News Briefs 25 January 2021:


Zimbabwe loses another serving Minister to COVID-19

Transport Minister Joel Matiza has become the fourth serving Minister to succumb to the virus just days after the country lost Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo.

Zimbabwe has lost another serving Minister to COVID-19.

Transport Minister Joel Matiza has become the fourth serving Minister to succumb to the virus just days after the country lost Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo.

SACB News 22 January 2021

Zimbabwe government reduces operations

Zimbabwe’s government scaled down operations amid a second wave of coronavirus infections, with only 10% of its workers available in offices until Feb. 5.

Essential services will be offered by staff exempted from the southern African country’s 30-day lockdown, government spokesman Nick Mangwana said in an interview on Thursday. The remainder who have online access will work from home, he said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa imposed restrictions, including a dawn-to-dusk curfew, and closed all non-essential businesses on Jan. 3 after a spike in virus-related deaths since December. Officials attribute the increase to citizens visiting from neighboring countries over the festive season. More than 3 million Zimbabweans are estimated to be based in South Africa.

Money Web 22 January 2021

Democratic Republic of Congo

Covid curfew fuels fear of rape in DR Congo’s economic capital

For ladies in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo’s second metropolis, a curfew could assist combat the coronavirus, however for a lot of, it comes with a dread of housebreaking and rape.

Residents in DRC’s financial capital have reported a string of burglary and sexual assaults, some by armed males in uniform, for the reason that authorities imposed a nightly confinement on December 18.

Seven ladies, together with two sisters, instructed AFP final week that they’d suffered a break-in and been raped through the 9pm-5am lockdown.

“It was 11:05 pm once I heard knocking on the door,” says Dominique, utilizing an assumed identify and nonetheless in shock as she described what occurred on the night time of January 10.

Males smashed a window and compelled the padlock on her residence in Kalubwe, on the outskirts of Lubumbashi, she mentioned.

Info Digest 23 January 2021

DRC President Hails Local Covid ‘Products’ As Who Sounds Caution

The president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, has hailed locally-made “products” for tackling coronavirus, triggering words of caution from the WHO about any unsupported claims for COVID-19 treatment.

“Having a vaccine is essential. But we are also in favour of a curative treatment,” Tshisekedi said on 11 January.

“I believe we have two products which are promising, at least in the first results they have shown. They are Congolese products. We are going to promote them.”

One of the products, called Manacovid, went on sale in pharmacies in Kinshasa last month, an AFP journalist saw.

EWN 22 January 2021


Protests over missing recruits gather steam

Hundreds of Somali parents have been camping in the streets of Mogadishu for the last two days, demanding the government tell them about the fate of their sons who were sent to Eritrea for military training.

The protesting parents said they have been unable to contact their children and that their whereabouts remain unknown since clashes between rebel forces and the Ethiopian military started in the northern Tigray region toward the end of 2020.

Abdishakur Kirie, the father of Somali recruit Afyare Abdi Ahmed, told Anadolu Agency that he used to talk to his son regularly, but now he cannot reach him. “I’ve not heard from him for a long time. We are protesting because we want to know how our loved ones are. We just need to know that they are safe. If the former intelligence official is wrong, then we need proof of their life.”

Anadolu Agency 22 January 2021

Ugandan forces in Somalia kill 189 al-Shabaab fighters

The Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) Friday claimed killing 189 al-Shabaab fighters in an operation in Somalia.

Talking to Anadolu Agency by phone, army’s deputy spokesman Lt. Col. Deo Akiki said: “Today morning, a UPDF contingent under African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has killed at least 189 al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia.

“This is the biggest number of al-Shabaab fighters killed in a day,” he added.

Earlier, the UPDF issued a statement, saying Ugandan troops have raided al-Shabaab hideouts in Sigaale village, approximately 99 kilometers (61 miles) southwest of Mogadishu.

A large number of military hardware and items used by the terrorist were also destroyed, the statement said, adding the UPDF also disrupted an al-Shabaab meeting, injuring several terrorists in Doncadaafeedow which is seven km (4 mi) away from the Janaale town.

Anadolu Agency 22 January 2021

Central African Republic

Central African Republic declares state of emergency to combat rebels

Central African Republic declared a state of emergency on Thursday to help it crack down on armed groups, as the UN’ envoy to CAR called for the deployment of many more peacekeepers in response to a recent surge in attacks.

The CAR army, backed by UN, Russian and Rwandan troops, has been battling rebels that are seeking to overturn a December 27 vote in which President Faustin-Archange Touadera was declared the winner.

The state of emergency, which will last 15 days, lets the authorities fast-track arrests by allowing the military to detain suspects without going through a prosecutor, government spokesperson Albert Yaloke said in a statement.

TimesLive 23 January 2021

Surge in violence and displacement threatens thousands of children already affected by humanitarian crisis and COVID-19

UNICEF is deeply concerned for the wellbeing of thousands of children estimated to be newly displaced by a surge in violence in several Central African towns, including the capital Bangui, prior to and following the country’s general elections. The crisis is likely to lead to higher rates of malnutrition as well as the recruitment of children into armed groups.

