KW 14: Niger coup thwarted days before inauguration, New Covid variant from Africa worries researchers, EU supports interim Libyan government

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Niger coup thwarted days before inauguration: Five days ago, Niger said it thwarted an attempted coup ahead of the inauguration of the next president. Armed attackers tried to seize the presidential palace last Wednesday but were fought off by the presidential guard, sources said. The attackers, reportedly from a nearby airbase, fled after being met with gunfire and shelling. A government spokesman said a number of arrests have been made and investigators are working to identify who was responsible. The incident came two days before the swearing in of President-elect Mohamed Bazoum. The former interior minister succeeds President Mahamadou Issoufou, who stepped down after a decade in power. The democratic transfer of power in a country prone to coups has won international praise, but Bazoum’s rival Mahamane Ousmane rejected the result of the election. There have been increasing attacks by jihadist groups as well as political tensions in the country following Bazoum’s victory.,

New Covid variant from Africa worries researchers: Concern is rising over a new coronavirus variant found in a person traveling from Tanzania to Angola. The African Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said the variant had about 40 mutations. The head of the CDC, John Nkengasong, described it as a variant of concern. Nkengasong added that it is difficult to know whether current vaccines would be effective against the mutation. „We don’t yet know if you bring it in contact with neutralizing antibodies if that actually translates into activities in knocking it out,“ he said. Yet, tracking the variant may prove challenging because Tanzania does not reveal data about coronavirus figures in the country and has not done so since May 2020. Under the leadership of late President John Magufuli, Tanzania resisted pressure to combat the coronavirus or introduce safety regulations.

Ten killed in suicide bomb attack in Somali capital: At least ten people were killed on Saturday when a suicide bomber struck makeshift kiosks in the Somali capital Mogadishu, hitting hours after al Shabaab Islamist militants attacked two National Army bases outside the city, the government said. A witness said the bomber walked into a crowd who were drinking tea in an open area near a police station. Earlier on Saturday, Al-Shabaab Islamist fighters attacked two key military bases, detonating car bombs at both locations before engaging in an intense gun battle, an army official and witnesses said. There was no immediate comment from the al Shabaab, which had earlier claimed responsibility for the attacks on the Bariire and Awdhigle army bases.,

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EU supports interim Libyan government: European Council President Charles Michel pledged support to Libya’s new interim government Sunday during a visit to Tripoli as the country seeks to end a decade of conflict. The interim government was sworn in last month, with Abdul Hamid Dbeibah serving as prime minister until elections to be held later this year. Michel stressed that the departure of all foreign fighters and troops from the country would be a precondition to rebuilding. He added that the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the respect of the UN arms embargo would be crucial in this process.

ICC rejects appeal by Congo warlord Bosco Ntaganda: The International Criminal Court on Tuesday upheld the war crimes conviction and 30-year sentence imposed on former Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda. The sentence, handed down in 2019 on 18 counts of war crimes committed in the early 2000s, is the longest in the court’s history. Dubbed the „Terminator,“ the Rwandan-born 47-year-old was found guilty of crimes against humanity, including murder, sexual slavery, rape and using child soldiers.

Boko Haram claim shooting down of Nigerian Air Force jet: Conflicting reports have emerged in Nigeria over the video of a downed plane, after the country’s air force disputed claims from Boko Haram that its militants shot down a jet. Boko Haram released a seven-minute video Friday, showing the Nigerian Alpha jet flying above its fighters. Then there is a mid-air explosion. Reuters was unable to verify the authenticity of the video. According to a CNN analysis, the mid-air explosion of the jet shown in the video released by Boko Haram was faked.,

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Covid related school closings could have devastating consequences for Africa’s education system: Many schools on the African continent were closed a year ago to combat the Covid-19 pandemic – and some are still closed to this day. The WHO’s fears that the coronavirus would spread uncontrollably across the African continent did not come true. In fact, many of the 55 African countries are doing almost better during the pandemic than European countries. But experts estimate that the school closings in Africa will have a lasting effect. In a recent interview, researcher Dr. Benta A. Abuya from the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) in Nairobi spoke about the dramatic consequences that the pandemic could have on the education system, but also pointed out that with class sizes of around 50 children, school closings were an important and correct step in the pandemic.

Big challenges confront Niger President Mohamed Bazoum: Niger’s new president Mohamed Bazoum faces daunting tasks even before taking office. Terror attacks and massive opposition demonstrations are a sign that things are not going to get any easier. After the election, the losing candidate, Mahamane Ousmane, had refused to concede the race. Instead, he took his case to the courts, sparking mass supporter protests, which security forces brutally quelled — killing two people and arresting several hundred. On top of that, Niger’s civilian population was targeted in several vicious terror attacks in the border triangle area with Mali and Burkina Faso. Abdoulaye Sounaye, the head of the research unit on religion and terrorism in West Africa at the Leibniz center, told DW that the attacks might have served as a warning to the incoming president. „Niger really fought hard to make sure France and Europe became militarily involved in solving the problem of Islamic terrorism in the Sahel region,“ Sounaye said.

Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan set for more dam talks: Foreign ministers from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan met in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Saturday to discuss the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi reiterated his country’s concerns about the project. Ethiopia views the Nile dam as necessary to meet its energy needs, while Egypt sees the project as a threat to its water supply further downstream. The meeting came after el-Sissi made a veiled threat towards Ethiopia on the dam, saying his country’s share of the Nile River was untouchable. During a press conference, el-Sissi said there would be „instability that no one can imagine“ if the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is filled and operated without a legal agreement between Nile Basin countries.


On Sunday, Angola marked 19 years of peace and the end of long-armed conflicts.


„Governments need to make a shift towards renewables through better implementation of relevant policies and legislation. This is the only way to prevent a climate crisis.“

Nhlanhla Sibisi, climate and energy expert, has criticized the fact that many countries continue to rely on new coal power plants instead of renewable energies in view of Africa’s growing energy demand.


Egypt stages „Golden parade of Pharaohs“ to lure tourists back: Egypt held a gala parade on Saturday celebrating the transport of 22 of its prized royal mummies from central Cairo to their new resting place in a massive new museum further south in the capital. The ceremony, designed to showcase the country’s rich heritage, snaked along the Nile corniche from the Egyptian Museum overlooking Tahrir Square, to the newly opened National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in the Fustat neighborhood, where Egypt’s first Islamic capital was located. The mummies were transported in climate-controlled cases loaded onto trucks decorated with wings and pharaonic design for the hour-long journey from their previous home in the older, Egyptian Museum.

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