EU cash-dumping in Africa bolsters unruly regimes, aggravates migrant crisis

Martin Jay
Martin Jay is an award winning British journalist now based in Beirut who works on a freelance basis for a number of respected British newspapers as well as previously Al Jazeera and Deutsche Welle TV. Before Lebanon, he has worked in Africa and Europe for CNN, Euronews, CNBC, BBC, Sunday Times and Reuters. Follow him on Twitter @MartinRJay
EU cash-dumping in Africa bolsters unruly regimes, aggravates migrant crisis
Trump’s recent block on US aid to Egypt over human rights concerns raised many eyebrows. But the EU should follow his lead in Africa as it is geopolitical bribery dressed up as aid, which is really the heart of the matter.

Recently, Europe’s four big guns and three African states agreed on a strategy to tackle illegal human trafficking and support nations struggling to contain the flow of people across the desert and the Mediterranean Sea. The move has been prompted primarily by Italy, which accused France and other EU states of not sharing the migrant burden.

But is it an EU problem? And if it is, just how much blame can the EU and Brussels take for the crisis in the first place?

The 28-nation European Union has long struggled to reach any solution to the influx of migrants fleeing war, poverty and political upheaval in the Middle East and Africa. Specifically, it is Africa where Brussels seems incapable of dealing with the crisis, the epicenter of which is Libya, which French President Emmanual Macron is trying to stabilize with a recent initiative to bring together the two rival power blocs for peace talks following a recent ceasefire.

Macron is also leading the much-needed debate about the refugee crisis from Africa. Addressing the leaders of Germany, Italy, Spain, Chad, Niger and Libya, he called for greater cooperation.

A recent conference allowed leaders to iron out a plan setting out a mechanism to identify legitimate migrants who are fleeing war and persecution. The idea is that they can avoid being exploited by traffickers if the UN can register them in Niger and Chad.

“At the core of it, it’s all about fighting illegal migration,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

EU programs in Libya pay cash to traffickers – MEPs

And she’s right. Although this is a step in the right direction, aren’t both France and Germany paying diplomatic lip service to the EU in not pointing out one erroneous detail in all of this: if the EU imposed much tougher conditions on aid given to African leaders, forcing them to improve on human rights, the effect on the sheer numbers of people fleeing those countries would be considerable.

They are not fleeing poverty alone, but more oppression.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) recently accused the EU of financing the trafficking business with its aid program in Libya. The program, which has funded coastguards to patrol against human smugglers, has led to the deplorable plight of captured migrants being held in detention centers. Nevertheless, Italian and Spanish MEPs on September 12th regaled the EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini for her new EU programs, which MSF claims are “short-sighted” and have resulted in the traffickers actually benefiting from EU cash.

Yet the MEPs and MSF missed the point. The international medical organization and the growing numbers of MEPs should look more closely at the EU aid programs for the African countries themselves.

Building detention centers for the refugees is like using a sticking plaster from the first aid box to deal with a decapitation. Simple logic is required. Donald Trump gave us the example in August when he cut off US aid to Egypt, citing human rights concerns.

The problem with dictators on the continent is that they become addicted to Washington or the EU’s aid lifeline. Soon enough, leaders ask for more money to resolve problems which stem from symptoms of escalating corruption. It’s a vicious circle which neither Merkel nor Macron care to acknowledge.

At the auspicious conference, this was apparent, with even EU leaders falling into the trap of throwing more money at the problem.

“If we want to stop human traffickers, then this can only be achieved through development aid,” Angela Merkel said.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there wasn’t a shortage of African leaders who were ready to present their former colonial leaders with begging bowls.

But money will not solve the issue. In fact, it is EU money – by the lorry load – which is at the heart of the problem.

EU President Antonio Tajani recently recommended that up to $6 billion should be put aside to stop migrants and $10 billion to do the same in Libya’s southern neighbor, Chad. Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson pledged on a recent trip to Benghazi and Tripoli €9 million to help control terrorism and people trafficking. With no loss of an irony, the Italians have been accused of paying off local militias to stop the flow of migrants to their shores.

After living in Africa for six years, I have seen with my own eyes how Western money nearly always creates cultures of dependency and makes governments more ingenious at stealing it, illustrated by investigative journalist Graeme Hancock in his investigation into UN corruption, ‘Lords of Poverty.’

Ethan Chorin, a contributor to Forbes magazine agrees.

“Uncoordinated and vague, these pledges have little chance to make progress — but large potential to make things worse,” he argues, while dismissing the case for a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Africa, arguing instead for regional players to stop financing the warlords in Libya.

However, the real core problem, which neither old Europe nor the EU wants to address, still lies with the African countries themselves. And they have good reason.

Nearly 120,000 migrants, including refugees, have entered Europe by sea so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration. Tragically, more than 2,400 have drowned while making the dangerous journey, often without enough food or water in overcrowded dinghies run by people smugglers.

Yet, most of these people are lower middle-class Africans who want to escape the horror of tyrannical regimes which are oppressing them, convincing them that they have a better life waiting for them in Europe. The real issue is human rights and how the EU continues to blithely support these regimes with hundreds of millions of euro in ‘development’ programs while turning a blind eye to horrific human rights atrocities like torture, rape, and false imprisonment.

Macron should hold the EU to account much more. Ironically, at the very conference where the EU’s foreign policy diva Federica Mogherini is invited – but could not organize as she has so little influence with Paris and Berlin – we are witnessing a farce. The EU is asked to offer its opinion to a problem which is almost entirely created by its own foreign policy ruse with African leaders.

A new UN peace process on Libya – which Macron, not Brussels is taking charge of – might want to ask the EU to hold the leaders of many African countries to account more on human rights atrocities and follow Trump’s example in Egypt.

Baby, you can drive my CAR

The Central African Republic (CAR), for example, which the EU gives hundreds of millions of euro is one of many examples. And we could also, while we’re at it, ask what this money is really for. Being ‘development aid,’ the results are hard to fathom. After working in Brussels for over a decade, I would argue that the money gives Brussels more bang for its buck as those governments are obliged to assist Brussels in its PR program to make itself look more relevant on the world stage.

In 2016, Federica Mogherini herself pledged to give over €2 billion in reconstruction aid following civil war there. It’s hard to see how this, or the more modest €360 million of state-building ‘aid’ given to CAR is helping crack down on torture, rape and a plethora of abysmal human rights atrocities, but more assist the EU with its delusional view that it is a global player.

According to the US State Department, CAR has an off-the-scale rating on human rights atrocities. These include“extrajudicial executions by security forces; the torture, beating and rape of suspects and prisoners; impunity, particularly among the armed forces; harsh and life-threatening conditions in prisons and detention centers; arbitrary arrest and detention, prolonged pretrial detention and denial of fair trials.”

‘Politics raped European values’: EU court rejects Hungary & Slovakia’s bid to stop refugee flow https://on.rt.com/8mdi 

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‘Politics raped European values’: Hungary & Slovakia slam EU court for refusing quota demands — RT…

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The State Department also highlights, for good measure “fatal mob violence; the prevalence of female genital mutilation; discrimination against women and Pygmies; trafficking in persons; forced labor; and child labor.”

But there is no real accountability from the EU on where this money is spent, a point often raised by critics of Brussels which call it a “blind spot,” with as much as half of the annual 23 billion euros lost due to corruption and incompetence.

Nor, any reports from the European Commission on what it is doing to crack down on gargantuan human rights atrocities carried out by the CAR regime.

