Africanews RSS Receive free and in real-time all news published by, by subscribing to our RSS feeds. Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:35:29 +0000 Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:35:29 +0000 South African court rules against religious bias in state schools Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:35:29 +0000 A South African court on Wednesday ruled that public education institutions cannot promote any one religion to the exclusion of others, saying to do so was a violation of the Schools Act, local media reported. The Organisation for Religious Education and Democracy (OGOD) had argued that it was in the interest of South Africa’s democracy that public schools not be allowed to favour a specific religion. OGOD asked the court to declare unconstitutional the religion policy of six public schools, accusing them of favouring Christianity over other religions. The six schools, the ministers of basic education and justice, and the National Society for School Governing Bodies were respondents, local media reported. Judge Willem van der Linde said in his ruling that religious observances may be conducted at state or state-aided institutions, as long as they are held on an equitable basis and attendance was voluntary. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga had supported the application, saying schools were not permitted to focus on just one religion. Reuters Passengers from Sudan screened for cholera at Cairo airport Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:36:33 +0000 Egypt’s Cairo airport has started screening passengers arriving from Sudan for signs of cholera because of a reported outbreak there, the head of airport quarantine said on Wednesday. Similar measures are already carried out in Cairo airport for people arriving from Yemen due to an epidemic there. “The number of doctors and health monitors in arrival halls has increased to monitor the flights and examine passengers coming from infected areas,” Head of Airport Quarantine Medhat Qandil said. Qandil said any suspected cholera cases would be isolated and sent to hospital. Even if passengers do not show symptoms their details will be recorded so they can be monitored by Egyptian health authorities, he said. Sudan’s government has not officially declared a cholera outbreak, reporting instead on cases of “Acute Watery Diarrhoea”, the World Health Organization (WHO) told Reuters. On June 1 the United States embassy in Sudan’s capital Khartoum said there were confirmed reports of cholera in some areas of Sudan, including the greater Khartoum area, that have resulted in fatalities. Between August 2016 and June 23, 2017 a total of 19,666 suspected cases of Acute Watery Diarrhoea were reported in Sudan, including 355 deaths, the WHO said. The outbreak affects 12 out of 18 of Sudan’s states. “The rainy season usually lasts from in June-August and may exacerbate the situation if no adequate preventative interventions can be implemented in time,” a WHO spokesman said. Neighbouring South Sudan has been experiencing a cholera outbreak since mid-2016, according to WHO information. The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday a major cholera outbreak in Yemen may have reached its halfway mark as a massive emergency response has begun to curb its spread two months into the epidemic. The WHO is responding to Sudan’s cholera outbreak by supporting health workers, running education campaigns and distribution medical supplies. Reuters Zimbabwean protest pastor freed on bail after two days in jail Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:38:04 +0000 A Zimbabwean pastor at the heart of a protest movement against President Robert Mugabe was freed on bail on Wednesday, two days after he was arrested at a student rally and charged with promoting violence. Evan Mawarire, whose #ThisFlag movement last year led to the biggest anti-government demonstrations in a decade, walked into the magistrates court carrying a Bible and stood as the charges, also including disorderly conduct, were read. The 40-year-old preacher is also due to stand trial in September on separate charges of plotting to overthrow the government and insulting the national flag. He did not speak on Wednesday, but his lawyer told reporters after his arrest that he denied the new charges. He left the room as officials prepared his release papers. His next court appearance was set for July 19. Police arrested Mawarire on Monday at the University of Zimbabwe where he addressed medical students demonstrating against an increase in fees. The students were expelled from campus hostels on Tuesday. Mawarire has used social media to speak out against corruption, injustice and poverty. Amnesty International called him a “prisoner of conscience” after his detention. “His arrest unfortunately shows that he continues to be targeted by a government hell-bent on criminalizing him for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” the rights group said. Reuters 55 Ambassadors discuss regional security at the opening of AU Summit Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:44:37 +0000 The African Union Summit opened on Tuesday with the 34th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representative Committees in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. In attendance was the AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat who called for a more political solution to Africa’s security problems. He opened the session which will prepare the agenda of the AU Summit with appropriate recommendations for consideration by the Executive Council. The meeting, which included the 55 African Union member states based in Addis Ababa and other key AU officials, ends Wednesday. It is followed by the 31st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council from June 30 to July 1; and then the 29th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government from July 3 to 4. The heads of state and government will focus on the renewed conflict in South Sudan, Somalia’s al-Shabaab insurgency and the implementation of Agenda 2063 as well as the establishment of continental free trade area (CFTA). Ismail Akwei South Sudan deports 3 undocumented Americans Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:48:19 +0000 The South Sudanese government has deported three American nationals over lack of possession of valid visas. According to local media Sudan Tribune which spoke with police authorities, the three entered the country on June 20 through Kenya, and were returned on June 22. “Their visas had not been approved, they were not tourists nor investment agents. They stayed for three days in Narus until they were returned to Kenya … Kenya was their point of entry, so they were asked to return to Kenya and they went. If they come back with legal documents, they would be welcomed,” said police spokesperson Daniel Justin. The three, identified as Alex Jared Zweifelholfer, Craig Austin Lang and William Wright-Martinovich, are reported to have been detained in Kenya. They have been confirmed to be former United States military officials. Lieutenant Colonel Joe Buccino from America’s 82nd Airborne Unit told Reuters that Private First Class Zwiefelhofer was absent from the 82nd without leave. “We are working with U.S. authorities in the area to return Private First Class Alex Zwiefelhofer to U.S. military control. They are in Kenya,” he said in an email. They were deported to Kenya, he added. Ismail Akwei DR Congo league club sanctioned, relegated for fan violence Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:00:56 +0000 Democratic Republic of Congo premier league club FC Renaissance has been relegated to the second division as part of sanctions after violence by its supporters. The decision was taken by the Congolese Football League (Linafoot) after it met on Monday following the violence on Saturday, AFP reports. FC Renaissance was found guilty of the Saturday incident during a championship match between the team and Vita Club at the Martyrs stadium in Kinshasa. FC Renaissance lost to Vita Club, sparking an attack by their supporters who “threw projectiles while their management invaded the pitch.” They were also fined $20,000 and tasked to pay for all damages at the stadium. Prior to the sanction, FC Renaissance – which has a history of fan violence – placed fourth in the top 8 of the final leg of the championship. Ismail Akwei 26 political parties certified to vie for a slot in Liberia's October elections Wed, 28 Jun 2017 10:39:47 +0000 Liberia’s electoral commission has certified four more political parties to the active 22 ahead of the October 10 general elections. This brings the total number of registered parties to 26 who are expected to file their nominations for the legislative and presidential elections in two weeks. Head of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Jerome Korkoya issued the certificates on Monday to the Redemption Democratic Congress (RDC), Liberia Restoration Party (LRP), the Liberia for Prosperity Party (LPP), and the Democratic Justice Party (DJP). “It is no problem in receiving the certificates, but there are lots of requirements that you will have to meet up with,” said Korkoya who linked the high number of parties to Liberia’s democratic growth. On Tuesday, the head of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Farid Zarif, told the UN Security Council that the country’s democracy is tied to the success of the upcoming elections. “Liberia’s future as stable democracy will hinge on successful conduct of elections, acceptance they were free & fair, smooth transfer of power. Despite important gains, Liberia faces challenges which weigh heavily on efforts to sustain peace & advance national reconciliation,” Zarif said. After devastating back-to-back civil wars in Liberia, the UN launched the peacekeeping mission in September 2003 to ensure security, rebuild police and military forces from scratch and disarm rebels. It announced its gradual withdrawal from the country last year leaving the country’s security to ensured by Liberian forces who are undergoing training in corporation with the UN troops. Ismail Akwei Kagame's female challenger faces exclusion from Rwanda's presidential race Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:31:32 +0000 Rwanda’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) has rejected the candidacy of 35-year-old Diane Shima Rwigara for not meeting filing requirements. She and four other candidates fell short of required number of signatures, NEC Chairman, Kalisa Mbanda told journalists on Tuesday. The independent presidential aspirants, who are required to present 600 signatures each from all the 30 districts, have until Sunday to provide the remainder. “We verified the signatures and the independent candidates fell short of the required number in all districts. They have five days to bring the missing elements in their files. They are both missing signatures from all districts,” said Kalisa Mbanda. Incumbent President Paul Kagame of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and main opposition leader Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda were confirmed by the NEC. Diane Shima Rwigara submitted her nomination to the NEC last Tuesday amid complaints of intimidation against her supporters. She is required to provide at least 12 signatures from each of the 30 districts in Rwanda. Diane Shima Rwigara is the daughter of businessman Assinapol Rwigara, who was pivotal in the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front. She distanced herself from the party after her father’s death in 2015 in a road accident which she claims was an assassination. President