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KW 32: Tigray forces reportedly seize control of UN World Heritage Site in Ethiopia, More than 350 people killed in South Africa protests, Tunisia vaccinates more than half a million people in a day

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Tigray forces reportedly seize control of UN World Heritage Site in Ethiopia: Forces from Ethiopia’s Tigray region have taken control of the town of Lalibela, whose famed rock-hewn churches are a United Nations World Heritage Site, and residents were fleeing, two eyewitnesses told Reuters last Thursday. The United States called on Tigrayan forces to respect the cultural heritage of the town, as Washington’s grows increasingly alarmed over the widening of the conflict. „We’ve seen the reports that Tigrayan forces have taken Lalibela. We call on the TPLF to protect this cultural heritage,“ State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters. In recent weeks fighting has spread from Tigray into two neighboring regions, Amhara and Afar, forcing around 250,000 people to flee. The developments come eight months after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a military offensive against Tigray’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), sending in national troops and militia fighters from the Amhara region who were joined by forces from neighboring Eritrea. Senior officials from the United Nations and the United States government who visited Ethiopia this week raised alarm at the widening of the war in Tigray to other parts of northern Ethiopia. Lalibela, also a holy site for millions of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, is in the North Wollo Zone of the Amhara region in Ethiopia’s north.,

More than 350 people killed in South Africa protests: South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has carried out a significant cabinet reshuffle covering not only security posts but also the economy and health following days of unrest last month that left more than 350 dead. In a televised speech on Thursday, Ramaphosa said he was abolishing the security ministry and placing the “political responsibility” of the spy agency under his office. It came in the wake of what Ramaphosa described as an “orchestrated campaign of public violence, destruction and sabotage” that broke out after his predecessor, former President Jacob Zuma, was jailed for 15 months for ignoring a judicial investigation into corruption while in office. Thousands of businesses were looted and destroyed over several days, forcing the government to deploy 25,000 soldiers to help restore order.

Tunisia vaccinates more than half a million people in a day: More than half a million Tunisians received vaccinations on Sunday as part of a national campaign to control the outbreak of COVID-19 after the country received more than 6 million vaccine doses from Western and Arab countries. The slow pace of vaccinations and the handling of the pandemic sparked a wave of protests against the government of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, who was dismissed by President Kais Saied two weeks ago among a series of emergency measures. Tunisia seeks to vaccinate 50 percent of its 11.6 million people by mid-October. The Delta variant is responsible for „more than 90 percent“ of cases in Tunisia, which on Sunday registered 2,546 new cases, raising infections to a total of 610,660 with almost 21,000 deaths.

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Floods in Sudan damage thousands of homes: Thousands of homes have been damaged in Sudan after torrential rains caused heavy flooding, with many streets in the capital Khartoum deep in water, AFP correspondents said Sunday. Heavy rains usually fall in Sudan from June to October, and the country faces severe flooding every year, wrecking properties, infrastructure, and crops. On Thursday, the UN’s humanitarian agency OCHA said some 12,000 people in eight out of the country’s 18 states had been affected. „Over 800 homes have reportedly been destroyed and over 4,400 homes damaged,“ the UN said.

Suspected jihadists kill scores of villagers in northern Mali: Suspected jihadists massacred more than 40 civilians in northern Mali and killed 12 troops in an ambush in neighboring Burkina Faso, officials said Monday, highlighting the security crisis gripping the two fragile states. Terrorists on Sunday invaded the villages of Karou, Ouatagouna and Daoutegeft near Mali’s border with Niger, a military officer told AFP. An official at a fourth village said his locality had also come under attack. Mali, a landlocked and impoverished state in the heart of the West Africa’s Sahel region, has been battling a jihadist insurgency since 2012. The crisis began with unrest in the north of the country that spread to Mali’s ethnically volatile centre and then to neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso.