In the run-up to and after the general elections of 27 December 2020, armed conflict between Government forces and a coalition of armed groups in several towns[6] of the Central African Republic (CAR) forced nearly 200,000 people – almost half of whom are children – to flee their homes. While many have since returned home, approximately 100,000 people are still displaced.[7] The situation remains volatile in many parts of the country, following the announcement of election results.

“This new wave of violence and displacement is increasing humanitarian needs at a time when the Central African people are already dealing with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and years of conflict and insecurity,” said Fran Equiza, UNICEF Representative in CAR. “For the most vulnerable children and women, fighting is a direct threat to their lives. It is likely to lead to an increase in the incidence of malnutrition among children and gross violations of their rights, such as recruitment or killing.”

Unicef 22 January 2021


250 killed, over 100,000 displaced as violence surges in Darfur

According to the agency, 250 people – including three humanitarian workers – also lost their lives in the clashes that started on 15 January in West Darfur province, and spread into South Darfur the next day.

Boris Cheshirkov, a UNHCR spokesperson, told journalists at a regular press briefing in Geneva on Friday, that about 3,500 new Sudanese refugees have arrived in eastern Chad.

“These refugees – the majority of them women and children – have been hosted in four very remote locations that lack basic services or public infrastructure, where they have been sheltering under trees,” he said.

“Due to the COVID-19 situation, Chadian local authorities are directing the new arrivals to a transit site, where they will undergo quarantine before being relocated to an existing refugee camp, away from the border,” the UNHCR spokesperson added.

UN News 22 January 2021

Sudan Approves First Budget Since Us Terror Delisting

Sudan approved on Tuesday its first budget since being removed from a US blacklist last year, earmarking funds to redevelop regions torn apart by conflict under ousted president Omar al-Bashir, the government said.

“The joint meeting of the Sovereign Council and the cabinet concluded with the approval of the budget for the current fiscal year,” the civilian-majority Council said in a statement.

“The 2021 budget is the first after the signing of the Juba peace deal, and the removal of Sudan from the (US) list of state sponsors of terrorism,” Finance Minister Hiba Ali was quoted as saying.

EWN 21 January 2021

South Sudan

Old grudges and empty coffers: South Sudan’s precarious peace process

On the streets of South Sudan’s capital city, billboards honour the country’s politicians for ending five years of conflict that cost almost 400,000 lives and displaced millions. “Peacemakers” and “Children of God” declares one poster, quoting the Bible alongside a photo of the president.

But nearly a year after President Salva Kiir formed a unity government with opposition leader Riek Machar – now the vice-president – key parts of the agreement have not been implemented amid entrenched distrust between the two men, funding shortages, and renewed fighting that cost thousands of lives in 2020.

Nyadid Racho from western Pibor – where famine is thought to be occurring – says she has seen little benefit from the deal. The 40-year-old told The New Humanitarian ongoing clashes between community militias cost the lives of two of her children last year – both starved to death within days of each other.

The New Humanitarian 21 January 2021

Why South Sudan must give peace a chance

This year began with high hopes for peace and stability in the world’s youngest country but 2020 is ending with the reversal of critical humanitarian gains made since the civil war ended on 22 February.

Violence still plagues parts of South Sudan. The country of 12 million people is torn by the impact of years of conflict at a national level. Now hostilities frequently erupt among communities over natural resources.

To make matters worse, catastrophic floods have swept across the eastern and central regions, leaving behind a trail of devastation and plunging many people deeper into hunger and poverty.

While the floods, the economic downturn accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic, and a lack of basic services play a role in worsening humanitarian conditions, the main culprit derailing the country’s progress is the tide of local and sub-national violence that frequently erupts over land, valuable livestock?—?mainly cattle?—?and water.

Relief Web 22 January 2021

Western Sahara

Western Sahara: A migrant smuggling hotspot

The Western Sahara is known for its beaches and resorts; but amid a global pandemic, locals have been forced to seek opportunities elsewhere, aiding people smugglers in moving migrants across the Atlantic to the Canary Islands. But this is a dangerous undertaking on all sides.

The resort city of Dakhla in the Morocco-controlled part of Western Sahara is known around the region as a haven for water sports enthusiasts; kitesurfers in particular come here to perfect their skills in the turquoise waters of the bay. But the COVID-19 pandemic has affected tourism and travel around the globe, leaving people who normally rely on tourists to come up with new ways to make a living.

Because of economic hardship, some of the locals in Dakhla have taken to assisting people smugglers as so-called “handymen”. Irregular migration to Spain’s Canary Islands — located about 500 kilometers north of the coastal city — has jumped eight-fold in the past year; the islands saw the highest number of migrant arrivals since 2006 last year and the business around migrant smuggling in Dakhla has also thrived accordingly.

Info Migrants 22 January 2021