Kagame filed his nomination last week to contest for a third term as president. He was unanimously nominated by his party in June. Electoral campaigns will start on July 7, followed by the elections on August 3 in the diaspora and August 4 in Rwanda. Ismail Akwei Police briefly detain ex-Tanzanian PM over 'seditious' speech to Muslims Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:22:57 +0000 Former Tanzanian Prime Minister and opposition figure Edward Lowassa was briefly detained and questioned by the police on Tuesday over a speech he made to Muslim clerics last week. Lowassa was summoned on Monday to the police headquarters where he spent four hours on Tuesday under interrogation before he was released on bail. His lawyer, Peter Kibatala, said he was questioned over the speech which was deemed by the police as inflammatory. “Mr Lowassa has been questioned on what police describe as inflammatory statement. He has lodged cautionary statement and he will be required to report at the police headquarters next Thursday,” said Kibatala who was quoted by local media The Citizen. Edward Lowassa addressed the media after his release saying: “police have the right to establish the truth about anything they are suspicious of. I used the platform to give my views, and the media should evaluate what I said and judge whether the remarks were seditious.” On what he actually said at the iftar event organised by a member of parliament for Muslims at the end of the daily fast last weekend, Lowassa’s Chadema party Secretary-General Vincent Mashinji said: “he was speaking about good governance and human rights. Saying that there are people who have been detained for four years without trial is not sedition, it’s a fact.” Lowassa’s summon follows arrest of Chadema party leaders in four regions over alleged illegal assembly, local media report. Edward Lowassa defected from the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party to the opposition in 2015 and lost the presidential election as a candidate same year against John Magufuli. In January this year, Edward Lowassa was arrested and briefly detained by police for allegedly holding an illegal meeting in Geita, a gold mining town in the northwest of the country. He and party officials were campaigning for their member for an impending civic by-election. Last year, the police banned all political rallies calling them unlawful and likely to breach the peace. The president later relaxed the ban and allowed only elected officials to conduct rallies within their constituencies. The Magufuli-led government has assumed a no-nonsense approach towards opposition forces. In late March, popular Tanzanian rapper Emmanuel Elibariki also known as “ Nay wa Mitego” was arrested for releasing a song which is critical of the government. He was later released on the orders of the president. Days before his arrest, President John Magufuli sacked his Information Minister Nape Nnauye without notice. Nape Nnauye’s sack was effected a day after a report was released by an inquiry he set up to investigate Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda who was accused of storming the studios of a private radio and television station with armed policemen to threatened workers over a television programme. President Magufuli had earlier rejected calls by the public to dismiss the regional commissioner for his action. Ismail Akwei Pics of the day: June 27th, 2017 Wed, 28 Jun 2017 11:06:32 +0000 Africanews samples the best pictures of the day’s news. New major cyberattack hits international firms Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:15:26 +0000 A major cyberattack has unfolded, striking banks, corporations and infrastructure in Ukraine and Russia before spreading to western Europe and then the United States. Experts say the virus is a modified version of the so-called Petya ransomware, which hit last year and demanded money from victims in exchange for their data. A similar virus called WannaCry infected more than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries last month. Following is a list of companies and organisations which say they have been a victim of the latest attack: Ukraine’s central bank, the National Bank of Ukraine Ukrainian bank Oschadbank Ukrainian delivery service company Nova Poshta Russian state oil giant Rosneft Kyivenergo, Kiev power company Radiation monitoring system at Chernobyl Website of Kiev’s Boryspil international airport Danish sea transport company Maersk British advertising giant WPP French industrial group Saint-Gobain US pharmaceutical giant Merck AFP Facebook to start livestream of Champions League games in U.S. Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:47:23 +0000 Facebook will broadcast Champions League matches for American internet users under a deal with Fox Sports, which will host the livestreams on its pages, the channel said Tuesday. The partnership will involve two group matches per day, four round of sixteen games and the four quarter-finals of the 2017-18 season, in the social media giant’s latest foray into sportscasting. Facebook will act only as a host for the streams, with the images and content produced by Fox Sports. A Fox Sports spokesman confirmed that the content would only be available to Facebook users in the United States. Facebook has already signed partnership with the North American football league Major League Soccer, which will see around 20 matches broadcast in 2017, as well as an agreement with Liga MX, the Mexican championship, for some 40 games last season. The social media giant, which announced Tuesday it had crossed two billion active monthly users, also signed a deal with Major League Baseball in May for 20 regular season games. It also enjoys a relationship with the NBA which resulted in January in the broadcast of a game between Sacramento and Golden State, only available in India — a prized market for the North American basketball league. AFP Kenya is first in Africa to get latest generic AIDS drug Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:15:16 +0000 Kenya is the first African country to start using a generic version of the latest AIDS drug that can improve and prolong the lives of tens of thousands of people who suffer severe side effects and resistance to other treatments. A generic of Dolutegravir (DTG), first approved in the United States in 2013, is being given to 20,000 patients in Kenya before being rolled out in Nigeria and Uganda later this year, with the backing of the health agency UNITAID. DTG is the drug of choice for people with HIV in high-income countries who have never taken antiretroviral therapy before and for those who have developed resistance to other treatment. “I had constant nightmares and no appetite,” said Nairobi resident Doughtiest Ogutu, who started taking the drug this year because of her resistance to other treatments. “My appetite has come back… My body is working well with it.” Ogutu, who has been living with HIV for 15 years, said her viral load – the amount of HIV in her blood – has fallen tenfold from 450,000 to 40,000 since she started on DTG. Sub-Saharan Africa has been at the epicenter of the HIV epidemic for decades and home to nearly three quarters of all people with HIV/AIDS. UNAIDS aims for 90 percent of people diagnosed with HIV to receive antiretroviral treatment by 2020. The brand name version of DTG is Tivicay, produced by ViiV Healthcare, which is majority-owned by GlaxoSmithKline. About 15 percent of HIV patients are resistant, which means the medicines do not work on them, said Sylvia Ojoo, Kenya country director for the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who is monitoring the introduction of DTG. UNITAID works to bring medicines to market quickly and to reduce manufacturing costs by allowing generic companies to access patents for a small royalty and produce them cheaply for the developing world. Kenya, with one of the world’s largest HIV positive populations, has made great strides in addressing HIV in its public medical facilities. “The health systems we have in place allow for rapid deployment,” said Ojoo. “It makes it relatively easy to introduce new interventions.” About 1.5 million Kenyans are HIV positive, with more than two-thirds on treatment, said Martin Sirengo, head of Kenya’s National AIDS and STI Control Program. The number of new infections in Kenya has almost halved over the last decade to 80,000 a year, he said, thanks to increased testing, treatment and awareness. Reuters Over 50 abandoned migrants feared dead in Niger's Sahara desert Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:15:09 +0000 Over 50 African migrants are feared dead in the Sahara desert of northern Niger on Tuesday after being abandoned by their drivers, aid workers and local officials said on Tuesday. A convoy of three pick-up trucks were transporting over 70 migrants north through the Sahara Desert towards Libya — a typical route for West Africans seeking to reach Europe — when the drivers abandoned them. Twenty-three of the migrants survived after walking to a nearby town for help, the International Organization for Migration said in a press release on Tuesday, which said the survivors came from Nigeria, Gambia, Ivory Coast and Senegal. A local official told Reuters that of the remaining 52, at least 15 were known to have died from thirst while attempts on Monday to find the rest were unsuccessful. There was no immediate word on their nationalities. “The migrants were abandoned about 50 miles from Siguidine,” Fatoumi Goudou, a prefect in the Bilma department of Niger, told Reuters. It is not clear why the drivers abandoned their passengers, but rival militias and militants seeking money often stop migrant convoys and are a constant hazard for smugglers. Hundreds of thousands of impoverished West Africans risk their lives crossing the Sahara each year to try to reach Europe, crammed on the back of pick-up trucks and with few provisions to survive if something goes wrong. It is one of the most dangerous parts of the journey, though the number of deaths in the vast and unpopulated region is hard to track. Some estimate that thousands die each year — more than in the Mediterranean sea between Africa and Europe. Over 40 West African migrants died of thirst last month in northern Niger after their truck broke down. Reuters Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana ban South African poultry imports Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:22:39 +0000 Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana on Tuesday suspended poultry imports from South Africa with immediate effect following outbreaks of highly contagious H5N8 bird flu. South Africa has confirmed outbreaks of avian flu, which is often transmitted by wild birds, on at least two farms. South Africa and Mozambique banned poultry imports from Zimbabwe this month after a bird flu outbreak there. Botswana, which only imports 5 percent of its poultry needs, said it would no longer buy poultry meat, processed products and feeds from South Africa. “The restriction is a precautionary measure to avoid equal infection here as well as protect our people,” agriculture minister Patrick Ralotsia told Reuters. Zimbabwe imposed a similar ban while Namibia also halted imports from Belgium which has experience an outbreak of bird flu earlier this year. South Africa on Monday ended the sale of live hens throughout the country in a bid to control the outbreak that was detected on the farm of a commercial broiler breeder last week. Poultry producer Astral, which had previously confirmed that H5N8 had been detected at its breeding facilities on the outskirts of the Free State, said on Tuesday it had quarantined the affected site