Get to know the events, the news-makers and the important news of the week from Egypt, Niger, Togo and others

  1. LAGOS- The Nigerian police have launched a radio station aimed at improving its relationship with the ordinary citizens. Police boss Mohammed Adamu said community policing information would be broadcast, and the new service would help reach the public better.

2. NIAMEY- Niger this week had its first democratic transfer of power after Mohamed Bazoum was sworn in as president. The swearing in came just days after the government thwarted an attempted coup by parts of the military. The West African nation is facing increasing attacks by jihadist groups and political tensions in the country since the election in February. The inauguration marks the first time one elected leader has handed power to another since independence in 1960. (The man and woman looking kingly in the photos)

3. FREETOWN- Sierra Leone’s president Julius Maada Bio has promised each player in Leone Stars football team $10, 000 and a parcel of land if they beat Benin either 1-0 or if they win by a two goal margin should they concede a goal and qualify for AFCON finals. It has been 25 years since the country made it to the finals. Some of the players in the team were not even born.

That match was supposed to happen early this week, but the Confederation of African Football announced that it had postponed it to the June international window after a Covid-19 controversy.

Benin Squirrels (name of the Benin Republic team) arrived at the match venue in Sierra Leone but they refused to leave their bus after being told within an hour to kick-off that star player Steve Mounie, alongside five others had tested positive for Covid-19. The Squirrels did not accept the results produced by their hosts claiming the tests taken 72 hours earlier turned out negative.

Marwa Elselehdar

4. Marwa Elselehdar (white uniform lady in the photos) who is Egypt’s first female ship captain was wrongfully blamed for the Ever Given ship problem in the Suez Canal after a doctored photo of her was shared by a local news website.

At the time of the Suez blockage, Ms Elselehdar was working as a first mate, in command of the Aida IV, hundreds of miles away in Alexandria. Several Twitter accounts under her name have also spread false claims that she was in involved with the Ever Given. Marwa Elselehdar, 29, told the BBC she has no idea who first spread the story or why they did it.

“I felt that I might be targeted maybe because I’m a successful female in this field or because I’m Egyptian, but I’m not sure,” she said.

5. An investigation by #BBCAfricaEye has uncovered evidence indicating that a massacre in northern Ethiopia was carried out by members of the Ethiopian military. It also reveals the precise location of the atrocity, in which at least 15 men were killed. In early March, a series of five video clips surfaced on social media showing armed, uniformed men leading a group of unarmed men to the edge of a cliff, shooting some at point blank range, and pushing dead bodies over the cliff. The BBC has confirmed that the massacre took place close to the town of Mahbere Dego in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, where the Ethiopian army is fighting the forces of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), previously the region’s ruling party. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last week said army officers who went overboard will be punished.

6. CAIRO – The head of the Suez Canal Authority, Oussama Rabieh, told Egyptian media Friday that all shipping traffic that was backed up from the blockage of the waterway caused by the gigantic Ever Given container ship should clear the canal Saturday.

He said that as of Friday 350 of the 422 backed up ships will have cleared the Suez Canal, meaning that the remaining 75 or so would go through on Saturday and new ships can start to transit.

The canal was reopened to shipping traffic after the Ever Given was refloated on March 29.

Transporting royal mummies

7. CAIRO – A grand parade on Saturday conveyed 22 ancient Egyptian royal mummies in specially designed capsules across the capital Cairo to a new museum home where they can be displayed.

The convoy transported 18 kings and four queens, mostly from the New Kingdom, from the Egyptian Museum in central Cairo’s Tahrir Square to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat, about 5 kilometers to the southeast. The lavish, multimillion-dollar spectacle saw 22 mummies – 18 kings and four queens – transported from the peach-coloured, neo-classical Egyptian Museum to their new resting place 5km (three miles) away.

They were transported with great fanfare in chronological order of their reigns – from the 17th Dynasty ruler, Seqenenre Taa II, to Ramses IX, who reigned in the 12th Century BC. Roads along the Nile were shut for the elaborate ceremony, designed to drum up interest in Egypt’s rich collections of antiquities when tourism has almost entirely stalled because of COVID-19 related restrictions. (Those golden looking street photos)

8. The militant group Al-Shabab on Saturday launched attacks on Somali military forces in Lower Shabelle region, Somali regional officials said.

The attacks in the early hours of Saturday, around 4 a.m. local time, targeted military bases in the towns of Barire and Awdhegle in southern Somalia. The forward operating bases are manned by the Somali military to protect several bridges along the Shabelle river that authorities say are key to keeping vehicles carrying explosives from entering Mogadishu. Attacks started off with suicide car bombs on both bases, followed by infantry attack, regional officials said.

Ruth E Carter’s work

9. A new exhibition explores the extraordinary work of Oscar-winning designer Ruth E Carter. She designed the African themed clothes used in Coming 2 America and Black Panther movies. Ten of those Black Panther costumes – plus some from Coming 2 America – are included in an exhibition dedicated to Carter’s career at Atlanta’s Scad Fash Museum of Fashion + Film. The exhibition, titled Afrofuturism in Costume Design, is running until mid-September, and tells the story of the 60-year-old’s ascension as one of only two costume designers in history – and the first black woman – to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

10. JUBA , SOUTH SUDAN – The International Monetary Fund this week agreed to give the South Sudan government an economic stabilization loan of $174.2 million. The loan will be used to address two significant problems, according to South Sudan Central Bank Governor Tier Tong Ngor.

