By - Adedoyin Shittu
The Biggest Stories this week in the continent is the xenophobia attack in South Africa and the death of Zimbabwe first president at age 95, Robert Mugabe. Aprecon brings you a brief of the these stories and other major happening that caught my attention this week
Robert Mugabe, Veteran President Of Zimbabwe, Dead At 95
Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean independence icon turned authoritarian leader, has died aged 95. Mr Mugabe had been receiving treatment in a hospital in Singapore since April. The death of the former president on Thursday night, September 5 in a clinic in Singapore marks the definitive end of an era in the former British colony.
Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe for close to four decades before being ousted in a military takeover in November 2017. Though initially admired as a hero of Africa’s independence struggle, his long rule descended into tyranny, corruption and incompetence, earning him international pariah status. His death prompted mixed reactions in Zimbabwe, across Africa and around the world.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took power after Mugabe’s fall, called his predecessor “an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people” and said Zimbabwe would be in official mourning until the former leader’s remains were brought back from Singapore and buried.
Xenophobia attacks on black foreigners in South Africa
Between Sunday and Wednesday, mobs looted and destroyed shops, many of them foreign-owned, in South Africa’s commercial hub, Johannesburg. The attacks began after South African lorry drivers started a nationwide strike to protest against the employment of foreign drivers. They blocked roads and torched foreign-driven vehicles mainly in the coastal KwaZulu-Natal province. This comes at a time of high unemployment and some South Africans blame foreigners for taking their jobs. The unemployment rate in South Africa is nearly 28%, the highest since the labour force survey was introduced 11 years ago
African countries react to the latest Xenophobic attack on fellow Africans
Ethiopia’s embassy in South Africa has advised its citizens to close their businesses during the on-going tension that has seen shops in the commercial hub Johannesburg looted and set ablaze, Ethiopia’s state-linked FBC reports. It also says that Ethiopians are advised to “distance themselves from any confrontation and conflict” and not go out with expensive jewellery.
Meanwhile, Zambia’s transport ministry has said that lorry drivers should “avoid travelling to South Africa until the security situation improves”. Nigerian government described the incidents as unacceptable adding: ‘Enough is enough. Nigeria will take definitive measures to ensure safety and protection of her citizens.
Africans elsewhere outraged by attacks
From Zambian students marching on the South African High Commission, to the South African Embassy in Nigeria being temporarily closed following protests, the rest of Africa is not happy.
Radio stations have stopped playing South African music, and the Zambian football association canceled a friendly against Bafana Bafana, the South African national team.
Nigerian artists Tiwa Savage and Burna Boy have also instituted a cultural boycott of South Africa.
South African businesses have been shut down in Zambia and Nigeria. Nigerian Airlines is offering free flights back home to Nigerian nationals living in South Africa.
The Nigerian government has boycotted the World Economic Forum currently underway in Cape Town.
Somalia says kills 9 al-Shabab militants
The Somali military on Monday confirmed the killing of nine al-Shabab militants in an offensive on Sunday in southern Somalia.
Ali Abdullahi Araye, commander of Unit 35, section 7 of Somali forces, said the offensive was launched after residents of Kaxarey, Busley and Baldof villages informed the army that the militants had sneaked in and ordered locals to pay taxes.
Gabon president, Ali Bongo Hospitalised
Gabonese President Ali Bongo is receiving medical treatment in London after his health deteriorated during a visit to the city, according to people familiar with the matter. But this news of the absent president was immediately contradicted in an official press release this week in a pattern common to many ailing leaders. The leader of this oil-producing country is merely spending time at his London residence while on a short period of leave, the official statement read. He is undergoing routine medical checks and will soon return to Gabon.
Bongo traveled to London after taking part in the central African nation’s anniversary of its independence from France on Aug. 17 and has since been hospitalized, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
Gabon has been leaderless on-and-off for the past year when the president suffered a stroke in October while attending a conference in Saudi Arabia. He returned home five months later, after recovering abroad and has made only a few public appearances since then, fueling widespread speculation that the stroke inflicted lasting damage.
While Gabonese citizens try to locate their ailing president, the country’s recently appointed environment minister, Lee White, told the BBC in an interview broadcast Aug. 28 that Bongo is physically weakened by the stroke but fit to govern and “definitely in charge.”