and culled 150,000 birds, around six percent of its breeding stock. Reuters Will Germany vote on gay marriage this week? Wed, 28 Jun 2017 07:13:21 +0000 Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) are pushing for a vote this week to legalise gay marriage. SPD leader Martin Schulz says his party will push for a vote in parliament this week, before the start of the summer recess. “I hope our colleagues in the conservatives will cooperate,” he said, raising the pressure on his conservative partners who want a vote after the election. After Merkel hints at gay marriage, rival Schulz calls for speedy vote –— GermanyEnglishNews (@germanyenglish1) 27 juin 2017 Why are they doing this? Analysts say the SPD is hoping to capitalise on a surprise shift from conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel, three months before the country’s national election. Polls have put Merkel’s conservatives 10-15 points ahead of the SPD, but short of a parliamentary majority. The issue of gay marriage became a hot election topic after Merkel’s three potential coalition partners, including her current SPD partners, made it a condition for sharing power. The SPD, pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens have made gay marriage – a step-up from same-sex civil partnerships which have been allowed since 2001, a condition for a tie-up. This effectively forced her hand. Schulz needs to make up ground for his centre-left party in the election race and has sharpened his attacks on Merkel. However, he has made it clear he will not end the coalition. What did Merkel say? Speaking at an event on Monday evening, the chancellor said she had taken note of other German parties favouring same-sex marriage and would allow a free vote. “I would like to lead the discussion more into a situation where it is a question of conscience rather than something I push through with a majority vote,” Merkel said. Merkel has previously argued against same-sex marriage. Merkel paves way for gay marriage vote in Germany— euronews (@euronews) 27 juin 2017 How will the vote play out? With broad support among Germans for gay marriage, the law is likely to get easy approval in the lower house of parliament if conservatives can vote according to their conscience and not face a party whip. Is there likely to be opposition? Yes. The move could antagonise some in Merkel’s traditionally Catholic conservative bloc. Her conservatives have already accused Schulz of acting irresponsibly. “That is a breach of trust,” said Volker Kauder, the head of Merkel’s conservative bloc in parliament. The SPD’s behaviour on such a sensitive topic shows it is “not suited to government”, he added. What are campaigners saying? They have welcomed Merkel’s change of attitude but also describe it as “a face-saving measure”. “After 15 years of an ideological blockade, social pressure and the commitments of other parties have made an impact,” said LSVD spokesman Axel Hochrein. “Equal rights for all people is part of our constitution.” German gay marriage vote given green light by Angela Merkel— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) 27 juin 2017 Catherine Hardy Liberia's democracy tied to successful conduct of upcoming polls – UN envoy Tue, 27 Jun 2017 22:54:32 +0000 Farid Zarif, head of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) says the country’s democracy is tied to the success of upcoming elections in October this year. ‘‘Liberia’s future as stable democracy will hinge on successful conduct of elections, acceptance they were free & fair, smooth transfer of power. Despite important gains, Liberia faces challenges which weigh heavily on efforts to sustain peace & advance national reconciliation,’‘ Zarif said. He was addressing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the situation in the west African country and plans by UNMIL to help consolidate the democratic gains chalked over the last decade. Zarif on Liberia: Critical legislative reforms, minimum requirements to address the underlying causes of conflict, are yet to be enacted.— UN Peacekeeping (@UNPeacekeeping) June 27, 2017 Zarif: Encouraged by gradual strengthening of Liberia’s human rights capacity, following years of UNMIL’s support— UN Peacekeeping (@UNPeacekeeping) June 27, 2017 Zarif: UNMIL ready to respond to any situation that risks reversal of peace. Yet our response will be restricted to our reduced capacity— UN Peacekeeping (@UNPeacekeeping) June 27, 2017 He said even as the mission wraps up its work in the country, ‘‘Liberia has remained stable. No major threats are envisaged,’‘ he said adding that UNMIL and the Liberia National Police had mapped out plans ‘‘to ensure effective utilization of resources to protect civilians.’‘ He said despite efforts by the mission to play its role in ensuring a smooth electoral process, there was the need for increase and consolidate investment to help the country through this delicate phase of its democratic experiment. On October 10 this year, Liberians will go to the polls for the third time after the last civil war to elect a successor to incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and also elect members for the House of Representatives. UNMIL – a brief of events since 2003 The UNMIL is primarily a peacekeeping mission that was sent to Liberia in 2003 to restore order after two brutal civil wars. Liberia has relied heavily on the mission of 15,000 U.N. troops, which had been winding down for several months since the beginning of last year. They eventually handed over control of the country’s security to domestic forces in late June 2016, beginning a new phase of self-reliance for the impoverished West African country. After the mass winding down, however, 1,240 U.N. military and 606 police personnel remained on the ground, expected to be there only in case of emergency. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the time told Reuters that much had been done to prepare for the transition, but that more was still needed. “The constraints of resources have not enabled us to go as far as we would have wanted in terms of security training, logistics, and support for our security forces,” Sirleaf said. The government has said that new barracks have been built across the country to increase security outside the capital. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Tanzania to sacrifice key game reserve for hydroelectric project Tue, 27 Jun 2017 20:49:45 +0000 Tanzania said on Tuesday it plans to build a long-delayed 2,100-megawatt hydroelectric plant in a World Heritage site renowned for its animal populations and variety of wildlife habitats despite opposition from environmentalists. The East African nation considers the project at Stiegler’s Gorge in the UNESCO-designated Selous Game Reserve as vital in its bid to diversify its energy mix as part of plans to end chronic energy shortages. Covering 50,000 sq km, the reserve is one of the largest protected areas in Africa, according to UNESCO. It is know for its elephants, black rhinoceroses and giraffes, among many other species. President John Magufuli “wants construction of this project to start as quickly as possible and produce an abundant supply of electricity to speed up the development of the country”, his office said in a statement. It did not give the cost of the project. The statement said a team of experts from Ethiopia would arrive in the country this week to provide advice on its implementation. Ethiopia has an array of hydropower projects under construction, including the $4.1 billion Grand Renaissance Dam along the Nile River that will churn out 6,000 MW upon completion. Authorities say hydropower projects will ease shortage in a country where demand for power currently outpaces supply. Tanzania also aims to add about 2,000 MW in gas-fired generation by 2018. However, critics say construction of a hydropower dam in a major river that runs through the Selous Game Reserve could affect wildlife and their habitats downstream. The government has previously come under criticism for granting Australia-based miner Mantra Resources to build a $400 million uranium mine in the same sanctuary despite pressure from environmental groups who opposed to the project. REUTERS Djibouti @ 40: Foreign forces join Independence parade Tue, 27 Jun 2017 20:53:16 +0000 The Red Sea state of Djibouti celebrated their 40th independence anniversary on Tuesday June 27, 2017. The country located in the Horn of Africa region close to the Somali peninsula was under French control till it gained independence in 1997. The 40th independence parade was attended by President Omar Guelleh, high ranking officials from neighbouring countries among others. Marching along with the Djibouti forces were Chinese security personnel who graced the colourful event in the capital, Djibouti. U.S. and Indian forces also joined in the parade. The country is currently seen as a strategic security location with the United States, France and Japan all operating military bases from there. Djibouti celebrates 40 years of independence today. #Djibouti #40thAnniversary— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) June 27, 2017 40ème anniversaire de l’indépendance de #Djibouti. Le 5ème RIAOM et les FFDj défilent avec les Forces armées djiboutiennes. Bravo à tous.— Christophe Guilhou (@ChrisGuilhou) June 27, 2017 It has also recently become an economic hub with massive Chinese investments especially in the area of building ports. The latest being a China-funded salt export hub valued at $64m. Despite being just about the size of Wales, the country is strategically positioned on the route to the Suez Canal. The tiny, barren nation, is sandwiched between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. It enjoys cordial relations with all its neighbours except Eritrea – with whom they have fought a deadly border war in 1998. The withdrawal of Qatar as a mediator in the border tension reignited fears of an escalation of clashes between the two. Happy 40th Independence Day to my beloved #Djibouti & all Djiboutians around the world! Elelelelele🇩🇯🇩🇯🇩🇯— 𐒓𐒘𐒇𐒈 (@diasporicblues) June 26, 2017 Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Venezuela: Helicopter attacks Supreme Court Wed, 28 Jun 2017 06:26:07 +0000 A helicopter has tried to bomb Venezuela’s Supreme Court, according to President Nicolas Maduro, in a dramatic ratcheting up of the country’s political crisis. Speaking on state television the president said a grenade had also been thrown which did not explode. There are no reports of casualties. “I am sure that sooner or later we will capture the helicopter and those who have made this armed terrorist attack against the institutions of the country, I condemn this terrorist attack and I demand that the opposition condemn this act of violence that resembles a coup.” According to the government, an army officer took a police helicopter and flew it over the capital, Caracas. Footage on social media shows a helicopter swooping over the city followed by a loud bang. The officer believed to have seized the aircraft has issued a video statement condemning the government. #Socialism is on the run! #RWDS FTW. Check in the replies for the translation. ComradeStump1 #Venezuela— TheTrumpenreich (TheTrumpenreich) June 28, 2017 Earlier there were more violent clashes between the National Guard and opposition protesters. For more than two months there have been almost daily demonstrations against Maduro’s leftist government. Maduro has warned that he and his supporters will take up arms if his socialist government is violently overthrown. Protests in #Venezuela face awful repression and this is getting worse. Tanks are on the streets, journalists detained and MPs hostaged.