Princess Charlene of Monaco in Africa until October: Monaco’s Princess Charlene has offered new details concerning her illness and recovery, saying that she anticipates she’ll leave South Africa around the end of October after another medical procedure. Speaking to South Africa Radio 702’s host Mandy Wiener, the princess said she was in a waiting game. „Initially I was supposed to be here for 10 to 12 days, unfortunately, I had a problem equalising my ears, and I found out through the doctors that I had a sinus infection and quite a serious one. So, it’s taking time to address this problem that I’m having.“ While in the country, the princess has occupied herself with the work of her foundation and become personally involved with rhinoceros conservation. She also appeared at the funeral service for the late Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, and says she spends a few hours a day sewing blankets for a nursery in the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal, where it is now getting noticeably colder.,

Madagascar: Severe drought causes hunger crisis
Italy allows 2 rescue boats with 800 migrants on board to dock in Sicily
Rwandan troops help Mozambique recapture key port held by jihadists
East Africa: End of the political thaw in Tanzania?
Covid-19 cases surge in Morocco


Hyacinth plague at Lake Victoria: Africa’s fight against the „green plague“: The largest freshwater lake in Africa is literally overgrown by water hyacinths. In Europe, these are known as attractive garden pond flowers. In Africa, in Asia or in America, water hyacinths have long since become an enormous plague that poses a massive threat to people and nature. They form large contiguous islands of plants, clogging rivers, lakes or canals. They also deprive the waters of oxygen. All life dies under the carpet of plants. Lake Victoria actually provides water for people, supplies fish and serves as a transport route. 30 million people between Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania live on and from the lake. But more and more water hyacinths are turning the water into a slimy, green soup – with serious consequences for the entire ecosystem. For example, fish and insects that lay their eggs on the sandbanks near the shore can no longer breathe because of the hyacinth carpet, which lacks oxygen and light. Fishermen also lose their livelihood. In addition, malaria mosquitoes can spread rapidly and parasites can multiply disproportionately. The water hyacinths also obstruct shipping and power generation, which is why there have been massive power outages in the riparian states on several occasions.
Much has been tried and tested over the years to tame the aggressive plant. The pressure is particularly high at Lake Victoria, which is roughly the size of Bavaria. Inventor Dominic Kahumbu has had an idea: In his opinion, the green pest could become a valuable raw material and thus a new source of energy using biogas technology. For this, the water hyacinths must be shredded and ground. They are then filled into a machine and converted into biogas.

How the pandemic is changing funeral rituals in Uganda: Funeral rituals in Africa have been changing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Condolence books are no longer allowed to be handed out because of the virus. The closing of churches has hit the community hard, says Sydney Ogwang, managing director of Executive Funeral Services – a funeral home in Uganda’s capital Kampala. Much has changed since the restrictions on traditional gatherings for funerals, she says. Uganda’s government has intervened in the mourning culture out of concern about new contagions of coronavirus among mourners. Authorities discouraged laying out the deceased in the courtyard in front of the house to pay respects. Only a dozen close family members are allowed to accompany the coffin to the grave. Those who died of COVID-19 were buried by special medical teams. However, all this does not correspond to the practices in several African cultures, where funerals with dozens or even several hundred guests are not uncommon. Professor Whyte doesn’t believe that the pandemic regulations are being followed everywhere: The subject of burial is „too important, too emotional.“ It is terrible for people to leave the dead alone without a guard, she said. The spirit of the deceased person must be given a good send-off so everyone can be at peace. Community burial is a powerful aspect of life, Whyte adds. Especially now, people need to be there for each other more than ever, because the economic situation in Uganda is dire. Virtual funeral services are now trending. Will mourning rituals change in the long term because of the pandemic? Times are tough in Uganda, so it might be a relief to celebrate in a less elaborate way, according to Whyte.


In Africa, an average of 20 percent of people don’t want to be vaccinated.


„We’re harvesting the plants here on Lake Victoria that everyone sees as a real threat and a pest. It’s an invasive species that brings a lot of negative effects. But in reality, water hyacinths are a blessing in disguise.“

Inventor Dominic Kahumbu.


Chibok schoolgirl free after seven years captivity: The office of the governor of Borno state in northern Nigeria, where almost 300 schoolgirls were kidnapped in the town of Chibok seven years ago, announced Saturday that one of the girls is free and has been reunited with her family. Ruth Ngladar Pogu surrendered to the military on July 28 along with a person she had married in captivity. In April 2014, almost 300 schoolgirls between the ages of 12 and 17 were kidnapped by Boko Haram in the town of Chibok in Borno state. In the years since, about two dozen of the girls were either released or found by the military, though approximately 113 remain missing and are believed to still be captives of the Islamic militant group Boko Haram.