Not Respected

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With at least 46,000 refugees fleeing to Sudan and more than 100,000 in Tigray, the European Union (EU) has said the agreement with the Ethiopian government isn’t respected.

The EU and the Ethiopian government agreed on a pace for the provision of humanitarian access but Europe says the Ethiopian government’s access is partial and is filled with bureaucracies.

Some children in Tigray are malnourished according to the EU, with Ethiopia claiming that the war is over.

However, leader of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Debretsion Gebremichael has said that the claims made by the Ethiopian government are lies.

He accused the government of killing civilians in Mekelle, the Tigrayan capital which has over 500,000 people.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed has said the top generals in the TPLF have been captured or killed.

Ethiopia is planning for an election in 2021 after its postponement in August.

The TPLF is dubbed a rebellious group by Mr Ahmed after they engaged government in armed conflicts for exactly a month now.

On the 4th of November, the Ethiopian government said its military base and state properties have been attacked, and it launched counteroffensives against the Tigrayan forces.

Ethiopia launched its final offensive last week when it claimed it has taken over Mekelle, without harming any civilian.

The TPLF has accused the Ethiopia and Eritrea of shelling Tigrayans and looting materials. Mr Ahmed has denied this.

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