— Americas News (@theamericasnews) June 28, 2017 Eritrea: The African North Korea's border spats with Djibouti and Ethiopia Tue, 27 Jun 2017 21:07:23 +0000 Eritrea is not a typically newsy African country – at least gauging by how much comes from other countries, the Horn of Africa nation is very low on news and more so, compared to its closest neighbours in the region – Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sudan. The phenomenon has been put down to the kind of governance structure the country operates. With little space for civil society and even democratic structures, it is seen as a closed nation that is barely heard especially – more often than not – when border tensions arise. The country which is nestled in the Red Sea enclave is described as a ‘secretive’ nation with watchers often drawing parallels between it and North Korea with special emphasis on their respective leaders. North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un and Isaias Afwerki. Despite their low news mode, recent events in the Gulf region have thrust them into the spotlight for the very reason they are often heard – border tensions. Sudan remains the only neighbour Asmara is not having issues with on that front. The persistent Ethiopia – Eritrea border tensions The Ethiopian tension is well documented with the two countries yet to fully implement a demarcation agreement brokered by President Abdul Aziz Bouteflika in 2000 under the Algiers Agreement initiative. Earlier this year, the European Union (EU) said on the seventeenth anniversary of the agreement that, the persistence of the tensions was a risk for the Horn of Africa region and called for Addis and Asmara to work to ensure its full implementation. Before that, the African Union (AU) which is headquartered in Ethiopia had expressed concerns over the tensions in 2016. But the Eritrean leader has recently blamed the United States – an ally of Ethiopia – as being responsible for the tensions due to meddling. !×576_bonus-EthiopiaEritrea2.jpg Timeline of the tensions – Algiers agreement, UNSC sanctions, diplomatic tirades 1993: Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia after a war that lasted three decades. 1998 – 2000: Forces of both countries engaged in a deadly war 2000, December 12: The Algiers agreement was signed. Late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and President Afwerki the signatories. The AU, EU, United Nations and U.S. signed as witnesses. 2002, April 13: The Eritrea – Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) said it was ready to oversee the demarcation process. 2009: A U.S.-led motion led to imposition of Council arms sanctions on Eritrea with the reason that they supported Somalia’s insurgent group, al-Shabaab. 2015 – 2016: Ethiopia accuses Eritrea of supporting anti-peace elements in the wake of spreading anti-government protests. Asmara rubbishes the claims. 2016 June: AU expresses worry after two countries engage in renewed hostilities. Eritrea – Djibouti tensions sparked by Gulf crisis When Qatar was diplomatically ‘blacked out’ by its Gulf neighbours – the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), little did anyone think it was going to play out the way it has in the Horn of Africa region. The Gulf crisis as it has come to be known sparked another diplomatic and security rift between Eritrea and Djibouti. At a time when Ethiopia and Somalia chose to stay on the fence in the crisis, Eritrea and Djibouti opted to side with GCC – Saudi Arabia and its allies. Then Qatar also decided to pull out its troops from a disputed region which has been at the heart of hostilities between Asmara and Djibouti. A brief timeline of the almost 10-year-old spat is as follows: 2008 – Eritrea and Djibouti forces clashed for four days each claiming a common border territory. The area in question is the Dumeira Island and mountains. The small island lies off the coast of both countries, specifically at the southern end of the Red Sea. It is close to a vital shipping route for global trade, the Baba-el-Mandeb strait. 2010 – After accepting Qatari mediation, the Gulf State deployed peacekeepers to the disputed areas. June 2017 – The GCC isolate Qatar – accusing Doha of supporting terrorists, a claim strongly rejected. Eritrea and Djibouti join about dozen African countries backing the GCC. Qatar pull out its troops from the disputed Eritrea-Djibouti border area. Djibouti chides Eritrea for deploying troops to the area after Qatari contingent quit. Asmara issued a statement on June 17 which read in parts: ‘The government of Eritrea has so far refrained from issuing any statement, primarily because it is not privy to and has not, to date, obtained any information on the withdrawal from the party concerned: that is the State of Qatar.’   Credit: The Addis Standard news portal U.N., Ethiopia, A.U., the Intergovernmental Agency for Development (IGAD) all called for peaceful solution to the crisis with the A.U. sending a fact-finding mission to the area. Shaban Abdur Rahman Alfa Digital journalist Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo Ethiopia's growing international authority due to solid foreign policy – Russia Tue, 27 Jun 2017 21:11:43 +0000 Russia has underlined the importance of Ethiopia as a valued development partner in different kinds of areas, stressing how strong the country’s international profile continues to soar. According to the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, his country valued ‘‘Ethiopia’s responsible and balanced policy in world affairs and its active involvement in the African Union, sub-regional bodies on the African continent. ‘‘Ethiopia’s independent foreign policy course contributes to its growing international authority. This is reflected in your country’s election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2017-2018,’‘ he added. He was speaking during an official visit to Moscow by his counterpart, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu. For his part, Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs chief underlined the relationship between Addis Ababa and Moscow and said they were committed to taking the ties even further. Ties between the two countries dates back to over a century ago. They cooperate in areas of bilateral relations bordering on trade, economic and humanitarian contacts and on regional and international issues. The latest area of cooperation was when they signed a deal to advance the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Lavrov was one of the first Foreign Affairs ministers to extend congratulations to Gebeyehu after he was appointed Minister in November last year following a cabinet reschuffle by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. The Russian Embassy in Ethiopia through its official twitter handle stated that Lavrov had congratulated Gebeyehu on his latest appointment. He replaced Tedros Adhanom, who is at the time was gunning to become World Health Organization (WHO) boss – he eventually won the post in May this year. Russian Foreign Minister #Lavrov congratulated Workneh Gebeyehu on his appointment as the new Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia— Russian Emb Ethiopia (@RusEmbEthiopia) November 7, 2016 Ethiopia is a strong player in the Horn of Africa region, economically and on the security front. The country hosts the African Union headquarters and is a member of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Global cyber attack hits Australian chocolate factory Wed, 28 Jun 2017 06:31:45 +0000 A Cadbury chocolate factory has become the first Australian business to be hit by a global cyber attack. The latest ransomware extortion campaign has crippled computers running Microsoft Windows by encrypting hard drives and overwriting files, then demanding $300 in bitcoin to restore access “The most probable cause is that the operating system, the software of the companies that are targeted were not up to date and then there were some security vulnerabilities into this software,” said Gerome Billois, cybersecurity expert. The ransomware extortion campaign has already disrupted computers at Russia’s biggest oil company, Ukrainian banks and multinational firms with a virus similar to the ransomware that infected more than 300,000 computers last month. Last month’s fast-spreading attack was crippled after a British security researcher created a so-called kill switch which slowed the attack. However, security experts believe the new ransomware will be more difficult to stop. My Cyber Attack Survival Pack has arrived Pizza guy recognized me off the news and asked if I was investingating the new attack :’)— MalwareTech (@MalwareTechBlog) June 27, 2017 Facebook hits 2 billion monthly users; Youtube, Whatsapp et al. trailing Tue, 27 Jun 2017 22:59:19 +0000 Facebook as at Tuesday June 27, 2017; had officially registered two billion monthly users, its founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg, confirmed. Zuckerberg broke the news on his Facebook wall stressing that the network was making progress in connecting the world. The company reached the billion mark in October 2012, he further confirmed in response to a comment. Facebook was founded thirteen years ago (February 2004) and is currently headquartered in Menlo Park, California, United States. On the issue of the number of users catching up with the world’s population of seven billion people, Marck said, ‘‘We still have a long way to go to connect everyone. But we must do more than just connect — we must bring people closer together.’‘ The company says more than 175 million people declare they “love” something on the site daily and an average of more than 800 million people hit Facebook’s like button. Facebook users will likely see a personalized video celebrating the milestone in the next few days. With soaring profits reported last year, one of its biggest challenge is the fake news phenomenon which it is working to cure. How does Facebook compare with other social media networks Tech Crunch reports that the new milestone (Two billion users) makes Facebook the largest social app in terms of logged-in users. It beats YouTube’s 1.5 billion, WeChat’s 889 million, Twitter’s 328 million and Snapchat’s estimated 255 million. ‘‘Beyond YouTube, only Facebook’s other apps have more than 1 billion, including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, with 1.2 billion each. Instagram might soon join that club as it recently rocketed past 700 million,’‘ they added. Interestingly, it is the developing world that has boosted Facebook’s growth the last 10 years. The company has met that market halfway with optimized applications for cheap Android smartphones and low-bandwidth connections. ‘‘It’s added 746 million users in Asia and the rest of World region since hitting 1 billion users total. Meanwhile, it only added 41 million in the U.S. and Canada,’‘ they added. 