– NEWS –
Moroccan parliamentary elections: Morocco’s liberal RNI party has won the most seats in the country’s parliamentary elections, while the co-ruling moderate PJD Islamists suffered a crushing defeat, preliminary results showed. RNI, led by billionaire agriculture minister Aziz Akhannouch, took 97 of the 395-seat parliament. The PJD, which had been a coalition partner in the previous two governments, had taken only 12 seats after a count of 96% of all parliamentary seats on Thursday. In a statement, the PJD accused rivals of buying votes, without naming any or providing details.
Tunisia’s President Saied plans constitutional changes: Tunisian President Kais Saied on Saturday said he would form a new government and enact changes to the country’s 2014 constitution. The new government will be formed „as soon as possible,“ he said — but did not give an exact date. He added that people „with the most integrity“ would be chosen for the cabinet. The idea of amending or suspending the constitution has drawn broad criticism from Saied’s opposition. Tunisia’s key workers‘ union, the UGTT, has called for new parliamentary elections rather than dissolving the constitution.
African Union suspends Guinea after coup: Guinea’s ruling military came under diplomatic pressure on Friday as the African Union suspended the country over last weekend’s coup. Mediators from ECOWAS – the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States – also landed in the capital Conakry on Friday, AFP journalists saw. The envoys met junta member Colonel Balla Samoura in a hotel in Conakry, according to a diplomat who requested anonymity. Increasing pressure on Guinea comes amid rising fears of democratic backsliding across West Africa, where strongmen are an increasingly familiar sight.
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Ethiopia accuses Tigray rebels of massacring civilians: Rebel forces in northern Ethiopia have been accused of killing more than a hundred civilians during fierce battles. Local government officials said the massacre in a village 6 miles from the town of Dabat took place just over a week ago and was perpetrated by fighters loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. Since war broke out between the government of Tigray province and federal forces in November, there have been multiple accusations of atrocities, with many well-documented mass killings.
Children increasingly among victims in conflict in the Sahel, according to Amnesty: Increasing numbers of children are being killed and targeted for recruitment by armed groups in conflicts raging at Niger’s borders with Mali and Burkina Faso, Amnesty International said in a new report, which documents the devastating impact on children of the conflict in Niger, involving armed groups Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) and the al-Qaida-affiliated Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM). Both ISGS and JNIM have committed war crimes and other abuses in the conflict, including the murder of civilians and targeting of schools. Many children are experiencing trauma after witnessing deadly attacks on their villages. In some areas, women and girls have been barred from activities outside the home, and risk abduction or forced marriage to fighters.
More teen pregnancies in Africa during Covid pandemic: South Africa recorded increased rates of teenage pregnancies in some parts of the country between 2018 and 2019 and more recently during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was partly due to the difficulty of accessing contraceptives, which was greater during the COVID-19 lockdown. An increase in the adolescent pregnancy rate strongly suggests challenges with accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare services for this vulnerable age group and is a cause for concern.
Israeli prime minister visits Egypt officially for the first time in 10 years dw.com
Ethiopia: Doctors Without Borders forced to suspend majority of activities amid enormous needs doctorswithoutborders.org
Nearly 70 students freed in northern Nigeria apnews.com
Kenya’s president declares ongoing drought a national disaster weather.com
– BACKGROUND –
Increasing terrorism in Africa: In the past 20 years, Africa has become the world region most affected by terrorism. Militant Islamists are particularly active in countries in the west and east of the continent. In a report to the Security Council, the UN committee responsible for monitoring Islamist terrorist groups has stated for the first half of 2021: „The most striking development over this period is that Africa has become the world region most affected by terror.“ According to the Institute for Economics and Peace’s „Global Terror Index“, the number of attacks and fatalities declined massively worldwide between 2014 and 2019 – but, in contrast, increased dramatically in many countries in Africa. „Especially in West and East Africa, offshoots of Isis and Al-Qaeda boast that they have gained followers and terrain,“ the report to the UN Security Council says.
EU’s Josep Borrell visits Libya and Tunisia: EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has concluded a series of visits to Iraq, Libya and Tunisia. In each stop, he reaffirmed the EU’s continuous commitment to supporting the countries and their people. Iraq, Libya and Tunisia are all strategic partners where the EU has invested throughout the years to help governments and partners on the ground deliver for the benefit of the people.
– NUMBER –
240 prisoners have escaped from a prison in an attack in the central Nigerian state of Kogi.
– QUOTE –
„I think everyone in the region is worried that we might return to the dark days of military coups.“
Kojo Asante, Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, on the increasing number of coups and coup attempts in the Sahel.
– AT LAST –
Radioactive rhino horns may deter poachers in S.Africa: South African scientists are studying ways to inject radioactive material into rhino horns to make them easier to detect at border posts, a move to discourage poaching, said James Larkin, a nuclear researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand. Poachers killed at least 249 rhinos in South Africa during the first six months of the year—83 more than in the first half of 2020. The animals are slaughtered for their horns, which are smuggled into Asia where they are highly prized for traditional and medicinal purposes.