Is it hardly surprising that there is an exodus of people from this country escaping the vestiges of human rights atrocities which, arguably, are meted by a brutal despot supported by the EU?

If this money was used instead to assist start-up companies and train young people in entrepreneurialism – and be given only on the basis of leaders scrapping their atrocious practices – then not only would the migrants not leave their own countries and head for Europe, but they would create jobs for thousands of others in their own countries.

The problem really is the money going there in the first place, and the unpalatable relationship leaders of these regimes have with Brussels, who almost uncertainly pocket the money themselves. It is really the EU which needs to be held to account much more about its own graft in these countries which is fueling the Libyan refugee crisis.

But who would do that? Macron and Merkel know what €20 billion of aid from Brussels and European states are doing in Africa. They are both guilty of turning a blind eye as they know this money is not improving human rights and creating jobs but merely strengthening unruly regimes who will stop at nothing to remain in power.

Martin Jay is based in Beirut and can be followed at @MartinRJay

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Courtesy, RT

Africa highlights: Ghana ponders rules on showing porn, Eritrea ‘sent troops to Djibouti border’

Summary

  1. Ghana’s media regulator looks at rules on the broadcast of pornography
  2. Djibouti accuses Eritrea of sending troops to border
  3. Eight Ethiopians ‘missing after London fire’
  4. Uganda’s president says he has a close friendship with Queen Elizabeth
  5. Four die in Kenya roadside bomb
  6. Archaeologists in Ethiopia find evidence of historical trading hub
  7. The UN “deeply concerned” by images of abuse of migrants in Libya
  8. Tanzania authorities shut down the Mawio weekly paper

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Damian Zane

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Scroll down for Friday’s stories

We’ll be back next week

That’s all from the BBC Africa Live page this week. Keep up to date with what’s happening on the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website.

A reminder of today’s wise words:

If a snake fails to show its venom, children will use it to tie firewood.”

An Igbo proverb sent by Henry Amadiegwu in London, United Kingdom

Click here and scroll to the bottom to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this picture from a runner get pelted with paint in Kenya’s colour run. It’s one of our favourite pictures from the week.

Runner on Colour Run

Mercy Juma

Djibouti accuses Eritrea of sending troops to border

Djibouti’s Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf has accused neighbouring Eritrea of sending troops into a disputed area on the border.

There was no immediate independent confirmation, or response from Eritrea.

The minister said Djibouti wanted a peaceful solution but was prepared for conflict if necessary.

It comes after Qatar withdrew its peacekeepers from the border region, apparently because the two East African countries sided with Saudi Arabia in its dispute with the Qataris.

Djibouti and Eritrea fought on the border in 2008 eventually accepting Qatar’s offer of mediation and peacekeepers.

Ancient city shows proof of East African trading with India

We reported earlier that archaeologists have discovered an ancient, forgotten city in eastern Ethiopia thought to date back as far as the 10th Century.

One of those archaeologists, Prof Timothy Insoll, told Focus on Africa that the discovery in Harlaa shows traders were coming from as far afield as India.

Central African Republic ‘sliding backwards’

Central African Republic is “sliding back into an emergency situation,” the MSF aid agency says.

It blames renewed fighting in different parts of the country in several locations across the country, which MSF says led to “massive displacement on a level not seen since 2014”.

MSF adds that civilians are being targeted on the basis of their ethnicity or religion.

It describes the situation in the town of Bria where 41,000 out of a total of 47,000 inhabitants have been displaced by the fighting.

It says that 25,000 of them are in a camp designed to accommodate 3,000 people and its ability to care for them is “increasingly under threat”.

Bria

AFP

Thousands of people in Bria are now living in makeshift homes

Eight Ethiopians still missing after London high rise fire

Eight British nationals of Ethiopian origin are still missing after a huge fire engulfed a west London tower block in the early hours of Wednesday, says the Ethiopian Embassy:

UPDATE: 8 British nationals of |n origin still missing after the fire. Amb. Hailemichael & diplomats visit families.

Report

The Ethiopian Ambassador to the UK Hailemichael Aberra Afework said the families were known to the embassy:

I cannot imagine what these families must be going through right now. This has hit home, especially because we know these families. The embassy and the Ethiopian community stands united at this difficult time and is providing ongoing support to them.”

Thirty people have died and 12 people remain in critical care. The BBC understands that at present there could be as many as 76 people missing as a result of the blaze.

Grenfeld Tower

Reuters

Three victims have been named: Five-year-old Isaac Shawo, artist Khadija Saye and Syrian refugee Mohammed Alhajali.

Read more on the BBC News website.

Train driver ‘stops train to buy peaches’

Tunisia’s national railway says that it has opened an investigation after a video emerged online showing a driver apparently stopping a train to buy peaches, reports the AFP news agency.

The short video, which appears to be filmed from inside a train, shows crates of fruit placed at the edge of the railway and a vendor climbing onto the train to give a plastic bag to someone:

“Look, he stops an entire train to pick up peaches,” said one passenger, while others stood up to watch the scene.

It is not clear when the incident happened.

Lord’s Resistance Army ‘steps up Congo attacks’

Joseph Kony

AFP

A US-backed search failed to track down Joseph Kony

A UN report says the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has stepped up attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, reports the Reuters news agency.

Forty LRA rebels kidnapped 61 civilians in the Tanganyika mining area on 7 June, Reuters adds.

The report says they were forced to move goods looted by the LRA and then later released.

Earlier this year, the US pulled out their forces who were supporting the search for the LRA’s leader Joseph Kony.

The UN Special Representative for Central Africa, Francois Lounceny Fall, told the UN Security Council this week that he was concerned the US leaving would “create a security vacuum”.

Poor harvest causes maize shortages

Kenya is grappling with a maize shortage that is making it hard for consumers to find flour in the shops. Government silos are out of stock and maize imports do not match the high demand.

The BBC’s Ferdinand Omondi went to the agricultural region of Eldoret in western Kenya to find out what has gone wrong with the country’s agricultural planning.

Sudan rebel leader survives attempt to unseat him

BBC World Service

The leader of the biggest rebel group in Sudan, SPLM-North, insists he is still in control despite attempts to overthrow him from within the movement.

Malik Agar told the BBC that there had been a failed coup attempt against him by his deputy, Abdelaziz al Hilu.

Last month, there were deadly clashes between two different factions in rebel territory.

Supporters of Mr Abdelaziz believe he should be in charge of SPLM-North.

They say they have barred Mr Malik from the biggest area under their control, the Nuba Mountains.

He says he intends to visit the area soon.

A BBC correspondent says the divisions come at a bad time for the rebels, as Western countries are forming closer ties with the Sudanese government.

Malik Agar

AFP

Malik Agar says he is still in charge of SPLM-North

In Pictures: Lesotho inauguration

Pictures are coming through of the inauguration of Lesotho’s new Prime Minister Tom Thabane:

Newly appointed Lesotho prime Minister Thomas Thabane (L), leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) political party, receives the nation flag of Lesotho from former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili (R) during his inauguration on June 16, 2017 in Maseru.

Getty Images

Newly appointed Lesotho prime Minister Thomas Thabane (L), leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) political party, is sworn in on June 16, 2017 in Maseru.

AFP

Mr Thabane, in the yellow tie, attended the ceremony with one of his wives, Ma Isaiah Ramoholi, in matching yellow.