“We have agreed with IMF that half of this amount will be used for budget support to pay salary arrears and the other part will remain with the central bank for a balance-of-payment support to stabilize the exchange rate and also to stabilize the market,” said Ngor.

The government has not paid civil servant salaries for five months. Ngor said the central bank looks forward to getting its books in order by the end of the next fiscal year.

He said South Sudan would pay back the loan on a “long-term” basis without interest. Asked when the government will begin paying down the IMF loan, Ngor did not answer, instead,he blamed falling international oil prices, the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and last year’s floods for South Sudan’s ailing economy.

More than a year ago, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, South Sudan’s exchange market rate was 280 South Sudanese pounds for a dollar. Today, $1 exchanges for 620 South Sudanese pounds on the black market. The official exchange rate is $1 for 183 South Sudanese pounds.

11. LAGOS – Nigerian authorities said an air force fighter jet lost contact on Wednesday ago in Borno state while on a mission to support ground troops. The jihadist group Boko Haram released a video Friday saying it shot down the jet, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activity.

Boko Haram released a video that showed what appeared to be a plane as it exploded midair. The video also showed the remains of a man who was described as the pilot of the plane by a Boko Haram fighter who spoke in the local Hausa language.

12. PEMBA, MOZAMBIQUE – More than a week after jihadis staged a deadly raid on the northern Mozambican town of Palma, survivors streamed Thursday into the port of Pemba, the capital of gas-rich Cabo Delgado province. Scores of relatives huddled outside the port, straining to spot family members disembarking from boats arriving from Palma, about 200 kilometers away. More than 8,000 were displaced, dozens killed and many more are still missing following a coordinated attack on the town of Palma on March 24.

13. The US has lifted sanctions on the International Criminal Court (ICC) top prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. The sanctions were imposed under former President Donald Trump over the court’s investigation into alleged war crimes by the US in Afghanistan, and US ally Israel in the Palestinian territories. Announcing the move, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the sanctions “were inappropriate and ineffective” and called for closer co-operation. The US is not a member of the ICC.

MzVee

14. One of Ghana’s most successful female artists, MzVee, this week revealed to the BBC that she struggles with depression. She was speaking about her latest album inVeencible. A piece of work that is full of banging tracks featuring the likes of Sarkodie, Kojo Funds, Efya and Falz.

15. Liberia’s president George Weah imposed a night-time curfew after protesters stormed a prison. The curfew took effect on April 1 and will run “until further notice” in Liberia’s southeastern Maryland County after the escape of 90 inmates from the Harper Central Jail.

The decision was prompted by the flight of prisoners after thousands of protesters vandalized the prison on March 30. They were looking for an alleged murderer.

For several days, the protesters have been demanding “the speedy trial of 18-year-old suspect Moses Mlamah, accused of murdering 22-year-old motorcyclist Mocdicious Nyemah on March 25, 2021,” reports The New Dawn, a local website.

Police were negotiating with the protesting motorcyclists to have the case concluded by July 2021, but fearing a denial of justice they rioted, according to him. Boda boda guys are a menace everywhere…

16. Nigerian doctors launched a national strike to protest against working conditions and salary arrears on Tuesday. On the same day, President Muhammadu Buhari, 78 years old, left the country to seek medical treatment in the United Kingdom. Africa though! Woi. Buhari has now spent 170 days abroad for treatment during his presidency.

17. The United Kingdom has banned people travelling from Kenya from entering England starting April 9 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Kenya is among four counties that have been added to the UK’s red list amid concerns about new Covid-19 variants.

WTO Director Dr. Ngozi

18. WTO Director-General Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala says that it was “not acceptable” to leave poorer countries at the “end of the queue” for Covid-19 vaccines. She pointed to AstraZeneca’s deal to transfer its know-how to a mass vaccine manufacturer in India.

Such “voluntary licensing… could save many more people,” she said. There are concerns that African nations may not get enough vaccines as first world nations buffer up their stockpiles.

19. Pfizer and BioNTech said on Thursday that their Covid-19 vaccine was highly effective against the South African variant in the latest phase of ongoing clinical trials. No cases of the disease were observed in South Africa during the phase-three trial study among participants who had received their second dose, the companies said in a statement. Several coronavirus variants with the potential to be more transmissible have caused global concern over whether existing vaccines will still protect the world from a virus that is constantly mutating.

President Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania

20. JUBA , SOUTH SUDAN – Five people were killed and three others injured in South Sudan on Thursday when gunmen ambushed a convoy of trucks returning to Uganda on the Juba-Nimule Road. A military spokesman blamed National Salvation Front (NAS) rebels for the attack. They burnt the trucks too, forcing the government to instruct Kenyan and Uganda truckers to put their activities on hold until it can guarantee their safety.

21. DAR- Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan reshuffled her cabinet this week. The changes come more than a week after she was sworn in following the death of President John Magufuli.

(Source: BBC Africa, VOA, The East African, All Africa)

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