Lagos Taskforce Intercepts Truck with 123 Men, 48 Bikes
The Lagos State Environment Sanitation and Special Offences Taskforce (LSESSOT) Friday August 30, intercepted a truck laden with 48 motorcycles and 123 men coming from Jigawa State following a tipoff by members of the public who raised security concern about the manner with which the occupants of the truck conducted themselves. The truck and its occupants were moved to the office of the Taskforce in Oshodi for interrogation, according to the chairman of Lagos State Taskforce, Mr Yinka Egbeyemi. The men were released but not before the action drew a lot of outcry from different quarters of the federation.
The men have also sued the Lagos State government. In the suit with number FHC/L/CS/1519 /19 filed on their behalf by one Abdullahi Yakubu, the men are asking to be compensated for the harsh treatment they were subjected to. They are also asking for the release of their motorcycles and other personal belongings allegedly still in the custody of the security agency. The men said their detention violated their rights as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They are seeking, “An order of this honourable court awarding the sum of N1bn payable by the respondents jointly and severally to the applicants as reparation.”
Burkina Faso Coup Leaders Sentenced to Up to 20 Years in Prison
Two senior allies of Burkina Faso’s deposed former president Blaise Compaore were sentenced to up to 20 years in prison on Monday for organizing a 2015 coup attempt against a transitional government.
Former spy chief Diendere was sentenced to 20 years in prison for murder and threatening state security. Compaore’s former foreign minister Djibril Bassole, who was accused of being the coup’s mastermind, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for treason.
‘Warlord’ Asari Dokubo picks fight with Gov Wike over Rivers mosque
Asari Dokubo, former Niger Delta militant leader, on Sunday warned the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, over a mosque he allegedly demolished in Port Harcourt. Dokubo claimed that Wike and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi had hitherto singled out the mosque for demolition. The state governor had been accused of ordering the demolition of a mosque in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Wike, however, denied the allegation which was raised by the Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC. His words: “It is most unfortunate that fickle-minded persons will claim that a mosque was demolished at this place, when no mosque existed here. The story was concocted by mischief makers to score cheap points.”
TARABA: 14 killed in Sunday morning attack
At least 14 people have reportedly been killed in Takum, Taraba State, on Sunday morning after an invasion of the community by gun wielding militia men believed to have come from Benue State. A report by PREMIUM TIMES quoted residents to have said that the attackers were from Benue State, suggesting it was part of the lingering Tiv-Junkun violence.
Somalia arrests Jubbaland minister
A minister from Somalia’s semi-autonomous Jubbaland state has been arrested in Mogadishu, Somalia police said on Sunday, in a case underscoring tensions with federal government.
Jubbaland State Security Minister Abdirashid Hassan Abdinur was arrested for “serious crimes” arriving in Mogadishu from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, police said without giving details of the charges.
Jubbaland’s administration called the arrest “illegal” and a “kidnapping”.
The minister’s arrest comes at a time of rising tensions between the Somalia federal government and the government in Jubaland and their respective foreign backers.
Jubaland’s parliament last month re-elected Ahmed Madobe as its president, though the central Somalia authorities have refused to recognise the election results.
Flash flood at Kenyan park
A tour group of seven people — five Kenyans, a local tourist guide and a “non-resident foreigner” — had been caught in the flash flood Sunday in Hell’s Gate National Park. “Six bodies of the flash flood victims have been recovered, leaving one tourist missing. The search and rescue operation continues as we reach out to next of kin to share details of sad incident and plan together next course of action,” says Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) on its official Twitter page. Search and rescue teams had initially recovered two bodies on Sunday but four more were found as efforts continued throughout the night, KWS said.
$9 billion Debt: P&ID names Nigerian officials involved in contract negotiations
Amid denials by officials of the Buhari administration of complicity in the botched gas supply contract that resulted in the recent $9.6billion arbitral award against Nigeria by a UK court, the founder of the company at the centre of the controversy, Michael Quinn, on Saturday named key Nigerian government officials who played different roles in the process that led to the contract.
Mr Quinn named former presidents, late Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, as well as the late petroleum minister, Rilwan Lukman, as privy to the contract.