Newly appointed Lesotho prime Minister Thomas Thabane (L), leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) political party, and his wife "Ma Isaiah Ramoholi Thabane arrive to attend his inauguration on June 16, 2017 in Maseru

Getty Images

The new prime minister’s estranged wife, Lipolelo, was shot dead earlier this week and the police are yet to catch the killer.

Read more: Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane sworn in despite wife’s killing

Local administrator among dead in Kenya attack

The BBC’s Ferdinand Omondi has more details on the explosion which killed four people in Mandera, north-east Kenya (see earlier entry):

According to Mandera County Commissioner Fredrick Shisia, the private vehicle had 24 passengers on board and was travelling to Mandera from the town of Elwak.

Among those killed was a local administrator. The injured are being treated at the Mandera District Hospital.

Only last month eight security officers were killed in two separate bomb attacks in Mandera.

Debate rages in Ghana over porn on TV

Ghana’s broadcasting watchdog is looking into whether some TV channels have breached regulations by showing what has been described as pornographic content.

The films shown by a number of free-to-air channels in Ghana after 9pm have sparked a big debate.

Two radio personalities have lodged a complaint with the National Media Commission saying that after “painstaking monitoring” they concluded that the TV stations broke broadcasting guidelines.

In their letter, published by Joy FM, they quote a section of the guidelines saying that programmes should not offend the “moral dignity… of the audience”.

The executive secretary of the regulatory body, George Sarpong, told BBC Focus on Africa that there was “no specific law” banning the broadcasting of pornography.

But he said that the National Media Commission is looking at more than the precise laws but also “what constitutes our collective sense of morality”.

Kenyboard with xxx on it

iStock

Bomb blast ‘kills four’ in Kenya

Four people have died in the latest bomb attack in north-east Kenya, the Reuters news agency is reporting quoting a senior government official.

It adds that 11 people were also injured when the vehicle they were travelling in set off an explosion.

In May, at least eight police officers died in two similar attacks in north-east Kenya – both claimed by the Somalia-based Islamist militant group al-Shabab.

Troubled waters for Lake Tanganyika

Millions of people rely on Lake Tanganyika for their livelihoods. But the largest lake in Africa is in crisis.

It is suffering from the effects of climate change, over-fishing and deforestation and has been nominated by the Global Nature Fund as the “most threatened lake of the year”.

The BBC’s Sammy Awami has more for Africa Business Report.

Zambia churches demand opposition leader’s release from prison

Hakainde Hichilema

Getty Images

Zambian churches have urged the government to release the main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema who is being held in prison over treason charges.

They are asking for him to face trial under house arrest instead.

He was arrested in April after the convoy he was travelling in allegedly refused to make way for President Edgar Lungu’s motorcade.

Church leaders said in a joint statement that they objected to the prolonged detention of Mr Hichilema, popularly known as HH:

HH is not an ordinary criminal but a political prisoner who should be treated with respect.”

The statement added that the churches view the imprisonment of Mr Hichilema with “growing amazement and alarm” and that Zambia is “a dictatorship in which force and violence are used to intimidate the population and subdue opposition”.

Mr Hichilema’s case is due to be heard in Zambia’s High Court.

Artist of Gambian heritage named as victim of London fire

Photographer Khadija Saye has been named by her friend British MP David Lammy as one of those killed in Wednesday’s fire at a tower block in London.

May you rest in peace Khadija Saye. God bless your beautiful soul. My heart breaks today. I mourn the tragic loss of a wonderful young woman

Report

Ms Saye was a photographer of Gambian heritage whose most recent work is on display in the diaspora pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

The official death toll stands at 30 but the BBC understands up to 76 people could be missing.

It is thought that many of those are African or of African heritage.

Siemens: We can power 50% of Africa within five years

CEO of Siemens Joe Kaeser told BBC Africa Business Report that he thinks the company could increase the proportion of people who have access to electricity in Africa to 50% within five years.

It currently stands at 35%.

He told the BBC’s Matthew Davies that the company would be able to boost the percentage so quickly because electricity is now decentralised.

In the past, providing electricity meant building a big power station and a large electricity grid.

But now he says solar and wind power can be on smaller grids.

Watch the full interview:

Pangolin scales worth $1.2m seized in Malaysia

Malaysian Airports Customs Director Hamzah Sundang displays seized pangolin scales during a press conference at the Customs Complex in Sepang on June 16, 2017.

AFP

A $1.2m (£940,000) shipment of illegal scales from the critically endangered pangolin have been uncovered in Malaysia, officials have told AFP news agency.

AFP says customs officials at Kuala Lumpur International Airport discovered 16 boxes of the smuggled scales weighing almost 400kg (880 pounds).

The shipment had come in from Ghana on a Turkish Airlines flight, adds AFP.

In China and Vietnam pangolin meat is considered a delicacy, and their scales are deemed to have medicinal properties.

They are often cited as being the most trafficked mammal in the world – this picture was captured in a raid earlier this week in Indonesia:

Pangolin coming out of a box after anti-smuggling raid in Belawan, North Sumatra 14 June

AFP

South Sudan education campaigner receives MBE

British-South Sudanese Akuja de Garang has collected her MBE from Buckingham Palace, which was awarded for her work in education in South Sudan.

Ms de Garang came to the UK as a refugee as a young girl.

But after her own university education she was “determined to contribute to the rebuilding of her country”, says Girls’ Education South Sudan (Gess), the charity she works for.

Gess says its work aims to encourage South Sudanese girls to get into the classroom and stay there.

Ms de Garang said:

If I can inspire even just one girl to reach for greatness, to never give up, then everything will have been worthwhile.”

Athlete’s wig falls off during long jump

Nigerian athlete Blessing Okagbare had a hair-raising moment during a track and field meeting in Oslo on Thursday, when her wig fell off as she jumped.

Nigerian athlete’s wig falls off during long jump

Whether the mishap played its part in her finishing seventh is unclear, but the 28-year-old laughed it off on her Instagram account, saying:

When you talk about something for so long and it eventually happened. 😂😂😂😂😃😂😃 Oh well, it is what it is then… ”

Eritrea troops ‘occupy’ disputed territory on Djibouti border

Djibouti has accused Eritrean troops of occupying disputed border territory after Qatari peacekeepers pulled out, the Reuters news agency reports.

It quotes Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf as saying:

Qatari peacekeepers withdrew on 12 June and 13 June. On the same day there were Eritrean military movements on the mountain. They are now in full control of Dumeira Mountain and Dumeira Island.”

Reuters says that both Djibouti and Eritrea lay claim to these areas.

Museveni: ‘Queen Elizabeth and I are friends with mutual benefits’

The West Africa correspondent for the Guardian has noticed that Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has tweeted a curious detail on his relationship with Queen Elizabeth II:

Here’s the original tweet, which was preceded by a few others about his long relationship with the Queen.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

We are friends with mutual benefits. I am now speaking English. I refer to the British language as a captured weapon we are now employing.

Report

I have always followed the Queen. When I was young my mother showed me a picture of a young lady and said, “this is the Queen of England.”

Report

It is not clear whether President Museveni is aware that the phrase “friends with benefits” is a euphemism for an acquaintance you have casual sex with.

Nigeria apologises for selling Saudi dates meant for IDPs

Nigeria has apologised to Saudi Arabia after 200 tonnes of dates that were a Ramadan gift were found on sale in local markets.

Dates are traditionally the first things Muslims eat when they break the Ramadan fast each evening.

The dates were intended for some of those who have fled their homes because of the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency.

Nigeria’s foreign ministry said an investigation was under way. However, no arrests have yet been made.

