– NEWS –
Vaccine production starts in Senegal: Covid numbers are rising rapidly in Africa, with the World Health Organization reporting 43 percent more deaths within a week. At the same time, only a few people have been vaccinated. Now hopes are pinned on Senegal, where the Pasteur Institute in Dakar is trying to establish its own production of a COVID-19 vaccine – a licensed product. Germany is supporting the project in Senegal with 20 million euros. A similar initiative in South Africa will receive 50 million. Amadou Alpha Sall, head of the institute, is confident that he will soon be able to deliver vaccine vials from the Pasteur Institute.
Sierra Leone abolishes the death penalty: Lawmakers in Sierra Leone voted on Friday to abolish the death penalty, becoming the latest African country to ban the practice. Sierra Leone’s 1991 constitution had allowed the use of the death penalty for aggravated robbery, murder, treason and mutiny. After Friday’s vote, capital punishment will now be replaced with life imprisonment or a minimum 30-year jail term. According to Amnesty International, some 108 countries across the world had completely abolished the death penalty by the end of 2020, while 144 had abolished it in law or in practice.
Several opposition politicians arrested in Tanzania: Tanzania’s leading opposition party said Wednesday the whereabouts of its party leader Freeman Mbowe are unknown after police arrested him Tuesday while he met with ten other officials. 11 other party officials and staff of Chadema (Party of Democracy and Progress) were also detained. “We see this as a kidnapping,” Chadema secretary general John Mnyika told journalists. The 12 members of the opposition were arrested at 2.30am on 21 July from their hotel rooms in Mwanza by Tanzanian police. The arrest came hours before a planned conference demanding a new constitution for the country, which had been organized by the opposition party. While the 11 Chadema members were taken to the Central Police Station in Mwanza, lawyers, family members and party officials have not been able to access party leader Mbowe. Politically motivated arrests were common under former President John Magufuli, who died in March. Many in Tanzania expected them to end under current President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Magufuli’s former deputy. Hassan has reversed Tanzania’s practice of denying COVID-19′s spread in the East African country, and she has asked media houses whose licenses were suspended to reapply.
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Kidnappers in Nigeria release 28 schoolchildren: Kidnappers who raided a boarding school in northern Nigeria earlier this month released 28 children on Sunday but another 81 remain in captivity, according to a pastor involved in the negotiations for their release. The attack on the Bethel Baptist High School in the state of Kaduna was the tenth mass school kidnapping since December in northwest Nigeria carried out by Islamist militants and more recently, criminal gangs.
Many civilians killed during fighting in Afar: Attacks by Tigrayan fighters in Ethiopia’s Afar region have forced over 54,000 people from their homes, an official said on Thursday, and refugees in a camp in southern Tigray described heavy clashes nearby. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed quoted some of the people displaced as saying Tigrayan fighters had burned homes, looted properties and killed civilians. He provided no evidence and Reuters was unable to verify his claims independently. Tigrayan fighters, who want the Ethiopian government to accept their terms before talks on a ceasefire can begin, have taken control of three districts in Afar this week, according to Ahmed Koloyta, a spokesperson for the region. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people rallied in the capital to support Ahmed, who has faced criticism for his handling of a conflict that threatens to undermine stability in Africa’s second most populous nation.
Africa particularly affected by terrorism: According to a UN report, Africa is currently the continent most severely affected by terrorism. The report states that terrorist groups linked to ISIS are particularly active in West Africa. In the east, in the Sahel and in Somalia, the groups are closer to the al-Qaeda terror network. The report on the situation in the first half of 2021 was presented to the United Nations Security Council in New York.
Nigeria fighter plane shot down by bandits – military bbc.com
South Sudan names woman to head parliament africanews.com
CAF backs two-yearly World Cup, plans Super League france24.com
Mali leader says he was unharmed in ‚isolated action‘ knife attack reuters.com
– BACKGROUND –
Dam plunges Nile region into bitter dispute over water: Ethiopia is planning Africa’s largest dam on the Nile. The mega-project is already well advanced. However, the downstream riparian states see themselves threatened by the construction plans. Tensions in the region are increasing. Around ten years after the GERD mega-project was launched, the start of electricity generation with the help of water from the Blue Nile in what will be the largest hydroelectric power plant on the African continent is now within reach. At the same time, Addis Ababa is aware that the large-scale project on the Blue Nile has raised concerns among its neighbors Sudan and Egypt, for whom water from the Nile is also of great importance. The government in Cairo sees the mega-project as endangering its water supply, especially in the event of droughts. Sudan, another affected country, also shares concerns about a possible water shortage. Despite all the reassurances from the Ethiopian side, Egypt and Sudan remain skeptical. Meanwhile, relations between Sudan and Ethiopia are already strained by a border conflict. In April of this year, they conducted joint military exercises. However, it is unlikely that a military confrontation between the conflicting parties will actually occur; the construction of the dam is too far advanced. At the same time, a military intervention could prove the worst fears for Egypt and Sudan and turn off the tap in Addis Ababa.
Detained journalist in Morocco spied on with Pegasus: The Moroccan investigative journalist and human rights activist, Omar Radi has been jailed for six years after rights groups allege his phone was infected with the Pegasus spyware. Radi is one of the founders of Le Desk, an independent Moroccan news website publishing content critical of the authorities. His journalism has focused on politics and corruption by the authorities. He was sentenced by a Moroccan Court on charges of espionage and rape. Radi had initially been arrested in June of last year, just days after Amnesty alleged his phone was successfully infected by the Pegasus spyware. Radi protested his innocence throughout his one year of pre-trial incarceration, where, in addition to the charge of rape, he faced two accusations of „undermining the internal security of the state.“ The charge of rape relates to his colleague, Hafsa Boutahar, with whom Radi claimed he enjoyed a consensual sexual relationship. In June 2020, an Amnesty report revealed that Omar Radi had been targeted by the Moroccan authorities using spyware produced by the Israeli company NSO Group. Following this, the Moroccan authorities launched a smear campaign against Amnesty, attempting to discredit the organization’s findings and distract from the unlawful surveillance of human rights defenders and journalists in the country.
– NUMBER –
At least 337 people have died in rioting in parts of South Africa, according to new government figures.
– QUOTE –
„There is a hierarchy: the white investor, then the white entrepreneur in Africa, and only then comes the local black entrepreneur.“
Sesinam Dagadu, startup founder from Ghana on the situation in the industry.
– AT LAST –
German state wants to return Benin bronzes to Nigeria: Baden-Württemberg wants to return Bronzes looted from the former Kingdom of Benin to Nigeria. Stuttgart’s Linden Museum has been commissioned to identify specific sculptures and reliefs for return and to enter into talks with the Nigerian side, the art ministry said Wednesday. „Traces of colonialism can be found in the country’s museum collections, and there are numerous cultural objects here that were acquired unjustly in a colonial context,“ said Art Minister Theresia Bauer. Germany also recently returned looted objects to Namibia.