Other top government officials named include former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke; former energy minister, Olatunde Odusina; former presidential adviser on petroleum, Emmanuel Egbogah; former Group Managing Director of NNPC, Shehu Ladan, as well as his counterparts between 2011 and 2012. Manager (Gas) of National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Labi Ajibade; the Managing Director, Addax Petroleum in 2010, Neil Hitchcock; then Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Goni Sheikh; the director (legal) of the petroleum ministry, Grace Taiga, and a representative of the ministry’s head of policy (Ibrahim).
Mr Quinn also named the then Group General Manager/Special Technical Adviser to NNPC (General Executive Director, Power and Gas, NNPC), David Ige; representatives of the Department of Petroleum Resources, Ogwu Jones and Sunday Babalola; the then technical assistant to the petroleum minister, Taofiq Tijani; the then general manager of planning, gas and petroleum of NNPC, Uno Adeniji; then manager, gas and petroleum, NNPC (Umar); the then technical adviser to the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Nuhu Tizhe; the then assistant legal adviser to the petroleum minister, Belgore; Debo Spaine of Addax Petroleum, and Mohammed Kuchazi of P&ID.
Mr Quinn said the mention of these official does not imply any wrong-doing on their part.
Pope Francis travel to Africa
Pope Francis leaves on Wednesday for Africa, where poverty, the environment, foreign exploitation of resources and corruption are expected to be high on his agenda as he visits the continent where Catholicism is growing fast.
He will spend most of the Sept. 4-10 trip in Mozambique and Madagascar and briefly visit Mauritius at the end.
Five dead and 21 injured after ‘white male’ opens fire in Midland and Odessa
Five people have been killed and another 21 injured in a mass shooting in west Texas, police have said. Officers said their earlier fears that two shooters were at large had proven unfounded, with the attacker having used two vehicles. The shooter who opened fire in Midland and Odessa was a white male in his 30s, the Odessa Police Department said. The gunman was killed by law enforcement after being chased to a parking lot at an entertainment complex.
Ivory Coast bids singer DJ Arafat farewell, fans open his coffin
Fans of Ivorian singer DJ Arafat opened his coffin Saturday to take photos of the corpse, prompting police to fire teargas after an overnight funeral concert where tens of thousands paid tribute to the one of West Africa’s most popular stars.
Following hours of musical homage, tears, and solemn reminiscence at Abijan’s main stadium, events took a dark turn as fans battled police preventing them from entering the cemetery where the singer´s family gave him a private burial. But several did make into the Williamsville cemetery in Abidjan’s working-class Adjame district, forced open the fresh grave and coffin, and took photos and videos that they shared on social media. Police fired teargas to disperse the grave profaners, and several people were injured, witnesses told AFP.
“We wanted to see the body of our idol before the tomb was sealed,” said one fan, who did not give a name.
The singer, whose given name was Ange Didier Houon, was one of the Francophone world´s most popular African musicians, considered the “king” of coupe-decale (cut and run) — an Ivorian form of dance music.
Morocco Foils Attempt by 400 Migrants to Storm Ceuta
Morrocoans authorities reported on Friday August 30, that they foiled a mass attempt by over 400 Sub-Saharan migrants to storm Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta. Nine migrants sustained minor injuries and were rushed to Fnideq’s hospital, said the local authorities of M’diq-Fnideq. They added that over 90 others were arrested and handed to security services, while the search continues to arrest the rest. Meanwhile, Spanish authorities said that a group of 155 migrants forced their way into Ceuta from Morocco on Friday. “They are all from sub-Saharan Africa, the majority from Guinea,” a spokesman for the central government’s office in Ceuta told AFP.
They broke through the barbed wire fence bordering Morocco early Friday morning, taking advantage of misty conditions, slightly hurting 12 police officers who tried to stop them, he noted. Several migrants were treated for cuts.
Sudan court charges ousted president al-Bashir with illegal foreign fund deals
A Sudan court charged former president Omar al-Bashir with illegal foreign fund deals, and refused to release him from prison. Al-Bashir had arrived in a courtroom in Khartoum on Saturday where he began his third trial session on money found at his residence.
Al-Bashir’s lawyer, Mohamed al-Hassan al-Amin, said in previous statements to Al Arabiya and Al Hadath that the amount found in Bashir’s possession came as “a grant” and was “within the framework of cooperation between presidents.” Al-Amin had also stressed that al-Bashir “did not take a dollar” of this money.
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