The apology was made by the Nigerian foreign ministry, which stressed it had no responsibility for the dates after they had been distributed in the north-east of the country, which has been worst hit by Boko Haram attacks.

Dates in a market

AFP

Dates are traditionally used to break the Ramadan fast

Tom Thabane inaugurated as Lesotho’s prime minister

People in Lesotho are watching the inauguration of their new Prime Minister Tom Thabane:

TOM THABANE is New PRIME Minister, has accepted and now custodian of flag and constitution from outgoing PM MOSISILI

Report

One person took a particular liking to the animated sign language:

It had earlier been thought that the inauguration could have been delayed after Mr Thabane’s estranged wife was shot dead earlier this week.

South African film director says Ghanaian copied his film

South African film director Tim Greene has posted on Facebook that he has discovered a Ghanaian film which has copied his own film “word-for-word”.

He posted a short video showing scenes from both his film Skeem and the Ghanaian film John & John to prove the point:

John & John was released over the Easter weekend this year and Ghanaians were quick to notice the similarity then.

The director, Kofi Asamoah, told the press at the time that John & John was an adaptation of Tim Greene’s film.

Some media report that Mr Asamoah had said he had been in conversation with Tim Greene’s team since 2014.

But Tim Greene said yesterday he had “never heard of them”.

When asked if he was going to sue, Mr Greene said “You’d think. But it’s a cost v rewards thing.”

Someone who says he was an actor in the film even went on to apologise to Mr Green on Facebook.

Bex TheThesp said:

“Errrm I was in John & John, for my sins I hadn’t seen Skeem prior to acting in it… forgive me Tim Greene.”

It seems Mr Greene was in the forgiving mood:

“All good, bra. it’s a bit shocking, but it’s not like someone killed someone!” he said.

Zimbabwe’s breakdance king who uses a wheelchair

When Zimbabwean Blessing Fire was born, he was told by doctors he would never be able to walk like a “normal child”, but no-one said anything about breakdancing.

He uses crutches or a wheelchair to move long distances but is able to walk.

His brother’s gymnastics inspired him to take up breakdancing and now he dances in an award-winning crew.

Video journalist: Tendai Msiyazviriyo

Ethiopia find reveals historical trading hub

Emmanuel Igunza

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Pot found

Prof Tim Insoll, University of Exeter

A team of archaeologists has uncovered an ancient, forgotten city in eastern Ethiopia thought to date back as far as the 10th Century when it is believed to have been the centre of trade in the region.

The discovery in Harlaa has revealed artifacts from as far afield as Egypt, India and China.

Beads found

Prof Tim Insoll, University of Exeter

Beads were also found at the site

Among the discoveries made is a 12th Century mosque as well as a cemetery used by the local Muslim population.

The lead archaeologist says the architecture of the mosque is similar to those found in southern Tanzania and Somaliland, proof of historic connections between different Islamic communities in Africa.

Also found were bronze and silver coins from 13th Century Egypt, along with jewellery and other artifacts from Madagascar, the Maldives, Yemen and China.

Farmers in the area have for years found strange objects, including Chinese coins on their land, prompting a local myth that the area was home to giants.

Archeologist

Prof Tim Insoll, University of Exeter

DR Congo future in ‘grave danger’

BBC World Service

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and nine former African heads of state have made an urgent appeal for a peaceful democratic transition in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

President Joseph Kabila did not step down when his mandate ran out last year, sparking a political crisis.

Under the terms of an agreement signed on New Year’s Eve, elections should take place this year.

But Mr Annan and the other African leaders say the deal is not being respected, and as a result the country’s future is in grave danger.

Joseph Kabila

AFP

President Kabila was supposed to step down at the end of last year

Egypt mass protests called over island hand over

BBC World Service

The authorities in Egypt say they are shutting the Tahrir Square underground station in the capital, Cairo, today for security reasons.

Several political parties and factions have called for mass protests in the famous square against parliament’s decision to hand over two strategic Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafeer, to Saudi Arabia despite several court rulings.

One member of parliament has already resigned in protest and several others are threatening to follow suit.

They are urging President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi not to ratify the decision.

Several lone protesters have already been arrested.

Islands in the Red Sea

AFP

Tiran (foreground) and Sanafir (background) are uninhabited save for peacekeepers and troops

Tanzanian newspaper banned in mineral saga

Sammy Awami

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

Gold

BBC

Tanzanian weekly tabloid Mawio has been banned for two years after linking two former politicians with the ongoing minerals saga in the country.

A presidential commission said earlier this week that Tanzania has lost 188 trillion Tanzanian shillings ($84bn) over 19 years due to mining companies under-reporting the amount of minerals they have been exporting.

The tabloid is well known for its occasional investigative reports, but usually publishes detailed and critical articles against the government.

In a press release, the Minister for Information Harrison Mwakyembe said he had “no option” but to ban the newspaper.

Video ‘shows abuse of Ethiopia and Somali migrants’

The UN says it is “deeply concerned” after a video circulated on Facebook appearing to show about 260 Somali and Ethiopian migrants and refugees being held captive in Libya.

The UN’s International Organization of Migration (IOM) says the people, who can be seen “huddled fearfully” in a room, are in the custody of smugglers or criminal gangs.

The IOM says the film was recorded by a journalist based in Turkey via a video call from the criminal gang.

Grabs from the video

IOM

One person is quoted as saying:

I have been here one year. I am beaten every day. I swear I do not eat food.”

It is not clear why the video call was made, but the IOM’s Mohammed Abdiker says:

Seeing a Facebook video of innocent migrants and refugees who have been abused and tortured is deeply concerning. IOM condemns the way that criminal gangs use social media in their shocking abuse of people held against their will and to extort money from their families back home.”

Libya is a major transit point for migrants trying to make their way to Europe.

Good morning

Welcome to the BBC Africa Live page where we’ll be keeping you up-to-date with news stories on the continent.

Today’s African proverb:

If a snake fails to show its venom, children will use it to tie firewood.”

An Igbo proverb sent by Henry Amadiegwu in London, United Kingdom
A man holds a Python in the 'Python Temple'

Getty Images

Click here and scroll to the bottom to send us your African proverbs.

Building collapses in Nairobi, several missing

A seven storey building in the center of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, has collapsed. Rescue services reported that 15 people were missing.

Kenia Skyline Nairobi (picture-alliance/World Pictures/Photoshot/P. Phipp)

DW RECOMMENDS

Political leaders from Germany and East Africa are set to attend the second German-African Economic Summit in Nairobi this week. But how friendly or cordial are Berlin’s ties with Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania?

Kenya’s Red Cross chapter on Tuesday said a seven storey building “sunk” in an eastern Nairobi suburb. The organization said its “response teams are at the scene.”

The Red Cross Twitter feed showed concrete blocks and twisted metal.

At least 121 people have been accounted for, according to Pius Masai, deputy head of communications at the National Disaster Management Unit.

“It is believed that some people may have been trapped. Rescue efforts are ongoing,” Masai said.

The local Saint John’s Ambulance said 15 people had been reported missing.

According to the Red Cross, the building had been evacuated before the collapse. However, rescue workers were checking to see if people had been in the building’s vicinity when the collapse happened.