1917: 1.7 billion total people on earth 2017: 2 billion people use facebook— Vala Afshar (ValaAfshar) June 27, 2017 Go and champion gay rights elsewhere, not in Tanzania - government warns Tue, 27 Jun 2017 22:51:59 +0000 Tanzania has threatened to arrest and expel activists, as well as deregister all non-governmental organisations that campaign for gay rights. Homosexuality is a criminal offence in the East African nation, where the law states that suspects convicted of having “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” could face up to 30 years in jail. At a rally late on Sunday, Tanzania’s Home Affairs Minister Mwigulu Nchemba said both domestic and foreign campaigners for gay rights would now face punitive measures in the country. “Those who want to campaign for gay rights should find another country that allows those things,” Nchemba said in the capital Dodoma. “If we establish that any organisation registered in our country is campaigning for gay rights … I will deregister that organisation. If a Tanzanian national is doing that campaign, we will arrest him and take him to court … and if it is a foreigner, we will immediately order him to leave the country.” The planned crackdown comes amid repeated warnings against “immoral behaviours” by President John Magufuli, who is nicknamed “the Bulldozer” for pushing through his policies. Last week, he rejected calls to lift the decades-long ban on pregnant students from attending state schools, drawing criticism from rights groups. Nchemba said Magufuli’s decisions were final and non-negotiable. Since his ascent to power in 2015, Magufuli has been praised by some Western donors for his bid to stamp out corruption and cut wasteful government spending. Opponents, however, accuse him of becoming increasingly authoritarian by curbing political activity and cracking down on dissent. REUTERS 8 killed in northeast Kenya landmine blast Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:07:56 +0000 Four police officers and four civilians were killed on Tuesday after their truck hit a landmine on a road near Kenya’s border with Somalia, police officials said, in the second such attack this month. Another four police officers and one civilian died in a blast in northeast Kenya on June 16, while at least eight police officers were killed in two roadside bombings a month earlier. Somalia’s militant Islamist al Shabaab group claimed responsibility for the May attacks. “Four police officers and four children have been killed in an IED explosion in Lamu (county),” police spokesman Charles Owino said of Tuesday’s blast, without giving further details. Another security official in the area told Reuters the truck they were travelling in had run over a landmine in Kiunga, a town close to the border. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Al Shabaab, which is fighting to overthrow Somalia’s government and impose its own harsh interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, has said it will continue to attack Kenya unless it withdraws its troops from an African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia. Reuters Sudan hopeful U.S. will lift economic sanctions despite travel ban ruling Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:11:43 +0000 Sudan hopes the revival of President Donald Trump’s travel ban on its citizens and those of five other Muslim-majority states will not affect the planned lifting of U.S. economic sanctions next month, a Foreign Ministry official said on Tuesday. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday revived parts of a temporary travel ban on nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who lack strong ties with the United States but want to enter the country. “We hope that this ban decision will not affect next month’s decision to lift U.S. economic sanctions, especially because Sudan has completed all the roadmap requirements that were asked of it,” Foreign Ministry official Abdelghany Naeem told Reuters. The roadmap’s conditions included cooperating with Washington in fighting terrorism, halting interference in South Sudan’s affairs and allowing humanitarian aid to safely reach to conflict zones in the region. In January, the outgoing Obama administration gave Sudan 180 days to improve its human rights record and resolve its political and military conflicts before Washington lifts some major economic sanctions stepped up in 2006 for what it said was complicity in violence in Sudan’s Darfur region. “We support the United States’ right to protect its national security, but we insist that Sudanese citizens do not pose any dangers to American security,” Naeem said. REUTERS Combating child marriages is economically smart for developing nations - World Bank Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:25:53 +0000 Child marriage will cost developing countries trillions of dollars in the next decade, seriously hampering global efforts to eradicate poverty, the World Bank said on Tuesday. An estimated one in three girls in the developing world is married before the age of 18, with one girl married off every two seconds, according to experts. The World Bank said ending child marriage would reduce population growth, boost girls’ educational achievements and increase their earnings. It would also lead to women having healthier and better educated children, further boosting prosperity. “Child marriage not only puts a stop to girls’ hopes and dreams, it also hampers efforts to end poverty and achieve economic growth and equity,” World Bank economist Quentin Wodon said in a statement. “Ending this practice is not only the morally right thing to do but also the economically smart thing to do,” added Wodon, who co-authored the report – the first to look at the economic impact of child marriage. One of the biggest economic benefits of ending child marriage would derive from a reduction in population growth, according to the study co-authored by the International Center for Research on Women. Girls who marry young have more children on average than those who delay marriage. Ending child marriage would reduce fertility rates by 11 percent on average in 15 of the worst affected countries analysed in the study. Global gains from lower population growth could exceed $500 billion annually by 2030, with cumulative gains topping $4 trillion, the study said. Although world leaders have pledged to end child marriage by 2030 under the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals agreed in 2015, investments to end the practice remain limited. The authors said this was likely partly due to the fact child marriage was seen as a social issue and the economic case had not been made forcefully enough. Each year of secondary education reduces the risk of child marriage by five percentage points or more, the report said. Child brides are more likely to drop out of school than their peers who marry later, which in turn impacts their ability to earn a living. Early marriage reduces women’s earnings in adulthood by 9 percent, the study said, while the children of child mothers tend to suffer poorer development and health. The economic benefits of lower rates of under-five mortality and stunting – that can lead to irreversible damage to health – which would result from ending child marriage could reach more than $90 billion annually by 2030, the bank estimated. REUTERS A wave of cyber attacks strike companies in several countries Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:03:10 +0000 Cyber security experts say a ransomware computer virus first reported in the Ukraine and Russia, and which is now spreading throughout the world, uses the same computer hacking exploit as did the WannaCry virus which crippled hundreds of thousands of computers last month. Reports of the virus first emerged in the Ukraine when government officials signalled the country’s infrastructure ministry, state postal service, largest telephone firm and several banks were affected. An advisor to Ukraine’s interior minister said a version of the WannaCry ransomware had caused outages on government websites and those of several companies. The next country reporting issues was Russia. Top oil producer, Rosneft, said it had been affected by a large scale cyber-attack. As was Russia’s largest steelmaker Evraz. Both companies confirmed they were hit by the global cyber-attack but that their production remained unaffected. A supermarket in Ukraine. The country is under cyberattack. via golub</a> <a href=""></a></p>— Maxim Eristavi (MaximEristavi) June 27, 2017 Within hours the virus was being reported throughout Europe. In the UK, WPP, the world’s biggest advertising company said that computer systems within several of its agencies had been hit as well. In the Netherlands, Rotterdam TV reported 17 APM shipping container terminals were hit by the hack. APM is a subsidiary of shipping giant Maersk who confirmed it was also impacted by the global attack. Two of the company’s terminals are located in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. The 15 others are dispersed throughout the world. The Norwegian national security authority also confirmed this latest cyber-attack hit an “international company” in Norway. This latest cyber-attack, according to both Ukrainian and Swiss officials, appears to be a ransomware attack — in which a computer’s hard drive is encrypted and its contents held for ransom. Ukrainian officials said the cyber-attack is a modified version of the WannaCry ransomware virus which last month devastated the UK’s health service a spread world-wide. BREAKING: ‘Petya’ cyber-attack that started in Ukraine has reached companies in Spain, India, Denmark, Russia, UK, Norway and others.— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) June 27, 2017 In Switzerland, officials there said a 2016 ransomware computer virus known as a Petya has re-emerged and is impacting computers throughout the world. Germany’s BSI federal cyber agency supported Switzerland’s assessment, saying early indications suggest this latest attack is the Petya virus. At least 80 companies, including French construction materials firm Saint Gobain, have so far been infected by the virus. Cyber security experts said the global attack, dubbed GoldenEye, is a variant of the Petya virus. It utilises the same type of exploit as did WannaCry and once it infects a computer, its files are encrypted. Files will remain encrypted unless a ransom of 300 dollars’ worth of Bitcoins is paid. In the Ukraine, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said the scale of the attack in the country was “unprecedented”, but that the country’s most important computer systems remained unaffected. Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council Secretary, Oleksandr Turchynov, said there are signs of Russian involvement in this latest cyber-attack. Ukrainian officials say they believe the virus originated from Russia. Kenya gives in to U.S. threats after proposed used clothes ban Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:58:50 +0000 Kenya has withdrawn a proposed ban on used clothes by the East African regional bloc after threats by the United States to review trade benefits to specifically Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Kenya’s Trade and Industrialization Principal Secretary Dr Chris Kiptoo said the country had decided to comply with the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) conditions, reports web portal The East African. “When we saw the petition filed in March, we knew that the lobby group had strong arguments,” he said. Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and South Sudan decided to fully ban imported second-hand clothes and shoes by 2019, arguing it would help member countries boost domestic clothes manufacturing. As signatories to the AGOA trade programme which offers them duty-free access to the United States, their decision violates the conditions including eliminating barriers to U.S. trade and investment, among others. The U.S. Trade Representative said last Tuesday that it was reviewing trade benefits to the three countries in response to a petition filed by a United States body that complained that the ban “imposed significant hardship” on the U.S. used-clothing industry. Rwandan President Paul Kagame has stated that his country will proceed with the ban on used clothes and will choose to grow its local textile industry at the expense of being a member of the AGOA. This is the choice we find that we have to make. As far as I am concerned, making the choice is simple, we might suffer consequences. Even when confronted with difficult choices, there is always a way,” he said after officially applying to run for a third term in office. “Rwanda and other countries in the region that are part of AGOA, have to do other things, we have to grow and establish our industries,” Kagame added. Uganda and Rwanda have already raised taxes for used clothes and offered incentives to manufactures to invest in their local textile industry. Permanent Secretary in Uganda’s Ministry of Trade and Industry Julius Onen told The EastAfrican that they are still studying the matter and will issue a formal position next week. U.S. imports from Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda totaled $43 million in 2016, up from $33 million in 2015 while exports were $281 million in 2016, up from $257 million in 2015. Ismail Akwei Internet connection restored in Congo-Brazzaville after 15 days Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:38:01 +0000 Internet connection in Congo-Brazzaville was restored on Saturday after 15 days of nationwide disruptions and slowdowns that started since June 9, 2017, after a damage to the country’s main submarine cables. It was restored ahead of the five-week projected period given by the technical team working on the cut cable. Network providers confirmed days after the outage that the problem was caused by a submarine cable cut off in the Atlantic Ocean near the economic capital Pointe-Noire. Cedric Nzimbou, a network engineer with SkyTic Telecom – one of the country’s major network providers – told Africanews that the “12-kilometer fibre optic West African Cable System (WACS) that connects the country through Pointe-Noire to the international cable was cut off by a fishing vessel”. He added that network providers were forced to provide internet using V-SAT which is slow and expensive as a result of huge taxes paid to use the service. This was connected via a cable from Kinshasa in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Local media reported that the damage to the submarine cables was caused by a suspected Chinese fishing vessel. Congo-Brazzaville is in Central Africa and bordered by five countries and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, where its second largest city – Pointe-Noire – connects the country to the rest of the world by sea. Ismail Akwei AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina wins $250,000 World Food Prize Tue, 27 Jun 2017 21:18:30 +0000 President of the African Development Bank Dr Akinwumi Adesina has been named the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate. He is the fifth African to win the international honours that recognizes individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. Adesina takes home the $250,000 award for his roles over the past two decades with the Rockefeller Foundation, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and as Minister of Agriculture of Nigeria. This was announced on Monday by the president of the World Food Prize, Ambassador Kenneth Quinn at a ceremony held in the United States. “The selection of President Akinwumi Adesina as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate reflects both his breakthrough achievements as Minister of Agriculture of Nigeria and his critical role in the development of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). It also gives further impetus to his profound vision for enhancing nutrition, uplifting smallholder farmers, and inspiring the next generation of Africans as they confront the challenges of the 21st century,” said Quinn. He noted his role in the organisation of the 2006 Africa Fertilizer Summit at the Rockefeller Foundation; leading a major expansion of commercial bank lending to farmers as Vice President of AGRA; and, as Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria, introduced the E-Wallet system, which broke the back of corrupt elements that had controlled the fertilizer distribution system for 40 years. “His policies expanded Nigeria’s food production by 21 million metric tons, and the country attracted $5.6 billion in private sector investments in agriculture – earning him the reputation as the ‘farmer’s Minister’,” he added. “As someone who grew out of poverty, I know that poverty is not pretty … My life mission is to lift up millions of people out of poverty, especially farmers in rural areas of Africa. We must give hope and turn agriculture into a business all across Africa to create wealth for African economies. The World Food Prize gives me an even greater global platform to make that future happen much faster for Africa,” said Adesina. The World Food Prize was founded in 1986 by 1970 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Norman E. Borlaug. Among the 45 recipients of the World Food Prize are five Africans including: Dr Monty Jones – Sierra Leone (2004), Dr Gebisa Ejeta – Ethiopia (2009), John Agyekum Kufuor – Ghana (2011), Dr Maria Andrade – Cape Verde (2016), Dr Robert Mwanga – Uganda (2016). Who is Dr Akinwumi Adesina? Dr Akinwumi Adesina is the 8th President of the African Development Bank and the first Nigerian to serve in that capacity after he was elected on May 28, 2015. He was born on February 6, 1960 in Ebadam, Nigeria to poor parents. He attended a village school and later applied to the University of Ife in Nigeria where he studied agricultural economics and completed his Bachelor’s of Agriculture degree at the top of his class. Adesina went on to earn both his Master’s (1985) and Ph.D. (1988) in Agricultural Economics at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, USA. In 2015, Purdue recognized Adesina with an honorary doctorate. He accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at the Rockefeller Foundation in 1988 and started an Africa-based ten-year career within the CGIAR system (Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research). He worked first at ICRISAT (International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics) in India for several months before being posted to one of the Institute’s facilities in Mali. From 1990 to 1995, Adesina served as Senior Economist at WARDA (West African Rice Development Association, later known as Africa Rice) in Bouake, Cote d’Ivoire—where Dr. Monty Jones (2004 World Food Prize Laureate) was breeding new rice varieties known as NERICA. In 1998, he was recruited to join the Rockefeller Foundation as Senior Agricultural Scientist in New York, and a year later he was appointed the first Director of the Foundation’s newly opened Southern Africa Regional Office in Harare, Zimbabwe. In 2002, he became Rockefeller’s Associate Director, Food Security. Adesina served as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2011 to 2015, during which time he implemented bold policy reforms in the fertilizer sector and pursued innovative agricultural investment programs to expand opportunities for the private sector. He is the recipient of the 2007 YARA Prize, 2010 CAST Communication Award and 2013 Forbes Africa Person of the Year Award among others. Adesina met his wife Grace in a Christian fellowship group while he was a student at the University of Ife, and they married in 1984. The couple has two children, Rotimi and Segun. Ismail Akwei Mali opposition call off holding constitutional referendum [The Morning Call] Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:07:10 +0000 An alliance of groups led by an influential Malian political group have called for the country’s constitutional referendum to be abandoned until the government has driven and crushed terrorists in areas dominated by jihadists and former rebels. The vote on Mali’s national charter was due on July ninth but was postponed in the face of internal opposition in government and following protests by thousands of Malians who believe the vote cannot be held democratically. The “don’t touch my constitution” group say the referendum should be retracted and a national consultation held to rewrite it. Chad warns of withdrawing her troops from African missions [The Morning Call] Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:06:50 +0000 Eight Chadian soldiers were killed in the wake of their president Idriss Deby hinting he could pull out his soldiers from all military operations across the continent. Chad, which contributes a significant number of military personnel in the fight against extremist groups like Boko Haram is facing a serious economic meltdown according to the president. Chad has one of the most capable armies in the region and Deby while saying “Chad is a small country that has no means and has experienced huge problems in its recent history, has in recent years sent troops to fight militants in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, and Mali. Ugandan mechanic wants to build fuel-free trucks [no comment] Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:16:23 +0000 Julius Mugabi is a self-taught mechanic who has built an miniature imitation of a wheel loader made from bits and pieces of plastic. Mugabi hopes the battery-powered tractor will help inspire development of heavy duty trucks powered by renewable energy. Tanzania's 6-yr-old boy who created a computer learning game [Hi-Tech] Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:41:59 +0000 First grade student Ethan Yona is the brain behind the superhero character and computer learning game called EthanMan. This game, developed into an Android app, was launched in Zanzibar to mark the International Day of the African Child, observed annually on June 16. Of course, you should be amazed how a six-year old boy could develop a computer game. Watch this edition of Hi-Tech on The Morning Call with Ismail Akwei. Zimbabwean protest pastor arrested after 'praying' with protesting students Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:28:25 +0000 Zimbabwean protest pastor and ThisFlag citizen movement leader Evan Mawarire has been arrested again by the police on Monday while “praying” with protesting University of Zimbabwe medical students. He was picked up among students who were protesting an increase in fees from $450 to $900 and also an extension of their semester to 15 weeks. Police spokesperson Charity Charamba confirmed to local media that Mawarire has been arrested and will appear in court on Tuesday. “Evan Mawarire was yesterday arrested after inciting University of Zimbabwe students to demonstrate … He will appear in court today,” she said. Mawarire himself posted a video from the police station in the capital Harare saying he did nothing wrong but only to pray with the students. “I addressed students and prayed with them after they demonstrated. I did nothing wrong. I do not know why I was arrested,” he said. The medical students have been ordered by the university authorities to vacate their residences on campus. Evan Mawarire is already facing charges including attempting to sabotage the Zimbabwean government. A Harare court has set September 25 as the date for the trial against him after an appeal by the accused for the case to be referred to the Constitutional Court was thrown out. Mawarire was arrested by police in February 2017 while returning from a six-month exile in South Africa where he had fled after he had been briefly locked up. The pastor made a name for himself in April 2016 by publishing a video that quickly became viral on the Internet in which he appeared with the Zimbabwean flag in a sling to denounce the corruption of the regime and the difficult living conditions of the population. He is also accused of using social media to urge Zimbabweans across the globe to revolt against President Robert Mugabe. He was released on bail after spending some time in jail. Although not affiliated with any political party, Mawarire has announced that he was considering running for the 2018 general election against President Mugabe. Ismail Akwei Rwanda's Kagame sticks to used clothes ban despite U.S. threats Tue, 27 Jun 2017 07:39:39 +0000 Rwandan President Paul Kagame has stated that his country will proceed with the ban on used clothes despite threats by the United States to review trade benefits to Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. He told local media last week that Rwanda will choose to grow its local textile industry at the expense of being a member of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). “This is the choice we find that we have to make. As far as I am concerned, making the choice is simple, we might suffer consequences. Even when confronted with difficult choices, there is always a way,” he said after officially applying to run for a third term in office. “Rwanda and other countries in the region that are part of AGOA, have to do other things, we have to grow and establish our industries,” Kagame added. Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and South Sudan decided to fully ban imported second-hand clothes and shoes by 2019, arguing it would help member countries boost domestic clothes manufacturing. As signatories to the AGOA trade programme which offers them duty-free access to the United States, their decision violates the conditions including eliminating barriers to U.S. trade and investment, among others. The U.S. Trade Representative said last Tuesday that it was reviewing trade benefits to the three countries in response to a petition filed by a United States body that complained that the ban “imposed significant hardship” on the U.S. used-clothing industry. U.S. imports from Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda totaled $43 million in 2016, up from $33 million in 2015 while exports were $281 million in 2016, up from $257 million in 2015. Ismail Akwei South Sudan armed opposition rules out national dialogue participation Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:14:47 +0000 South Sudanese armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement SPLM-IO has rejected calls to join the country’s National Dialogue process launched by President Salva Kiir. Leader of SPLM-IO, self-exiled in South Africa, said in a letter dated June 24, 2014 sent to the recently formed National Dialogue Committee that the National Dialogue is not their focus but rather a mediated peace process. “Our efforts are focused to search for sustainable peace through a mediated peace process to end the war rather than national dialogue,” he said. “As much as we believe national dialogue is an important process for the people for South Sudan to engage in, however, it is our considered opinion that the priority is to end the raging genocidal war in the country,” he added. Machar Vs National dialogue 🇸🇸— Denis Dumo (@DenisDumo) June 26, 2017 Machar’s SPLM-IO group has battled soldiers loyal to Kiir for more than three years. The country plunged into civil war just two years after independence in 2011 after President Salva Kiir fired his then deputy Riek Machar. The East African regional bloc, IGAD, at its Extra-Ordinary Summit in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa this month called upon both parties to return to the 2015 peace agreement whose implementation was abandoned following renewed violence. The agreement faltered after renewed conflicts in 2016 between the two parties that saw the former First Vice President Riek Machar flee the country to South Africa where he is based. Kiir declared ceasefire and launched the national dialogue body last month to organise the national peace dialogue expected to include the armed opposition to address the root causes of the conflict. He however stated that whoever answers to the call will be included in the dialogue after the opposition earlier hinted that it will not participate. Ismail Akwei Buhari's Eid message to Nigerians: calls for unity amid ethnic tensions Mon, 26 Jun 2017 22:42:54 +0000 Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has delivered an audio message to mark the Islamic Eid al-Fitr holiday, two senior presidency sources said, his first public statement since he left for Britain on medical leave on May 7. Buhari, a Muslim from the north, made the address, calling for peace and unity, in the Hausa language spoken widely in that part of the country. It was circulated to local radio stations and the BBC’s Hausa radio service. The presidency did not release video footage or photographs of Buhari making the recording heard by Reuters in which the president’s voice sounds weak. Aside the usual greetings of Eid, the 74-year-old leader’s main appeal was around the ethnic tensions that had recently surfaced in the country. He called for unity which he said was the “envy of many less endowed nations.” “We should all resolve to live in peace & unity in our great country, which is the envy of many less endowed nations.” -President MBuhari— Garba Shehu 🇳🇬 (GarShehu) June 24, 2017 Beside the Biafra secession agitations coming from the southern part of the country. A youth group in the north issued a quit notice for all southerners living across the north. Abuja has moved to quash the tensions with Buhari’s vice and acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, meeting with leaders to help douse the tensions. Details of the president’s ailment have not been disclosed and he has not been seen or heard in public since leaving Nigeria, triggering speculation about his condition. A frail -looking Buhari was last seen, on state television, welcoming a group of 82 girls released by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, just hours before he flew to Britain. Pictures of the 74-year-old Buhari have not been released, unlike during a previous break for medical leave in January that lasted nearly two months when photographs of him with Nigerian politicians and visitors including the Archbishop of Canterbury were posted on the presidency’s Twitter feed. Buhari handed power to his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo when he left for Britain. REUTERS Libya, Sudan, Somalia hard hit as US top court partially lifts Trump's travel ban Tue, 27 Jun 2017 05:36:03 +0000 The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday partially lifted an injunction against the travel bans issued by President Donald Trump. The apex court’s decision allows the travel ban to take effect but stated that it will listen to the substantive case in October this year. The order bans citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Three African countries were affected by the order. Libya, Sudan and Somalia. The other three were Syria, Yemen and Iraq. Till date, Trump had signed two separate orders, but both had been suspended by lower courts forcing the case to be taken to the apex court. The second order called for 90-day ban on nationals of the affected countries seeking to enter the US. The second order also removed Iraq from the original list of seven countries. It also introduces a 120-day ban on all refugees arriving in the US, a move meant to allow Washington to implement tighter vetting procedures. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in March this year slammed the earlier order describing it as “selective and discriminatory.” The OIC said it was of the view that the ban will further complicate the grave situation that refugees find themselves. OIC is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations. It has 56 other member states across the world. All the affected countries belong to the bloc. The Gambia is set to host the next summit of the body. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Erotic entertainment in Jo'burg's Sun City prison, 13 face suspension Tue, 27 Jun 2017 09:45:28 +0000 South Africans have been offered an apology by the country’s Prisons boss after photos circulating on social media showed scantily dressed women entertaining inmates in a Johannesburg correctional facility. The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) further stated on Monday that 13 officials were to be served with letters of contemplation of suspension following the incident it described as ‘‘explicit entertainment’‘ at the Johannesburg Correctional Centre. “On behalf of DCS, we want to apologize to the citizens of South Africa for this incident which, indeed, is very disturbing,’‘ acting National Commissioner James Smalberger adding that “We will make sure that those found guilty face the consequences of their actions, and also that sufficient measures are in place to ensure that such incidents are not repeated.” #eNCAheadlines 13 officials are in hot water for the #PrisonStrippers at the Johannesburg Central Prison— eNCA (@eNCA) June 26, 2017 The DCS confirmed local media portals report that the incident occured at the the Johannesburg Medium B Correctional Centre. They added that the erotic entertainment session that saw women dressed in underwear interacting with male inmates was at an event hosted at the centre during Youth Month Commemorations on 21 June. The Commissioner said ‘‘the department condemns the incident with the contempt that it deserves, adding that ‘‘the management of the event should have never allowed and should have halted the explicit entertainment as it is against the department’s policies.’‘ South Africans have been recating to the incident with most of them poking fun at the authorities for allowing such an incident to take place. Others are worried that the images managed to come out despite the facility being a high security area. When you hear South African prisoners have the luxury of strip shows. #PrisonStrippers— The | SharpPencil™ (@The_SharpPencil) June 26, 2017 Commit a crime Get free food and accommodation Study for free in prison Get a free laptop to use Free KFC sometimes Free #PrisonStrippers— Katleho MK 🇿🇦 (@KatlehoMK) June 26, 2017 #PrisonStrippers Dude I'm not a prisoner and I've never in my life seen a stripper in real life , a guy behind bars beat me to it.— 🇿🇦 EFFWORD 🔥☠️ (@TIAGOSOUL_) June 26, 2017 Dont know why he is running from the cop…..In Stafrica prison issa vacation #PrisonStrippers— Mathongo Makhiwane (@MatyMak) June 26, 2017 CommIt a crime, go to Prison. Get free food, a place to sleep and now #PrisonStrippers meanwhile I'm studenting and getting nothing free. 