KW 47: Ethiopian civil war threatens to spill over to Eritrea, Polisario Liberation Front announces end of the ceasefire with Morocco, Libyan conflict parties agree to hold elections

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Ethiopian civil war threatens to spill over to Eritrea: Ethiopia’s conflict with its regional government of Tigray is spilling into the wider Horn of Africa region, after militias in the state fired rockets at targets in the capital of neighboring Eritrea. Ethiopia is facing a brewing civil war between the central government and the defiant and heavily armed Tigray, a largely autonomous state in the northern part of the country that wants a bigger voice in national rule. The crisis, which has left hundreds dead and forced thousands to flee, is reopening fault lines across a volatile region perched on strategic waterways where a border conflict killed tens of thousands of people two decades ago. Tigray’s regional government has asserted that some 16 Eritrean military divisions are fighting alongside the Ethiopian government against Tigrayan soldiers, a claim both governments deny.

Polisario Liberation Front announces end of ceasefire with Morocco: The leader of the Western Sahara’s independence movement has vowed to end a 29-year-old ceasefire with Morocco. Brahim Ghali, leader of the independentist Polisario Front, announced the group will no longer abide by the commitment of the decades-long truce in the area. Morocco, which says it continues to support the ceasefire, announced last week that it would resume military operations in the El Guergarat crossing, a buffer zone between the territory claimed by the state of Morocco and the self-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. The Western Sahara is a long-disputed territory to the southwest of Morocco controlled mostly by the Moroccan state, which occupies about 75% of the territory, according to the CIA World Factbook. Morocco and the Polisario Front fought over the territory after Spain gave up the rule in 1976 and Mauritania withdrew their claim of control in 1979. After negotiating a truce in 1991, the UN has recognized the area as non-self-governing territory.

Libyan conflict parties agree to hold elections: National elections in Libya will take place on December 24th 2021, Stephanie Williams, the head of the UN mission in the country, announced on Friday during a virtual press conference. The announcement came a week after talks began in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, aimed at creating an executive authority capable of organizing elections and implementing political, economic and military reforms. The new executive, said Ms. Williams, will involve a separation of powers, with a new Presidency Council, and a Government of National Unity led by a Prime Minister.

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Zambia can no longer pay its debts: Zambia is on the brink of defaulting on its foreign debt after it missed a payment of more than 40 million dollars last month. Zambia was already struggling with its 12 billion dollars external debt load. But coronavirus has aggravated pre-existing financial pressures in the country. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Friday it was in talks with Zambian authorities about how best to support the country, but its help would depend on Zambia taking steps to make sure its debt was sustainable.

74 drown after boat capsizes near Libya: At least 74 migrants drowned after their Europe-bound ship capsized off the coast of Libya on Thursday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said last week. The boat was carrying over 120 migrants, including women and children, when it capsized off the coast of the Libyan port of al-Khums. EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson has meanwhile expressed concern about the growing number of migrants arriving on the Spain’s Canary Islands. She said the fact that so many people set out on the deadliest refugee route showed the need for reform of asylum and migration policy. (Libya), (Canary Islands)

Sensational sarcophagus find in Egypt: Egyptian officials have announced the discovery of at least 100 ancient coffins, some with mummies inside, and about 40 gilded statues in a vast Pharaonic necropolis south of Cairo. Sealed sarcophagi and statues that were buried more than 2,500 years ago were displayed in a makeshift exhibit at the feet of the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara. Archaeologists opened a coffin inside which was a well-preserved mummy wrapped in cloth. They also carried out X-raying visualizing the structures of the ancient mummy, showing how the body had been preserved. The tourism and antiquities minister, Khaled el-Anany, said they would announce another discovery at the Saqqara necropolis later this year. The find at the famed necropolis is the latest in a series of archaeological discoveries in Egypt. Since September, antiquities authorities have revealed at least 140 sealed sarcophagi, most with mummies inside, in the same area of Saqqara.

Human rights activist “Mother Libya” has been murdered
7 peacekeepers killed in Egypt helicopter crash
South Africa becomes the production site for the new Covid vaccine
A way out of the power struggle in Ivory Coast?


900 people died while fleeing across the Mediterranean Sea this year: At least 900 people have drowned in the Mediterranean this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). More than 11,000 others have been returned to war-torn Libya, where the UN says they face human rights violations, detention, abuse, trafficking and exploitation. In the years since the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Libya has emerged as a launching off points for migrants from African and the Middle East hoping to get to Europe from Africa and the Middle East.

China intensifies contacts on the African continent: The People’s Republic of China is considered an influential investor in African countries. According to a report by the Kenyan newspaper “Nation” about a conference of Chinese and African think tanks, which the German media picked up, the People’s Republic is now planning to anchor more firmly in Africa through think tanks and private research institutions. This should promote mutual trust and contain negative narratives from Western countries about China’s role on the continent. There have been divided opinions and diplomatic conflicts about China’s Africa policy for years.

Measles claims 200,000 lives in 2019: Measles killed an estimated 207,500 people last year after a decade-long failure to reach optimal vaccination coverage, resulting in the highest number of cases for 23 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said in a joint report on Thursday. The death toll in 2019 was 50% higher than a historic low reached in 2016, and all WHO regions saw an increase in cases, adding up to a global total of 869,770. This year there have been fewer cases, but the Covid-19 pandemic has further set back vaccination efforts, with more than 94 million people at risk of missing measles vaccines in 26 countries that have paused their vaccination campaigns, including many countries with ongoing outbreaks.

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According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), African states need almost 410 billion euros to pay off all foreign debts due by 2023.


„I think that today, peace is within our grasp.“

Somali human rights activist Ilwad Elman in an interview with German newspaper „Spiegel“ about the situation in Somalia.


Tunisian football fans start symbolic journey across the Mediterranean: Around 300 Tunisian football fans, who have for weeks threatened to illegally emigrate to Italy in protest over sanctions against their club, boarded fishing boats Thursday and headed out to sea. Brandishing Tunisian flags and those of their team, Croissant Sportif Chebbien (CSC), they chanted as they sailed out of Chebba port, accompanied by the coast guard, AFP said.

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