Kenya has witnessed similar tragedies in the past. More than 40 people died last year when a building collapsed in northeastern Nairobi amid a heavy nighttime downpour.

ls/rc (Reuters, AFP)

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Africa highlights: Nigerians warned against coup bid, Beyonce has African party

Summary

  1. Nigerian ruling party leader says any move to stage coup will fail
  2. Dozens of Biafra activists arrested
  3. Pregnant Beyonce releases photos of African-themed party
  4. South Sudan leader ‘declares unilateral ceasefire’
  5. Detained Zambian opposition leader’s wife pleads for his release
  6. Conflict ‘displaced more in DR Congo than Syria in 2016’
  7. War veterans and youth attack Zanu-PF leaders
  8. Ramaphosa calls for action to prevent ‘mafia state’ in South Africa
  9. South African hunter dies ‘after shot elephant falls on him’
  10. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk – Monday 22 May 2017

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Farouk Chothia

Get involved

Get involved

Scroll down for Monday’s stories

We’ll be back tomorrow

That’s all from the BBC Africa Live page today. Keep up-to-date with what’s happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website.

A reminder of today’s wise words:

Warring sides do not invite each other to a feast, yet close ranks in times of need.”

A Venda proverb sent by Thivhilaeli wa ha Makatu in Thohoyandou, South Africa

Click here to send us your African proverbs

We leave you with this photo from Cape Town to make you reflect on your day:

Dozens arrested at Biafra independence march

The Biafran Independence Movement (BIM) has alleged that about 50 of its members have been arrested and two of them injured by police in Enugu city in south-eastern Nigeria.

State police spokesman Ebere Amaraizu told the BBC that nobody was injured wounded but confirmed the arrest of at least 40 BIM members for “conducting themselves in a manner likely to cause breach of peace”.

They were marching to demand creation of the breakaway state of Biafra in south-eastern Nigeria.

The BBC’s AbdusSalam Ibrahim Ahmed sent these pictures from the march:

Biafra protesters

BBC

Biafra protester

BBC

On On 30 May, 1967, the head of what was then known as the Eastern Region of Nigeria, Colonel Emeka Ojukwu, unilaterally declared the independent Republic of Biafra.

The Biafran forces were pushed back after initial military gains.

More than two years later, after one million civilians had died in fighting and from famine, Biafra was re-absorbed into Nigeria.

Gambia’s former president’s ‘assets frozen’

A Gambian journalist is tweeting that ex-President Yahya Jammeh’s assets are being frozen:

‘s Justice Min announces it is freezing assets and bank accounts of former leader

Report

He adds that the names of places are also being changed by the new government:

announces names change for health facilities named after Jammeh’s dad, party, foundation to towns they built in

Report

Mr Jammeh was one of the world’s most eccentric and ruthless leaders. His 22 years in power came to an inglorious end earlier this year .

He fled to Equatorial Guinea after regional troops threatened to capture him for refusing to accept electoral defeat at the hands of property developer Adama Barrow.

Read Yahyha Jammeh’s profile on the BBC News website.

Drought disaster declared in Cape Town

A picture taken on May 10, 2017 shows dry cracked mud staring out at the sky at Theewaterskloof Dam, which has less than 20% of it"s water capacity, near Villiersdorp, about 108Km from Cape Town.

AFP

Theewaterskloof Dam has less than 20% of its water capacity

South Africa’s Western Cape province, which includes Cape Town, has declared a drought disaster, as it battles its worst water shortages for 113 years.

“The disaster declaration will accelerate… the province’s strategy to ensure that taps do not run dry,” said Western Cape premier Helen Zille in a statement.

The declaration mean that the Western Cape government will be able to prioritise public funds for drought relief operations.

Boreholes will be drilled at hospitals in Cape Town, a mobile desalination plant will be tested and the natural aquifer at Table Mountain, a major tourist attraction, will be tapped.

Two reservoirs in the Western Cape are already completely dry, according to official statistics.

The two-year drought across southern Africa was caused by the El Nino climate phenomenon.

Watch: What is El Nino?

‘Shabby racist’ jailed for attack on Somali mum-to-be

David Gallacher

Thames Valley Police

David Gallacher was described as a “racist to boot”

A “shabby racist” who repeatedly kicked a pregnant Somali woman in a town in England, resulting in her losing her unborn baby, has been jailed for almost four years.

David Gallacher, 37, attacked Samsam Haji-Ali, 34, and her husband outside a shop in Bletchley in August.

He admitted actual bodily harm, assault by beating and two counts of racially or religiously aggravated assault.

The judge called him a “thug and a racist to boot.”

The court heard that he swore at Mrs Haji-Ali, a Muslim, and said: “You come here with your clown outfit on…”

As her husband Abdullah Sulamain, 40, attempted to calm him down in the car park outside, Gallacher hit him on the head with a bottle of wine and a bag of ice.

He then kicked Mrs Haji-Ali in the stomach.

Judge Francis Sheridan said:

She told him she was pregnant and he continued to kick her again, after he was told she was pregnant. She is left rolling around on the ground in agony and later found there is bleeding, before she lost the baby.”

Mrs Haji-Ali miscarried on 24 August.

Read the full BBC story here

Ivory Coast rebels stage fresh protest

Hundreds of demobilised rebels took to the streets of Bouake, Ivory Coast’s second biggest city, to demand that the government pay them, reports AFP news agency.

AFP adds that they also disrupted a funeral attended by a cabinet minister.

The minister had offered assistance to help the country’s around 6,000 demobilised former rebels to set up businesses.

But the offer angered the ex-rebels who shouted “We don’t want projects, we want cash”, and then surrounded Solidarity Minister Mariatou Kone’s vehicle, preventing her from getting away, AFP reports.

A mutinous soldier wearing hood holds a weapon inside a military camp in the Ivory Coast"s central second city Bouake, on May 15, 2017.

AFP

The protests come days after a crippling four-day army mutiny

Protester dies in Tunisia protests

Unemployed Tunisian protesters shout slogans during a demonstration outside the Tataouine governorate headquarters on May 22, 2017, in Tataouine, around 500 kilometres (300 miles) south of Tunis.

AFP

Protesters demanded jobs earlier today outside Tataouine governorate headquarters

Our North Africa correspondent has the latest update on protests in Tunisia:

1. regional dir. of health Dr. Ibrahim Ghorgar tells me 1 protestor in “died after being run over by a vehicle”

Report

We reported earlier that residents have been camping outside a oil and gas pumping station in Tataouine in the south for around a month to demand they are given a share of resources.

Pastor claims to ‘talk to God on phone’

South African and Zimbabwean news sites are talking about a video of a Zimbabwean pastor who has claimed that he has a phone number to God.

Pastor Paul Sanyangore from Victory World International Ministries was captured on camera on the phone in front of his congregation saying “hello is this heaven?” before claiming to have a conversation with God:

The video is from March but is only now getting reaction across the web.

Sowetan Live calls the phone call “bizarre”.

Times Live has an exasperated tone, saying the pastor is among the growing list of pastors who are playing bizarre and harmful stunts – from a pastor who made the congregation eat grass to one who sprayed insect repellent in their faces.

In an interview with the Zimbabwean news site H-Metro at the beginning of the month, Pastor Sanyangore promised he would reveal God’s phone number.

The pastor is known for being controversial.

In 2015 the same pastor was asked by safe sex campaigners to stop blessing condoms due to fears that he was confusing congregants who may think they cannot use them, reports Bulawayo 24

Nigerian leaders warn against coup

Nigerian Chief of Army staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai visits victims of the accidental airstrike at Maiduguri State Specialist Hospital on January 18, 2017

AFP

Chief of Army staff Tukur Buratai has told soldiers to steer clear of politics

Senior politicians in Nigeria have vowed to resist any attempt to stage a coup, following rumours of a move by some army officers to seize power while President Muhammadu Buhari is on medical leave in the UK.