😢— Ms 27 June 😄 (@Ashley_Dorothy) June 26, 2017 #PrisonStrippers😂😂😂😂😂😂 situation at Johannesburg prison right now— vusi makosi (@mavusimakosi) June 26, 2017 Dear Mr President You see? Prison isn't that bad as you thought. You will be happy! Regards#PrisonStrippers— Mkhululi Gwiji (@Cooster_ZA) June 26, 2017 Officials behind prison 'strip show' in hot water #Johannesburg— Amahle Brown (@Amahle_Brown) June 26, 2017 Inmates at Johannesburg’s Medium B prison in Naturena,Sun City, South Africa treated to exotic dance show, sparks #PrisonStrippers TT— The Timeline (@thetimeline256) June 26, 2017 Kenya police vehicles feature as al-Shabaab show 'military might' during Eid Mon, 26 Jun 2017 23:03:21 +0000 Somalia’s insurgent group al-Shabaab released photos of its fighters on display during this year’s Eid celebrations. The photos have, however, got Kenyans talking, seeing that Kenyan Police cars had been turned into the machine gun carrier of al-Shabaab. The military display according to media sources took place in Jilib. It is located on the main road from Mogadishu south to Kismayo and is the most populous town in the Middle Juba Region. Jilib is a town with an estimated population of approximately 125,000 Bantu ethnic group Al-Shabaab holds large swathes of land in rural areas in Somalia have also launched attacks on Kenya. The Garissa and West Gate mall attacks are the most notable ones. They are also engaged in active combat with Kenyan soldiers who are helping the Mogadishu government to fight them. They have often times released videos that show them taking over logistics of Kenyan forces after attacks. #Alshabaab displays its fighters on Eid Day in Jilib. Note the Kenya Police Vehicle turned into a technical ferrying the militants #Somalia— Yassin Juma (@Yassinjuma) June 25, 2017 Kenya's ruling party launches manifesto ahead of August 2017 polls Mon, 26 Jun 2017 22:32:06 +0000 Kenya’s ruling ruling coalition, the Jubilee Party, has launched its presidential manifesto ahead of August 8 elections. The launch in the capital, Nairobi, was attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, top government and party officials. The 76-page document titled, ‘Continuing Kenya’s Transformation, Together,’ according to President Uhuru seeks to consolidate the gains in his first term as president. ‘‘As the past four years have shown, when I promise – I deliver. With this manifesto, I present to you our plan for how we will continue to make the aspirations of us all and for our nation, a reality. ‘‘Let us vote the Jubilee party back in order to maintain the momentum we built and ensure we take Kenya to the next level. Kenyatta said. It has been an honour and a privilege to lead this great nation for the last 4 years.— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) June 26, 2017 I believe my Government’s record is worthy of support and I ask you for your vote on August 8th 2017.— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) June 26, 2017 Kenyatta will be contesting against seven others for the presidency during the polls. His main contender is former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga who is running on the ticket of the main opposition coalition, the National Super Alliance (NASA). The others are Cyrus Jirongo (United Democratic Party), Ekuru Aukot (Thirdway Alliance), Michael Wainaina (Independent), and Japhet Kaluyu (Independent), Mohamed Abduba Dida (Alliance for Real Change) and Joseph Nyagah (Independent). Odinga, originally the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) was Premier of Kenya between April 2008 and April 2013 under a power-sharing deal with then President Mwai Kibaki. ‘‘It is with great honour that I accept Team NASA’s nomination as its 2017 Presidential Candidate,’‘ he said after getting NASA’s nomination. The 72-year-old Raila Odinga will come up against incumbent Kenyatta who represents the Jubilee alliance. NASA on last month picked Odinga and unveiled its official symbol to party faithful who thronged the Uhuru Park. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Cameroon end Africa's journey at the Confederations Cup [Football Planet] Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:26:12 +0000 On Football Planet this week, we look at the first round elimination of Cameroon and host nation Russia at the ongoing FIFA Confederations Cup. We also put a spotlight on the African Club Championship and then the transfer of Egyptian international Mohamed Salah to Liverpool. Pics of the day: June 26th, 2017 Mon, 26 Jun 2017 16:53:05 +0000 Africanews samples the best pictures of the day’s news. Nigerian Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan [no comment] Tue, 27 Jun 2017 09:31:53 +0000 Nigerian Muslims celebrated the Eid el-Fitr festival on Sunday, June 25, 2017, marking the end of the fasting during the month of Ramadan. Cameroon's Marc-Vivien Foe: A friend of football who died playing Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:15:09 +0000 Marc-Vivien Foe, was a Cameroonian international and professional footballer who gained global fame following his death during an international competitive fixture in the FIFA Confederations Cup years ago. He died on 26 June 2003, when the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon took on Columbia in the semi-final clash of the competition. He had played in victories against Brazil and Turkey but was rested for the game against the United States ahead of the Colombia fixture. We present you some key facts about Marc-Vivien Foé – undoubtedly a friend of the game and one who the game remembers long after his passing. Marc-Vivien Foé – A Friend of the Game 1. Marc-Vivien Foé (1 May 1975 – 26 June 2003) was a born in Yaounde 2. He played as a midfielder for the Indomitable Lions and also at club level 3. He started out with capital based side, Canon Yaounde, he won the Cameroon Cup in 1993. 4. He played for Lens between 1994 – 1999 making 85 appearances and scoring 11 times, at Lens he won the 1998 French league title. 5. He spent a season at West Ham United £4.2 million in January 1999 (1999-2000) with one goal from 48 appearances 6. He returned to France to join Lyon on £6 million transfer between 2000-2003, 43 appearances and three goals. 7. In 2001 he won the Coupe de la Ligue in 2001, and the league title with Lyon. 8. His international debut was against Mexico in September 1993. 9. He was part of the Cameroon squad for the 1994 World Cup, starting all three of their matches. 10. Due to a broken leg at Cameroon’s pre-World Cup training camp, he missed the 1998 World Cup. 11. He made squad for Cameroon in the 2002 World Cup. As in 1994, he played in all of Cameroon’s matches. 12. In the 72nd minute of the match against Colombia, Foé collapsed in the centre circle. After failed on-field resuscitation, he was stretchered off the field, where he received mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and oxygen. Medics spent 45 minutes attempting to restart his heart, and although he was still alive upon arrival at the stadium’s medical centre he died shortly afterwards. An autopsy concluded that Foé‘s death was heart-related as it discovered evidence of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition known to increase the risk of sudden death during physical exercise. On the occasion of his fourteenth year after death, a series of tweets from the football fraternity has been celebrating the memory of the Cameroonian number 17 man at the time slumped and died at the State de Gerland in Lyon, France. Leading the pack was the Cameroonian football federation (FECAFOOT) Il y’a 14 ans, Marc Vivien FOE nous quittait. [26 juin 2003 – 26 juin 2017]#UnLionNeMeurtJamais #Foe17 💚❤💛 🙏— Fecafoot-Officiel (@FecafootOfficie) June 26, 2017 Remembering Marc-Vivien Foe on this day. 14 years since his passing. Gone but never forgotten. #17 🙏— Juliet Bawuah (@julietbawuah) June 26, 2017 A lion never dies, he only sleeps. 14 years ago today Marc-Vivien Foé was taken from us.— City Watch (@City_Watch) June 26, 2017 14 years ago today, Marc-Vivien Foe tragically passed away after collapsing on the pitch in the semi-finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup.— #ConfedCup (@FIFAcom) June 26, 2017 Today we remember former Hammer, Marc-Vivien Foé, on the anniversary of his sad passing. Rest in Peace.— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) June 26, 2017 On this day in 2003: Former Hammer Marc-Vivien Foe sadly passed away. Never forgotten. 🌹— West Ham Central (@WestHam_Central) June 26, 2017 14 years ago today Cameroon international Marc-Vivien Foe tragically passed away while playing for his country FecafootOfficie #RIPMarc 🇨🇲— DiskiStyle (DiskiStyle) June 26, 2017 Still remember that night like it was yesterday. Rest in peace, Marc-Vivien Foe.— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) June 26, 2017 Shaban Abdur Rahman Alfa Digital journalist Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo Al-Qaeda in Mali frees Swedish hostage held since 2011 Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:33:46 +0000 The Swedish government has confirmed that its national who was kidnapped by al-Qaeda in Mali has been released and was being flown back home. The confirmation of Johan Gustafsson’s release was contained in a statement by Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. The professional motorcyclist was kidnapped along with two others by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) group in 2011. He was picked along with Sjaak Rijke, a Dutchman, and Frenchman Serge Lazarevic. He is, however, the last of the three to be freed after negotiations between the Swedish government and AQIM. Lazarevic was released in December 2014 as part of a prisoner swap deal whiles Rijke was chanced upon a little over a year ago during a dawn raid in northern Mali. The full text of the Swedish government’s statement read as follows “It is with great pleasure that I can announce that Johan Gustafsson has been released and can return to Sweden. Johan’s situation has touched many of us, and extensive efforts have been made to secure his release. “The government would like to highlight the excellent cooperation that has characterized the work of the Foreign Ministry, the National Police’s operational department and other Swedish and foreign authorities. A work that finally made it possible that John can come home. “I would urge everyone to show respect in relation to Johan and his family and let them choose for themselves whether and when they speak.” Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Nine killed in multiple suicide bomb attack in Nigeria's Maiduguri Mon, 26 Jun 2017 20:05:48 +0000 Suicide bombers killed nine people and wounded 13 others in multiple blasts in northeast Nigeria’s Maiduguri, police said on Monday, the latest in a spate of attacks in the city worst hit by the Islamist militant Boko Haram insurgency. A number of suicide bomb attacks by suspected members of the jihadist group have taken place in the capital of Borno state and its environs in the last few weeks, including blasts that killed 12 people on June 19 and a June 7 raid which left 14 dead. Borno police said a male suicide bomber killed a security guard after entering the University of Maiduguri, near the city centre, on Sunday evening at 10:20 p.m. (2120 GMT). Four female suicide bombers killed eight people around an hour later on the outskirts of the city in Zannari community, in the Gwange district of Jere local government authority after detonating devices in residential buildings. Two female suicide bombers were the only people to die in two blasts at the University of Maiduguri on Monday morning at around 4:20 a.m. (0320 GMT). “In all, 16 persons including the suicide bombers died in the multiple explosions while 13 persons were injured,” said the Borno Police commissioner, Damian Chukwu. Nigeria’s state security agency on Friday said it had foiled plans to detonate explosives in four northern cities – Maiduguri, Kano, Sokoto and Kaduna – during celebrations to mark the end of Islam’s holy month of Ramadan. No group has claimed responsibility for the latest blasts in Maiduguri but the use of suicide bombers – particularly female attackers – in the region is a hallmark of Boko Haram. The militant group, which has killed more than 20,000 people in Africa’s most populous nation and forced more than two million to flee their homes since 2009, is trying to create an Islamic state in northeast Nigeria. Nigeria’s army, with the help of troops from neighbouring countries, pushed the group out of most of a swathe of land around the size of Belgium which it controlled until early 2015. But suicide bombings and gun raids in mostly busy public areas, such as mosques and markets, have continued in northeast Nigeria and neighbouring Cameroon and Niger. The frequency of suicide bombings has increased in the last few weeks, although a large proportion of the attacks result in only the bombers being killed. Reuters