“Those who think they can break the democracy for which so many laboured and which too many sacrificed limb and life, are sorely mistaken. Nigeria has come too far for such a thing…. don’t think about it,” Reuters news agency quoted the leader of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) party, Bola Tinubu, as saying in a speech to the state assembly in the main city Lagos.

House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Yussuff Lasun was quoted by Nigeria’s This Day newspaper as saying that the military would find it difficult to take power after 17 years of uninterrupted democracy in Africa’s most populous state.

Bola Tinubu, one of the leaders of Nigeria's leading opposition All Progressive Congress, tries to calm the crowd after violence broke out during a campaign rally at the Taslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos on January 30, 2015.

AFP

Mr Tinubu says Nigerians will not allow democracy to be derailed

Rumours of a coup plot were fuelled last week after chief of army staff Tukur Buratai issued a statement, warning solders to steer clear of politics and saying he had received information that “some individuals have been approaching some officers and soldiers for undisclosed political reasons”, the Premium Times reported.

The rumours may be linked to the fact that Mr Buratai had reshuffled the upper echelons of the military, and President Buhari, 74, was on medical leave in the UK, it reported.

Read: Should Nigerians be worried about Buhari’s heath?

South Sudan president ‘announces unilateral ceasefire’

Salva Kiir

Reuters

The president of war-ravaged South Sudan has declared a unilateral ceasefire, reports Reuters news agency.

In a speech in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, President Salva Kiir also promised to release political prisoners, Reuters adds.

“I directed the prosecutor general to immediately review the cases of those who have committed crime against the state, commonly known as political prisoners, and ensure the necessary steps taken are taken to lead their release,” he is quoted as saying.

But there is no sign of a political deal with rebels, the news agency adds.

Mali police arrest suspected drug kingpin

Alex Duval Smith

BBC News

French soldiers of the 93rd French Mountain Artillery Regiment and FAMA (Malian Army forces) ride on June 4, 2015 on the Faguibine dry lake near Bintagoungou in the Timbuktu region, northern Mali

Getty Images

Trafficking drugs and migrants across the desert is the economic driver of Mali’s war

Malian drugs investigators have arrested a man they consider to be a drug-trafficking kingpin with links to Ghana, Guinea and Guinea Bissau.

The arrest came a few days after they seized a truck in Mali carrying 2.7 tonnes of cannabis. The truck had come from Ghana, transited via Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso before entering Mali through the south-eastern city of Sikasso.

The police allege that the trafficker, whose name has been given only as Rouzo, also transports cocaine and heroine. They say they are now looking for a drug-making factory in Bamako and say there will be more arrests in Mali and in the region.

Tunisian police ‘fire tear gas at protesters at pumping station’

A Tunisian protester prays during a sit-in at El Kamour oilfield, demanding jobs and a share in revenue from the area"s natural resources, near the town of Tatouine

Reuters

Protesters had set up tents by the oil field

Security forces fired tear gas at protesters as they tried to storm a gas and oil installation in southern Tunisia, AFP news agency reports local radio stations as saying.

Residents have been camping outside the El Kamour gas and oil pumping station in the Tataouine region for around a month to demand they be given a share of local resources and priority in jobs in the sector, AFP adds.

It is the first such incident since President Beji Caid Essebsi said the army would protect key installations from being disrupted by protests.

On Sunday, the defence ministry warned that the army would use force against anyone who tried to enter the grounds of these installations, AFP reports.

Fears grow for detained journalist in DR Congo

Deutsche Welle is calling for the immediate release of Antediteste Niragira, its correspondent arrested in DR Congo http://p.dw.com/p/2dJfE 

Report

Media campaign group Reporters Without Borders says it is concerned about the fate of the Burundian correspondent of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) after he was arrested last week in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo by intelligence agents.

Antediteste Niragira was detained while reporting on Burundian refugees in DR Congo, DW spokesman Christoph Jumpelt said, adding that allegations that he was a spy were “outrageous and baseless”.undefined

Mr Niragira’s wife has not heard from him since he called her from the border two days ago, Reporters Without Borders said.

In a statement, it added:

There is no reason for Antediteste Niragira to be in prison. This journalist has broken no law. If the Congolese authorities don’t want to let him into DR Congo, they should release him so that he can return home.”

Algerian officers die in power line crash

Three Algerian naval officers have been killed after their helicopter “hit high-voltage electricity lines” and crashed during a night patrol, the defence ministry has said, AFP news agency reports.

The helicopter went down last night in Tipaza province, some 70 km (45 miles) from the capital, Algiers, it added.

UK firm designs ‘world’s most affordable solar lamp’

SM100 solar lamp

INVENTID

A UK design consultancy has teamed up with a giant Chinese manufacturer to produce what they say is the world’s most affordable solar lamp.

Manchester-based firm Inventid designed the SM100 solar light, which retails for $5 (£3.85) in African countries.

It was developed in collaboration with China’s Yingli and charity Solar Aid.

The hand-sized lamp runs for eight hours when fully charged. As well as a stand, it has strap slots so it can be used as a head torch or tied to a bike.

The SM100 was trialled with 9,000 families in three African countries, Malawi, Uganda, and Zambia, and the new light is now on sale.

Read the full BBC story here

Economic growth in Africa ‘down’

The headline figure from the latest annual report from the African Development Bank shows that economic growth on the continent slowed to 2.2% in 2016 from 3.4% the previous year.

But the authors expect it to rise again this year and next.

Of course, this disguises big regional variations with East African countries leading the continent in terms of the pace of economic growth.

There is a lot of detail to explore in the 300-page report, but here are some other interesting highlights.

1. Unemployment behind protests

The authors found that a third of all public protests in Africa from 2014 to 2016 were about employment opportunities.

They say that with a boom in the youth population job creation will “remain the core challenge for African policy-makers”.

Tunisians wave their national flag as they take part in a general strike against marginalization and to demand development and employment

AFP

Tunisians protested in April over economic issues

2. Remittances are growing

Remittances – money sent from abroad – are projected to increase to $66.2bn (£51bn) this year. That’s 2.4% higher than in 2016.

One chart shows that more than 30% of Liberia’s GDP is made up of remittances, Cape Verde gets more than $380 per person in money sent from overseas, and in total Nigeria gets $20bn.

Chart showing remittances

AfDB

3. EU trade is crucial

If you take the European Union as a whole then it is the continent’s biggest trading partner accounting for 30% of everything African countries export. Meanwhile, only 15% of exported goods go to other African countries.

Chart showing trade proportions

AfDB

If you take countries individually then China is Africa’s biggest trading partner, followed by India, France and the US. The UK comes in ninth.

The forgotten town of Angolan apartheid-era soldiers

Former Angolan soldiers stand in a dilapidated building on February 13, 2017 in the desert town of Pomfret, close to the Botswana border on the edge of the Kalahari desert in the North West province of South Africa. Pomfret, the site of an old asbestos mine, on the edge of the Kalahari desert in northwest South Africa

AFP

The town is now full of dilapidated buildings

Angolan soldiers recruited by South Africa’s apartheid regime to fight against their homeland now live in squalor, reports AFP news agency.

Some 3,000 Angolan-born men live in Pomfret, a town in a far-flung northern corner of South Africa, AFP says.

The unit had been formed to fight the apartheid regime’s enemies across southern Africa.

The soldiers were relocated to the town when the cold war ended but the battalion was disbanded in 1993 – a year before the African National Congress (ANC) took power in South Africa, heralding the end of minority rule.

Many opted to remain as they felt stranded between South Africa, where their service is scorned, and Angola, where they are seen as traitors.

“Angolans say we killed them. The ANC here think that we killed their fighters,” said Alexander Joaquim, a 74-year-old veteran of 32 Battalion told AFP.

A graffiti is pictured on a wall of a dilapidated building on February 13, 2017 in the desert town of Pomfret, South Africa

AFP

Ramaphosa warns of ‘mafia state’ in South Africa

South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) must act urgently to prevent the the country from becoming a “mafia state”, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has said, as he increasingly distances himself from President Jacob Zuma who is facing widespread allegations of corruption.

Speaking at a rally in the mining town of Rustenburg yesterday, Mr Ramaphosa said:

“If the ANC is to recover its leadership role in society, then it is absolutely imperative that we act with urgency and purpose and make sure that we never become a mafia state. Because once we become a mafia state all the wheels have come off.”

South African President and new reelected African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma (R) flanked by businessman Cyril Ramaphosa newly elected deputy president of the party attend the 53 rd National Conference of the ANC on December 18, 2012 in Bloemfontein

AFP

Mr Ramaphosa (L) hopes to succeed Mr Zuma (R)

His comments came after the highly respected South African Council of Churches warned last week that a powerful elite was “systematically siphoning state assets” and South Africa “may be inches away from a mafia state from which there could be no return”.

Mr Ramaphosa told the rally:

It’s something that should make all of us sad, that the South Africa of Nelson Mandela is now being said to be on the brink of becoming a mafia state.”

Bloomberg news agency quoted Mr Ramaphosa as saying that a judicial commission of inquiry should be appointed to investigate allegations of “state capture”.

It must be investigated and put to bed before 2019, because 2019 is our destination for the ANC to win elections.

It is only through this commission that we can ascertain to what extent our state-owned companies have been used improperly to enrich and benefit a few people and their families.”

The wealthy Gupta family has been repeatedly accused of wielding undue influence in Mr Zuma’s government. Both the family and Mr Zuma deny the allegation.

Mr Ramaphosa is campaigning to succeed Mr Zuma as ANC leader at the party’s five-yearly elective conference in December, and as president after the general election in 2019.

Mr Zuma is backing his ex-wife and former African Union Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in the leadership race.

Read: Zuma down but not out

Conflict ‘displaces more in DR Congo than Syria’

The number of people displaced by conflict inside the Democratic Republic of Congo last year was higher than that in Syria or Iraq, according to research by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

The Democratic Republic of Congo had a spike of 922,000 new displacements caused by conflict last year, compared with 824,000 and Iraq with 659,000, the NRC’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Center said.

NRC secretary-general Jan Egeland told BBC Newsday that “it is surprisingly not Syria nor Iraq” at the top of the list.

Mr Egeland said it was a “total myth that they [people fleeing violence] come all to Europe, they come all to America. Most people are displaced within their own country”.

Listen to the full interview on Newsday:

Report shows one person is displaced every second due to conflict and natural disasters.

School gender gap ‘rapidly narrowing’ in Central Africa

A pupil writes on her copy book during a class in Kinshasa on September 7, 2016.

Getty Images

More girls than boys finish secondary school in North and southern Africa, says a report by the African Development Bank.

It also found that Central Africa, where female completion rates are the lowest in Africa, the gender gap is rapidly narrowing – with nearly three times more girls completing secondary school since 2005.

The wide-ranging report found Africans are seeing a steady improvement in the quality of life.

Beyonce has African-themed ‘push party’

People are still commenting on pictures posted by the singer Beyonce yesterday of her so-called African-themed push party.

Entertainment news site E! Online quotes an insider as saying “the decor was African-themed and very colorful with lounge seating areas, floor pillows and rugs on the floor… and African dancers and drummers walking around”.

Vogue explains that a push party is like a baby shower but both genders can attend.

Here are Beyonce’s own pictures from the event.

The singer announced in February that she was pregnant with twins.

Magistrate in Zambia treason case ‘ill’

The court case of Zambia’s main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, who wants treason charges against him dropped, has been postponed to Wednesday after the magistrate fell ill his United Party for National Development (UPND) has tweeted:

Case allocated to Magistrate Malipenga after Magistrate Simusamba falls ill. Ruling set for Wednesday 24th. HH and accused remain in prison

Report

See earlier post for more details

Hunter ‘crushed to death by elephant’

A South African big game hunter died after being crushed by an elephant that had been shot on a game reserve in Zimbabwe, reports South Africa’s News24 site.

Theunis Botha, 51, was leading a hunt with clients when the group accidentally walked into the middle of a breeding herd of elephants, Zimparks spokesman Mr Simukai Nyasha told the UK-based Telegraph newspaper.

A source who did not want to be named told Netwerk24 (In Afrikaans) that one of the hunters shot an elephant after she lifted Mr Botha with her trunk. The shot was fatal and as the elephant collapsed, she fell on Mr Botha, News 24 adds.

Elephants in Hwange National Park

Getty Images

The incident happened near Hwange National Park

Zanu-PF rocked by violence

Violent clashes broke out yesterday between rival factions of Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party at its provincial headquarters in the second city, Bulawayo, the state-owned Chronicle newspaper reports.

Provincial youth league chairperson Anna Mokgohla was brutally assauled by some war veterans while Bulwayo central district chairperson Magura Charumbira was stabbed in the head and face, the newspaper adds.

Youth also threw stones and smashed windows,saying they did not recognise the party’s provincial leadership, the Chronicle reports.

Police were called in to curb the violence, it adds.

Zanu-PF has been hit by worsening divisions as rival factions position themselves to succeed the 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe, even though he has been nominated to stand for re-election next year.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe leaves the stage after participating in a discussion at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2017 meeting in Durban, South Africa May 4, 2017.

Reuters

Mr Mugabe has been in power since 1980

Zambian opposition leader’s wife pleads for his release

The wife of Zambia’s main opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema, has appealed to the international community to help free her husband.

Mutinta Hichilema said the erosion of democracy in her country, and its rapid slide towards a dictatorship, could no be ignored.

She made the comments as the UK government said investors were unnerved by the continued detention of her husband on treason charges.

Today, a magistrate is expected to decide whether his case will be dropped or referred to the High Court.

Mr Hichilema’s United Party for National Development (UPND) has been tweeting about his detention:

President Hichilema spends his 43rd day in prison as we await a ruling on whether case will be reffered to the High court today.

Report

Today’s wise words

Our African proverb of the day:

Warring sides do not invite each other to a feast, yet close ranks in times of need.”

A Venda proverb sent by Thivhilaeli wa ha Makatu in Thohoyandou, South Africa

Click here to send us your African proverbs

Nigeria moves to stop illegal emigration

Nigeria’s government is worried about clandestine migration. Unlike in Europe, the issue is not people coming in, but Nigerians leaving the country. New rules are being enacted to solve the problem.

African migrants on a rubber dinghy in the Mediterranean

On Monday, the Nigerian government presented the “Immigration Regulation 2017” in Abuja. It makes it easier for businessmen to visit the country, strengthens the defense of borders against terrorism and aims for better registration of immigrants. But both the title and the packaging hide the fact that this is far from being only about immigration. New rules for emigration are just as central to the project. To quote Nigerian Interior Minister Abdulrahman Dambazu: “It is an adjustment to the dynamics of modern-day’s migration realities.”

Harsh measures 

Mohammed Babandede, comptroller general of the Nigerian Immigration Service, is less inclined to mince words. “Nigeria today demonstrated it is committed to the fight against the smuggling of migrants. We are aware that a lot of our citizens are dying in the desert and the sea,” he said.

The government believes that only harsh measures will stop the dying. Accordingly, the new regulations include severe punishment for illegal migration. The old immigration law from 1963 established only modest fines of less than one euro ($1.08). New fines for infractions can go up to 3,000 euros ($2,800). Prison sentences for serious violations of the immigration law will be much longer than in the past.

Nigeria's Interior Minister Abdulrahman Dambazau and Comptoller General Mohammed Babandede Nigeria’s Interior Minister Abdulrahman Dambazau (right) and Comptroller General Mohammed Babandede presented Nigeria’s new migration policy in Abuja

Nigeria is one of the main countries of origin of illegal migration. In the last year alone, around 30,000 undocumented Nigerians crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. Hundreds die each year attempting to reach the continent. Human trafficking has tarnished Nigeria’s reputation around the globe. Current estimates point to more than 10,000 Nigerian women forced to prostitute themselves in Europe. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari believes these numbers are a blight on his country’s reputation and has called for a coordinated strategy to fight smugglers and human traffickers.

The right of free movement

Babandede has promised to improve cooperation with Niger and other neighboring states which Nigerian emigrants cross on their way to Europe.

“If we have evidence that a migrant is planning to travel beyond Niger, we can stop him,” Babandede said.

That is the kind of measure rejected by Enira Kdrzalic, Nigeria’s chief of mission of the International Organization of Migration (IOM).

“Every single person has a right of free movement,” she told DW. That applies to all the citizens of the Economic Community of West

African refugees in Niger sit on the floor waiting for an opportunity to travel further to EuropeNigeria’s neighbor Niger is the main transit country for West African refugees

African States (ECOWAS), Kdrzalic added, before conceding that countries like Nigeria are under heavy pressure due to climbing numbers of undocumented migrants.

The European Union is seeking assurances from African states that they will take measures to stop mass migration. Countries willing to cooperate with Europe by joining so-called “migration partnerships” will be rewarded with substantial financial aid and investments. Those who refuse will face sanctions. The EU has put aside billions of euros to finance the partnerships in coming years.

Criminals will find a way

Enira Kdrzalic from the IOM believes that the failure to stop irregular emigration in Nigeria is not due to a lack of political will. Mostly, continued violations of the rules are a result of deficits in the country’s administration.

“Many agencies are operating in parallel. Much action is needed to ensure the effectiveness and coordination of their activities to avoid duplications,” Kdrzalic said.

Immigration head Babandede agreed that the new rules will not be enough if the job is not done properly.

“There must be a lot of training, attitude change and punishment of officials who compromise at the borders,” he said.

But Babandede also said that Europe must assume part of the responsibility. He called for the quick improvement of European laws regulating legal immigration for Nigerians.

“If you don’t create the opportunity for regular migration, criminal groups will provide those opportunities,” Babandede said.

Watch video03:44

Italy: Nigerian women forced into prostitution

 

DW RECOMMENDS

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Multiple bomb blasts rock Nigeria’s Maiduguri

At least three people killed and 18 others wounded by explosions at a refugee camp in Maiduguri, officials say.

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Most the people living in the camp have fled their homes due to the spate of attacks by Boko Haram in the country's northeast [Reuters]
Most the people living in the camp have fled their homes due to the spate of attacks by Boko Haram in the country’s northeast [Reuters]

At least three people have been killed and 18 others wounded in multiple suicide blasts at a refugee camp on the outskirts of the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, security sources told Al Jazeera.

Police said five male suicide bombers detonated explosives at the camp which is located at the Muna Garage area of the city in the early hours of Wednesday.

Those wounded were taken to hospital to receive treatment.

READ MORE: Attack by gunmen in central Nigeria kills at least 17

The blasts triggered fires which burned down tents in the vast Muna camp, Tijjani Lumani, a coordinator at the camp told the AFP news agency.

“There were four explosions inside the camp. The bombers struck at different locations around 4:30 am.” Lumani said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Maiduguri has been frequently targeted by fighters of the Boko Haram armed group.

According to eyewitnesses, the bombers had sneaked into the camps late on Tuesday night alongside those who sell charcoal to refugees, who use it to cook their food.

Most of the people living there are those who have fled their homes due to the spate of attacks by Boko Haram in the country’s northeast.

Wednesday’s blasts were the latest blamed on suicide bombers, who continue to pose a threat to civilians despite military claims of success against Boko Haram.

Four people were killed on Saturday when suicide bombers blew themselves up in a village near the city.

On Tuesday, Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari met security chiefs in the capital Abuja to review the security situation in the country. The nearly seven years Boko Haram crisis topped the agenda of the review, according to a presidential aide.

Maiduguri, the state capital of Borno state, is the birthplace of the Boko Haram insurgency, which has claimed the lives of over 20,000 people and forced 2.6 million from their homes since 2009.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

War & Conflict Nigeria Africa

Suicide bombers destroy 3 fuel tankers in northeast Nigeria

March 3
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Three suicide bombers set ablaze three fuel tankers in the center of Nigeria’s northeastern city of Maiduguri before dawn Friday, officials said, just days before a planned visit by the U.N. Security Council.

Soldiers fired at one of the bombers, a teenage girl, to avert what could have been a major attack on the city’s main fuel depot, according to the police chief and a witness.

“We are lucky. Today could have been another sad day for us in Maiduguri,” police commissioner Damian Chukwu told reporters at the scene, where firefighters were dousing several fires.

The attack, outside a gas station opposite the northeastern headquarters of the Central Bank of Nigeria, killed only the three bombers, said Abdulkadir Ibrahim, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency.

Officials blamed Boko Haram insurgents who many times have attacked Maiduguri, the birthplace of Nigeria’s homegrown Islamic extremist group.

An elderly woman bomber blew herself up beside a stationary tanker loaded with fuel around 3 a.m., witness Mala Gajibo told The Associated Press.

She was accompanied by a teenage boy and girl who continued down the road toward the fuel depot until they were challenged by soldiers, Gajibo said. Chukwu also said soldiers fired at one of the bombers.

“They ordered them to stop but they chose to run,” Gajibo said. “The male suicide bomber detonated his explosives near S. Baba (gas) filling station, while the girl was shot at by the military and ran under a parked truck loaded with petrol products which went up in flames” when her explosives detonated.

Increased security by Nigerian soldiers and civilian self-defense fighters has averted many suicide bombings in recent months.

The attack comes just days before the U.N. Security Council is expected in Maiduguri as part of a four-nation tour of countries in the Lake Chad Basin devastated by the seven-year Boko Haram uprising that has killed more than 20,000.

The uprising also has left 2.6 million homeless and created what the U.N. has called the continent’s worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 5 million people in urgent need of food aid.

Council members began their tour Friday in Cameroon. A multinational force headquartered in Chad has driven Boko Haram out of towns and villages where the extremists had set up an Islamic caliphate. But suicide bombings and attacks on remote villages and military outposts continue.

___

This story has been corrected to show that Chad, not Cameroon, is the headquarters of the multinational force.

___

Faul reported from Johannesburg. Associated Press writer Joshua Ola contributed from Maiduguri.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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